Do we worship God or the words about God? Is the Bible the Word of God, or is that Jesus? Christians have been working out their faith between those bounds throughout the history of the Church. Matt Idom in an essay does a neat job of framing the issue, talking about how believers and non-believers often end up talking to each other at cross purposes when it comes to thinking through the role of the biblical witness in the life of the Church.
“We preachers are notorious about moving in and out of scripture like it is some worn out back door, ever struggling with the temptation to use it to prove a point or leverage a position. I am guilty, I confess. But, if you will pardon the biblical quote, Jesus said we are to use our hearts, souls and minds in this faith adventure. Do you suppose he was saying there should be a logical dimension to our faith? I do.
[…]A few years ago I participated in an archaeological dig with the University of Oklahoma. The site was a 10,000 year old bison kill with artifacts from Clovis man. One day about a dozen professors and professionals from across the nation drove in to view the excavation. I chatted up a number of them and when I announced I was a volunteer there for the experience, they asked me what I did for a living. ‘Me? I’m the pastor of a church in Texas.’ It was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. One of those learned men turned on me with a challenging tone. ‘How do you reconcile what you are seeing here with what it teaches you about creation in your bible?’ I told him that if I believed the bible was a science book, I might have some problems to explain. But in that it is a book of theology, I saw no conflict. His wife drug him off, huffing.
Literal? Nope, not for me. Authoritative? Absolutely! Important to my life and faith? Without it, I would be lost.
But, I must always remember, it is not through the bible that I am found. No, that is more about the one God I understand the bible to be revealing. And in that sense, it is more about honesty than anything else. God is the author of grace, not the bible. The bible reveals that grace, but can never dispense it. And as one reads the very real, very human struggles of biblical characters that, in all honesty, have the same failures and hang ups as the rest of us, we actually begin to see ourselves. Honestly.”
Full article here.