20 Apr 2002

Shadows of Biblical Proportion

Submitted by theshovel
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What if you uncovered a piece of identity-shattering information like proof that your image had been superimposed into all your family photos? That would be a shocker, eh? So, what if each new day's discoveries eventually forced you to conclude that your family was not your family, your home not really home, your friends not friends, and even many enemies not enemies? How many former assumptions would you let escape unchallenged? I doubt any.

Yeah, I know this plot has fueled many intriguing story lines, but consider: if you are now in Christ - somewhere, somehow - reality shifted under your feet. You are not the person you once were. Attempting to understand yourself or others according to the universally accepted perceptions cannot be done - for the world is built upon illusion. Maybe your most persistent conflicts emanate from the struggle to resolve the discord between true life and shadowland.

So, how much of the charade do you hang on to - or perhaps I might ask - how much of it are you willing to challenge? Should the most commonly held doctrines and beliefs remain sacrosanct - that is, untouchable? Must we suppress our scrutiny simply because our probe confronts one of the fundamentals of the faith? Though I realize I'm rocking the Christian boat I have to wonder if the real meaning behind some teachings might be obscured by the common assumption.

Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. Luke 6:26

In other words, a favorable consensus of opinion might indicate a commonly held fallacy, not an irrefutable truth. So, what if that opinion happens to regard the nature of the Bible itself? Whoa! Now, I don't dispute the testimony of the Book, but I do question man's hypocrisy. You see, it's those universally-accepted teachings that arouse my suspicions. Do you know why? Simply because too many misrepresentations of Christ's freedom stake their claims upon Biblical inerrancy and infallibility! Are we okay with this?

when all men speak well of ...

Could we not manipulate the thing we speak well of while trashing the very testimony it bears? After all, turning a man's own words against him is not an unusual legal tactic. Ulterior motives often hide under the cover of benevolence, righteousness or sincerity. What makes us think that a bold approach to Biblical inspiration removes the possibility that its message is twisted? I suspect behind many heavy-handed "The Bible is our only authority" type sermons lurks something else altogether. I'm thinking we might need to reset our BS sensors.

Nothing has changed over the years, it was the same in Jesus' day as it is now. Those Scriptural questions and concerns foisted upon him were merely ploys. Isn't it conceivable that we may be facing something identical? Many have objected - It's not at all the same, we're 'Christian' - but they weren't! So, how do we account for the fact that the scribes and Pharisees claimed the SAME God and the SAME Scriptures Jesus did? Is it any surprise that a few decades later James' letter addressed the scattered Jews to challenge the claims of those who had adapted to include the name of Jesus in their religion? Just because terminology may change doesn't mean reality has.

It's no fluke that our Christian culture entraps itself in a web of Biblical legalities and contradictions. No. Somebody says Jump! - and we do! The perception is huge, it's of Biblical proportions. The time is long overdue: refuse to conform to the tactics of this world - especially the religious adaptations regarding the Bible.

If a truth is valid my statement of it is authoritative simply because it is true, not because I am able to establish validation by a general consensus of opinion ... even the opinion of like-minded, Bible-believing people or organizations. My need for support might actually be an addiction for fleshly validation. It might indicate that I am the one not sure about the truth of the thing I claim.

My question to you is this: Is Christ himself enough validation for you?

Or do you think God really needs anyone to agree with Biblical inerrancy and infallibility to enable Him to deliver a prisoner from his condemnation and into life? You'd better think again if you said yes. I have to wonder how many of those who preach and teach these doctrines are desperately hanging by a thread hoping to believe it themselves? Wouldn't it be true freedom to rest in the living witness of Christ's Spirit within you?

I will continue with this in the next Shoveletter as I will be digging much deeper into this religious conspiracy. It is that crucial to me. I'm going to examine the actual doctrine of Bibliology (the study of the Bible) in detail so that I can point out the undermining of our true life and freedom in Christ. It might be sneaky, but it's not hidden.

New Testament: 

Comments

a shovel that is also a chisel! wow! chisel away! this is amazing, stimulating, challenging AND encouraging! i love it all, but especially in context of what you are getting at: “My question to you is this: Is Christ himself enough validation for you?” i love how christ himself IS our validation, and we need no other, none other, nada, zilch, nyck .. etc.  :) thank you for ALL of this shadow series! awesome stuff indeed!
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These comments were all transferred over from the original website


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Sherri

Wow, Shovel!! Awesome and profound!!

