The Word

The entire message of Christianity — and what makes it distinct from other major world religions — is that its foundation is not merely the words of a book but the Word made flesh.

The Word who came from heaven to be just another screaming baby born into bad circumstances in a poor family.

The Word who laughed. The Word who wept.

The Word who was hungry and cold and felt pain.

The Word who touched people and was touched by them.

The Christian faith is personal with a divinity who is one with humanity. Emmanuel has calloused feet in dusty shoes.

Beware a Christian who prefers and promotes the impersonal Scripture over the image of a very human Savior. Without empathy, nothing else matters.

213 thoughts on “The Word”

  1. Darrell, the scripture isnt ‘impersonal’. There is no knowledge of anything you just cited without scripture. Any knowledge of Christ gained outside the teaching of scripture is not knowledge of the actual Christ.
    Not sure what you were thinking you were saying, but it comes across a little gnostic.

        1. Scripture is written communication. It is an image of language that we see with our eyes and recognize as words. Words to which we ascribe meaning. To one who cannot read, written words are meaningless. Yet words are how we transfer, communicate, knowledge and ideas.

          If all of written scripture were to be rounded up and destroyed today… and I mean if it was capable to round up and destroy every written copy of scripture ever produced, would that make the Gospel any less valid? Would we still have the Gospel message available? Would it diminish the person of Jesus Christ? Would the lack of written Scripture inhibit the Holy Spirit’s work in salvation?

          No.

          Men were saved before the words were ever written down. The physical representation of those words (i.e. writing) is not the personification of the word… Jesus Christ is the Personification of the Word. Period.

        2. I don’t find the Scripture to be all that “personal”. It’s words on a page that have meaning. It may contain the word of God.

          But to call it “personal” seems a bit egoistic, even solipsistic.

        3. When Jesus walked the face of this earth, some of his worst enemies exalted scripture above almost anything else. Many of them even had portions of it attached to them in various ways. Jesus had this to say to them: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:39-40).
          Of course, he had to be taking about the old testament, because the new hadn’t been written yet. The scriptures themselves don’t save anyone. The one they introduce is the Savior! Many will read, memorize, defend, and even worship the written word of God, but if they don’t come to Jesus, the Word, they will not have life.
          I think Darell was warning us about this possibility.

        4. I’m a little rusty on my Piaget, but I seem to recall that there’s a stage of development when a child knows that if someone points at something, it means to look at the thing, instead of just staring at the hand.
          In spiritual matters, a great many people never get past the earlier stage, where if something is pointed at, they keep looking at the finger, and think it’s all about the finger.

        5. The Scriptures were written ….
          * to other people
          * who lived at other times
          * with cultural concepts completely foreign to you
          * in a language you do not understand
          * by men who had no thought that you would even exist, and even if you did probably you would be outside any covenant promises.

          The Scriptures do not have your name on them. God did not dictate them. Exactly the manner of inspiration involved is not specified in the Scriptures themselves. They contain concepts and instructions irrelevant in today’s society, such as the admonition for slaves to obey their masters — unless, of course, you agree with the Scriptures on Slavery. By the way, do the women in your house wear head coverings to distinguish themselves from the prostitutes for the sake of the angels?

          The Scriptures are clearly not suited for physical descriptions of the world. John thought that a third of the stars of heaven would fall to the earth, and be absent from their positions in the heavens. Do you believe that? Physical evidence in the world God made indicates that it is incredibly old. Must we conclude that God caused His Creation to be unreliable to understand the world by? And if we are not allowed to come to the conclusions that the physical world essentially force us to approach, then how did this society come to exist, relying so much on science? Where did your computer come from?

          Ezekiel prophesies that sacrifices in the Temple will resume when the Messiah sits on the throne, but the writer of Hebrews says that sacrifices have ceased for all time because the sacrifice of Christ Himself was sufficient. Who is right?

          Only someone who hasn’t read the Scriptures, or else who has only read the Scriptures without engaging his or her brain thinks there are no contradictions in the Book. Even the descriptions and character of God differ throughout.

          It comes down, then, to faith. Is your faith in a Book, or in God? They are not equivalent. Which version, or translation of the Book will you trust? Are you certain that all of what ought to be included as Scripture was included? Remember, man did the choosing! Are you certain that everything man included in the canon which men approved of deserved to be there?

          In the Scripture we read wisdom beyond our comprehension, and approval of things we now find to be abhorrent. You interact with the Scriptures with your limited understanding — as do untold millions of others — and come to your own conclusions which differ from the conclusions of untold millions. How do you prove who is right?

          Again, Faith is ultimately personal. You must decide. You must choose. There are matters you must understand for which Scripture gives no help. You are your own arbiter.

          Scripture is impersonal, as it must be. Your relationship with God should be personal.

        6. @rtgmath,
          As usual, you have said what I would have liked to have said. Only so much better. Thank you.
          Regards,
          BJg

        7. rtgmath – I agree with Bald Jones. Well said.

