The Separation of Church and Scripture

Written by Drew on August 21st, 2006

I’ve been paying more attention to the role the Scriptures play in denominational churches. Lately, the situation has crossed the line of the usual doctrinal disputes into an overall disregard for God’s Word.

My awareness of this began with the Newsweek piece on Billy Graham, who no longer feels that every part of the Bible is from the Lord. From there, I began to run across other disturbing headlines.

Tom Ehrich, an Episcopal pastor out of Durham, N.C., asks, “Where does God stand on abortion?” He says, “The religious debate is one best captureed in shades of gray rather than how it’s usually depicted by both “pro” sides–in black and white.” Continuing to muddy the line between right and wrong, Ehrich says, “In the point-counterpoint of the abortion debate, biblical arguments seem to have lost their zing…In truth, there is no single religious position on abortion.”

Ehrich is right if you’re just looking at polling data. In a Pew Research Center survey, six out of 10 white evangelicals want a “middle ground” on abortion. Meanwhile, 44 percent of white evangelicals back stem-cell research (the survey does not make a distinction between embryonic stem-cell research and adult stem-cell research).

However, from God’s point of view, there is only one position on abortion: it is murder and therefore wrong. Ehrich challenges the biblical arguments offered in opposition to abortion. Of Psalm 139 he says, “Is that biblical proof life begins at conception or simply symbolic language showing God’s providence, based perhaps on an ancient Phoenician myth?” Concerning Jeremiah 1:5 he asks, “Is that God’s definition of conception or the author’s literary description of his call as a prophet?” Reading the Bible like this, it would be hard to discover any truth from the pages of the Bible.

Abortion violates numerous clear Bible passages. Any objective thinker will recognize this. The question is, are churches really struggling to understand what God’s will is on the matter of abortion, or do they even care?

The softened positions on abortion are mere examples of an overall problem. Anglicans are offering absolution from past sins in exchange for one million “platinum points” earned through a local classic rock radio station. Presbyterians are publishing a book alleging that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. government. Community churches are writing hip-hop versions of their favorite passages of Scripture. (One such version of Psalm 23 begins, “The Lord is all that, I need for nothing. / He allows me to chill.”) Whereas in the past, denominational churches avowed complete faith in God’s Word while misinterpreting a number of passages on important doctrines, today many of them openly mock or ignore the Bible, replacing it with cultural trends.

In this atmosphere a plea for biblical truth ought to resonate well with those who sincerely seek God’s will. Many folks just want to do what the Bible says. That has always been the case. I believe it is still the case today. The Lord’s church has a unique message in this context–the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. If we will preach it, people will listen.


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Theophilus says:

    This is the inevitable end to which denominationalism has been headed for years. When one reads Peter who says, “Baptism…now saves you” and says, “Baptism has nothing to do with salvation; and when one reads Luke who recorded Peter’s words as, “…be baptized…for the forgiveness of your sins” and says, “Baptism does not take away sins,” then he is moving toward a total disregard of God’s word. When one says, “The Bible doesn’t say, ‘Don’t use a mechanical instrument in worship,'” then he is not concerned with how God authorizes through His word. With such an attitude toward the Scriptures, the Bible becomes worthless in spiritual life.

  2. Kevin Rhodes says:

    I had seen the same stories, Drew. You captured my thoughts and feelings about it completely in your usual forthright and well written style.

    We need to show people what true faith in God’s Word is all about.

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