When I wrote this post, actually I only wanted to point out how the Epistle dating argument that Stott used against the situational hermeneutics employed to a passage about man and woman in 1 Tim 2.12-15 could be used against himself. Then Ming and Septian posted some questions, which I promised to answer, but then when I thought of the answer it grew into a post in itself (it has been in my mind for a few days now). Although in the end perhaps I will disappoint you if you think I will give a straightforward answer. In fact, allow me to indulge in a hermeneutics madness (basically hermeneutics deals with the question: How do we interpret the text?). I’ll just try to set up the playing field.
OK, OK, I will give my own position (Adhi said that I’m like the UK Anglicans, trying to accommodate all positions but not willing to stay firm in one). But it will be at the very end. Now at least allow me to build the nuances first.
First, at least we need to admit that the Epistles are situational. They were written to respond to a particular situation/need. No one in his right mind would read 2 Tim 4.13, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments”, and thought, ‘Hey, Paul told me to bring his cloak to him.’ No one. In his right mind.
But of course this is the extreme case, which proves the rule that, well, admittedly a lot of Paul’s writings are still applicable to us. So the question is not whether they are still applicable to us, but how they are. So our goal is to be faithful to him, not to copy everything that he did. And it could even mean that we should not follow his position.