          And now we get to see the mugshot! Nice. I see why your modeling career fizzled out. ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Ginger – How can you, or anyone tell us what is figurative and not figurative in the Bible? The bible certainly does not use the phrase, “figuratively speaking………

          The people who wrote the Bible believed the stars to be nothing more than what they appear to the human eye, little specks of light. Not the huge balls of massive atomic energy they are in reality.

        2. Ginger – you must be new here.

          That or I have fooled everyone for 4 years. Everyone thought I was comic relief. Turns out I am really a fundy. Sorry for the deception folks.

        3. “I think the God who made the stars could make them fall.”

          Well, no.
          Not if you mean stars falling on the earth.
          Not because God isn’t powerful, but because the stars falling is conceptually nonsense unless you believe (as ancient Middle Easterners did) that the stars are small objects (small compared to earth) hovering above the earth.
          Even the smallest stars are many times more massive than our planet. In space, a larger object can’t fall onto a smaller object. Gravity doesn’t work that way.
          It would make more sense to say the earth could fall on a star.
          And if any star did collide with the earth, earth would be annihilated, so a there would be no earth for a second star to hit. Therefore, even if you mean earth falls on a star, the plural, stars, makes it impossible.

          On the other hand, small meteors (space dust and space rocks) hit the earth’s atmosphere every day. That’s what the popular term “falling star” refers to. Most of these meteors burn up before hitting the earth’s surface, but occasionally one of the larger ones lands on earth. When that happens, it’s called a meteorite. But I can’t parse “at third of the stars in heaven fall” as meaning that.

        4. Ginger, the early church considered them to be mostly symbolic. The more liturgically catholic (little c) churches still do. But people who promote “Bible Prophesy,” and things like a 7-year tribulation, etc. take some parts of Revelation as literal, some as figurative, some as mixed, and few actually agree with each other.

          No matter how organized that topic may seem to be, it is a mess.

          Revelation chapter 8, verses 7-12 is usually taken as literal. 8:12 is connected with 12:4, and while 12:4 could be taken as symbolic, there is too much of a connection in its description with 8:12 to completely be sure, as if 8:12 is the literal side and 12:4 is the “spiritual” side.

          If you read things with an understanding of the world-view of the people at the time of the writing, the crazy cosmology ideas become even more crazy. It probably made sense to him, but when looked at from physics and astronomical perspectives, the scenarios are impossible.

        5. Ginger, be ware of the cock pit. There’s all kinds of hanky panky going on up there (I think they got all the missing butt cushions up there too). It’s a tribute to the wonders of modern Otto Pilot that we get anywhere safely!

        1. rtgmath said:

          “John thought that a third of the stars of heaven would fall to the earth, and be absent from their positions in the heavens. Do you believe that?”

          ## That sounds remarkably like a recollection of a passage in Daniel 8.10:

          “Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.
          10 It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down.”

          The reference to Revelation combines:
          6.13
          8.12
          12. 4
          – which refer to the same event

          What the “little horn” does in Dan 8.10, the tail of the Devil does in Rev. 12.4. As in Daniel, the characters “swept down” seem to be Jews. The reference in John’s Revelation seems to be to the Jewish War of AD 66-73; John is using OT imagery from books such as Daniel, but adapting it to the needs of Christian theology & apocalyptic.

          Language of “stars falling” & the heavens being “rolled up” is as old as Isaiah, & occurs in the apocalypse in Matthew 24 – it is imagery for political turmoil, & IIRC is also used in passages about the Day of JHWH. It is has nothing to with astronomy, and everything to do with God’s judgement on the nations. One of the main strands in Revelation is that it is a book of judgement.

      1. The Wesleyan teaching (more or less Arminian) is that God’s prevenient grace leads us to want knowledge of God and to recognize our own fallen state even if we have never read a word of Scripture. God reaches out through all of creation, including, but by no means limited to, the Bible.

        1. What about the average Joe (or Jane) on the street? If they were lucky enough to have never had any contact with the cult, they would have no idea what KJB1611 means. None.

          Funny I never mentioned idolatry. But since you brought it up, yes that is exactly what it is. They worship a book more than Christ.

        2. If I didn’t know about the KJV/KJB cult, I would assume that “KJB1611” was some kind of identification number for that bus.
          City buses, for example, all have ID numbers painted on their outsides and insides.

        3. BG
          But the bus numbers are generally on the sides, on the bumper or over the door.
          This bus is G2

          Which I find ironic, given that in the military G2 refers to “Intelligence.”

        4. That’s interesting, because it being plastered on the front of the bus is exactly what makes me think they idolize the KJB 1611. If they don’t idolize it, then why put it on a BUS of all places??? It serves no other purpose.

        5. Maybe they think it’s a talisman that will protect them from bus crashes, the way some members of the “Pure Land” Buddhist sect have “Om mani patni hum” tattooed in Sanskrit all over their bodies as a protection from evil.

