Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Some questions about Christ and about the word of God

Is there danger in denying the validity of various parts of Scripture? Is it a problem to the church to decide to only listen to Jesus with the thought that his words are above all other scripture? That somehow his words are more inspired than any other parts of Scripture. Or what of the idea that one hears Jesus, by way of the Holy Spirit, not just in the Scripture but in culture and experience.

For someone who loves studying history, Church history, and particularly that part of Church history that encompasses the period of the Confessing Church in Germany, it is sad as well as frightening to understand where some beliefs about Scripture and Christ can lead.

During that time when the Confessing Church was the most tormented by the German Christians who were aligned with the Nazi government so very much depended on one’s view of Scripture. In fact the liberalism of the 19th century in Germany opened the door to the beliefs of the German Christians.

Rudolf Wentorf, author of, Paul Schneider: Witness of Buchenwald, quotes one German Christian, a bishop, calling his words typical. The quote shows the German Christians’ need to find a different authority than the simple word of God. Wentorf quotes “Bishop” Helnrich Oberheid as he speaks on “April 26, 1936 at a district meeting of the “German Christians in Jena:”

The New Testament cannot be considered as an appendage of the Old Testament. It is crass to read the message of the New Testament through the eyes of the Old Testament. Luther pushed aside a centuries old tradition and broke through to the Scriptures. We have continued the search for 400 hundred years and have broken through to the Savior. This intellectual work spanning 400 hundred years must not be suppressed. We have broken through to the Savior for he is the Word of God and not the whole Bible. We will remove the Old Testament, and we will also critically examine the New Testament. The Jew named Paul cannot be a standard, just as any confession from the past cannot be either. We will demand that many, many verses from the New Testament appear before the judgment seat as well. (Italics mine.)

The truth is Jesus, God with us, is heard in all of the Scripture because it is his word.
But what troubles me is the historical consequence of the continuing denial of Scripture by those within the mainline denominations. Slightly over seventy years ago some in what was thought of as a church (It wasn’t) were able to embrace evil by laying aside the authority of Scripture, by suggesting that Jesus minus much of his word was enough to hear.

And what did they hear?  They heard their own culture speaking to them. They heard the romantic forests and meadows of Germany, but not the voice of Christ in the Scriptures. They heard the voice of their poets, and philosophers and, yes, even their theologians, but not the voice of Jesus speaking his ancient words in the Scripture.  And finally, they heard the voices of ancient pagans and the gods of dark forces. But they did not hurry away to the safety of Scripture.  And then they heard their own voices and the voices of those who were willing to embrace anything for the sake of power.

And power, alongside cruelty, is once again waiting in the wings, hoping to be heard by those who reject the voice of Scripture.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 Your word have I treasured in my heart that I may not sin against you. 119:11 How sweet are your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. 119:103-104

No comments: