Archiv für März 2008

Question: Is everything spiritual?

Last night I watched ‚everything is spiritual‘ from Rob Bell together with my wife. In this DVD-message, Rob Bell talks about the creation account and what part we as human beings play in that account. Besides sharing some mysteries from the world of physics in order to cause us to marvel at the Maker, he comes to this conclusion:

a) Man is the only part of creation that was created 100 % spiritual (as God and the angels) and 100 % physical (as animals, plants and all matter).

b) Thus, since every human is both spiritual and physical, it all comes down to having your eyes opened to who you are and which realms/realities/dimensions you should think/believe/think in.

To make it short: while a) is true, b) is not a correct conclusion. The simple fact he overlooked was the fall of man! The Bible makes it clear that, while we were created originally as Rob Bell describes it, we fell from this kind of life, which is the reason people do not experience the spiritual dimension of life. If it was just as Rob Bell put it, the death of Christ wouldn’t be necessary.

Paul teaches pretty clearly, that we are born (spiritually) dead, and Jesus points to the necessity of being born from above, or, again. He said that we have to be born again, by the Spirit, in order to SEE the kingdom of God, that is, the spiritual reality/dimension. So my conclusion: this teaching gives a very good introduction…to Genesis 1 and 2. But to stop there is to not cross the line between Judaism and Christianity.

3 Tage und 3 Nächte

Schonmal gefragt, wie es möglich ist, dass Jesus am Freitag starb, am Sonntag auferstand, und dabei 3 Tage und 3 Nächte tot gewesen sein soll? Hier ist die Antwort: er starb nicht am Freitag…

Jesu Leiden, Tod und Auferstehung fielen in die Zeit des Passahfestes. Dieses bestand aus dem eigentlichen, eintägigen Passah und dem direkt darauffolgenden, 7-tägigen Fest der ungesäuerten Brote, wobei der erste dieser 7 Tage ebenfalls als ein „Sabbat“ galt (3. Mose 23,6-8). Dieser Sabbat fiel in diesem Jahr auf einen Donnerstag (der große Sabbattag aus Johannes 19,31).

Die Neues Leben Übersetzung gibt hier korrekt wieder: „Die führenden Männer des jüdischen Volkes wollten die Gekreuzigten nicht bis zum nächsten Tag, einem Sabbat – der wegen des Passahfestes noch dazu ein besonderer Sabbat war, am Kreuz hängen lassen.“ (Weil der nächste Tag ein Sabbat war, denken die Meisten, dass es sich demnach bei Jesu Todestag um einen Freitag gehandelt haben muss.)

Was man wissen muss, ist dass das Passahfest oft einfach zum Fest der ungesäuerten Brote dazu gerechnet wurde (was von der inhaltlichen Bedeutung her auch Sinn macht). Man sieht das in Markus 14,12: „Am ersten Tag des Fests der ungesäuerten Brote, dem Tag, an dem die Passahlämmer geopfert wurden, fragten die Jünger Jesus: Wo sollen wir hingehen und das Passahmahl vorbereiten?“

Jüdische Feste beginnen am Abend des Vortages und enden am darauf folgenden Sonnenuntergang. Demnach feierte Jesus das Passah mit seinen Jüngern an einem Dienstag Abend, wurde in der Nacht auf Mittwoch überliefert, Mittwoch Mittags gekreuzigt, und Abends ins Grab gelegt, bevor der Sabbat (also der erste Tag des Festes der ungesäuerten Brote) begann. Dann war sein Leib drei Tage und drei Nächte im Grab, und er auferstand Samstag Abends. Als die Frauen Sonntags Morgens zum Grab kamen, war dieses bereits leer.

 Leider hat die Kirchentradition auch in diesem Fall den Eindruck hinterlassen, dass man nur bibelgläubiger Christ sein kann, wenn man nicht bis drei zählen kann/darf.

Jesus lächelt.

