The Anti-Scripture Scriptures – Part II

In my first post, I covered the misuse of John 5:39,40.  By misuse, I mean using the scriptures against themselves. You can see that post HERE.  In the second part of this series, I’d like to consider John 14:26 –

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father

will send in my name, he will teach you all things

and bring to your remembrance all that I have

said to you.”

 

 

 

This text has been used to infer that:

    • We don’t need the Bible because the Spirit will teach us everything we need to know.
    • The Bible is a lower form of revelation and not as authoritative as the higher and more direct personal revelation from God.
    • There are many who have an unhealthy reliance on a book.
    • Objective, propositional, written, and absolute truth are invalid concepts
    • Immature or ignorant Christian are separating the scriptures from the Spirit. 

Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but each of these inferences, insinuations, or accusations have been laid at the feet of those who rightly claim that the bible is the Word of God.  And yes, I capitalized my “W” again.  Let’s take a look at this verse in context.

Jesus is comforting and talking directly to His disciples.  In the midst of that conversation, Thomas, Philip, and Judas asks a questions:  Judas asked, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

To which Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love me will not obey my word (λόγοs). These words (λόγους) you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.  All this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Of particular interest here is the incarnate logos (Jesus) speaking logos (words) that “belong” to the Father.  This note for those who might say that the logos is only Jesus in the flesh.

Regardless, this message was given to the disciples and not to us.  I am not saying that the Spirit is not our counselor, teacher, comforter or anything of that sort.  We can understand the Spirit’s role in our lives via scripture that is written to a wider audience of which we are a part.  But, in this case it is clear that John 14:26 was for the disciples.  The Spirit may teach us today, but He doesn’t “remind” us of everything that Jesus said.  Why?  Because we never heard it first hand to begin with.  “Reminding” us requires that we were participants in the original proclamation of Jesus’ words.  More on that later…

The purpose of this verse was not to drive us from the scripture to a higher learning.  In fact, I intend to show in later posts that the purpose was the exact opposite.  Jesus’ statement was a call to the disciples and to future generations to accept the authority of the written logos.  For now, a few questions:

If the scriptures are God-Breathed, is it possible to separate the scriptures from Spirit of God?

Is it possible to question the authority of the scriptures without assuming the authority of the scriptures?

For those who would say that the Bible is not the Word of God, to what good end does that claim serve?  

 

 

 

0 thoughts on “The Anti-Scripture Scriptures – Part II

  1. Eli says:

    “For those who would say that the Bible is not the Word of God, to what good end does that claim serve?”
    I’ll bite. It really depends how the term ‘the word of god’ is applied. I suspect in the way you apply it, there isn’t real harm in using that terminology as you are not denying or minimizing the work of the spirit. So our argument would probably center on terminology not actual real life practice.
    The waters get muddied though with those who take the application of the concept of the (written) word of god too far. ie they speak of needing to meditate on the word, or get the word into them or obey the word… and none of that means direct fellowship with god feeding on his words to them… however it always means the bible is involved. So the only thing that has any kind of authority is the bible and consequently those who wield the bible with the most force or eloquence.
    So that answers your first question. YES 100 times yes the scriptures can be separated from the spirit. 1000s of denominations and centuries of hatred and cruelty all supposedly supported by scripture is evidence enough. There is nothing magical about the bible, any more than when Jesus himself spoke did everyone have a spiritual response. Jesus’ words and ministry were lost on many witnesses, so too with the bible.
    As to question two yes its possible because one would be questioning the authority other people ascribe to the scriptures which does not mean the questioner holds to the same view. Honestly I feel sorry for anyone that believes what they believe only because the bible says so and not because it has been repeatedly confirmed in one way or another. Its frustrating when people misuse the bible to prove things that are speculative like the precise unfolding of end times.
    Perhaps one of the core strengths of the bible is that it is a true account of gods revelation through israel and jesus… if one believes it to be so. That still doesnt mean the scriptures are exhaustive and cover all aspects of spiritual life.
    “There are many who have an unhealthy reliance on a book.” how anyone could deny that is beyond me. They must be looking at a very different church landscape. It seems illogical to think some or many under rely on the book yet not the opposite.
    “Objective, propositional, written, and absolute truth are invalid concepts” i wouldnt call them invalid but i would say every person has their own opinion on which is which if any. Propositional truth is always subjectively applied and its arrogant in the extreme to think any one person or group can get it right on all these matters.

    • Norm M. says:

      Eli,

      You make the (excellent) point that many people misuse the Bible to justify evil actions and opposing viewpoints (“1000s of denominations and centuries of hatred and cruelty all supposedly supported by scripture is evidence enough”).

      Now, I’ve known people (and heard of many others) that have used the “God revealed it to me” argument to justify some decidedly un-Biblical views or actions. So it seems to me that whatever side of this debate one falls on, one can be led astray.

      I’ve never delved deeply into this topic, so I still have many questions… but it seems to me, that we can’t correctly understand the Bible without the Spirit’s help, and we can’t trust people’s “direct revelation” if it doesn’t line up with the Bible.

