Here’s something I’m wondering about tonight. What is God’s greatest value/character/characteristic?
Let’s assume you all went with the Sunday School answer and thought “love,” but even if you didn’t, you can still do this little thought experiment.
Now the question is, “How do you know?”
Here’s where I’m going with this- no matter what your answer is to that 2nd question, you must source that answer somewhere. I think we can all agree that “I just think it is” probably isn’t enough as it offers no more in the way of rationality, proof or evidence than the person who says “I think God is a giant space cat” or “I think God hates the British.” My follow up will *always be* “Why do you think that? Where has God told you that?”
Some will say “Well, we see it best in Jesus” and my follow up will be “And where do you learn about Jesus?”
Here’s what I’m getting at, and feel free to push back- without Scripture, as followers of Jesus, we have nothing. We don’t have God is Love. We don’t have Love your Neighbor. We don’t have care for the poor (at least in the Christian sense as something that God is concerned about). We don’t have any of it. (I’m not arguing about textual criticism, or whether or not Scripture is true- I’m simply concerned about where self-professed followers of Jesus source their ideas about God. If you aren’t a follower of Jesus, a Christian, you are free to get your ideas about God from anywhere- your imagination, tea leaves, your dog, golden plates you dug up in the back yard… This thought experiment is just for those who say “I want to follow Jesus and I believe He’s the messiah/savior of the world.)
When I hear someone say “Well, that may have been Paul’s opinion, but I don’t share it” (and this is something I hear more and more these days) while still claiming to be a follower of Jesus, the mental picture I get is of someone sitting very high up in a tree, furiously sawing at the very branch on which they sit.
Scripture is not God, but it’s where He has spoken. The authority God wields in the world is mediated first and foremost (in our current age) through Scripture. We wouldn’t know thing one about Jesus (the Word of God) without Scripture (the word of God). We wouldn’t know of God’s kingdom, His heart for the poor, the love of neighbor or the love of enemy God calls us to without Scripture.
Again, I’m not arguing for the truthfulness of Scripture or even the Christian worldview. I’m simply saying you can’t, can’t, can’t accept the pieces you like and refuse to wrestle with the pieces you don’t. It’s a package deal.
But Bob (some will say)- you believe women should have positions of authority in the church. Surely the Bible says different. 1. No it doesn’t. 2. It was Scripture that led me to where I am on that issue.
And besides, I have no problem with well-defined Scriptural arguments that I don’t happen to buy because I find them less-than-convincing. At least they are acknowledging the place and role of Scripture, even if I think they need to check their math a bit more.
No, what I’m speaking to is the very modern, increasingly prevalent tendency among self-professed followers of Jesus to say “I know what Scripture says- I just don’t care. I don’t buy that part.”
All I want to know is why in the world you would trust Scripture when it says “Love your enemy” but not on some other counter-cultural command? Why would you believe the biblical writers who say God is love and not believe those that say God has certain designs and standards that may run counter to yours? Or why someone would insist that somehow Matthew, Mark, Luke and John got it right in describing who Jesus was and what He was about, but Peter, James, and Paul got it so very, very wrong.
Begin tossing out the bits and pieces you find personally troubling or “out of date” and before long you are falling, falling, falling.