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jesus the radical pastor | exploring the life and mission of the 1st century Jesus for our 21st century » Blog Archive » Misguided Mission or, Wrestling the Alligator

Did you ever try to put a too-small fitted sheet on a mattress? You usually struggle to get 3 corners on tight but when you try to get that fourth one, you find yourself wrestling an alligator! Soon all the corners are bare again and you collapse in a sweat.

I think a lot of Christians feel that the Christian mission is to stretch the Bible out over the entire scope of human experience like a little sheet on a big mattress. Just when they stretch the Bible toward one corner of life, pop!, up comes the corner they just covered. They struggle and toil and fuss and cuss to get that biblical doctrinal coverage over every square inch of life. They try to stretch it over their kids and are shocked when the corners break loose when the kids leave home. Husbands toil to get their wives covered and wives dutifully return the favor. High and mighty Christian gurus, exploiting the fears of unthinking people, tell us they’ll stretch the Bible over Hollywood, and rap music and abortion and homosexuality, over Supreme Court judges, over fire water, over illegal aliens and stem cell research. And just when it looks like that hostile landscape is covered with Bible verses, pop!, a corner snaps free.

God never intended the Bible to stretch over the whole world. No, God had a much smaller target–the human heart. The Bible fits the heart of people. God then sends people out to cover the world. The New Covenant never promised that God would write his word on the world. God promised to write his word on human hearts. The world isn’t waiting for more words to be spoken to it or preached at it or yelled at it. The world is waiting for transformed human lives to listen to it, love it and introduce it to a Person–Jesus the Christ.

There is no more deadly person than the one who tries to pull and tug at, fuss and fidget with the Bible in attempt to conquer his or her world when his or her own heart is not deeply changed by the Word-made-flesh-in-Jesus.

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