Black and White, and Shades of Grey

This blog post is about this article on the BBC News site (5th August 2011). It’s about the Exodus church in Holland, (part of Dutch mainstream Prostestantism) which offers its members a metaphorical understanding of the Bible – allowing them to interpret what it says in their own way.

Crucial to this interpretation is that Jesus (a) did not necessarily exist, (b) was not necessarily resurrected, and (c) was not necessarily Divine. Neither is God necessarily there either. The Bible is metaphor.

I am (as this blog will attest) all for personal, prayerful understanding of the Scriptures. I certainly don’t agree that there is only one way of understanding what is said in the Bible. Rather, I enjoy respectful (and only respectful) debate with those who interpret its meaning differently.

What I’m finding hard to understand here is how you read the Bible and come to the conclusion that Jesus did not live, and was not raised from the dead. In other words, on where the line is drawn between personal understanding, and evidence-based understanding of the Scriptures (“I feel that” versus “where does it say that?”).

Some have argued that this approach is just another way in which the Church is trying to survive, to reach-out – to fit the world, rather than expecting the world to fit it. That as maybe. I’m more interested in a wider debate here: how do you arrive at this kind of thinking – and how far is it a result of the kind of Christian-diverse-thinking that I cherish?

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