You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you'll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren't willing to receive from me the life you say you want. // John 5:39-40, The Message
Over the last few weeks I have read A Church Called Tov, Jesus and John Wayne, The Righteous Mind, and I’m almost finished with The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Because of this, I almost feel like just leaving those two verses standing alone, without comment.
I would love for you to go and read them again.
Seriously, we can wait.
I have been part of the Evangelical wing of the Protestant church since I started to really take my faith seriously in college. If you were to ask any of us what the Trinity is we would quickly tell you that it is the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The thing is, most Evangelicals are more like Indiana University basketball fans than we are orthodox trinitarians.
What do I mean by this, you might be wondering?
Well, let me tell you!
I remember the day that Bobby Knight left IU. Amy and I were driving somewhere to raise money and we were listening to sports radio in Indiana. When the news broke the calls that came in were some of the saddest and angriest people that I had ever heard on a radio station. One man said, “In Indiana the holy trinity is God, Jesus, and Bobby Knight!” Now, if this man was at church he would surely tell you the Holy Spirit is likely part of the Trinity rather than Bobby Knight, but in that moment how he actually lived his life was on display.
For many of us who have been part of the Evangelical world for a while, the way we actually live our lives is that the Trinity is composed of God, Jesus, and the Bible. Most of us don’t think much about the Spirit, likely because when we do we get uncomfortable. The Spirit leads us down a road towards mystery and uncertainty and faith. What we prefer is certainty, data, and logic.
Jesus is talking to the religious leaders of his day. The folks who in many ways most parallel the Evangelical Christians and our leaders of this day. He tells them that they are missing everything. Why? Because they have their heads so far stuck up their Bibles that they can’t see what’s right in front of them.
Friends, many of us American Christian Evangelicals have the EXACT SAME PROBLEM. We are so committed to a book that we are missing what or actually who the book is pointing us toward.
Is the Bible important? Yes. I read it, I study it, I love it. The Bible inspires me and challenges me and convicts me and encourages me. I think the Bible is the most fascinating, beautiful, and challenging text that has ever been written. I think it’s been breathed out by God. I think it is sharper than a two-edged sword, as the saying goes. I am fully committed to the Bible!
In the midst of all that though, I have resolved over the last few years to try not to miss who the Bible is pointing us toward.
Who is the Bible pointing us toward? Christ.
What is the Bible pointing us toward? Grace, the reconciliation of all things, and the consummation of all things.
I wonder, what if we were to return the Holy Spirit back to the Trinity and allow the Spirit to draw us into mystery, uncertainty, and faith and as a result place the Bible back in its rightful place as a reflecting mirror through which we see dimly; would this help us to love and live more like Christ?
I think it might be worth a try.