Interpretation versus Verses
There’s a pattern that I usually go through when I talk with Evangelicals. Usually there is an attack, and you can guess which side is doing the attacking. Next, there is a an accusation of not being Christian. Again, you can probably guess which side it comes from. The argument for not being Christian usually follows an assumption of “You don’t believe X and therefore you don’t believe the Bible and therefore aren’t Christian.”
The problem with this argument, is that in a majority of the cases, the belief X isn’t strictly biblical. That is, the argumentor does solely state the scripture as though it is purely self-explanatory. Instead, the argumentor always adds to the statement, and interprets it. And for some reason, many evangelicals have allowed this practice to continue unchecked. Those of us who know the difference between a paraphrase and an interpretation are often flustered by the conflation of the two. Do not other Evangelicals note the difference between the two? Do not Evangelicals reject interpretations that have historically proven inaccurate? Yet at the time, the Evangelical proponents of such interpretations commonly proclaim their beliefs as “biblical” and denounce those who don’t agree with them as “not understanding the Bible.”
Ever since my mission, when I spoke with a very religious Evangelical, my only message for Evangelicals has been, “I agree with the Bible but not your interpretation of it.”
What can we do to better explain this problem. How have my Mormon friends dealt with this. Have any of my Evangelical friends noticed this, and how have they tried to help their own speak more logically and friendly? Is there anything more prideful than declaring one’s own reading as the only possible, logically correct interpretation?