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bible

It drives me bonkers when Baptists, Pentecostals, Anabaptists, and all sorts of other low church Protestants dismiss tradition, creeds, bishops, and the rest offhand as being “man-made.” This they contrast with the Bible. What?? This just in: The Bible is man-made, too. I have no idea how much of “the finger of God” in Exodus 31:18 is an anthropomorphism, but, even treating that as literally as possible that God carved Ancient Near Eastern characters in rock using lightning out of His phalanges, it’s the only place in Scripture where God independently crafted the message. God with a glowing beard didn’t sit down on an otherworldly chair at a supernatural desk with a heavenly ballpoint pen containing radiant ink and get busy writing on a spiritual scroll, then have the angelic Postmaster General de-transfigure the thing before delivering down to the earthlings. Nor does it mean the Holy Spirit put men in trances, then dictated a really “mannish” (thank you, Francis Schaeffer) sounding message complete with poor grammar in places. Yes, I absolutely affirm that the Bible is divinely-inspired, but we’ve got to be careful with that. Divine-inspiration doesn’t mean it’s any less the product of man nor that it overruled/overshadowed human thinking. As far as I’m concerned, both of those are blatant false dichotomies that have no business within the christian faith. The Bible is special revelation; the divinely-inspired holy Scriptures as communicated, i.e. written and edited, by human authors living in precise cultural-historical contexts. It’s both/and rather than either/or. An admittedly limited analogy is Jesus, the incarnate Word: simultaneously fully God and fully man. In the same way that orthodox Christology insists that His two natures are inconfused, unchangeable, indivisible, and inseparable (dirty Council of Chalcedon…), so I’m convinced Scripture’s two origins must be upheld. The Bible isn’t only man-made, but it most certainly is man-made. The Bible is “Man-Made”

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…I think the powerful thing for me was when I got to the point of looking at Christianity and the Bible as more of a painting than as a photograph … that there were people who had this powerful experience with something bigger than themselves, and that this was their painting of it; this was how they articulated and painted that experience. But it wasn’t a photograph. And there were other groups of people in other parts of the world that had this other powerful experience with something bigger than themselves and they painted their picture of it. And, you know, we might have the same kind of experience, or have an experience with the same thing, and paint two very different pictures of it. Tim DeChristopher

…if you do not see the role that Egypt, Babylon and Rome played in the Biblical narrative … by what lens would be able to see the role that post-Cold War America plays in the global War on Terror? E is for Empire

The Right has successfully rebranded the brown-skinned liberal Jew, who gave away free healthcare, was pro-redistributing wealth, and hung with a prostitute, into a white-skinned, trickledown, union-busting conservative, for the very fact that an overwhelming number of Americans are astonishingly illiterate when it comes to understanding the Bible. On hot-button social issues, from same-sex marriage to abortion, biblical passages are invoked without any real understanding of the context or true meaning. How America’s Biblical Ignorance Allows the Christian Right to Use ‘Religious Freedom’ For Its Own Agenda

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Rather, instead of clinging to an essentialist view of language and critiquing the NIV for its “mistranslation,” we need to recognize the role of theo-politics in all translation, and critique the NIV for its bad theology. “Deliberate mistranslation” is rhetorically powerful language, but it does not help us speak and reason clearly about translational difference. NIV: Mistranslation, Deception, or Bad Theology?

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Look, any church will have Bibles in it, as well as people who read those Bibles to a greater or lesser degree. I have found that churches with “Bible” in the title, though, have weaponized their Bibles, and are not afraid to use them. They seem to be afraid to actually read them, but as bludgeons they are quite handy. Save yourself the bruises. A Fool’s Guide to Finding a Church

…it struck me that Paul probably couldn’t get a job teaching at the seminary that taught me about Paul. Peter Enns

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