I’m at that stage in life where it’s all about the next generation. Whether in my ministry @Church of the Open Door, my conference speaking, or writing, I’m preoccupied with building into the next generation. God has used that passion to introduce me to a few young men and women who encourage me because they get “it.” By “it,” I mean authentic Christianity.
One of those young men is Tyler Braun. Tyler is a pastor and a writer from Salem, Oregon. You can read all about him here. I “met” Tyler online through his awesome blog, Man of Depravity. Don’t you love that title? Anyway, I was reading his posts and thinking, “This guy is someone I have to meet.” A few months ago we got together over coffee in Oregon. As he shared his heart for mentoring and community I was thoroughly encouraged.
He just posted this great piece on a controversy broiling today:
Some Christians refer to themselves as “Red Letter Christians.” The idea being that the words and ministry of Jesus should carry more weight than other Biblical teachings. They waste a lot of energy speaking against Biblicism and Bible worship.
Others might speak toward this by saying, “the Word (Jesus) became flesh,” so any adoration toward the Word (The Bible) is idolatry. Meaning that Jesus deserves devotion, the Bible (outside of the words of Jesus) deserves none. A few articles made the rounds in recent weeks espousing to ideas similar to these. I know that deep down their desire is to exalt and worship Jesus, so I’m not questioning intentions.
But I have to say, I don’t understand it, not at all. In trying to exalt Jesus as above the Bible we diminish the value of God’s written and proclaimed Word, which leads us to the very person supposedly being pushed above it. In the end it’s a lose, lose.
Jesus, the God-man, Son of God, became flesh, and is divine revelation. Jesus even said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). Meaning that in meeting Jesus, we come to see the face of God the Father.
On the other hand, the Bible is living and active, useful for teaching and correcting. It is the Word of God that informs us of the Son of God. Meaning that through God’s Word we come to know about this Father God who sent His Son Jesus, and then through this Word we are shaped to be like Him.
The Spirit of God, uses the Word of God, to shape the man of God, for the mission of God. (tweet this?)
So we don’t have to choose either Jesus or the Bible, we choose both because both Words proclaim the glory of God to man. This doesn’t mean we raise our Bibles high, praising the written Word as we gather congregationally. But it doesn’t mean we consider the Bible as replaceable to instead only seek after Jesus and His teaching.
If Jesus is the whole revelation of God, all of Scripture speaks to Him, leading us nearer to Him. As Matt Smethurst wonderfully observes, “If you love Jesus, you’ll love his voice wherever it appears—even in the black letters.”
Jesus makes known the Triune God of the universe, and the Bible makes known the Triune God of the universe. We need not make a distinction where God is not trying to make one. Yes, parts of the Bible are more confusing to our 21st century minds and lives, but they paint a picture and tell a story of a God who draws near to us, who makes Himself known, and will continue to make Himself known by His Spirit and His Word.