Friday, January 13, 2012

Deeds of Darkness

Would normally post this at my other blog… but this one relates to apologetics in general.  And as you will see, is not specifically relating to sex.

A response to an excellent apologetics site here.  A site where their apologists were afraid to provide some serious exegesis of the relevant text recently.  Some Berean issues there.  But they have lots of good stuff too.

Now, instead of these apologists exegeting their volatile text (as apologists ought to do)- I was sent elsewhere for exegesis.  I was referred to another well to ask for water- since these apologists were afraid to draw from theirs. For fear of drowning in the well, it seems.  Yet, there is wealth in the well for those unafraid.  Fear not and prepare to be blessed.

So… for those of you not afraid of drowning in the well in your search for truth, those of you not afraid of having your Pyro dampened- here is some exegesis of the text in question.   Overflowing exegesis.  Profound exegesis from Calvin.  And a profound paradigm as well.  

A paradigm that I have provided numerous times at my other blog.  A not so novel paradigm that should resolve this Driscoll/Pyro dispute.  A dispute between two very different paradigms.

So let’s look at the Eph. 5:12 proof-text in question then.  Let’s look at what the “Deeds of Darkness” really are in their proper context.  And let’s look at what defines them as “deeds of darkness”.

To start with- the text does not say, “deeds done in darkness”.  How these apologists got that reading is beyond me.  It’s not in any reputable translation.

Not only that, but “deeds done” is redundant.  And “deeds done in” is repetitive.   Tripping at the starting line.   Not a good start.

Now, a lot of this dispute revolves around Grace Driscoll’s revealing of her “deed done in darkness”.  About this being “disgraceful”.  Well, I don’t really know if Grace Driscoll’s deed was actually done in darkness.  I haven’t read the book.  And I’m not disputing that.  But it is irrelevant anyway.  Because the biblical text actually says, “deeds of darkness”.  And it indisputably was a deed of darkness.  It is also indisputable that Grace wants to bring her deed of darkness to light.  As did Paul with his deeds of darkness.   

And I am convinced that this bringing of her darkness to light is clearly permissible- since she is not actually bringing the “deeds of darkness” of others to light.  The actual prohibition of this proof-text.

A bringing that would be just as permissible as it would be for someone who had obtained an abortion… to bring their own abortion to light.  In order to encourage others not to obtain abortions.  An illumination of greater import… albeit less “titillating”.

But let’s bring Calvin in on this text.  Let’s see what he has to say on this “darkness”.

As Calvin comments on verse 8:
          “Darkness [italics in the original] is the name here given to the whole nature [not just the sexual nature] of man before regeneration”. 
Also, Calvin comments that, ‘Paul is actually speaking of “unbelievers” and their darkness’.  A continuation of the “darkness” and the “impurity” spoken of the “Gentiles” in the previous chapter.

And somehow I doubt that Calvin believes that Paul is changing the sense of “darkness” a mere three verses later. That Paul is changing the sense to ‘night-time’.  But rather, Calvin shows that this is a far larger category than mere sex-in-the night-time in his commentary on verse 3, 4 and 5. 

And Calvin goes out of his way to define this “particular type” of darkness as well.  Goes out of his way to bless us big-time.
Goes out of his way by criticizing his primary source (The Latin Vulgate) for obscuring the definition of “darkness”.  Obscuring it with an “unhappy chapter division”.  A division which drops the first verse of this chapter out of the picture.  A division which drops “love” out of the picture.  As do some apologists.

For it is clear to Calvin that this darkness is… the darkness of “not walking in love” (v.1).
And the paradigm that Calvin presents is?  Walking in Love. 

Of “love” determining whether something is light or darkness.  Of “love” determining whether something is right or wrong.  And of “love” being defined as… “an offering and a sacrifice” (v.2).  Of which darkness has nothing to offer.  And light has much to sacrifice (v.8).

A sacrifice of your glory for the glory of others.  A sacrifice of your glory... for the glory of God.  A sacrifice not unlike the sacrifice that Grace Driscoll made.  A sacrifice that we are instructed to imitate (v.1)!

And as such, I would contend that it is not “disgraceful for Grace to speak of her deeds of darkness” (v.12).  Not to speak of her disgrace so that others might not be disgraced.  So that others might not commit similar deeds of darkness. 

And why is that instructed by Paul?  So that the “aroma” of others might be pleasing to God as well (v.2). 

And such is the overwhelming smell of this chapter.  The overwhelming smell of Calvin.  The overwhelming smell of Paul.  And the overwhelming smell of Scripture.

To love God... and love your neighbor as yourself.

A pleasing smell.