      1. Scorpio, you say “they worship a book more than Christ”

        Well, the LORD exalted His word pretty highly, so call it what you will
        Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

        1. I think what Scorpio was trying to say (forgive me if I am wrong ) is that generally speaking, fundies place more importance on the KJV translation of the Bible rather than the actual scripture and the meaning behind it. Sorry if I misinterpreted!

        2. “for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name”

          A friend slung that verse at me once. I thought, “You have got to be kidding.” God prizes the Bible above His Name (which signifies His very Self)? I don’t think so!

          Here’s where I think the problem lies. Every time some people see “Word” in the Bible, they assume it means “the Bible.” But that is often not the case.

          In the passage you cite, nothing in the context indicates that “Word” means “WRITTEN Word”–i.e., Scripture. It could very well mean spoken word. And it could also mean the Incarnate Word, Jesus. In fact, theologically, that would make the most sense.

        3. Gate Crasher –
          Well about the only thing we know this verse doesn’t mean is the Bible. It wasn’t written when this verse was penned.

        4. A plus for Scorpio… You make a great point.
          There are not many “civilians” out there that know what KJV1611 is or means nor do they care.

          It does appear that the Fundies are putting the KJV version up on a pedestal . It’s been going on for years on end. Unless the kids and grandkids of the former fundies start standing up and making a change, it will continue.

          I cringe when I see a bus like the one in the picture. Red flags wave EVERYWHERE.

    1. The teaching of scripture, even KJV scripture, does not guarantee knowledge of Christ – especially when it is over-interpreted. For instance, the instruction that you cannot be right with God unless you attend a fundamental church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, all revivals and special services, go door-to-door, plus serve in a minimum of 2 other ministries and feel guilty that you don’t do more. Scripture based? No

    2. Actually, EP, Scripture is by definition impersonal, regardless of anyone’s opinion. However, the claim that There is no knowledge of anything you just cited without scripture is actually not true. These things were and are passed on from eyewitnesses and disciples. Remember, not only was there no Bible for the first few hundred years of Christianity, but until Gutenberg precious few Christians had access to/could read the Bible anyway.

      1. “until Gutenberg precious few Christians had access to/could read the Bible anyway.”

        Very good point to bring up when people are like “why are you going against accepted teachings for the last two thousand years”? Well…because only a small number for centuries even had the full text, had a vested interest in preserving the status quo, often had political motivations to keep things as they are…etc.

        Then printing press, protestant reformation, explosion of “plain reading”, the higher criticism movement, etc…

        Maybe we are just now at the point where enough people can be educated enough to *really* read the Bible and discuss it.

        Because God knows it’s obvious we can be wrong about things for a very long time til we learn otherwise.

        1. Then again, even Paul admonished the believers to keep the traditions he had delivered to them. Those were things he did not write down in his letters.

          Sola Scripture is wrong in so many areas. God gave us brains to think with, senses to observe with, and abilities to know things far beyond the reach of Scripture.

          Do you wish to tell us that Slavery is and must be acceptable because it is so endorsed by the Scripture? Or do you go beyond the reach of Scripture to conclude that slavery, however regulated, is and must be wrong? Do you force the women in your home to wear head coverings so they will not be mistaken for prostitutes by the angels?

    3. “There is no knowledge of anything you just cited without scripture. Any knowledge of Christ gained outside the teaching of scripture is not knowledge of the actual Christ.”

      Well, that’s not eggzacccccckly true. After all, the earliest Christians had no completed Bible. The apostles (including Paul) learned about Jesus through personal encounter with Him. Yes, they “searched the Scriptures,” but that was the OT only, not our completed Bible. Even if you accept an early dating of the NT (and I do), the earliest NT documents were not available until the 50s, several decades after the Resurrection. What did the earliest Christians rely on before then, besides the OT with its incomplete testimony? Sacred Oral Tradition. Bah-da-bing!

      True, the four Gospels were widely accepted as inspired by the second century, but the rest of the New Testament was not canonized until the fourth century.

      This fact, among others, presents certain challenges to the Sola-Scripturist position, IMHO.

      1. in around 66 AD, Peter referred to Paul’s writing as Scripture. So even the letters that were being inspired by God were being accepted equally with the OT testament Scriptures at that time. The apostles were not ignorant of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as God moved the miraculously to write.

      1. But if you do that, you won’t be thinking the thoughts that Paul had when he wrote Romans. He was thinking of the Mosaic Law, specifically the Decalogue and the related religio-societal regulations given to the nation via Moses.

        Paul didn’t have “the Bible.” He had the Old Testament, and not all of that. The Old Testament canon was not fixed in Judaism until well after Paul’s death.

        1. Yes, exactly. The Scriptures for Paul (and Jesus) were what we know as the Old Testament, which didn’t even have its current form then.
          Obviously, the authors of the New Testament were not referring to books that had not yet been written. In Paul’s case, none of the New Testament (except some of the Epistles) had been written.

        2. You missed the point. Deliberately?

          Paul could not have been thinking about the “Bible” as we know it. And his writing, his topics were rather specific.