So, hier isser endlich – mein erster deutscher Eintrag. Ein Auszug aus meinen Predigtnotizen für den Jugendgottesdienst gleich.

Jesus teilte als Gottes Sohn die Herrlichkeit des Vaters. Als er auf die Erde kam, kam er, um die Herrlichkeit Gottes auszustrahlen. In Johannes 1,14 schreibt Johannes über Jesus: „Und das Wort wurde Fleisch und wohnte unter uns, und wir haben seine Herrlichkeit angeschaut, eine Herrlichkeit als eines Eingeborenen vom Vater, voller Gnade und Wahrheit.“ Johannes sagt hier, worin er ganz besonders die Herrlichkeit Gottes gesehen hat: darin, dass Jesus voller Gnade und Wahrheit war.

Es gab sicherlich besondere Momente, in denen Gottes Herrlichkeit auf übernatürliche Weise sichtbar wurde. Zum Beispiel auf dem Berg der Verklärung. Da wurde Jesus vor den Augen von Petrus, Johannes und Jakobus verwandelt. Sein Angesicht leuchtete wie die Sonne und seine Kleider wurden weiß wie das Licht.

Aber ich glaube, dass es Jesu Charakter, sein Leben und sein Dienst an den Menschen waren, die Gottes Herrlichkeit genauso zeigten. In 2. Korinther 4,6 schreibt Paulus: „Denn Gott, der gesagt hat: Aus Finsternis wird Licht leuchten! Er ist es, der in unseren Herzen aufgeleuchtet ist zum Lichtglanz der Erkenntnis der Herrlichkeit Gottes im Angesicht Jesu Christi.“ Wo findet man Gnade und Wahrheit? Wo sieht man Gottes Herrlichkeit? In Jesu Gesicht. In seinen Augen. In seinem Lächeln. In seinen Worten.

Darin wie er Sünder anschaut: „Als er aber die Volksmengen sah, wurde er innerlich bewegt über sie, weil sie erschöpft und verschmachtet waren wie Schafe, die keinen Hirten haben.“ (Matthäus 9,36) „Und als er ausstieg, sah er eine große Volksmenge, und er wurde innerlich bewegt über sie und heilte ihre Kranken.“ (14,14)

In der Bibel steht nirgendwo, dass Jesus lächelte oder lachte. Aber:

Die Bibel sagt, dass Jesus Gott ist. Und Gott tut beides. Im Segen Aarons, mit dem sie das Volk segnen sollten, heißt es: „Der HERR segne dich und behüte dich! Der HERR lasse sein Angesicht über dir leuchten und sei dir gnädig! Der HERR erhebe sein Angesicht auf dich und gebe dir Frieden!“ (4. Mose 6,24-26) Das ‚leuchtende Angesicht‘ ist nichts anderes, als ein strahlendes Gesicht – ein freudiges Lächeln. Wenn Jesus Gott perfekt wiedergespiegelt hat, dann hat er gelächelt und gestrahlt.

Außerdem sagt die Bibel, dass Jesus vollkommen Mensch ist. Ein Mensch, der nicht lächelt oder lacht ist kein Mensch. Er ist ein Unmensch. Oder ein Roboter…

Jesus weint. Jesus lächelt. Jesus spricht. Jesus lebt. Jesus ist Gott. In diesem Sinne: Frohe Ostern! (Das Wort ‚Ostern‘ kommt übrigens nicht von irgendeiner heidnischen Göttin ‚Ostera‘, sondern von ‚eos’/’eostere‘, was ‚Sonnenaufgang‘ bedeutet. Deswegen heißt der Osten auch Osten, weil da die Sonne aufgeht. Die Christen erinnern sich an die Frauen, die bei Sonnenaufgang zum leeren Grab kamen.) Er ist auferstanden….

