|Photo Credit: Luca Ventor|
As a lifelong Christian, I was shocked at the recent news that the praise band Gungor does not interpret all scripture as literal. Shocked because I had never heard of them.
I don’t say that to insult them. I just don’t follow Christian praise music closely. Once the story broke that they don’t (gasp) interpret everything literally, I decided to look them up. As it turns out, I have heard some of their songs. They are talented.
Sadly, I am not shocked at the reaction of some Christians toward them. As a pastor once chided our congregation when I was a teen, “some people can see the world through a keyhole with both eyes.” That’s narrow-minded.
Someone once asked me if I read scripture literally. I do, but only the literal parts. You see, not all of scripture is literal. Some scripture is poetry, some is history. Some scripture is literal and some is parable. The Bible is a collection of books—the greatest collection of books—telling the story of our faith. It speaks to each person where they are and it is interpreted many different ways.
“You don’t have His word living in you, because you don’t believe the One He sent. You study the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.”
Jesus chided the Pharisees on placing interpretation of scripture ahead of faith. The Pharisees knew scripture and studied it more than anyone yet they didn’t understand it. We’re no different today.
Does it matter whether Gungor believes in a literal 6 day creation or a young earth? Absolutely not! Some of the greatest theological minds in history have read Genesis with different interpretations. It does not diminish the gospel in any way to have different opinions.
I grew up Baptist, and there are many great people in the denomination, but I read the creation stories (scripture tells it more than once) as a synopsis of what God did in the beginning. Literalists will argue that the Bible says “And there was evening and there was morning” after the description of each “day” of creation. They are correct. However, it also says “and God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” as it describes the fourth day.
It doesn’t require any watering down of scripture to suggest that there was no literal 24 hour day and night before there was a sun and a moon to be the day and night.
As John reminded us, “In the beginning was the Word.”
The Word is Jesus. All scripture points to him. We can disagree on interpretations of passages, but the bigger picture is unchanging. The bigger picture is, and always has been, Jesus.