Fred quotes Kenneth Cauthen's two principles of interpretation:
- No Christian allows the Bible to teach as the authoritative word of God what is known or believed (for whatever reasons) to be either untrue or immoral.
- Every Christian finds what the Bible teaches as the authoritative word of God to be identical or congruent with what is known or believed (for whatever reasons) to be true and right.
The reason we find the canonical stories "normal" and the extra-canonical stories "weird" is because we have had 2000 years to domesticate the Bible. The canon is pretty weird when we read some of what it actually says. Hal pointed to this example:
For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can. Matthew 19:12Those who claim to follow the Bible as the authoritative word of God will undoubtedly find a clever way around that one.
But regarding issues for which they already have prejudices (ie. against homosexuals, for instance) passages that apparently condemn them are etched in stone.