Three Positions: Equal to Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 13, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week I wrote about people who like to pride themselves above Scripture. They like to look down upon it with an “educated” critiquing gaze so they can figure out what they think Scripture says. It is a dangerous place to be because those that do this do not believe the Bible, nor its author, but themselves. Today, we’ll look at another almost more dangerous position: equal to Scripture.

If you are equal to Scripture, you are not above it, nor are you below it. This is where most Christians today, by practice, stand. If you are equal to Scripture, you are buddies with Scripture. You are friendly with it. You like it. You get along with it. You go play with it. You hang out together. However, you don’t submit to it. You don’t heeds its commands or warnings. You still do your own thing, even if you don’t lord yourself over it.

Equal to Scripture is like an acquaintance-type friend. Not your close, best friend who you can trust to tell you to fix things in your life, but like most childhood friends. You hang out during school. You go play together in the summer days. You have sleep overs. You go to parties. But when you are done, you go home and go your separate ways. You may greatly look forward to the next time you get together, but when they are not around you don’t think too much about them.

Being equal to Scripture is like having a favorite toy you played with as a child. You loved receiving the gift, or buying it yourself. You get it out and play with it. You take care of it. You keep it clean, you love it, you treat it kindly, and you don’t let others mess with it. But when you are done with it, you put it up on the shelf and move on.

Being equal to Scripture also means that your opinion has just as much weight as what the Bible says. If you are above Scripture, your opinions mean more than Scripture, and Scripture must bow to your intellect. If you are equal to Scripture, Scripture’s take on things does have value but you are able to put your own opinions on the table and both must be considered evenly.

Does this behavior look familiar? I know it has been in my life. I write constantly about the authority of Scripture and holding it as our primary source of truth, but how often in my own life do I treat myself as being equal to Scripture? I enjoy my Bible reading times at night and love talking about the Lord, and what he is doing, but I don’t buckle down and start applying the Bible’s teachings in my life. I’m guilty.

Or how many of us have our favorite Scripture verses and that is all we actually know of the Bible? Many of us can quote John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, or Psalm 23 without a problem. I have asked this question many times. Who knows what the context is of Jeremiah 29:11? Who was it written to? What was the situation? The response in the groups I have spoken at nearly show unanimous no clue of the context. Here it is. The people were to be sent into captivity, the ultimate low point of Jewish history in the Bible. The entire book of Lamentations is about this incident. Jeremiah told the people that they were going to be there for a long time, so build homes, have families, and bless their captors. This is not exactly a pleasant and good time, and nowhere close to what people quote the singular verse are saying.

Those who put themselves equal to Scripture tend to cherry-pick the verses they like and dismiss the passages they don’t like. Augustine of Hippo once said: “If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.” Jesus also said: “You cannot serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other.” People who are equal to Scripture are serving two masters: God and themselves. Jesus was talking about money in that quote, but the same concept applies across the board. These people love to receive the Bible’s take, but then they insert their own.

One thing I want to make very clear here is that very few people are capable of actually holding this position. They can do so for a time, but all who do this and claim this end up putting themselves above Scripture, especially at the point where the Bible says something they don’t like.

Progressive Creationist Hugh Ross is noted for saying that science is the 67th book of the Bible, that science completes the understanding of the Bible. He tries to put science equal to the Bible, but if you watch what he actually does, he never does hold them on the same authoritative tier. He always puts science above the Bible in all practice. He likes the Bible. He reads it. He gets it out and he studies it. But he does not submit to it. He thinks he is buddy-buddy with Scripture, that secular science can be friends with it. However, the philosophy of naturalism, like the Bible, demands top-billing, the top tier. I don’t remember who originally said this, but it fits: “If Jesus is not Lord OF all, he is not Lord AT all.”

Do we put ourselves equal to Scripture? Do we think we can have a fun time with God, but put him away when we have had enough? Do we think we can be friends with God without having to submit ourselves to him? If so, we need to re-examine ourselves. Many claim to be Christians with this attitude, and if we have it, we should examine ourselves to see if we are indeed in the faith. Romans 10:9 says we need to declare with our mouth that Jesus Christ is LORD. That he is the ruler over our lives. How can he be the boss, if we only let him be a buddy? Too many want Jesus as Savior, as a friend, not as Lord, not as the ruler of their lives. I must warn you: Jesus will not have anything to do with that kind of relationship. Jesus said, “You must deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Do we do that?

Next week, I wrap up this mini-series with the only place a Christian should take in regards to Scripture: below it. Do we lay it all down and submit ourselves to Christ and his teachings through Scripture? Do we try to mold Scripture to our understanding, or do we mold ourselves to what God teaches? Stay tuned for that.

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