Big tent Christianity has one pole

September 20, 2010

A friend of mine named Matt went to “The Big Tent Christianity Conference,” held recently in Raleigh. Here are some comment she recorded in his blog. First, a quote from Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Faye and a speaker at the conference, then Matt’s commentary (used with permission) on the quote and the conference in general.
“I don’t worship the Bible, I worship Christ. If this (the Bible) gets in the way of love, then throw it out.” — Jay Bakker. My main concern is, are we loving our brothers and sisters to hell? Maybe that puts too fine a point on it, but I do not know any other way to say it. I am reminded of a video one church made where a man is drowning. Another man sees this along the beach and shouts out, “I love you! I love you! Be my friend!” Of course the man drowns. So how loving are we really, if it just helps lead to one’s destruction? I realize some people will never agree with me on the Bible. Some would say, it was written a long time ago, by men, and just take it for whatever good you get out of it. But I just cannot make myself do that. If Christianity means anything to me, then the whole book matters to me. Jesus is not only responsible for the words in red.
W.C. Fields, that famous comic actor, was also well known at the time for being an outspoken atheist. A famous story goes that a few weeks before he died, a friend visited him at the hospital and found him in his bed reading the Bible. His friend asked what he was doing and Fields responded, “I’m looking for loopholes.”
I applaud Matt’s willingness to take an unpopular stand on the Bible. I stand there with him and with all those who believe what Isaiah said, that though “the grass withers (and) the flower fades, the word of our God stands forever.” I would add that the only thing more important than the Word of God is God himself. I like what John Piper said about this: “… the Bible will be the sun in the solar system of all that we teach our children. It will not be one among many books. It will be the central book, the all-permeating book. The other books are dark planets; the Bible is the light-giving sun. All other books will be read in the light of this book. All books will be judged by this book. All books will find meaning in the worldview built by this book. Which means that this book must be known first and known better than all the other books.”
John makes it clear in the prologue to his gospel that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” There are no loopholes. There is only the truth, that none of us has a breath of hope outside of a relationship with the One who came to take our sins upon himself.
Christianity is a big tent, indeed, and the inhabitants of heaven will represent every tongue, tribe and nation on earth. This big tent only has one pole that holds it up, and that is the Word of God. It stands on one foundation, and that is the person of Jesus Christ. It only has one door, and that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Are you in it?