The Inspiration of Scripture and a Fascist Text

Theologies of biblical inspiration are idol factories churning out new and ever changing modes of the same sin, the absolutization of worldly things over against the revelation of God. What a ridiculous position to be in, where a text has the power to judge the son of God, where words that should witness to the divine act of love, are separated from this and used as tools of violence in a world that cannot discern its idols.

We cannot trust our examination of the text’s inspiration. We do not ask how it speaks to us as much as we know it does speak to us because we are seized by it and drawn into the witness of the divine act of love. To ask how it speaks to us, or how inspired it is is to immediately separate ourselves from the situation of faith, and no longer let it have credible voice to challenge our idolatry in the encounter with the image that destroys all others.

Looking at the text is not an acceptable substitute for looking with the text at the world that God has changed through the action that the text bears witness to. This is why the fundamentalist churches are increasingly challenged to speak to the world about Christ. They have forgotten how to look through the text, the absolutization of the text cannot help but make it opaque over against the world that God has sought to change through its witness to the church about this man Jesus.

The text is not God Himself, and to make the text an encounter with God is to forget the Word which God has spoken to us in Jesus Christ. You cannot serve the text and Jesus, either the scriptures serve him, or you do not worship Jesus the Messiah of God.

America’s fundamentalist theology is an obsession with control, with coercion, with unquestioned power. Fundamentalism belies America’s obsession with the idea of a fascist state. Looking at the text as an opaque governing body undoes the theo-dramatic beauty of the divine act of the cross and has to reduce it to a blood thirsty God who needs a sacrifice to sedate his fetish with the suffering of the innocent, be they animal or human. Nothing could be more horrific. American theology took this turn due to the absence of God’s action in creation and an objective divine revelation, in the absence of these, coercion and violence are subsumed under the guise of conversion. Thus, Evangelicalism becomes another word for imperialism. Providence as a necessary doctrine still assumes historical intervention, rather than intimate involvement. Penal substitution as the only controlling metaphor for the crucifixion betrays a culture obsessed with war and bloodshed, because the secret of these theologies is their domination by anthropology. In this sense, Feuerbach was right.

This text has become opaque through the nihilism inherent in the Enlightenment. The word for word mechanistic inspiration of scripture is just another word for lack of faith, another word for violence, ultimately it is the most sacred liturgical object of nihilism.

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