Monday, August 15, 2011

Bibliolatry?

Skye Jethani is the senior editor of Leadership Journal, one of the Christianity Today publications. Here, he argues that even the Bible can become an idol:
.... I've heard church leaders joke that B-I-B-L-E stands for "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth," and others have called it the "owner's manual" for a human being. We may chuckle at these metaphors for the Bible, but behind them is a very un-Christian understanding of God and ironically an unbiblical one rooted in Enlightenment thinking.

When the Bible is primarily seen as a depository of divine principles for life, it fundamentally changes the way we engage God and his Word. Rather than a vehicle for knowing God and fostering our communion with him, we search the Scriptures for applicable principles that we may employ to control our world and life. This is not Christianity; this is Christian deism. In other words, we actually replace a relationship with God for a relationship with the Bible. If one has the repair manual, why bother with the expense of a mechanic?

Tim Keller, in his book Counterfeit Gods, defined idols as "good things turned into ultimate things." I wonder if this definition applies to what some evangelicals have done to the Bible. Rather than making the Bible the means by which we discover and commune with God, they have made the Bible an end in itself. It has come to replace Jesus Christ as the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End of their faith.

I realize that in Christian traditions holding a very high view of the Scriptures, like my own, it may sound as if I am downgrading the importance of the Bible. That is not the case. I believe it is God's Word, inspired by him, and the authority for our faith and lives. Through it we discover who he is — and what greater gift can there be? .... [more]
Skye Jethani: Has the Bible Become an Idol?