Book Review Condemned For Promoting Contemplation Beyond Devotional Naval Gazing
This is one of the reasons I nearly don't really care to be around actual groups of Christians or to interact with them unmediated outside my study.
In a book review I posted, I wrote, “As God's revelation to mankind, the Bible is complete in itself and capable of equipping the believer for every good work. Thus, with it alone, the Christian has everything that is necessary to learn the essentials of salvation and the wisdom necessary to sail the turbulent seas of life. Yet, unlike many other theological and religious texts, the Bible presents numerous universal truths by addressing concrete historical situations rather than by presenting a set of detached philosophical postulates."
For posting this at a Christian forum, it was said to me in reply, “Again I am drawn to make quite a sad observation of your OP. You seem to think that the focus of the Bible is us, where as it is God the Father`s revelation of His well beloved Son. The whole word of God unveils His character, His ways & His purposes. It is He who is far above all that we need to know & experience, anything less becomes religion. `And beginning at Moses & all the prophets, He (Jesus) expounded to them in ALL the scriptures the things concerning HIMSELF.` (Luke 24: 27) BTW did you notice there is not one mention of CHRIST in your long OP. It was talking of the scriptures, yet NOT ONE mention of our LORD. That speaks volumes as to where the focus & direction is. We rather should be - `looking unto Jesus, the author & finisher of our faith,...` (Heb. 12: 2).”
So in other words, just because I did not say, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”, like some blathering Hare Krishna in an airport or Dorthy in the Wizard of Oz clicking her heels together in hopes of returning to Kansas, I am just about having the validity of the profession of my faith drawn into question.
For starters, the initial composition was not directly ABOUT Jesus. It was a book review about a text on the New Testament taken from the standpoint as a work of objective literary and religious history.
At no point did I not say that the Bible was not about Jesus.
But if the Scriptures were not written for the benefit of mankind but rather for God to toot His own horn, doesn't that make Him little more than an insufferable egotist?
Jesus did indeed expound upon how the Scriptures testified to Himself. However, that was for OUR benefit.
There comes a point where some are so explicit in their piety that they become a danger to both sound doctrine and clear thought.
For while Jesus is indeed the author and finisher of our faith, how are we to know that beyond a Bible that can be trusted and of solid repute?
If those emphasizing the importance of the Bible in a review of a book about the Bible rather than focusing on Christ in a review of a book that was not about Christology are to be emphatically criticized, the discerning are forced to raise the following observation.
Are those that seem to yammer incessantly incessantly about Jesus as Jesus doing so from a sincere sense of religious devotion or rather because this is what expected if they desire to posture for acceptance by or to acquire position within their particular circle.
For posting in a Christian forum that the Bible as God's revelation to mankind is complete and capable of equipping the believer for every good work and that this divinely inspired anthology often teaches through narrative rather than explicit imperative declaration, I was informed my focus was incorrect.
Instead, that out to be directed towards Jesus rather than the Scripture.
But Jesus really isn't directly here right now.
As such, how can we be sure what He has to say to us apart from the Bible?
Usually, in the case of those claiming to have direct auditory communication with the divine or the numinous, before it's all over with God is telling you to go ahead and bed your neighbor's spouse (and that's in the more respectable cases given the number of ministers these days of confessions both orthodox and heretical that can't seem to keep their hands of teen girls) or to force the congregation to drink the funny smelling fruit punch that burns as it goes down.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.