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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.

Minisodes – Secret thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-cs5ge-e505b8

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, a former tenured professor of English and women’s studies at Syracuse University, converted to Christ in 1999 in what she describes as a train wreck. Her memoir The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert chronicles that difficult journey.

 

In 1997, while Rosaria was researching the Religious Right “and their politics of hatred against people like me,” she wrote an article against the Promise Keepers. A response to that article triggered a meeting with Ken Smith, who became a resource on the Religious Right and their Bible, a confidant, and a friend. In 1999, after repeatedly reading the Bible in large chunks for her research, Rosaria converted to Christianity. Her first book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, details her conversion and the cataclysmic fallout—in which she lost “everything but the dog,” yet gained eternal life in Christ.

A Quiver Full of Questions

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-risi9-e4c531

As our culture has adopted a hatred of children and family, simultaneously, reality t.v. has picked up a few families who seek to fill their “quiver” full of “arrows”. If you are in homeschooling circles, or even watch these families on t.v., you probably have heard about or wondered: what exactly is the quiver full movement?

 

Betsy and Michelle discuss their findings and go over the main tenants of this ideology. What does it mean to be quiver full? What is Biblical and what isn’t? Is there a current Biblical mandate to have children, and lots of them?

 

We could have discussed this topic for hours and still only scratch the surface. So, if you have related questions/comments, please feel free to email us at womenofthetable@gmail.com or message us on our social media platforms @womenofthetable

 

 

Relational Restoration in a World of “Toxicity”

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-wbifi-e3d916

We have all heard of the term “toxic relationship” or the popular question of “when do I cut off a toxic person/relationship?” These pop psychology phrases have morphed into the social phenomena of “cancel culture” and echo chambers of “self love”

But when Christians have fractured relationships with family or friends, or even members of Christ’s body of believers, how should we respond? Should we be asking the same questions that popular culture tells us to ask – evaluating what the other person brings to the relationship? Should we seek to rebuild relationships that have been poisoned by a past wrong, or even more popularly today, by identity politics? What does scripture say about relational restoration and its level of importance? What kind of hope can we have for restoring relationships?

 

Minisodes – Glimpses of Grace

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ifg7v-e3661d

To begin our newest series, “Women of the Table Minisodes”, Betsy explores and reviews Gloria Furman’s “Glimpses of Grace”. This book focuses on God’s grace in the seemingly mundane moments of life. See what Betsy enjoyed about this book and her, very professional, star rating!

 

He Does All That He Pleases

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-gqxpv-e309fa

Talking about the will of God is fraught with questions: How much does God really control? Is the future open or determined? Does God have a purpose for the way things are or is He sitting back, with his arms folded, watching it all happen? And how do we know if we are doing God’s will? Join Betsy and Michelle as they recount the glorious, sovereign God who accomplishes all that He sets out to accomplish.

 

Heckn’ Good Discipleship

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-tmg42-e23449

Join Women of the Table as they discuss the “hot topic” of Christian discipleship. What is discipleship? How should it be done? What are common hindrances and how can we answer those hindrances? And, can we solely do long distance discipleship? In this episode we also break down Susan Heck’s fabulous book on discipleship and respond to answers from our listeners regarding their own discipleship struggles.

Seriously Funny

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-jb623-e171bf

Can Christians be funny? SHOULD they be funny? Can Christians have a God honoring sense of humor?!?

Despite popular belief, Christians don’t have to abandon humor in order to pursue Christian virtue. On the contrary, Christians should be the most joy-filled, grateful, and fun-loving people. Betsy and Michelle discuss how we should employ the gift of laughter, humor, and joking. Are there humorous instances in scripture? Can we properly understand the seriousness of sin and still laugh at a good joke? Or…make a good joke?!

 

Testing Technology and How it Changes Us

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-wpkbr-dd987d

Why should Christians think about technology? Technology offers insight into what problems human’s seek to solve, and how (rightly and wrongly) to solve them, reveal our worldview, and change the way we operate on a daily basis.

 

In this episode, Michelle and Betsy are reunited after months of quarantine, and discuss a new TV show that involves uploading consciousness, Amish decision making, and cutting off limbs.

 

It’s a fun one! We laughed and we cried, quite literally.

 

Let us know your thoughts on technology! How do you determine what tech to use and what to reject? Do you think we will use and develop technology in Heaven? And the ultimate question of: if we can, should we?

 

If you enjoyed this episode make sure to like, subscribe, comment, etc. We appreciate your feedback and support!

Psychology, Mental Health and Christianity

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-8npra-dbdc04

Chances are, you or someone you know, has experienced a form of mental turmoil or has been diagnosed with a mental illness. So, some questions must be asked: how, as Christians, should we view psychology and Christianity? What worldviews are at play and what are their implications? What are the dangers of taking a biblicist or solely scientific approach? If you are in Christ, what is God’s purpose in this manner of suffering?

Join @helloemilyurban on Women of the Table, and enjoy the discussion. Make sure to let us know your answers to these questions! Happy listening!

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