Christianity has been completely discredited because there are so many errors and discrepancies in the Bible. Have you ever heard anyone say something like that? I have.
One of the most common objections to Christian faith surrounds the issue of how Scripture is understood and interpreted. During the Enlightenment, an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century, the atheistic philosopher Voltaire proclaimed that within 25 years the Bible would be forgotten and Christianity would be a thing of the past!
It’s most interesting that 40 years after Voltaire’s death in 1778, the Bible and other religious literature were being mass produced by a printing company that occupied Voltaire’s former home!
These types of pessimistic and cynical attitudes stem from a fallacious understanding of what the Bible is really all about, the eclectic nature of its literature, and the historical development of the various books contained therein. The Bible is not a science textbook, it’s not historical reader, it’s not merely an ethics primer. The key to comprehending the nature of sacred scripture is a recognition that the biblical writings cannot be reduced to any of these things alone. The Bible is this and so much more!
Hans-Ruedi Weber relates a story told in East Africa. A woman always walked around with her bulky Bible. She never was parted from it. So, some of the villagers began to tease her saying: “Why do you always carry your Bible? There are so many other books you could read.”
Yet the woman kept on living with her Bible, undisturbed by the incessant raillery. One day after being pestered in the town square, she stopped and held up the Bible, high above her head, and said with a confident smile: “Yes, of course there are many books which I could read. Yet there is only one book which reads me.”
I am deeply moved by the idea that the Bible can read me! Do you think it’s possible that we have inadvertently read the Bible in a way that has blocked it from truly speaking to us? I don’t know. What I do know is that too many of us, myself included, read the Bible like a tourist and then complain that our devotional times are fruitless. It’s necessary that we take time to explore the Bible. Notable truths and revelations will appear only as we take the time to dig beneath the surface.
The key point that I’m trying to make is that the Bible is not just a book that we should read…rather…the Bible is a book that should read us! This coming Sunday I will preach the concluding sermon in our current series by considering the allegation by some opponents of Christianity that the Bible is full of errors and cannot be trusted, this discrediting Christian belief. I hope you will join me for this delicate odyssey through the pages of Holy Writ as we seek to find a more meaningful faith for such a challenging time.
Please don’t forget the 2018 Summer Institute of Religious Studies, titled Faith on the Fringe? We’ll be studyingalternative faith perspectives such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, and Scientology. If you’ve ever wondered what these religious communities actually believe or how they compare with mainstream Christianity, these eight sessions this summer, beginning on Wednesday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m., will prove helpful to you. Don’t wait to register—the class is filling up fast!
See you Sunday!
P.S. Next Sunday, June 3, my next sermon series—Hymns My Mama Taught Me—begins. I’m particularly excited about this series because United Methodist Hymns were sung from sunup to sundown in my parents’ house and I know many of you have deep ties to this sacred music as well. I hope you’ll join me in Traditions at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. Bring your singing voice!