Übrigens…

…ihr könnt natürlich auch gerne auf Deutsch comments schreiben! Die ersten deutschen Beiträge kommen bestimmt! Einen gesegneten Karfreitag! (Karfreitag kommt übrigens von althochdeutsch „kara“, Klage, Trauer, Kummer)

A good day, a crucial day – Good Friday

This day is good. It is a day in which we remember that which was necessary to save sinners, and to change them into free, happy, God-lovers. The atonement of Jesus. His sufferings, his death on the cross. Reason enough to bless you with a couple of quotes:

„Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.“ 1 Peter 2:24

The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God’s judgment on sin. Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross: He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God. He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.

The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is „the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.“ The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross. Beware of separating God manifest in the flesh from the Son becoming sin. The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption. God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization. The Cross is the centre of Time and of Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.

The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience. The Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God. When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.

The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened – but the crash is on the heart of God.“ (Oswald Chambers; My Utmost for His Highest)

 

What was the death of Christ? „A martyrdom,“ cries modern thought. „A mischance in an unenlightened age,“ replies the reviewer. „An outcome of all such efforts to battle with evil,“ says the broad-church teacher. „A SACRIFICE!“ thunders this Book. A voluntary sacrifice! A voluntary sacrifice, by which sin has been borne and put away. Here we rest, content to abide, in a world of mystery, at the foot of one mystery more, which, despite all its mystery, answers the cry of a convicted conscience, and sheds the peace of heaven through our hearts.“ (F. B. Meyer; The Way Into the Holiest; Commentary on Hebrews)

 

Have a good friday! (This expression comes from Martin Luther, by the way: Guter Freitag)

Keep what is good

The emerging conversation has polarized alot of Christians. Some of that polarisation is good. Some is bad. My idea is, to take Paul’s approach: Test all things, and keep the good stuff. Maybe you’ve heard this line: „Some people say, the emergent church has some good points – but so does a porcupine!“ Well, to be honest, I don’t think that this is the best way to deal with it. What we should do in my opinion is this:

– Differentiate. Between people and their reputation. Between the different ‚lanes‘ within the emergent movement. (For this, I recommend Mark Driscolls teaching from the „Religion saves“-series on the emergent church. Go to marshillchurch.org, you’ll find it there somehow.

– See that most movements are reactionary. The emergent group reacts to something. What are the bad sides, downsides, weak points of modern day evangelicalism?

– List those things that caused the emerging church to emerge.

– Think about where we need to grow, change, and learn.
If we do that, we will be benefited from this movement. Or we just continue to bash everything we feel threatened by.

Here are some of the topics: dealing with the big issues in the world (war, pollution, corruption, etc.); social responsibility; the humanity of Jesus; different ways to do church; dealing with questions, doubts, etc.; facing the challenges of our culture; Christianity as a ‚way‘; any other suggestions?

I will start do deal with these issues one by one. And I believe it will be helpful and cause us to grow. Let’s face it: even though not ‚everything has to change‘ (Brian McLaren) – some things do! And our attitudes might be among these things…

Sterile orthodoxy and true Christian life

Just a short quote from Francis Schäffer that goes along with some stuff I wrote about before: „If we forget the absolute uniqueness of Christ’s death we are in heresy. As soon as we set aside or minimise, as soon as we cut down in any way, as the liberals of all kinds do in their theology, on the uniqueness and substitutionary character of Christ’s death, our teaching is no longer Christian. On the other hand, let us remember the other side of this matter. If we forget the relationship to us as Christians of this order, then we have a sterile orthodoxy, and we have no true Christian life. Christian life will wither and die, spirituality in any true biblical sense will come to an end.“ (from „True Spirituality“)

Doctrine is important, but we have to ask and seek in order to bring it as deep as possible into our daily lives.

Question: Is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit a concept or a practical reality?

Now this is another question which I’ve been thinking about lately. I am meeting with some young guys from our Youth Group every week. It is a leadership training, where I want not only to teach them things, but I want to think stuff through with them. (That is because I feel that the statement is true: The first generation believes it, the second generation assumes it, and the third generation denies it. Whoever said that…it’s true.) They need to develop their own views and convictions to be a real benefit to the body of Christ.

