Thursday, July 05, 2007

Sacramental Exegesis?

Lost in all the modern controversy about Federal Vision is the exegetical controversy about Grammatical-Historical exegesis. There is a sudden rise in people desiring to replace Grammatical-Historical exegesis with a Medieval exegesis that includes not only typology, but allegory and basically gives free reign to the exegete.

Barb of Whilin Away the Hours gives us a good example of the modern Medieval exegesis. Barb finds symbolism of baptism in Jonah and then finds the baptism again in the water that Jesus turns to wine in John 2. Thus, baptism and the supper are linked, and she is able to then use the link (she has a few other dubious connections) to argue for padeo-communion.

With this sort of exegesis linking water to baptism (both judgment and salvation), why not use Judges 12. In that chapter Jephthah and the Gileadites are standing in the water killing the Ephraimites; thus the judgmental waters of baptism. 42,000 Ephraimites died, which surely would have stained the water with their blood; thus, the Supper is pre-figured. The Blood of the Supper calm the waters of baptismal judgment and make them calm waters of baptismal salvation. The Gileadites then re-emerge from the waters onto a now calm and peaceful land.

Am I right in my new found exegesis of Judges 12? I found water and blood, surely that means the sacraments are in view? What logic did I use in Judges 12 that is not employed in the Jonah story or finding the sacraments in John 2? If Grammatical-Historical exegesis is set aside, we can find the sacraments or whatever we want anywhere in the bible. It is the Grammatical-Historical exegesis that forces us to deal not in fanciful connections of symbology, but with context. What in the context of Jonah makes us think of baptism other than the mere appearance of water. Nothing. Does baptism fit into the point the book of Jonah is making? No. What about John 2? Jesus turns water into wine, but what makes us think it has anything to do with baptismal water? There is nothing in the context to suggest it at all. There is nothing at all wrong with typology, but typology must not get out of control. I am afraid that by shedding grammatical-historical exegesis we will see more of this find-what-you-want-anywhere typology.