Is the Bible Irrelevant in Evangelism?
In the same article I was discussing yesterday (in a post entitled “Is it wrong to tell someone that they are sinful?”) where a Lutheran Pastor I know explains his belief that the reason that some people leave the church is that they have been given the wrong image of God, he continues with another sentence that I find very unusual for someone teaching in the church that bears the name of Martin Luther. He states:
“The God I know wants a relationship with me and not my dogma; wants me to love Jesus and not my confessions or my Bible because God knows my confessions and my Bible just can’t love me back and certainly didn’t love me first like God did.”
Of course we all agree that God wants a relationship with us, but apart from our dogma and our Bible, what do we know about this God? The answer is “very little.” Without the Bible and dogma, we have no God to worship that we can distinguish from the god of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the god(s) of the Mormons or the god of Islam. In fact, all we have is the god of the philosophers—an eternally transcendent creator who spends eternity in self-contemplation. The way we know that we are worshipping the right God is through His revelation to us, which is found in the Bible and illuminated in the dogma and creeds.
To all appearances, this Pastor is again taking a very low view of the Bible. People with this view do not believe that the Bible means what it says on several issues. While I don’t know for certain, it seems probable that this Pastor is among those who question the authority of the Scripture to teach on various issues that confront the church, preferring instead to look for the easy road of compromising with culture rather than standing for the Word of God as delivered once for all to the Saints. (Jude 3). It is the view that God’s grace is so enveloping that the law portion of the Gospels is no longer relevant. I cannot agree with this viewpoint
It is not good theology to make the revealed Word of God part of the background noise which falls second to our relationship with God when, in fact, the Bible and our dogma (rightly understood) are necessary for us to grow in that relationship.
It does not seem to me that Martin Luther shared the view that this Pastor seems to express in his article. Consider the following quotes both of which are from Luther:
“I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them on the hearts of youth. I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution in which men and women are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt.”
“Let him who wants a true church cling to the Word by which everything is upheld.”
How does this Pastor’s view that the Bible is secondary to our relationship with God square with Luther’s high view that the Bible is supreme and the thing by which everything is upheld? I do not think it can be reconciled in any viable way.
More importantly for purposes of this blog, what effect would it have on apologetics if we were to tell our unchurched neighbor that their view of the Bible is irrelevant, and that God simply wants us to have a relationship with Him regardless of our understanding of who He is according to the Bible? Is this a good apologetic? I don’t think so. With this apologetic, we cannot be critical of our friends in the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormons who also have a god —- just not the same God taught in the Bible. What do you think?
P.S. Sorry about the multiple posts yesterday. I have no idea what happened other than spontaneous generation which we all know is impossible, right?