The Meeting House, where Bruxy Cavey is Teaching Pastor, recently concluded a series called “Bad Ideas” in which Cavey and others spoke out against concepts that they say corrupt the true message of Christ. One of the guests in this series was Brian Zahnd. He was there to speak on the “bad idea” that the Bible trumps Jesus.
While I normally would stick to critiquing Bruxy Cavey, this message was delivered at The Meeting House with Bruxy Cavey’s hearty endorsement. This is the kind of teaching that Bruxy Cavey, BIC Canada, and The Meeting House are bringing in. I think it’s relevant.
I am going to review Zahnd’s message and a Roundtable Podcast he did with Cavey over the next few posts. I intend to demonstrate that any Christian who takes the Scripture as the authoritative word of God and desires to handle it correctly has no reason to give Brian Zahnd any credibility as a responsible Bible teacher at all.
Before I begin reviewing Zahnd’s message I need to admit something. In listening to Zahnd and writing this response I found myself getting more passionate that I normally do. That may come out in this review. The reason for this is that Zahnd is a mocker. Most contemptible is the way he boldly mocks Scripture throughout this message. He has no fear whatsoever in mocking the very words of God.
In this first post I am just going to give you a general overview of Zahnd’s main point of his sermon. I will also point out one thing I have already addressed in Bruxy Cavey’s teaching that Zahnd repeats. In subsequent posts I will address some specifics.
The gist of Zahnd’s message is that We cannot use Scripture to “trump Jesus”. He correctly believes that Jesus is the perfect revelation of God, but erroneously believes that the rest of Scripture is contradictory, inconsistent, and contains erroneous “assumptions” (Zahnd’s word) about God. Because of this he says it is actually sinful to use the entirety of Scripture to inform our view of God. Instead, we need to use Jesus as an interpretive lens through which we understand the rest of Scripture. For Zahnd, that means the rejection of Scripture which does not fit within his view of what he thinks Jesus ought to be like. Zahnd holds fast to a particular view of Jesus that is impervious to Scriptural correction because any text which would refute his view is deemed less authoritative, or even mistaken, an “assumption”, not factual. Rather arbitarily, he has chosen certain texts of Scripture to be authoritative over others. To Zahnd, it “doesn’t matter” (his words again) what Scripture says or doesn’t say. Zahnd’s Jesus trumps Scripture.
This view is the same as Bruxy Cavey’s, which is the whole reason Brian Zahnd is speaking at The Meeting House.
I would agree that the Bible does not trump Jesus, but for completely different reasons than Brian Zahnd or Bruxy Cavey. The Bible does not trump Jesus, but neither does Jesus trump the Bible, because they are perfectly consistent with each other. Jesus is the author of Scripture, and so everything it says is in harmony with the person of Christ and carries all of his authority.
As we will see, the basis for Zahnd’s position is a mishandling of Scripture and illogical reasoning. Though he says it “doesn’t matter” what Scripture says, in Zahnd’s case it would appear he also doesn’t know what Scripture says!
Same Old Twist
Zahnd starts off his message by reading Mark’s account of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain. He uses it the exact same way Bruxy Cavey has to pit the authority of Christ against the authority of Scripture. I refuted that teaching here and demonstrated that Cavey’s view, and now Zahnd’s, is very different than the Apostle Peter’s own interpretation of that same event as he recorded it in Scripture. You can read it for a more thorough treatment.
Essentially, Zahnd uses this text, as Cavey has, to teach that we should just listen to Jesus, and that the rest of Scripture takes a back seat in terms of authority and reliability in revealing God. This text is used by Zahnd in this message to justify disregarding Scripture that he thinks is inconsistent with Jesus. He mocks and condemns the position that says “every verse of the Bible carries equal authority, where every verse of the Bible will be regarded as having the same capacity for revelation regarding who God is”. Of course, Peter was witness to the whole event of Christ’s transfiguration and wrote of it in his epistle that the testimony of the Scriptures is more sure testimony than witnessing the transfigured Jesus and hearing the voice of the Father from heaven. Not only that, Peter directly contradicts Cavey and Zahnd’s view regarding the nature of Scripture.
I take Peter’s side over Zahnd’s.
Same Dumpster, Hotter Fire
Zahnd’s message is just a whole bunch of the same stuff Bruxy Cavey has been teaching for years at The Meeting House. Cavey loves Zahnd and, as far as I can tell, gets some of his teaching from him. Zahnd, though, is far more outwardly brazen and in-your-face than Cavey. To me, it’s better because this makes his errors far more obvious. As we will see in the rest of this review, his mockery and bravado is insufficient to cover his irrational, illogical, incoherent argumentation nor his ignorance, misrepresentation, and offensive abuse of Scripture.
Grab some marshmallows and stay tuned for part 2… (it is now posted)