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Committing the Sin of Bibliolatry

Over the course of being a Christian, I’ve been called numerous things: bigot, hypocrite, self-righteous, judgemental, unchristlike, etc. Now, there’s no doubt that I have been these things at one time or another, but this name calling was mostly resultant from holding to a biblical worldview. Also, I was being called these things by those who didn’t claim to hold to such a position. However, soon after publishing a podcast episode called “Fortune Cookie Prophecy”, I was accused of something I have never been accused of before: being a Bible idolater.

I was told to be cautious, that I was wandering into “bibliolatry”. Now if you’ve listened to “Fortune Cookie Prophesy”, you know that Women of the Table hold to Sola Scriptura. We also believe that the prophetic and apostolic offices have ceased. For more on that topic, feel free to take a listen (or relisten) to that episode here: https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-csqah-c1eb07 . For now, and to accompany our latest topic, I want to talk about bibliolatry.

First things first, what is it? Well, it’s not idolatry in the sense where you literally bow down to a Bible and pay homage. It is rather more natural, like other forms of idolatry – placing your Bible in a position over God – the only One worthy of worship.

But can we actually commit the sin of Bible worship? I’m not one to say that any sin is impossible. We know that as fallen man, we are able to take any good thing and make it a “god-thing”, but can you do that with the very word of God? What would that look like? Is this really a danger that lurks beneath our study of the Bible? Yes, and no. Next I’ll lay out my negative position to the question.

Oftentimes this term, bibliolatry, is used in a derogatory sense. It’s even used by other “Bible-believing Christians”. However, the crux of the issue lies with our view of scripture. Even many self-professed Christians that claim the necessity of the Bible, don’t hold it as the very Word of God: infallible, inerrant, and always applicable regardless of the time and cultural context. There are also professing Christians who don’t credit the Bible with special authority, believing that new revelatory words of prophecy are equally as authoritative. So, then of course if you don’t believe ALL of the Bible is true, infallible, the very word of God, and the only sure place the word of God is found today, then it would only make sense that someone could fall in to the sin of Bible worship. By solely relying on scripture, or studying it too much, we would be “limiting” God, hindering the Spirit’s work in prophesying “new words from God”. We also would be rejecting today’s gift of advanced reason and science – replacing it with errant, archaic, far-removed scripture. Herein lies the problem with the accusations of bibliolatry. One could fall into worship of the Bible if you believe there is greater truth and greater words of God to be attained or discovered. But, when we believe the truth about scripture, we know that we can’t possibly pit true reason against it. True reason and objective truth find it’s origin in God, and God has chosen to reveal Himself most fully in Christ Jesus. Where can we know and learn of Him? You guessed it – scripture.

There are even some liberal Christian ministers who conflate the idea of Bible worship to build a case for their own preferred, worldly, wisdom: rejecting the miraculous, the fantastic and supernatural found within the Bible. Some of these include: the creation account, the virgin birth of Jesus, and Jesus’ miracles.

In addition to the distrust for the fantastic, revealed in scripture, it is also proposed that one worships the Bible – rather than Jesus – if you give equal weight to the moral law, given in the Old Testament, as you do the commands that Jesus spoke. Not realizing that Christ not only obeyed the law, but gave us an even greater understanding of it’s demands. Demands that only He could fulfill.

Most of all I answer “no” to the danger of Bible worship, because I don’t see a generation that is so dedicated, so hungry, so enamored with the study of God’s word, that they would even come close to elevating it over even their own opinions and/or comfort. It is quite the contrary, it seems we create any excuse, to not read, study, and memorize scripture. Excuses range from: “I don’t want to be legalistic!”, “I’m not in ministry, so I don’t need to”, “I just have a simple faith”, “I just love Jesus”, or “I feel closer to God through other means” (music/experiences/others teaching the Word). As soon as I see a generation elbow deep in study every day, maybe I’d consider bibliolatry as an eminent threat. But in all reality, the more you study the word of God, the more you will be sanctified, seeing more clearly your sin and thus killing that sin.

