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Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 3426
This world is not my home anymore.

 Re: The Cult of Biblicism

But taking the Bible too seriously is NOT an issue in the western church today.

Where do you live Krispy? (just joking!) I do hate to have to disagree with you but boy do I think you are mistaken; it’s propagated right here in the good ole U S of A and packaged to all the other lands.

God bless you brother,


 2012/1/12 9:24Profile

Joined: 2009/1/24
Posts: 453


Good point, Lysa. Luther was forced to write a tract "Against the Murdering Horde of Peasants." He should have also written one against the marauding horde of theologians.

Wayne Kraus

 2012/1/12 9:25Profile

Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211

 Re: Freedom from Biblicism

Hi Wayneman,

Thanks for starting this thread. I understand what you are saying and agree. You are not assaulting the Bible, but rather the elevation of the written letter above the Living Word.

I am posting a quote from Robert D. Brinsmead's book on FREEDOM FROM BIBLICISM so as to help others understand what you are trying to communicate.


Living under the bondage of the law rather than in the freedom of the Spirit can assume many forms.

In our time, living under the law may assume the form of biblicism. Many suppose that the evangelical faith stands or falls on the matter of biblical inerrancy ­ meaning that the very letter of Holy Scripture is without any error in everything it affirms, including theology, history, ethics, geography, biology and chronology.

The great danger of biblicism is that, instead of being used solely in the service of the gospel, the Bible becomes a book of rules about many other issues. Christians may become enslaved to the Bible just as the Jews became enslaved to the Torah ­ their Holy Scripture (John 10:34,35). Just as the Jews barricaded themselves behind the letter of the Torah to oppose Jesus, so we may easily barricade ourselves behind the letter of a supposedly inerrant Scripture to oppose the gospel's festival of freedom.

There can be a false faith in the bible. In the proper spiritual sense faith is an act of real worship which should be rendered solely to the Creator (John 9:35-38). Saving faith is not faith in the Bible (for even the Christ-denying Pharisees trusted in the Bible ­ John 5:39) but faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:22-26). While Catholics have been particularly susceptible to ecclesiology ­ the worship of the church ­ Protestants have been disposed toward bibliolatry ­ the worship of the Bible.

The purpose of all Scripture is to bear witness to Christ (John 5:39; 20:31). The Bible in itself is not the Word of God. The Word of God is a person (John 1:1). Neither does the Bible have life, power or light in itself any more than did the Jewish Torah. These attributes may be ascribed to the Bible only by virtue of its relationship to Him who is Word, Life, Power and Light. Life is not in the book, as the Pharisees supposed, but only in the Man of the book (John 5:39).

The Bible is therefore to be valued because of its testimony to Jesus Christ. The Bible is absolutely trustworthy and reliable for the purpose it was given. It is designed to make us "wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15), not wise on such subjects as science, history and geography ­ which it is our responsibility to learn through general revelation.

That which makes the Bible the Bible is the gospel. That which makes the Bible the Word of God is its witness to Christ. When the Spirit bears witness to our hearts of the truth of the Bible, this is an internal witness concerning the truth of the gospel. We need to be apprehended by the Spirit, who lives in the gospel, and then judge all things by that Spirit ­ even the letter of Scripture.

If we do not allow the Bible to be the Word of God ­ the bearer of the gospel ­ it might be better to follow Luther's advice to read some other book. For if the Bible is not used in the service of the gospel, it may either find people mad or make them mad.

We must stop using the Bible as though it were a potpourri of inerrant proof-texts by which we can bring people into bondage to our religious traditions. (For in practice the only inerrancy we ever defend is the inerrancy of our religious traditions and our way of reading the Bible.) We must no longer use the Bible as the Pharisees used the Torah when they gave it absolute and final status. Christian biblicism is no different from Jewish legalism. It is the old way of the letter, not the new way of the Spirit (Rom. 7:6).

Jesus and Paul declare that apart from the Spirit we cannot understand the truth (John 16:13; I Cor. 2:14). This means that unless we are caught up in the Spirit of the gospel, we cannot understand or use the Bible correctly. Apart from the gospel the Bible is letter (gramma), not Spirit (pneuma). "The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (II Cor. 3:6,17).

