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Friday, April 15, 2016

That's Not Biblical!

It's the argument that, frankly, makes me laugh. You see, I'm operating from the historical, orthodox view that the Bible is God's Word, inerrant and infallible, right all the time. As such, it is, as God's Word, the authority on matters of faith and practice. It forms my worldview, my entire thinking structure that correlates all things in a coherent pattern. And, as such, it is incumbent upon me to transform my thinking to align with God's Word. "It's biblical" is something I need to pay attention to. (Mind you, I need to check whether the claim that "it's biblical" is correct, but I need to pay attention.)

So it makes me laugh when someone who doesn't actually care what is biblical or not will tell me, "That's not biblical!" Typically, someone like this has devoted time to carefully, piece by piece, stripping off adherence to "biblical" at all. "This part is myth. That part is fiction. That other part is cultural and no longer relevant to our time. Oh, and that part ... right there ... where you have you finger ... that part is just plain wrong." In other words, "I don't care what is biblical ... but what your claiming isn't."

The criteria are somewhat vague as to what constitutes "biblical". Often it is so rigid as to be ridiculous. "It doesn't actually say that" (whatever that happens to be) "so it's not biblical." As such, the Trinity (as a common example) is not "biblical" by this criterion because the word itself does not appear in Scripture anywhere. Often the "that's not biblical" cry, sounding so definitive and assured, is just an argument from personal position. "Sure, you've made your arguments. You've shown where the texts say something and the context argues something and the rest of Scripture argues something, but I disagree, so 'that's not biblical'." Why? Perhaps it's not explicit enough. (I think often it's because the position is not one they're willing to allow.) The fact is that more often than not people choose to disregard biblical arguments on the basis of preference rather than the Bible. So if all of Christendom agrees (as an example) that you can see Civil, Ceremonial, and Moral laws in the Old Testament and the Bible teaches that some Old Testament laws are either replaced or removed and Christians are, therefore, no longer obligated to keep the whole Law, the fact that no such explicit text exists -- disregarding all the supporting texts and all the relevant logic and the long history of this idea -- means that it isn't biblical. There are more oddly applied criteria, but none are applied evenly or even rationally.

What really makes me laugh is that these people who shout these accusations are not particularly interested in what is biblical and therefore, not intending to submit to the Bible. That is, "You're wrong because that's not biblical ... but I wouldn't submit to it if it was." They're not working at a better understanding of Scripture; they're aiming at removing your objection to their preferences. For instance, if you explain how, biblically, "there appears to be three types of laws in the Old Testament and here in Scripture is why we don't need to follow all three types anymore", they might argue that your argument isn't biblical (ignoring the fact that your argument was based on the Bible). Does that mean that they intend for us to keep all the Old Testament laws? Absolutely not! No, they just want you to stop saying that homosexual behavior is a sin because it says so in Leviticus (as if that's the only reason we say it) or whatever other truths or moral values you're pulling from Scripture. "No, we disagree that your explanation for not keeping the whole Old Testament Law is biblical ... but neither will we seek to keep the whole Old Testament Law." Leaving us with "I do what I want and you can't say otherwise", as if that trumps "biblical".

They'll keep arguing, "That's not biblical." On very rare occasion, they may actually be right. (For instance, "Cleanliness is next to godliness" is actually not biblical.) Most of the time, however, you can be fairly sure that they just want to diminish your faith, decrease your connection to Scripture, and deny God's Word as authoritative or even real. All of which are not biblical. Note to readers: If you derive your argument from the Bible, it is by definition biblical. Your argument may be false (because you improperly derived it from Scripture), but it is "biblical". Just to be clear.


Craig said...

My favorite John Shuck statement ever was when he announced that if Jeusu himself showed up in his back yard and told John that homosexual sex was a sin, John declared that he would tell Jesus something like "If that's the case then I want nothing to do with you.".

It's all just hubris. It's a reflection that our 21st century post modern worldview is so inherently superior to the worldview of the Bible writers that they just can't be taken all that seriously.

It's also the same folks that say "The Bible is not a rule book." (when it clearly does contain rules that we are to follow), yet dismiss things (marriage, trinity, inerrancy, Sola Scriptura) because either those specific words aren't used or there is not a formal definition of what they mean.

Stan said...

There is none so blind as him who will not see.

Marshall Art said...

Oh, they see, alright.

Craig said...

Definitely will not see. Or see and ignore. Or whatever. But, definitely a choice not a lack of ability.