We are going through different books together, right now it’s Calvary Distinctives. Now at Calvary Chapel we are big on the three different Greek prepositions which point to the different ways God relates to us/works through us by the person of the Holy Spirit. But this time I really wanted to get down to the knitty gritty: Who is this…Encarnación? No, but seriously, I wanted to find out with them what these things practically mean for us. We made a list that looked like this:

para (beside): conviction of sin, encouragement, comfort; Jesus said to his disciples about the comforter: He will be with you always.

epi (upon): annointing, empowering, equipping, authority (which here refers to a supernatural authority, independent from the question if it’s backed up by the character of the person)

en (in): indwelling, sanctification, personal growth, authority (which here refers to the authority that comes with integrity)

Now there were actually two questions which came up in my mind: First, is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit only a ’spiritual reality‘, or is it ‚practical or nothing‘? Can I say that God lives in a person, or is at home there, even when there is no practical implications such as repentance, personal growth, sanctification? Secondly, and this is a conclusive question: if it not so much meant as a theological concept or spiritual reality, then couldn’t I say that God also indwelt believers under the Old Covenant?

I’ve been taught, that the indwelling is a mark of the New Covenant, made possible only by the blood of Jesus. I always believed it, but never really studied that for myself. Is that true? One of the boys wrote me an eMail some days later, and asked me this same question. He read first Peter 1:11 and was wondering what the deal was. It is talking about the OT prophets there, and it says that they were „trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.“ ‚In‘ is of course the same Greek preposition.

So I thought about it and asked Dave Guzik to find an answer. He pointed me to the OT prophecies for the New Covenant. And it’s true, the Ezekiel and Jeremiah passages do speak about something inward rather than something outward. But did God really mean the indwelling, when he said that he would put his spirit inside them? Now please don’t get me wrong here! Of course I believe in the indwelling! I just wonder about it’s nature (see question 1), and about how unique it is to the New Covenant.

A day later, as I was reading in Ezekiel in the morning, I read this verse in my ‚today’s chapter‘: „Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!“ (18:31-32) Now God here tells them to go and get themselves a new heart and a new spirit. The only way in which this can make sense – and I believe that that’s the way it was meant in this context – is that this simply refers to a new attitude. So my question is this: could it be that the indwelling speaks very practically of ‚God in someones life‘, made possible by that person through a changed attitude (repentance)? If the answer to that question is Yes, than of course this was also possible and available for a believer in the OT.

The point I am struggling with is this: imagine you were a very carnal Christian. There were not really any real outward implications of God dwelling in your life. Imagine you would travel back in time and see a man like Moses. A man deeply committed to God, walking with God and – in the truest sense of the word – a holy man. With the understanding of the indwelling as I have it now (as a doctrine), you could go to Moses as a carnal Christian and tell him, that God lives in your heart, is at home in your life, while in his live that wasn’t the case. I don’t know, but I wonder if God maybe wants us to think about him dwelling in our hearts in a more practical sense. When would you normally say, that someone lives in your heart? When you love him. Can you say: I don’t love him/her, but he/she lives in my heart? Not really…

I have to think now of the Corinthian church, who was very carnal, and to whom Paul wrote: „Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own“ (1 Cor. 6:19) as a reason to not commit sexual sins. So maybe it is possible. But it is still very wrong (for which the Corinthian church is a perfect example) to seperate the spiritual reality from the lived-out practicality. Maybe someone can share his thoughts on this?

His grace is his glory

Last night we studied Exodus 33-34 in our Youth Group. It is a fascinating study, especially on the background of Israel’s naked dance around an Egyptian god. Moses is seen foreshadowing Christ’s mediating work in a beautiful way. Because Moses had found favor in the eyes of the Lord, God would ‚change His mind‘ and dwell in the midst of the congregation, instead of the tent of meetings outside of the camp. Israel gets a completely fresh start as a result of Moses‘ intercession. The ten commandments are given again, the covenant being renewed, the former plans of the tabernacle taken up again.

