Bring the Bible back to church.
Sorting through a new catalog that came my way recently I noticed a list of "Home Bible Study" guides — and they were on all sorts of "relevant" topics and "heart felt needs" like marriage and children and social justice and influencing public education policies.
All important, of course, but something was missing.
So I decided to Google some well-known churches on sermon topics.
And I found talks on fear, getting through life's difficulties, forgiveness, healthy families, and the topics go on and on.
They are all important, but something was missing.
The next day another catalog arrived in my mailbox from one of my favorite publishers. The same. Books and books and books about topics and topics and topics.
Something was missing.
What was missing was what struck me when the ad on my blog appeared, an ad of a book by a pastor and the book was about — the Bible!
That's what we're missing today: books about the Bible, books about the Bible's books.
Titles like Deuteronomy, Psalms, Zechariah, Luke, 2 Corinthians, or Titus.
Not books that use the Bible to talk about topics, not books that invade the Bible to cull information about what we want to talk about, not books that pretend to be biblical by adding Bible verses to something learned in the social sciences or from life's experiences — but books that grasp our hand and lead us to the table to sit down and listen to Scripture....
To hear what Moses said, to hear what David said, to hear was Ezekiel said, to hear what Jesus said, to hear what Paul said, to hear what Peter said, to hear what John said, and to hear what the author of Hebrews — whoever wrote that book — said.
What is missing is a belief in the Bible so secure that we can open up any book in that big book and know God still speaks.
God gave us a gift — the gift of the Bible — a gift with one postcard after another of God's message to us.
Instead of asking the Bible to talk to us about what we'd like to hear — what we need is to be led to the Bible to hear what God has said.
If we will but listen, God will speak.
He's that kind of God.
This piece, by Scot McKnight, originally appeared on Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience as part of a series of letters to the North American church. The images are also from Ann and her blog. The relevance of this message, from one of the most respected conservative scholars in today's evangelical community must not be ignored.
Scot McKnight's thought-provoking read, The King Jesus Gospel makes a plea for us to recover the old gospel as that which is still new and still fresh.
The book stands on four arguments:
- that the gospel is defined by the apostles in 1 Corinthians 15 as the completion of the Story of Israel in the saving Story of Jesus;
- that the gospel is found in the Four Gospels;
- that the gospel was preached by Jesus;
- and that the sermons in the Book of Acts are the best example of gospeling in the New Testament.
The King Jesus Gospel ends with practical suggestions about evangelism and about building a gospel culture... Knowing what the gospel in all its fullness really is — is central to not missing Jesus.