          To try it your way, consider 3:20

          Therefore by the deeds of the Bible there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the Bible is the knowledge of sin.

          Do you think this makes sense? We could do more. Be as silly and as snarky as you like. If you were to have tried out your own suggestion, you wouldn’t have made it.

        3. I didn’t say Paul meant the Bible when he said the Law. I said it was an interesting exercise.

          Paul was speaking about Judeans who put Torah, which was meant to reveal God, above the God it was meant to reveal. They thought they were above judgement because they had Torah.

          Biblizers today do the exact same thing with the Bible.

        4. I’m pretty sure Paul wasn’t talking about books that didn’t exist at the time, or he would have said so.

        5. Every time I comment on a blog post, I remember why I don’t comment on blog posts.

          This is for both rtgmath and Big Gary. First I do thank you for engaging my comment. I will try to clarify it one more time.

          Again, I never said Paul was talking about the Bible. I said it is interesting to substitute the word “Bible ” for “Law”, since late Second Temple Judeans and KJV onliers are guilty of the same sin.

          Its like another exercise in which one could read I Corinthians 13 and everywhere it says the word ” love”, substitute your own name. Obviously Paul was not writing about me, but reading with my own name shows how far short I fall of loving perfectly.

        6. Thank you. I apologize for not being able to engage you in the same frame of mind you were in.

          I think, perhaps, I understand your point better. Perhaps I am just not “there” at the point where you are in terms of the application or usefulness of your suggestion.

          I am a mathematician. I think as a mathematician. I understand as a mathematician. And while I may grow up some day (my wife and kids accuse me of having never grown up, go figure), I do not anticipate putting away mathematical or scientific things.

          So your suggestion caught me off guard and I responded analytically instead of emotively. It was your misfortune that I responded, because I am not sure I could have responded much way other than what I did. I am an analyst, and that irritates some people no end. Read stufffundieslike for a while and you will see what I mean.

          To be perfectly honest, my overattention to analysis may be a defense mechanism. Occasionally I will lay it aside and be more vulnerable.

          But please, do not let my inadvertent rudeness keep you from posting. You are welcome here, and welcome by me. Even if I am over-analytical.

    4. How do you promote Christ without His Word? You come to know the personal God through His Word that He revealed to us, and speaks to us through it, His spirit and into our hearts and minds. How is that impersonal. Is you sending me a letter impersonal? Is that not one means by which, in a broader experience, we come to know others?

  2. “Without empathy, nothing else matters.”

    Amen!

    (I’m trying hard to not get sucked into the argument against a straw man of what Darrell actually posted. It’s silly.)

  3. Scripture is promoted impersonally by those who have not come to know the Savior. Once someone comes to know Christ the Scripture comes alive and such a person can promote Christ through it. But I have no doubts that many unregenerate “religious” persons out there are promoting impersonal Scrioture, that goes on all the time. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Lord.

    1. “in him was life, and the life was the light of men”*

      The Word made flesh is not only the giver of life so that we can see spiritually, his life is the thing that we see. May we all worship the true Word well this Christmas season.

      *full disclosure, I used the ESV however it is the same in the KJV1611 so I know it has to be the truth

    2. Scripture is promoted impersonally by those who have not come to know the Savior.
      Well since you said it, it must be true. It is also subsequent revelation, since the Bible does not say this anywhere. My suggestion would be for you to create your own new book of pithy theological sayings to add to the canon. It worked for Joseph Smith, although he died in poverty. Hubbard did pretty good, though.

      Once someone comes to know Christ the Scripture comes alive and such a person can promote Christ through it.
      Very interesting. I think you will have a very difficult time explaining what you mean by “alive” though. As well, make sure to dedicate a chapter explaining what you mean by “know” Christ. In the Bible, Jesus is a real human being, who went away, and is coming back. I’ve never met him – I’ve never even had a Damascus Road vision. Are you speaking of some kind of psychological appropriation? Do flesh this out.

      So here are my recommended next steps. You define “living” or “alive”, as well as “personal” and “know”. Then we can get into the minutiae of your new religion, and create a book outline. Marketing will want a say in it all, but personally, I’m going for writing it all down on gold plates. Or maybe gold-plated; we don’t want to get too carried away. We should also plan a book tour, and maybe interview a few Scientologists to get a feel for how difficult it is to start a new religion.

      1. Sorry, you missed my point entirely :(. I am not here to attack anyone nor be attacked, got enough of that from fundy churches and Tea Party types. I apologize for any offense I may have given.

        1. I, for one, am glad you made the point, even if you found disagreement. It made for a very engaging and enlightening debate, allowed a variety of opinions to be expressed, and perhaps we all learned something along the way.

          I hope you will continue to post here and express yourself. Even if we disagree, we don’t intend to be too disagreeable. Sometimes each of us expresses ourself less than optimally.

          The fact is that you are welcome here! Shake off the rough welcome to your post and dive in again. Others agreed with you. And others disagreed with them. It is good that we learn how to express ourselves and how to work with the opinions others express. And sometimes we get some wrong ideas of our own exposed so we can deal with them!

