The Bible as a parallel pilgrimage

I just finished listening to episode 8 of Rob Bell's podcast "The RobCast" titled The Enduring Relevance, Astonishing Power, and Unexpected Brilliance of the Bible. He shares a similar theology to Derek Flood, whose book I've been responding to chapter by chapter here.

Bell speaks of the progressive nature of the Bible. He thinks it is the wrong question to ask why did God command/permit all these terrible/Unchristian things throughout the Bible. He started from the repugnant directions on enemy women captured as war booty in particular. I covered this topic last autumn. He agrees that it is terrible. But, he notes, it makes in incremental progressive move by forcing the Israeli captors to acknowledge the women's humanity. In essence, not only is God's revelation progressive but the flourishing of all humans progresses as well.

Finally, Bell asks his listeners to give the Bible as much grace as we give ourselves in our own pilgrimages through life. Just like the Jewish nation, through fits and starts, forward and backward, changed as it continued in relationship with God, we too can mature as well. I am sure Bell agrees with St. Paul who writes, It's like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)

We know maturity takes time. We know children do not act like adults. We do not approve of adults acting like children in all the negative connotations.

The American church has put away the childish things of slavery. The American church has been working on putting away patriarchy. The majority American church is working on oppression of minorities. Progress is being made.


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