loosing and binding

I have been a Christian for a long time.  I couldn’t count how many sermons or seminars I have sat through, some with eagerness and many with barely disguisable boredom.  I am sure I have heard more than one deal with the subject of “loosing and binding”.  Usually to do with spiritual warfare.  For those of you who read my blog who may be unfamiliar with these terms (and a few more that follow), a quick play on Google or visit to the wiki will catch you up.  I have always been taught that loosing and binding was to do with managing supernatural nasties.  Enter Velvet Elvis.  I am part way through this thoroughly enjoyable book by Rob Bell, who has managed in a few short pages to challenge more than a few assumptions.   Loosing and binding has precious little to do with demons and such like, according to Rob.  Rabbis used to (and probably still do) sit around and rip through the Torah, arguing the finer points, challenging traditional interpretations, and master rabbis would make their mark by defining how something was to be understood and applied.  This may mean that some past understandings were discarded, and new applications put into force.  This process was referred to as “loosing” and “binding”.  A rule that no longer applied was “loosed”, and the fresh interpretation was considered “bound”.  This is the process that Jesus was referring to.  Jesus certainly did his share of “loosing” and “binding”.

Probably not as exciting for sermon material as loosing and binding spiritual powers,  but I for one am rather glad to be set straight on the matter.  Or rather my old understanding has been “loosed”.  And there is something rather exciting about the process.  The Scriptures are to be engaged in, tossed around, teased out, debated hotly, always searching for life-giving meaning, with a bit of “loosing” and “binding” thrown in there – a dynamic process that is continually revisited.  The bible is never “done and dusted”.  When I get time, I plan to do a bit of research of my own into the phenomenon of “loosing” and “binding”, to see if I reckon Rob has “loosed” and “bound” rightly.

Hmmm.  This has to be the most times I have used quotation marks in a post in all my  blogging years.

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3 thoughts on “loosing and binding

  1. Hi I agree we have been fed some wrong things regarding binding and loosing, but I would like to offer some words of caution regarding Rob Bell .
    He has been a hot topic in the States for some time now and it would seem his book is the latest book to get your hands on.
    All that glitters may not be gold though , if u go to Apprising Ministries and read an article by an ex member of Mars Hill (ROB BELL: EX-MHBC’ER SPEAKS *UPDATED*) you may find that things are not what they may seem. I hope you dont think I am being a know all , I certainly do not , but I am genuinely concerned with some of the things this man is teaching.He may just be another flash in the pan and dissappear leaving a mess for someone else to clean up.

  2. Thanks for dropping by Lesley. My last sentence from my post hopefully shows that I don’t just readily accept all that I read. I do think Rob Bell breathes a bit of fresh air into orthodoxy. I think that he actually personally holds to fairly orthodox views, but does write with an openness to looking at things differently, and isn’t afraid to provoke a response or two to some of the things we hold closely. I have heard a few refer to him in strong opposing terms – including describing him as a heretic. I will follow up the site you suggested. However, I have found him refreshing and challenging. I am not about to adjust my theology to match up with his, but never-the-less find his work worth while thinking about. I don’t think any author’s efforts are much of a substitute for doing your own digging though.

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