Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Muscle and a Shovel

A quick note about Michael Shank's book, A Muscle and a Shovel....

As 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 for that.

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 right.

That's the first error of this book, seeking legalities rather than relationship.

The 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.

This is 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.

No comments: