This is part three of my review of the book Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus by Robin Meyers. This is somewhat the continuation of the study of the pre-Easter Jesus and the after-Easter Jesus mentioned in the previous text. Here is the quote for this post:
The simple fact, that the Bible came to us through a process of review and selection by human beings who condensed an enormous amount of material down to four gospels, a pseudo-history we call the Acts of the Apostles, and the letters that complete the New Testament, is remarkably unknown to most Christians…..
The Bible is both inspired and covered with human fingerprints— but the Bible is not what we worship. The God to which the Bible points us is what we worship, and the claim of the first followers of Jesus was not that he was God, but rather that he revealed the fullness of God at work in a human being. For our part, however, the evolution from symbol to idol is inevitable. We are always tempted to make golden calves out of the instruments of revelation, and the result is more than just the sin of idolatry. Jesus becomes the Christ, and then Jesus is lost. We stare across the abyss of adoration at a deity we can worship, but not emulate.
Claims of biblical infallibility are identical to claims of the metaphysical divinity of Jesus. Both make idols of the temporal, and idolatry is the mother and father of all sins. What we learn if we study the Bible carefully is that this library of books, this far-flung and diverse collection of literature….
What it preserves is not a formula sufficient for salvation but the repository of wisdom from a particular people living in a particular time and place, elevated through a human process to the status of sacred scripture. As scripture, the Bible is therefore “authoritative” for the community that regards it as scripture, and then that community is shaped by those divine encounters, which continue to spark new encounters with the divine…..
Prior to this quote was the mention of all the gospels that did not make it into our Bible. Mr. Meyers goes into great detail in pointing out the shift from the pre-Easter Jesus to the post-Easter one. I certainly agree with his conclusion that the bible is both inspired and covered with human fingerprints and that I don’t worship the Bible but instead use it as a source of understanding, through human hands, the nature of God.
When the church insists that the Bible itself is to be worshipped as coming directly from God with no possibility of human error and is to be taken literally they do damage to the body of Christ. They, as Mr. Meyers says make an idol of the document about Jesus instead of making his words the center of our lives. When we use the Bible to further understand the messages of Jesus, instead of adoring the book itself, then we have the perspective that Jesus intended.