Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bible-believing Christian

I honestly don't think this should have to be said, but apparently it does.  I am still a "Bible-believing Christian". I just don't think those words mean what fundamentalist/evangelical preachers say it means.

Being a "Bible-believing Christian" does not mean that I must despise gay people, or even the condition of one having same-gender attractions.  In fact, it means the exact opposite.  I am going to do my best to show the truth of this reality, using of course lots of Bible verses, but it's such an exhaustive subject and I have a very limited amount of time.  But as is often voiced, we can just do the best we can with what we have, right?  Here is my best effort with only one cup of coffee under my belt,  and limited time to devote to the issue.  Today I will merely lay out my foundational beliefs.   So off I go.

#1  I do believe that most important and above all else, Jesus Christ is the express image of the Living God, the Word who dwelt for a time among men, and whose life on earth was an object lesson revealing the heart of God.  (Hebrews 1:3; John 1:14; John 14:9)  Therefore, everything that Jesus said or did is of utmost importance and trumps every other prophet or preacher every recorded in the Bible, including the apostles.  None but Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  None but Jesus is worthy of praise or emulation.  I am not a disciple of Moses, nor of Paul.  I am a follower of Jesus, but more than that.  I am his precious treasure, the pearl of great price in His eyes that He gave all to acquire.  All my loyalty belongs to Jesus.

#2  I believe that a New Covenant was established with the coming of Christ, and the Law is no longer in force. (Matthew 5:17; Matthew 12:1-22; Matthew 22:35-40; Mark 3:1-5; Luke 6:1-11; Luke 10:22-37; Luke 11:46-52; Luke 24:36-45; John 1:17; John 5:5-15; John 7:19-24; John 8: 1-12; John 10:30-38 (here is where Jesus says reality reveals the will of God- the works He did proved his diety; people were not to rely on scripture alone but to see what was upheld by reality); John 15 (commands for future disciples- completely absent is any reference to following OT law); Acts 15:1-11; Romans 3:20-21; Romans 8:1-4; Romans 10:4; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 2:21 but really the entire book of Galatians....)  This is not an exhaustive list of scriptures proclaiming that in Jesus Christ the whole world is reconciled to God, and that the Law of Moses is no longer of any consequence.  I just don't have time to look up every place Jesus refuted the Law, ignored the Law, claimed to supercede the Law, or every part of every letter from an apostle plainly laying out that this new life of faith was apart from the Law.  I think the scriptures above are more than enough to make my point.

#3  I believe that just because we read something in our English Bible, that does not guarantee it accurately reflects the original meaning.  For example, take the word "fornication" from Acts 15:28-29.  According to Strong's the word (porneia) means "harlotry, adultery, incest, idolatry".  In all cases, these translations mean engaging in a loveless, sexual transaction that hurts others or is expressly a slave relationship.  Children were given to pagan temples, sold into sexual slavery.  Women were property back then, so any women engaged in prostitution was sold into prostitution.  It is clear to me that modern translators reworded this concept in a way that makes the victims into the sinners.  I believe porneia is way worse than "sex outside marriage"- it is rape, forced sexual slavery of all kinds.  In fact, one of my biggest beefs with fundamentalism/evangelical interpretations of scripture is that they strain at gnats and swallow camels, this being a prime example.

#4 All interpretation of scripture must be viewed through the life and words of Christ Jesus.  Anything less is self-serving, and most preachers and lay people know this in their heart of hearts.  The tithing spoken of in Malachi doesn't have anything to do with the life of a modern believer.  Preachers  know this, but it makes them rich and eases your conscience to preach that it is what Jesus meant when he said, "Give all you have to the poor and come follow me."  That is a 1000 times harder than giving ten per cent of your income to support your local preacher!  And what profit is there for the preacher if you give your money to the poor instead of to pay his house payment/car payment, etc.?  There is nothing in it for him, and that is why the doctrine of tithing replaced the doctrine of living generously.  I know of radicals who have taken vows of poverty for a season (or a lifetime) and their interpretations of scripture are far more sincere than those who preach tithing.  But I am only using that as an example.

That is as far as I get today.  I am most definitely a Bible-believing Christian, and that is exactly WHY I AM NOT A FUNDAMENTALIST!  Fundamentalism is heretical, and elevates the words of Moses, Paul and a host of unknowns to the same place of honor that belongs ONLY to JESUS CHRIST THE LIVING GOD.  Fundamentalism also continually adds to the words of Christ, and as long as it's catchy, their duped minions repeat it like it was gospel.  (Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, for example.)

Nuff said for now.  I have other things to do that need my attention. Peace to all who read here.


  1. I'd like to second this. Too often, when people say they read the Bible "literally," what they mean is that they are picking out lists of instructions from the text, and ignoring pretty much all the basic skills of elementary reading comprehension: plot, theme, irony, character, context, and ambiguity. (That's off the top of my head; no doubt there are other elements as well.)

    The Bible is published as a single book, but that's misleading; it's a collection of books (also letters, poems, and songs), only instead of sitting side by side as separate books on a single shelf, they're squished together into one binding. I think that often gives an illusion of... "narrative unity", I guess I'd call it... that the collection was never really intended to possess.

    1. As a home school mom, the truth of your observation is especially irking. The first thing a reader should always ask is the four W's: Who wrote it? When? Where? Who is the intended audience? Then the reader can get down to What is the author saying? And finally, and only after all the other questions are answered honestly, What does the text mean to me?

      This was once considered good Bible scholarship. The classes I took online from an Evangelical university proposed always asking these questions when studying any book of the Bible.

      Fundamentalism makes no sense, and it's not meant to make sense. It's meant to keep the little guy easily manipulated to tithe and attend, and shout out hearty "Amen!"s.

      It in no way honors Jesus Christ. If anything, it diminishes the importance of his life and teachings.

  2. I agree! I too would count myself to be a "Bible-believing Christian", but I get tired of people assuming that means I hate homosexuals, think that I am supposed to be subservient to my husband, etc.

  3. Good post, Shadowspring. Don't you find it kind of telling (and chilling) that "Bible believing" is now how people self-define as serious Christians, rather than "born again" or "God-fearing" or any of those older descriptors that focused on the Spirit rather than the letter?

    1. Astute observation, Kristen. Lewis nailed it when he coined the phrase "bibliolaters". Yes, it is both telling and chilling. If they ever acquire the political power they lust after so mightily, what kind of world will we have then?