Day 2

The Last Word: Well, it's not me. This book is rather dense. I am about a third of the way through it and I find myself stopping and re-reading a section or reading it out loud and/or reading it rather slowly. The one thing I am certain of is this, the claim of the Bible is that 'all authority' is from god and that the phrase 'authority of Scripture' must be shorthand for 'god's authority exercised through scripture'. How this works is what I'm trying to find out. The Bible, therefore, is not a rule book (although it does contain rules) that we can go to for looking up a verse for a particular question. That is, it is not an 'answer book' (although it does contain answers to some of life's questions). I am finding out that there is a lot more to the Bible than we, in the USA, have given thought to. I think we have, for a while now, at least since the supposed Enlightenment , misunderstood it. Of how to 'use' it. Of it's place within our lives. We have to understand it from a more historical/critical view. Does this mean that I don't view the Bible as 'inspired' or 'infallible'? No. But I will say this -- what do those things mean? I mean, honestly, if we take the standard view ('The Bible says it so I believe' mentality), then we have a real problem with Jesus' challenges to the OT Scripture. Those sections in the gospels alone should give us pause to rethink the question. For example, to quote from Wright:
How can Jesus, in the very passage where he insists on the priority of scripture over human traditions, then declare all foods clean (Mark 7.1-23; Marks' own note in verse 19 underlines the point)? If he is insisting that not only the acts of murder, theft and adultery but also the cherishing of motivations toward those acts comes under divine prohibition, what can justify his apparently cavalier attitude of the sabbath? If the command to honor one's father and mother is to be fulfilled, why did Jesus not only ignore his own mother and brothers and sisters in favor of his followers (Mark 3.31-35) but also warn his followers that they would have to be prepared to hate their father, mother and almost everyone else as well (Luke 14.26)? If scripture pointed to the exaltation of Israel and the consequent ingathering of the nations, why did Jesus say that when people came from east and west to sit down with Abraham in God's Kingdom, "the heirs of the kingdom" would be thrown out (Matthew 8.11-12)? -- The Last Word, pg. 45.

That is my point exactly. Because of this, we should re-examine what the 'authority of the Bible' actually means. I know this is scary. Shattering sacred-cows always is. However, if we are to get a better understanding of the way god wants us to work in this world, we need to be 'always reforming'. Am I suggesting that we stop using the Bible? Absolutely not. I'm saying that we (I) should have a better understanding of how the Bible was used throughout church history and Jewish history. I think that by doing this we will be in a better place to address some of the more pressing issues in our world today.

May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.



Jason Haeger said…
Good post.

I'm not so sure that the Bible should be the "It" that most of the religion perceives it to be. I think it helps us to understand God's nature, and not much beyond that. Of course, this understanding leads to a better understanding of all things under, and including, the sun... but that doesn't mean there isn't more.

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