Quoting from the Fjords of Zion blog:
08/13/2010 by Haydn
Wow… I never thought I was dangerous until this week. I threaten Christendom itself and the heart of Biblical interpretation. I was told this yesterday by someone commenting on a comment that I made this week about the Bible. My comment was that it isn’t necessary for people to read the Scriptures in order to be close to God; reading Scripture is a good thing, but it isn’t necessary for people loving God more or understanding His love better. The person responding to me said:
So Scripture is a box. Now we ask, is this how Paul or Peter talks about Scripture?
I, like Brian, have been told that I am not the Messiah but a very naughty boy. “Is that how Paul or Peter talks about Scripture?” Alas, the tip of the Biblical sword is at my throat and is, at this very minute, burning a hole in the skin of my throat. I must defend myself or be flailed with the cut and thrust of a Biblical scholar. But now I know I’m ‘undercutting’ the apostles themselves. Tut tut. Christianity hasn’t a leg to stand on, thanks to me. Wow.
It makes me wonder how open-minded some are about God. God can only do what was recorded 2,000 years ago in Scripture. He doesn’t work any other way other than the prescribed ways that one Bible student in the US has decided to determine. But is God as flat as the Earth? I think He’s bigger than that. Some examples illustrate my point:
-when Joseph in the Old Testament was thrown in prison (presumably for a very long period of time), how did God’s servant sustain himself? How did he know that God loved him? What stopped him from going insane? Did he have an ESV study Bible with Logos DVDs?
– when Christians today in North Korea or China have no access to Bibles, but are able to live lives pleasing to Go, how do they know that they’re loved by Jesus? Why don’t they throw in the towel?
Reading the Bible doesn’t mean the reader has a warm heart towards God. Satan knows that Jesus is Lord AND he knows Scripture (see Matthew 4) but he’s still unrepentant, proud, and evil. The Bible scholars of Jesus’ day and today knew/know the Bible back to front but still didn’t have Jesus in their hearts. So much for Biblical rigour. It helps if you have a heart for Jesus, but otherwise it’s dead. Knowledge puff up but love saves and builds up. All the Biblcal knowledge in the world will mean precious little unless the reader knows that he or she is loved by God.
I’m in a season of life right now where I just can’t read Scripture. I used to read it like a conservative evangelical legalist of obedience and law keeping and I can’t read it now: it’s too hard. I used to read the Bible as a box-ticking exercise (which it can easily become) and I became judgemental, hard-nosed, cruel, cold, unloving, and increasingly ungodly by doing so. Jesus was all in my head but absent in my heart. I was a hideous, horrible person, making a rod not only for my own back but also for my family too. But God understands and He’s working in my heart. The same person who made the demanding question on the Facebook discussion thread also asked me this:
“How do you know it’s God you’re feeling?”
Well, if you have a big view of God, you’ll know. Not every experience of God is written in Scripture, but God is God and when you feel Him, you’ll definitely know it’s Him. And God’s loving and kind enough to know that too. In much the same way as I’m demanded to defend my “position”, I also want to know what gives this or any other person to demand why they see fit to put God in their theological boxes and dictate what He can or can’t do. Quite possibly the view of God there is so small that they can’t help but pidgeon-hole Him. But regardless of the world, I’m at peace with this God because I know He loves me more than I could ever know and that His love is not confined to Scripture. It’s much, much bigger than that.
Does saying this make me dangerous? I don’t know what the answer is to that but I’m not concerned so much with the answer to that. I just go with what I know, what I feel, and what God’s doing. After all, He’s the one who determines what He does, not me or any other man. If another man makes God a small thing, that’s his problem. God knows, and between us, we’re ok. I’m the one with the intense connection and that’s enough for me. No one can debate me out of it, no matter how dangerous they say I am. Intimacy with God is never dangerous: it’s liberating to the extreme.
I have a Mormon friend. What do *you* have that’s better than what they’ve got, emotion-wise? How do you know if they’re Christian? Does something in your …gut tell you? Without Scripture, there is no discernment. What you’re saying is very, very dangerous and undercuts what the apostles themselves (indeed, Jesus himself) taught about the Scriptures.
Well, I’m the guy who emailed that. So since he’s passive-aggressive enough not to answer me directly, I’ll answer him publicly. Answer to follow…but I wanted to get this up so that I could interact with it since he has previously pulled down posts to which I’ve responded.