Sunday, September 17, 2006

Illiteracy in the Church?

I am concerned. Deeply concerned, actually. As I read emergent blogs, and hear about what some leaders are reported to have said at conferences and things, I am struck by the fact that the trend in the so-called "emergent conversation" is to take a low view of the Bible.

For 2000 years, it has been understood that the Bible is the very inspired word of God. God's story of God's intervention in human history - the history of the humanity that HE Himself created. 2Timothy 3, Hebrews 13 - other places - clearly indicate that this Book is what will guide us in belief and in faith and in practice.

So, if you disagree with the Bible, it isn't the Bible that's wrong. It's you.

Our understanding of certain issues may be adjusted as we learn more about the culture and language of the Bible. But none of the Apostles got it wrong in the Book. Ever. If you don't trust that, you don't trust God.

Need I remind you, dear reader, that He is all powerful? Do you really think He could not make sure that those men wrote what He wanted them to write? Do you really believe that the God of the universe could not make sure that the Word was preserved through the ages, and that He does not now guide the heartfelt seeker in understanding?

No! No! and No! again.

The Bible is the authority. If you throw it away, you throw away the rule, the measure, the standard that God Himself gave us.

So, not only should we not throw this book away, we should study it more, study it deeper, let it change how we think and act and believe, and let it help us become more and more like Jesus.


  1. I hope you can answer these questions for me.
    Is it possible that one day we will all learn that all religions will COEXIST in Heaven? Are you the same as the "born-again" evangelicals that believe that the ONLY WAY to be saved is through Jesus? If I'm a good person, will God receive me in Heaven forever, or do I have to follow the path of the born-agains?

  2. Seeker -

    I cannot claim to have intimate knowledge about what heaven will look like, nor is it my business to decide who goes there.

    That said, Jesus Himself said He was the only way to reconciliation with the Father. And then He rose from the dead to support this statement, along with everything else he said.

    So, while I would never presume to get dogmatic about procedures on how to get "there," where "there" really is, what "there" will be like, who gets let into "there," I do believe that Jesus meant what He said, and I take His words about being reconciled to God seriously.

    I do think there is a lot of emphasis on believing "right doctrine" that does not have a heck of a lot of "right practice" backing it up. And I do wonder if Jesus Himself would hang out in some of our churches.

    As far as "following the path of the born-agains," I guess I would have to know how you understand that phrase. It truly comes with a lot of baggage. It refers to Jesus comments in John 3 (if I remember right) about being born again or never seeing the kingdom. But there are people who use that phrase like some kind of password to decide who is in and who is out.

    That isn't me, but I do believe that we must come to realize our own sinfulness, and come to God with a sincere heart for forgiveness, and that we need the power of God's Spirit to live here as He intended. I don't know if that means "born-again," to you.

    I hope all this helps. I am trying to be clear without being dogmatic and standoff-ish, because I value conversation. I hope I have not said anything to give you any offence.

  3. Sue-
    As one of those "born agains" (John 3 is the right spot) I say John 14:6 means something: THere is an exclusive, right, defined, narrow way to get to heaven. I didn't say it, Jesus did!

    You nailed the basics: I am a sinner, I am asking for forgiveness, I will live with repentant action from there with Spirit control.

    But you gave seeker too much of an "out" with the expression "if that means born-again to you". Go to the standard of what it means to be born-again -- Scripture. There is no room for interpretation.

    Buddha, Ghandi, Mother Teresa will all be in heaven ONLY by accepting the gift of Jesus Christ's sacrifice. They will not co-exist with Jesus as other gods in heaven. There is one.

    It's okay to be dogmatic on the things that are clear. :)

    Hope that I have not offended you either.

  4. Mike -

    Of course you have not offended me! I agree with you!

    I think sometimes the phrase "born again" carries too much baggage. It was not my intent to change or disagree with what Jesus said about the narrow way, nor am I questioning His use of the term "born again." I only meant to say that these words are no the only way of describing oneself as a Christian. Sometimes when someone who is seeking asks about being born-again, they are referring to a specific sub-set of Christians in America.

    I guess I was not as clear as I had hoped.