Discussion with Pastor


#1

A few months ago I got into a discussion with a Youth Pastor. It was a pretty charitable discussion though we did disagree on many things I was able to answer all his questions I feel pretty comfortably. He didn’t have very much experience with the Catholic faith, I believe he came from a non-believers background to evangelical Christianity.

Yet when things did start coming around to examining his position, he made an interesting comment. This wasn’t a question or a rebuttal to anything but it did make me think.

Here it is,

He said, “what if I said to you Jesus is the Bible”. And he just left it at that. I am not sure what he thinks it means. I just said that’s interesting, nodded my head and left it at that.

I would think that Jesus is the Word and the Bible is part of God’s Word. I feel the meaning of the Bible is salvation through Jesus. But I want to see if you guys have any feedback on this.

God Bless
Scylla


#2

I wonder if He meant that reading the Bible is one way to discover Jesus and get to know Him (and consequently the Father)?

Was he a non-Catholic Youth Pastor? Was this perhaps a commentary on the Real Presence and/or Sola Scriptura? From the way you described him, I’m guessing it was not intended to be a slam against Catholicism, but I’m just tossing around ideas here.

Alan


#3

He was from Calvary Chapel (non-denom) and it was just an offhand comment, but it was an interesting comment, to me at least.

Scylla


#4

I once knew a protestant that got all confused over this. The Bible is the “Word of God,” right? And “the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” right? So the Bible must be Jesus!

It took me a long time to believe he really believed this (he was no simpleton - he was a college-educated mechanical engineer). I discovered this is actually what his preacher was saying on Sunday mornings (and he tried to believe whatever the preacher said).

The confusion, obviously, is that the Bible is the “revealed” Word of God - certain truths that God has made known to us through human agents. Jesus is the “incarnate” Word of God, which has existed for all eternity. We use the same word (ie, Word), but they mean completely different things in these contexts.

But this notion - wacky as it may seem - is actually being proclamed as Christian doctrine from some pulpits.


#5

[quote=DavidFilmer]I once knew a protestant that got all confused over this. The Bible is the “Word of God,” right? And “the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” right? So the Bible must be Jesus!

. . .

The confusion, obviously, is that the Bible is the “revealed” Word of God - certain truths that God has made known to us through human agents. Jesus is the “incarnate” Word of God, which has existed for all eternity. We use the same word (ie, Word), but they mean completely different things in these contexts.

But this notion - wacky as it may seem - is actually being proclamed as Christian doctrine from some pulpits.
[/quote]

I would not say that the Word of God (the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity) and the Word of God (Sacred Scriptures) mean completely different things, nor is it wacky to emphasize the connection between them. True, they are not identical, but the latter (Scriptures) reveal and participate in the former (the Son) and so are due a special reverence.

Vatican II, Dei Verbum:

  1. In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will (see Eph. 1:9) by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature (see Eph. 2:18; 2 Peter 1:4). Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God (see Col. 1;15, 1 Tim. 1:17) out of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends (see Ex. 33:11; John 15:14-15) and lives among them (see Bar. 3:38), so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having in inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. **By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation. **(2)

  2. God, who through the Word creates all things (see John 1:3) and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities (see Rom. 1:19-20). . . .

  3. Then, after speaking in many and varied ways through the prophets, “now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2). For He sent His Son, the eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them of the innermost being of God (see John 1:1-18). Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh, was sent as “a man to men.” (3) He “speaks the words of God” (John 3;34), and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave Him to do (see John 5:36; Divine Revelation 17:4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (John 14:9). For this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed, that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal.

  4. Through **divine revelation, God chose to show forth and communicate Himself **and the eternal decisions of His will regarding the salvation of men. That is to say, He chose to share with them those divine treasures which totally transcend the understanding of the human mind. (6)

  5. The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord, since, especially in the sacred liturgy, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the bread of life from the table both of God’s word and of Christ’s body. She has always maintained them, and continues to do so, together with sacred tradition, as the supreme rule of faith, since, as inspired by God and committed once and for all to writing, they impart the word of God Himself without change, and make the voice of the Holy Spirit resound in the words of the prophets and Apostles. Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture. For in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life. Consequently these words are perfectly applicable to Sacred Scripture: “For the word of God is living and active” (Heb. 4:12) and “it has power to build you up and give you your heritage among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32; see 1 Thess. 2:13).


#6

It’s not inherently wrong to draw the connection between these two manifestations of the Word, but it does represent a gross oversimplification. While Scripture is indeed the Word, it’s not the complete revelation of the Word, while Jesus is infact the complete revelation of the Word. This is why we utilize both Scripture and Tradition as a means of preserving the Word of God for human use.

Even the Scriptures recognize that not all of the actions of Jesus are contained therein, so there is no logical way that they can be said to be the whole Word of God (John 21:25). How can the Scriptures be Jesus when John explicitely states that the Scriptures don’t contain all of Jesus? :stuck_out_tongue:


#7

Hi, Scylla. The entire Old Testament and New Testament is about Jesus and His salvation process. An exhausting number of foreshadowings in the Old Testament are about the Roman Catholic Eucharist. The Eucharistic presence in the Old Testament is massive. Your friend’s simple question leads to the central Catholic sacrament.


