• Tom Beaumont

The Bible Tells Me So

If I was to announce that I was going to tell you what I think the Bible says about a given issue, the chances are many of you would roll your eyes. Well, maybe not to my face but just the same you would approach what I have to say with a degree of polite skepticism that has little to do with me and what I might know. But it would have everything to do with the fact that out there in the broad arena of Christendom there is a vast array of interpretations, viewpoints, understandings and defiant dogmatism regarding what the Bible says and means. And even in the culture in which we live there are those who strive to keep Christians in line with their interpretation of the same.

You see, debates continue to rage over the Scriptures in relation to accuracy, authority, and relevance – all which play into answering the question, “what does it mean?” So, if you are going to trust what I have to say about an issue in the Bible you are going to need to know a whole lot more about where I am coming from. There are numerous checklists for that purpose and they might include such things as what church I attend, what school I was trained in, what brand of theology I subscribe to and just how conservative I may or may not be. But even if all those things lined up for you there would still be a degree of uncertainty.

That’s a bit problematic for us in the Christian camp world because many of us have “Bible” in our name and if not there, certainly in our mission. In fact, it is core to why most of us exist and who wants ambiguity associated with something as critical as that?

To a greater degree it is problematic to our Christian world view. If we believe that God, by nature, is all-powerful, good and perfect he certainly would know how best to communicate with us. So, what went wrong? Is God looking down at our vast array of interpretations of his message and saying, “You, got it right, but not you?” Is he throwing up his hands and saying, “you all missed it?” Did God chose a poor means to communicate? Did he say, “Oops, my bad, I should have been clearer?”

I’m going to hazard a guess - we screwed up, not God! We took what was designed to be straightforward and made it complicated. We wanted it to be something that fit with our current understanding of the world and of life. So we transformed Gods communication into something that said what we thought it was meant to say or should say.

In some cases we made it into a rule book that gave us our marching orders and we dare not depart from it. In other cases we made it into a timeline that told us what was to come and how this whole thing was to end. And along the way we determined what in it was appropriate for today and what was not.

We tend to forget that God chose to communicate to us through story. Which means we need to quit looking for rules and timelines and polity. It’s not that there aren’t pictures of them there, but dare I say it? They may not be the point! And I think in glory many of us are going to stand in line with our proverbial hat in hand to say, “I’m sorry I missed the point.”

So what is the point? Don’t look at me I got C’s in theology in seminary. But maybe scholastics aren’t needed here. Maybe what’s needed is simple faith in a simple message. Maybe we need to enjoy a story that portrays a God who loves us and wants us to love him in return. A God who has taken care of our obstinate sin and said through Jesus I have made it better, I have provided a way and now we can be together, forever. And, by the way, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to let everyone else in on this. To share in as simple a way as we can that a relationship with Almighty God is possible! And that he is waiting for us with open arms. May we have the courage to allow it to be that simple.

“Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so.”

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