Which leads to my final reason for the negative: when you truly know your Bible, you will truly know Jesus. When you truly know Jesus, it means that you are regenerated and gifted with the very Spirit that inspired the text of the Bible. Even if you are accused of bibliolatry, we must remember that apart from scripture, we won’t know Jesus. And if we don’t know Jesus, our problem isn’t just being called an idolater by another person, but BEING an idolater by rejecting Christ – before God – leading to everlasting punishment and torment, the just punishment for the crime.

One caveat to my negative position, is to the positive – yes you can be a bibliolater. You can be a bibliolater by reading scripture to the wrong end – to merit salvation, becoming righteous by your own efforts, feeding your ego, or like Francis Scaeffer says, “religious tripping.” Of course we can approach the Bible and study, sinfully, not seeking truth about God but our own satisfaction in our achievements of knowledge. However, this shouldn’t frighten you out of studying the Bible.

Instead, approach your time in the word humbly. Realizing that it is the very Word of God, that you have access to this text while a vast number around the world doesn’t. In this Book you can learn of salvation and that left to your own power you are blind, deaf, and ultimately dead. Only by God’s action will you be able to see the truth of His word. Only with His Spirit will you be renewed in your mind as you read. So if you are a believer – remember this great, unmerited gift and study – drawing near to God through his word, taking refuge and trusting it; it never changes. And to the believer and unbeliever alike: ask God for eyes to see and ears to hear. He doesn’t turn any away that seek Him, for He drew them in the first place.

Take up and read, memorize, share what the Lord has taught you and give glory to God.

A Peek at Deliverance Ministry

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-b3kac-d85793

In this episode, Michelle gives us a brief history over the current trend of deliverance ministries, defines demon possession and oppression, asks the question:”can Christians become possessed?” and explains Who can really deliver us.

 

All sources used can be found and explored through these links 🙂 Happy Learning!

 

The Truth Behind Generational Curses – TGC Africa

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/are-we-too-concerned-demons/

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/rc-sproul-demons/

https://carm.org/what-kinds-things-can-open-you-demonic-oppression

https://www.gotquestions.org/demonic-oppression.html

https://www.gotquestions.org/psychological-demon.html

https://www.samstorms.org/all-articles/keyword/spiritual-warfare

https://www.equip.org/article/deliverance-ministry-in-historical-perspective/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/spiritual-warfare-101/%3famp

http://www.isdmministers.org/about-us

The Excellencies of Christ – humility vs pride, series episode 2

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ej3pt-d7404c

We live in a world that is driven by pride, self-esteem, personal achievement, and self-focus. Besty and Michelle discuss how pride plays out in the culture and ourselves. Then they take a look at what we can learn from Jesus humility in the Gospel, which turns wretched sinners into saints. 

Gazing at the King

Here I am preparing to study and research for our latest podcast topic and I can’t get my brain to function. It’s not that my brain has stopped working just at this moment, but that I can’t seem to think of anything other than my immediate concerns: my family, their health, my health, our friends and family’s needs (financial and medical). Nothing seems to be able to penetrate my mind apart from COVID19, preparing for COVID19, hiding from COVID19, working around COVID19. Not only that, but I’m stuck in a place of bitterness. Bitterness regarding others’ lack of care and response to this threat. 

My house sits right on a fairly busy road and I see a continuous stream of vehicles before me. I think to myself, “I should be gracious in my assumptions regarding who these people are. Maybe they are getting necessities, maybe they are traveling to and from work, maybe they are delivering goods to those who are more vulnerable than them.” But I know the human heart. I know the vileness, the self-centeredness, the pride, and disregard for others. I know it because I deal, personally, with it and I see it in my response to others during this pandemic. I want to control others and how they respond to this serious situation. I want to fill the internet with so much information that they would wake up and see the consequences of every unnecessary action they take during these days. But I can’t. And I never was meant to.