#8

I am very confused. If they believe that the bible is a version of Jesus then do they treat their bible any differently then other books. Do they kneel to it, or show it reverence? What a strange belief.


#9

Scylla – why not just ask him what he meant?


#10

it sounds like this youth pastor has had some shoddy theological training and needs a primer on Christology and the Trinity.
It sounds like he is making a mathematical formula.

Jesus is the Eternal Logos (Word)
The bible is the word of God.

Word = word

therefore, he is making some kind equality between Jesus and the bible.


#11

That sounds very much like Islam’s approach to the Koran; i.e., it (and not Christ) is the “incarnation” of God. I wonder what he’d make of that? :wink:


#12

[quote=Ghosty]It’s not inherently wrong to draw the connection between these two manifestations of the Word, but it does represent a gross oversimplification. While Scripture is indeed the Word, it’s not the complete revelation of the Word, while Jesus is infact the complete revelation of the Word. This is why we utilize both Scripture and Tradition as a means of preserving the Word of God for human use.

Even the Scriptures recognize that not all of the actions of Jesus are contained therein, so there is no logical way that they can be said to be the whole Word of God (John 21:25). How can the Scriptures be Jesus when John explicitely states that the Scriptures don’t contain all of Jesus? :stuck_out_tongue:
[/quote]

That is true, even without considering Jesus as the Word Incarnate. Just considering the “Word of God” as the rules that run our universe, there is much more “Word of God” outside of the Bible than there is in the Bible. For just examples, “e=mc^2” and “the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides” are true across the universe. They are as much “Word of God” as John 3:16.

In one of my scientific apologetics books the writer says that to understand how God things one has to study physics.

DaveBj


#13

If you take that expression at face value: “Jesus is the bible.”,
then obviously none of the Apostles ever knew Jesus.


#14

The reason I didn’t ask him what he meant was when he said it, I was thinking “whaaa?” in my head. I really never went that route in my thinking to equate Jesus with the Bible, literally.

I invited him to speak with me again and emailed him once to talk with me anytime he wanted to, but he has not responded. The only reason I was talking to him in the first place was, I was visiting the campus about something else and we ended up in his office talking.

Maybe I will email him again and see if he will answer to clarify, it might be a good way to resume dialogue.

You know what I will email him this morning to see if he will respond to that comment.

God Bless
Scylla


#15

Many Protestants say the Catholic interpretation of Mat. 16:18 is a stretch and then they put this forward as truth. Unless I missed something, I don’t think “This Scripture is my body and this ink is my blood” is written anywhere.


#16

Ah, nothing like an ambiguous,unaswerable question to divert you while he experiences the difficult reality of his inability to defend his beliefs: I consider the response pure desparation. No matter what discussion comes out of it he can always claim he didn’t believe it himself, he just wanted to know how you would respond - right? I mean he didn’t say he actually believed it…There was a time when the bible didn’t exist, but to describe Jesus Christ, the eternally begotten Son of God as a book is heresy.

Phil


#17

[quote=deb1]I am very confused. If they believe that the bible is a version of Jesus then do they treat their bible any differently then other books. Do they kneel to it, or show it reverence? What a strange belief.
[/quote]

In a way you have reminded me of something that was reemphasized after Vatican II. The fact is that Jesus is present to us in more than one way at Mass. The Ambo was given a prominent place next to the Altar because Jesus is really present in the proclaimed word, the Scriptures. He is also present in a different and real way in the Eucharest. This is why we are no longer taught that being present from the Offeratory through Communion is enough to say one has fulfilled our Sunday obligation. Mass includes not only the Liturgy of the Eucharist, but also the Liturgy of the Word. Jesus is present in many other ways as well, but that is another matter. :slight_smile:


#18

[quote=deb1]I am very confused. If they believe that the bible is a version of Jesus then do they treat their bible any differently then other books. Do they kneel to it, or show it reverence? What a strange belief.
[/quote]

Good point. I still recall my surprise when, many moons ago when I had left the Church (I am thankfully home again) and attended a Protestant (Baptist) service, and the pastor (John Piper), just strolled in with the Bible tucked under his arm! I mean, I had been raised Catholic, where the Bible was brought in, held up for all to see, in the procession at the beginning of Mass, and the priest would kiss it. And here I was told that we Catholics hated the Bible…


#19

I guess it might have been a comment just thrown out there.

I did find his email and emailed him about it, I will see what he responds with. That same day, I invited him to Mass and gave him my contact info just in case. I also emailed him asking if he would like to talk more about the Catholic faith, but just received a response that he enjoyed talking to me.

Maybe if he responds I will invite him over to dinner or something.

Thank you guys for the insight, it was an interesting comment and did make me wonder. The posts I have read have cleared my mind and made me look at the situation with a better understanding of it.

God Bless
Scylla


#20

[quote=deb1]I am very confused. If they believe that the bible is a version of Jesus then do they treat their bible any differently then other books. Do they kneel to it, or show it reverence? What a strange belief.
[/quote]

Deb, my Church of England grandmother (and Jews today) would not allow anything to be placed on top of a Bible, nor would she permit any of her 8 children near a Bible with a pencil or pen in their hands. She treated “the Book” with great reverence and care. Not a bad idea, really.


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