Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More bibliolatry

Ask a fundy:

"What if you had to give up one, which would you choose: God or the Bible?"

They actually hesitate!


Have conservative evangelicals fill in the blank:

"In these days,the primary way God speaks to us is through His ____"

Why do 9 out of 10 immediately fill in "Word," when this is simply Hebrews 1;1-2, and the answer is "Son"?


At a number of camps, conferences and retreats, I simply read the following list of Scriptures; warning that they are all off by only one word. I get one word wrong every time. By the end of the list, the lesson is (hopefully) obvious.

· “Do not take Thy Holy Bible from me!”
· “’Not by might, not by power, but by my Holy Bible,’ says the Lord.”
· But before Mary and Joseph came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Bible.” · “As Jesus was baptized, the Holy Bible descended on him, as a dove in bodily form.”
· “John baptized with water, but I have come to baptize with the Holy Bible and with fire.”
· “There will come a day when all worshippers worship correctly: in the Holy Bible and in truth.”
· “All other sins can be forgiven, even those against the Son of Man, but there is an unpardonable sin that will never be forgiven: the blasphemy against the Holy Bible.”
· “I will send you another Helper, who will counsel you, and will be like me, the Holy Bible.”
· “The Holy Bible will lead you into all truth.” · “You will receive power when the Holy Bible comes upon you” ·
“All of them were filled with the Holy Bible, and began to speak in other tongues as the Holy Bible gave them utterance”
· “Don’t worry about what to say, words will be given you; it will not be you speaking, but the Holy Bible.”
· “Go, therefore, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Bible…”
· “The fruit of the Holy Bible is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, self-control.”
· “On the day of Pentecost, when they were all together in one place, the Holy Bible fell on them.”
· “Don’t be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Bible”
· “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Bible?”
· “The love of God, the grace of the Lord Jesus, and the fellowship of the Holy Bible be with you all.”
· “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,” except through the Holy Bible.”
· “Do not grieve the Holy Bible.”
· “The one who has an ear, let them hear what the Holy Bible is saying to the churches”


cartoon by branthansen

Having written and taught a bit (here and here) on our tendency toward biblioltary...:

I recently caught these quotes from John MacArthur:

"There is no substitute for submitting to ____"
"If you are not a Christian, you need ______ for salvation"
"_____ is perfectly able to open an unbeliever's eyes to the truth of the gospel, convict him of sin, or even do radical surgery on his soul."

Astoundingly, he answers wrongly ("The Bible") every a book (ironically titled "Our Sufficiency in Christ" (link)

And a reader of the Bible will know chapter and verse (1 Cor 2.14) for MacArthur's third misquote above:

"The unbeliever cannot understand and does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."


Christianity is NOT a Book-religion

Though often perceived as the "religion of the Book," Christianity is only rightly understood as an ontological relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ who is the Word of God.

©1998 by James A. Fowler


  1. First, cool blog. And I'm glad you "got" my very poor Windows Paint-job, there.

    Second, my friends and I have done the same exercise, this inserting "the Bible" where it doesn't the Bible. I got a kick out of your list.

    Third: One of your earlier bibliolatry entries was followed by a lone comment, a spam from someone trying to sell his Bible DVD, or something. I thought that was ironically funny, and appreciated you leaving that up.

    Good stuff.

    Brant Hansen

  2. Thanks Brant!

    Yep, i left it up on its own commentary

  3. Well done. Everything you say here about Bibliolatry is right on.

    But I deal with the flip side of this more often these days -- people (Christians) who see no value in the Bible at all. I've yet to see people truly grapple with how to honor and value Scripture, allowing it to be used for "teaching, rebuking, training in righteousness" while not giving it the place of Christ or the Holy Spirit. That's the work that needs to be done. Everyone ends up at one end of this pendulum swing or the other, and neither is healthy.


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!