Thursday, August 16, 2012
Stop the legal, constitutional reading of scripture now! or, WWJD?
Fifteen years ago WWJD trinkets swept the bible book store scene. Everywhere you looked you saw WWJD lanyards, key chains, and bumper stickers. Just in case anyone has been isolated from society until today, WWJD stands for What Would Jesus Do? I have been writing on this blog for a little over two and one half years, and if I have answered any question on this blog I have answered the question; what would Jesus do about the legal constitutional reading of scripture? The answer is he would say STOP IT! How can I be sure you ask? Simple… he saw it as the story of redemption or the redemptive narrative. He told the Pharisees…. “you search the scriptures because in them you think you have eternal life” (you read them legal-constitutionally so that you think they will instruct you in the behavior and obedience that leads to life, my paraphrase) --- he goes on… “these scriptures are a testimony of me but you are not willing to come to me that you might have life.” (The sole purpose of the scripture is to point to me (Jesus) that you might have life and you have searched it for the wrong reason, my paraphrase) (John 5:39-40.)
One of the main reasons for my position is the fact that Jesus redefined the phrase Word of God. It is also my contention that one of the main reasons that evangelical orthodox Christianity holds so tightly to the legal constitutional reading of scripture is because they believe that the scripture is synonymous with the word of God. It is continually called the word of God. You hear the word of God says this, and the word of God says that, --- they always mean that it must be followed in a legal constitutional way. This elevates scripture to deity. I hate to hear that phrase used in that way because when I do, my ears, hear idolatry.
On the other hand, Jesus, and all of the New Testament writers define the *word of God* as either the gospel, or Jesus, the living gospel. This has been proven over and over again on this blog in post after post (check out the *label* section of this blog and click on scripture, read each and every one and I challenge anyone to suggest that this re-defining did not happen.)
What does this re-defining of the phrase *word of God* from Torah to gospel mean? It should be obvious but it does not seem so. The re-defining of the phrase *word of God* shifts the focus of scripture from a legal constitutional document to the story of redemption, a redemptive narrative. It makes the scripture the inspired holy scriptures but not *the word of God.* Further, you do not take away from the inspiration of the scripture by insisting that it is NOT *the word of God* per se. In fact, when one sees the scripture redemptively it actually takes on more authority. Not authority in a legal constitutional sense but authority in a redemptive sense that brings deep assurance to the individual who is trusting God.
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