A quick note about Michael Shank's book, A Muscle and a Shovel....
I read Muscle..., I was reminded of our (traditional Church of Christ) insistence
on using and knowing the Bible, and it made me proud of our brotherhood
On the other hand, I was discouraged that the book found salvation in keeping legalities supposedly
given by God rather than in relationship with God. I understand that
mentality; I was raised in it. I understand that when you're in that
mentality you can't see that you're in it, you only see that if you get
the legalities wrong you go to hell, so we have to get the legalities
That's the first error of this book, seeking legalities rather than relationship.
second error is a natural consequence of the first; since we must find
the legalities, and since the New Testament doesn't provide a nice numbered list of
them (like the Ten Legalities), we have to find those legalities by
reading between the lines and by back-porting our current doctrines into
the text (whether they're there or not) and by using a jigsaw-puzzle
approach whereby we take this verse out of context and match it with
that verse out of context to create a picture that isn't really in the
text but seems like it came from the text.
what Muscle... does, and it does it very convincingly. And many people, especially those who haven't learned to see beyond this method,
will gobble it up as if it's gospel.