Monday, December 31, 2007

100 Verses For Jesus

This post over at Erudite Redneck's blog sparked some good old-fashioned fun, even bringing Neil, from 4simpson's blog, over, to add his ha'penny. For the sake of full disclosure, I should add that ER links to me (I blush), and offers some initial thought to spark discussion, and then Neil pipes up.
"We confess that we have stepped away from Christ’s Path whenever we . . . have claimed Christianity is the only way"

I would run, not walk, away from any group that teaches such an ignorant and foolish thing. The Bible notes least 100 times that Jesus is the only way.

That isn't what makes it true, of course. But it does mean that it is a view that all Christians should hold. To say otherwise is to mock the cross.

The ones who claim Christianity isn't the only way are the ones who have stepped away from the path (if they were ever on it). They are either too ignorant or too timid to defend Christianity.

If you want a list of many of the the verses that point to Jesus' exclusivity go to and search for "100 verses" at their Store page. Or you can just read the Bible. :-) It is hard to miss the theme.

First of all, if "it doesn't make it true" that the Bible has 100 verses saying Jesus is the only way (to what, I'm not quite sure), then why mention it? If it doesn't make it true, why should all Christians believe it? If it doesn't make it true, how does it mock the cross? Indeed, the entire comment becomes irrelevant.

The Bible says many things, in many verses. Some of these things are contradictions of things said in other places. There are hundreds of verses, especially in the prophetic books of the Old Testament, in which it is quite clearly and unambiguously stated that the LORD isn't interested in either the proper recitation of formulaic prayers or the enacting of rituals, but in how the people are to live together. I do believe that when the prophet says that the smell of the sacrifices is a stink in God's nostrils in the face of rampant injustice, then it might just be the injustice God is worried about.

More to the point of this particular post, part of my problem with the way Neil is attempting to "argue" here is that bean counting Bible verses on any particular subject means little. It is how one lives with these verses, how one incorporates them in to one's life, that matters. Of course, Bible study is important. But it is study that is key here - reading commentaries, reading histories, struggling with the meaning of any particular verse, including how one may have understood a particular verse or passage at one time, and how that meaning has changed.

This seems such a basic tenet of being faithful, I find it hard to believe it is unclear. A fancy name for it is "the hermeneutic circle" - the interaction of action and reflection in light of Scripture, in which Scripture informs us, and is in-formed in us, and how this interaction changes, and how the meanings change in changing circumstances - but it is really nothing more than wrestling with the Bible in the full knowledge that any interpretation will change over time.

I suppose I'm some kind of weird non-Christian because I just don't take the Bible at its word. Or Word. Oh, well.

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More