Archive for Bible

Constructive dialogue, anyone?

Posted in From others... with tags , on October 17, 2012 by johnfom

What is perhaps most frustrating… is that differences regarding things like Calvinism and Arminianism, baptism, heaven and hell, gender roles, homosexuality, and atonement theories often disintegrate into harsh accusations in which we question one another’s commitment to Scripture…   Instead of a lively, impassioned debate about the text, we engage in lively, impassioned debates about one another’s commitment to the faith. 

For constructive dialog to happen, Christians must stop conflating differences in interpretation of Scripture with differences in commitment to Scripture.  We must respond to one another’s questions, arguments, and ideas in kind, with more questions, arguments, and ideas, rather than avoiding the conversation altogether by dismissing one another as unfaithful.  

Full discussion at: http://rachelheldevans.com/bible-interpretation

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Golden Vellum*

Posted in Rants with tags , , , on August 15, 2011 by johnfom

*Vellum: calfskin, lambskin, kidskin, etc., treated for use as a writing surface.

I’ve been meaning to write this one up for a while.  I’m a student of the bible but I’m dismayed at the level of idolatry of scripture in evangelical circles.  We call the bible the word of God, but I often think that it is mistaken for THE Word of God a found in John 1:1 (i.e. Jesus).  It must be said that the bible is not Jesus.  Even to a bibliophile such as myself, the bible should be recognised as ‘words about The Word of God’.  The following uses a famous story from scripture as a base in an attempt to highlight how wrong that worship of the bible is.

The Golden Vellum (a ‘Golden Calf‘ parable).

When the people saw that Jesus was so long in coming back, they gathered and said, “Come, let us make a god we can see. As for this fellow Jesus who brought us salvation, we don’t know what has happened to him.” Athanasius answered them, “Get all of the writings, the reports of our history and bring them to me.” So all the people got their writings and brought them to Athanasius. He took what they handed him and made it into a book, a bible, fashioning it into a canon, giving it gold-gilt pages. Then they said, “Here is the word of the Lord, which brings salvation.”

When the Synod of Hippo Regius saw this, they said “Let these writings be read at all the meetings of the Church.” So, the people gathered for selected readings from the canon, giving reverence to the bible and engaging in worship with it. Afterward they sat down with themselves to eat and drink.

Then the LORD said to Jesus, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought to salvation, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from me and from care for others, and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a book. They have bowed down before it and sacrificed their loyalty to it and have said, ‘Here is your god, Christians, who brought you salvation.’”

“I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Jesus, “and they are a stiff-necked people. My anger burns against them, but I wish to make them a people for me.”

When Jesus approached the Church and saw the bible and the things his Church had done in its name, his anger burned.

He said to the Church leaders, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”

“Do not be angry, my lord,” they answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to us, ‘Make us gods who we can see. As for this fellow Jesus who brought us salvation, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So we told them, ‘Here is a book containing all of the wisdom of God. There is no truth other than what is in here.'”

Jesus saw that the people were suppressed and that the leaders had encouraged them to try to suppress others and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. So he stood at the entrance to the Church and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.” And some of them came to listen to him.

Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD, God, says: ‘When you see one who is hungry, feed them. When you see someone naked, clothe them. When you see someone thirsty, give them a drink. Welcome strangers of all kinds, look after those who are sick, and befriend those who have been shunned.’” The people who were for God did as Jesus commanded, and many people came to know God. Then Jesus said, “You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against the your own brothers and sisters, and he has blessed you this day.”

Jesus said to the Church, “You have committed a great sin. But I have made atonement for your sin.”

So Jesus spoke to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves a god of writing. But, please forgive their sin.”

The LORD replied to Jesus, “If they repent, they will be forgiven of their sin. Because of you I will not punish them.”

But the LORD took his blessing from the Church because of what they did with the bible they had made.

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