Let me start here…

My next post for this little “I’m going to publish some bold questions on my blog regarding the Bible” series I’m writing is needing a minute or two more…not because I’m not clear on what I’d like to write but because my brain is overloaded with a few other things and I’m having trouble focusing when I sit down to type…so I’ll lead in with this… C.S. Lewis…”Restoration of the Bible on its Own Terms”…

Unless the religious claims of the Bible are again acknowledged, its literary claims will, I think, be given only ‘mouth honour’ and that decreasingly. For it is, through and through, a sacred book. Most of its component parts were written, and all of them were brought together, for a purely religious purpose. It contains good literature and bad literature. But even the good literature is so written that we can seldom disregard its sacred character. It is easy enough to read Homer while suspending our disbelief in the Greek pantheon; but then the “Illiad” was not composed chiefly, if at all, to enforce disobedience to Zeus and Athene and Poseidon. The Greek tragedians are more religious than Homer, but even there we have only religious speculation or at least the poet’s personal religious ideas; not dogma. That is why we can join in. Neither Aeschylus nor even Virgil tacitly prefaces his poetry with the formula ‘Thus say the gods.’ But in most parts of the Bible everything is implicitly or explicitly introduced with ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ It is, if you like to put it that way, not merely a sacred book but a book so remorselessly and continuously sacred that it does not invite, it excludes or repels, the merely aesthetic approach. You can read it as literature only by a tour de force. You are cutting the wood against the grain, using the tool for a purpose it was not intended to serve. It demands incessantly to be taken on its own terms; it will not continue to give literary delight very long except to those who go to it for something quite different. I predict that it will in the future be read as it always has been read, almost exclusively by Christians.

I agree…I agree…but ‘Christians’…what does it mean to call oneself a Christian…and wrapped up in that, the question of legalism must still be answered…must it always carry a negative connotation? The representation the Pharisees exhibited of it unquestionably merits a negative label…but what about living according to x,y, and z out of adoration and submission…? And although the legalism the Pharisees exhibited is fully at war with the grace of God is that necessarily always the case…where then would the attributes of a bond servant find their right place? Obedience is now unnecessary because grace has entered in…the apostle Paul would disagree…Jesus never taught that… it’s on the tip of my fingers…and I suppose that’s why the attitude of the heart is ultimately where this conversation begins…

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