how not to read the Bible

Kimberly just sent me a link to this article.

"You send me these things on purpose, don't you?" I asked. And she replied,

"I do, actually."

What can I say? She's a good friend. She knows what will get me fired up.

The troubling thing (one of 'em, anyhow) about this guy's approach to Scripture is his attitude toward it.

Is that weird, shocking and borderline unbelievable? Well, yes. But books like Daniel make clear that various aspects and meanings of scripture are ‘locked up’ for a time. I.e., they mean nothing until the context of events gives it to them. Such is the case with the Bible codes also — a phenomenon which has gained the highest scientific credibility after first being dissed.


The Bible is not some compilation of codes and secret meanings that we only get to figure out if our generation happens to be the one who gets the secret decoder ring in our cultural cereal box.

Sure, there's tons of cryptic metaphor in books like Daniel and Revelation; some of that is related to our loss of the cultural contexts in which they were written; some of it is because what God's promise and future actually is is so far beyond what we are capable of conceiving and communicating that at a certain point language itself begins to break down.

And then there's the unbelievable Americentrism that causes people to assume that whatever meaning is to be ferreted out of those passages, it must be something that has to do with US. If a Democrat is in office, they must be talking about an AMERICAN leader. If a Republican is President, they must be talking about the leader of AMERICA'S ENEMIES (I haven't forgotten growing up dispensationalist in the eighties, when everybody knew Gorbachev was the Antichrist).

I think the worst part about this attitude toward the Bible is that is causes us to miss what's actually there: the story of God's redemptive work throughout human history, and our hope in the fact that Jesus Christ is the Risen Lord of the whole world-- not just the United States.

6 comments:

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I still remember how shocked I was when I realized America wasn't even mentioned by name in the Bible.

And now that I've had time to sort out the weird, conservative teachings that got muddled into my Christian upbringing, I'm also aware America probably isn't a major player in the prophetic writings, as well.

What do you mean, it's not about us?!?

Kimberly said...

But, but, but, but....If America probably isn't a major player, how can BHO be the "lightning" that falls? And you KNOW he is.....

Mary-LUE said...

I don't even have to read the article to applaud this post. If only for...

"I think the worst part about this attitude toward the Bible is that is causes us to miss what's actually there: the story of God's redemptive work throughout human history, and our hope in the fact that Jesus Christ is the Risen Lord of the whole world-- not just the United States."

Yes. Amen. I concur. Vigorous nodding. And so on.

happygeek said...

And this article is another reason why you must blog more often. Simply because the blogosphere needs more of your common sense and less of this.
http://www.visionforum.com/hottopics/blogs/dwp/2009/04/5090.aspx

I'm so thankful that the Bible is a story of redemption for the whole world, whoever believes.
Otherwise this Canadian would be in some serious trouble.

Hairline Fracture said...

I don't even know what to say. Talk about a stretch.

Antique Mommy said...

Good thing you there and I'm here, cause I might kiss you. And that would be awkward. Love this post. Love it. Need more prophetic (speakers of truth) voices like yours.