Thursday, May 10, 2012

All of Scripture Teaches It

In theological debate I've noticed that when asked where something is taught in Scripture, some people will respond with "everywhere" aren't able to provide a specific passage. They say that the Scriptures when taken as a whole teach this particular doctrine but are unable to provide a passage where they believe it is taught clearly. When pressed they will say something like, "The doctrine of the Trinity isn't taught in any specific passage either, but the whole of Scripture teaches the doctrine of the Trinity." But this isn't really true. You can find the Trinity in passages like Matthew 28:19. They say that what they are teaching is taught everywhere but in reality it is taught nowhere.

I've noticed the "everywhere" invoked especially when it comes to this idea that every Christian is an evangelist/missionary and it is every Christ's duty to individually carry out the Great Commission. I say, "The Great Commission says to disciple the nations by baptizing them." They say, "It says teaching too." I say, "Yes but it goes hand in hand. It doesn't say go out and yell at people on street corners or hand out tracts and it doesn't say this is the duty of every Christian. Every Christian is called to be ready to give an answer for what they believe but every Christian is not a missionary." They say, "But all of Scriptures teaches that."

All of Scripture really means none of Scripture. All of Scripture means, "This is what my church has been teaching for the last fifty years." When passages are eventually given, they tend to involve the person reading his activity that he is already doing back into the Scriptures and missing the point entirely. "Look, Paul is outside, I'm outside too." Narrative texts are read as commands and people are made to feel guilty for not imitating what is found in the narrative passages even though the people in the narrative passages aren't even doing what people are being told they should do to prove they are real Christians. People are made to feel guilty for running by someone on the track at the gym without trying to get the person to make a decision for Jesus.

This is just one example. It is the result of a theological system that regards what can supposedly be teased out of the Scriptures as more important than what the Scriptures actually say and what is teased out is never Jesus. It's always something we need to do or believe to prove we are real Christians. The Bible is understood to be a giant puzzle. The puzzle box has a picture of Christ-crucified on it but we are told to ignore that picture. "The faith" is something that is understood not to be something that is handed down to us but as something that is in continual development. Those early church fathers simply didn't understand that the picture of Christ-crucified on the puzzle box was just for foolish children who weren't ready for the real meat.

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