I’M A LITTLE NERVOUS about a series of lessons I have to help teach in the next few weeks.
We’re calling the series “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me.”
It’s a four-week set of lessons. I teach two of them. The one that has me nervous is the first one.
I’ll be leading a discussion of highlights in the book Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today by Adam Hamilton. He’s pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. It’s not only the largest Methodist church in the country, with over 18,000 members, it’s the church I attend.
Adam has some lively ideas in his book.
By lively, I’m thinking of a kid taking a bat to a hornet’s nest at a church picnic.
My class will be dissecting the hornets.
A hornet, in this case, is an idea with a stinger.
Whether folks consider the idea good or bad, it’s going to sting someone somewhere.
Here are a few excerpts from the book that I’ve highlighted for discussion.
See if you think they’ll sting.
- Do you think the scripture writers Moses, David, Matthew, and Paul were inspired to a greater degree or in a different way than we experience the inspiration and guidance of the Sprit as Christians today? …What differentiates their writing from ours is that they were closest to the events described….I am suggesting that the Spirit’s inspiration of the biblical writers was consistent with the way the Spirit inspires human beings today.
- None of the historic creeds of the church, those from the first five hundred years of the Christian faith, mention an infallible or inerrant Bible…and none begin with an affirmation of faith in the scriptures.
- …some things taught in scripture may not represent God’s character nor his will for us today, and perhaps never accurately captured God’s will.
- My point is that the Word of God by which all other words of God are measured must be the Word that was made flesh, Jesus Christ.
- If Jesus is our colander, we may question whether the passage from Leviticus [21:9, ordering a priest to burn to death his daughter if she becomes a prostitute] ever actually reflected God’s timeless will for humanity. [Adam notes that Jesus forgave a prostitute and told her to “Go in peace,” (Luke 7:50).]
- Even the apostles did not read the Bible from the perspective of “God (or the Bible) says it, I believe it, that settles it.” They were willing to debate how their Bible applied to new situations. [Adam points to the Jerusalem Council debates in Acts 15.]
Hornets are buzzing at the church picnic.
I love it when someone gets us to thinking about what we believe and why.
It’s unsettling to rethink our preconceived notions. I realize that. But it’s healthy.
The brain was one of God’s better ideas.