"Religious conspiracy" indeed!! I was thinking of the many who play the part of ‘conspirator' and do not even know it, for the most part. But, I do have to wonder. I was one, a religious/'christian' conspirator. I tried and I was good at it sometimes, but "¦ mostly I was a ‘failure'! Just couldn't keep up with the ‘do's' and the ‘don'ts', the ‘rituals', the constant ‘spiritual' comparisons amongst each other, the ability to constantly answer anything and everything with chapter and verse, the never-ending unrealistic expectations amongst each other, etc. I may not have known I was a ‘conspirator' per se, but (here's the thing "¦ I really think we can all relate to this work of GOD in us) often times in the midst of this ‘deception' and ‘deceiving', the Life of GOD in me witnessed within me that the things we held to as so ‘sacrosanct' (as you put it so well), whatever they were "¦ doctrines, doctrinal statements, various interpretations to back them, etc. "¦ simply missed HIS "Life" somehow.

I really enjoyed the following particularly:

"Maybe your most persistent conflicts emanate from the struggle to resolve the discord between true life and shadow land."

""¦ a favorable consensus of opinion might indicate a commonly held fallacy, not an irrefutable truth."

""¦ too many misrepresentations of Christ's freedom stake their claims upon Biblical "inerrancy" and "infallibility"! Are we okay with this?"

"What makes us think that a bold approach to "Biblical inspiration" removes the possibility that its message is twisted? I'm thinking we might need to reset our BS sensors."

""¦ how do we account for the fact that the scribes and Pharisees claimed the SAME God and the SAME Scriptures Jesus did? Is it any surprise that a few decades later James' letter addressed the scattered Jews to challenge the claims of those who had adapted to include the name of "Jesus" in their religion? Just because terminology may change doesn't mean reality has."

""¦ Is Christ himself enough validation for you?"

""¦ do you think God really needs anyone to agree with Biblical inerrancy and infallibility to enable Him to deliver a prisoner from his condemnation and into life?"

Such really good stuff here!! Looking forward to MORE, as always!! ; ) Thanks!!

Hugs, Sherri


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Bill

Jim,
I whole heartedly agree with you in this article!

I have been enjoying your thought provoking articles for several months - thanks to a friend who put me on to you. Keep up the good work of challenging and leading us to think.

I have always been a bit suspicious of those who yell the loudest about Biblical inerrancy. It seems to be a bit of "me thinks thou dost protest too much."


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Joanne

Dear Jim,

PTL and blessings. I do appreciate what you say, and yes, I agree. It is always more comfortable, of course, when there is agreement; however, the Lord has jerked my theology around on several occasions, so have learned that being "uncomfortable" is not necessarity a bad thing.

It is true that the Bible is used in ways that are not spoken of in scripture. (Interestingly enough, the word "Bible" is not in the "Bible." The two words used are "word," which seems to indicate the spoken or "Living" word, and scripture, which indicates that which is written. It was a revelation to me to see that when reading Acts 17:11 a little more carefully, without "this is what it means, of course" glasses on. PTL!)

Thank you again.
God bless, Joanne

[BTW, Acts 17:11 states: "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so."]


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Bruce

Jim,
You get better and better and better all the time!

KILL ALL THOSE SACRED COWS!
Let God sort them out!

That is an amended phrase that I learned yesterday from a co-worker. He told me that the marines have a slogan...KILL 'EM ALL...LET GOD SORT 'EM OUT!"

I thought it was rather appropriate to this last writing of yours in regards to many of Christendom's "sacred cows".

So...mighty "sword of the Lord"...my beloved Jimbo...

Keep swinging the sickle and we'll watch the harvest of the Life of Christ come forth from the death of these sacred cows!!!

:)


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Steve R

Shalom,

I read the new shovel letter a few times Jim. I think you are onto something, but I am not sure what. You say: "For the world is built upon illusion". That is incongruent with: "For God SO LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son....." I believe that (John 3:16), and I do not think that God would love an illusion. I also do not think it means : God loves US, and even our "little illusions" that come with us.

And you wrote......
"I suspect behind many heavy-handed "The Bible is our only authority" type sermons lurks something else altogether. I'm thinking we might need to reset our BS sensors."

The Bible IS our ONLY authority, Jim. I know that you know that, and I feel that your heart is in the "right" place, but, I am at odds with some of this.

"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by THE WORD OF GOD. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!' Romans 10: 13-17

Let's see what the next shovel letter brings.

