Did I get your attention? I hope so. Actually, that got my attention. Not the 1st time but the 2nd. I was in the bookstore at CPH in St. Louis and saw a book with that title (actually it is "7 Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible" by Jonathan Fisk). When I first saw it, I wasn't impressed. Actually, when I saw it the next time I was in the bookstore I wasn't impressed. But at the last minute, as I was checking out, I traded one book I had picked up (don't even remember now what it was) and got this one instead. Glad I did.
Let me quote from the book: God does not want you to discover Him through science or history, reason or experiment, logic or philosophy, any more than He wants you to find His Spirit through trial and error, practice and leadership, tactics and methods. God wants you to know He already has found you in Jesus. And Jesus speaks. Real words. Words he has left behind as His testimony. Words that are written." (Fisk, p. 106) That sounds very Lutheran (because it is). I say that because so often in the Lutheran Church we are willing to give up the Word of God, the reality of what God has said to us, the truth of that precious Word, for something that we have concocted, put together, devised all in the name of trying "win souls" for Jesus. Too many church and pastors and church councils and Bible study groups have given up on the sureness of God's word and given in to "rationalism" (the worship of your thoughts) in order to try to find God or to lead others to God.
You can't find God through your thoughts, through your reason, through your brilliance. It is corrupt! Bam! Right there we hit a wall. It can't be corrupt. It sounds so brilliant! I am brilliant. Sorry to tell you, but you aren't. Neither am I. God is! He is brilliant. He didn't say, "Let's just let them work it out for themselves." No. He said, "I am going to go to those lost, sinful, corrupt, rotten, self-serving humans that won't listen to a thing I say and I am going to save them." What? He is going to save us? I thought we needed to save Him from this postmodern line of thinking so that others might find Jesus. Wrong. He doesn't need saving. He doesn't need us to figure out His goodness or His grace or His mercy. He gives it to us. He came to us. He did that in His Son, Jesus, the One born in Bethlehem (remember Christmas?), revealed in the Word, shown us in that which is true and trustworthy.
That is your "interpretation." Right there, rationalism is at work. You figure it out. I will figure it out. If our thoughts agree, great. If they don't. that's all right. We will still be on the right track. Your thoughts are good. Your interpretation is good. Just because I don't accept it, I don't believe it, doesn't really mean a lot. Figure it out! Wrong again!
God has already worked it out. He has revealed it in His Word, you know, the Bible. It isn't an outdated book that needs to be updated or reinterpreted or rewritten to fit the history that we want to know about. It is the timeless truth of God. Right there - in the Bible - God's Word, we are shown that God came to us. God saved us.
I am glad I picked up this book. I would love to figure out some way to take the members of St. Paul's through it because I do believe there is some good stuff in it (Biblical, Lutheran stuff that we should not be ashamed of). Stay tuned. We'll see what happens.