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Starfleet Regulations…. The Spirit Or The Letter?

June 17, 2016
Greetings,
Living under the bondage of the law rather than in
the freedom of the Spirit can assume many forms.
In our time, living under the law may assume the form
of biblicism. Many suppose that the evangelical faith 
stands or falls on the matter of biblical inerrancy 
­meaning that the very letter of Holy Scripture is 
without any error in everything it affirms, including
theology, history, ethics, geography, biology and
chronology.

The great danger of biblicism is that, instead of 
being used solely in the service of the gospel, 
the bible becomes a mere book of rules about many other
issues. Christians may become enslaved to the bible
just as the Jews became enslaved to the Torah­ their
Holy Scripture (John 10:34,35). Just as the Jews 
barricaded themselves behind the letter of
the Torah to oppose Jesus, so we may easily barricade
ourselves behind the letter of a supposedly inerrant
bible to oppose the gospel's obvious festival of freedom.

There can be a false faith in the bible. In the 
proper spiritual sense faith is an act of real
worship which should be rendered solely to the
Creator (John 9:35-38). Saving faith is not faith 
in the bible (for even the Christ-denying
Pharisees trusted in the bible John 5:39) but faith 
in Jesus (Rom. 3:22-26). While Catholics have been 
particularly susceptible to ecclesiology, the worship 
of the church, Protestants have been disposed toward 
bibliolatry or­ the worship of the bible.

The purpose of all Scripture is to bear witness to 
Jesus Christ (John 5:39;20:31). The bible in itself is not 
the Word of God. The Word of God is a person
(John 1:1). Neither does the bible have life, 
power or light in and of itself any more than did the 
Jewish Torah. These attributes may be ascribed 
to the bible only by virtue of its relationship 
to Him who is The Word, Life, Power and Light. Life 
is not in the book, as the Pharisees claimed, 
but only in the Jesus Christ of the book (John 5:39).

The bible is therefore to be valued because of 
its testimony to Jesus Christ. The bible is 
absolutely trustworthy and reliable for the 
purpose it was given. It is designed to make us 
"wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" 
(2 Tim. 3:15), not wise on such subjects as science,
history and geography ­which it is our 
responsibility to learn through common revelation.

That which makes the bible the bible is the gospel. 
When the Spirit bears witness to our hearts of the
truth of the bible, this is an internal witness
concerning the truth of the gospel. We need to be
apprehended by the Spirit, who lives in the gospel,
and then judge all things by that Spirit even the
letter of the written Word.

If we do not allow the bible to be the Word of 
God the bearer of the gospel it might be better 
to follow Martin Luther's advice to read some other book.
For if the bible is not used in the service of 
the gospel, it may either find people mad or make 
them mad.

We must stop using the bible as though it were 
a potpourri of inerrant proof-texts by which we 
can bring people into bondage to our religious
traditions. (For in practice the only inerrancy 
we ever defend is the inerrancy of our religious 
traditions and our very own way of reading the Bible.) 
We must no longer use the bible as the Pharisees 
used the Torah when they gave it absolute and 
final status. Christian biblicism is no 
different from Jewish legalism. It is the old 
way of the letter, not the new way of the 
Spirit (Rom. 7:6).

Jesus and Paul declared that apart from the Spirit 
we cannot understand the truth (John 16:13; 
I Cor. 2:14). This means that unless we are 
caught up in the Spirit of the gospel, we cannot 
understand or even use the bible correctly. Apart 
from the gospel the bible is letter (gramma), 
not Spirit (pneuma). "The letter kills, but the 
Spirit gives life. Now the Lord is the Spirit, 
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is 
freedom" (II Cor. 3:6,17).
Love and......
Kirk Out !

P.s. This post was originally written many
years ago and I have revised it several times 
over the years, and I borrowed many, perhaps most,
of these words from others who inspired me.
However, I no longer remember who to give credit
to here today.  This is not 100% my intellectual
property.  To those who inspired me back then
and now I tip my hat and say thank you.

P.s.s.  Some may question what this post has to do
with relational, simple, organic, Spirit led house
church.  I say how we approach scripture helps define
what type of church we are a part of.  It seems to me
that relational, simple, organic, Spirit led fellowships
need to approach and use scripture in simple, relational, 
organic and Spirit led ways, instead of traditional,
institutional, legalistic ways.











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6 Comments
  1. daryl permalink

    Lots of food for thought,though I would not agree that the Bible does not make us wise on subjects such as science,history,geography, and we are to simply get that through “common revelation”,In my opinion,there can be no true science or anything but a very ignorant understanding of other subjects,that leaves out the Scripture and what our Creator Himself has to say. If the Bible does not make us wise towards history,for example…then even the verse of making us wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is non-sensical,as all the history of Christ,His works,words,incomparable love for mankind,are found only in Scripture.What other historical accounts tell us that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”? or “In the beginning was the Word,and the Word was with God,and the Word was God”…and that”through Him all things were made.In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.”?Gen. 1:1,John 1:1-4 A history that does not include that or rejects that has little wisdom,as do other subjects and issues of life I really agree with what you say about our need to quit proof texting,(probably doing that in my comment!),making a “god” of our own traditions,personal interpretations,etc. …and just let the gospel shine in our hearts,living in the freedom of the Spirit,and giving others “permission”(lol)to do the same.Have a blessed day and as I remember,I continue to pray for you to be able to sleep,and hope that is going better for you.

    • daryl, thanks for sharing your portion here today. I appreciate your prayers and I am sleeping well these days.

  2. Dan permalink

    The Holy Spirit is the Glasses through which we can see scripture. Unfortunately, many are those who, without Him, see the unfocused, blurred version of scripture, hence the distorted interpretations that abound in Christendom.

  3. Janet permalink

    Christopher, I felt so much freedom the first time I read this. I am very glad you shared it again. For me legalism has always been like nails on a chalkboard. And it is sneaky. I think you might have had a post about when there is a move of the Spirit, people tend to want to box it up and re use it and that kills it. The spirit will not be held captive! And with the bible, we absolutely NEED the spirit in each situation. I think if we feel the urge to fling scripture at a person or issue we better pray hard about it! Satan knows how to use the bible for his purposes, too. Do everything through the filter of LOVE. Thanks again, Hon.

  4. Thank you Janet. I rejoice in your freedom. Awesome truth you have shared here about ALL things being done via LOVE.

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