          MrJones, do not be discouraged. But please examine the full range of viewpoints. Martial your thoughts and respond as appropriate. This is a place where growth occurs.

          My regards.

    3. Until God delivers you a Bible in which the message is addressed to you, by name, personally, you have an impersonal Bible.

      I assure you that I have trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I have been saved for 41 years. Along the way I have been taught and had to unlearn many foolish and wrong things expounded by men declaring that they were simply “teaching God’s Word.”

      In the United States alone there are over 25,000 different Christian denominations, divisions, sects, splinters, associations, groups and individual go-it-alone “independents”, each of whom believe the Holy Spirit is leading them into all truth, and each of whom believe that somehow the Holy Spirit has not led those they disagree with the same way. You will find good people disagreeing about major issues, all of whom fervently believe in Christ (and the scriptures) with all their heart.

      If such scholars find little agreement, then it is unwise of the rest of us to think so much that we have come into “all truth.” Or that you have such a special connection to God that others do not have.

  4. And I have to add, it’s great to see a fundy church putting some thought into color coordinating their bus with their piano! (nice hovertext) ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. I checked out the church website; then I perused the pages for the school. What does it mean that the school “follows the regular curriculum for these levels” or that the “elementary curriculum follows the basic scope and sequence of traditional instruction”? Vague much?

    This line from the high school page made me laugh. Students there ” … take courses for the purpose of accumulating credits for graduation” — I guess taking courses for the sake of learning isn’t a priority?

    1. the line you mentioned about their high school actually is the most accurate and honest description I’ve seen about fundy high schools, especially the one we took my son out of this year. There is usually no real education going on, just babysitters (i.e. “teachers”) that stand in front of the class and monitor “the courses students are “attending” for purposes of graduating”.

      We pulled my son after the completion of his freshman year and enrolled him in a public school that is an early college high school. And guess what… unlike the threats from the MOG that I was throwing my child to the World, he is actually learning (and not just doing busy work all day) and earning credits for college courses (which they didn’t even offer at the fundy high school). They were lucky to even be able to offer basic high school courses (no business, computer apps, liberal arts, nada). I feel sorry for the kids that are still there, as they are receiving a less than mediocre education in the “classes they are just attending”.

        1. No – it wasn’t an ACE (those are the worst of the worst) – it was a christian school very much similar to the Granite Baptist Christina School that Lady Semp pointed out. The problem is that there is generally limited resources in these types of school so that they are unable to acquire quality curriculum, (A Beka is ok for elementary, but horrible for high school students), recruite “qualified/certified” teachers, or offer college credited courses. Although there may be some good qualified fundy schools (but I really doubt it), most of them really don’t have a mission to educate children, but only to indoctrinate them in baptist, fundy distinctives and to send them on to fundy colleges. The funny thing is that the MOGs and administrators of these schools believe wholeheartedly that they are the best school in the entire nation. Of the 4 (yes I said 4) teachers at the highschool – 3 of them were lazy, rule-obsessed, legalists (non-educators).

        2. One thing I will say in defense of the Beka elementary curriculum — one teacher in my local public school commented on my kid’s cursive writing skills. I had to laugh to myself at that.

          I don’t have a lot of good to say about the Beka system beyond that.

        3. I write in cursive, but I wouldn’t take that over knowing that dinosaurs didn’t live at the same time as people, or that Ben Franklin wasn’t a Baptist.

        4. Really, I think a lot of it has to do with the school leadership; I have knowledge of the same school under two different leaders; one believed that since parents were paying for an education, they should educate, and the children generally did well, and tested well.

          Under another leader, the school was there to “develop a servant’s heart”, and so the school day sometimes consisted of doing things around the church, or doing things at the pastor’s house.

        5. Uhh, yeah. I know I have been harping on the “slavery” thing lately, but I heard a lot of sermons about servanthood which emphasized the “you have no rights as a slave” aspect. God as the Master had all the rights.

          Of course I had a bit of trouble reconciling the ideas of being God’s child and being God’s slave at the same time. On the one hand, God is obligated to take care of me. On the other, well, slaves have it really bad.

          I really suspect that many fundies really want to see a return to slavery. Not for themselves, of course, but for the others they see as “unworthy.” Of course most would never admit to it, but a few have.

        6. Actually, we’ve had kids who were struggling in the local public schools, some even told they were “special needs” before coming to our school who are now excelling, both academically and socially, more well-adjusted and at a
          much higher level of comprehension in all subjects.

        7. Just because you lower the curriculum doesn’t mean you have raised the standards. The academics found in the IFB schools, even those of the IFB motherships, in any given area are only equivalent to remedial classes in regular public school. And that is coming from one who knows what he’s speaking about. My children were getting a substandard education in the second largest IFB school in the area. And it was for crap. We spent ourselves almost into bankruptcy paying for a substandard, academically handicapped education taught by hacks that only had IFB teacher certificate training at the best and were calledโ„ข to the position at worst.

