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radical christians & the word of god (part 1 of 3): authority

Bible gun

We believe in the authoritative, inerrant, infallible Word of God – and his name is Jesus.

This is the first of three blog posts on the authority, inerrancy, and application of the Word of God from an Anabaptist Christian perspective. Anabaptism is a 500 year old movement that primarily formed on the heels of the Protestant Reformation, and became known as the Radical Reformation. “Radical” is a good word to describe Anabaptists, since it comes from the Latin, radix, which means “root”. The Radical Reformers were and still are about getting Christians back to our roots as Jesus followers. If the Protestant Reformation was about getting Christians to rally around the Bible, the Radical Reformation was a further call for Christians to rally around the Jesus they read about in the Bible. (For more on the Radical Reformation, see our teaching series here.)

When Radicals (or, Anabaptists) hear or use the phrase “the Word of God”, we tend to think of three things in descending order:

  1. Jesus
  2. The message of God contained in the Bible
  3. The Bible

When Reformers (or, Protestants) hear or use the phrase “the Word of God”, they typically think of similar things as Radicals, but in reverse order:

  1. The Bible
  2. The message of God contained in the Bible
  3. Jesus

Ever since the 16th century, when the Protestant Reformers and Radical Reformers were differentiating from one another as alternative Christian expressions, this simple shift in emphasis showed itself to have significant, real world ramifications.

One critique that Radicals sometimes make of Reformers is that Protestants tend to talk about the Bible in ways that Christians should really talk about Jesus. Many Protestant Christians say things like “We follow the Bible”, or will talk about the “authority of the Bible”, or say that Scripture is “inerrant”. As a Radical Christian, these are things I would tend to say about Jesus first and foremost. I follow Jesus. Jesus holds all authority. And Jesus is the perfect one, without error.

Most Anabaptists combined a tremendous love for Scripture with a refusal to place it above or even alongside Christ as the Word of God.
~ Stuart Murray, Biblical Interpretation in the Anabaptist Tradition

Sometimes when Protestants find out that Anabaptists don’t tend to use the word “inerrant” to refer to Scripture, they assume we must be theological liberals (where “liberal” is one of the worst things you can say about a fellow Christian). In their minds, there are only two camps: 1) theological conservatives who uphold the inerrancy of Scripture, and 2) theological liberals who demean Christian Scripture in order to import progressive (i.e., worldly) ideas into the Christian faith apart from biblical support. For many Protestants, it never occurs to them that there might be a third option: a group of deeply committed Christians who hold the Bible in very high regard as God’s inspired gift to the Church, but who also hold Jesus in even higher regard than Scripture and who use their language intentionally to reflect this. Maybe you’ve been part of this way of thinking. If so, I can relate.

This was me when I first heard about the Anabaptist denomination I am now a part of – Be In Christ Canada (formerly, the Brethren In Christ). I was an Evangelical with Reformed/Calvinist theology at the time I heard about the BIC. As a Baptist pastor, I had been slowly questioning some basic Evangelical assumptions, especially the role Jesus should play in how we interpret, understand, and apply everything in the Bible. It seemed to me that a Jesus-centred reading of Scripture should lead Christ-followers to fully embrace, among other things, the nonviolent, enemy loving, peace making way of Jesus. So when the leadership of the BIC invited me to dialogue with them, I was excited to learn about this 200 year old denomination, and to know that it was part of a 500 year old movement of Christians who prioritized precisely that – the nonviolent, enemy loving, peace making way of Jesus. But even though I was thrilled with what might become my new denominational home, as a transitioning Evangelical I remember being suspicious when I couldn’t find the word “inerrant” in the BIC’s statement of faith. “I knew they were too good to be true!” I remember thinking to myself. Inerrancy, I had been taught, was the litmus test of orthodoxy. Look for a clear and bold proclamation of the inerrancy of Scripture and you can be more assured that a church was preaching the true gospel. Today I’m so glad I didn’t run away from the issue or suppress my questions, but leaned into Scripture and the ongoing conversation around Scripture with my new Anabaptist family.

I learned that Radical Christians were far from theological liberals, but in fact the early Anabaptists would have considered the Protestants to be the liberal side of the divide, because they dismissed, disregarded, or otherwise excused themselves from following the most obvious aspects of Jesus’ teaching and example. Protestants were just as violent as Catholics at the time of the Protestant Reformation and the Radical Reformation, and they rationalized their violence by appealing to the Bible! Repeatedly, Protestants found biblical justification for violence which they used to overrule the clear nonviolent, enemy loving, peace making way of Jesus.

Anabaptists, on the other hand, had been willing to die at the hands of fellow Christians for generations because they refused to bear the sword in self defense or national defense. Their kingdom was the Kingdom of God, the war they waged was not against flesh and blood, but against a spiritual enemy (Ephesians 6:12), and their only king was King Jesus. Anabaptists believed that Jesus was God’s ultimate self-disclosure (John 1:18) and that all of Scripture should be relentlessly interpreted through the Jesus lens.  I realized that, whether or not I would come to agree with Anabaptist theology on every issue, mistaking them as theological liberals would be insulting to this branch of the Christian family tree.


Well, that’s my introduction. (Thanks for making it this far!) Now let’s talk now about the issue of AUTHORITY…


 

Anabaptists have a high regard for the Scriptures and an even higher regard for Jesus. Jesus, even more than the Bible, is our final authority.
~ Palmer Becker, Anabaptist Essentials

Anabaptists (Radical Reformers) read the Bible, study the Bible, memorize and meditate on the Bible. And yet, we don’t think in terms of following the Bible – we follow Jesus.  Why do I think this distinction matters? Because I want to align my language with Jesus, as recorded in the Bible. Let’s flesh this out a bit more in three ways…

Firstly, Jesus-following is our identity as disciples of Christ. We are Christ-ians, not Bible-ians (Acts 11:26). This aligns with what Jesus himself said – “follow me” (Matthew 4:19). It seems to me that this should be Christianity 101 and not at all a controversial idea.

Come to ME, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take MY yoke upon you and learn from ME, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For MY yoke is easy and MY burden is light.
~ Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

Secondly, Jesus said clearly, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). He then went on to base his Great Commission to his disciples on this one tremendous truth, when he said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19). Jesus then goes on to say that the the process of making disciples includes “teaching them to obey everything *I* have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). This doesn’t mean we just read the red letters of the Bible, but it does mean we read the entire Bible differently, as a pointer to Jesus, the one who holds all authority over our lives. Radical Christians believe that, as disciples of Jesus, our central commitment is to learn from JESUS as his apprentices. And, catch this, what we learn about Jesus from the Bible should inform how we read everything else in the Bible.

Thirdly, in the Bible we see examples of Jesus taking authority over the Bible. Consider the six-antitheses in Matthew 5 (where Jesus six times uses the pattern of “You have heard it said… but I tell you…”). Also notice the reaction of the crowd at the end of the Sermon on the Mount – that Jesus taught with authority, unlike other religious readers (Matthew 7:29; also see Mark 1:22, 27; Luke 4:32, 36; ). Or consider Jesus’ statement that “the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:10; Luke 5:24), which he does apart from the sacrificial system mandated in the Bible. Or consider Jesus’ authority to singlehandedly reverse the dietary laws of Moses in Mark 7:19. Or consider Jesus overruling Moses’ teaching on divorce and remarriage in his discussion with the religious leaders in Matthew 19:8-9. Or consider Jesus’ self-alignment with the authority of God who lives above the law in John 5, rather than see himself as merely a man who must submit to and live under the authority of the law.

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. … And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. (John 5:16-18, 27)

Later in this same chapter, Jesus challenges the religious leaders who loved and learned and studied and memorized and followed the Bible…

And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:37-40)

This is serious. Jesus says it is possible to follow the Bible, love the Bible, study the Bible – and never hear the voice of God. Furthermore, it is possible to memorize and meditate on the Bible, and never have God’s “word dwell in you”. Let this sink in. Unless we use the Bible as a pointer to Jesus, and then come to JESUS for our life, we are misusing the Bible.

As a Christ-follower, when I open my Bible I don’t ask “God, what are you saying to me through the Bible?”, but “God, what are you saying to me through Jesus in the Bible?” This simple distinction means that I read everything from Genesis to Revelation differently.

A PROTESTANT OBJECTION…

It’s worth pointing out that those who identify as Protestant are not monolithic on this issue. For instance, on the issue of biblical authority, NT Wright sounds as Anabaptist as he does Anglican. Still, some Protestants object: “Wait a minute! You Radicals are using the Bible to establish the authority of Jesus! Doesn’t that mean you treat the Bible as authoritative?”  Now let me be as clear as I can. In the category of written documents, the Bible is uniquely and absolutely authoritative (as our BIC statement of faith asserts). But remember, as Christians, no written document is our absolute authority – Jesus is! Because the Bible is uniquely breathed out by God we trust it and use it, as Paul recommends in 2 Timothy 3:16. So yes, as far as written documents go, the Bible is authoritative – as far as written documents go. But we have a relationship with more than a written document. No written document, including the Bible itself, created the heavens and the earth and entered into our human condition and lived the perfect life and died the loving death that brought us salvation, and rose again as Lord of our lives. The Bible says, “Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9).

The Bible does not give us Jesus; Jesus gives us the Bible; and the Bible then points us directly to Jesus. The Bible is not a Christian’s ultimate authority, but our penultimate authority, pointing to Jesus as our ultimate authority.

The Bible is to us what the star was to the wise men.
~ Thomas Adams

This relationship between Jesus and the Bible is similar to the relationship between Jesus and the star that led the magi to Jesus. Or, to use another analogy, the relationship between Jesus and the Bible is similar to the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist. When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he pointed and cried out…

Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ (John 1:29-30)

John didn’t give us Jesus; Jesus gave us John, and then John pointed people to Jesus. Again we read…

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. (John 1:35-37)

Because John’s disciples listened to him and followed Jesus, this doesn’t mean they saw John’s authority as absolute. They simply trusted John enough to listen to his insight and turn to follow Jesus as their absolute authority. Because they trusted John, they submitted to Jesus. And that’s what we do every time we read the Bible and follow Jesus.

When John the Baptist told his disciples to follow Jesus, no one played the word game of saying, “But if we listen to John’s word and we follow Jesus, aren’t we just following John? Doesn’t that mean John has equal authority to Jesus if we’re listening to his instruction to follow Jesus’ authority? So let’s just say we are equally followers of Jesus AND followers of John.” No. Please no. This is silly. Because they listened to John and trusted John and believed what John said, they followed Jesus as the authority of their lives. And yet today many Protestants make the same objection. When Radical Christians say, “Jesus is our sole authority” some Christians respond, “But you only know about Jesus from the Bible! So the Bible must equally be your authority!” No. We trust the Bible, like John’s disciples trusted him, and we do what the Bible instructs us to do – submit to the authority of Jesus.

SO WHAT?

So why is this way of thinking important? Is it all just word games and academic exercise? I wish it were. I love word puzzles, and academic exercise is the only kind of exercise I like. But this discussion is more important than that. History has shown us that when a group of Christians champion the idea of the “authority of Scripture” as did the Protestant Reformers, they get no closer to following Jesus on some very important issues, like the issue of the nonviolent, enemy loving, peace making way of Jesus. During the 16th Century, we might explain Catholic violence by appealing to the influence of the Pope, who represented (or should I say, misrepresented) the authority of Christ in the Church. The Protestants, however, rejected Papal authority and clung to sola scriptura, meaning “Scripture alone”. This is a real world case study. With the Pope’s influence out of the way and with Scripture as their sole authority, what became of Protestants? More unity? No, more division (there are now thousands of different Protestant denominations). More Christ-like enemy love? No, more violence (wars, witch-hunts, and heretic burnings were not abandoned by Protestants). The Protestant Reformers missed such central teaching of Jesus because they balanced it with every other teaching in the Bible as a way of maintaining their commitment to “the authority of Scripture”.

I recently heard a well known Protestant Christian pastor preach on the Sermon on the Mount. He expounded on the radical nonviolent, enemy loving, peace making way of Jesus. I was impressed. Then he made this maneuver – he said, “Now, we know this isn’t an absolute mandate for all Christians at all times, since we can see that God gave very different instructions to his people through Moses and David and other Old Testament saints.” Then he went on to talk about Old Testament examples of violence as justification for Christian participation in violence today. Why was this pastor trying to balance the teaching of Jesus with other teaching in the Bible? Because he was following the Bible, rather than allowing every teaching of the Bible to point him to Jesus. And today, Christians are to truly repent of our religious violence, our national violence, and our verbal and attitudinal violence, we will need to go beyond just following the Bible and zero in on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Dear Christians, we are not “People of the Book”. This phrase is an Islamic designation of Christians and we are not constrained to adopt a Muslim misunderstanding as our identity. No, we are not “People of the Book” as much as we are “People of the Person”. We are not (or at least, should not be) a bookish faith, lived out primarily by reading. This approach to spirituality favours the academically and economically privileged around the world and throughout history. Yes, “to whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48), and so those of us who can read and can afford our own Bibles should make much of that privilege. And while we read the Bible, may it always lead us to Jesus, the living, active, and authoritative Word of God.

