Wednesday, March 30, 2011


To sort of follow up on my last post, I'd like to take a look at the larger point I've been attempting to make (probably poorly) from a couple of different angles. I was involved in a conversation elsewhere yesterday (some of you may have followed it) that got into some of these issues. Now, in the course of this exchange, the only doctrinal position I stood upon was "Christ crucified is enough for our salvation". Strangely, but still falling within the realm of expectation, those with whom I was interacting soon began circling the wagons to defend "the bible" and its role in salvation. I contend that it has no essential role, whatsoever, in salvation, but merely a supplemental one. In other words, it doesn't take Jesus AND the bible to reconcile me to God. I'll be up front in telling you that no man will ever move me from that belief.

Beyond that stance, I didn't take any dogmatic doctrinal positions, but preferred to ask questions to get right down to the core of what was being said. For instance, if you don't truly believe the bible is necessary to salvation, a simple "no" should suffice when asked if you believe as much. If it takes more than a simple "no"...well, seems to me that such would remove reasonable doubt that you're venturing into bible worship territory. I made it expressly clear that no man, council, or creed could speak for me when I stand before Christ, and that being the case, why should I let them now? That isn't to say that I disagree with what men may say, or what various councils or creeds have concluded, but rather, I won't let them determine what I believe on my behalf. The Holy Spirit has to have a say in the matter.

To me, theological debates are like a Lifetime Movie Network marathon - lots of tangled emotions, lots of pointless posturing and boring dialog, lots of colons and semi-colons...they're just a good excuse to take a nap. No one wins. Particularly those unfortunate enough to have to sit through them. Kinda like eating a bowl of grits without salt and butter. What's the point in it? (You southerners will know what I mean) It's one reason I've never had a desire to pursue any theological studies or attend a bible college.

In the course of the exchange yesterday, I was labeled, in essence, gnostic in my beliefs (that was a new one), accused of rejecting the bible, then accused of using the thing I was rejecting to disprove itself - when I hadn't rejected anything except the opinions of those I was communicating with, was accused of considering myself more spiritually astute than others and wanting to determine for them what was holy - despite having made it clear that such was for a person to decide on their own (with the guidance of the Holy Spirit), and despite having made no claims about what should and shouldn't be considered holy. This didn't bother me on a personal level (some of the messages I've received since starting this blog might rock your world, and I've been called just about everything) although the passive/aggressive manner was admittedly annoying, but it did sadden me. I'm pretty firm in my belief that if you give those who slant to the legalistic side of things enough rope, they'll hang themselves, and like I said, some of my questions were simplistic questions which get to the core. Some may consider that inciting, and if so, I apologize publically and profusely to the person whose platform served as the arena of the exchange.

A couple of things that came up in the exchange illustrate perfectly what I was attempting to say in Canon Fodder. In that post, I said the following...

I was asked recently, "If you don't consider the bible infallible, inerrant, and the absolute arbiter of truth, how do you even know who Jesus is?" My answer: The same way Simon Peter did.

And sure as Sunday, I got hit with that yesterday, and my answer was the same, as it will be tomorrow, as it will be next week, and on and on. That question is becoming a personal favorite (SA).

So then, that's when I was hit with "Aren't you using the very thing you reject to prove your point?" First of all, I haven't rejected anything, including the biblical canon despite not being fully confident in its total construct, and second, I wasn't using "the bible" to make my point, I was using the Gospel of Matthew, specifically chapter 16 verses 15-17. The Gospel of Matthew isn't "the bible". The Gospel of Matthew is the Gospel of Matthew. It just happens to be included in the construct of what we now call "the bible". I also said the following in my last post, which illustrates my point...

Many Christians seem to view the bible in the same manner they'd view a Stephen King novel - ONE book written by ONE author. You might say "But it DOES have only one author: God!" Well, SOME of it definitively has only one source (God), but as I said earlier, the early church would differ with the modern church about much of the New Testament being "holy writ". I think it's unhealthy to look at the scripture as one entity. The bible as we know it is a collection of 66 different books written by many different men. The authorship of some books (such as Job and Hebrews) is completely unknown. Proverbs doesn't speak for Philippians, Acts doesn't speak for Habakkuk, and so forth.

