The latest edition of Comment includes articles by an impressive line-up of thinkers, including Marilynne Robinson, Jean Vanier, Matthew Milliner, Calvin Seerveld, Esther Meek and others. It also includes a nice wee piece by guest editor Peter Leithart who has this to say about Scripture:
‘When used as a tool of political assessment and evaluation, Scripture is a yardstick to measure what’s already out there in the world, rather than a potent political force in its own right. Christians who mine the Bible for positive moral, political, or aesthetic principles frequently have an intellectualistic and moralistic view of human experience. Much of the abundant, often edifying, literature on Christian worldview reduces Scripture to a system of ideas or a set of moral rules that we consciously embrace and apply to the world around us.
But the Bible is not a compendium of doctrines, ideas, or rules. Scripture teaches, but teaches through stories, poetry, exhortation, visions, letters. It addresses the whole man—our minds, but also our passions, imaginations, loves, and desires. Christians who attempt to apply the Bible to political life, for example, often focus so completely on discovering ethical standards that they ignore the significance of Scripture’s rhetoric. Rhetoric italicizes what is said. When using the Bible politically, we not only ask, “What does God say is good and right?” We must also ask, “What does God italicize?”‘ – Peter Leithart, ‘The Word of God and the City of Man‘