          North Carolina may pay their teachers the least of any state in the union but the public schools here in the shadow of the SOTL Conference Mothership run circles around the academic jokes that the local IFB bunkers call schools.

          I would send them to Catholic School, before I would allow any child of mine to ever attend another one of these IFB non-academic, indoctrination centers.

  6. Darrell:

    Your post is brilliant, and worthy of deep reflection. For what is left of this Advent Season “as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior” I will spe a time mediating on the King who comes with calloused feet in dusty shoes.

    Thank you for your words. They say a lot about the Word.

    Peace,

  7. This is an interesting post.

    Just this morning I passed my former fundy CEO’s little kingdom and on his sign he had inscribed, “God’s Word, Our Sufficiency.”

    Seriously, I was just thinking this morning that this statement sounds good on the surface, but knowing what I know about the “ministry” it is void of a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus the Saviour.

    One can “preach” theology without any relationship with the person of Jesus.

    B.R.O.

  8. Jesus is the Word, however that is not meaning scripture in that context. I would not advocate the equivocation of those two.

    However again, were only know that fact, because of scripture.

    Scripture is not a person, it is however a personal expression of the knowledge of God. These books were written to people, for people. They are as personal as any letter, if not more, you have written to someone you love.
    If all scripture were to be destroyed, which it cannot be, we would be reciting what scripture has taught us when preaching the gospel.

    Its not either/or. Its both/and.
    But I think I am on safe ground since I am agreeing with the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy.

    1. EP – Stop while you are only so far behind. The statement that you “agree with the apostle Paul” shows your fundy underwear. I guess you have us cornered. Check-mate right?

      Gosh golly-gee, we can’t disagree with something written in the Bible because hell firestone or something.

        1. How high do you hold the Bible David? Higher than any other member of the Trinity?

          And spare me the how-do-I-know-the-truthโ„ข-without-a-bible spiel.

      1. That’s right. Why slavery should be legal. It’s in the Bible. And according to some people, they wish the President had an iron collar around his neck and was put to work picking cotton in the fields while they lounge around and sip mint juleps. That’s in their Bible, too.

        And mass killing of gays. And genocide. Disagree with any of that and you disagree with God, haymen? So our IFB brethren say, so shall it be for ever more. Amen.

        (hell firestone — that’s a tire brand, right?)

    2. I allow, no I affirm, that words are powerful and full of meaning. We use words to move people to action, to elicit empathy, express emotion and stir up passions. Yes, words are powerful and grand. But even scripture itself tells us that God is known, not just through his special Revelation to mankind through the written word, but that he is known by his handiwork in all his creation. Known in such a way that mankind is without excuse before him for not knowing. In fact, there are people all over the world who have come to salvation without a Bible within a hundred miles.

      People have come to salvation without knowing one, single, solitary, Bible verse. Then they tell others of Jesus and his great love for us, and they tell the gospel of what Christ has done in their life, to them personally,(re: the woman at the well) and they testify as to what he has done,(re: the Gadarene Demoniac) and who he is… all without one Bible verse, without one credit of Bible 101, or even a Basement Bible Institute certificate of training. Yet their theology is more powerful and real than many who have a yard long trail of acronyms after their name/title.

      But the written word is not the Word of God. And while the written revelation is dynamic, and powerful, it is not God. That is the point of the OP. The IFB especially had made the “KJB” the fourth member of the trinity. It uses proof texting in order to make their god say that the King Jimmy version is the only authorized, inspired word of God.

      The words written on the pages of a Bible are just that, words written on pages of a book. Specifically, for our discussion, we are referring to letters that make up words which we as a people collectively recognize as English. Yet they are just a visual representation of language. They have no status as a person or an entity other than their specific grouping in a book form we recognize as , The Bible. (or Scripture if you will) Unless the person of Jesus Christ supplies the presence of the Holy Spirit then that collection of words is merely an interesting read, a historical accounting at best.

        1. Some people have made the KJV the Second Person of the Trinity. Jesus is the Word of God. The Bible is the Word of God. Therefore Jesus is the Bible, and when you hold the Bible you are holding Jesus.

          Honestly. The only thing dumber than IFB “doctrines” are IFB “believers”. That is scary. What is worse, I was one of them.

        2. I suppose it is easier to control how you read and interpret a book – the Bible, especially if it is the King James – than it is to control the Holy Spirit. Or even Jesus.

        3. NEO,
          The IFBXers are hyper-purists who don’t believe that the King James translation was merely a “version” but was re-inspired and is the only authoritative Bible (KJB) in existence. It is to be used to correct all other “versions,” all extant documents as well as the Hebrew and the Greek.

        4. I mean, after all, it says right there in plain English the King James Bible is, “The Authorized Version” and God is not the “Author” of confusion therefore, He (God) Authored the KJB, Hey-Men?!!
          BAM!
          Qualified!

