Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pharisees

(Note: In case someone reads this thinking I'm directing this at you - I wrote this last week after watching a video - so it likely isn't you... unless the person who made the video is reading this... which I doubt)

Over the years I've heard an accusation about the Pharisees of Jesus day.

That they took the law, and kept adding more and more to it. They believed that it was their duty as interpreters of the Mosaic Law to come up with a right and wrong answers to every scenario that could arise.

What have we learned from this?

Has Christianity stuck to the same simple message that Jesus came to share?

Or throughout the centuries, have we taken the Bible and built a system of beliefs and doctrines based on it to the best of our abilities?

Do we hold tightly to our doctrines or to the Jesus of the Bible?

Do we spend more time teaching and defending our doctrines than we do introducing people to Jesus?

The Pharisees thought they were doing well. They had taken the message that they had been given, and created a complex system of beliefs that they believed fit well with the original message.

Whenever I read some doctrinal belief, I always wonder... if this was the message God wanted us to believe, why didn't He have the Bible written this way? When we have to pick snippets from all over the Scriptures and string them together with some logical argument, I'm frequently becoming suspicious. Why wasn't the Bible written like a list of doctrinal beliefs?

I used to wish the Bible was written as a clear list of beliefs.

Now I suspect it wasn't written as a list of doctrines because then we would take it and use it as a rule book to create some legalistic religion... Where what God wants is a relationship with Him. If all the answers to life's questions were clearly listed, we may not feel the need to seek Him personally for guidance.

Yes I believe many Christian doctrines are true. I think the Apostle's Creed could be considered a list of doctrinal statements... and I'm not questioning those. But is there a point when we have gone too far? Have we created too many? Have we given them too much emphasis?

What do you think? Have you ever wished there was less room for interpretation in our Scriptures? Is it our duty to take the Scripture and create a Biblical system of beliefs from it? Or is the Bible primarily stories introducing us to a God that wants a relationship with us?

2 comments:

brotherjohnny said...

Yes, I have wished that I could simply understand the bible "as is". The only problem with that is that I believe that it does help tremendously to have some understanding of the context of the world related to the text.

(That is if we can ever truly assume to have an actual reliable context).

So maybe the desire for less interpretive space *is* a desire for a 'cut and dry' list of rules.
(I guess that's your point though...)

I'm not so sure about adhering to a "belief system", but instead "holding fast the Head" (which itself *is* a sort of doctrine...)

Maybe the reality is that the Bible is a God-Story filled with "clues" on how to actually become conscious and active characters within that God-Story.

Jonathan said...

Hi brotherjohnny, thanks for your input.

Yes, I have to be OK with some doctrines or lists of beliefs...
Christ is Lord of my life
Christ is King of His Kingdom
God is Love
...

I think we should now debate the wording... is it "holding fast the Head"... or "letting Christ be King"... just kidding... :)

I'm concerned there's often a point crossed where the doctrines take on a life of their own. When they are no longer supporting and describing the Scriptures, but we use the Scripture to support and describe our doctrines.

"Maybe the reality is that the Bible is a God-Story filled with "clues" on how to actually become conscious and active characters within that God-Story." - good thoughts.