March 28, 2006

Are We "Biblical"???

Not so long ago, local priests used to charge money to get people out of hell. The people may or may not have believed it, but they often paid the money! After all, what did they know? And what right did they have to argue? The priest's word was GOD to them. This happened all over Europe, in the 1400's, until someone found a weapon stronger than the priests...

They found the Bible! (This is NOT where the story gets better...)

Guttenberg printed a few Bibles around 1454, in Latin of course, one of which made it's way down to Saxony, Germany, where a monk named Martin started to read it! In its pages, he found statements he thought would rebuke the priests. And so, armed with his hours of careful study and arguments, Mister Luther took on the establishment - and won!

(Again, this is NOT where the story gets better...)

A scary thing happened that century. Men all over Europe realized that studying and quoting the Bible would give them authority in the eyes of those who had not done so for themselves. (Please stop and read that sentence again.)

This is the Horrible Side-Effect of the Protestant Reformation!

As a matter of fact, almost all of the common folk could NOT read, nor even dream of paying the King's Ransom it would have cost them to get a copy of Guttenberg's Bible... or Tyndale's in English (which were all being burned) or Luther's in German. The common folk were STILL at the mercies of the powerful men who had resources and time enough to buy, read and study their Bibles!

Sadly, it's not very different today.

Every day, men use the Bible as an means of gaining control over others. People say, "The Bible says" and then say "so therefore you've got to!" (It's worse than that, actually - you don't even have to say the second part - everyone just assumes it!) How... sad... is... this? And more importantly, why do some of those men sound as if you don't even need the Lord - but just the Bible?

I want to go on the record: I do NOT believe that ANYONE must "do what the Bible says."

I certainly don't live that way! So how could I ask others to? :)

Do I follow the 623 laws of Moses? (No.) Have I made a list of all the hundreds of things the New Testament seems to be telling us to "do" AND tried to follow it to the letter each day? (No.) Am I part of a church that has "elders" like Ephesus and the Galatian churches did? (No.) Did we have Paul live here for a year and a half before leaving, like Corinth did? (No.) Did we have Luke stay for seven years until Paul appointed elders and then left with Luke, like they did in Philippi? (No.)

I didn't come here because I thought we were "biblical". I came here because I wanted to know the Lord together with all the saints! And that's all I want to do here...

Except, maybe, for one more thing! :)

I'd also like to pass a LAW (!) that says no one's allowed to preach or teach "We must do what the Bible says." BUT since I know I can't control the controllers or keep them from trying to control others, then I suppose - instead - that I'd like to help others be free from that ridiculous burden.

The Bible is NOT here so we can teach others how to "Follow" it. The Bible is here so we can use it to Know Jesus Christ, more and more. Whoever uses it to exert control over others is robbing those people of knowing its true benefit.


Anonymous said...

Well said, Bill

Anonymous said...

Do you think that we should live in a way which the scripture "insinuates"?

i.e: Be a part of a local assembley which was/is established by a worker, encourage one another, etc....

I guess my mischevious little point here is that I believe all christians try to follow and promote some teaching of the bible

Anonymous said...

I think the real danger is losing the Story as we argue verses (like missing the forrest amidst the trees).

Thanks, Bill. I actually was really leaning toward doing this exact thing with a Brother, and I needed to hear (read) this.

Anonymous said...

Bill this is an EXCELLENT post...again. We get so caught up in moralizing the Bible that it really becomes a collection of stories w/ little moral lessons...and misses the whole point of pointing us to JESUS.

Bill Heroman said...

Thanks, Matt & Rishi.

Johnny, my main point is that I've got no "should" for YOU. Now, clearly, I believe the pattern of an outside worker is worth putting into practice today... but we don't follow it perfectly, and that shouldn't ever be the point.

I believe the PURPOSE of an outside worker is to free the spirits of the brothers and sisters to each follow ONE Head - so that CHRIST may increase on the Earth! In other words, having an "outside worker" just seems like a better way, to me!

