black and white, and gray all over

Yesterday I was in an exchange in which I was told by a good man that the Bible is black and white, and therefore we should know, in this case, how we should have voted in the presidential election (I would add to that, if we voted at all). I stated, that yes, things in the Bible are black and white. Of course that’s true, with some qualifications. In the first place, the Bible doesn’t address everything, and in some ways it gives us just enough to be dependent on God and interdependent on each other, to keep us moving along the pathway of faith. Also one has to read the Bible in context and consider what part of the story is being told. Nevertheless, by and large, many big issues are clear enough.

We need the Holy Spirit to help us see aright even the most simple truths of God, which even in that case, we can never know as fully as God does, although God gives and helps us to know what we need to know. At least one of the biggest problems we have is the struggle in how to apply the truths in real life. That we can’t make room for Christians who while holding to a traditional view of marriage, believe society should make room for those who hold to other views, or in thinking that overturning Roe v Wade does not make anyone necessarily pro-life on the abortion issue, means that we are not grappling with the very real issues that are pastoral, and make up the complexity of the human experience. And we likely are not reading our Bibles correctly either, in the first place. One of my problems is how Christians left and right apply scripture meant only for God’s people, to the United States of America. The biggest need in all of this is to stay humble, express our opinions, but never think one has the final answer on many things, and don’t wave off people who see things differently.

Yes, everything that is black and white in scripture, ends up being gray in this life, only because we need God’s light in Jesus by the Spirit to see the light of day on what might need to be done in any given situation. And we need to pray, and ask questions, and look to God both in scripture and through the church for the wisdom we need both in individual cases, and in issues at large. A tall order indeed, not easy. So that there’s room for us all to enter into the conversation and see how God might be helping us together to come to a more Christian, Jesus-like, God honoring answer.

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3 comments on “black and white, and gray all over

  1. susanbeagood says:

    “…that we can’t make room for Christians who while holding to a traditional view of marriage, believe society should make room for those who hold to other views, or in thinking that overturning Roe v Wade does not make anyone necessarily pro-life on the abortion issue…” I am in total agreement!

  2. Ron Boyer says:

    I’s often been said that we cannot legislate morality. Does this mean that we should legalize immorality or amorality? Really, most law designates what is considered right or wrong, such as moral or not moral, so we do legislate morality. What we cannot do, as you have stated, is change hearts or even minds. Our laws originally were based on the Judeo-Chritian ethic but are gradually being based on precedent. We need to return to the original spirit of our law.

    • Thanks, Ron. Good thought and great questions. For myself, I’m not as much concerned about what the United States should do, as what the church should be doing, even with reference to these things. I see the US built on both the Modernist Enlightenment, and scripture seen primarily through the Enlightenment lens, or at best with some, side by side. I think the whole gospel is what we’re to bring into this, but not directly to make America better, though we do hope and pray for the best for our nation, for God’s mercy and even blesssing. But we do so for the sake of Jesus and the gospel, taking up our cross and following.

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