Daily Archives: January 17, 2009

Chapter Two of Velvet Elvis

I’m reading Velvet Elivs: Repainting theĀ  Christian Faith by Rob Bell, one of the leaders of the Emergent Church. Bell brings up several problems with sola scriptura in the second chapter of the book, titled “Yoke.”

At first, I wondered why he chose such an unusal name. As I figured, it’s named after Matthew 11:30 where Jesus tells his disciples that his yoke is easy and his burden light. But there’s a deeper meaning to the name. The Bible, Bell argues, is a very difficult book to grasp. When you’re wrestling with it, you bring your own experiences and interpretations to it. No one reads the Bible for what it says, Bell insists, all you’re doing is giving your interpretation of the words. It was no different in ancient times.

Every rabbi had his own interpretation of the Bible. This was called his “yoke.” Every once in a while, a rabbi would come on the scene with a brand new yoke. Before anyone would take the new yoke seriously, the rabbi would have to have hands laid upon him by two established rabbis. That, Bell argues, is the significance of the passage where Jesus has both John the Baptist baptize him, and the voice from Heaven declares that he is the Son of God.

That, Bell says, would be recognized as the two established rabbis laying their hands on Jesus, and that Jesus’ new yoke was legitimate. The problem inherent in this Bell’s interpretation of the facts is that this seems to relegate Jesus to the role of teacher or role model. It doesn’t declare that Jesus’ “yoke” is the yoke; instead, this description allows for it to be one yoke among many.

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