The 17th and 18th criteria in William Webb’s paradigm of the redemptive trend — or how we move the Bible’s message into our world in a progressive, redeeming way — deal with Extrascriptural criteria. No matter how biblical we think we are, extrascriptural factors play a role in much of what we do. Here are his criteria:
Do you think a change in pragmatics renders a text cultural, or does it create the need of “creative re-application”? And, does science work with you so that, once you learn something as solid in science that we will see more and more of the Bible as cultural?
#17: Pragmatic basis between cultures: a component of a text may be cultural if the pragmatic basis for the instruction cannot be sustained from one culture to another. It becomes more transcultural if the pragmatic basis can be sustained.
Example: leaving the corners of your field unpicked so the poor can avail themselves of relief. Lev 19:10. If you live in the inner city of Dublin or Chicago, I doubt a farmer miles (kilometres) away leaving his filed unpicked is of much use.
Washing feet, obedience and submission to children, obedience and submission to kings/presidents, even congregational obedience — since congregational govt has softened this one.
Women and obedience to husband: influenced by lack of education, lack of social exposure and experience, lack of physical strength, economic dependence and marital-age difference (5-15 years norm). The only pragmatic concern that remains is physical strength, and he contends that it is insufficient to sustain the original pragmatically-based guideline to obey and submit. It becomes a non-hierarchical respect instead of obedience.
#18: Scientific and social-scientific evidence: a component of a text may be culturally confined if it is contrary to present-day scientific evidence. If the two conflict, there is a good indicator the text is culturally confined.
Examples: geocentric vs. heliocentric models; flat earth vs. round earth.
Women: women are seen as reproductive gardens and if no children the problem was the female and now we know it is an equal contribution. Women as poor leaders (Isa 3:12): today women are effective leaders in all kinds of capacities. Women as more easily deceived (some interpret 1 Tim 2:14 this way): both patriarchalists and egalitarians agree this is not an accurate interpretation of the text. (Webb engages a recent defense of the patriarchal view.) Webb thinks times have changed on this one because the original factors that gave rise to the problem are no longer present: women are not more easily deceived. 1 Tim 2:14 inculcates finding leaders who are not easily deceived, male or female.