Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The benefits and curse of Asbury style IBS

I'm teaching "Bible as Scripture" this week for Wesley Seminary. My Asbury training always shows up in this class when we get to what Dr. Bauer calls, "structural laws." I try not to call them that but try to use more informal language. I really enjoyed IBS at Asbury but I think many students left those classes feeling like they had learned some secret technical language that no one else would ever understand.

Even new Bible professors there, I got the sense, if they had not studied at Asbury as a grad student, could be mystified at a completely unique language used scarcely anywhere else in the academy. What do you make of a label like, "recurrence of particularization with filial language"? I don't think I really got a sense of what all that stuff was about until I adjuncted for Asbury a few times 10-15 years ago.

But I continue to find these categories incredibly helpful. I'm also teaching Romans online right now. I try to spare the lingo and of course these observations are spread out over weeks. But when I look at Romans, I am now cursed to see:
  • Romans 1:16-17 as the key verses of this book ("generalization of 1:16-17 in 1:18-11:36"). 
  • I can't help but see 1:18-5:11 as a movement from the problem--"all have sinned" (1:18-3:20) to the solution--"the faithfulness of Jesus Christ" (3:21-4:25)
  • ... with Romans 3:20-31 as the greatest encapsulation of how salvation works in the whole Bible ("generalization of the solution in 3:21-4:25") 
  • ... and Romans 5:1-11 as the conclusion to this whole section ("generalization with logical causation"). 
And what am I to say of all the sub-patterns I am cursed now to see? Romans 4 is a substantiation of 3:21-31. Within Romans 4, 4:1-3 is a general statement that is "particularized with a recurrence of substantiation in 4:4-25."

Who will free me from this body of IBS-eze??? I'm convinced that these are all valid patterns. But who will have a clue what I am talking about?

4 comments:

Ed Beedle said...

As an Asbury graduate (and current D.Min. student) I understand exactly what you are talking about.

Rob Henderson said...

I just texted my son, Josh, for some help. I remember how much he loved the course last year. (He's my resource for "second hand" re-education of sorts.)

Michael Voigts said...

Hmmm...did the first and last thoughts of your post form an implicit inclusio?

Randy Dewing said...

Then again, I usually think that no one understand what I'm talking about--and I'd love to have some scholarly justification for the problem.