A church of one book?

I’ve been reading one of the books that gets read these days about new paradigms and shifting systems and revisioning what it means to be the church. It is full of references to Thomas Kuhn and to the top ranks of the best-selling business gurus. It is written by a man who has done more for the church than I expect to ever do.

And yet, as I have been reading it, I found myself wondering whether all these books we buy and read and study are beside the point. Is it possible that the Bible is the one book be need? We United Methodists say the Bible contains all things necessary for faith and practice, and that nothing not contained therein is necessary for our salvation. Does that go for the church as well as for souls?

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8 thoughts on “A church of one book?

  1. Personally, I believe it really depends on the motive behind buying and studying “all these books”. I wonder if often times we do not examine and test our motives for things we do enough. I wonder if for many, perhaps even unaware, have made information or intellect an idol. After all, are we not to strive for the things which are eternal? It seems to me that any information or intellect we strive to gain here on earth is most definitely…..just temporal. While God’s Word is the ONLY book that will endure forever.

  2. I have found that the more the “business guru” books I read, the more I find they are telling me many of the same things the Bible asks of us. Begin with the end in mind, establish relationships with people to lead, know your key values and principles, use your resources judiciously, put forth maximum effort in the things you do, constantly check your progress against your goals, ask for help when you need it.

    I think these are all things in one way or another that the Bible tell us and reminds me that the answers lie inside.

    1. Give up your life to gain it?

      That is a helpful comment, Scott. I do wonder how much the two sets of advice overlap. Would be interesting to take the parables of Jesus and set them against some of the other advice.

      Of course, we do use all kinds of secular knowledge to keep our congregations functioning. The Bible does not say much about plumbing, but we have toilets, after all.

  3. If there was only one book available for use and you wanted to run a church which book would you choose?
    Does Thomas Kuhn establish what a Christian Church is and it’s purpose for existing or is that found elsewhere?

    When I read scripture I find many persons utilize skills in other disciplines they are trained in. Paul would utilize his background in tent making, his Roman Citizenship, and education as qualifiers when necessary. Peter’s skills as a fisherman are found in the gospels. I think we can be very confident the “Beloved Physician” used his medical skills to assist Paul during their travels together.

    And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

    1. And…
      Do you think Jesus went to school as a Jewish child?
      Did Jesus utilize the principles and skills he learned from his earthly father, the carpenter, to explain how he would build his church?

      These things said he in the Synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. John 6:59
      Where did Jesus learn to teach?

      Was Jesus a real Rabbi? Was he trained and did he hold the appropriate accreditation to be called Rabbi?
      Is that why Jesus was allowed to unroll and read the scroll in the synagogue as reported?
      Did Christ use or quote any historical writings in his teachings? Did Paul?
      From whom did they learn these things?

      So I would say the answer to your question is, The Bible is the primary Book upon which the Christian Church is built and without that book there is no foundation for the Christian Church. That Holy foundation is complimented by other things.

  4. Jesus was a man of one book. From early on he knew and understood it well. Everything he did was rooted and grounded in that most particular book. And when he spoke, he spoke with authority that astounded all who heard him. Even those who were hostile to him were amazed by him. He never quoted books written about that book as his authority on that book. He rejected out of hand those who downgraded that book in favor of whatever flavor of the day bit of wit was being heralded by the self-assumed cognizant. He rejected even commonly received understandings that only marginally referenced that book as disregarding the clear will and intent of the author of that book. Jesus was a man of that one book. Once it was opined that of the making of books there was no end. If today there is a preference for other books, it may simply be that some being blind prefer to be led by the blind.

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