I started a discussion this Spring over a quiz and later a book by Scot McKnight exploring hermeneutics, which is simply to say – how we interpret scripture.
I have remained very interested in this topic, and it has influenced other subsequent posts.
We (my wife and I) are just beginning our second term teaching Sunday School to 6th-9th graders. We have been increasingly pushing toward a study and presentation of “What exactly is a Christian?” After all, if you don’t know what separates you from other faiths, does your faith really mean anything?
The preceding is all just background for this: I am trying to get a better idea what a Christian is today. Or, more accurately, what today’s Christian believes about his/her own faith. To that end, I have created a bit of a quiz. It is entirely anonymous, unless you choose to identify yourself. I would highly appreciate it if any of you who identify yourself as a Christian would take it! It should only take a minute or two. It is not scored, and it is definitely not on the same level as McKnight’s. Nonetheless, I believe it will be very helpful in helping me understand today’s church.
We have had the ability to own books since the invention of the printing press about 500 years ago. Electricity first became available to households about 100 years ago. The transistor was released 60 years ago, paving the way for computers in the last few decades.
In 200 years, we have gone from communication by print, to telegraph, to telephone, then radio, television, cell phone, and internet. In the past twenty years, we have gone from obscure online bulletin boards that had to be accessed by dialup, to thousands of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and myriad other forums accessible 24 hours a day at the touch of a button.
“…Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”
I recently saw this passage on the web page of a fairly prominent ministry. It reminded me that I am finding that I like bible verses less and less. Don’t get me wrong – I love the bible. I love the stories and passages we can learn from. But verses can cause enormous problems. Those tiny numbers that you see throughout your bible didn’t exist 500 years ago. These were added (thankfully!) so that we can find our way through it and have a common frame of reference. They were not added so that we could have theology that fits on refrigerator magnets and bumper stickers.