Bible Idol

Quick question this morning:

If you had to do without either the Bible or the Holy Spirit, which one could you not do without?

For many people in my tradition (the Bible Church tradition), the tendency is to say "The Bible" first without thinking about that. After all, we're not the "Holy Spirit Church tradition." But that answer - even a tendency towards that answer - is idolatry. The Bible is not divine - it is divinely inspired. The Bible is not God, it is the revelation of God. It is not indwelling, it is something to be hidden in our hearts. The Holy Spirit, is Divine, is God, and resides within us.

The second question this morning is, "Why do you think evangelical Christians tend towards idolatry in this area?"


James W said...

I am confused. You seem to contradict yourself (or maybe I just am misunderstanding you). Are you saying those from a Bible church tradition would choose the Bible over the Holy Spirit (they would do without the Holy Spirit)? The way it is worded, it seemed like you said they would say they would ditch the Bible, but you then accuse those who answer thus of worshipping the Bible. What did I miss?

(My answer is I would go with the Holy Spirit. He is with me no matter what -- which I think is your point.)

chloeadele said...

Yeah, James. That's what I got too.

And I would choose the Holy Spirit, hands down. I just can't imagine life without Him. I feel very 'connected' to Him.

I imagine that anything that God needed me to know would be sent via The Great Comforter anyway.

Deb said...

I'm guessing you meant "...which one could you NOT do without?"

I agree with your conclusion that for many the first instinct would be to say "Bible".

Coming from a fundamentalist tradition, the simple answer is found in the absence of teaching on the Holy Spirit. Other than being the third person of the Trinity and sealing my salvation, this Holy Ghost guy was some mysterious presence that seemed to lack both a real job description and any relevance in my life. I think we were a little afraid of him; after all rumor had it that the Holy Ghost was behind all those shennigans going on at the Pentescostal church across town.

The Bible however permeated our lives every day in every way, we preached from it, memorized it, carried it to school ON TOP of our textbooks (never beneath), we used it to provoke guilt and shame, to judge the wicked and backslidden, it gave us the rules by which we could know God was pleased with us (and He was oh so much more pleased with us than He was with with "them") we had even figured out which version of Bible God preferred and honored Him by using it exclusively.

So the Bible, God's very word, inerrant and preserved, became our sword, our lamp, our light and our standard. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit, was welcome to attend but only if He sat quietly in the back.

Emphasizing the Bible seemed more concrete, more sure, more easily controlled and manipulated. It kept us in line and in step.

This view of the Holy Spirit is no longer true in my life, praise God! I have relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit and each is as important and precious as the other.

My greatest joy and confidence is in the fact that I wouldn't and COULDN'T choose to do without the Holy Spirit. He has chosen me and I welcome His presence!

Chris Freeland said...

Deb was right. Typo.

Whoops! Thanks for catching it.