17 May 2002

Is the Bible our Owner's Manual?

Submitted by theshovel
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Whatever God had actually spoken to individuals in times past - whether recorded or not - ultimately testified of Christ, who is the EVERYTHING of God. Somehow, though, our Christian perspective on those collected written words forces them to serve as our textbook or owner's manual or even as that cutesy acrostic made from the word BIBLE proposes: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. I wonder where we get the idea that this is distinctly Christian? How is it then that this mindset instigates the same concepts and reactions in our Christian marketplace as it did with the Jews when Jesus walked among them?

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life ... For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? John 5:39, 40,46-47

You may be familiar with this passage, but did you know what stirred Jesus to say it? There were two things, and they were both connected. The first was based in their lifeless, legal perceptions of the recorded words of God scribed by Moses. The second, because they refused to recognize that the one standing in front of them was the incarnation of Moses' testimony.

For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. John 5:18

The encounter ensued from a faulty assumption and subsequent erroneous judgment based upon a Scriptural imperative regarding the Sabbath. In other words, these guys had Jesus under the official legal microscope of God. And what did it demand to them? They concluded that he was a law-breaker ... and they had written-in-stone by the-hand-of-God proof! The Bible made it clear to these servants of God that Jesus was a man damned by God.

But what about that second piece of evidence?

...but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God...

You know, we think we understand this because we believe a particular doctrine about how Jesus supposedly fits into the Godhead, but their basic objection was only RELATED to their doctrinal views. Consider what triggered the offense. For when Jesus referred to God as father it was an unmistakable claim that his life was the same life that was in God, that he - a man - was an actual partaker of the divine nature. But you see, they were Scripturally positive that such a thing could not be! And what was their confidence in the things of God? Consider Paul's statements about them:

But if you BEAR THE NAME 'Jew' and RELY UPON THE LAW and BOAST in God, and KNOW HIS WILL and APPROVE THE THINGS THAT ARE ESSENTIAL, being INSTRUCTED OUT OF THE LAW, and are CONFIDENT that YOU yourself are a GUIDE to the blind, a LIGHT to those who are in darkness, a CORRECTOR of the foolish, a TEACHER of the immature, having in THE LAW the EMBODIMENT of KNOWLEDGE and of THE TRUTH, Romans 2:17-20

From the doctrine of Bibliology
Canonicity: We believe the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament compose the complete written revelation of God to man.

Do we not realize that the religious leaders of Biblical times were standing upon the same false confidence embedded in today's Christianity? You see, our contemporary Christian authority thinks it is right because it is Christian and because it relies upon the written commands of God, as it claims to speak for Him. This mindset promotes itself as having some kind of insider access to God's will as it determines which are the essentials that make for godly living.

This confidence springs, not from Christ, but from its own stand upon God's legally binding instructions and it convinces those under its tutelage that it serves as a guide and a light because of their inability to live or to see for themselves. This self-professed leadership establishes itself as that which will correct the ignorant masses, and teach the immature. That which has been claimed and perceived as the authority of God over the rest of us does all this because it holds the written documents of God as being the very embodiment of knowledge and of the truth!

The problem is NOT what has been written! I repeat, the problem is NOT found in the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament!! No, the problem stems from the fact that along the way men took it upon themselves to CONTROL the written documents and to formulate which ones belonged to the complete written revelation of God to man so that they might set themselves up as the authorized ones who could determine God's will for the rest of us.

And when I say "they" I have to include that my own past history has continually made it more than obvious to me that I had been caught up in the same fallacy! For I once thought that my grasp of Biblical understanding was the key to God's will - both for me and for those under me - and I had hoped to establish myself as one of the foremost authorities on the Bible.

Ironically, my Biblical interpretations have only served to REMOVE me from any serious consideration by those I once desired to impress! But this is a good thing, for the sobering reality only highlights the truth that I've been down that road and know where it leads. And I simply cannot put any more confidence in those things, or the position, I sought after. I never thought I would say this when I was beginning to have my perceptions shattered, but I have come to thank God time and time again for bringing me through those experiences.