The importance of human autonomy, the preservation of being held accountable to no one but ourselves, is too entwined within our sinful fallen nature. Not that making decisions is bad, or the ability to make decisions is bad, but that we are fallen humans – sinful humans – and we will make bad decisions. We see this all the way back in the beginning, with the very first sin. The one that plunged our world into death and decay. We are given a decision and can’t look beyond ourselves. We are given decisions and are so nearsighted that we are blind. This is man apart from the Gospel. It will always be man without the intervention of God. 

But with God, we can look beyond ourselves. We can receive the sight we need. But what do we need this sight to see? We need this sight to see the One that is glorious. We need sight to see the One who DOES have control. We need sight to see beyond the sins of others and to the cross of Christ that bore our own sins. 

In this COVID19 pandemic, I have given in to navel gazing, focusing on others’ sins, and being near sighted. But I want to repent from that. Now. I want to repent of being short sighted about this travesty. Not that I will ignore the very real problems that my neighbors and I face, but that I will never stay there. That I wont get trapped in my head, spiraling out of control and retreating into my own mind for safety. I will look at Christ. The One who ordained this virus. The One who knows how others will respond. I will hope in His promise, that he will build his Kingdom until it is complete. That He will soon return and right all wrongs, eliminate all sin (including my own), and will reign forever.

So to stop the navel gazing, the COVID19 news staring, the observing and grumbling of others’ harmful sin, I am going to focus on Christ. Even if it seems ‘simplistic’, or familiar, I’m going to hang on to it – by God’s grace. 

Hopefully over the next few weeks I will be able to share those looks to our beautiful and faithful Savior. And I pray that you would as well. Let’s hold each other accountable to this. Join me and share what you have learned of God’s character, the Gospel, and the Word.

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 146

In Christ, 

Michelle

The Excellencies of Christ – Virtues episode 1

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-gsmaw-d6ae64

Join WOTT as they investigate what it means to have qualities spoken of in the 2 Peter chapter 1. This first episode is a primer to understand where virtues come from, their purpose, and how the world understands virtuous characteristics. 

We hope you are in for a casual and fun time, because Betsy and Michelle are worn down from the toilet paper fiasco of COVID19. Have a seat at the table, laugh and learn with us about Christ’s Excellencies!

Head Covering: Revisited

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-i7e56-d58272

In this special revisit episode, Betsy and Michelle reveal a change of heart! What happened?!

The girls open with discussion about the latest feminist video floating around and have a helpful Q&A on head covering.

If you enjoyed this video, make sure to listen to our part one “Headc Covering: Principle or Custom?”

Also make sure to subscribe, like, or rate – and let us know what you think!

Doctrine of Hell Series: Episode 5 – Punishment, Destruction, and Banishment

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-7nh5w-d4eda6

THE FINAL part (5 of 5) of our Hell series is here! Betsy and Michelle discuss the three major components of eternal conscious torment: punishment, destruction, and banishment. How does the picture of these three components illustrate God’s character, sin, and the atonement? And finally, what can believers hope for after this life? We pray that this has been a helpful excursion (it has for us) into this essential doctrine.

If you haven’t listened to our previous episodes covering various positions on the existence of Hell, make sure you listen to those! Our intro episode is a great place to start and this episode wraps it all up, nicely.

 

Make sure to like, rate, comment, and subscribe! Follow us on Instagram @womenofthetable and Facebook @wottable . You can also support us on patreon, linked in our bio. As a patreon supporter you will have access to bonus content, including episode 4 on Purgatory.

Doctrine of Hell Series: Episode 3 – Annihilationism

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-s2be4-d377c6

Do we *really* go to an afterlife when we die? Would a good God *really* inflict an infinite punishment on finite crimes? What about all those times the terms “destroy” and “perish” are used? What’s the harm in believing that God annihilates those who don’t believe, anyway?

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This week, Betsy and Michelle begin Part 3 of the Doctrine of Hell Series on Annihilationism. This one was new for us! We hope that if you are new to these arguments, you will learn something too!

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