It’s amazing to me the number of Christians who cling to the concept of the “Slippery Slope”. This mentality is similar to NRA not willing to even allow assault weapons or bullets known as “Cop Killers” to be banned for sale to the general public. They are afraid that once one weapon is banned it will lead to all the others being banned. I.E. the slippery slope. This is a very tenuous position as most reasonable people understand the need to restrict at least some weapons.
The slippery slope for many Christians I believe is similarly tenuous. Some Christians refuse to admit that some words in the Bible have a greater significance in our lives than others. They are just afraid that if they admit that some parts of the Bible are more meaningful than others it will open the door to some saying some parts of the Bible is not meaningful at all! And then sliding to making the whole Bible meaningless!!
I recently went through a round of blog comments with a person fairly high in level from a large American Christian denomination about this topic. Out of courtesy I will not mention him or his blog by name. He was concerned about me concentrating mainly on the words of Jesus. He kept coming back to the argument that ALL the words in the Bible are the words of Jesus. When I asked him if Paul’s words that “I do not allow women to be teachers or to have authority over men” were as important to Christian living as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He refused to accept that premise or at the least he completely dodged the question! After half a dozen exchanges he informed me that he was deleting our discussions from his blog as “they were not related to the post they are attached to.” I think maybe the old saying “out of sight out of mind” might actually apply here. Since these exchanges I am apparently banned from further comments on his blog! It is indeed sad to see that some Christians are so unwilling to listen to differing opinions no matter how biblically based they might be. My personal view of Christ is not that fragile. I am sorry that theirs appears to be.
I will repeat the words of Phyllis Tickle in her book the Words of Jesus that I reviewed about a month or so ago:
What I am suggesting here—and with some trepidation—is that the time may have come in popular Christian conversation for us to speak of the differences in authority between the words of Jesus and those of even His most inspired followers. All of Christian Scripture depends from the Gospels, and whatever comes after must be received through them and in terms of them. We Protestants in particular, with our historic preoccupation with Pauline theology, would do well to remind ourselves of that obvious truth several times a day.
Phyllis said ” with some trepidation”; I have no trepidations about this whatsoever. I absolutely believe that we should look at Jesus’ word first and filter all the others through what he says and as Phyllis says even those of his most inspired followers. After all Jesus is God incarnate. The Gospels are the absolute center of the Bible and Jesus’ words are the absolute center of the Gospels. When someone refuses to give primacy to Jesus’ words I believe they are actually weakening the significance of the Bible not protecting it from sliding down an imaginary deadly slope. I think, but am not sure, that the “slippery slope” thing is primarily Protestant in nature. Since the Catholic church does not hang their whole canon on the Bible alone (Sola Scripture) they are more willing to admit that some parts of the Bible are only historical in nature or are just not very significant in today’s world.