27 May 2011

Why I am not a ‘red-letter Christian’

Having come across the Red Letter Christians blog of Tony Campolo and others, I am reminded again of why I am not a red-letter Christian. There are two basic reasons:

1. It effectively and improperly privileges a canon within the biblical canon, implicitly elevating Jesus’ words above the rest of inspired scripture.

2. As I age my eyes have difficulty reading red letters against a white page. I prefer to read the Bible without straining my vision.

I suppose this makes me a black-letter Christian. So be it. Case closed.


solatnz said...

On what basis is the privileging of the words of Jesus in Scripture improper? Isn't it the logical implication of the Incarnation?

David Koyzis said...

How so? Jesus Christ is indeed the Word of God, as the prologue to John's gospel attests, but that does not make the remainder of scripture any less God's Word.

Anonymous said...

On the basis that we are NOT reading the "words of Christ," but the author's SUMMARY of the words of Christ. For instance, Jesus spent an entire afternoon speaking the famous "Sermon on the Mount," yet the chapters that recall these teachings (Matt 5-7) can be read aloud in about 10-15 minutes...surely the disciples didn't quote word for word, or Jesus had a worse stutter than Moses! We aren't reading ALL of His words, but what the author recounts to drive his message (Matthew's prominent theme is the Kingdom of God and kingdom life)

The fact remains that all of scripture is inspired (2 Tim 3:16), so by elevating the "red letters" as more important, you are also - at the same time - DECREASING the importance of the black letters (such as 2 Tim. 3:16).

We need to remember we are reading the RECOUNTING of the teachings of Christ - not His word-for-word sermons. 1st Century recording is NOT the same as 21st century recording, so we cannot apply the same principle of weighing phrases.

Take also the book of Acts - this recounts YEARS of early church history, but it can be read aloud in a few hours...the author merely records the facts and examples he chose (and therefore God chose, since He inspired him to write) to communicate his purposes to his audience, the "most excellent Theophilus."


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