Did Jesus occupy the temple? Did Jesus occupy the synagogue? Would Jesus occupy HK? These questions convey a larger problem of evangelical ethics from a reductionist hermeneutic. The logic goes something like this. If the Bible doesn’t tell us that we can do something, we mustn’t! So, in this blog, let me just enumerate the kind of stuff that I do everyday that the Bible has not explicitly say that I can do.
The Bible does not tell me to put on a sport coat to go to work today. So what should I do? The Bible also does not tell me to eat eggs for breakfast along with oatmeal. So what should I do? The Bible then does not tell me to get into my car to drive my little boy Ian to school today. So, what should I do? The Bible does not tell me to write a check today to my gardener? Should I write it? The Bible also does not tell me to check my mail today. Should I? The Bible does not tell me I should lift weights or hit my heavy bag today. Should I do that? The Bible then does not tell me to kiss my wife when she comes back from work. Should I do it?
The list above are completely and utterly ridiculous because they illustrate the kind of modern practices that aren’t recorded in the Bible. The above list is ethically harmless, you say. So what? Who’s to say what’s ethically neutral? Who’s to say that driving my kid to school is ethically neutral? When we start saying stuff like “Did Jesus do X? If not, I can’t do,” we are discarding the historical distance in our interpretation in favor of a yoke of bondage as heavy as that which was originally condemned by Jesus. The Bible doesn’t tell us to use our brains too. Should we? And please, for the sake of all things sacred, stop using the cliche WWJD!
The bottom line is, stop making the biblical world our world. We must do this in our preaching and in our everyday Christian life. Most of all, stop hijacking the Bible and make it fit our agenda. Otherwise, both our hermeneutics and praxis look completely foolish to everyone else. We’d end up like George in the caption image, taken from the Facebook page, Lad Bible.