What an encouragement! For we are all idolaters. We all have turned back to Egypt in our hearts at times, we all have – secretly – carried some gods of Egypt with us on our journey with Jesus… Through the mediating work of Jesus – Christ as the High Priest – we all can have fresh starts. I think it is important to understand what Jon Courson points out: It is not Jesus‘ words, with which he intercedes for us, but his wounds. When it says in Hebrews 7:25, „Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.“, it is not to be understood in a technical sense. I think that at this point we often make the mistake that we base a certain doctrine on one verse alone, which is never a good idea. When Christ intercedes for you and me, he doesn’t need to lose any words. „…he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. (…) But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.“  (9:24; 26) The Holy of Holies was not a place of prayer, it was a place of atonement. Jesus is not before the throne of grace pleading our case with words. It is his blood: „…Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.“ (12:24) To say that on top of the fact that he will always be as a lamb that has been slain, he would still have to add words of prayer and intercession takes away from the atonement. It is to say that his blood isn’t enough, he has to add words. So this thinking is not biblical and it is not logical, because we know that his blood is enough.

Well, anyways…actually I wanted to share something else. In verse 18 Moses asks: „Now show me your glory.“ Up to this point, God had been speaking to Moses through an angel. Even though that is not in the text here, the Rabbis always understood it this way and it is stated three times in the New Testament (Acts 7:38; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2). Moses wasn’t satisfied to be lead into the promised land by an angel, he wanted God in their midst. He wasn’t satisfied to only hear from God through an angel. He wanted to see God.

Now he had seen alot of God’s glory, in the sense of the miraculous demonstrations of supernatural power and majesty. So what was he asking for? I believe he just wanted to go deeper. He wanted to know God in a deeper way. Which is remarkable, especially on the background of everything he already had experienced in the past. Many of us would be satisfied to see God work or manifest himself in supernatural ways. Moses didn’t want to see what God could do or even would do – he wanted to see God.

„Only do not let us make Moses talk like a metaphysician or a theological professor. Rather we should hear in his cry the voice of a soul thrilled through and through with the astounding consciousness of God’s favour, blessed with love-gifts in answered prayers, and yearning for more of that light which it feels to be life.“ (Alexander Maclaren)

God told Moses that this was not possible in the fullest measure, because that would simply put Moses to death. But in his love he was willing to show Moses as much as was possible. Now check out what God shows Moses as an answer to his request to see God’s glory, his beauty: „I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mery on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (…) And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.“

Now without wanting to ellaborate much further, the observation is clear. Moses wants to see God’s glory, and God shows him as much as possible of that glory of His. He does it by a self-revelation, not to the eyes but to the ears of Moses. He doesn’t show Moses what he can do, but he tells him who he is in his relation to human beings. And I just think that this is God’s glory, that is his beauty. We are saved to the praise of the GLORY of his grace. To me, that is the most glorious thing I could ever imagine…

God – speaks Greek to me?

„Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tabets of human hearts. Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.“ (2 Cor. 3,1-6)

Yesterday I had another conversation with another friend of mine. He studied koine Greek at a Theology School and we talked about how to use or not to use Greek word and/or grammar studies for a regular Biblestudy. In his „Lectures to my students“ Spurgeon wrote, that in his opinion, preachers only quote the Greek to impress their hearers. So my friend and I talked about the tendency to do that and asked ourselves in how far it really does benefit the hearers.

One thing that is often overlooked among us evangelical lay preachers/theologians is the fact, that koine Greek is a dead language. That means that we depend on findings of other writings to give us insights on when which words or tenses were used. The more writings we have to compare, the more we will understand the language of the Bible. Now that means that we understand the language of the Bible today better than 50 years ago. Which is a real problem when my Greek lexicon is that old… It also means that we will understand the language of the Bible better 50 years from now then we do at this present time. So we should be careful not to build our theology on word studies in the Greek. We don’t have a holy language, like the Muslims do, because our book did not come down from heaven completed. It was rather a beautiful, God-in-time-and-space-kind-of-organic-process, we call it inspiration.