        1. Don, NO. There are SOME who have that extreme view, but most don’t. Most accept it as a preserved word. You might not believe that, and that is fine, but it is a far cry from saying it is “re-inspired” and more accurate than the original languages.

        2. Brian ,
          If you are going to be an IFB apologist then you have to embrace your brethren in the IFBX as well.

          And if you hold to the “KJB Only” position then it’s only logical that you have, at least tacitly, accepted the re-inspiration doctrine or some portion of it. Either that or one is intentionally practicing Bibliolatry.

        3. There are SOME who have that extreme view, but most donโ€™t.
          Bullshit. If you graphed a standard distribution, “that extreme view” covers about 3.5 std devs from the mean.

    3. If you are receiving love letters containing:
      A. Lists of laws and punishments
      B. Lists of approved and forbidden foods
      C. Descriptions of animal sacrifices
      D. Long geneologies
      E. Historical accounts of battles, military coups, political oppression, genocide, fratricide, patricide, etc.
      F. Rambling, ambiguous, figurative/metaphorical descriptions of visions which may/may not pertain to actual future events

      Well, you might want to rethink your relationship!
      The Bible is not a “love letter written to mankind.” Nor is it a “guidebook,” “handbook,” or “instruction manual” for life. If God wanted to give us any one of these things, He could have done so in a fashion that is much clearer and more succinct. The fact that He chose not to may tell us as much as what was actually written.

      1. Bravo! MISS TTU RUNNER-UP, I am absolutely thrilled with your analysis.

        It is indeed not a love letter, not an instruction manual, not a textbook of science or history, not a personalized anything.

        At the most it appears to be a compilation of the attempts of others to get to know this “God” Person. Each character in the drama seems to have seen and known Him from a different perspective and have come to different conclusions.

        God Himself changed the rules, too. Abraham saw Him face to face, and ate and drank with him as a friend. Moses was not allowed to see His face. In fact, God said it was impossible to live having seen His face — yet Abraham had done so! John says that no man has seen God at any time, flatly denying the experiences of Abraham and Moses. Isaiah felt exalted in the presence of the Lord, while Jeremiah was crushed by the sorrows the Lord brought upon him and the people.

        No one sees the Lord the same way. The idea within fundamentalism that they can synthesize all the visions and understandings of God into one pureed smoothy concoction from which all the faithful must drink and agree is a flat denial of what the Scriptures themselves tell us.

        It is really hard to sort through all the wrong ideas we have absorbed from fundamentalism. It has infected the way we see Scripture, how we read it and how we think and make decisions. It is hard to step back and judge the basics.

        Again, Bravo! Thank you.

        1. “At the most it appears to be a compilation of the attempts of others to get to know this โ€œGodโ€ Person. Each character in the drama seems to have seen and known Him from a different perspective and have come to different conclusions.”
          I think that’s an excellent description of what the Bible is.

          “It is really hard to sort through all the wrong ideas we have absorbed from fundamentalism. It has infected the way we see Scripture, how we read it and how we think and make decisions. It is hard to step back and judge the basics.”
          Also a very good insight!

        2. Actually, no one has it all figured out. My pastor comes out flatly and says he “doesn’t get it” about a lot of things. He hates dealing with prophesy, for instance, which I hate, because I love that. But we’re all different, so there ya go. But, while decrying “fundies” for thinking they have it all figured out (we don’t, at least not myself and all those I have known), you are basically doing the same thing from another perspective and telling us YOU KNOW what the Bible is not. Nice try.

        3. You don’t have it all figured out, either.

          I’m guessing you think that I have nothing of it figured out because of my innate ignorance. I love that phrase, by the way. The “II” in front of my name stands for “Innately Ignorant”. That was the best Winter Solstice present anyone has ever given me! Thanks bunches, Brian! Happy Winter Solstice to you and your friends at your religious organization in Nashua, New Hampshire!

  9. Darrell, I totally get what your saying here. ..and the Word became flesh, the only Word that has ever mattered. God bless you my brother and Merry Christmas. Love your blog and have enjoyed reading it for the past several months.

    1. The ONLY Word that has ever mattered. Really? Hmmm, don’t tell King David that, or Peter, or Jesus for that matter, all, and so many more, who magnified the WRITTEN WORDS of God. “Thou hast magnified Thy Word above Thy Name…” I know, that means nothing, and I took it out of context. Sorry for my “fundy” ignorance.

  10. The word in the NT scriptures is “logos” (ฮปฯŒฮณฮฟฯ‚), which, besides a written or printed word, can mean knowledge, study, understanding, or thought. In Greek, it also sometimes meant a plea, an argument, an expectation, or a reason.
    Encyclopedia Brittanica defines “logos” in philosophy and theology as “the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning.”
    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/346460/logos

    So “the word” of the Gospel is much more than a certain written text; it is the reason and meaning that creates and orders the world(s).

