Trinity House becomes Theopolis...

Error message

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Federal Vision stouts just rebranded themselves, exchanging Trinity House for Theopolis, a compound of the Greek 'theos' (God) and 'polis' (city). Godcity has a mailing address in Birmingham, Alabama, halfway between Gadson and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. And with this name change Dr. Peter Leithart and friends stake their claim to be the wise men of the city policing the intersection of the Bible and culture. Have you followed the UK's breast beating over class snobbery? If so, you may understand Theopolis inspired me to try to trade in Baylyblog for Theopleb, but Pope Francis had already spoken for it.

The home page of Theopolis has this...

mission statement:

Theopolis Institute teaches men and women to lead cultural renewal by renewing the church. Participants in its various programs—its courses, conferences, and publications—will gain competence to read the Bible imaginatively, worship God faithfully, and engage the culture intelligently.

If the goal is renewing our cesspool of a culture, we do need help, don't we? But how much help will it be to learn "how to read the Bible imaginatively?" If my son were a lawyer, would I be pleased if law school had taught him to read the U.S. Constitution imaginatively?

No, but such a tack with the Word of God would be much worse. No one can question that the original intent of its Author is everything when it comes to the Word of God. Forty years ago when the inerrancy movement was in full dudgeon, Dad used to say he wanted to hear less about the doctrine of inspiration and more about Scripture's authority. So today we want to hear less about reading the Bible imaginatively and more about reading it reverently. Soberly. Submissively.

Zinsser warns authors never to write "I think." Heartless and cruel, he says "who cares what you think." Writing "I imagine" is even worse, particularly when we're interpreting Scripture. Are two-thousand years of interpretive work by our fathers in the faith such bondage that we must look to our imagination to reclaim the Bible's message? Must we all give ourselves to coming up with novel interpretations of Scripture? Is this the skill set we want the sons of the church to develop?

Theopolis Institute teaches men and women to ...gain competence to read the Bible imaginatively...

A generation ago, the Reformed intellectual who offered to teach Reformed pastors how to read the Bible imaginatively would have been met with belly laughs. Surely he jests!

But sadly, not. So-called Biblical theologians have blathered on about "narrative" so long that they approach the text of Sacred Writ as if it were Proust or Joyce. They forget the hard and true meaning of Scripture is revealed by the Spirit of God Who Himself testifies, negatively, "that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (2Peter 1:20, 21).

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!