“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” – John 5:39
If Christians don’t believe the whole Bible, who will? Mark Driscoll.
The first quote is what Rachel Held Evans starts her blog post that leads our question today.
The second is a quote that was on Mark Driscoll’s Facebook Page. Both do bring a couple of different perspectives about God and the Bible. Some might say this is a chicken and the egg argument.
First, we need some perspective. Evans is responding to this http://www.challies.com/articles/the-boundaries-of-evangelicalism post from Tim Challies. He is discussing two issues. The first being the authority of Scripture or God’s Word as some like to call it. And this Word is what will give you the knowledge of God. It is a Word according to Challies that “reveals God to us has a unique and supernatural quality to it, part of which is that these are the words through which God the Holy Spirit makes Himself known to us individually and calls us to Himself personally.” Challies would go on to say in the blog post that “The Bible is sufficient to tell us what to believe and how to live.”
There will be many that will agree with this idea wholeheartedly. However, let’s look at a different perspective.
Some of you might be familiar, and perhaps enjoy the writings of Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Brennan Manning or Dallas Willard. You might say that their writings “speak” to you. Perhaps it was a Divine connection. Many of their ideas, not all of them, are around an idea called Christian Mysticism. Very simplistic speaking for this post only, Christian Mysticism is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of God through direct experience or intuition. (That is web definition).
There will be also many of you that will agree with that wholeheartedly.
So while Challies argues that “God promised no more than Scripture”, Evans argues that the Bible doesn’t agree. Here is a portion of Evans argument.
As Peter exclaimed at Pentecost, “you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for your and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
The Holy Spirit has sustained the Church through good times and bad, through persecution and imperial power, through the centuries before the Christian Bible was fully assembled, through the assembling of that Bible, through the centuries when most Christians had very little access to the Bible, through the centuries when many American Christians have multiple versions of the Bible on their bookshelves and multiple Christian denominations in their hometowns.”
So, as I said earlier, this might be a chicken and egg argument. The question comes down to this.
How have you learned and or experienced God? Was it through a reading of Scriptures? And by following them?
Or have you used Scripture as a guideline? But have experienced the “Divine” through nature or outside communications of Scripture?
Or, and also an important point, have you experienced the “Divine” without reading a single word of Scripture? Or attending a church community?