The place of the Bible? Hmmm ...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

What I want to say and show, if I may, is, that a man will please God better by believing some things that are not told him, than by confining his faith to those things that are expressly said [ie in the Bible] - said to arouse in us the truth-seeing faculty, the spiritual desire, the prayer for the good things which God will give to them that ask him.

"But is not this dangerous doctrine? Will not a man be taught thus to believe the things he likes best, even to pray for that which he likes best? And will he not grow arrogant in his confidence?"

If it be true that the Spirit strives with our spirit; if it be true that god teaches men, we may safely leave those dreadful results to him. If the man is of the Lord's company, he is safer with him than with those who would secure their safety by hanging on the outskirts and daring nothing. If he is not taught of God in that which he hopes for, God will let him know it. He will receive something else than he prays for. If he can pray to God for anything not good, the answer will come in the flames of that consuming fire. These will soon bring him to some of his spiritual senses. But it will be far better for him to be thus sharply tutored, than to go on a snail's pace in the journey of the spiritual life. And for arrogance, I have seen nothing breed it faster or in more offensive forms than the worship of the letter.
George Macdonald, Unspoken Sermons

Stopping at the Bible as the Word of God and not going on to hear for ourselves from THE Word of God is one of the problems of modern-day Christianity. We don't really want to go on further, we want to stop in a book where all the answers are laid out, safe. A god that can be put back on the bookcase, safe. A modern day tablet of stone, our very own ten commandments, just with a bit more grace and lurve and stuff in there.

How sad. We miss everything when we stop there. We can very easily become something akin to demons in the process. I understand how heretical this would seem to those who need the security, who vaunt the Word of God above the Spirit of God speaking to them.

But to me, that's like being married to someone who lives in another country and only living out your marriage via email. Child's play. Might stay married for decades, but you've never really connected.

George Macdonald. Mentor of CS Lewis. Beholder of the far ranges. Like drinking sunlight :) I really recommend this book, Unspoken Sermons. The position he holds, his high view of God, it's just wonderful to read someone who is able to express so eloquently the things that most make me go, "Yes. Yes!" about faith.

The beautiful vision of those who see beyond the aspartame empire version. Thank God for those people.


  1. Did you see Nicole's post on this?

    Honestly it's why I'm tired of reading the's like an instruction manual, they say...but when you buy a new appliance or electronic, you read the manual, learn how to operate it, and then go operate it. You might refer to the manual from time to time when there is something you don't understand, but you don't read it cover to cover, year after year. Once you know how to operate said item, you don't need the manual as much. The Spirit is like our "manual" memory, and once indwelt, it's all there inside us, living and breathing. It's much more fun to live it and breath it than to read about it.

    Heretical? I couldn't give a crap.

  2. Erin, that is a wonderful description

  3. Hey Sue,

    This is really, really good. I am glad you wrote it (and I love Erin’s comment too). If it weren’t for people like you and her and some others, I would be so bitter, so closed-minded. The Christians I am surrounded by carry their Bibles with them everywhere and often use scripture verses to answer questions or in an attempt to comfort someone. Its enough to make me want to scream and run the other way. Its like robots. I wonder if they even think for themselves, ever??? So I go to the extreme and say “forget the Bible and forget God”. I am such a wishy washy person when it comes to God. I hate that about myself. But I suppose if he’s really a loving god then he can accept that about me. I Don’t know if any of this relates to your post, but it spoke to me…thanks.

  4. Erin - Great description. Yes, I totally get your feeling tired of the Bible. I have been feeling that way for ... well, years, really. It's like the slappers have taken all the poetry out of it, somehow. It's hard to not look at it with rigorous, analytical, laboratory eyes instead of looking at it as documents. I mean, that's not to say that I don't ever get anything out of it, because I do - it's just a struggle to get over that giant hump. And honestly, I get more out of Unspoken Sermons than I do the Bible because Mr MacD was a man who lived out the Bible and beyond. And it's the beyond that interests me :)

    Kent - hello there kind sir. Nice to see you around these here parts again :)

    Barbara - Yeah, that would creep me out, being amongst your workmates at times :) I'm sure they are well-meaning and have faith ... it's just that I am tired of that - yeah, robotic sort of faith that ... oh, it's like they're too scared to live inside their own skin or something, they can't trust themselves in any sort of way. But how can you not at least begin to trust your heart if, as the book you slap people with, your heart has been changed? Sigh.

    Yeah, I think God is probably more cool about where you're at than you are ;)


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