There are many things Christians think are in the Bible, but aren’t. Here’s a list of 10, in case you are interested.
I. The Rapture
There are a bunch of American Christians who think that the Rapture is taught in the Bible. It’s not. That doctrine was not developed until 1830, by a guy named John Nelson Darby. He based his entire theological system off a girl’s vivid dreams, and read his interpretation into the texts.
II. LGBTQ Clobber Passages
There are 6 or 7 so-called clobber passages that many Christians think condemn the LGBTQ community. They are incorrect. There is nothing in the Bible that condemns us. There are passages that condemn certain practices that involve coercion, but nothing that condemns same-gendered love. To read a condemnation of the LGBTQ community into the Bible is to engage in a gross anachronism.
III. Violent Jesus
Many Christians love themselves a violent Jesus, one who is gonna come back to kick ass and take names. The problem is that that Jesus never existed. Sure, a Jesus who flipped tables and got angry existed, but not one who endorsed actual violence. To see a violent Jesus in the text is to eisegete rather than exegete.
IV. Women Can’t Be Pastors
There are some passages, specifically from Paul, that seem to suggest women shouldn’t be in leadership roles in the Church. But like many things, we need to make sure we aren’t reading too much into the text. Sure, Paul condemned some women and didn’t want them to preach or teach, but not all women. Not for nothing, arguably his most important letter – Romans – was read to the congregation by a woman (Phoebe). He says so right there in the text.
V. Going to Heaven
This notion that we “go to heaven” when we die is not really a New Testament teaching. Instead, what the New Testament teaches is that heaven will come “down” to earth. Further, when the New Testament talks about heaven, it puts it in the present tense: heaven is at hand, heaven is in our midst, heaven is within you, and so on.
VI. The Bible is Inerrant
The Bible never refers to itself as the inerrant, infallible, Word of God. Why? It can’t. There is never a time during the writing and editing of what we now call “the Bible” where “the Bible” was an agreed upon collection. There has always been views and counter views. Moreover, when the Bible does mention the Word of God, it refers, not to itself, but to Christ.
VII. Jesus Affirms Everything in the Old Testament
Jesus quotes his Scriptures a lot. As a Jewish rabbi, he’s a master. But have you ever wondered how he quotes the texts? I’ll give you a clue: He is quite creative. The Christians who say things like, “Jesus quotes from his Scriptures, therefore he affirms them all,” are being quite illogical, as well as ahistorical.
VIII. Jesus’ Death Assuages the Wrath of God
The American understanding of the atonement is more Calvinist than biblical. Sure, there is sacrificial language used to explain the death of Jesus, but to read sacrificial language through the lens of Calvin is to do violence to the text. Too many Christians conflate Calvin’s atonement theory with the good news.
IX. Don’t Have Sex Until Marriage
I’m not saying people should be flippant in how they express their sexuality. But nowhere in the Bible does it say you have to wait until you’re married to have sex. Too many Christians have entered into marriage with really bad views of sex (read: purity culture) or married too young because of the view that you have to wait until marriage to have sex.
X. Mary Magdalene Was a Prostitute
There is a “sinful woman” (perhaps a prostitute, perhaps not) in Luke 7 whom some in the West have erroneously suggested is Mary Magdalene. The problem is that there is no evidence of this, nor is there any reason to suggest this.
I know there are others, but that’s enough for now. 10 is a nice, round number, after all. If you have any others, feel free to share in the comments. Just don’t be a jerk 😉
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