Now the fact that this pattern happens to appear over and over (and over and over) in the New Testament... well, yeah, that's encouraging! :) But I would never say that YOU or WE or ANYONE "should" be in a place that tries to follow that pattern. (Even though you do live in such a place, and even though you know that I wouldn't be any place else!) I've still got no "should" for others.

Anytime I show someone the pattern, I expect them to consider whether to try and follow it, or whether to stay in their Baptist "church"! Are they not free??? But someone else will always assume I was putting in a "should". Because that's what they were taught about the Bible. And that's sad.

We don't seek to follow the Bible.

We seek the Lord.

Bill Heroman said...

Thanks, Stacey & Franklin!

You, my bro & sis, are solid evidence that I encourage freedom! So that's an EXTRA reason why I'm grateful for your 'net-o-ship'. I know your hearts are for the Lord, so keep pressing on with Him where you are!

But, you know... ;)

If y'all ever just want to see what the 'wild side' is like - feel free to come check us out! Okay? :)

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the Bible say that we were made for Him...That we should love Him? That we should marry Him?

Anonymous said...

Should people seek to follow the Lord? The bible says that we should.

Bill Heroman said...

Hey Anony-um-whoever you are! :)

If the Bible is the only place you ever learned that you can Love Him and be loved by Him, then PRAISE THE LORD! THAT'S WONDERFUL!!!

I'm glad you found out! ;)

Unknown said...

I have a friend who tells how he came to know Christ. He decided that if he was going to make a decision, it would be an informed one, so he sat down and began to read the Bible, in order, from Genesis 1. He made the decision to follow Christ by the middle of Leviticus.


At first I couldn't understand how the guy could accept Christ before he even got to the part that mentions Him. It took me a while to understand (and your post illustrates it well) that when you're not reading through the religious filters of your indoctrination, the whole of scripture points to Christ.

And now so shall the chip.

Anonymous said...

Just tryin' to rattle your cage a bit, bro. I know your heart.
I also realise the value of outside help (i.e. a worker)and live in a church community because I believe it's the best environment for a more well rounded expression of our Lord.

I trust fully that the Lord will acomplish His task of revealing Himself in His saints, fulfilling His eternal purpose.

Praise the Lord, Bill, that we are indeed free, and that God is faithful to all of us!

Love to y'all in Arlington!

Kc said...

Excellent points HB and I think the scripture can become an idol if we become pharasiticl. I tend to extend on your thinking in that Chirst is the way, the truth and the life and so I study the scripture to help me to know the way, the truth and the life. ;-)

SteveW said...

Good post Bill. Christ came and fulfilled the scriptures so that we could be free of the condemnation brought on by them and yet so often many turn the testimonies of the men declaring that into something that condemns. It is sad when the book becomes more important than the One revealed in it.

SteveW said...

But it is life to embrace that One.

Matthew Celestine said...

I find it hard to see how one can know Jesus very well without striving to act in obediance to those Scriptures that are applicable in their context to the Christian today.

When people introduce practises and ideas that are not Scriptural, those have a tendency to become duties.

Every Blessing in Christ


Anonymous said...

It's Anony again,
How do you reconcile, "I want to go on the record: I do NOT believe that ANYONE must "do what the Bible says."," with what Jesus said in John 3:7, You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'?

Unknown said...

I would respond that BE is different than DO.

My reading of Bill's comment is regarding the nature of scripture as it pertains to our lives. Of course, the bible instructs us to "Love one another." I don't think anyone would argue that we shouldn't DO that. But we can't DO that without first BEing someone who can.

If we approach scripture primarily as describing what we should DO, I think we're on our way to becoming religious. To approach scripture as a means of knowing Christ offers us a way to know how to BE.

I once heard someone say, "If we spent more time teaching Christians WHO THEY ARE, we wouldn't need to spend so much time telling them WHAT TO DO."

Of course there's DOing, but that DOing must flow out of BEing like Christ. And that can only happen as we know him more.

Bill is this your understanding, or did I miss your point entirely?

Bill Heroman said...

