I get into lots of conversations about religion. It goes with the territory. People ask about my religious upbringing, my education, and my church. There is one question I get that tells me immediately that I’m dealing with a Fundagelical. That question is: are you a Bible-believing church?
On the surface, this question is incredibly silly. There are millions of copies of the Bible. I have twenty or so different translations sitting on a shelf at home. I can’t deny the Bible exists. My church does not deny the existence of the Bible. That means we are a Bible-believing church. I tried that answer one time on a Fundagelical, and they gave me the stink eye. They also rebuked me for being flippant about such a serious matter. It’s true; I was a bit flippant. I tend to be flippant, giddy, silly, sarcastic and a bit mischievous when it comes to religion. When I left Fundamentalism, I took the FUN and left them with the MENTAL. I’m definitely perceived as a bit silly, highly sarcastic and a tiny bit heretical to my former fundie friends.
The question is one of those questions that Fundagelicals use as a test. It doesn’t really mean what it says. The question isn’t whether or not we are a Bible-believing church; the question is: are you a Fundamentalist church. The question is: Do you believe the Bible was verbally inspired by God, is inerrant, and is the ultimate authority? The question is do you interpret scripture the same way we do. The question is: are you one of us or one of them?
Fundagelicals require an inerrant Bible that is read literally to be the ultimate authority so they can use it as a weapon. All dissent can be bludgeoned to death with a few verses from the Bible. The Bible is God’s word; you can’t argue with God or those who wield His word. The question “Are you a Bible-believing church?” is the acid test to determine friend or foe. If you are a friend, you can be controlled, and if you are a foe, you are to be dismissed as a liberal, godless, heretic who can’t be controlled.
No matter how carefully I answer this coded test question to indicate my high regard for inspired scripture, I will always fail. Fundagelicals perceive me as the enemy in a Culture War because I went AWOL from their army.
Let me set the record straight. My church isn’t a Bible-believing church; it is a Bible-loving church. We love the Bible as an inspired collection of writings full of stories, songs, poems, dreams, letters, histories and some of the weirdest, queerest, most exciting, most boring, most erotic stuff you’ll find anywhere. My church is a Bible-loving church that loves scripture because it opens a divine discussion between humanity and God. My church loves the Bible because it connects us to God.
Now when I’m asked if we are a Bible believing church, I answer “Oh no, we are a Bible-loving church- aren’t you?”
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