The New Christians

In our attempt to exterminate Christian euphemisms from our vocabulary, Nathan nominated thusly:

“Unbiblical” when what the situation really is is
“I really, really DON’T like that” OR “I disagree” OR
“Your words challenge my deepest held idolatries posing as genuine
Christian faith.”

This euphemism seems to be more prevalent today than I remember it — or maybe I just ran into it less in the past. Of course, what it implies is that there is a consistent, reliable, and mutually agreed upon hermeneutic for a particular passage, or for the entire narrative arc of the Bible.

I ran into this at the Cornerstone Festival this summer, while on a panel discussing gays in the church. The two anti-gay members of the panel, both “ex-gays” who were affiliated with Exodus International, repeatedly stated that theirs was the “biblical” position, and that opposing views were “unbiblical.” They said this with no anger, and really no passion. It was said matter-of-factly, and simply, as though no counter-argument could possibly be summoned.

Related to this euphemism, and even more disturbing to me, is this:

“Well, I hold to a higher view of scripture than _________.”

This came up not too long ago when the website for the Origins Project website was launched. It stated in several places that Origins was a network committed to a “high view of scripture,” to which many in the emergent community asked, “Relative to what, to whom?” That language has since been removed from the Origins website, but the implication is clear: Some (aka, emergent) have a “low” view of scripture, others have a “high” view.

I don’t say this to criticize Origins, since I support them and hope for their success. Just to point put that the website copywriter fell prey to an assumption that the hermeneutical posture of biblical inerrancy is “higher” (aka, better) than a an infallibilist or narrative or other posture. It also seems to ignore the history of biblical interpretation, by which such theological giants as Augustine and Aquinas used allegorical interpretations that we today would find downright wacky.

In the end, the phrase a “high view of scripture” is clearly a euphemism meant to divide the body of Christ. Let’s euthanize it.

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