Divorcing Doctrine From Scripture

ScriptureDear Pithius,

Our dear boy, you quite misunderstand the problem. So long as Christians continue to understand the Book to contain truths, claims about the way things really are, about the enemy, about Him-who-ought-not-be-named, about His Paraclete, about humans as contracting with us, and about the resolution of all things — one shudders — we shall never succeed. It is, therefore, imperative that you convince them to reckon the Book as a guide to personal fulfillment and especially a way to exquisite, euphoric experience. That is our best product.

You will, of course, recognize this approach. It worked the first time and continues to sell. You will remember that He had offered the woman and the man everlasting bliss on condition that they obeyed Him utterly. Seeing his opportunity, our lord approached the woman and suggested to her that she was missing out, that she could have an experience that transcends mere truths, and, most deliciously of all, that what He says is not really true. It was thrilling. Our great leader affirmed and denied the existence of His truth in the same breath without ever directly challenging what He said. Never be so obvious! You must appear to accept what He says, but you must give the impression that what you are offering is nothing more than a mere codicil to what He has written.

The firm has had a good deal of success spinning off this approach. For quite a long time after the thirteenth century we succeeded in persuading Christians to mistrust the Book in favor of what they thought was direct access to Him. The Reformation was a bit of a setback, but we gained market share again not long after with what the young people today call a “re-mix“ of the classic formula. Modernity has been a positive boon and our polls have never been higher. The rationalists (you know what we call them at the home office) and the romantics almost made us redundant. What little is left of the Reformation devotion to the Book and its “truths” is nearly swallowed up in euphoric experience.

Our success is in your hands. We have a great product and the firm is counting on you uphold the tradition.

Your Master,

This article by R. Scott Clark first appeared Feb 1, 2011 in Tabletalk magazine from Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine. Website: www.ligonier.org/tabletalk. Email: tabletalk@ligonier.org. Toll free: 1-800-435-4343.

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One comment

  1. The standard of this post almost puts C S Lewis and Tom/Jean Rees to shame. Thank you so much.
    However, I must take you up on “Our great leader affirmed and denied the existence of His truth in the same breath “. Is it legitimate exegesis to interpret Satan’s words in Genesis 3:4 to imply uncertainty about whether they would die or not, in view of the original Hebrew of that verse, the not-provenly inspired Septuagint rendering of that verse, and the inspired Greek rendering of a parallel passage (Exodus 21:17 and Mark 7:10)? Surely, wasn’t Satan telling Eve that they would definitely NOT die, and mocking God’s original warning to Adam by repeating it verbatim when she had previously replaced it with “lest ye die”?
    Where, in this breath, does Satan do anything but deny the existence of God’s truth?

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