David Hayward shared this cartoon of his:
The question of whether Christianity should be community-focused, Bible-focused, or Jesus-focused is itself the focus of a lot of ongoing debate. Most would acknowledge, at least in theory, that Jesus should be the center. But it is debatable whether one can really have “Jesus alone” any more than “Scripture alone.” Human thought is not so easily disentangled. And just as we cannot get at the Scripture independent of our human minds and cultures and assumptions and prior beliefs, we cannot get at Jesus in a manner that is completely independent of the Bible, unless we are happy to have a Jesus that is purely a construction of our imaginations, a projection of our values.
But some unfortunately try to use this point as a means to sneaking the Bible back into the center. But what is needed in order to get at Jesus through the Bible is not an inerrant Bible, but the historical study of the Bible.And the community should not be ignored in this either. Paul speaks of Christ having become a more-than-individual reality, the church being the body of Christ. And this is important. When we ask “What would Jesus do?” we are not merely asking what he did in his ancient context. To assume that what he would do in ours is simply what he did in his is to once again put the Bible, understood in a rigid legalistic fashion, back into the center. “It is written” and “what I have written, I have written.” A well-informed, vibrant, and reflective community can often serve as a useful antidote to that.