The Bible: a firm, welcome road beneath our feet

One of the greatest concerns with the ’emerging church’ movement is their departure from a traditional view of the Bible (authority, infallibility, inerrancy, revelation, objective, literal, absolute), and, their proximity to the relativism and spiritual vagueness of the day.

How happy I was when reading this excellent passage from the fine book by De Young & Kluck, WHY WE’RE NOT EMERGENT, BY TWO GUYS WHO SHOULD BE (Moody Publishers, 2008). Of course, the C. S. Lewis quote is a gem, but hear the application which follows, too.

Isn’t it strange, C.S. Lewis wondered, that the Law would be the Psalmist’s delight (Ps. 1:2)? Respect or reverence we might understand, but delight? Who delights in law? And why? Lewis explains: “Their delight in the Law, is a delight in having touched firmness; like the pedestrian’s delight in feeling the hard road beneath his feet after a false short cut has long entangled him in muddy fields.”
In our world of perpetual squishitude, why offer people more of what they already have — vague spirituality, uncertainty, and borderline interpretative relativism? Why not offer them something hard and old like the Law in which we delight, and dare to say and belive, “Thus saith the Lord”?

— Kevin DeYoung p. 85, WHY WE’RE NOT EMERGENT

This is just one reason I like this book so much: it not only exposes the emergent nonsense for what it is, while at the same time shoring up the foundations of orthodox Christian faith and practice.

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One thought on “The Bible: a firm, welcome road beneath our feet

  1. I guess the issue here is that the idea of sola scriptura, or the “authority, inerrancy, and absolutism” of the scriptures is neither traditional nor orthodox. In fact this idea is a fairly new idea within the whole of Christianity. Protestants would like to think that this has been the practice, or was the practice of the early church, however.. before the printing press was popularized(1500 and on), the vast majority of people, including clergy couldn’t get their hands upon a bible, much less read it, and until (the last 150 or so years), over 99% of people were illiterate, and couldn’t read a bible if they had one (which most of them did not).

    Of course, there wasn’t even a technical bible to read until it was canonized in 1545 at the Council of Trent. So.. I guess I just don’t understand claiming the absolute inerrency sole source of doctrine of a document that didn’t really exist, and was not available until around 500 years ago. The Jewish tradition regarding scripture says that there is the Tenakh(which is what we call The “Old” Testament, which is the written tradition, and along with and inseparable from the Tenakh is the oral tradition, which is thousands of years of Rabbi and Rabonni interpretation of “the written word.” So, they don’t only look at what was written, but they also looked at what was said about what was written.

    We see Paul, and other figures in the new testament reinterpreting the old testament in light of Christ, and we still do that today. In Jesus’ time there was much among the Jews about whether there is resurrection from the dead (something that we see plain as day in the text today, because we have 2000 years of tradition reinforcing that belief. Paul even uses this debate as a distraction in acts 23 when he is brought before the council. Steven, also before he is stoned gives the Jews who are about to stone him a heck of an exposition on the Old Testament that was not at all what the Jewish tradition had taught them.

    I guess my point here is that the noone has ever really, truly relied on only the bible for guidance and direction when it comes to the Lord. We look at scripture, we look at what our traditions say, and we also look at what is actually happening RIGHT NOW. I don’t know any emerging folks who don’t have a great reference for the bible, or say that it is not a place to find Jesus Christ, and direction in following him.. in fact I think the beatitudes (as well as the rest of the bible) are a pretty big deal among emerging/missional/mosaic/new monastic circles. There is the Bible, but there’s also the Spirit, there’s tradition and there’s also common sense.

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