Sunday, February 26, 2006

Should we follow the Bible?

"It is the Lord who can strengthen you, not the {verse} which speaks of Him so doing.  It is not enough to have the verse.  You must have the One about whom the verse speaks.  We knew the verse, "My Grace is sufficient for thee."  But the verse is not sufficient.  It is the Grace which is sufficient and not the verse." - Richard Wurmbrand

"Everything depends on whether we have remained in the sphere of words or if we are merged with the divine realities." - Richard Wurmbrand

"A friend of mine compared [the focus on the Bible, to the exclusion of Christ] to a man who might have memorized the menu of a restaurant, know who wrote it, can describe what kind of paper, style, and font was used, can dissect the language in which it was written, knows how and what to order--and yet who never takes a single bite of the actual food from the menu he knows completely. We would call such a man ridiculously foolish!  Who would want to study food rather than eating and enjoying it?" - Steve Austin

"The Scriptures must be fulfilled." - Jesus Christ

Jesus never ever said that He was here to follow Scripture. He was here to fulfill it. Maybe it's just me, but I like the idea of being a "Bible Fulfiller" a tad more than being a "Bible Follower". For me, it's a subtle, but very important difference. Listen closely...

If I approach Scripture with a mind to follow itI'll end up focusing on the Scripture's that I can extract rules from. I'd adhere to those rules externally, and if I do a good job I'll probably be considered religiousHowever, iI approach Scripture with a mind to fulfill itI'll end up focusing on the Scriptures that tell me what to become. I'd strive to conform my character and priorities to the Idea behind Scripture, and if I do a good job I'll probably be considered a good person...a Christ-like person.

Let me give you an example...Eph 5:18-20 says "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The Bible Follower in me reads these 3 verses and sees some rules I need to follow in order to please God. 1) Don't get drunk on wine, 2) don't be involved in debauchery, 3) find psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs and speak those to others, 4) and sing to God. I would see obedience in terms of doing these things externally (taking nothing away and adding nothing to them, by the way)and the Bible Follower in me would say I am pleasing God and therefore is saved.

The Bible Fulfiller in me reads this text and sees some qualities that I need to become in order to have the life God promises. I need to become 1) someone who is filled with the Spirit, 2) a part of community of friends who will speak God's truth to each other 3) a heart-felt, sincere, aware-of-God, grateful worshipper. With my agreement that I should fulfill these expressions of Godliness and Christ-likeness on earth, I would as a Bible Fulfiller say that I am pleasing God and following the Bible by becoming who the Bible says I am.

The Bible Follower is at risk of only following the rules of the Bible, but not fulfilling it and becoming like JesusThe Bible fulfiller will not only go to Christ for salvation as the Bible tells him to, but he will also end up following the Bible as God intends. 

The Bible is our most authoritative source for knowing Jesus. So we need it. But we don't need it like we need Jesus. We use it to find Jesus.

I wish it was a trivial issue. But it isn't. You see it in churches.

Jesus-centered churches don't argue and split over "Biblical Issues". Bible-centered churches do. Jesus-centered churches try to be like Jesus in all circumstances, including when people don't agree with them about the Bible. Bible-centered churches try to get all people to believe like them about the Bible. Jesus-centered churches think they are saved because of Jesus being at their center. Bible-centered churches think they are saved because they have followed the rules they've extracted from their Bibles.

But it is Christ, and Christ alone, that we need to extract from our Bibles...and when we do, we will become Bible Jesus.



Fajita said...

Homerun. Thanks for peeling away more Bible worship layers from many of our warped theologies.

Anonymous said...

Being a fulfiller opens that door to the freedom Jesus tells us is in Him. I was a follower when I first chose to believe, terrified that if I messed up one of the "rules" I would never make it to Heaven. Seeing my Christian walk from a fulfiller's point of view makes my dependence on God the priority instead of the "rules."