Oh, did you see the movie: " A beautiful mind?".............. you're making me start to wonder, Jim!! LOL!

Steve


Posted: Sep-06-03 by the shovel

Hello Steve,

Hey, no, I haven't seen "A Beautiful Mind", but I know enough about the premise to understand your comment. hehehe! :) But hey, thanks for being so up front and honest with me ... you always have been and I value that. :)

As far as "the world" goes, consider two uses of it by the same author - side by side.

"For God so loved the world ..." John 3:16
"Love not the world ..." 1 John 2:15

We either have to suppose that God holds to a double-standard, or else that the context demands two different aspects. Does God love something we're not supposed to? Do we need to avoid the thing God loves? I think not - in either case. The context in each is sufficient to make it pretty obvious what is being referred to.

Without spending time I don't have at the moment, let me just say that what I refer to when I speak about the world in the way I have is obviously as John wrote of it in the latter example, "Love not the world nor the things of the world". For "all that is in the world" as John indicates is nothing more than:

1) the lust of the eyes,
2) the lust of the flesh, and
3) the boastful pride of life.

All illusion. :)

As far as the Bible being our only authority ... have you ever considered that this claim might conflict with the reality that God Himself has become our true authority because of our union through the Spirit of Christ? Believe me, I myself sense some of my own inward cautions as I approach this (though I'm not suggesting I'm ambivalent about what I write, just that I know that same discomfort in even considering what I might be saying). Anyhow, I will unfold these thoughts in coming letters. Please don't hesitate to challenge what I write. :)

Love, Jim


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Dan

Hi Jim I believe that when Jesus said He is the truth and the way and that truth is a living truth which is the Holy Spirit.Which is lining up our minds with that truth.Truth is already there like gravity is but we believe in our minds to that truth but that does not mean it is not already there.I have had so many man made doctirines that have wash away by the living truth and when the truth come nothing can persaude from the truth like Paul. I thank the Lord for His faithfulness to show us this living truth.I know that this sounding confusing in my human mind but He said that we can't understand with the human mind only with the mind of Christ do we understand.I thank the Lord again for the living word which is coming threw this website Love


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Michael Daniel

Hey Jim,

TERRIFIC! STUPENDOUS! FANTASTIC! ENTHRALLING!...and the TRUTH!!!

Jim my brother, this couldn't be more on target. Here is a great example of the simplicity of "Christ in us". My boy Michael, just before he turned ten, said to me; "You know dad. If we just believe God, and we just trust Him, and we just love Him, and just have faith in Him...we wouldn't even need the bible."

1 John chapter 2 verses 20 and 21: "But you have an anointing from the Holy One and you all know. I have not written you because you do not know the truth, but because you DO know it, and because no lie is of the truth." nasb

1 John chapter 2 verses 26 and 27: "These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. And as for you, the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you have NO NEED for ANYONE to teach you! But as His anointing teaches you about ALL THINGS, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide IN HIM!" nasb

Will we ever come to the realization that it is JUST JESUS and NOTHING ELSE? "Christ in us, The Hope of Glory!" "In Him we live and move and have our being!"

WE LOVE JESUS!!! We don't need an institution between Him and us!!!! Let the slings and arrows fly.

In the Grace of our Lord Jesus, Michael D

P.S. Please believe that I am not bashing the church. I am simply pointing out that WE ARE "THE CHURCH"!


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Judy

This makes sense to me. Also, I wonder about the translations being accurate. Men who translate may have motives too. I trust in the fact that God has been writing His word in the hearts of men long before it was put on parchment, and He still can do that today.
Blessings to you.


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Natalie

<<< It is that crucial to me. I'm going to examine the actual doctrine of Bibliology (the study of the Bible) in detail so that I can point out the undermining of our true life and freedom in Christ. It might be sneaky but it's not hidden. >>>

Can't wait! You have me holding my breath! :) love, me


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Jeff

Jim,

I just wanted to drop you a quick line and see how you are doing. It's been a while since we have emailed. I still have so many questions, and I know I will never have the answers to all of them. I like your statement:

If a truth is valid my statement of it is "authoritative" simply because it is true, not because I am able to establish validation by a general consensus of opinion ... even the opinion of "like-minded", "Bible-believing" people or organizations.

So... just wanted to say hi.


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Suzette

Mr. Minker, I want to let you know how much I enjoyed todays Shoveletter. I am not sure if you were the one I wrote this to or not but in case it was not you I wanted to share it.

