Monday, July 21, 2008

Bible-Believing Christians (2)

When the Holy Spirit moved the Church to require-or-at-least-encourage the praying of the Daily Office, s/he knew what s/he was doing.

This morning I was reading Joshua 7:1-13, as the lectionary directs. I noticed that tomorrow the reading picks up at Joshua 8:1 (well, actually, some of us will probably join that to the Wednesday reading, since tomorrow is St. Mary Magdalene). Well, thought I, what about Joshua 7:14-26? So I went back to read that (or re-read it, since I must have looked at it two years ago, or four, or six....). This is where the story goes on to relate how God and Joshua dealt with Achan son of Carmi (etc.) who took some of the devoted things from the sacking of Jericho, resulting in the humiliating defeat of the Israelites at Ai.

"Then Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan [great-grand]son of Zerah, with the silver, the mantle, and the bar of gold, with his sons and daughters, with his oxen, donkeys, and sheep, and his tent and all that he had, and they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, 'Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord is bringing trouble on you today.' And all Israel stoned him to death; they burned them with fire, cast stones on them, and raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore that place to this day is called the Valley of Achor [That is Trouble]."

This episode is part of our story as the People of God, and we should most certainly read it and know it. But I am getting just a little tired of listing to "evangelical" whiners appeal to "Biblical morality." If you are a "Bible-Believing Christian," exactly what is it you believe about this story? (I certainly think that God may well speak to us through this story, but exactly what God is saying is another subject for another post.)

"Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation" (Article VI); it does not say "All things contained in Holy Scripture are necessary to salvation."

For those who are following Track One of the Revised Common Lectionary, the First Reading this coming Sunday is the story of Jacob's marriages to Leah and Rachel. Doubtless some more "Biblical sexual morality," a/k/a "What the Bible teaches about marriage." I'd be interested to know what the "Bible-Believing Christians" in our own Anglican-and-other-RCL-following family do with this. Actually, I'm planning to preach on this passage myself. Check in early next week to my "Have Stole Will Travel" blog.


Doorman-Priest said...

"Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation" (Article VI); it does not say "All things contained in Holy Scripture are necessary to salvation."

I love you.

castanea-d said...

I agree with you about the “Bible-believers” who are selective about what parts they “believe.” And I think that we are unwise to skip over the untidy bits of Holy Scripture, such as the one coming up (or rather, not coming up) this week: the end of Judges, with the concubine getting raped, killed, and chopped up into twelve pieces, followed by a couple more chapters of equally edifying bloodshed and slaughter. I do not know what to make of it, and most of the time I don't even want to try. But I will read it this week before I start in on Job; it is part of the Story, for better or worse.

In a similar vein, I made some comments in my journal a while back
about the omission from the lectionary of I Tim. 2:9-15, which I consider more serious than the omission of Judges 19-21. Again, I am not at all sure what to make of the passage in the current context of the church, but it is part of Holy Writ, and we ought to at least read it, and not only in private, but in the public worship of the church (not that the weekday Offices are going to draw much of a crowd).

Castanea_d (Andrew Hicks)