Dear Fundamentalist: Jesus is Bigger than the Bible!

imagesIEKMEKYTWhile on vacation, when asked about my theological trajectory and new way of reading Scripture, I constantly pointed to Jesus.  Why?  Because it is what I have come to believe.

The doctrinal divides over how each other’s denomination reads the Bible are futile and fruitless.  The whole enterprise is unfortunate.

Jesus will not be bound by what anyone of us says about him.

But the fundamentalist would beg to differ.  Consider the following from the popular young and restless Reformed Kevin DeYoung,

“If you are a Christian, by definition you ought to believe what Jesus teaches.  He is the Son of God.  He is our Savior and Lord.  We must follow his example, obey his commands, and embrace whatever understanding of Scripture he taught and assumed.  Surely this means we are wise to believe about the Scriptures whatever Jesus believed about the Scriptures” (Taking God At His Word, p. 95)

No objection from me, though a few clarifications would be in order, as we would need to parse a few expressions here and there.  But then DeYoung adds,

“Jesus believed in the inspiration of Scripture–all of it.  He accepted the chronology, the miracles, and the authorial ascriptions as giving the straightforward facts of history” (p. 109)

We have a problem here.  Come to think about it, it is not what Jesus believed about the Bible.  Rather, it is what Kevin DeYoung has concluded that Jesus believed about the Bible.  Dear reader, there’s a difference.

You see, a fundamentalist like Kevin DeYoung has so framed the discussion, that Jesus has ended up in DeYoung’s own theological box: DeYoung is of the theological understanding that the chronology, the miracles, and so on, of the Bible could only be understood one way–his way.

Accordingly, Mr. Kevin DeYoung has built a theological box and put Jesus in it.  And neither will Jesus be bound by you or me–for he is bigger than the Bible, and especially, our reading of it.

In the end, it’s not what we believe about the Bible, but it’s what we believe about the Jesus of the Bible.

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9 Responses to Dear Fundamentalist: Jesus is Bigger than the Bible!

  1. Craig Benno says:

    I think Jesus majored on that the “law and the prophets” spoke of him, and that he was the fulfillment of them. It’s an interesting account of Jesus when he reads from the scroll in the Synagogue for the first time. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me….”

    When you read the full OT version of that Scripture, we read how God is going to smash the teeth of the enemy. But, Jesus stops before that, and then proceeds to tell the story of how God neglected Israel and blessed those ungodly neighbors / enemies. The result was a gnashing of teeth and an attempt to stone him by his listeners.

    That incident instantly causes us to be suspicious of any claim that Jesus had a fundamental and literal understanding of the OT. Great post T.C.

  2. nwroadrat says:

    When some are pointing to Jesus, to the point of elevating what he said over the rest of the text, that’s like a new kind of red letter Christian. Only without the red ink?

  3. Jon Hughes says:

    Great post, TC.

    These days I find the approach of the likes of Kevin DeYoung stifling. Jesus was liberating in every way. He certainly liberates us from those who want to control the Word of God and thereby control how believers understand their Bibles. It’s very hard not to see that DeYoung and his ilk would have fallen into the category of the Pharisees had they been around 2,000 years ago in terms of their understanding of the scriptures. A sobering thought.

  4. Thanks for your thoughts here TC. I hadn’t come across that book, but i’m curious to look at it now – i agree it seems to take license in simplistically encapsulating Jesus’ “assumptions”

  5. Lon Hetrick says:

    Hmmm… I didn’t see anything to disagree with in DeYoung’s statements. Perhaps a future post explaining your position/perspective will enlighten me.

  6. TC Robinson says:

    Jon: shh… I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Matthew: Give it a read! It’ll be something of a primer on how his circle thinks on these matters. It’s something of a rebuttal to current trends, threading a CSBI1978 and so on.

    Lon: DeYoung has already made certain assumptions and is now holding Jesus to those same assumptions.

    Jesus, a first-century Jew, do you believe he read his Bible the same we read ours in the 21st century?

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