Swordplay as Substitute

Swordplay as Substitute June 5, 2014

The quote above comes from a post Morgan Guyton wrote, with the title “When “the Bible is perfectly clear” becomes the reason it can’t teach us anything.” Here is a longer excerpt to provide more context:

I have a hunch that the “perfect clarity” many Christians talk about with regard to the Bible happens in a very different context than listening for God speak into your discipleship journey. For me, the Bible is always “perfectly clear” when I’m pulling together scriptural proof-texts in order to argue about something on the internet. And I get flabbergasted when I make an exhaustive exegetical case for something and my ideological opponent refuses to submit to my teaching and obey it. The Bible is always “clear” when you need to submit to and obey me about something I’ve found in the Bible, and usually the “clearer” something in the Bible is for me, the less it has to do with me personally. The Bible is “perfectly clear” for example in its opposition to capitalism. I’ve got plenty of proof-texts about it. And a lot of other ideological causes I’ve strung together Biblical arguments to support. And I get really suspicious of myself in this regard because it seems like “clarity” becomes an actual strategy for making the Bible impersonal.

In our social media age, I don’t think there’s a greater temptation than to substitute online ideological swordplay for lived personal discipleship. There are so many Christians today whose Bible is so “clear” about so many things that they quote on their Facebook walls, but I wonder if they ever savor the mysteries like the fruits of the spirit whose depth is so much richer than a passage you can just slap on your wall to say see, this proves I’m right. What about the heart of Christ? Is there a deeper mystery than that? That’s what we’re supposed to be searching for throughout scripture. When we read it without any interest in its mystery, we’re ensuring that we’re not going to see the person amidst the words.


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