This short program examines the North American Division “Majority Report” proposed “Principle-based, Historical-cultural” (PBHC) method of biblical interpretation. The method has been proposed as a means of dealing with certain “difficult texts” proponents of women’s ordination (WO) have struggled with. With the use of the PBHC method, the difficult texts disappear, and “no conclusive evidence prohibiting the ordination of women can be found in the Bible.” This video examines proposed guidelines for when to use PBHC, notes its close relation to the Historical-critical method, and discusses its embrace of reader-response criticism. Finally, the question is answered, can this method be considered to be compatible with longstanding Seventh-day Adventist use of the Historical-grammatical method. In behalf of the Council of Adventist Pastors (CAP) host Jim Brackett interviews Pr Larry Kirkpatrick.
Earlier this year we reported that the Lake Union had held a prayerful discussion on the matter of women’s ordination and had chosen rather than to move into a position of opposition to the Church, to work with the Church with reference to this topic. Among the presentations at the Lake Union was “Hermeneutics and Scripture in the 21st Century,” by Clinton Wahlen.
Wahlen points out how methods of interpreting Scripture continue to adjust and modify. The use of the historical-critical method has waned but a new focus has arisen. This new focus moves away from locating meaning in the text of Scripture and places meaning instead in the reader. It is fascinating that, while this material was presented nearly a year ago, reader-response criticism forms a central part of the NAD’s “new” proposed women’s ordination hermeneutic released last month (NAD Report, pp. 23-31). The NAD Report actually critiques the Church’s 1986 “Methods of Bible Study” (Rio) document for lacking this emphasis. However, we agree with Wahlen who warns in this paper, “…all of these methods [“literary ” and reader-focused”] as classically defined employ a critical approach to the text ‘which subordinates the Bible to human reason’ and should therefore be ‘unacceptable’ to Seventh-day Adventists, as the 1986 ‘Methods of Bible Study’ document voted in Annual Council has made clear” (“Hermeneutics and Scripture in the Twenty-First Century,” p. 1). The paper by Wahlen linked above provides important background for those who peruse the NAD Report.