I saw the full impact of that mindset yesterday.

Toward the end, in attempting to prove that the 1st century church considered Paul's letters "holy writ", I was hit with this passage from 2nd Peter 3...

15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable peopletwist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Some of you may recognize that passage as containing Stacy McDonald's original scripture quote in the sub-header of her first manifestation of Steadfast Daughters. Yikes. Not a good way to counter an impression of legalism.

But let's look at this as evidence of Paul's epistles being considered "holy"...The Greek word translated there as "Scriptures" is "graphe". It means writings. Modern biblical translators went a step further, since these epistles were included in the most holy biblical canon, and told us that, instead of "writings", which is the common use of "graphe", Peter actually meant Scriptures. That's not scriptures, mind you - that's Scriptures. I hope all can see the point I'm getting at there.

How quickly we forget that Paul constantly dealt with unscrupulous men attempting to misrepresent the words and simple message he wrote to these churches. Peter wasn't declaring Paul's writings, or those of anyone else, to be "Holy". He was declaring the gospel message IN them to be Holy, just as it is today when someone writes something containing the gospel of Christ in its most basic of forms. Christ is the wisdom of God. Christ is the wisdom that was given Paul. You and I have the exact same access to that wisdom that Paul did. There's no middleman, including "the bible", necessary to come to Christ.

I like the Message paraphrase of John 5:39-40...

You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you'll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren't willing to receive from me the life you say you want.

I don't claim to have anything figured out beyond my own salvation. I try to be clear that what I write here is merely where I'm at right now in my own personal journey with Christ, as I look to hold on to whatever is right and true. Heck, I may very well be wrong and false, and that's a responsibility that I don't take lightly. It's the primary reason that I don't delve into a whole lot of doctrine beyond "Christ crucified". I do know, however, that it troubles me deeply to see people rush to defend, so passionately, a theology, a non-essential doctrine, and a human constructed and influenced (through various translations and interpretations) collection of books...totally oblivious to all of the wounded that they pass in their mad rush who are piled up in the ditches - having been wounded by these very theologies, non-essential doctrines, and the human imbibling and handling of this collection of books.


  1. Lewis, I spent time in the Word of Faith movement some years back (Don't throw rocks, please...) and so the Bible has become terribly important to me as the Word of God.

    But as much as I respect the Word and still believe that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ, even so, I am shocked at how this Bible has been used to hurt and wound others and how it has been used to control and manipulate.

    Seeing such blatant misuse of the Word that I hold dear has forced me to step back and re-evaluate.

    God has revealed Himself through the Bible to people.

    But so many have turned around and recreated Him into something else.

    One example that I've given before elsewhere is that one of God's names that He uses to reveal Himself is Jehoveh-Rapha, the Lord our Healer.

    But some of these groups completely by pass what the Word reveals about Him and even represses it and instead use other scriptures to promote a new god whose name is, the god who demands that women submit to men, or the god who makes fathers into the supreme rulers of their families or many other things in order to back their pet doctrine.

    What these people and groups have done, basically, is used religion to control rather than direct people to freedom and healing in Christ.

    They have also taken the Lord's name in vain, declaring that God commands things that God has not commanded.

    The church is in crisis. And it is in crisis because teachers are teaching a false gospel that is no longer good news but rather control and manipulation no better than the doctrine used by the Catholic church during the dark ages or the Spanish Inquision.

    Example, words from a prominant teacher.
    “Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your role in the scripture.”

    This is how women are saved now. Not by the cross of Christ. But by following a script written by false teachers. People must reject these teachings for what they are. Contrary to Christ.
    (Note, the above quote is from Wartburg Watch, March 28th post.)

  2. I've been following those recent WW articles. Some compelling and insightful stuff they're writing - even though the subject is disturbing, given the prominent place the guy occupies in the church community.

  3. Lewis, your posts on this topic have been very thought-provoking. Thank you for taking the time to write and publish them, even knowing the kind of flak you would receive.

  4. I appreciate that, Arielle. To my surprise, they haven't generated nearly as much direct flak as other things I've written - and no complaints here ;)

  5. Lewis, thank you for these posts. I agree with you in that believing on Jesus is the only thing needed to be born again. However, I also believe that God has preserved His Word as He promised in Luke 21:33, and I believe that that Bible is the KJV.