Maybe you are or aren’t Anabaptist, but maybe you are “Anabaptish” – a growing Radical Christian who sees Jesus at the centre of it all. If so, I would love to hear from you. Comment away!

Peace,

 

 

 

NEXT POST – READ PART 2…
Radical Christians & the Word of God (part 2 of 3): Inerrancy

Tags : AnabaptistAnabaptistsAuthorityBibleinerrancyInerrantJesusProtestantRadicalReformationScriptureWord of God

103 Comments

  1. Bruxy, What do you say to those people who “follow and hear Jesus” but come up with clearly aberrant practices. Do we not then use scripture as the authority for our faith and practice.

    1. Hi Bob. Absolutely. As I said in the post and have said before, we turn to the authoritative Word of God in print in order to meet and submit to the authoritative Word of God in Person.

  2. The Pharisees didn’t hear the Lord’s voice because they were not His sheep. “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:26-27). If someone does not hear God’s voice in Scripture, it’s not because of anything insufficient about Scripture; the problem is THEM. Everyone who believes will hear the Lord’s voice in His word, and they come to believe through His word (Romans 10:14-17).
    Also, a star is not the breath of God. No man is the breath of God. Those analogies are woefully off. Scripture is the breath of God (2 Timothy 3:16), and He cannot be divided from His breath any more than we can from ours.
    That 2 Timothy passage also teaches us that Scripture is sufficient; nothing needs to be added to it. There’s no going around it. There’s nothing in Scripture that doesn’t convey the authority of Jesus, and there’s nothing apart from Scripture that supersedes Scripture. Scripture is not the Person of Jesus, but the authority of Scripture IS the authority of Jesus, because it’s His word.
    What, then, is the point of comparing Jesus and His word? An extrabiblical relationship with Jesus can be abused and misinterpreted just as easily as a biblical one can, and more. Peter, who walked with Jesus, wrote that the Scriptures are even more certain than what he saw with his own eyes and heard with his own ears (2 Peter 1:16-21).
    Another apostle who saw Jesus and heard His voice wrote, “Learn in us not to think beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6).

  3. Do you think the written Word correctly understood has a different message than the living Word? I agree that salvation is not found in Scripture but in the person of Christ, however, I find the idea that “We follow Christ” and “you follow the Bible” to be in essence a license to remake Christ into whatever image we want. We must be faithful to Christ of Scripture, right?

    1. In my purely layman’s mindset, what is being stated here is that the word of God, submits itself to the Word made flesh in all things, not the other way around.
      When Jesus stated that even the Father worked on the Sabbath that it was sufficient for Him to also work on the Sabbath was clarifying the spirit of the law with the intentionality of the Word.
      As the living breathing incarnation of the godhead made flesh, Jesus alone could explain the true intention of every word in scripture, and not the other way around.
      Only He could point out to which law was the most important.
      Only he could tell his disciples to go forth and take to the world all the He had taught them, not as had been previously done in merely taking to the world the Torah as basis for foundational truths about God.
      As the completion of the law, he could remake the law, clarify it’s intent and usage in a way no one before or since could do.
      Following Christ before the bible may in some sense remake the word of the law, because we are now covered by, and living under the Word of love and Grace.
      This is how I see it anyway..

  4. This is so important. I believe we are seeing the very real-world consequences of bad theology play out in the US right now.

    What we believe about God affects everything we think, say and do (as well as politics and public policy).

    Having been raised in a Reformed family, I experienced first-hand the detrimental effects of Calvinistic thinking. Making Scripture our ultimate authority turns us into Bible-worshippers rather than followers of Christ.

    Thank you Bruxy fot writing this – it is an excellent article.

  5. A couple of years ago, I probably wouldn’t have agreed with this article. Why is it so hard for us to see the Jesus is the living word and takes precedence over a book? I think some fear that putting Jesus first somehow diminishes the worth of the Bible, but it doesn’t. The Bible is our roadmap to discover and follow Jesus.

