Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Legitimacy of Paradox as a Theological Model - Part 12

Pastor Richard Ostella of Westminster Reformed Church in Plymouth, Michigan has graciously granted permission to re-publish his March 2009 ETS paper on theological paradox here at THEOparadox. To understand these thoughts in context, please begin with part 1.

3A. Implications

 Working from the nature of the paradoxicality model, we can draw some implications for biblical study by scholars, pastors, and church members alike.35

 1) The paradox model advances clarity in biblical study 

 Acquaintance with paradoxicality, teaching it, and grasping the model is helpful in handling difficult teachings. It is an organizing principle by which to identify threads of truth for clarity in the midst of complexity.36

Pastor Ostella's Footnotes
35 There is much that is practical here for the church. Consider the illustration of a rope over a pulley hanging in front of someone stuck half way down a deep well. The person sees two ropes and cannot see that they connect or how they connect to form a single rope. To use the “ropes” to save his life, he must grab both at the same time. If he grabs one to the exclusion of the other, he will plummet to the bottom of the well. To receive the bread of life from Scriptural paradoxes for our benefit, we must believe and live by both threads/ropes of truth, even if our logic tells us that using one to the exclusion of the other is easier.  
36 As theologians, pastors, and church members encounter threads of truth that seem to exist in intractable tension (such as: the full humanity and full deity of Christ, Scripture is the word of man and the word of God, and so forth) having a handle for these theological boiling pots on the stove gives perspective and keeps us from getting burned by confusion. Serving clarity, the paradox model goes hand in hand with the perspicuity of Scripture. Thus, even the most profound teachings of Scripture are bread of life for the church. Both theological formulation and pastoral proclamation can make profitable use of this model.  

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