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ADH's Avatar Jump to comment 215 by ADH

The Bible is not a guidebook. It's essentially God's revelation of His character and the unfolding of his purposes for his creation. It is the accound of human rebellion and of the initiatives God took to bring about restoration, culminating in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is also a series of letters set to the earliest Christian communities to help them deal with the challenges posed by the culture that they lived in and were instructed faithfully to represent God in and emulate Christ's example in. It is not an instruction manual. There is a total misconception and many misrepresentations on this site of what the purpose of the Bible is, and what it's all about. The underlying paradigmatic ethic is: "love God with all your heart soul and mind and your neighbour as yourself". Given that basis, there is a great deal of scope for freedom of action and initiative. The boundary markers are justice, truth, transparency, integrity, forgiveness. In the letter to the Galatians, for example, Paul made a great deal of the fact that, far from being a binding rule-book, the gospel is absolutely liberating. Judaizing preachers were trying to throw the book at these emerging churches, at people who had embraced this radically liberating message, telling them that they had to subject themselves to the Law and all the OT rituals. Paul was pointing out to them that having believed the gospel they were no longer enslaved to Law. He then added that the Holy Spirit's role among and within them was to bring out in them traits such as: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and sel-control, and he added that, compared to that dynamic there was no Law - no Law or ritual that can match that. That is what our lives must be oriented towards and governed by. Christians often get it wrong of course, we mess things up, legalism seeps into our minds and our communities, we can become petty and waste time bickering among ourselves. But this is the challenge we face. I think that is sufficient as an orientative ethic.

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 12:25:00 UTC | #109141