Agreed! Stop Abusing “Biblical”

How did this problem arise? Here’s my theory. One of Satan’s greatest victories in the American evangelical church has been to convince the vast majority of us that the “faith” of salvation is about “beliefs” rather than “trust.” Instead of trusting in Christ for their salvation, many evangelicals think they are saved by having the correct opinions on a set of theological topics, such as believing that hell is eternal conscious torment (which is the most important one), that Mary really was a virgin, that Jesus really did miracles, that Jesus’ death on the cross could only have been penal substitution (even if you don’t know what that means), that the world was created 6000 years ago, etc.

via Red Letter Christians » Stop Abusing the Word “Biblical”!.

People who have no real argument will use the word “Biblical” in order to shield themselves from inquiry.

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20 Replies to “Agreed! Stop Abusing “Biblical””

  1. “Many evangelicals think they are saved by having the correct opinions on a set of theological topics”, and have a faith that is “about beliefs rather than trust”. So then, is faith about trust rather than beliefs? By definition, “trust” is “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence”. How can we have this without “correct opinions” or belief? Can you trust someone or something of which you have no real or true knowledge? The fact is the two cannot be separated. This is true in any case: if you fall in love with someone who misrepresents themself, did you really fall in love with “them”? Could you really trust them? Trust is every bit dependent on “right opinion” or belief. And “right opinion” or belief is every bit dependent on objective, knowable truth. The Bible is the objective, knowable, self-revelation of God. To have faith or trust in Him means to have full faith and trust in what He says to us through the Bible – ALL of the Bible. Without that, who or what do we we trust? Do we have trust in the real Christ, or a christ of our own making? If we trust in Christ for salvation…which christ are we trusting? The christ of the Jesus Seminar? The christ of the postmodern Emergent Movement? Or the Christ of scripture? And what is salvation? It is hard to understand how you can accept the propositions that Jesus is the Christ, and that you must put your faith in Him, yet reject the other truth claims of scripture. If only some of the claims are true, how can we “trust” Christ or anything about Him?

    1. Actually, Scripture isn’t what you describe it as and neither is faith.

      Scripture is not the self-revelation of God – Christ is. Faith is not about truth, but about the path/life walked according to beliefs.

      The black and white world you have created, Kurt, is built on a house of cards.

      1. If scripture is not God’s revelation, how do you even know of Christ?
        What is scripture? A collection of writings of men and nothing more? Then why would I need that? What use is it to me? Or to you for that matter? There are plenty of good books out there neither of us have read and it seems we function just fine without them.
        If faith is about subjective beliefs, and not are concerned with truth, why did you even reply to me? Why does it matter what I believe?
        The fact is, you obviously believe that there is truth, that it’s knowable and important, or you would not have responded to me with propositional truth claims of your own. It seems the world you have created for yourself is just as black and white, the only difference being that we disagree on what is black and what is white.
        Of course, I believe the statements you made are not the truth, they indeed do not stand in agreement with historic, traditional Christianity, but you do have a right to believe them and a right to state them (especially on your own blog).
        And I have the right to go on being the simple, narrow-minded backwards fundamentalist you obviously believe I am.

        1. Kurt, do you realize that for hundreds of years, people knew Christ without Scripture?

          That Paul never said read Scripture… but that it was about the hearing of it?

          You seem to be taking a lot of unnecessary leaps, which make absolutely no sense, and aren’t logical.

          No, nothing black and white here. Just mystery, faith, hope and Love.

          Historic Christianity doesn’t say the things that you have.

          1. Maybe I am not articulating my position well enough. I don’t know. I am not sure what you mean by your last comments. The early Christians had the Old Testament and then the epistles began to be circulated…every reference I can find indicates that the scripture was always central and propositional truth claims, though sometimes disputed, were essential to the faith we are told to earnestly contend for. In fact, if someone taught truth claims that were different or opposed to the ones taught by the Apostles, we are told it was “another gospel” and was to be avoided. What I am contending for here is orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is built on an understanding of truth. If there is no truth, or if there is but it just can’t really be known, then we have no orthodoxy. What we are left with is either the subjective truth of modernism, or the delusional uncertainty of post-modernism.

          2. Well, give me those verses then, Kurt. Gospel is was not a written thing in those days, but something verbal. It was the word of power…

            No one, expect for you, seems to be supposing that anyone is saying something about truth. Not sure where that is coming from.

  2. Is it OK to have an opinion that Jesus wasn’t God, he was just a cool guy who got his mystical knowledge from Hindus when he lived in India in his twenties, that he didn’t die on the cross, and that he went to live in Japan with Mary Mags and the kids. That Jesus is just one of the ways to Heaven. You know, because these stories in other books sound believable, so made up your own beliefs that have something to do with the Bible but not much as you don’t want to take anything in it literally. Would you have salvation?

  3. A comment …

    Peter refers to the letters from Paul as ‘scripture’.

    15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV)

    Paul quoted Luke.

    18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”[a] and “The worker deserves his wages.”[b] 1 Tim 5:18 (NIV)

    7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. Luke 10:7 (NIV)

    1. Gez, Paul didn’t quote Luke. That is originally from Deuteronomy.

      I believe that Scripture is the primary tool for Christian doctrine and theology, but it is not the self-revelation of God. Christ is.

      1. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (Revised Version, “Every scripture inspired of God”), 2 Tim. 3:16. This is true of all the “sacred writings,” not in the sense of their being works of genius or of supernatural insight, but as “theopneustic,” i.e., “breathed into by God” in such a sense that the writers were supernaturally guided to express exactly what God intended them to express as a revelation of his mind and will.

        1. But, you can’t actually defend that with Scripture. You are applying your theological development to the actual word and then making the word fit what you need it to say.

  4. I think the primary point of the article from Red Letter Christians and of Joel’s original post is that the word “biblical” has become so elastic that some people just habitually plop it in front of whatever they’re talking about (ex: “biblical view of dating, “biblical” view of war, “biblical” view of science) and assume that simply using the word should stop anyone from questioning their opinion.

    I also think that if we did an internet search and surveyed the ways that people use the word “biblical,” we would find that it’s used to defend positions at every point on the spectrum. I can imagine that both pacifists and proponents of the “just war” theory could find proof texts and would feel comfortable using the word “biblical” to defend their positions. I think the point of the original post is that we just need to start thinking about how we use it.

    Regarding another point that was made above (although I don’t recall who mentioned it), faithful Christians continue to wrestle with the idea that while our saving faith is in Christ, not the Bible, it is through the Bible that we know of Christ. I agree with Joel that it is Christ that is God’s self-revelation, not the Bible. However the Bible is what God has given us so that we may know Christ through it. While this is admittedly a conundrum, it doesn’t seem like something that should divide the church. I think we’d all agree that what actually saves us is our faith in Christ, not our faith in the Bible.

    1. Leslie,

      I think that Scripture is only part of how we know God. There is the Church, Tradition, and the other aspects of Canonical Theism, which should all be infused with the Spirit. This allows us to test and to try new things and see if they measure up to Truth.

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