Hypocrisy of Language: Christianity

The word Christianity implies a “Christ” centered religion… correct?

So why do I feel like Christianity in the United States is so BIBLE centered? As if no one could ever experience Christianity without having read the thing? Since when did word of mouth, prayer, and experience become obsolete?

You know there was a time when “The Word” referred to Jesus himself and not the collection of Hebraic and Greek writings we’ve compiled, right?

It is a very important and upsetting contradiction that we as Christians are facing.

Now before I go any further, let me state that the Bible is very important to the Christian faith in the sense that it is the story of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, but it is not the representation of Jesus himself. It provides context and historicity to our evaluations of both ourselves and God. It does not necessarily provide definitive answers and it is not a manual for anything. God may work through it, but it certainly is not God.

When God manifested on earth as Jesus, he died on a cross in order to fulfill the old covenant and rose from the dead to create a new covenant.

The first group of people to engage in that covenant, to be followers of Jesus were the ragamuffins of society; the oppressed, the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, and the spiritually dead. Anyone who had run out of hope for anything else found it in Jesus and his followers.

While that holds true on many counts today, the Church is dominated by a hierarchy of theologically minded individuals. There is more value placed on those who can read and interpret the Bible than those who love well.

This fact, above all else, frightens and enrages me.

Jesus said that his followers would be known by their fruits, their acts of service, their tendency towards forgiveness, and their overall ability to love others.

He did not say that they would be known by their skills in exegesis, their argument for or against Calvinism, or their ability to read the scripture at all. That sort of Christianity isolates and excludes individuals based on things outside of their control.

When we read the bible in the manner that it already says everything God wants to tell us, we are confessing that Jesus did NOT rise from the dead and is NOT alive in each one of us today.

Personally, I don’t want a part in a Christianity that confesses that.

I prefer a Christianity that believes that Jesus is as alive today inside of me and everyone else as he was when he walked the roads in Galilee.

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5 Comments

Filed under Hypocrisy of Language, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Hypocrisy of Language: Christianity

  1. deena

    That’s exactly what Jesus berated the Pharisees about. Taking the biblical teachings of the law as their beliefs instead of understanding that God created us to be part of us and live in and through us. I pray God continues to give you much wisdom.

  2. James

    One thing is sure, jesus has a much higher view of Scripture than you do, as did his disciples, but hey if you know better go ahead. It is pure folly to separate the work of the Spirit from the work of the Word and vice-versa, But hey, if you wanna argue the same old tired theological arguments against people who you accuse of “arguing theology” too much go ahead, its nothing new. I wonder how you know anything about the Holy Spirit if it were by the word? i wonder how anyone could be sure that it is the Holy Spirit leading them if the Bible is not their authority. I mean if history has shown us anything it is that when People elevate their experience with the supposed “Holy Spirit” above the word we get new religions and cults (Islam & Mormonism). Joseph Smith and Mohammed both claimed God revealed to them new truths outside the Bible. Not having the Bible as their authority for this experience worked out great for them…

    • I’m sorry you feel that way, James. My intention was not to degrade scripture, but to degrade the way we view its use in comparison to other much more important practices.

      I also don’t mean to be too defensive, but the tone you’ve taken in your response makes you sound extremely skeptical of the existence of the Holy Spirit at all.

      Questions you might consider asking yourself is how did Christianity survive for 400 years without the bible? How do people who are illiterate survive without reading it today? or How does Christianity survive and even thrive in places where the bible is outlawed?

      • I can at least answer a few of those questions:

        1: Yes the Bible in the form we have it today, nicely collected didn’t exist until around 300-400 years after Christ. However we have fragments of Paul’s writing and some of the gospels to show that people all over the ancient near east had some form of scripture to base their religious life on. We also know that leaders of the early of the church learned “theology” from either apostles or from those that sat under them. Theological education has kept heresy and cults from distorting scripture for centuries and still does the same today.

        2. Christians thrive and survive in places that outlaw the Bible by either a) having teachers/missionaries that know the Bible teach them Biblical principles or B) by the smuggling of scriptures. Just listen to someone from one of those of those countries talk about the Bible and you’ll see they value it immensely. They fully believe it to be something they need to correctly understand God. Which has been a basic truth throughout Christian history.

        I’m not saying we don’t idolize scripture on occasion or misuse it, the American church is guilty of this constantly. I am saying scripture is valuable and without it we’d have no knowledge of Christ, we’d have general revelation, but no specific revelation.

        Your post sounds like you’d toss out everything after the gospels, which subtly implies Paul and Peter and John didn’t write anything Christians needed to know (and weren’t directed by the Holy Spirit, which again would put you at odds with most of Christian History) and yet Jesus is explicit in his command that the Holy Spirit would come and be what they needed, It’d be even more important to them than if he stayed.

        I don’t agree with James’ tone, but he makes some points you might out to re-read and ignore the tone. Tossing out the importance of scripture places you against virtually all of Christian History and that seems like your declaring I know better than most believers ever have, and that’s dangerous.

  3. Pingback: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… (how we read the Bible incorrectly) | lukewarmdisciple

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