      • David Woods says:

        Well said, Norm M. Well said. People can use the “God told me I could” argument to justify much—which is why the Bible is useful for correction, reproof, doctrine, etc. I’ve heard some wild ones myself–including justified marijuana use (non-medicinal–as if it makes a difference).

        On the other hand, we all know stories of large groups of people using the scriptures to justify things like slavery, polygamy, racism, and other such atrocities.

        In both cases, it seems to me, that it was because they were making use of one without the other. Or in most cases, neither to tell the truth. “Making use” of God is obviously the wrong terminology, but you get the picture, I’m sure. That’s actually what they were attempting to do.

        This is precisely why the “completeness of man” comes from ensuring that both (Spirit and Scripture) are taken into account–and not just one over the other.

  2. David Woods says:

    I assume I am probably the one this post is directed towards the most here, and I intend to answer your questions directly after saying that a lot of assumptions have been made that are not true.

    First and foremost, as I stated in another blog post, I am simply presenting the one side because the other has so well been taught and established already, but no intent was meant to do so at the exclusion of the other side. I have made it very clear that both sides (Spirit and scripture) are inseparable, and necessary for “the complete man” to be complete. It is not I who cut out the scriptures, but they who cut out the Spirit.

    Someone else used the scripture reference you make reference to, so I will let them answer for it. The one I use most is John 16:13. I think The Holy Spirit was sent to guide us through life, and from most people’s experiences I’ve heard (and my own) He starts by revealing Himself through scripture so that we may know they are His. Most people I’ve talked to can recall how, as “baby Christians” the scriptures were opened up to them in a way that let them know they were contacting God Himself. All they had to do was open, point, and Boom! there was their answer. But most can also recall a time when they opened, pointed, and read a verse about Judas hanging himself, or vile serpents or such, and they knew it was not of God. It was at this point (I believe) that, with scriptural foundation laid, God tried to move on to “step two” in our lesson–hearing His voice when the scriptures weren’t available. This doesn’t mean they are put aside for good, but that He wants a closer relationship with us than just reading. He wants to speak directly to us (again, with scriptural foundation already laid).

    I really don’t know how else to say it without misunderstanding taking place. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. It just takes so much time and typing to present the one side, with the other already presented, it’s all I have time for. It’s got to be both, or it doesn’t work. As the pharisees in scripture clearly demonstrated, and Jesus clearly attempted to correct them on.

    Answers:
    Q 1: No It’s the ultra-traditionalists that attempt to do this that I end up arguing against. They claim scripture is the final authority. It’s not the word authority that I have a problem with–Jesus used scripture against the devil himself and overcame him with it. The scriptures obviously have the backing of God Himself, and therefore, the authority. It’s the word “final” that I have a problem with. As with Peter’s vision (and many other scriptural examples), I think it is very apparent that God is sovereign enough to change the way things are done when He pleases. We change with Him, or we end up like the pharisees–clinging to an old Word in opposition to God Himself.

    Q 2: Of course not. It’s not the authority of scriptures that is in question, but the final authority of them. The pharisees believed in their final authority without the leading of the Holy Spirit, and look where it got them. We must follow God’s lead. When He moves, we move. You as a missionary, I’m sure, know this better than most.

    Q 3: The first chapter of John (in the scriptures) defines Jesus as THE Word of God. The verse in Timothy that has become so well known in these posts defines the written scriptures role–doctrine, correction, etc. How does one change what the scriptures say (re-defining the very Word of God), and then claim the authority of scripture? If the scripture defines it one way, and we claim it’s authority, then why don’t we accept ITS definition without question? Simply because of some traditional teaching that we grew up with, or some extra-Biblical institutional doctrine? Some may, I do not. I’ll answer this question directly, however, in another comment before I lose all this.

    • Miguel says:

      David,

      Brother this is not in response to any one person. Especially not you. If I do call people out, I reference them. This series is related to some ongoing discussions regarding the scriptures on various social networks.

      • David Woods says:

        Just read your comment Miguel, I appreciate that. Sorry if I sounded harsh. These are discussions I enjoy having on G+. I just usually get shut down completely before I get far enough in the conversation to type something this long. Most people don’t bother questioning me on most things. They just tell me why I’m wrong, and leave it at that. I appreciate you at least having a listening ear. Most don’t even respond to what it is I actually say.

    • David Woods says:

      Q 3: The Bible has been called THE Word of God for centuries to one end: It allows the institutional churches to do exactly as the pharisees did–teach the Holy Scriptures (I’ll capitalize it, just for you, Miguel), putting their spin on it, using it only as a reference tool for their man-made, extra-Biblical doctrine instead of just using it AS doctrine, for the purpose of keeping control of the church. One only needs look at the catholic church to see a greatly exaggerated version of this. All denominations, however, (and I’ve been an intimate part of many) use this to their controlling advantage to some degree. This was the very thing Jesus spent a good portion of the gospels railing against the pharisees for doing, and it’s still being done today.