(Brinsmead, Robert D. "A Freedom from Biblicism" in The Christian Verdict, Essay 14, 1984. Fallbrook: Verdict Publications. Pgs. 9-14).


 2012/1/12 9:34Profile

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777


I am not assaulting the Bible; I am talking about what the Industrial Church has done to the Bible - the Paper Pope, the rod of authority by which the clergy rule over the flock, the psychological tyranny of dogmatism, etc.

Wayneman, you address many valid points in your first post. I wrote a response - but deleted it when I realized I had read your post too quickly. (It's a bad habit of mine!)

Will be back.....



 2012/1/12 9:46Profile


Where do you live Krispy? (just joking!) I do hate to have to disagree with you but boy do I think you are mistaken; it’s propagated right here in the good ole U S of A and packaged to all the other lands.

Ummm... survey after survey within the church has proven gross Biblical illiteracy. I think that shows that most churches do not take the Bible seriously enough.

Seriously? With Biblical illiteracy at an all-time high you think most churches take the Bible too seriously?? Where is the evidence for that?

There is none.

This is from a website called Biblical Archeology, but is also echoed from many many other sources:

"One of the most serious problems facing the Church in the 21st century is the problem of Biblical illiteracy. Simply put, most professing Christians do not possess a sound and coherent understanding of the Bible, beginning with sound doctrine and general Biblical history. Evidence for this sad reality is quite overwhelming. And there are several salient reasons for this dangerous trend.

The Church Has Been “Dumbed Down” by the Culture

"The public education system has churned out millions upon millions of young people, while holding to relatively low standards of achievement. We live in a society today where challenging children and teenagers with high standards is considered harmful to their “self-esteem.” Bad grades written in red ink are considered a cause for counseling. Instead of pushing children to excel, standards of academic achievement are lowered. Failure and difficulty, properly controlled by loving parents, should be used to motivate and develop character. Christian children are not immune to these lowered standards. Children in the Church are not properly challenged to learn fundamental doctrine and matters of Biblical history. They are also not properly taught to pursue personal holiness. Instead, Sunday school is designed to keep children entertained. Like most of our society, many Christian parents seem more concerned with appeasing children and entertaining them as opposed to disciplining and educating them. This culture of entertainment creates short attention spans and an aversion to learning.

"Regarding the educational and intellectual state of the Church, Daniel Wallace succinctly says:

"Those in ministry must close the gap between the church and the academy. We have to educate believers. Instead of trying to isolate laypeople from critical scholarship, we need to insulate them. They need to be ready for the barrage, because it is coming. The intentional dumbing down of the church for the sake of filling more pews will ultimately lead to defection from Christ (2006: 337)."

The Church Has Adopted the Cultural Mandate to “Feel Good”

"Experience rules supreme in today’s culture. “If it feels good, do it,” and forget the consequences! This mindset is at its worst in the entertainment world, particularly with reality television. One of my favorite pastimes is watching NFL football. I marvel at the athletic ability of the players, the required mental toughness and the nature of the sport. However, these days I have to tolerate players dancing around like they just won the championship after making routine plays that require no such celebration. This chest-pounding, self-aggrandizing behavior is all about doing what “feels good.”

"This type of “feel good” approach to life has also infected the Church on a massive scale. Sunday sermons are no longer designed to give praise to a just and holy God and call sinners to repentance, but to make Christians “feel good” about themselves. “God wants us to be happy,” we are told. Experience matters most. This teaching is totally antithetical to what the Bible teaches about man and his relation to God. Randall Price has said it well: “[T]he church remains in a crisis with an experientially oriented evangelicalism” (2007: 26).

"Personal experience is important for the individual Christian, but should not hold a place of primacy in the life of the believer. “Christian faith is not being built on the firm foundation of hardwon thoughts, ideas, history, or theology. Spirituality is being built on private emotional attachments,” writes Gary Burge. “In short, the spiritual life has become less a matter of learning than it is a matter of experiencing” (1999).