    Men (because of greed, I think) have made hundreds of other versions of the Bible, and this has been so detrimental to the church (believers) and to others seeking God. They don't know how to reconcile the contradictions they see. But God HAS preserved His Word for us, and His Word IS important - how else are we to learn who He is, who Jesus is? I thank God that He loved us enough to give us His precious Word and preserve it in its entirety for us.

    Just for the record, I am not a follower of the patriarchal teaching.

    For anyone interested, here is an enlightening video:
    I know some readers here have it in for Michael Pearl because of his child training books, but he is an excellent Bible teacher.

  6. Anonymous...I have to respectfully differ with you on the KJV and on the promise of Luke 21:33. I believe the KJV is one of MANY valid translation to be used, but has its own issues, just like the rest. As far as Luke 21:33, Christ wasn't speaking about the whole of what we now know as the bible, but rather about his own words, particularly those in his particular teaching in Luke 21.

    I used to refer to the bible constantly as "God's word" (and still catch myself doing it out of habit sometimes), but where I've come to in my own understand, whether I'm right or I'm wrong, is that the Word continually referred to in the bible is Christ Himself and not the bible itself.

  7. Yep, you're right - Jesus IS the Word. But that verse says "my words" (not capitalized - I think this matters a lot). Isn't Jesus God? And as God, this phrase "my words" constitutes really the entire Bible, not just where Jesus is quoted in the N.T.

    Yes, God wrote the Bible using fallible men. That was how He chose to write it and I believe that He has preserved it in its original form for us who are alive today.

    As for translations, just as an example, check this out:
    When I found out that many other versions were leaving verses out, I was horrified. And they're not just any verses -they're important ones.

    Thanks so much for your blog. I agree with most everything you write.

  8. The Bible itself is clear on who or what is the Word of God. That is found in John 1. My dad opened my eyes to this years ago and I'm so grateful.

    Great article, Lewis!

  9. I was labeled, in essence, gnostic in my beliefs (that was a new one),
    Pun intended? ;-)

  10. lol...No, but it works, doesn't it?

  11. It seems that those who slant to the legalistic will always go on the defensive so quick and then start slinging names and offense until they need a shovel to clean it all up. It's such a sorry argument and so over used.

    I've been called an agnostic, cafeteria-style Christian before and that one just boggled my mind. Of course, it was by a rabid Lutheran who was defending their creeds, sacraments and infant baptism like I'd just killed their puppy. Really, what more can you do than just scratch your head and walk away?

  12. I'm Glad you wrote Lewis, your article WAS one the So needed affirmations I needed and had been praying for From the Holy Spirit,

    and you know maybe I AM GNOSTIC, and you know, I'm FINE WITH IT.

    LOL, I really am, because I've never been freer to be Me, who God created, and to KNOW Christ on a Truth level with no 'fig leaves' cover.

    I have So many things in my closet God but Nothing to I guess I am coming to you Naked,

    besides, I bet you have much nicer garments! ;)

    Jesus said, they will deliver you to the Synagogues [not Satan temples, not dark rave bars of goth types, not hip hop clubs, no but Synagogues, places of the fig leaf dressed]

    and some will Kill you thinking they are doing God a favor.


    yep, sounds about right don't it

    and ole John the Baptist was wearing camel loin cloth, living in a desert [which if you've seen any photos of Israel is kind of harsh]

    eating Locusts

    and Honey

    like de Man Verses Wild, or the Hippie Survivalist who goes barefoot in the wild

    who Prepared the Way for Jesus

    funny ain't it, what today would be deemed suspect, Crazy, a Heretic, Loon, Rebellious against Bible Doctrine, a New Ager, a Pagan :0

    oh My

    Oh My

    baptizing in de Rivers he was, Repent, do works worthy of repentance, like uh,

    stop War mongering [yep said it to de soldiers], stop violence [oooh egalitarian Yikes], love and pay back those you've wronged [What! a feminist man, a tree hugger, why Lynch Him!]

    yep, ole John in his camel cloth and mouth full of locusts

    and Jesus went to him to be Baptized, John I'm not worthy to buckle your shoe, much less....

    but Jesus went to him,

    where were de Scribes, Pharisees?