Those who minister life and freedom KNOW that the life of God has already been put within those to whom they minister. It is HE who has made us adequate.

NEXT: What about that complete written revelation of God to man?

New Testament: 

Comments

These comments were all transferred over from the original website


Posted: May 16, 2002 by Bruce

Jim,
I can't say anything except..."You definitely are a HERETIC!"

I guess the next thing your gonna tell me is that GOD is YOUR FATHER TOO!
...and that if I've seen you I've seen the Father!

And that the scriptures are what testify of YOU!

Oh...gee...well...
I'm starting to get it now...
You are living out of the reality of CHRIST. And when you think and write and speak these things...you are not talking from the old identity of "self" which was formed out of your old carnal mind which alienated you from God...but you are speaking from an entirely new identity...which is the mind of Christ...or Christ-consciousness (for those who prefer a "new-age" word).

Of course I'm saying all of this to you "tongue-in-cheek"! For I've thought the same things about my own beliefs and have had these same things said to me too!
It surely is "damning". To be branded a "new-ager" or a "heretic" or a member of a "cult" by those Christian family and friends whom you hold so dear is indeed a very painful wound to bear. I consider myself a "member" of no group anymore...but on the other hand I am FREE to be ONE with ALL...and like Jesus did...to make MY FATHER...OUR FATHER. We are free to bestow HIS NAME upon every person we come in contact with...just as Jesus has given us HIS NAME/NATURE.

I enjoyed EVERYTHING you wrote! Don't STOP!

:)


Posted: May 16, 2002 by the shovel

Bruce, my friend!

You must be sitting at your computer and reading via "Evelyn Wood Speed-reading" techniques!! Geez, you are FAST!!

My brother, I am just so thrilled by the life you so thoroughly witness to!!

"And that the scriptures are what testify of YOU!"

Yeah, that rejection of Christ by the Jews in John 5 is not understood in context of "Christology" ... but in this exact context you refer to!!! As we listen, we will realize that we have heard the exact same things said to us that were said to Jesus:

"What? Are you trying to claim that you are ACTUALLY 'joined' together with GOD?"

"Union? No, no, no!! You aren't REALLY a 'partaker' of the divine nature!! That's only 'positional'!!"

And why would that be such a surprise?!

My brother, I am so glad to have been in contact with you these past few years. It has been a privilege for me. :)

Love, Jim


Posted: May 17, 2002 by Joyce

Jim,

Well this is unusual for me, but instead of having questions this time after reading the Shoveletter, I could actually think of examples of the truth that was stated.

<<"They concluded that He was a lawbreaker...and they had 'written-in-stone' 'by-the-hand-of-God' proof.">>

How often it is with those of us who are learning to separate the Old from the New, and who are coming into greater understanding and identification, are confronted now with more "laws" that we are breaking. "You're not to forsake the assembling of yourselves with believers, what about being under the umbrella of protection of leadership? where are you hearing the Word? how are you tithing now? what about Bible study and prayer time with other believers? what about Sabbath?".....etc, etc.

<<"Didn't recognize Him for who He was.....that He, a man, was actually a partaker of the DIVINE NATURE.....and were scripturally positive that such a thing could not be.">>

Again, it would seem that even though this fact is now known to be IN the scriptures, this truth is denied in the practical. And that by format and control, these things are not recognized to actually be true. That the believer in Christ who is thought of as only a "lay" person, is not treated as though they would have a lot of ability to know and understand the reality of Christ in them on their own, and so must continually be spoon fed, corrected and helped in their "walk"......all the while having scriptural texts to justify.

This contrasts with your last statement:

<<"Those who minister Life and Freedom know that the Life of God has already been put within those to whom they 'minister'. It is HE who has made us adequate.">>

Joyce


Posted: May 17, 2002 by Linda

Hello,

I've been receiving your shoveletter for quite awhile now. Thank you for your ministry. Please continue to bless us with your pure message of Christ and His Righteousness and finished work for us.

