Years ago I read something in Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis that I haven't stopped thinking about since. In one chapter (I forgot where exactly) he said that no one really follows the Bible; we all interpret it. At first I was a little confused, but then I realized he was right.
Throughout the history of Christianity, we've seen Scripture being interpreted and reinterpreted again and again. As soon as Christians believe that the finally got it all figured out, some one will take a second glance at the Bible say, "Wait a minute!" We've seen this during the Reformation, the abolitionist movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and the current Emerging Church movement. Every new generation goes back to the same book to see if maybe the previous generation got it wrong.
One thing I never understood is why a lot of Christians insist that their interpretation of the Bible is the only correct view of Scripture. Are the Anglicans totally corrupt because they ordain women? Does God lovethe Calvinists more than the Arminians? Are the Mennonites heretics because they believe in nonviolence? This is why I think there's room at the table for different interpretations, because I think we can all learn something from each other.
Now, before I go any further, let me make one thing clear: I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOU CAN INTERPRET THE BIBLE ANY WAY YOU WANT! Despite my sometimes unorthodox views, I do believe the Bible reveals God's Word. Unlike Thomas Jefferson, I don't cut out passages I don't like. Instead, I try to explore those difficult passages through different lenses, like their historical context. I may not always get it right (for example, yesterday's post stirred up some controversy), but I try.
Christianity is a living organism that's continually growing and evolving. And the way it grows is through our interpretation of the Bible.
A Subversive Christmas
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