In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in haven. (Hebrews 1:1-3 TNIV)
When I said that I didn’t think I could ever be a Southern Baptist again, and even referred to them as apostate, it ruffled some feathers. In fact, some responders have seemed offended. And there seems to be a distraction within my previous post that keeps taking precedence over what I was actually saying. I was not stating my separation from the SBC as a response to the way some leaders have chosen to treat women, although injustice is reason enough to do so. My issue is with the fact that the denomination as a whole does not see Jesus as central to His own religion.
In removing the phrase that made Jesus the guiding rule for interpreting Scripture, they were, in essence, saying that there is a better way to read the Bible, and it isn’t through the eyes of the Son of God. The moment this idea was removed from the Baptist Faith and Message, the doors were opened for the kinds of things that have currently been taking that denomination by storm. But this should not be the case.
The central figure to the Christian religion is Jesus Christ. It’s not Father God. It’s not the Holy Spirit. It isn’t even the Bible. It is Jesus Christ. Granted, to properly understand Jesus, we must have a proper view of the Father and the Spirit, but the one who came to establish God’s kingdom on earth and left us with a reliable way of doing so was the Son.
Long ago, God spoke through prophets and and priests and visions and asses, but today, He speaks to us through His Son. Not the Bible. Not feelings influenced by the Spirit. Not the Father’s booming voice. Jesus. It is true that Jesus’ words are most accurately found within the pages of the Bible, but because it is through Jesus that God is speaking to us, the words of Jesus should be first and foremost in our minds and hearts. When we read the Bible, Jesus should be our lens for interpreting it.
When He isn’t, things tend to take a much different path than He would take. When the Bible is interpreted through anything other than Jesus, there are ugly results.
Racism is condoned. War is embraced as not merely a necessary evil, but a baptized action that must be taken to establish a just society. Women are treated as at worst property and at best as under men, as unequal to them in ways that are just plain sick. People who don’t look, act, or speak as “we” do can be oppressed and persecuted for the Bible says to cast out the evil (read different) from our midst.
But Jesus changes all of this.
It is through Jesus whom the earth was created. And it is through Jesus that this universe is sustained. And it is through Jesus that it will be later purified in a way eerily reminiscent of the 40 day and 40 night flood of Noah. And it is through this same Jesus that God is speaking to us and showing us exactly what God is like. Through Him, God is showing us a new way to live. A better way. The Kingdom way. But we won’t see this way unless we are looking at Jesus. Jesus is pretty darn important if you ask me.