"The mandates for Christian thinking and holy living are found within the pages of Scripture. Therefore, believers must have a fundamental grasp of Biblical teaching as they walk through the process of sanctification, which means they must study it to understand its meaning! And leaders in the Church must teach it to them so they can properly understand it! “Experiencing God” and having good feelings can be dangerously misleading due to the influence of the sin nature and evil forces in the spiritual realm. Gary Johnson explains the pervasive problem in overemphasizing experience and essentially promoting antiintellectualism in the modern American church:

"the idea that faith must be accommodated to culture has undermined the teaching of the church’s faith. Popular evangelical faith has developed a bias against theology (not to mention the intellect) and has elevated the bias to the level of a virtue…This is reflected more and more in the pulpits of professing evangelical churches. Doctrine…is purposely avoided (2005: 1)."

"They focus on practical matters, such as family concerns and personal growth, not doctrine, sometimes mixing psychotherapeutic concepts with biblical teaching. They often emphasize religious experience. They seek to feel God’s love, not understand church theology, a theme that plays well with the decreasing importance of denominational doctrine among baby boomers (Cimino 1998: 2).

"I recently received Donald G. Barnhouse’s Romans commentary for Christmas from my wife. It was published in the early 1950s. The preface provides an explanation and background for the writing of the series, which is opposite to the culture of the church today:

"When I first became pastor…I began my ministry by preaching on the epistle to the Romans. My first Sunday in that pulpit found me giving an exposition of the first verse of the epistle. The second Sunday I started with the second verse; for three and one half years I never took a text outside of the epistle to the Romans. I saw the church transformed; the audience filled the pews and then the galleries; and the work went on with great blessing” (1952: i; emphasis added).

"The modern evangelical Church often claims that this type of teaching is not needed to draw people into the Church. In fact, as stated by Gary Johnson above, this type of teaching is avoided by the Church, for fear of empty pews. The fact of the matter is, that is the exact type of teaching needed to bring about real transformation in people’s lives. The Word of God has divine and mysterious power that radically transforms people. Entertainment programs, comfy couches, soft lighting and candles do not change lives. This is a shallow and unchallenging Christianity that ultimately discourages churchgoers and leaves them unchanged. As a result, churchgoers are not equipped to defend the faith, live holy lives, and profess the good news of the Gospel to a lost world.

The Church Has Allowed Elements of Unbiblical Worldviews to Infect Its Teaching

"Most Christians integrate unbiblical worldviews into their thinking without even realizing it. “Christians today have accepted and combined so many ideas from other worldviews and religions that they have created their own faith system” (Vlatch). What’s worse is that church leaders do the same thing, unwittingly leading people to believe things about themselves, the world, and the nature of truth that are contradictory to what the Bible actually teaches. Theistic evolution, long-age reinterpretations of the first chapter of Genesis, “local flood” nonsense, the sundering of much of the Old Testament from its historical connections, postmodernism, relativism, New Age beliefs, and a multitude of other unbiblical ideas have been unwittingly propagated in the Church for decades.

"Contentious social and political issues are avoided, although they are explicitly addressed in Scripture or deduced from Biblical teaching, such as just war theory, abortion, homosexuality, the definition of marriage, the nature of man, the problem of evil, the proper role of government, capital punishment, property rights, corporal punishment and the raising of children, etc. Scripture touches upon all areas of life and reality, and is absolutely authoritative in its assertions. Christians must learn to reject views that are antithetical to Scripture, but they must be taught to do so by Church leadership. Instead of inculcating these unbiblical worldviews into individual minds and creating confusion, the Church should be challenging its members to reject anti-Biblical views and allow the truths of Scripture to renew their minds."

 2012/1/12 9:46

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC


I agree with Krispy. Most adults attending your average Evangelical church do not really care about the teachings of Scripture, and are theologically illiterate. Such findings are confirmed by George Barna's research time and time again. There is very little authoritarian Bible-thumping in most chruches. Not to say that there isn't some. But generally speaking, there isn't, because most ministers realize where people are at.

Jimmy H

 2012/1/12 9:51Profile

Joined: 2008/2/15
Posts: 205
New York

 Re: The Cult of Biblicism

I honestly never thought I would see the day were the Holy Scriptures were degraded like they have been in this post; on SermonIndex.


A scalpel is made for performing surgery but someone can take it and use it to cause great harm. The Scriptures in the hands of an unredeemed person can be just as damaging.