    I really thank Bruxy and Greg Boyd for opening my eyes and providing me with a new found level freedom. Even though I’m 1000s of miles from either church the weekly podcasts put me right there.

  6. Years ago, I would have read this and been filled with anger. But now, this makes so much sense. It’s a needed nuance that really does have serious ramifications for how we live. I’m constantly running into followers of Jesus who are scared of God and don’t feel safe with him or they use the OT to silence Jesus reading the bible in a flat way. Bruxy, thanks so much for this post. I look forward to the rest of the series.

  7. Yes! Beautifully, carefully and clearly explained as well or better than I have ever heard this topic addressed before.
    Thank you Bruxy Cavey.

  8. Thank for this article. I’ve been struggling to put my finger on a feeling that something is wrong in Christendom. That we hold the Bible too high and have entered into idolatry. Your article gives me clarity and hope.

  9. Thank you for this article Bruxy! I have been a journey over the last few years and it wasn’t until I stumbled onto your Radical Reformation series that I began to have language and a tradition to back up my feelings about needing to follow Jesus, not someone’s interpretation of an ancient text. It been refreshing to have conversations about Jesus with young people (I am a youth pastor) rather than try and convince them that a theological system holds all their answers. There is freedom in having a relationship with Jesus as the final word rather than fearing that my theology may not be good enough.

      1. Yes, I figured. I think an American flag would have been more appropo for the context and timing of your initial installment; which (I hope) is broader than guns. All polity should be tempered through the Word. Writers as Dietrich Bonhoeffer make that very clear. I happen to think (save for the cultural cluelessness of that time) America of today – because of recognizing its past – gets it closer than most . . . generally speaking.
        I look forward to reading the full measure of your blog.

  10. My concern with this post Bruxy, is that you really paint with a very broad stroke. Granted the reformed community is also very broad as I also would not agree with all who call themselves reformed. So, it’s possible in trying to address a concern, you feel the need to paint a caricature to make the point.

    I wish you hadn’t however, as you seem to want people to believe that “Radicals” as you call yourself, are much more committed to Jesus than those who are called “Reformed”. You paint myself and others as ones who actually follow the Scriptures more than we follow Jesus – people who see Bible as Lord instead of Jesus Christ. I have found many, very strong reformed teachers, who have worked very hard to show how all the Scriptures point to Jesus and also want to follow and obey Jesus, while also holding to a belief that the Scriptures are the inerrant Word of God.

    The posture you have taken does not come across as humble – Jesus-like – but rather arrogant and tribal. You blame a reformed view of the authority of Scripture as one that led to denominationalism and yet you use your “Radical” view of Scripture to create another dividing line in the sand separating yourself and your tribe as more committed to Jesus than others. It would seem, in this post, you are guilty of the same thing you are accusing others of.

    I, as a reformed pastor, would not say that Scripture has equal authority to Jesus like you state (as though Scripture is my Lord and Savior). Which seems to be a strawman from my perspective. Nor would I follow Scripture instead of Jesus. And yet, at the same time, I would not diminish the authority of Scripture as you seem to be doing in your post. I believe you can be fully committed to the authority of Scripture (a reformed view) and the authority of Jesus as ultimate.

    I believe all the Scriptures point to Jesus and, as Jesus said, he did not come to abolish the Law and Prophets, but to fulfill them. Jesus is my King (Ultimate Authority) and Teacher (Rabbi/Guide). But I do not have to diminish the credibility or authority of the Scriptures to affirm that as you seem to do in your post (though you say you don’t).

    In your post, you portray the OT Scriptures as wrong and that Jesus needed to correct the Scripture. However, Jesus wasn’t correcting the Scriptures (in the Sermon on the Mount) as though they were wrong, he was correcting the teachers who wrongly understood or applied the Scriptures. You did the same thing with your historical examples. You try to make the case that a reformed view of Scripture was the reason for all the violence done by the Church. However, it wasn’t their commitment to Sola Scriptura that led to the violence. It was their personal sin and wrong application of the whole of Scripture as properly understood together (i.e. The Old Testament equally commanded God’s people to love their enemies…it wasn’t as though Jesus introduced a new way to correct the old way).

    Jesus would have never said the Scriptures were wrong, that they don’t have authority, or that he, as a human does not need to submit to and obey them. They had authority in his life as a perfect human who not only perfectly obeyed them but enables us to rightly understand, apply and obey them by the Spirit.

