Quotes from Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes

“Our cultural value for privacy is strictly a Western value; it is not derived from the Bible. This is not to say that privacy is wrong, just that it is a neutral value.”

“If we’re not careful, our individualistic assumptions about church can lead us to think of the church as something like a health club. We’re members because we believe in the mission statement and want to be a part of the action. As long as the church provides the services i want, I’ll stick around. But when I no longer approve of the vision, or am no longer ‘being fed,’ I’m out the door. This is not biblical Christianity. Scripture is clear that when we become Christians, we become – permanently and spiritually – a part of the church.”
“…we are not free to dissociate our identities from them – mainly because once we are all in Christ, our own individual identities are no longer of primary importance.”

“While culture determines how we understand the consequences of sin, God’s will and commands are universal. It doesn’t matter if our culture says it’s okay if God says it isn’t.”

“At some point in this generation, ‘Take up your cross and follow me’ changed into, ‘Come to Jesus and he’ll make your life better.'”

“One aspect of moralistic therapeutic deism is the assumption that the purpose of religious faith is ‘providing therapeutic benefits to its adherents.'”
“…doesn’t view humans as existing to do the will of God; rather, they view God as existing to meet human needs.”

“Much preaching is focused on the felt needs of listeners; this style communicates that the value of the Scriptures, and ultimately the gospel itself, is what it can do for me. This means that while the church has not created the American preoccupation with me, it has certainly reinforced it. If we are encouraged to think about our relationships with God and the church in terms of what’s in it for me, it’s only natural that we approach the Bible the same way….this tendency can cause us to misread the Bible.”

“The Christian church has always believed that the Scriptures are for us. But our historical location changes what that means.”
Until the Reformation, people heard the Scripture together, through speaking, reading aloud, listening. Once the printing press came about, then people were able to read the Bible for themselves, which also meant alone.
“This allows a communal process to become individualized.”
“The shift to individual, reader-centered interpretation was natural, post-Gutenberg. But we must never lose sight of the implications of that shift.”
“…what goes without being said is that it’s all about me. We believe the Bible endorses our preoccupation with ourselves.”

“All things work together for the good of God’s people (collectively), even though individual believers may endure all manner of senseless suffering and death. We must be very careful applying a promise intended for the people of God in general to an individual or even a specific group or generation.”
“…this is not a promise that God will protect us from harm or heartache. Rather, it is a promise that through the inevitable harm and heartache that comes with being human, God can train us up in godliness. The focus, in this case, is better preparing us (his people) for God’s service, rather than expecting God to work things for our good.”

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