  11. I would just like to note what Christmas means to me, at this time in my life.

    In a few days, on Christmas Eve, my family will travel to my wife’s parents’ place. These people accepted me as their son-in-law, even as my own parents rejected me, my wife, and my children. I felt love more protective and more understanding from them than I ever felt from my own parents.

    When we get there, we will make some preparations for Christmas day, but at 10:00 we will find ourselves in the Episcopal Church for a hour’s concert and then at 11:00 the Eucharist. We will celebrate Christ’s coming to the world as a baby with the remembrance of His death and resurrection and His gift of life. Then with candles lit and other lights dimmed we will sing “Silent Night.”

    When we are done, it is Christmas Morning, early and cold. We go to get a few hours sleep before the children wake us with excitement. Family visits us, and we visit others. And we all are happy together.

    And I carry through the day, the week, and the year the remembrance of that Christmas Eve service. Christ came to save me! I will hold onto that, by faith. I may not have much else. I am still looking for work. I wrestle with other matters of faith. But besides Jesus the Christ, His coming and His gifts, all else is trivial.

    I wish all of you the blessing of God and peace, no matter where you are in your life and faith journeys. May all of us in our becomings, be coming to the One we want to be coming for us.

  12. Dar-el,
    Your post was beautiful. My first inclination was to applaud. I was surprised that the first comment was a reproach. Nevertheless, your words were true and satisfying to anyone with ears to hear. Thank you for a truly devotional sentiment.

  13. The Pharisees elevated the Law and it became their idol. Today many Christians elevate the Bible and it is their idol. They forget that the Bible is more like a sign–pointing us to the One who became Flesh. Its as if we set out for Disney World, got to the sign “Disney World next left” and then turned around as if we had seen Disney.
    The Pharisees loved the letter of the law, many Christians today love the letter of the doctrine. The litmus test for Christians for many is where they stand on certain doctrines and theology while Christ said the litmus test is love.
    We have diminished Christ to the task of saving us from hell. But Christ came to get Heaven into us. And that heaven that Christ lived out was love and healing and hope. The message of the Gospel is God with us! God with us sinners! Christ forgave before people repented. Christ died while we were yet sinners. We have put the cart before the horse.

    1. Ginger, I never said that. Not once. Nor did Big Gary.

      I am going to ask you, please, reread what we said. Read it this time, and read what we said, not what your preconceived notions might tell you you think we are “trying” to say.

      There is no “between the lines.”

      I am sure you are a good person. We have a disagreement. There is more perspective to be gained both by me and by you. So don’t start acting like a … a …. a fundamentalist. You have more intelligence than that. Use it.

      Your accusation is scurrilous, baseless, and unwarranted. Take it back. Then let us act like friends, even if we disagree.

      1. Your antagonism does you no credit.

        The last I looked, ultra Orthodox Jews were about 20% of the population, a large enough size to demand policy concessions since they are necessary to forming a parliamentary majority.

        As for brilliance, you said it. I did not. But petulant behavior does not win arguments. There is nothing to win here. I would rather be your friend, even if we disagree. And friends help each other to behave better.

        I am not going to stop being myself or to stop offering different opinions on your behalf or to make you more comfortable. We will disagree. But we can still be friends.

        There is a hand extended to you. You may take it or you may slap it away. Your choice. Adulthood is before us. Let us leave childishness behind.

      2. I’ll just add (though perhaps I should shut up) that certain factions of ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel are some of the most extremist and violent fundamentalists in the world– and, as rtgmath points out, they have disproportionate sway in the Israeli government.

    2. Actually, without getting into the minutia, you cannot go to one extreme of the other. Christ and his followers did teach much about the need for true love, but there is also MUCH about a love for and embracing of sound doctrine and loving God’s literal words. That is all I will say. I do believe you know both points are in Scripture.

      1. People do go to one extreme or the other, so don’t say that it can’t be done. Look at the UU folks and compare them to independent fundamentalist Baptists. Are those not extremes? Innately ignorant minds want to know.

        BTW, I’m not angry. LOL. Happy Winter Solstice, Brian.

  14. Hmmm. You still aren’t quite reading what I am saying.

    But if you will take my offer to be friends, great! We will no doubt continue to disagree on many things. But I want to get to know you better.

    Please forgive my offenses to you. I am an analyst. I see more than one side of a situation. And I tend to open my mouth, even when I probably shouldn’t. (Marvelous how the iPhone is able to predict my word choices! Quite eerie. )

    But I am in the process of becoming, as they say. My regards to you.

    1. rtgmath:
      While you have a tendency to annoy the hell out of me about as often as you do Ginger, I realized that you were poking fun at yourself.

      Ginger:
      If you were going to leave, I wish you could have left on a better note. I’m pretty sure you misunderstood rtgmath that time.

      rtgmath:
      Say you’re sorry.

      Now , Ginger:
      Say you’re sorry.

      Now….big hug. Merry Christmas!
      Mark

    2. I think with that last comment Ginger can leave and pound salt. Her calling rtgmath a troll beyond ridiculous.

      I remember my first day on the internet. It was pretty intimidating.

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