I have a friend who practices a flat and almost entirely literal reading of Scripture. There is little room for ambiguity or mystery in her reading and she is constantly forced to choose between two horrible options: faith or science, faith or friendships, faith or education. Suggesting that the book of Jonah was perhaps a didactic story is equivalent to denying the resurrection of Jesus.
I have a friend who practices an indifferent and almost entirely allegorical reading of Scripture. There is little room for inspiration or authority in his reading and he is never forced to choose between his faith and anything else. Denying the resurrection of Jesus is no more troublesome to him than suggesting that the book of Jonah was perhaps a didactic story.
Maybe the greatest challenge to building our lives on God’s truth will be avoiding these two approaches to Scripture.Jeff Piepho Revolution BIC (Salina, Kans.)
When our church set out to build a new meeting space, we started with pages of blueprints. But we didn’t stop there. We hired electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and a project leader to translate those blueprints into an actual, physical building. Those drawings could have sat on a table for ages without accomplishing a single thing. The power of the blueprint became apparent only when the carpenter swung his hammer.
Likewise, though Scripture can rest on a table, it is meant for building lives. For instance, God’s word contains admonitions to care for orphans. Powerful! Yet those words, alone, never feed an orphan. When our family chose to become foster parents, Scripture’s words came to life. They leapt off the paper, and their power became apparent as our lives and the souls of those children were changed forever.
Scripture is not merely a blueprint for our lives. It is encouragement to swing a hammer.Aner Morejón Southeast Regional Conference
One of the greatest challenges facing the Church today is loss of identity. As Paul tells his readers in Romans 12:2, when Christians conform to the ways of the world, they become desensitized to the materialistic, hedonistic culture around them and lose their distinctive identity. When we do what the world does, when we watch what the world watches, and when we speak how the world speaks, we conform. And in our conformity, we fail to challenge the false doctrines and secular currents that are taking over our congregations. Losing our true identity to worldly conformity is one of the greatest challenges to building our lives on God’s truth.