What Do You Say?
“Neither the Christian gospel itself nor the scriptures that announce the gospel to us are collections of biblical advice or “perspectives on” every ancillary “how-to” topic with which we might want help in our lives—including dressing well, running our finances, and raising our children. If we ever get to the point where the gospel has seriously formed our lives, we may then have some good gospel-informed ideas concerning how to think about money and parenting. But real evangelicals will always think about such issues, indeed all issues, through the single lens of the gospel of Christ—which means indirectly, not directly through some Biblicist procedure of parsing allegedly ‘relevant’ biblical propositions.”
Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:13-20
Plenty of people—especially certain evangelical Christians—want to take a phrase that Jesus used in this week’s passage (“Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven”) and make it apply to a lot of stuff that has nothing to do with what Jesus was talking about, or combine it with other passages of scripture that can even contradict the message of God’s Kingdom that Jesus declared. This is why it’s important to read all the scriptures the way Christian Smith prescribes above: “through the single lens of the gospel of Christ.” This week, take some time to investigate scriptures—maybe even ones you’ve had difficulty with in the past—through that lens. See what you find. Write it down and meditate on it.
Ask questions, share thoughts and wrestle together about your experiences from the material this week.