    Those glorious temples, their theological Expertise????

    Jesus went to the desert, hangin with a man who walked the desert without shoes, dread locks and all

    Yea I'm proud to be,

    I don't know...gnostic? heretic? free thinker :0 the ultimate no no?

    Keep em coming Lewis, Freedom never Sounded so Good!!!

    I think I hear some Locust buzzing around you Lewis, or are those Honey Bees?



  13. ""and Jesus went to him to be Baptized, John I'm not worthy to buckle your shoe, much less....""

    ooops. so Not to be misunderstood, that means John SAYS to Jesus, I am not worthy to buckle your shoe


  14. Something I had intended to include in the article but completely forgot as I was writing...

    Jesus never promised to leave us "the bible". He promised us the Comforter, the Spirit of God, which would lead us into all truth. In saying this, I'm not discounting or rejecting "the bible" (or specifically the biblical canon), but I think it's extremely important to remember that the bible, as we know it, is a man-made collection and not deity or a divine promise.

    Pure speculation on my part here, but I think a great deal of the aura of reverence that surrounds the biblical canon can be traced to the period where society emerged from the dark ages. When something desired has been forbidden, and suddenly becomes accessible, it often takes on a larger than life persona as a result of the taboo.

  15. Where I said above...I think it's extremely important to remember that the bible, as we know it, is a man-made collection and not deity or a divine promise....I think a better word (in place of "man-made") might be "man-determined".

  16. "I was involved in a conversation elsewhere yesterday (some of you may have followed it) that got into some of these issues."

    Could you link to the conversation. If you think it would be helpful.


  17. Yes, please do tell us where to look when you get into it with someone! I can't follow the whole patriarchy blogosphere without my head exploding.

  18. ""Pure speculation on my part here, but I think a great deal of the aura of reverence that surrounds the biblical canon can be traced to the period where society emerged from the dark ages. When something desired has been forbidden, and suddenly becomes accessible, it often takes on a larger than life persona as a result of the taboo.""

    Wow Lewis, you know that's a Whole philosophical question in of itself, the release of Canon/struggle for, around the Dark Ages, what many seem to Forget, is that then [and still today] the Powers to Be have Always had

    hidden [occult] knowledge, from the sorcery of ancient Egypt, Sumer, Maya, India, etc., to Roman times,

    and yet, These are the same ones who wrote the Bible...

    the same ones who did ritual abuse-trauma sexual experiments on children, women [esp females] and those were the witch-hunts, the witch hunts were Only the cover-excuse for ritual Mengele types of abuses,

    experiments--same thing happens in Japan, during WWII, by a doctor who did surgeries [like the Egyptians and Mayans] on POWs, females and children, while they were still awake--and the gov., didn't kill this man, they instead Used his works [and still do today],

    occult--has come from the knowledge of horrid torture and abuses,

    hidden knowledge, by powers in government-church,

    and They controlled What was written, and Who could read

    and few ask Why?

    because it's dark and few want to go there--mind control,

    and today we have mega churches, mega spiritual abuse, mega Cults who are All about Mind Control, especially over females

    at the Same time, we have an increasing NWO working to implement female genetic experiments [forced rape and torture camps] for Cloning--the same relativists who are pushing to legalize Pedophilia, who are in favor of supporting world wide Islam [for peace they say]

    and few see the correlation or connection. Those that do, are deemed heretics, rebellious, humanists, etc.,

    Dark Ages--Egypt's House of Bondage, the revival of Mesopotamian Cults [aliens, Sumer religion, etc]

    what does the term Revelation really mean?

    this thought, a little leaven corrupts the Whole loaf, Jesus said that a lot

    Why? Loaf, means Bread, means Word, means Leaven,

    all it would have taken is a little Leaven, just a little, to corrupt the Entire Bible

    just a little leaven.


  19. sam and CLDG...It was taken down, and for the best. Some of what was being said was likely very triggering for survivors of patriarchy and spiritual abuse.

  20. Thanks Lewis. I understand completely. I am amazed at how many people have been hurt and continue to be hurt by this patriarchal mess in the "name of christ" and purity. Keep up the good fight :)