In a recent article in Charisma magazine Mark Driscoll made the following comments:
“When Jesus taught the Bible in Luke 24, none of his disciples attempted to interject their own opinion. You don’t hear Thomas saying, ‘Actually, Lord, I believe Isaiah 53 is more figurative in nature.’ There are really only two views of God’s Word: You either stand arrogantly over it or kneel humbly beneath it.
If I stand above the Bible, then I decide what it says. I decide what to keep and what to toss. I decide which parts to follow and which parts to ignore. I can change it, explain it away or alter it to my liking. I am in authority over the Scriptures, and the Bible is just another book filled with opinions to consider and apply as I see fit as God’s editor. In this approach, I exist to change the Bible.
If the Bible is over me, then I submit to its authority. I listen to God’s Word instead of censoring it. I obey the Bible rather than discarding it. Knowing that my finite, 3-pound fallen brain does not compare to the vast wisdom of God, I want to submit to it, be formed by it and agree with it as God’s worshipper. In this approach, the Bible exists to change me.” (Charisma, Sept. 2014 p. 52)
Let me start by saying I realize that this is a magazine article. Driscoll could not possibly give all the nuances he may have liked. With that said, this appears to be a bit simplistic.
First, we don’t know what the conversation look liked in Luke 24. Luke gives us the bare bones of what was certainly a longer conversation than what is recorded in the Gospel. So the argument is one from silence and though there is a place for that kind of argument I don’t think it works here.
Second, doesn’t everyone at one time or another “decide” what to follow and what part to ignore? We don’t offer animal sacrifices. We don’t greet one another with a holy kiss. Many don’t wear head coverings. Some are continuationists (a la Driscoll) others are cessationists. Is one group more humble than the other? Is one group being more selective than the other? When Driscoll reads several commentaries and they argue about the meaning of a passage he will eventually “decide” who makes the better case. Is he then “standing above” the Bible because he has reached a decision on what the passage says? I don’t think so. The nature of interpretation is that we struggle through the issues and come to a decision. That process can be done in a manner that seeks to find the truth and then to kneel before it or to alter it to fit my preconceived ideas. But the process itself is not the problem.