Gleanings from the House Church Discussion List HCDL
Gleanings from the House Church Discussion List HCDL.
“I believe in the infallibility of
the God of the Bible” Do we worship God or the Bible?
10/11/03 Wayne J.
It’s obvious that you think the Bible is the only definable reference for
truth. Many would be evangelicals agree with you and fight to the death
defending it. At the same time they so ardently defend its ‘infallibility’
they manage to ignore most of its content.
Many evangelicals fail to recognize that while the Scriptures are certain,
our interpretations of them are often faulty. Every major heresy in the
life of the church has grown out of faulty interpretations of these same
Scriptures. And what’s more, no one who has a faulty interpretation of
Scripture sees it as faulty. You suggest our minds and spirits can fool us,
but don’t seem to acknowledge that the same things are in play when we are
interpreting the Scriptures.
Many others see the Scriptures as a giant searchlight pointing to Jesus.
He’s the object and conclusion of them, and his presence is not so
indefinable as I thought when I espoused how we needed the ‘objective’ truth
of God’s Word to define our experience in him. I’ve since come to realize
that that is a trump card for whomever thinks he/she has the best
interpretation of Scripture? Doesn’t history prove out that those who most
think they do, often demonstrate that they don’t?
Jesus is a real presence, known through his revelation in Scripture and
known by his revelation in our hearts and through his work in the world.
I’m convinced that those who follow him are not so easily deceived by their
own whims, interpretations and agendas. They are safe in him, even if they
yet don’t know all of his truth. That relationship is not proved by the
purity of their doctrine, but by how much his work of transformation is
reflected in the living. I have no problem meeting people, tasting of their
heart and character and being able to affirm whether or not they are walking
with the Living God, or only pretending to. We are not so insecure in his
grace as some would have us believe.
By the same token I realize, “Jesus, told me to!” is an excuse immature
believers use to justify their own agenda and often their sin. That is as
great a problem on the other side of this narrow road.
A friend of mine was once asked if he believed in the infallibility of the
Bible and I found his answer intriguing. “I believe in the infallibility of
the God of the Bible.” Me too!
The state of our conversations about the Bible in the church at large is
Few people bother to listen because they are so busy shoring up the
foundations of their own deeply held beliefs in infallibility or spiritual
guidance or church authority or whatever. Conversation never happens because
all participants are busy ensuring that their own view gets adequate
Our conversations about the Bible here on HCDL have been no less pathetic.
We are all subjected to looooooong messages with oodles of bible verses from
all sides, and absolutely no interest in understanding someone else's point
of view. The topic is "too important" to bother to listen. Over the years,
we've learned not to go there. Chris K. is referring to that learning.
When, some day, we have ears to hear each other about the bible and guidance
by the Spirit and the role of tradition and church authority, we may be able
to have a discussion of this that causes us to grow.
But as long as we _begin_ our conversations with code phrases (and surely I
don't need to list them) that put us into pre-defined camps on the subject,
genuine discussion will not happen for us. We'll just have mailboxes
littered with long, jabbery justifications of someone else's theology.
Better, as Chris indicated, to move on.
Wayne J. 10/15/03:
If people don’t use the right ‘key
phrases’ to define their belief in the Bible, others disconnect from
fellowship. I even know someone who unsub***bed yesterday because they
cannot fellowship with people who do not use the same words about the Bible
that she did.
Wouldn’t it be tragic if she stumbled over people’s concern with defining
words, and yet still hold to a similar view of Scripture that she does? The
reason I resist words like inerrant or infallible is because Scripture
doesn’t even use those words about itself. It claims to be inspired and
sufficient enough for all instruction and rebuke. That I embrace heartily.
Just because I believe the written Scriptures points to the Living Word
(Jesus himself!) does not diminish my deepest conviction that the Scriptures
as we have received them are the revelation of God and contain everything we
need to know him and can judge every alleged word or experience we have with
But that means we have to interpret it accurately and this I’ve seen very
few inerrancy advocates do. They fight for its inerrancy and miss its
message. Understanding the Scriptures, like living in Christ, is a growing
reality. Even the Scriptures demonstrate that as God’s revelation unfolds
with each succeeding step in human history, until it all culminates in the
Son. I used to teach things from proof-texts, that I know now were only
human interpretation of Scripture and not what Scripture said itself. God
is still uncovering things like that in me today. Yes, what I’m learning
now not only meets the test of Scripture, but is much more consistent with
the whole of its message, and not isolated texts taken to prove my point.
But Scripture itself, without the Living Word, would have still left me at
the whim of human interpretations.
Isn’t it enough that we are loving the same Father to find fellowship
together? None of us see completely today all that is true, and that should
allow us to grow in Christ together as he makes it more clear to us all.
Drawing lines preventing fellowship with people who may not be comfortable
with the same language I want them to use, only weakens the body and saddens
Father’s heart... We don’t have to compromise truth to find fellowship, we
only have to respect the process by which our incredible Father brings us
into ever-increasing truth and love!