Do YOU domesticate the Bible?

Walter Brueggeman is one of my favorite scholar-authors. His love of the Bible comes through in everything he writes. He is also prophetic. Brueggemann doesn’t let anyone get away with taking the Bible lightly (as just another work of ancient literature, for example) or too seriously (as an object of worship, for example).

In an interview in Image journal, he said:

My long-term teaching has been devoted to making the case that the Bible is a strange, emancipatory voice among us that cannot be domesticated according to any of our ideologies. Karl Barth coined the phrase: “This strange new world of the Bible.” What we want to do in the church and in our culture is to get rid of the strangeness and the newness in order to accommodate our ideologies. Conservatives want to empty the Bible of its power by reducing it to theological clichés, and liberals empty it by historical criticism that makes the Bible non-contemporary and allows us to do whatever we want to it.

The primary teachings of the Bible—the judgment of God and the hope of God—are distinct from and over against all of our liberal and conservative ideologies. Unity and purity in the church can happen when liberals and conservatives together remember that we are called to repentance, because we’ve made a mockery of God’s truth. Nobody has high moral ground when we’re confronted with that.

 

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