Like a dutiful liberal, I was sorting through stacks of old papers looking for items to recycle. I came across some notes I had copied from Francis Schaeffer's Addicted to Mediocrity, p.121 :
Bible as divinely inspired, error free, comprehensive, and unambiguous message from God to man. Bible as final authority in history, geography, biology, physics, zoology...OBEYED
Almost everyone who identifies herself as a Christian seeems to believe the Bible is divinely inspired, and many Christians seen on TV or who write letters to the editor share Francis Schaeffer's view that the Bible is inerrant.
I overheard a couple of my coworkers discussing the Bible a few days ago. They remarked on its wisdom and concluded that everyone had to read it and see the Truth for himself. I wanted to blurt out that Christianity went without a Bible for 300 years, and even for hundreds of years after that most people couldn't read it. Even if a translation was available, most people couldn't read. Some Christians may have the gift of tongues, but the gift of spontaneous literacy in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic is one I've never seen recorded.
Parts of the Bible are certainly out of date and ignored by most Christians, although the occasional Christian Crazy surfaces to demand stoning of homosexuals and death to witches, just like it says in the Bible. Some of the more literal minded Christians seem to be livining in the wrong era.
If a counsel of wise Christian Patriarchs were to convene and update the Bible so it truly were the final authority in history, geography, biology, physics, zoology, what would be included? Would the theory of relativity or evolution be included? Maybe writings about"Creation Science" and "Christian Capitalism." Would modern day miracles like Marian Appartitions be documented? Would televangelist Oral Robert's vision of a 900 foot Jesus be included? Some might include a sermon by Martin Luther King, while others might want to include a Sermon by Jerry Falwell bashing King. Would the new editors favor theological works from Johann Metz and Sallie McFague, or excerpts from Christian bestsellers like Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life or Hal Lindsay's Late Great Planet Earth.
Obviously, it would take a miracle to get a simple majority of the largest Christian organizations to agree on anything. The Bible can be interpreted in many different ways, and that believing it is divinely inspired, error free, comprehensive, and an unambiguous message from God to man is not necessary to being a Christian or a good person. To quote a book I read:
What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.
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