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18 November 2009

how biblical is too biblical?

I had a great discussion with a friend this evening. We talked about several things, but one that kept me thinking was the fact that sometimes Christians don't hold to the same standards. That's pretty much fact.

A question that came to my mind -- one that I'd like for you to respond to -- is, how Biblical is too Biblical?

I won't qualify the question further for now, though it's admittedly a very broad question. You're free to take whatever angle you'd like, whether it touches on legalism, liberalism, literalism, or any other "l" word.


James Nahrgang said...

Interesting question. I think as we're entering into a post-Christendom era, we are starting to see how harmful the idol of Moralism was to Christianity. It's an easy thing to simply look at the Scriptures and say, "oh, Jesus say this here so I need to do that." Obedience is good but it is not a moralistic pure obedience, but a response. Example: Romans 12:1,

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, a to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship"

One can read this and think "alright, I'll offer my body as a sacrifice." and they'll usually go on to figure out how to define what that means. But, the point is that offering one's body is from a response to God's mercy. So far, everything that I've read seems not to be an order of obedience, but a proper response to what God has already done.

Therefore, we it doesn't seem to make sense to say to someone, "you can't say those word, drink that stuff, or have that lifestyle" but instead deal with the heart.

Perhaps this is why people see Christians as fake. In the past an outward appearance was of utmost importance. A guy could dress up in his nice suit, get his family looking pretty, "go to church," get his bible fix, have a good discussion with the past, and go home and beat his wife and his for the next 6 days and never be held under church discipline. People know how to be church-people but few can be Christians.

I could say more... but I'll stop. That's my legalism/moralism bash.

Jeff said...

I know that happy mediums are important, but sometimes I lean more in the direction of "un-Biblical" rather than "Biblical." I'll explain, briefly:

Instead of trying to "do" everything the Bible tells me to do, I keep my focus simple: Christ, first, and the spreading of the gospel as the obvious follow-up to that. In my efforts to spread the gospel, I find myself constantly asking "Is what I'm doing Biblical, or does it fly in the face of Scripture?"

Of course, I could explain that in a 25 minute message, better, but that's the core of the thought.

Dean Lusk said...

Welcome, James! Thanks for kicking off the comments.

I like what you said about obedience being a proper response to what God has already done. Also loved your closing paragraph. Great comparison of "church people" and Christians.

Jeff, your statement that you "lean more in the direction of 'un-Biblical' rather than 'Biblical'" sounded a bit wacky by itself, but you qualified it well. :-)

Dean Lusk said...

More input... The Word of God is our source of knowledge, at the very least, about the character and nature of God and for the life, character, and teaching of Jesus Christ.

Upon that basis, understanding that we're talking about the Word of the living God, I believe that the Bible is the definitive standard to which Christ-followers can and must hold.

I understand the points in the comments so far, but I don't know of any indicator or Scripture that allows us to place it in a category alongiside the old law as something we're particularly free from. I don't believe that is where you guys place it, but it seems to me that this might be the logical outworking of looking at the Bible this way, particularly for a young (in the faith) believer.

While adherence to the Word simply for the sake of the actions themselves is off-base, I don't believe we can live a Christ-centered life without the knowledge of and deliberate obedience to the Word of God as a direct result of our love for Him.

I believe this ties in to what you've both said. As I said, I hold the Bible up as the only standard for Godly living (not legalistic living). While it's not to be used as a God-mace with which to bludgeon people, the Word of God clearly sets forth a standard by which we can lovingly hold one another accountable, though one area in which we regularly get off base is attempting to use it for a standard of judging others while completely overlooking our own sin and faults.

Jorge Bessa said...

That’s a complex question and when we pose a question like “how biblical is too biblical” its answer rests upon “what is really biblical”. Once we have it clearly defined, it’s clear that the more biblical is something, the more close to the will of God it is. But that is a problem that no human being, no church or no Christ-follower has ever faced in history. Our problem is that we fall short to be simply biblical, much less too biblical.

The legalist goes beyond the Bible or is “biblical” in the letter, neglecting its spirit, so, by neglecting the living Word revealed through the Holy Spirit, his non-biblical arrogance sometimes sounds too biblical. The liberal inverts the problem through the same process. The literalist goes through a more complex process, but by the same reason

We have to remember that the Bible, the Word of God, the Gospel, the Son of Men, the Son of God, God reveled to man and Jesus Christ are inseparable concepts. They are synonyms. I cannot preach The Gospel neglecting The Gospel, the Word, Jesus himself.

You get to the point wonderfully when you say “While adherence to the Word simply for the sake of the actions themselves is off-base, I don't believe we can live a Christ-centered life without the knowledge of and deliberate obedience to the Word of God as a direct result of our love for Him.” Here you say all is needed to say.

Great post Dean!

PS.: Sorry if sometimes I lose the point due my poor English.

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