The Bible churns.
Most church folks think of the Bible as a book with one consistent witness, and in many respects it is. The Bible contains the eternal truth of the love of God for us, the divine call to love our neighbor, and countless other constants.
It is also true that within the history of The Church, certain verses have risen to the surface in particular times. Specific passages called The Church back to an idea needed in a given age. In the days of Martin Luther, Romans 1:17 rose to the surface – For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. Luther called the church back to a faith based on belief over actions, and The Church changed in response to his call.
On the social justice side, one rarely quoted but a favorite is Walter Rauschenbusch. Rauschenbusch insisted salvation hold a corporate dimension. Jesus died, in his thought, not just for an individual to be saved but for a people. He spent his life advocating that Christianity be measured by assisting the poor and protecting the vulnerable from exploitation. In the Bible, he found a kindred spirit in the Book of James and he raised these verses;
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. – James 2:15-17
What I find interesting is that both Luther and Rauschenbusch emphasized different aspects of Christianity – one stressing faith and the other works. Each spoke an important word of God and the Spirit moved as they advocated what God was asking of The Church in their time.
Which leads me to this question – what verses would you say are rising today? Where in the Bible do you see the Spirit focusing our attention because of what God is doing now? I am interested to know what you think! I will throw out a few.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God – Matthew 5:9
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father – John 14:12
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
– Matthew 19:14
When I see the amount of conflict in our world, how Jesus is pushing His church to rediscover the wonder of God, and what children face today, these verses pop into mind.
The second of them, I will make the focus of the next blog and as always share a thought!