The “Biblish” Bias

There’s a threat to the gospel, and I’m going to call it “Biblish.” It’s the concept that one’s own understanding of Scripture is the only understanding of Scripture, or even that it is God’s own view of Scripture. If you’ve not encountered this, congratulations and do everything you can to keep yourself unstained by it.

As an example, I give you a “study” by Barna from 2004. The group claims only about half of all pastors in protestant branches of the Church tree have what they call a “biblical worldview.” Already, you should be asking yourself what they meant by that phrase. Good job. It means a delineation of six things, ironically not so unfamiliar to those of highly conservative evangelicalism. Go on, check the link.

Yeah. So basically, only half of pastors have a “biblical worldview” because only half of them are literalists. This comports with the “findings” that the group with the most “biblical” pastors are Southern Baptist, who tend to interpret the bible quite literally. I have absolutely nothing against the Southern Baptists as siblings in Christ. However, I do have something against a group such as Barna that conveys itself as unbiased while holding an obviously biased view of the Scripture in order to conduct research.

“OK, Mike. How would you define ‘biblical’?”

A fair question, to be sure. I’d define it as that which hold the Bible as central and primary in authority, allowing it to speak for itself. This may not sound very different from literalism, until you remember that such a definition encourages (or even demands) accounting for context and for the Bible’s own explanation of itself. This allows multiple views to be considered biblical. Let me illustrate by way of a few questions:

-Where’s Barna’s required criteria of caring for the poor as part of the gospel?

-Where’s Barna’s required criteria that Jesus is a Jew, and not a white United States citizen?

-Where’s Barna’s required criteria that context is a necessity to interpret the text, so we avoid, say, justifying slavery?

See, a pastor not having a biblical worldview is dangerous, yes. What is also dangerous is labeling people unbiblical simply because we wish they interpreted things just like us. That’s Biblish.

+MSH

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