Friday, July 25, 2008

The Machine Gun Hermeneutic

The Society of Evangelical Arminians website has a great article entitled The Machine Gun Hermeneutic. Contributing writer Martin Glynn writes,
I began referring to this as a machine gun hermeneutic based off a conversation I had once. My opponent essentially quoted 6 or 7 different verses at once, and then insisted I respond to every single one of them. I refused, because I knew it really wouldn’t be effective anyway, since he would ignore whatever exegesis I offered by simply quoting more texts (he had done it before). He claimed that I didn’t respect Scripture. I responded, saying that I believe Scripture to be a sword, not a machine-gun, and it is disrespectful to Scripture to treat it differently than how it was designed.
This is great stuff, and oh, so true.

Check it out.


  1. That was great. Does Martin have a blog? I would like to read more of his stuff.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, pizza man. Got any sausage and mushroom?

    Martin has a Xanga site: He's a great brother. Please do check him out.

  3. Keith,

    I want you to know how much I enjoyed your post on the New Perspective and Ephesians posted on the SEA site today. I appreciate all you do for the cause of Truth.

    God bless.


  4. Thanks for the link, and I second Billy's comment on the New Perspectives post..good stuff.

  5. Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the link to the Machinegun Hermeneutic post; I really liked it.

    The technique is quite similar, if not identical, to that used by Bill Gothard and his followers. I can remember arguing with them that the scriptures he was using were out of context, but they always seemed swayed by the sheer volume.

    Also reminds me of how the advocates of man-caused Global Warming operate. Quote study after study, all funded by groups with a financial stake in the outcome, all filled with alleged facts based on selective interpretation of manipulated data. People assume its true because of the volume of information, rather than accuracy. Machinegun science anyone?

    The only quibble I have with the author is his description of how a machinegun is used. He refers to spraying bullets in hopes of hitting something--training and experience give me reason to differ. Properly used, machineguns are aimed and fired with great care and accuracy, and their usefulness lies in the ability to deliver a much greater volume of accurate, sustained fire over a given area than can be done with a rifle.

    Of course, no analogy is perfect, and Martin Glynn's point is well made. I agree with him, and now I'd bet that you have the only serious theology blog containing factual information about machineguns.

    Grace and peace, Dave

  6. didn't see a spot to just put a general comment, so i'll stick one here. nice comment on graham over at out of ur. npr on friday had a piece with the author of the lbj tapes, and one of the recordings aired was of a phone call between graham and johnson. sometimes the humanity of reality (i'm going to copyright that phrase) escapes us and we don't realize that we're not dealing with circles and arrows or chess pieces but real people. and when that dimension gets added ... it's hard to justify one's self as being a worthy 3rd party commentator.

    mike rucker
    fairburn, ga, usa

  7. Hi Dave. This is Martin. I actually do know that about machine guns, at least the AK-47 anyway. It's really an automatic rifle, stressing the accuracy as well as the volume.

    I was thinking more in terms of the early machine guns that had a major kick to them, like the tommy gun and the like that you see in mobster movies. They weren't nearly as accurate as what we have today because of the recoil.

    Its still true that you try to be accurate with them, but the point is that you don't have to be. Its not like with a sniper rifle or a sword where you are aiming for a specific spot on the body. Still I may be mistaken there. I'm not really an expert on guns.