David Yount, Scripps-Howard News Service religion columnist, has a problem with facts.
In his Nov. 25 column (the link likely will be dead after 12/8/08), Yount tries to convince readers that the strength of the Bible is in its stories.
A reader recently complained that religion is based on “just a bunch of stories.” I replied that the stories happen to be true — not necessarily as science, history, or journalism — but as an indication of how things are and how people are meant to be.
That alone is evidence that Yount has the type of liberal Christian faith that likes an escape hatch. He wants to take the Bible seriously, but as soon as someone calls him on it, he has the escape that the stories in the Bible don’t have to be true “necessarily as science, history or journalism.” That way he can’t be accused of taking the Bible too seriously. If that’s the case, then what’s the point at giving the Bible any credence? Why give the Bible any moral heft or importance at all?
A passage in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians reminds them not to regard important events as “stories.”
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17 ESV)
At least, though, it appears that Yount believes that Jesus existed and wasn’t just a story. But it doesn’t appear that Yount believes what the Bible says about Jesus.
Jesus of Nazareth was a master storyteller, and the faith of his followers rests on the wisdom behind his simple parables. There was no fire and brimstone in Jesus’ preaching. He neither harangued nor moralized. Instead of issuing commands about how to live a faithful life, he chose to tell stories, leaving it to his listeners to conclude how the tales applied in their lives.
Jesus was a master storyteller and relied on stories to transmit much of His teaching. But that’s not all He did.
- He did include fire and brimstone in His teachings. See Matthew 5:22, 13:40 and Mark 9:47-48.
- He did harangue people. See Matthew 11:21-24 and 23:13-36 as well as Luke 6:24-26 and John 8:44.
- He did moralize. See Matthew 5:21-48.
These are just a few examples I could find in the Gospels through a simple search. More study would likely yield more examples.
Yount and other Christians like him refuse to see Jesus as He was and is. They re-create Him to come across as a wimp, someone they’re more comfortable with. By compromising Scripture, they don’t have to be held accountable to it or by it.
The Bible isn’t the one with the stories. Yount is the one who likes to tell stories.