Saturday, 26 July 2014

Jesus is all you need

Following on with the theme of 'measured and balanced responses' I'd like to touch on an issue that is beginning to trouble me as increasingly I hear people preach a theology that says, 'Jesus is all you need.' The problem is that I totally agree with the words and yet the reality that is seeks to deliver causes me problems - and that's where the problems begin.

I believe that Jesus is 'all we need' but when people preach that when we speak of  then 'Word of God' we means Jesus and Jesus is all we need so the Bible is secondary to our faith. Extend this further and consider some of the sermons I have heard where the words, 'Jesus is all we need and He tells us to love everyone regardless of who, what or how they live! We don't need the old laws and traditions, we just need to love and accept everyone.'

One of the problems with this sort of error is that it takes words or concepts and deviates, corrupts, adds or diminishes that which is solid and secure so that to disagree is to end up saying, 'I don't believe Jesus is all-sufficient!' Now that's something to leave you labelled as someone who is not quite right and this is their intention, because then that which is wrong appears right and those who are right appear wrong. Now whose works does this sound like I wonder?

Discussing this with a colleague (and friend) their response was that this was a response to the Bibliolatry that is found these days. Indeed it appears to be a reactionary move to move away from the reliance on, and pointing to, the Bible on a number of issues. The many people who engage in the terrible art of prooftexting and those who seek to do more than point to the truth contained within in it (or decide to ignore it) all leave the word of God impotent and abused.

Jesus IS the Word of God (Logos) and the Bible is the word of God (logos) and we need the latter to illuminate the former (Jesus) as fully man, God, Christ and Messiah and to proclaim His message of love and His reconciling and atoning act that is the cross, His ascension and the coming of His Holy Spirit. I don't believe you can fully look to Jesus as being all-sufficient and not want to find out more about Him and God's dealings with people as found in the written word and without the written word cannot understand or follow the true Jesus but end up with a Jesus made in your own image (or worse still, in the image of someone who, puppet like, gives approval to that which it is obvious Jesus never approved of).

Jesus came to fulfil all the law and the prophets - this doesn't mean that having come these can now be binned in a 'job done' sort of way. It means that Jesus kept the laws and upheld the moral values and teaching of the Old Testament and to distance Him from the Bible is to create error.

It's as foolish as those who tell us that we can never 'outgrace' God so why try to live by foolish teachings and philosophies (from the Apostle Paul and others) when instead you can live under Grace and 'live life to the full'

I am reminded of the words from Godspell:

'After you've got your converts you make them. Twice as fit for hell! As you are yourselves!'

Beware the Blind guides and the blind fools!


Simon Nicholls said...

I agree with you insofar as the Bible provides the necessary context for our knowledge and understanding of Jesus. Divorcing Jesus from the Hebrew scriptures leaves us with a construct of our own making.

That said, I am nervous about calling the Bible "the word of God". A few months ago I did a search in the New Testament on the phrase "word of God". In only one instance was there an unambiguous reference to scripture. In every other case it was a reference to a much more dynamic concept. The "word of God/the Lord" appears to be a message that comes to a particular person or (more usually) a community or group in a specific situation via the Holy Spirit. This seems also to tie into the use of the phrase in the Hebrew scriptures.

So, IMO, we may with the help of the Holy Spirit discern the word of God (to us) IN the Bible, but to refer to Bible itself (or its constituent texts) as "the word of God" in the undifferentiated way the phrase is so often used seems to be unsupported in the Bible.

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Understand where you're coming from - not that fussed as long as we realise that the relationship of the living word (Logos) is made all the more (add your own word here) when taken with and supported by the written (logos) word.

I don't think thetre's any Biblical support for Logos/logos (or Trinity) in the literal sense but the applied sense renders it adequate and beneficial.


Simon Nicholls said...

What I think I'm trying to say is that I no longer think there is such a thing as a "word of God" detached from a context, which is what many (most?) Evangelicals imply when they refer to the Bible as such (cf. "the Bible clearly teaches...").

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Never thought Bible could be seen as authoritative when taken out of context and yet so many do to permit or deny when the reason for such is our own desire to do something ourselves or prevent others from doing.

I think there is some merit in seeing it as the word of God (or better still God's word to us) but meet many who doubt inspiration, fallibility and the like and so struggle with it - some choosing to discount it for a 'new revelation' in today's context based on Jesus (but where they get the Jesus they base it on with out the Bible stumps me).

It's all a bit Catch-22 innit :-)

Happy Sunday - He is risen :-)

and I'm going to bed!!!