    In the reformed camp, the non-reformed or “radical” camp, it is not our view of Scripture that is the problem but our wrong application of Scripture, and especially, as I believe you are trying postulate, our failure to see Jesus as the one whom all the Scripture points to. If our lives do not resemble Jesus and do not submit to his commands, the problem is not that our view of Biblical Authority is too high, but rather that it is too low since it is all points to and is summed up in the life of Christ.

    1. Thank you Jeff, for taking the time to write this thoughtful reply. I am sorry for coming across as (or simply being?) arrogant and tribal. Thank you for pointing that out. I’ll be praying about that.

      You and I do disagree about quite a few things. I see God as above the Law and Jesus taking authority over the Law as he ushered in the New Covenant. Jesus wasn’t saying the Law was “wrong”, but his teaching and actions were saying the Law was now “obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13) as Law (but always useful as a pointer to Christ) because it is fulfilled in him.

      Bottom line, I’m glad we can disagree and discuss as brothers rather than as heretic and hunter. Thanks again for your engagement with the post. Bless you and your ministry.

      1. Isaiah 42:21 KJV
        [21] The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
        Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
        Romans 3:31 KJV
        [31] Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

        The Law is not obsolete, it is rather fulfilled in Christ, and by us if we are in Christ. The fulfillment of the law is Love.
        Galatians 5:14 KJV[14] For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

        Btw thankyou for this article, its a great challenge for all of us, its time Christians start to live up to the name they claim upon themselves “followers of Christ”.

  11. Bruxy. Thank you for a wonderfully-written post! IMHO, you did a wonderful job of differentiating between the two approaches, both on a theoretical/academic level, and in terms of practice.

    As I reflect upon your post & my own spiritual journey & moral compass, I now suspect that much of my disappointment & eventual rejection of ‘organized religion’ during my pre-teens & teens was a sign that, deep down inside, Jesus was my role model, not the ‘letter of the law’ in Holy Scripture. In a sense, I always wanted to see the entire forest, and not focus exclusively on the trees.

    I certainly gained much from reading your post, and I am enthusiastically looking forward to Part 2 & Part 3! Thank you!

  12. So good! Thanks Bruxy. I was beginning to think I was alone in this way of thinking, but after reading this blog my hope for the Church has again been revived. I’ve had many conversations with Christians on this very topic, but have found myself constantly frustrated by our brothers and sisters wanting to give more authority to the bible than to Jesus, even despite John himself attesting to Jesus as being the Word (facepalm). Thanks again, looking forward to the next two. J

  13. Thank you, Bruxy, for this refreshing and liberating Jesus-(The Word-Logos) -centred message. Good to be reminded that we need to view the Old Testament/Covenant through the lens of the New Covenant – Jesus, who is simply The gospel (Ref: Hebrews 8). My favourite quotation of Jesus, paraphrased in The Message is recorded in Matthew 11:28-30.

  14. Thank you, this is very instructional for me, a pastor in the Anabaptist understanding of scripture. Thank you, thank you!

  15. There’s so many people right now putting scripture in a healthier place for interpretation in modern times. Bruxy, you are one of them. I don’t consider myself Anabaptist or any other denomination (including non-denominational). We are doing some different things with our gathering and community. But I’ve certainly learned a lot from you and your writing and messages. Are there any others you know of saying these same things about scripture from other denominations you’d recommend reading? Also, shameless plug, more about what we are doing in downtown Las Vegas to help people follow Jesus can be found in my new book, Build A Bigger Table!

    1. Thanks Jeremy! I’m glad you’re letting people know about your book and what you’ve got going on in Las Vegas. As for people I’m reading, there does seem to be a new wave of Evangelicals (or post-Evangelicals?) discovering (or rediscovering?) a Jesusy way of doing everything, including reading the Bible. That’s exciting. I haven’t caught up on reading any books from that wave yet, but I hope to soon.

      PS: I think you qualify as “AnabaptISH”. Consider yourself adopted. 🙂

    2. Jeremy,

      Check out Brad Jersak’s book A More Christlike God. Perhaps first check out interviews with him on various podcasts–I think on Nomad, maybe Bible for Normal People as well. “Scripture must bow before the risen Christ”, the Orthodox take on Scriptural authority. (Um…come to think of it, I think Bruxy had a conversation with him at one point as well “on air”!)

      -BTN

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