I want to ask, just what exactly does that mean to you?
Now, before you start picking up stones, let me say that I believe that the Word of God is 100% inspired, God breathed and infallibly true…in the original language and manuscripts. Of course, there are some very minor human derivations in the translations. But I really don’t sweat those things.
The real rub comes in the interpretation of what we believe the Bible is saying. Everyone has an interpretative lens by which they view Scripture. And our hermeneutics and exegesis only mitigate this bias in a minor way. Just pick up a few (hundred) commentaries and you’ll soon find out!
And consider this….just about every kooky, odd ball, heterodoxical fringe form of Christianity uses the Bible to vehemently defend their position. And even within evangelical Christianity, Bible believing cessationists condemn those Bible believing Christians who believe that the gifts of the Spirit are still for today. One Bible believing part of the body accuses another part of the Bible believing body of being a cult or teaching false doctrine.
So we have to ask ourselves honestly, does saying you “believe the Bible” make your view biblical? And does it automatically mean that the opposing view isn’t? That they’re not just as committed to God’s living Word as you? If one actually cared to see the obvious, the conclusion would have to be that this is not the case.
The issue at hand is much more systemic than whether one is Bible believing or not.
You see, we tend to condemn or dismiss those who disagree with us, or anything we don’t understand.
Disagreement feeds our fear and so we must disconnect in order to feel secure. This is because we have not yet been made perfect in love, we still act like orphans rather than sons of our Father in heaven.
And…nobody likes being wrong.
But it’s problematic because from what I’ve seen there’s just about no one more divisive and critical, even to the point of demonizing other believers, than self-identified “Bible believing” Christians.
So, here are a few of my thoughts and observations about how “Bible believing” can become idolatry. These assume all agree that the Bible is the infallible Word of God…
When knowing the Bible becomes more important than knowing God
When our theology doesn’t lead us into transformational encounters with the God of our theology
When we relate to other Christians based on our doctrinal agreement rather than out of the love of the Father
When the diversity of the body of Christ becomes divisiveness over Scripture
When particular translations of the Bible are more important to us than Holy Spirit revelation of the Bible
When being doctrinally correct is more important than being loving (1 Cor.13:1-3)
When teaching is more important to us than the manifest presence of God
As Bill Johnson has said, “The church has been gathering together for decades around a sermon. Israel camped around the Presence.”
When our study of the Bible does not penetrate the thoughts and intents of our heart (Heb.4:12)
There’s probably more but this is a good start.
So, yes, we do need to read and believe the Word of God in order to know the objective truth that makes us free. But we also need to understand that this objective truth often becomes subjective to our bias and limited human understanding.
And if this Bible believing “truth” doesn’t lead to our transformation, and become incarnation–making us more like our heavenly Father, believing like Jesus, leading to greater intimacy and affection for Him and for other people, loving more unconditionally, even those who disagree with our understanding of Scripture–then we actually risk becoming more hard-hearted like the religious Pharisees in Jesus’ day. And not only is that ugly and repulsive to the world Jesus is trying to reach through us…that’s idolatry.
- Truth is a Person (melwild.wordpress.com)