A few weeks ago the Holy Spirit was speaking to me along the same lines as your letter today and that is why I enjoyed it so much. He spoke to me of unconditional love toward us His children or I should say His child......who we are.. He was showing me that His love for me was in no way conected with my love for Him. That if He truly expected anything from us and I do many anything, then His love would indeed not be unconditional. That His love for us it 100% based on His own desire and nothing more. Yes we love Him in return and we try or some of us do indeed trust Him. But His love for us is always and utterly pure and given constantly no matter what we do. I know we are not to sin but if His love for us was in anyway based on our love toward Him then it would be of our own works and not of the work of His cross. The cross covered it all and there is not one more thing required. It totally gave me a whole new perspective on my life in Him. And in some ways has freed me to consider other life changes that have to some degree frightened me. To think there is nothing I can do that will turn Him away from me is for me just toooooo much freedom. And it has shown me just how much fear I still live in of trying to win His approval. And that is not something I believe He wants me to bare. It is a freedom I have yet to understand and embrace. But I am trying.

Thank you so much for todays letter it was wonderful. Many blessings,


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Rick

jim jim jiminy jaroo.

i got about 2% of that one. now i dont claim to have a triple digit IQ but i do believe all my lights are on upstairs, however, that letter was a little harder to absorb and understand than the anatomical Krebs cycle of metabolic process. either ive been too out of thouch with you (which i have) or youve advanced once more into heavy worded research ville and in other words im just not gettin it mister. is there any way to condense and simplify this last message for someone a little more dense and simple? i shooore wood upersheeate it sir.

thankee much. luv rik


Posted: Sep-06-03 by Joyce

Jim,

Yeal, I think I have the same IQ as Rik. :) I know I've said it before, but will say again that even though it doesn't all sink into my mind yet, I do sense real Life in what is being said here. It seemed to me that the main thing you are talking about is the way the religious world has handled the Bible and has put an emphasis on it that shouldn't be there, ignoring the more important aspect of Chirst in us and what He might be saying to us. Would that be right? But you also seem to allude to the fact that the Bible may not be "inerrant" and "infallable" as has been proclaimed and you even mentioned the word "twisted". Not sure if you were talking about the Bible being that, or those who teach from it and the way they teach. When you talked about the Pharisees in Jesus day and compared it to the way people even today use the Bible, it sounded like you were saying that the Jews just added the name Jesus to their agenda and implied that maybe some of our religious institutions today have done that as well. I agree that all of this thinking on this subject in the "Christian" community would cause many to be up in arms and would cause anyone implying these things to not be 'well thought of'. It's good for us (especially you) that they don't do witch hunts anymore. :)


Posted: Sep-06-03 by WES

Jim,

The bible has not been that much use to me as a christian. You see, I've had three major head injuries (ten pound slab of asphalt dropped on my head when I was 12, head kicked in by a guy when I was 16, and head into windshield of the car that hit me when I was 22).

My short-term memory is completely shot! My long term memory decays daily. I've read the bible through twice in my life to no avail. I've studied it, trying to memorize verses without success. I've attempted to grasp concepts with no luck. I get NOTHING (at least not mentally) from it's pages!

Example: I read 1 & 2 corinthians a few weeks ago, slowly, over a period of days. If you quized me on it now (or five minutes after I'd read it) I would be at a loss to tell you anything about it. However, I do find that I get something out of reading the bible that has nothing to do with information. It hits some spot inside that has nothing to do with my mind (crazy, huh?).

Now, I've always been quite proud of my intelligence (pretty ironic, ain't it?) I put a lot of stock in my mental capabilities. Having them slip away is no fun, but it has forced me to realize that being a christian has little to do with our mental activities (bible reading, prayer, etc.) and everything to do with who / what we ARE. I am indwelt by Jesus Christ Himself. Though my mind rots, He's in me just the same! The time may very well come, when I don't even remember my own name. He will not forget! So, just thought I'd share this for whatever reason.

Peace ...


Posted: Sep-06-03 by John

I'm wondering can the written/spoken Word (not the interpretation of it) be separated from the One Who spoke it? (John 1.1-3) I understand the "truth by consensus" aspect of interpretation but I also wonder what sort of foundation we would have if we did not have the written Word in this murky "world?" Would we even be able to have this discussion? Thanks for the thought provoking "word" Jim. I, like you, have caution lights go off when approaching this subject but because of my freedom, I am open to look at it as I have never been. In Him,

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