One of the hallmarks of Evangelical Christianity is our insistence on the magisterial authority of Scripture. But I have recently become aware of just how often we are eager to promote the “use” of Scripture in our engagement with the Bible. This can be dangerous.
Have you ever had a friend share the following sentiment?
People tell me that if I want to know God, I must come to know him as he revealed himself in the Bible. But I have tried reading the Bible and the more I read, the more confused and discouraged I get. I wonder if it is worth going on.
I heard it again recently, this time in a seekers track at a student conference: “I like to think of God as … loving.” This declaration about God might conclude with any number of other favorite descriptions such as “kind,” “accepting,”or simply “on my side.” These may all be true, but any one of them is surely not the full description of God.
Evangelicals hold a “high” view of Holy Scripture. We believe it is the Word of God. We believe it is unique in its locale of God’s revelation to His people. We believe it to be inspired, and in a way that is different than John Calvin or C.S. Lewis are “inspired.” Our desire is to put ourselves under the Bible’s authority because we believe that, in doing so, we are putting ourselves under God’s authority.
At the core of the InterVarsity Vision Statement is our desire to see “students and faculty transformed.” I am grateful that this phrase is part of our vision. I support the desire and intention of this statement. It is concise, it is motivating and it concentrates our efforts.
Of course, it raises immediate questions: transformed from what, to what and how does transformation happen?
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