This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Bible as an idol

I see as idolatry the practice of calling the Scriptures “God’s Word” with a capital W. This places the Bible above Jesus, God Incarnate, the Word-Made-Flesh (John 1:1-14). It is this fallacy, imported from fundamentalist legalism, that keeps putting “red herrings,” including the degrading of homosexuality, into our Mennonite church. Surely Satan is rejoicing in it. Fine scholarship is being done detailing what the Bible says on that subject; Ron Sider’s seems especially impressive. However, I do not think these works are valid as guides for following Christ. Using them for that purpose defies our Lord Jesus. He simply tells his flock, most surely including same-sex couples, to treat others as we want to be treated (the second of his pair of commandments). Some Mennonites seem to think their legalism expresses Mennonite Anabaptist faith. I see it as a major distortion, even espoused by some Mennonite Church USA conferences, including Lancaster Conference, of which I was once a member. Jesus certainly exposed the Pharisees for their excessive legalism (Matt. 23:23-25). I urge those who haven’t reached a decision on the issue of homosexuality to prayerfully visit this yet again, look to Christ and endeavor to follow him and the good example of our patriarch Chester Wenger. God help us love.

Don Sheeler
Sarasota, Fla.

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