Howabout this, Dorsey?

Plato said, "To be is to do."
Aristotle said, "To do is to be."
Sinatra said, "Do be do be doo..."


Bill Heroman said...

Anon comes - Anon?

Well, whoever you are... let me answer by turning it around:

How do YOU reconcile all the christians who lived in between Christ's resurection and Gutenburg's printing press? How did they ever become 'born again' without the Bible, hmmm?

Actually, make that all Western christians up until the rise of mass literacy, less than a hundred years ago...

And throw in most human beings on earth today, who are illiterate.

Do you think Jesus really expect his "great commission" to take 2000 years, and be dependent on the printing press?


Then why say the Bible is necessary at all?

Jesus Christ is what's necessary.

Unknown said...

I want to make sure that I understand you, HB. I couldn't agree more that scripture is here so that we can know Christ, and I agree to the point of shaking my fist that it should never be used to exert control. But Paul did say that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness:" (2 Timothy 3:16).

Read in context, I don't think the Bible tells us to obey the laws of Moses, but it does tell us to obey the law of Christ (love God/others) and thereby fulfill Mosaic law. Do you not agree? I feel like I might be missing your point a little.

Bill Heroman said...

Thanks Dorsey. Just teasing about the do-be-doo! I'm glad if that idea helps you; I just don't tend to think in those terms. I do, however REALLY, DEEPLY appreciate the positive comments you've been making here. So let me try to be more clear...

First of all, I value the scriptures. I also like that line from First Timothy, too. Of course, it's helpful to remember that Paul and Timothy were both fairly unique in that they had the skill of being able to READ! (And physical copies of any scritpures were extremely rare in those days. Paul had one set of scrolls, and even he actually lost them once!) I think it's fairly HUGE that people miss the historical reality of how much the "Bible" was (or wasn't) in use before the 20th century.

Now, as for the "law of Christ":

Okay. Let's say that I'm capable of "obeying" those two commandments you mention, and that obeying them is what God wants me to do. In those same terms, I would also say that only the spirit of Jesus Christ living inside of me can successfully encourage me to even attempt it. While on the other hand, anyone at all can read the scriptures about those "commandments", but unless the words resonate within their spirit, it's dead and useless - and worse, for some it becomes bondage and blocks them from finding the Lord.

It's easy for anyone to just say, "obey these two commandments because the bible says so". And it's easy to teach methods of "bible study" that focus on using the proper mental methods! AND GOD IS NOT NEEDED FOR PEOPLE TO LIVE IN THOSE WAYS!!!! (Which is why they're so common.)

But as for my POST... :)

There really was only one idea I was trying to get at, and it was this: ([ironic grin] I'll even express it as a "command"! [/ironic grin])

Don't ever use the bible to tell people what to do.

And I DO mean absolutely never, ever, for any reason whatsoever, NEVER. If the person has the Lord inside, it's unnecessary, and if they don't, it's useless. In both cases, it's probably harmful.

But tell a person about Jesus Christ living inside them and help that person find HIM (assuming you yourself have been taught in such a way) and then what else is there to worry about?

I'll say it again: "Don't ever use the Bible to influence other people's activities or behavior."

It's counterproductive.

More clear, now? :)

Anonymous said...

Now, honey, no man could EVER control me, Bible or no! My husband has been trying for 28 years!

Ah, just a corny joke...

Jesus is the Living Word and for me, that is the key to scripture, being a doer of the word and not just a hearer. I can study and study and be preached at and be preached at but the portions of the Bible that have become a part of me are the ones that I've lived, the parts I've struggled through. Scripture isn't so much to be obeyed but to grow into.:0)

This is Pam, I just chose anonymous to see if i could get the silly thing to work this time!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Bill. Much clearer. I agree.

Bill Heroman said...

HAHA! Pam, I totally believe that! :)
(You weren't the previous anony, were you?)

Dorsey, you're welcome. And again, thank YOU! :)

Can't sleep tonight, by the way... which happens sometimes. I'll catch up this weekend...

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