Friday, November 16, 2012

Guest Post: A Response about Biblical Views

The following post is written in response to the article "Sex and the 'Biblical' View"

by Ian McLoud

I want to start by saying that I have great respect and an abiding love for Ben, his thoughts, and this blog. Ben and I have a lot in common. We were roommates for a year at the same Christian college. We grew up as preacher’s kids in the same type of church. We’re both huge Braves fans though neither of us grew up/live in Georgia and we rushed the same social club, (and no that’s not the same thing as a fraternity) in college.

I agree with a lot of Ben’s viewpoints or at least understand why he holds those he does. That being said, I disagree with his thoughts on Biblical views.
I do agree that all too often the idea of a Biblical view is used as the be all and end all of conversation. If you’re ever in an argument with someone and they say something to the effect of, “But what does the Bible say?” chances are they mean, “You’re wrong and I have my reading of the Bible to back that up.”

What follows is typically a debate where both sides pick and choose their special go to verses which they then take wildly out of context to prove their point. Eventually both people leave feeling that they are right, the other is wrong and so a division is made. Church history proves this time and time again. But that does not mean that Biblical views do not exist.
The Biblical view about how to treat other people is that you should love them (10 commandments/Jesus’ thoughts on the greatest command). The Biblical view on what to do about the poor and oppressed is to help them (Isaiah 1 and I’m sure other places, I’m just too lazy to cite them all (Ed. Note: read the minor prophets)). The Biblical view on Jesus is that He is the Messiah. He came to earth to “seek and save the lost” and provide salvation to all (the entire New Testament and really there’s more to it than what I’ve said here).

Biblical views, such as they are, exist in broad, sweeping ideas. Meaning I can tell you, with certainty, the Biblical view on murder. Murder is wrong because you’re supposed to love people and murdering someone is definitely not a loving act. The issue we get into with Biblical views comes when we try to say that the Bible has a view on a very specific topic. Like the Biblical view on being a woman. The Bible does not exist to tell you how to act as a woman, but as a person. That’s not as cut and dry as we would perhaps like it to be.

Ben is right that the Bible is a book about God, who He is and how He relates to us. But it also is about who we are in relation to God. How we relate to God and how we should relate to others. This involves, like it or not, ideas of how we should treat God and how we should treat others.

The problem comes when I try to force the Bible’s influence in my life onto someone else, someone who doesn’t live in the same context that I do. We cannot expect others to react exactly as we would in any given situation because they do not have the same life experiences that we do. Even though Ben and I share a lot in common in terms of life experiences, I don’t believe or like everything Ben does and vice versa.
We must be open to the idea that our views might be wrong. At one point in my life I believed that instrumental worship was wrong (I was also still in elementary school, cut me some slack please). I had this view because I grew up in a church that, at the time, believed that. I have since realized that instrumental worship isn’t wrong anymore than using Welch’s instead of wine for communion is wrong.

My view changed because my mind was open to the idea that I could be wrong. We get into the biggest problems with Biblical views when we are unwilling to admit that we could be wrong. Some of the greatest and most freeing lessons I’ve learned have come from someone showing me how wrong I am. Do Biblical views exist? I think so. Could I be wrong? It’s entirely possible. The key is to keep the conversation going.

You can follow Ian on Twitter @KindaScottish.

If you'd like to write a guest post for On Pop Theology you can contact Ben at benjamin.howard [at] or find him on Twitter @BenHoward87.

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