Re-Examining Our Lenses: The Relationship Between Restoration Movement Hermeneutics and Spiritual Formation

Re-Examining Our Lenses: The Relationship Between Restoration Movement Hermeneutics and Spiritual Formation by Jeanie Shaw

(Review by Hashim Warren)

In the new book, Re-Examining Our Lenses Jeanie Shaw writes about how the way we understand the Bible affects our spiritual growth and unity. Shaw writes from her many years of ministry experience within the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) exploring a topic relevant to the various streams of the Stone Campbell restoration movement

Shaw makes the case that the ICOC and the Restoration Movement (RM) of churches have focused too heavily on finding direct instructions and examples in the Bible. This approach to reading the scriptures is called "patternism." Shaw argues that patternism has led to division, stunted spiritual growth, and drop-out in the RM, and particularly within the ICOC.

This critique is not new, however Shaw’s book cuts a fresh path. Re-Examining our Lenses unfolds the history of biblical interpretation in the RM and ICOC to uncover the choices and motivations that led to patternism. Shaw lays all of her collected receipts on the table so the reader can see for themselves the impact patternism has had on the spiritual formation of generations of Christians.

After diagnosing the problem, Shaw suggests a more mature way to understand scripture that embraces multiple lenses of interpretation or “hermeneutics”. Specifically, Shaw offers “the theological lens, as explained by John Mark Hicks; the redemptive/trajectory lens offered by William Webb, and the Spirit Hermeneutic suggested by Craig Keener”. Shaw believes that these approaches can help Christians better grasp God's character and how the Spirit works in believers' lives.

Re-Examining Our Lenses is a solid read for anyone wanting to understand how biblical interpretation affects spiritual unity and growth in churches.

You can learn more about Shaw's work at You can also listen to an interview with Shaw on the Common Grounds Unity podcast, episode #115.