Bible Society: Which Christian Tradition?

The Bible Society has written to me. I used to get 2-3 letters per month until I asked them to stop wasting my donations. This time, it was a survey. It says

There are many ways to live out the Christian faith. Which of the following describes your Christian life at this time?

Here are the options:

Compassion-filled (the Social Justice tradition)

Prayer-filled (the Contemplative tradition)

Virtuous (the Holiness tradition)

Word-Centred (the Evangelical tradition)

Spirit-empowered (the Charismatic tradition)

Sacramental (the Incarnational tradition)

Don’t Know

None of these

They must be curious about the people who receive their mailings, and their respective ‘traditions’. It also reminds us that there are other people of faith out there who might emphasise different elements of Christianity. No problem. Yet I’m going to make myself sound narrow-minded and bigoted here: if you’re not ‘word-centred’, to use the Bible Society’s expression, whatever else you do is liable to be erroneous. You might love the poor and campaign for better conditions, but without basing everything you do on the Bible, you become just another left-wing demagogue. You might be prayer-filled, but to whom are you praying if not the God who inspired the prophets? You might gabble in tongues till you’re hoarse, but without focusing all your thoughts on what God has spoken in scripture, you’re no better than a clashing cymbal. ‘Contemplative’, presumably refers to Quakerism or modern monasticism, the former of which can barely bring itself to use the word Christian. And if sacramental refers to those who worship a raised wafer, Houston has a problem 

The magazine accompanying the survey introduced one of the Society’s staff workers, Keith. He’s an affable looking man with a punk hair style. It goes on to state that he attends Bristol’s Roman Catholic cathedral where he assists with the ‘communion’ each week. The correct term is Mass, or more properly the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Christ, who literally turns into the bread, is then sacrificed anew on the altar. The Bible Society used to know this, but this twisting of the Biblical teaching on the atonement clearly offers them no trouble in the twenty-first century. 

I like Keith and I’m glad he is gainfully employed. I also understand that I have no monopoly on truth, and other Christian ‘traditions’ may be authentic expressions of following Christ. But we must come to the crossroads and insist that some forms of ‘Christianity’ are not Christian at all. The only way to gauge this and ensure one’s own Christian life is genuine is to base all on the Bible.

“I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. The Word did it all.”

-Martin Luther

Image by SofieLayla Thal from Pixabay