Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Thoughts on Doctrines

Somewhere in the back of head, there’s this feeling of uneasiness, of hmmm…like I was scratching a galvanized corrugated iron sheet with my finger nails, (the Filipino word is “ngilo” I don’t know the English translation) whenever bible doctrines is discussed. It’s not that I hate Bible doctrines, it’s just that sometimes, just sometimes, okay, always, I have the feeling that people who thinks they know the Bible (like that preacher from channel 37 who claims the his doctrines is original) also knew God, also grasped God, can also manipulate God, can explain God. Of course I will also be teaching doctrines, that is if our pastors will trust me that what I will teach is what I believe in and not what I explore and asks, so, I will be...hmmm…uneasy about myself too.

If we encounter first century Christians, I think we will condemn them as not Christian because of the simplicity of their faith, of their doctrines (or the lack of it). And if we encounter first century Christians, they will call us Pharisees admit it or not, our dogmatism will be so rigid, legalistic and anti-Christ, and our churches so organizational to them that they will not recognize us as Christians at all. And they are nearer to the historical Christ and his teachings than we could ever be.

They don’t even have Bibles and yet they were able survive even before the earliest attempt to create a cannon of the Bible by an, of all the people, heretic named Marcion during the second century began. What they have really is not a bible at all but loose letters and manuscripts with questionable claims of authorship. We are blessed to have the Bible; then again, are we?

I love the Bible. I read it. I study it. I learn from it. I believe it is the word of God. I believe that it is divine. I believe that it’s inerrant in its original autograph. I believe in its revelatory power. I believe everything in it and I’m willing to accept its literalness in the name of orthodoxy.

But I also believe that God is greater than any book, even the Bible. The Bible reveals what God thinks about God that God thinks we are capable of processing, and even in a simplified revelation as a book, Christians can’t even agree on simple terms like “disciples” and “followers.” How much more about…the nature of God.

The Bible is not God. The Bible does not contain God. The Bible is not an operating manual of God. Unless these things are understood, bibliolatry (worship of the Bible) perils faith.

The Bible should lead and guide us to God but if it becomes a stumbling block, a whirlpool of inane and insane wordplay and games of logic and etymologies and what have you…it’s time to be a Quaker. Nahhh…just having fun.

(Quakers are pacifist, philanthropists and good Christians. Pennsylvania was named after their leader William Penn. They are famous for their religious piety and independence. They believed that divine revelation is immediate and individual. The Bible is secondary source of revelation for them.)

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