Habemus Altare

I’m a Christian, a person of faith, and I have to say that my hope is not in the scriptures.

The story of Jesus that is told in the scriptures is the most intriguing story I’ve ever read. I believe that God has revealed something in the Christ that can’t be ignored for it’s importance and life-changing ability. I believe that, in the person of Jesus, God started something new in the world. So new, in fact, that people had to write about it in haste.

But you see, that’s just it. My hope is in God’s work through Jesus. The scriptures contain that story, but they aren’t the object of my hope itself. Somewhere along the line we’ve turned the scriptures into God…and then everyone who begins to question them, to delve into their historical context to weed out discrepancies and cultural trappings becomes “irresponsible” and “dangerous.”

In short, my question is: “If the Bible isn’t God, why are so many people worshiping it?”

As a Christian, a person of faith, a pastor, the Bible informs my faith. It is the feedbox of faith; not the fence nor the object of faith.

But we’ve turned it into the idol on a pedestal. We’ve claimed it as “infallible” and “inerrant.” My favorite variation of this claim is that it is “inerrant in it’s original languages.” Nice dodge, people. I hate to say it, but that’s not exactly how language works. It is not intellectually honest to claim that something is perfect in its original but long-lost form. It’s a quaint way of acknowledging that there are internal inconsistencies with the scriptures while escaping any need to take them seriously.

Infallibility and inerrancy are traits commonly ascribed to the Divine itself. But because we can’t see the Divine in the ways we want to, we’ve created this lovely Bible-calf out of the gold of our desire for concrete things, and think that full “authority” rests in it instead of the God it points to.

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