I was given a couple of articles last week by one of our members. He is concerned about some of what he’s seeing during the Lord’s Supper, so in an honest attempt to help, he brought in these articles.
I don’t like them a bit. To be honest, I saw the title of the journal they were from, and I went in with a bad attitude. I read through them, but was quickly turned off. I’ve grown tired of piecemeal theology, which seeks to find words in the Bible that say what they want said rather than trying to figure out what a passage of Scripture is actually saying.
My dilemma was (and is) how do you explain that to the average church member? How do you show them that an author’s entire approach to Scripture is wrong? The man made points, with verses to back them up. To the member’s eye, it was very biblical. To my eye, it was very human and bordering on biblical malpractice.
I don’t want to come to the “well, you just wouldn’t understand” point in talking with people about the Bible. Yet I find that many biblical questions can’t be adequately answered by quoting a pair of Bible verses. I want themes and large principles. I want a passage of Scripture that is actually addressing that topic. If there isn’t one, then you’re going to have to show me how what you’re saying fits into the overriding story of Scripture. And that’s hard to do in an elevator speech.
It’s much easier to say, “Paul told the Corinthians to lay by in store every first day of the week, so that means we should meet on Sundays and have a collection.” That’s a concrete answer that people understand. It’s harder to look at principal themes of the Bible to determine how often to meet and what to do when we meet.
So much comes down to the way we view Scripture and what we consider to be an appropriate use of Scripture. Any suggestions on how to communicate such things in a way that people can understand? How do we lead people down a road that’s taken us years to travel? Should we even try?