In a previous post, I reflected on Tim Geddert’s understanding of the nature of the bible as argued in his new book All Right Now. That post ended up being a springboard for a 250 word review that I wrote for the EMC magazine The Messenger. I am posting it here first, but it will be showing up in the Messenger in the near future.
“To be a people of the book is to put Christ at the center.” (p.26) With this powerful statement, Tim Geddert sums up in a sentence the methodology guiding the entirety of his book , All Right Now: Finding Consensus on Ethical Questions. In this book, Geddert seeks to provide a concrete guide for churches to use when navigating complex issues in life like, how to treat our enemies and how to think about sexuality. The fact that it is a guide that Geddert provides and not answers (although he does propose some) is good news, not only because there are enough “answer” books out there, but also because the central thread weaved throughout the book is that the most helpful kind of answers come to communities that work, pray, struggle, and listen together. Jesus, the one answer the community truly seeks to encounter, is not a doctrine nor a tenet, but a person. Thus, finding consensus on ethical issues within the church will not occur through leaders or scholars imparting correct information to the right people but rather, consensus will happen through the formation of the Christ-centered community gathered around scripture. When churches face tough questions, we are called, not to go to the bible in order to extract an unchanging doctrinal position on an ethical matter but rather, we are called together to hear what Jesus is saying “right now”. Geddert rightly notes that to do otherwise would be to undermine the power and authority of scripture (p.37).