Several years ago I was talking with someone when I made a point that, at the time, I thought was rather profound. He shocked me by replying “so what?”
I am deeply grateful for that moment, as jarring as it was at the time, for making me consider whether what I had just said mattered, regardless of how profound or relevant it sounded.
There is a statement going around today that, I think, deserves the same treatment. That statement goes something like this: “I worship Jesus, not the Bible”.
Now, there are plenty of good theological arguments that can be used to respond to this statement and its implications, but it seems to me that one of the best responses is “So what?”
Why does it matter that a person claims that they “worship Jesus, not the Bible”? What impact does that belief have?
I respectfully propose that this statement indicates that the person making it has allied themselves to a version of Jesus that is separate from the scriptures, and therefore believes one of the following things:
A. The Bible is not a trustworthy account of the life and teachings of Jesus
B. The Bible is not sufficient to instruct someone how to love, obey, and follow Jesus
C. There is a trustworthy source of revelation outside the bible by which Jesus can be faithfully followed and his commands understood
If A is true, then Christianity has no valid truth claims, and should be discarded as a system of belief.
If B is true, then C must be true in order for Christianity to have any valid truth claims.
If C is true, then the Bible is unnecessary, and all that is necessary to live a holy life and escape the wrath of God is to follow and obey the current source of trustworthy revelation, be it a pope, bishop, priest, prophet, saint, influencer, tradition, or bestselling author.
If we accept that A, B, and C are false, then the statement “I worship Jesus, not the Bible” is, at best irrelevant, and at worst, a slanderous accusation used to attack godly men and women for their obedience to the revealed word of God and a destructive red herring by which false teachers confuse and erode the faith of the people of God.