Let’s Change the Bible

Faith and Values: Taking the Bible seriously but not too literally

By Rev. Sundermeier

I answered  Rev. Sundermeier’s criticism of people who take God’s Word literally.

My remarks are in red and bold.

What do segregation, the oppression of women, the persecution of non-Christians and the forbidding of interracial marriage all have in common?

Each one has been defended, at one time or another, as possessing Biblical support and credibility for their implementation. At certain stages in history, there have been people and communities that promoted these projects, politics or ideologies based on what was, in their minds, the right and true interpretation of God’s word.

What is more, these “interpretations” often were presented in a definitive, totalizing and universal way leaving little room that the interpreter may be in error.

The same can be said in any situation but all is lead by Satan and not God’s word.

“The Bible clearly says X, therefore Y. No ifs ands or buts about it!” It was (and still is rare today) to hear someone say, “My personal interpretation or my community’s interpretation of the Bible on this matter is X, but I could be wrong. There could be other ways to read it. What do you think?”

I wonder what the writer says with his “interpretations”?

Case in point, Chick-fil-A’s CEO Dan Cathy says “the Biblical definition of marriage” (emphasis on the the) is a guiding principle for his family and how he operates their company.

God and His Word gives what marriage should be.

That is certainly his prerogative. His statement, however, infers that there is only one way to interpret the Bible when it comes to marriage.

There is no doubt that in many places throughout the Scriptures, marriage is defined as a contract between one man and one woman. However, there are other Biblical definitions of marriage (for example, see Solomon and his 700 wives and 300 concubines) that also exist in the Scriptures.

“ there are other Biblical definitions of marriage (for example, see Solomon and his 700 wives and 300 concubines “ 

The writer is misusing Scripture. Solomon was NOT a definition of marriage. Yes; he did it but NOT with Gods approval; in fact it was the cause of Solomon’s fall from God’s grace. We are not robots, God gave us free will and allows us to make mistakes, sometimes He will stop us and others He allows to suffer for what we have done. Solomon suffered.

Historically speaking, the overwhelming majority of Western culture has defined marriage as a contract between one man and one woman and yet, at present, we are very much engaged in conversations about whether or not that definition should be amended.

“ marriage as a contract between one man and one woman “ just as Scriptures describe. “ whether or not that definition should be amended “ We are all to quick to change God’s Word to suit ourselves. We can change God’s Word but it will NOT change God’s Word ‘Mind’.

If the definition did change, the change itself wouldn’t be that unusual. Changes in the definition of marriage have been enacted throughout history in light of certain contextual circumstances. For example, following the 30 Years War, the men that survived were permitted by the Catholic church to marry up to 10 women for the sake of repopulation.

With this said; it is not God making the changes. The bottom line; it is mankind making these changes on their own and not with Gods approval. We know better than God does.

2 Tim. 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

“ seriously but not too literally “ Oh yes seriously but not to literally we can change it to suit ourselves.

Please don’t test God, you can’t win.

My point here is not to defend polygamy. My point is simply to suggest that Biblical interpretations should always be presented as provisional, contextual and subject to change.

Scripture proves Scripture and is NOT provisional, contextual and subject to change.

Now let me be clear: I preach the Scriptures every week in worship. I have made a covenant in my ordination vows to accept the Scriptures, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ. Because of that, as the saying goes, I take the Bible way too seriously to read it literally.

“ I take the Bible way too seriously to read it literally. “ If we do not take Scriptures literally then we can make / change it to suit ourselves.

I love the Scriptures, but they do not love me back. I don’t have a personal, saving and life-giving relationship with a book. I have that relationship with a God who put me and this world to rights in and as the person of Jesus Christ. I am strengthened in that relationship by practicing faith and life in a diverse, plural, generous, gifted and multi-faceted Christian community.

“ I love the Scriptures “ we should, it tells us about God and what and how we should live for Him and each other. Of course Scriptures do not love us back the author of them does.

Friends of God and followers of Jesus would do well to take the Bible seriously, to acknowledge its complexities, its challenges … to acknowledge the fact that most of us don’t read it in Hebrew or Greek and that the world in which it was written is very, very different from the world in which we live today.

“ the world in which it was written is very, very different from the world in which we live today “ So we can make it fit our world and lifestyle. God word was written for all ages and all times, it will never go out of date. God knew what He was doing and it is not up to man to change it to suit what they want.

We would do well to take the Bible seriously enough to leave room for the possibility that our interpretations could be wrong. We would do well to take the Bible seriously enough to affirm that even if we didn’t have it (like the first 15 generations of the Christian church didn’t have it the way we have it today) that God would still be God and we would still be humans loved and created in God’s image … all of us.

Now he is saying the Holy Spirit will led one to believe something one way and another to believe it in another way. God does not change, God’s Word does not change so I doubt very much that the Holy Spirit changes.

We would do well to take the Bible seriously enough to leave room for the possibility that our interpretations could be wrong. We would do well to take the Bible seriously enough to affirm that even if we didn’t have it (like the first 15 generations of the Christian church didn’t have it the way we have it today) that God would still be God and we would still be humans loved and created in God’s image … all of us.

“ the first 15 generations of the Christian church didn’t have it the way we have it today “ yet every artifact found and examined against our Word today; both agree.

I answered  Rev. Sundermeier’s criticism of people who take God’s Word literally.

My remarks are in red and bold.

Rev. Sundermeier’s article was a good way to put doubt in Scriptures and mistrust in God

I take God’s Word literally and believe it should and cannot be changed without consequences from God either now or at a later date. We will all answer for what we have and have not done.

I do not not want to be responsible for leading someone astray and each one of us should take that very seriously.

evesadam

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1 Comment »

  1. I believe that when a Christian is born anew from above, the Holy Spirit teaches you everything you need to know. Jesus told us he was sending the Spirit of Truth to each of us. Instead of listening to others or other’s interpretation of the bible, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us, guide us, counsel us, comfort us and give us the truth. Thank God! It is new every morning as we die to the old and are raised with Christ. The Holy Spirit is fresh and renews us every morning when we turn to Christ in our innermost heart. The bible is a vehicle for the Living Spirit to teach us and reveal God’s truth to each of us. Thank God!

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