Three different views of the Bible, and three different ways to read it

Differences among christians

Reading

We all know there are many, many matters on which christians hold different views. Many of them are merely matters of opinion and taste (though you would sometimes think they were highly important), but they include many important doctrines too.

For many matters, there are a range of views, though often times two opposing views paint themselves as the only alternative to the slippery slope leading to the opposing view.

Over the next few posts I want to look at some of these divergent ideas and doctrines, and see if there are “middle roads” between the extremes. I hope you may wish to constructively join the conversation.

I start with the Bible, a topic on which I have written many times before, but which merits another look.

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Giving flowers, living in the opposite spirit

Spiritual principles series

Saying sorry

Dealing with refugees is one of the most intractable problems facing governments across the western world. Not only is it difficult to control the number of people seeking asylum from crossing borders, but there is the fear that among the asylum seekers may be Taliban of DAESH fighters bent on suicide terrorism.

Governments respond in many different ways. Ultimately, public opinion may determine government policy, so what we all think matters. So what should be a christian understanding of all this?

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Walking wounded

Walking Wounded

I must admit it jolted me a little.

I was walking slowly through a local shopping centre when I was confronted with the sign shown above. 46 Australian soldiers have been killed on active duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, since 1999. But more than 5 times that number of returned soldiers have committed suicide in the same period.

What was I going to make of that?

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Are you an extremist?

Man carrying political sign

The dictionary defines an extremist as “a person who holds extreme political or religious views, especially one who advocates illegal, violent, or other extreme action.”

Search for photos tagged as “extremist” (as I did for this post) and the majority of the photos are of Americans protesting against their government, especially their President. The one I used is one of the milder and least extreme!

But ask Americans what actions they think are “extremist” and you’ll get some interesting, and perhaps surprising, answers.

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Faith vs works?

Difficult issues series

Arm wrestle

Last post I considered the apparent differences between the teachings and emphasis of Jesus and Paul. I concluded that the differences are sometimes exaggerated, sometimes understated, but we should avoid trying to make them say the same things, and instead try to learn from both.

The issue of faith vs works is a good example of how the desire for neat theology and harmonisation of biblical teaching can lead us away from what the Bible is saying.

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