I am advocating an approach to the Bible that I call “Gestalt Theology”. I did a search on the term and all the references that came up were about gestalt psychology. So maybe the term is mine.
According to Google the Oxford dictionary defines gestalt as “an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.” I like that. I think it is the best way to look at the Bible if you are looking for truth. I know people who like to ignore anything in the Bible that they don’t like or doesn’t fit into their system of belief. Many commonly accepted foundations of faith are based on an isolated verse and what Jesus would have called the “traditions of the elders.”
Gestalt Theology starts with a belief that the entire Bible is the inspired word of God. That means that not only is it true, it is one continuous statement that must work together. That means if you find something that conflicts, you cannot reject one and teach the other but must come to an understanding that includes both. We have done that with the doctrine of the trinity. We have a clear statement,
(Deu 6:4 KJV) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:And yet we have references to the Son and the Spirit that also attribute divinity. The church came up with a complex explanation of three in one because that is what the gestalt of the Bible requires.
One that is often overlooked is the universally accepted statement,
(Eph 2:8 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Christians agree this is true and proceed to get out the scissors to remove much of the Bible because you find calls to obedience and upright living on just about every page. The problem emerged when enthusiastic theologians add a word to grace, the word “alone”. I have heard it expressed, “If it is grace plus anything then it is not grace.” While their friends agree with that I am not sure God does, and it does not stand the test of gestalt.
Yes, we are saved by Grace. It is a gift. We cannot earn it. We don’t earn it but unless you want to have a totally arbitrary God who sends most of mankind to hell with not even a first chance, let alone a second, you need to ask yourself, “What standard does God use to decide when He extends His grace.” Since you can read you simply say, “The standard of faith.” Then you have to decide what that means, what you are having faith in and so forth.
The good news for me is that God is the one who will make the decisions and we know that Jesus came to save sinners not to see how many He could cast into Hell.
If you took psychology classes somewhere in your life and heard about gestalt psychology don’t lay that on my theology. The mental approach focuses on feelings and emotions. The spiritual root is in the Bible.
homo unius libri