So here’s the scene. You just finished reading a fascinating new book. It’s got you thinking about God in novel and exciting ways. You’re not sure how to process your thoughts, but you want to share it with somebody. And so you tell your friend from church. Then comes the reply: “That’s not biblical.”
Three simple words. But they can strike terror into the heart of an evangelical. In a moment you are placed on the defensive. Your theological wisdom is called into question. Your reading choices are suspect. And so you suddenly feel obliged to defend your choice of reading material. Immediately you start back-peddling, qualifying, distancing yourself from the offending book.
All because of those three simple words.
But what does it mean to say that something — a book, a film, a practice, an event — is not biblical? The fact is that it is far more difficult to define and defend that three word judgment than it is to utter it in the first place.
Scratch beneath the surface and you often find the real meaning is something like this:
That’s not what I was taught growing up.
That’s not how I read the Bible.
That’s not the way I think about God.
That’s not how the Christians in my church behave.
In other words, “That’s not biblical” should be the start of a conversation, not the end.
So the next time somebody tells you “That’s not biblical,” ask them to explain what they mean. And then ask them why they think that.