Friday, January 22, 2016

"The Bible is not a timeless guidebook" Skip Moen

Dr. Moen produces a daily 'WORD" I try to read his "Today's Word" daily for the insight and challenges offered that help put the the Bible into a proper paradigm. The Bible is not a religious book. Skip Moen reasserts my statement below. Curiously, I spoke with several people yesterday saying to them (Before reading the following) the Bible is a history book. You can, after reading the text below imagine how timely Dr. Moen's  post is...I find it amazing at how much my thinking is in common with Dr. Skip Moen...Quite fascinating to me on a personal level


Now these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob; they came each one with his household:Exodus 1:1 NASB
Names – The Bible is not a timeless guidebook. It is a story of the history of men and God. It is a recollection of what happened, not a collection of moral aphorisms. To treat the Bible as a set of principles is to miss its greatest impact. The Bible is about how people lived in the presence of YHVH.   The only way to learn from it is to make its people yourpeople. For example, when we convert the Beatitudes (or any other “teaching” passage) into moral truths, we strip them of their power—the power that they had on the real people who heard them. The same is true of Torah. Torah without the children of Israel recently freed from bondage in Egypt is impotent to alter culture. Torah ignored or “fulfilled” in the Church is essentially the same as declaring that God’s history with Mankind doesn’t matter.   The Church without Torah is an attempt to create the “new man” by artificial insemination. The denial of history has terrible consequences.
“Innocence in our day is the hope that there ‘are no enemies,’ that we can move into a new Garden of Eden, a community characterized by freedom from want, guilt, and anxiety. But this also means freedom from responsibility; it means going back prior to the birth of consciousness, for guilt is only the other side of moral consciousness—we have ‘eaten of the tree of knowledge.’ We valiantly try to persuade ourselves that if we only find the ‘key,’ we can easily create a society in which nakedness, guilt, anxiety will all be things of the unmourned past. Unmourned and unstudied—here lies the contemporary uninterest in history and the refusal to study it. To hang on to this picture of innocence, you mustdeny history.”[1]
The Bible is not a map to the new Garden of innocence. The Bible is a record of failure! There are no innocent people in the Bible after Genesis 2. There are only people in need of restoration; people who have broken their promises, made bad choices, fallen by the wayside, drowned in sin. There are no whitewashed saints. There are only recovering sinners. If you thought the Bible was a book of moral instruction or a design for a godly government, you were wrong. This book is about God’s faithfulness in the lives of real human messes. It is a case study in the disaster of hubris. And the only answer it provides is batach—trust in the Lord for He is good.
When the children of Israel came to Egypt, they had names. Shemot. Real people. Real problems. Real struggles. Just like us. They didn’t have a sacred guidebook. They had a covenant God. I wonder if we haven’t traded trust for words on a page. Maybe we need to come out, without our creeds, our doctrines and our printed red-letter editions, and learn to live in His presence.
Topical Index: shemot, names, Exodus 1:1, Bible, batach, trust, innocence, history
[1] Rollo May, Power and Innocence, p. 56.

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