Bible as an idol

Jan 19, 2015 by

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I see as idolatry the practice of calling the Scriptures “God’s Word” with a capital W. This places the Bible above Jesus, God Incarnate, the Word-Made-Flesh (John 1:1-14). It is this fallacy, imported from fundamentalist legalism, that keeps putting “red herrings,” including the degrading of homosexuality, into our Mennonite church. Surely Satan is rejoicing in it. Fine scholarship is being done detailing what the Bible says on that subject; Ron Sider’s seems especially impressive. However, I do not think these works are valid as guides for following Christ. Using them for that purpose defies our Lord Jesus. He simply tells his flock, most surely including same-sex couples, to treat others as we want to be treated (the second of his pair of commandments). Some Mennonites seem to think their legalism expresses Mennonite Anabaptist faith. I see it as a major distortion, even espoused by some Mennonite Church USA conferences, including Lancaster Conference, of which I was once a member. Jesus certainly exposed the Pharisees for their excessive legalism (Matt. 23:23-25). I urge those who haven’t reached a decision on the issue of homosexuality to prayerfully visit this yet again, look to Christ and endeavor to follow him and the good example of our patriarch Chester Wenger. God help us love.

Don Sheeler
Sarasota, Fla.

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Mennonite World Review invites readers’ comments on articles. To promote constructive dialogue, editors select the comments that appear, just as we do with letters to the editor in print. These decisions are final. Writers must sign their first and last names; anonymous comments are not accepted. Comments do not appear until approved and are posted during business hours. Comments may be reproduced in print, and may be edited if selected for print.

  • Conrad Ermle

    Since when is it legalism to teach that marriage is meant for one man and one woman for life? Excuse me? Jesus told you that’s not the truth? Did he also tell you that it’s okay for sex outside of marriage, specifically homosexuall sex? What Jesus are you talking to anyway. Are you sure it’s Jesus???? — Conrad Ermle

  • Dale Welty

    Many Christians believe the Bible from Genesis to Revelations
    is the inspired Word of God as stated in 2Tim3:16. Just
    because some progressive Mennonites believe it contains the
    word of God and contains various segments that are not truth
    but are myths.
    Jesus said marriage is between a man and a
    woman and in his eyes are one flesh. Same sex legal covenant
    relationships are not one flesh in the eyes of God no matter
    how many times they may be sprinkled with Anabaptist holy
    water. Dale Welty

  • Phil Schroeder

    Don Sheeler says that to accept the Bible as “Gods Word” is idolatry. The one command that he seems to accept is the Lord’s second most important command, to love our brother as our self. He is right in adhering to this command, but if he does not accept the Bible as “God’s Word”, what ground does he stand on to even say we should follow it. If we claim to follow Jesus then we need to accept all of his teachings and seek to understand how they work together. In Matthew 18:15-17 we are challenged to go to the brother that sins or sins against you depending on the manuscript and try to reason with them. Jesus said that if they fail to listen to even the church, then treat them as a pagan or a tax collector. The challenge for the church is not which verse or command we follow, but how do we faithfully follow both. All things must be done in love and submission to Christ, with the eternal interests of ourselves and our brother in mind. When we come to the belief that the Bible is anything less than “God’s Word”, we are then being ruled by our own philosophy and desires.

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