      We’ve spoken, I believe, in other posts about how much the modern institutionalized church looks more like the OT church than the New. I believe it is, in part, a direct result of this teaching. Not alone, it’s just the foundation for it. They act like not only are the words in the Bible the very words of God Himself, but THE WORD–as in, the only thing He ever has spoken, or will speak. This, of course, leads to the premise that we are left here to figure it all out for ourselves. and that one denomination is closer to the “real truth” than the next. To me, it’s the foundation for all the disunity in the western church today as we know it.

      That may be kinda dramatic, and I’m sure some wouldn’t think it’s as bad as all that, but I happen to feel that way. So, to again answer your question directly “to what good end does that claim serve?” I answer this way. It serves the end of unraveling everything I just spoke of, and maybe, just maybe, restoring a little Biblical unity to the church (church being defined as the body of Christ–the bride).

      I hope this helps you understand a little where I’m coming from. I haven’t typed something this long since high school. If not, feel free to kick me off your blog–I promise, I won’t be offended. With the stance I take on some things, I’m used to it.

      But do know that you haven’t offended me at all. I understand that the way we understand things run deep, especially when it comes to things that matter, and for the Christian, nothing matters quite as much as the things of the Lord. I really do respect you, Miguel, you’re the only blog I follow or have ever followed, and I respect your opinion because of what you do. You have to understand, the only people I allow to speak into my life (as far as pastorally) are missionaries to this point. Rolland and Heidi Baker, Georgian and Winnie Banov, David Hogan, Bill Johnson (urban missionary), etc. People who God has taken notice of, and visited with this healing and miraculous power. I feel you are one of those. I don’t know, I may be wrong, I haven’t heard any stories of God’s miraculous power in your life or ministry, but I just have the feeling.

  3. Peter says:

    My understanding has changed over time, so perhaps it will change more. I like to think that it has grown, but here is how I see the Word of God. The Son is the unique Word of God. Scripture is like the shell of a seed. Christ is the Seed, but the written or spoken Word is like a shell. The shell is not the Life, but a container of the Life. It is a way for the Life to be transferred.

    To speak the Word of God is to speak forth Christ. Scripture is prophecy: the speaking of man with the breathing of God. As Scripture came from the experiences of God by past saints, so we can speak the Word of God through our experience of Christ. Scripture is not the only spoken or written Word of God, since we all have the same Spirit and we all experience Christ.

    Scripture is unique in its reliability because of the maturity in Christ of those who wrote it. I don’t advocate adding anything to it, but I recognize that the Life of Christ is communicated through words, spoken or written, other than in the Scriptures. Although, I don’t think that prophecy contradicts prophecy (our understanding could be wrong).

  4. Tom Schultz says:

    I don’t think Miguel kicks out honest comments on the topic when expressed in an open, non-confrontational way. I know with my own blog. if I got an honest comment (as opposed to a Viagra ad) I would frame it on the wall even if it disagreed with what I posted!

    As far as the issue at hand, earlier comments have already outlined the extremes of both sides quite well. My one question is why the Spirit-over-Bible folks are so firmly convinced that the written Word (or should it be word?) is the CAUSE of the splits within Christendom and is somehow the tool to be used in hitting others over the head. Increasing our understanding of Scripture should be a life-long adventure for all believers and can benefit from as many perspectives as are available. The closer we are to Scripture the closer we are to each other.

    To me blaming Scripture for schisms is as misleading as to say that Scripture is totally meaningless apart from the Holy Spirit’s help…kind of like one of those pictures that look like tiny dots until you get it just the right distance away and your brain does some sort of flip. I maintain that Scripture can be…at least superficially…understood by anyone who can read and even the difficult concepts are there for anyone to see. It is one thing to SEE something and another to BELIEVE it, and that is where the Holy Spirit shines.

    • David Woods says:

      Tom, I think the biggest difference here, which as yet remains largely unspoken, is the purpose of interpreting scripture, and I think it’s a subject that needs to be addressed at lenth.

      The spirit-over-scripture people (to use your terminology) aren’t citing the authority of one over the other, but saying that the Spirit of God interprets the Scripture. To what end is what needs to be discussed. These people (me anyway) see the purpose of interpreting scripture as a personal guide through life. In other words, what does the Scripture say, and the Spirit witness to, that would tell me, for example, whether or not I should take this promotion, or that job offer? Who should I marry? Or can I trust my kid with a Twitter account?

      On the other hand, it seems to me that the Scripture-over-Spirit people’s purpose for interpreting scripture is quite different. Their purpose seems to be to figure out, without the help of the Spirit of God, what laws, absolutes, doctrines, and general rules can be inferred from scripture for the purpose of writing denominational doctrine that they then attempt to hold themselves and each other to. This leads, of course, to separation of denomination, and disunity in the body of Christ–which is why people like me bother to take the time to argue against it.

      That’s all I have time for this morning, but I think that the purpose of interpreting scripture is at the heart of this debate in the first place, and should be explored further.

      Oh, and it can be Word (capital). Arguing over capitals is fruitless.

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