Jesus pointed to the Scriptures, Paul pointed to the Scriptures, Peter pointed to the Scriptures and John the Baptist pointed to the Scriptures…

Wayneman points people to a mystical Jesus that we have nothing to compare him to; if he is God or a demon.

If you think people can take the Word of God out of context and use it for their own personal benefit, what do you think will happen when we abandon the Holy Scriptures and everyone listed to “their personal interpretation of a mystical Jesus speaking to them”.

Please compare societies that have respect for the Bible and those who have never had the Bible.

You can have your mystical Jesus and I will have the real Jesus with His Holy Scriptures and His Holy Spirit.

I will pray for you wayneman. People need the Scriptures in the lives; don’t encourage people to abandon the Word of God!

 2012/1/12 10:05Profile

Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211



At first it seems like Wayneman is committing horrible blasphemy, but read carefully what he is saying and you it might come clear to you. In fact, ask Wayneman questions for clarity sake rather than attack him. That is how discussions are suppose to take place.

He is not degrading the Scriptures. Jesus tried to point out to the Pharisees that the Scriptures pointed to Him. Jesus did not point to the scriptures as being God, He quoted the scriptures. Wayneman is not talking about a mystical Jesus (what does that mean?) or chucking the scriptures and going on personal interpretation. By the way, do you only receive God's revelation from the written words or do you hear His voice in your spirit as in John 10. Who or what are you saying is the Real Jesus? A book?

The Bible is not God and it is not Jesus Christ. It points to Jesus Christ. It is the revelation of God in print to man about God and His Son. The Pharisees worshipped the Torah and idolized it, so in your thinking they should have known God and been walking with Him, but Jesus told them they did not know Him and would not receive Him even though they searched the Scriptures and thought they had eternal life.

I don't see Wayneman encouraging people to abandon the Word of God. That is completely unfair to say.

What is the Bible? The Bible is a book. The word "Bible" is derived from the Greek word biblion which means "book," or more accurately "papyrus scroll" as this was the material used for writing in ancient times. The Bible is a book which is in one sense like every other book in the world, but in another sense is unlike any other book in the world. It is like other books in that it is black printing (sometimes red and other colors) on white paper, and it is a tangible, perishable object. It is unlike other books in that it represents and enscripturates the revelation of God, and IS THE ONLY BOOK IN THE WORLD WHERE YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE AUTHOR TO UNDERSTAND THE BOOK.

God never intended that we should worship the Book. That is bibliolatry, making the Bible into a physical idol. The reverence that many Christians attach to the book is dangerously close to idolatry of the Bible.

This is what the Pharisees did with the Torah playing their little Torah-trivia games with Jesus.

Christianity is not the religion of the Book. Christianity is Christ! Christianity is the dynamic, personal Spirit of God functioning in man. It is not the study of, memorization of, or adherence to the principles and propositions and precepts of a bound-book.

Wayneman is attempting to exalt Jesus Christ over the Bible. The Pharisees thought Jesus was exalting Himself over the Torah and did not like it. Now you are probably getting a pretty good idea about why they hated Jesus. He smashed their idolatry of the Torah basically implying or telling them that even thought they professed to love God's Word, they hated God. "The Love of God is not in you" is what Jesus told them.

Let's show brother Wayne some love and converse with him and try to understand what he is saying.


 2012/1/12 10:36Profile


Do you suppose the target of the article is not so much the peasant in the pew (learner) as it is the pope in his pulpit (teacher)???

I personally do not know of one church or evangelistic organization that does believe what they are teaching is not biblical, and yet I find not quite so many to be as biblical as they are proposing. Since to read/hear is to learn, and to write/speak is to teach, it can also be applied at an individual level in this and other forums as well. THAT is the issue that the OP is addressing.


 2012/1/12 10:42

Joined: 2011/9/30
Posts: 1211


The early Christians were not propogating a belief-system. They were not dispensers of theological information about God. They were not Book-bearers. They were bearers of the Living Word, the Life, the Person, the Power of Jesus, "who is the Spirit" (II Corinthians 3:18). (James Fowler).

 2012/1/12 10:45Profile

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