Give Yourself to Others …

Posts Tagged ‘Jesus

Among theologians, both professional and amateurs, there is sometimes a debate over Solo Scriptura, or the idea that everything about God is contained in the Scriptures … variously defined as either the Old Testament and/or New Testament text.

First we have to recognize that the “word of God” as used in the NT Text is not a reference to scriptures.

Second, even the NT Text itself seems to minimize the value of written text. Hebrews 10:16 emphasizes that God will write his covenant with us in our hearts — in contrast with the old covenant which was written in stone.

Third, the NT Text cannot possible be comprehensive in it’s presentation of or about God, the Son and the Spirit. No human text could possibly contain everything there is to know about the subject. You might argue the NT Text contains everything we NEED to know — which is a credible position — but not everything THERE IS to know.

Fourth, the NT Text itself says that a legal or command oriented approach to righteousness is not what the new covenant with God is about. However, what does a reliance on the Text result in? A perpetual argument about what the Text means — which cannot be what God desired. And in fact, it seems to perpetuate a Pharisaical approach to our relationship to God, which is repeatedly condemned in the NT Text, especially in the reports in Mark about Jesus.

The only time Jesus is quoted as describing his own words as commands occur in John 13 and John 15. Both times, his command is to love one another as he loved us.

For me, everything flows from that. If it doesn’t, then it’s not from God.

This is the reason, for me, the debate over IM is so misguided.

Because for anyone to condemn or even chastise me for using IM — whether a little or a lot — requires you to judge my heart. And no one knows my heart, except God. Some times I don’t even know my own heart.

So, back to the initial focus of this post … a Solo Scriptura approach to understanding God is limiting. I won’t say I have a better source than the NT Text. I don’t.

But I also know that God is not constrained by or limited to what is written in the NT Text.

Isn’t that a great headline? Intended to get your attention and lead to the obvious question: What is it that Jesus didn’t have in mind?

My answer is: I don’t think when you look at most “churches” that you find what Jesus had in mind when he used the word, ekklesia (which has commonly translated, church).

The word, church, is actually derived for a German word, kirche, which refers to cathedrals. While ekklesia, in the original Greek, refers to an assembly. Nothing special about the assembly, except that it seems to refer to a group that assembles for some purpose — as opposed to an unruly mob or crowd. For example, when the citizens of Athens assembled to vote, they were an “ekklesia.”

In modern English, I’d suggest that a better word is association or fellowship.

If you read the New Testament text and take special note of Jesus’ comments about the Pharisees, it seems that if you replace Pharisees with “organized religion”, most of Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees seems to apply.

In addition, many people seem to think the only path to God is thru one church or another. And Jesus said quite the opposite. The path to God is thru Jesus, and Jesus alone. And the assembling of Jesus’ disciples together seems only natural, given their common relationship with God.

I think Jesus would speak as harshly about modern churches as he spoke about the Pharisees and the Jewish leaders. Do you think differently?

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