Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Vision (5/9/13): Can one approach the Bible with a neutral attitude?

I recently began reading Edward J. Young’s classic An Introduction to the Old Testament (Revised Ed., 1964) in preparation for teaching a Survey of the Old Testament class this fall.  Young taught Old Testament for many years at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia and was a staunch defender of the traditional and orthodox reading of Scripture.  As the book opens, Young addresses the question of whether or not anyone can be “neutral” when he comes to the Bible:

There are those who apparently think that it is possible to approach the Bible with a neutral attitude.  Their position seems to be, ‘Let us study Scripture as we do any other book.  Let us subject it to the same tests as we do other writings.  If it proves to be the Word of God, well and good, but, if not, let us accept the fact’….  The so-called neutral attitude towards the Bible is in reality not neutral at all, for it begins by rejecting the lofty claims of divinity which the Bible makes and it assumes that the human mind of itself can act as judge of divine revelation.  This is, in effect, to substitute the mind of man as ultimate judge and reference-point in place of God Himself (pp. 26-27).

Indeed, when we come to the Bible and encounter the claims that it makes about who God is (holy, just, sovereign, merciful), who we are (sinners), and how God has worked in reconciling us to himself through Christ, we cannot be neutral.  We either receive the Bible and submit to it as the Word of God, or we fruitlessly try to make it submit to us.

When we come to worship this Sunday and hear the Word of God sung, prayed, read, and preached, what will our attitude be?

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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