Over the last few weeks I’ve had some interesting conversations with fellow believers. At least, I thought they were fellow believers…until we had these conversations. I have among my many friends two women who grew up in different states, coming from different backgrounds, one black, one white, both Baptist. The black friend has never shown any animosity toward me for my being Catholic. I can’t say the same for my white friend, who takes a sort of fiendish pleasure at making as many digs at me as she can about the Church every time we meet.
You may remember, if you’ve read the about me page, I grew up as a Methodist and I’ve looked into other Protestant denominations and their teachings. And I could have sworn that all Protestants (and perhaps especially Baptists) thought very highly of the Holy Scriptures. They may disagree with Catholics over just which books to include in the Bible, but they generally, I thought, hold the books they do accept in high esteem. But both of these women said this to me, one as recently as yesterday:
The Bible is just a book written by men and written a long time ago at that.
I’m pretty sure my reaction to this revelation about Revelation was the same in both instances: eyebrows raised in surprise. But I’m also pretty sure that my eyebrows shot even higher when my friend who repeated this statement was not content to re-state it but made this startling addition:
The Bible is just a book based on dreams.
Based on dreams? Really? I thought for a moment she had changed the subject and we were now discussing Freud or Jung and psychological theory, but, no, she was still talking about Holy Writ. And she was saying something I don’t remember anyone else ever saying to me. That’s quite an accomplishment, since so many people say many things to me about a great many things, especially religion and, even more so, the Bible.
Where my friend got this notion, I do not know. Is this something she’s heard from her pastor recently? Is this something she heard from him a long time ago? Did she misunderstand what he might have said about dreams and visions and prophets? Is this something she learned in school or maybe her children learned in school and shared with her? Is this something that is actually being taught in the classroom or from the pulpit anywhere? If so, it only serves to deepen my feeling that what we need now is what the late Pope John Paul II called for all those years ago: a new evangelization of the unevangelized. And a re-evangelization of the poorly evangelized.
What we need are teachers who know what they are teaching and how to teach it. And will teach it. Now!
2 thoughts on “Just a book written by men, huh?”
Hi, Kirsten :)
It is sad, isn’t it, that so many Catholics don’t open their Bibles often or at all. I think you gave a pretty good summary of kinds of Christians we have now, at least. (Well, I don’t mean that this sums up all Christians, but in the aspect that we’re talking about, you know.) I myself used to be someone who revered the Bible (sort of) but didn’t quite know what to do with it. I imagine a lot of people feel that way, maybe especially Catholics. But if they assist at Mass on Sundays (by interior prayer and recollection and union with Christ), if they open their Missals and read along or sit quietly and prayerfully, then they will hear the Bible in the setting for which it was compiled and, in many cases, written: the Liturgy, the liturgical worship in the community of the gathered members of the Body of Christ, centered on Christ.
By God’s grace, Catholic Bible study has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Scott Hahn and others also on fire with love for the Lord have contributed a lot to that growth. It’s wonderful that converts bring their love for bible study with them. I know I did. My Methodist background and love for study in general has stood me well. And after 15 years, I feel like I’m beginning to begin to understand. :)
But evidently just reading the Bible isn’t enough. My other friend who made the statement I quoted knows the Bible backward and forward, chapter and verse and can quote all sorts of things. It’s just a shame that she doesn’t understand what it means; if she did, she couldn’t say all the things she says. And I also have to say that, though I’ve heard a lot of strange statements about the Church over the years, what concerns me very much is the number of those who seem to be without definite and consistent teachings, without guidance, or, even worse, with outrageous teachings and bad guidance. False shepherds leading their flocks astray. And anyone who teaches his flock that the Bible is just a book based on dreams and written by men is a false shepherd. Woe to that man:
And this from Ezekiel:
Dear Lord, give us shepherds, faithful shepherds, who will hear Your Word and obey and teach us to obey all You have commanded. And open the hearts and minds of men everywhere to receive Your Word and Your Grace. Jesus, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us and save us.
Thank you for reading and commenting, Kirsten. We have to do all we can to share the word and the Word with others so they can come to know and love Him too.
The Lord be with you, Kirsten. Peace!
as far as i can see, the “Christians” in the country are divided among these groups:
those who believe the Bible is “Holy Writ” and are trying their best to understand its meaning. (however badly they may accomplish that)
Those who feel its “written by men, and only some of it is true” and feel that by scholastic evaluation they can determine which parts are true
those who feel that it is a dated book of poetry with some useful things in it
those who are afraid of it
those who received such bad teaching previously that they cannot read the Bible without those experiences coloring every word
and sadly…. many of the Catholics i have met who have a Bible they got at their confirmation or wedding and it has no evidence of ever being opened, because they were never informed what value it has….