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We can know God’s word

June 6, 2016

There is a mood among more than a few younger (in age) evangelicals which is somewhat reminiscent of neo-orthdoxy in its diminishing of Scripture. Several months ago I read a blog in which Christians were chided for being more “Biblian” than “Christian.” Christians who hold to a high view of Scripture are scolded for worshiping the Bible rather than Christ.  The attitude seems to be that holding a high view of Scripture requires a diminishing of Christ, that the two can’t go together. In all my years in churches that held to a high view–even that the Bible is inerrant–I never detected that (although, of course, I cannot see people’s hearts). In fact, I’d say that the higher a view of Scripture I saw, the higher the view of Christ I saw as well.

This way of thinking is fed of late by postmodern angst about being able to properly interpret written texts. But not wanting to let the Bible go entirely, some Christians will pull out a few attractive parts that somehow can be understood (almost always including the verse that says that God is love) and decide on their own how those truths should be applied. This way of using Scripture leaves us free to speculate on matters that have been clearly addressed. Amazingly enough, God is coming down more and more on the side of secular progressivism. 

In his book Words of Life, Timothy Ward argues for a close relation of God to His words, and further claims (I think correctly) that there is no need to fear that people can’t know God’s words because of the distance between us (either ontological or as a result of sin). Writes Ward: “Our language can be made by God to speak truthfully of him because our language has its origin in him and in some way is like his own. The fall makes this much more problematic, of course, but sin does not erase humanity as the image of God, and thus does not destroy the capacity of human language to speak truly of God.” (34-35)

We needn’t choose between either Jesus or the Bible. The Bible is about him, and he, as our creator, is fully capable of getting his word to us, even using fallen people to do it. To honor Christ includes honoring his word. To say we can’t truly know God’s word is more a declaration of limitations on his side than on ours.

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