Which language does God speak? Does he speak Hebrew, Aramaic or koine Greek? Yes and No. God is Spirit. His language is not a human language, but a spiritual language. He uses human language, but a language can never embody the truth like the person of Jesus Christ. Everything human is earthly. Everything earthly is temporal, imperfect. Just as God cannot and does not live in a building build by human hands and is not served by human hands, he cannot be fully contained in human language. Not even the Bible languages. But also generally speaking are the thoughts, ideas and realities behind the words bigger and better than the words themselves. Words are only shells. Even Bible words.

George MacDonald writes in the Chapter „Truth is of the Spirit, not the letter“: „God has not cared that we should anywhere have assurance of his very words – not merely because of the tendency in his children to word worsip, false logic, and corruption of the truth, but also because he would not have his people oppressed by words. For words, being human, therefore but partially capable, could not absolutely contain or express what the Lord meant. No matter how precise the words used, to be understood the Lord must depend on the spirit of his disciple. Seeing it could not give life, the letter should not be throned with the power to kill. It should be only the handmaid to open the door of the truth to the mind that was of the truth.“

For this reason the early Christians were somewhat sceptical when they first heard of the idea of a Christian Scripture Canon. For them, this was one of the differences between the Old and the New Covenant. The Christian Faith was something that was passed on and lived out by the believing community of Jesus followers. Why would we want to go back to serving the letter? But in order to defend orthodoxy against heresy, the church fathers rightly judged that clear definitions of what Christians believe and what they reject were necessary.

William Law writes: „…every kind of virtue and goodness may be brought into us by two different ways. They may be taught us outwardly by men, by rules and precepts; and they may be inwardly born in us, as the genuine birth of our own renewed spirit. In the former way, as we learn them only from men, by rules and documents of instruction, they at best only change our outward behavior, and leave our heart in its natural state, only putting our passions under a forced restraint, which will occasionally break forth in spite of the dead letter of precept and doctrine.“ He goes on to say, that this is still the first stage in spiritual growth, just as the law (the letter) was a schoolmaster to the gospel. And that after all Scripture cannot do more than point us to the living Word. Words in themselves are dead. Even written words. Even New Testament words – apart from the life-giving and life-changing Spirit.

Andrew Murray comments on this: „In answer to the scruple that this appears to derogate from Scripture, we are reminded of the difference between Christ, the living Word, and the letter of Scripture. We are told that this is the very way to exalt Scripture when we own it to be the faithful and only direction to Him who is the true light of men. Just as the highest honor a disciple of John the Baptist could confer on his teacher was to leave him and go to Christ, so the Scriptures, the more we study and rejoice in them, will only have their full effect upon us as they daily point us to Christ.“

E. M. Bounds writes: „The preaching that kills may be, and often is, orthodox – dogmatically, inviolably orthodox. We love orthodoxy. It is good. It is the best. It is the clean, clear-cut teaching of God’s Word, the trophies won by truth in its conflict with error, the levees which faith has rasied against the desolating floods of honest or reckless misbelief or unbelief; but orthodoxy, clear  and hard as crystal, suspicious and militant, may be but the letter well-shaped, well-named, and well-learned, the letter which kills. Nothing is so dead as a dead orthodoxy, too dead to speculate, too dead to think, to study, or to pray.“

I wonder how much I have fallen into the same trap as the scribes, who wouldn’t accept the living Word when it came to them, because it didn’t fit their interpretations of the written word. Jesus is everything the Bible reveals him to be. And it is – in one sense – all we need to know about him. But yet Jesus is bigger than the Bible. That might sound shocking or even heretical. But in reality, everyone who doesn’t agree with that statement is an idolatrer – because he doesn’t only worship the Jesus of the Bible but Jesus and the Bible. And that’s wrong. The Bible is only means to an end. And that End is God.