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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Jesus as the criterion

In the year 2000 when the Southern Baptist Convention revised the Baptist Faith and Message, there was quite a controversy over removing "(t)he criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ" (which wasn't in the original 1925 BF&M). The sentence evidently meant different things to different people. It seemed to be "anathema" to the more conservative, while particularly "holy" to those on the liberal end of the spectrum. Some who held "Jesus as the criterion" denied what many Christians would consider the most fundamental of beliefs.

If the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ, does that mean:
(1). Since Jesus said that the flood came in the days of Noah, we should believe that it did?
(2). Since Jesus said that Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the whale's belly, we should believe that he was?
(3). Since Jesus said that Abel 's blood was shed, we should believe that it was?
(4). Since Jesus said that Sodom was destroyed, we should believe that it was?

If the creation account and surrounding stories (i.e. Cain & Abel) are myths (um, I mean allegories), then what lesson would we learn from Jesus implying that Abel was just as real as Zacharias the son of Barachias? (Mt. 23:35). That he really was a person? That we shouldn't undermine the faith of people in their fables? That Jesus didn't know that Abel wasn't really a person? Either way, it would appear that some of the loudest proponents of "Jesus as the criterion" have a little problem.

Nevertheless, there is an issue of dealing with these "stories" in relation to Jesus' use of them. It would seem that there are three possibilities: [1] Jesus was aware that the referenced people and/or incidents were historical, [2] Jesus was NOT aware that the referenced people and/or incidents were not historical, [3] Jesus was aware that the referenced people and/or incidents were not historical. If Jesus were not aware that the referenced people and/or incidents were not historical, perhaps we could forgive him for referencing the stories as if they were. But then it would be hard to accept His claims of deity. If Jesus were aware that the referenced people and/or incidents were not historical, and yet referenced them with no disclaimer, it should at least bring in question why any Christian who doesn't accept their historicity doesn't just use them for lessons and not destroy the confidence of the people in them. But isn't it most reasonable that the Lord of glory KNEW the history and told the truth as He knew it?!

1 comment:

Jim1927 said...

If we don't have a sound understanding of what the word of God is, there is no way we can have a sound understanding of who Christ is. Profane history leaves little information about Jesus, and we depend on the Bible for what we know. To my mind, the scriptures become the most important source in all christendom. Perhaps there is more to Jesus being called the Word than we often ascribe.

Cheers,

Jim