A Reader, and Sister in Christ,


Posted: May 17, 2002 by )eff Doles

Hello Jim,

I have been meditating on and praying the prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians 1.15-21. He did not pray that God would help him explain it all to the Ephesians. Nor did he ask that God would help him write it all out in a letter (Scripture) so that they could be enlightened. Instead, he prayed that God would give the Ephesians the spirit of wisdom and revelation--that is, that God would give them wisdom and revelation by the Holy Spirit--so that they could know God more and more, that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened, so that they could know (intimately and experientially, not merely casually and cognitively) the hope of His calling, the riches of His inheritance for them, and the exceeding greatness of His power toward them.

This kind of understanding does not come about by scholarship or even intense Bible study. It must come from God Himself, through the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul also spoke of this kind of wisdom and revelation which comes by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 2.6-16. The natural man simply cannot understand it, for it does not come about by natural means. A spiritual thing must happen, the Holy Spirit revealing it to our spirit. The Bible simply wasn't meant to replace that Holy Spirit revelation that enlightens our hearts, although it does help facilitate it.

Just a few thoughts which came to mind as I read your letter.

Walking barefoot,


Posted: May 17, 2002 by Sherri

Wow! What a greeting! I LOVED that!! : ) Thank you!

"Whatever God had actually spoken to individuals in times past - whether recorded or not - ultimately testified of Christ, who is the EVERYTHING of God"

I loved that, too!!

"In other words, these guys had Jesus under the official legal microscope of God. And what did it demand to them? They concluded that he was a law-breaker ... and they had written-in-stone by the-hand-of-God "proof"! The Bible made it clear to these "servants of God" that Jesus was a man damned by God."

And it still goes on today! The Bible is now used against us who are found in Him ... the very Living Word of GOD! The words on the written page still speak of Him, and He is still not seen. He walks upon the earth in man today, and He is still not recognized. It is still testimony to the need for the miraculous work of GOD in man. The work on the Cross is done. The work of GOD in man continues.

"Do we not realize that the religious leaders of "Biblical" times were standing upon the same false confidence embedded in today's 'Christianity'?"

Very good observation!! Sad isn't it? The deception bleeds DEEP indeed!!

"... so that they might set themselves up as the "authorized" ones who could determine "God's will" for the rest of us."

Whoa, there will be gnashing of teeth over that one there, Shovel!! Look out!! ; )

"Ironically, my "Biblical interpretations" have only served to REMOVE me from any serious consideration by those I once desired to impress!"

Ah yes, GOD's irony! Ya gotta love it!! It's soooo .... ironic! ; ) Just like HIS humor! Love it!!

"... beginning to have my perceptions shattered ..."

I, for one, say CHEERS to the shattering of delusion and illusion and false perceptions and misconceptions of the True GOD within us!! CHEERS, indeed!! : )

"You know, we think we understand this because we "believe" a particular doctrine about how Jesus supposedly fits into the 'Godhead', but their basic objection was only RELATED to their doctrinal views."

No 'takers' on this one yet? Hmnnnnn? Thanx for pointing it out dear Shovel. ; )

Love you!


Posted: May 17, 2002 by Ryan Hammett

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3).

Wow! I feel this verse has summed up everything you have been writing about and everything I have been learning. I am reading J.I. Packer's classic "Knowing God" and as I was reading I came to a chilling reality in my life: knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. And as I have been mediating on this reality I have come to realize my own inadequacy to know him apart from him revealing himself to me. In all my study of scripture and all the books I have read "about God" it is very sobering to think that I am far from knowing God. It takes God to know God and I have failed to comprehend that in the past. I now get to look forward to what HE will have to teach me about himself through HIS spirit. Thanks always for the encouragement!


Posted: May 17, 2002 by Dan

Hi Jim awesome letter there was times when I use the Bible to justify what I was thinking in my mind about God.But now the living word has change my thinking to His thoughts which are love peace joy and forgiveness.Thanks again .Love Dan

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Random Shovelquote: No differences in Christ (view all shovelquotes)

... in Him there are no differences because His Spirit has truly made us one!! True understanding comes as my measuring sticks keep getting snapped and I once again have my eyes opened to the measureless life of Christ who is MY life.   source