Why must we always resort to only black or white, either/or, this, but not that, or us vs them? Why is there no room in our thinking or beliefs for other possibilities?
Open-mindedness does not require that we accept everything that comes along, but that we are open to the possibility that I may be wrong; and when confronted with different facts, being willing to change my stance.
Within the grace, hyper-grace, radical grace movement there is much talk about not eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is certainly a good practice to avoid this sort of classification in our daily life. Yet, I find within this very movement a continual table being spread for this type of unfulfilling nourishment.
I see it manifest under two different categories, but both still reek of bad food—religion & the word of God. These two seem to be the soup du jour for many.
I have found that being in opposition does not draw anyone, but actually pushes them away. By “opposition” I mean the continual hammering, yammering about the “other” side (of whatever).
The one that grieves me most at this time is around “the Word of God.”
This is the third time in my experience when a movement has produced a group who want to do away with the Bible. For some, it is truly a “hobby horse” that they ride dusk til dawn.
For instance, I usually use a verse from the Bible when making a point. If I post that on social media, I will invariably get a comment along the lines of “the Bible is not to be trusted.”
No comment nor reference to the point that was made in the post. Totally out of context. It was simply a “buzz word” that set their hobby horse to rockin’.
Why is it that we take a statement from the Bible—“In the beginning was the word…”—and try to use it to prove that the Bible is not the word of God? Irony?
Many will take this passage, go to the Greek, and show that the Logos is Jesus.
However, that fact in and of itself does not eliminate any other possibility for the use of logos.
Consider—“And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,” (Acts 15:15 ESV)“
Words” is logos in its plural form, logoi. Those words were spoken and written, and held meaning for James and the other apostles who were debating the admitting of Gentiles into their Christian communities.
For them, their Bible of that time—the Tanakh—helped to guide them into unfamiliar places.
This also proved to be the practice of others, such as those in Berea, which was about 900 miles from Jerusalem. “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Act 17:11 ESV)
These people listened to the new thing Paul was preaching without being antagonistic. Then they went home and searched their scriptures (the Tanakh) for proof.
Paul even used the term “the word of God” when referring to these writings. “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,” (Rom 9:6 ESV)
He goes on to illustrate his point by quoting from the “word of God.”
Even if we only accept this as “The Scriptures” or the “Word of God”, then we are left with still understanding that there is a “written word of God.”
However, it is through the modern (at that time) writings of Paul and others where we learn that the Tanakh is no longer a part of our heritage or guide.
Yet, nowhere in this more modern section of the Bible we call the New Testament do we find any indication that we are to do away with even these writings—these transcriptions of “logoi” given by others.
The phrase “the word of God” occurs 43 times in the ESV. It is most often written in the genitive case, which has the meaning of either source, concerning or possession.
Obviously, ‘concerning’ is the major meaning when referring to God or truth or Jesus. However, that fact does not eliminate other possibilities.
Consider, for instance Paul’s statement in 1Th 2:13 ESV—“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”
This is an obvious use of source as the meaning of the genitive. The words that Paul spoke are not the words that come from men, but words that come from God. They are the “words of God.”
Why, then, when they are recorded and written down are they no longer the “words of God”?
We go too far with our humanistic logic sometimes. We try to apply some sort of logic to one concept found in the Bible, and then extrapolate all kinds of meaningless stuff from that one point.“
Meaningless” because it only serves our particular limited understanding, but in no way seems to further our growth in grace, mercy and love.
Mind candy only.
Yes, there are people who will not be exposed to this article whom you may think they should. That is not up to us, but the Holy Spirit.
I wrote this mainly with concern for those who are on the fence, teetering back and forth with the concepts presented here. There is often someone who comes into an understanding of grace, who then expresses concern and confusion due to what others are saying.
I do not mean that any kind of restrictions should be placed on us and what we share. Each one of us are in a different place in our walk with the Lord.
However, I would hope that those of you who are more mature than others could understand this, and not feel that every little thing that goes against your particular belief must be corrected. It does little good other than to reveal a negativity of heart and mind that is not conducive to love and grace.
I’ll close this with another “proof text” from the Bible. You decide if this is in accordance with the way God would want us to act.
“Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” (2Ti 2:14 ESV)
Any and all comments, questions and/or criticisms are welcome.