PLEASE don’t ever say, “Because the Bible Said.”

We live in bridge times.  Many but not all of use were born into some knowledge of the Bible-the stories, the themes, the Book.  And increasingly those assumptions around biblical literacy are inaccurate.  Likewise the starting point that the Bible is somehow inerrant falls most often on deaf ears these days.

So please, if your interest lies in growing and sharing Christianity, please don’t ever say “Because the Bible said.”  That will appeal to an increasingly narrow and often more fundamentalist slice of the broader population.  And (this pastor says with a bit of trepidation) it might be a very good thing that that line no longer works.

The original 12 disciples who followed Christ did not do so because he was a great author.  They followed him because he said “Follow me.”  They did and their lives grew from death to resurrection in a few short years.

The 100′s who made up the first Christian churches did not even have the New Testament. Yes they held letters floating around as well as oral traditions describing  the life of Christ.  But they did not a have a book they called “The Bible.”  Most could not even read or write.  What they held, what they hosted in their hearts, was “The Way.”

“The Way” was how Christians first described themselves.  This opening movement centered on living communities of love, sharing, humility.  Such communities, revolutionary then, revolutionary now.  Such communities virally grew the church from 100′s to millions.  And no one was exclaiming “Because the Bible said.”  Their pronouncements were their lives.

The does not mean to stop reading the Bible.  In the New Church we believe strongly that reading the Word critically serves both humanity and heaven … that it forms a newer bridge between God and humankind.  And we read it to wrestle with faith and expand our understanding of God.  Not to craft pronouncements that prove others wrong and prove ourselves right.

It is about living “The Way.”

 

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3 Responses to “PLEASE don’t ever say, “Because the Bible Said.””

  1. Anne crampton says:

    I agree. More people need to live ‘the way’. Love, humility and sharing-sounds heavenly to me.

  2. It’s helpful to read Acts 10 and 11. Peter decides to baptize Cornelius and his household, who are all Gentiles but who have already been touched by The Lord in advance of Peter’s visit. This was a revolutionary act in the early Church, so he has to explain himself to the Church in Jerusalem in Chapter 11. I see important parallels to today.

  3. Chuck.Blair says:

    Clare – would LOVE to hear about those parallels. Sounds like they could be used as part of a sermon.

    Just finished up with “New Seeds for Contemplation” by Thomas Merton. Your comment about “touched by the Lord” strikes me as very similar in tone to some of the things Merton spoke of that essentially I think come down to this … God is much bigger than I can imagine!

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