This Coming Sunday’s Service


Sunday, August 19, 2018

With Liberation & Justice for All

Preacher: Rev. Dave Carpenter

Theologians talk about our “Hermeneutics”; the glasses that we “wear” to read and comprehend the scripture; to focus in on certain stories more than others or to sift through what makes its way to our attention and how it is interpreted.  Our hermeneutic is the way we approach and read what we glean from scripture.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s many Latin American theologians began challenging the typical western, protestant, evangelical theology and mindset (their hermeneutic) by offering a new set of glasses or lenses through which they believed scripture should be read.  To them, the overarching story of the entire Bible, in both the New and Old Testaments, is one of the people’s struggle and God’s desire to liberate those who are oppressed and marginalized by the powerful in society. Latin American theologians saw the Exodus as the central event of the Old Testament and believed that all stories come back to God’s desire to side with the poor. Grounded in the teaching of Jesus, they believed God wanted to help the poor find freedom from the enslaved mindset that comes along with living under the physical oppression from various empires and power structures.

Many in the western church, including the Pope at the time, criticized these new “liberation theologians” for being too Marxist or distorting Jesus and the Bible’s message.  In recent years, however, our current pope, more and more theologians, and even many of those within a new emerging socially conscious form of evangelicalism in America are recognizing the validity of many of the premises of liberation theology.  Rob Bell, in Chapter 28 of his book, “What Is the Bible” does an excellent job of distilling the heart of this liberation hermeneutic to something we can easily comprehend.  What is God’s attitude toward the poor and marginalized in scripture?  How do we read the Bible?  What are the hermeneutics we employ and how do they impact the way we understand our faith?

READ:  Exodus 3:7-8 & Isaiah 58:6-12

  • What various “hermeneutics” or “glasses” do you wear as you approach scripture?  What sorts of stories, passages do you focus in on?  What do you tend to bypass or ignore?  What is your primary or main hermeneutic and how do you see it effecting the way you approach, read and understand the rest of scripture?
  • What do you think about liberation theology?  How is it different from the way the western and American church has typically interpreted scripture throughout the 20-21 centuries?
  • What do you think of Rob Bell’s explanation in Chapter 28?  What do you agree with?  Disagree with?
  • Do you believe that God has a “preference for the poor”?  What does that even mean?  Is it fair?  Why do you think so much of scripture seems to give this impression?
  • How should the church of Jesus Christ act differently as a result of God’s clear concern for the widow, orphan, foreigner, poor, oppressed, etc?  What might need to be challenged in our western church’s “business as usual” mindset?


Sermon Series – “What is the Bible?” by Rob Bell

We have started our studying on the NY Times Bestseller “What is the Bible?”.  We encourage everyone to read the book together during the seven weeks this summer. If you are in a small group, perhaps you will want to use this book as your guide this summer. There are copies of the discussion guide in the Narthex.  

Rob Bell is at it again! Always iconoclastic, often at least a little controversial, Rob Bell’s new NY Times best selling book on the Bible dives straight into the heart of many of the questions we’ve always harbored but were afraid to articulate about our scripture; questions that have often kept us from fully hearing and embracing God’s loving, grace-filled message to us through this most powerful library of books. I hope you will choose to go “all-in” with us over the next 7 weeks, as together, we read a book that has been opening up new vistas and transforming many people’s understanding of their faith and these sacred writings designed to illuminate the nature of God and the essence of the way human life was meant to be lived. Bell’s style is humorous, insightful, easy and delightful to read. 
You can obtain your very own copy in either its kindle or hard copy from Amazon – click here to get the book!
Read through the first 6, fast-moving chapters, then join us for the conversation and what could be a quantum leap forward in the way we understand our faith and the scripture it is based upon. And don’t forget to join us on the patio, after our 10am worship service, for our delicious youth ministry led fellowship event “mud-cups” (disclaimer: no real mud involved in the making of these sweet treats)!


Rev. Dave Carpenter, Pastor