Travel doesn’t always work out like it is originally scheduled.
Jon arrived in Cluj-Napoca after flying from Nebraska to Chicago to Frankfort. Jonathan and I were to meet him a few hours later after flying from Minneapolis to London to Bucharest. When we arrived at what we thought was our destination, we grabbed the first in the line of taxis and told him the name of our hotel. He’d never heard of that hotel. His broken English and our utter lack of Romanian meant we needed to head back into the airport to figure out what to do. Lo and behold, we were not at the right airport! Our plane was unable to land in Cluj-Napoca due to heavy fog in the area. We had diverted to Sibiu. “No problem,” the lady at the Information Desk informed us. “We have a bus coming soon to take you to Cluj.”
After three hours of driving through the dark, foggy Transylvanian countryside , we arrived in Cluj and were able to take a taxi to our hotel where Jon had slept comfortably. After a few hours sleep, we drove further north to our final destination of Sighet, situated on the border with Ukraine.
On Sunday evening, Jon and Jonathan went with our host to preach at his church’s evening service. Josh went with another pastor, Timothy, to preach in his church. Finally, on Sunday night, we were able to get a full night’s sleep.
As I write this on Monday evening, fifteen church leaders are sitting in a lovely Romanian Baptist church listening to Pastor Jon from Nebraska introduce our topic for the week, Hermeneutics. How do we rightly interpret a text of Scripture?
Many of these men work with multiple small churches in the villages surrounding Sighet. Romanian churches meet three to four times per week, allowing for ample preaching opportunities for these men. There’s a clear understanding of the authority of Scripture in the typical Romanian church, but many use the text to prove personal points or desires. Our goal here this week is to drive these men into the text to ensure that their sermons are coming from the message of the text, not just their personal preferences and agendas.
That all starts with hermeneutical issues like authorial intent, genre understanding, literary and historical context.