THE BIBLE, AN IDOL?
TO THE INTELLECTUAL CHRISTIAN, MAYBE; TO GOD’S CHOSEN NEVER
In October, 2016 Paul Rosenberg a regular contributor to Freedom’s Phoenix wrote an article entitled “How the Bible Became an Idol”. He describes the Bible as a “false god” and maintains it should be treated as a “book” not a deity.
Rosenberg defines an idol as “something you hold above reality”. He then writes that “A true God-creator of the universe for example” should be held above reality, since he created reality.
Rosenberg’s reality is vested in humanism. He claims to revere the Bible but is critical of its content and its origin He selects what portions of the Bible to believe and what portions to discard. The Law, of course is the first to go. It is anachronistic and “no one follows” it anymore.
Like our Founder and most Libertarian leaning President, Thomas Jefferson, Rosenberg is attracted to the New Testament and “love”. President Jefferson took the scissors to the Bible cutting out the parts he did not like and kept those he did. He created the Jefferson Bible, a compilation of sublime passages that to his way of thinking kept the good and removed the bad.
I agree with Rosenberg that the discussion of doctrine and argument over Biblical passages is often not productive. However, the quest for an enduring doctrine cannot be a result of human reason but must, instead, be a consistent effort to better understand the Will of God through his Word; not to interpret but to understand what has been bequeathed to us. The Bible gives us the best available record of the character of God as He worked with His chosen people.
Reality to a Christian should be the Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the Creator, Sustainer, Law Giver, and King. Peace, blessing, order, and prosperity depend on obedience to His Law. That is reality for the true Christian servant.
Oral tradition was important in preaching the good news in the post Jesus era; but as time went on there was a need to codify the Christian religion and to preserve the Spirit if not the exact words of the Savior.
During the Fourth Century A.D., the Catholic Church worked to put the chapters of the Bible together into one volume. There was much controversy and many opinions. Martin Luther was involved in editing the Protestant version which is shorter by several chapters.
Nevertheless, with all the differences of opinion and conflicts the simple Biblical narrative is clearly set forth: God chose a particular individual and his progeny He chose them as His people and He required their obedience. Though He was patient they regularly disobeyed Him. Because their willful disobedience required His rejection, He mercifully sacrificed His own Son as a propitiation for their sin so that they could again enjoy His blessing. It was the sacrifice of His Son that created the “Good News” – “rejoice, your sins are forgiven”. When His chosen people callously rejected His Son, God rejected them as His chosen people substituting Christians of all races. Biblical Christians are God’s chosen people. They are expected to obey Him; to do His Will, and bring his creation under His dominion
My Merriam Webster dictionary program provides five definitions for “idol”.
1 a representation or symbol of an object of worship; broadly: a false god
2 a likeness of something b obsolete: Pretender, Impostor
3 a form or appearance visible but without substance <an enchanted phantom, a lifeless idol — P. B. Shelley>
4 an object of extreme devotion <a movie idol>
5 a false conception
Christian reality is different from pagan reality. The age of reason would use the human mind to determine reality; Christians use faith in God. Reality is not mentioned in the dictionary definition of an idol. ..
The Bible with all its frailties still communicates the true Gospel. It is an immutable anchor to the constant chaos that accompanies human reason. It is not an idol or false god as Rosenberg attempts to claim but the ultimate reliable source of bedrock Christianity. It is the best available record of the ministry of the Old Testament prophets and the life of the Savior.
God is a Spiritual Being Who can be contacted directly without reference to the Bible. His methods of communication are several and often difficult to hear clearly in the ear of a sinful servant. The Bible provides a stable rule to measure our impressions. Using it effectively for that purpose the Christian must have a grasp of God’s character. The Old Testament books describe God’s dealings with His chosen people. They are indispensable in understanding our unchangeable Christian God. We can say that God is Love but then we must define Love. Love can only be properly understood by studying the way God worked with His people.
Someone said, “Love in practice is a cruel and terrible thing compared to love in dreams”. Many Christians fall into the trap of thinking the Torah and the Prophets were written for the Jews and are not binding on contemporary Christianity. They fall into the blasphemy of believing God has changed and no longer demands obedience to the His Law. This widespread distortion of the Gospel has robbed it of its strength and created an effete, ineffective religion that no longer resembles the Christianity brought to America on the Mayflower.
The Bible is the Word of God. It is the only written Word that Christians possess.
Theology is missing in the practice of much of today’s Christian world. It has been replaced by a quest for spine tingling spirituality and personal gratification. Christians are trying to make God their servant instead of their Master.
The Bible records God’s discourse with His chosen people. It specifies God’s exact requirements for His Chosen people and provides an accurate picture of His character and the requirements of His Kingdom. It is a light to the feet of every current Christian and indispensable in his quest for righteous living.
When God chose His people He chose a small and insignificant group and made of them a great nation. The Bible records the nature of their obedience and their rebellion and brings us concrete examples of His judgment and of His mercy. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the One True God, is omniscient, omnipotent, and immutable; He is all seeing, all powerful, and unchangeable. Since He does not change, His dealing with the people of ancient Israel provides us with a perfect description of how He deals with us today.
Actually, instead of being an idol, the Bible is sorely neglected in most contemporary Christian circles. It has been replaced with the humanistic, evil, opinions of men. As a result Christianity has become a divided, ethereal, weak religion that is being replaced by Islam all over the world.
Today’s Christians need to read through the Bible noting how God dealt with His initial choice. As they read they will begin to see the character of the Trinitarian God of the Christian religion and be able to help others to please the ultimate Power Who when obeyed blesses obedient servants with peace and wealth.