The Bible is not a Moral Guidebook
My manager who is Muslim is always trying to get me into morality discussions. She has not lambasted the Bible as being immoral but it wouldn't surprise me if she did. She is very politically minded. It would be a good discussion, though. She loves to discuss. She does like to pick on conservative Christian politicians that hold the Bible as a moral guide and then they do the opposite. I can't blame her. She was surprised one day when I told her that the Bible is not a guide on morality and Christianity is not about morality. Of course she was completely shocked because as long as she could remember this was how Christianity was presented to her.
Man has quite a vaunted view of himself and his "abilities" and finds it easy to indict God and what He does as recorded in the Bible. Especially the OT. But, I think God knew exactly what He had to do in the midst of evil, reprobate man in order to preserve a nation from which He would bring forth a Savior. Jesus (who is God) would not disagree and did not disagree with any of the Old Testament, because He knew everything that God did was necessary and right and just. Maybe not in your eyes, no never in your eyes, but God is always righteous and just in all that He does.
You may say now, "well if Christianity is not about morality and the Bible is not a moral guide", then what is it?
Well, it is a guide. Indeed, it is a gift! It is a guidebook of Revelation about a Savior and how He made it possible for us to be redeemed. It is the Revelation of a person and His Word ignites and energizes faith, by which we receive His revelation. It is also an ugly history of man and even the necessary tactics that God had to take in order to bring His plan to fruition. God is not held captive by men screaming for "human rights". What you say? That is exactly what I said. In the Old Testament God would not be held captive by man crying out for equality and rights. God always knows men and knows what He is dealing with. Conversely, in the NT, He let Himself be taken captive by man and endured their insults hurled at Him. And He dies for all of us sinful, unrepentant sinners crying out for our rights.
You can understand how the Bible is God's Word when you realize it was not intended to be a Moral Guidebook. It deals with man's history and part of God's history attempting to teach stiffnecked men about Himself, about another way, the Christ-way, the way of the Spirit. Not the lower way of morality, but the higher way of Love. The Love of God has nothing to do with man's morality. Man's morality killed the Love of God, or though they thought they did. Men's morality is fickle, ever changing and self-serving though they will protest this characterization.
Man's morality screams for rights, the Love of God, gives up all rights. Gandhi protested and marched for rights, Jesus and His Apostles did not and neither will His disciples. Morality is not the Christ-way. The way of Christ trusts in God and does not put hope in men. True disciples know you cannot change the heart of men through education or any other means apart from God's Spirit. Man's morality tries to change men and impose on them their "rules for living".
'Ö self-improvement is both a sin and an impossibility.'
"Morality is part of the condition of the fall. Now endowed with the power to define good and evil, to elaborate it, to know it and to pretend to obey it, man can no longer renounce this power which he has purchased so dearly. He must exercise it. He (fallen man) cannot live without morality." (Jacques Ellul - To Will and To Do. Pilgrim Press. 1969. pg. 71)
"Christianity has nothing commensurate with any morality. It is the essence itself of revelation that rules out all ethical systematizing and all similarity with a morality. The Christian life is not a life conformed to a morality, but one conformed to a word revealed, present, and living." (Jacques Ellul - To Will and To Do. Pilgrim Press. 1969. pg. 86)
"In the eyes of our contemporaries, Christianity is morality first of all. And have not many epochs of Christian history been characterized by the church's insistence upon actions and conduct? ...There cannot be a Christian ethic. The whole of revelation is against it, and every attempt to construct such a morality, no matter how faithful, is a betrayal of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, and in the last analysis an imposture. (Jacques Ellul - To Will and To Do. Pilgrim Press. 1969. pg. 201)
"The Christian...life is dynamic. Each situation, like each person, is novel. The command of God is not a general rule, or collection of rules. It is always particular for a person at this moment, in this situation. In the unity recovered through grace, in the union with God, we are in the presence of quite a different ethical orientation. It can only be lived in Christ. There is no Christian life without the action of the Holy Spirit, without His inspiration and guidance. The necessity for God's intervening to guide our lives puts an end to our pretending to erect a Christian morality. Christian living does not exist as a morality; for he who lives it, lives by it. He does not follow commandments nor achieve objectives. He lives by the word of God which nourishes him, guides him, and carries him. There is not one Christian life. There are as many Christian lives as there are Christians. One lives in ever-surprising novelty. (Jacques Ellul - To Will and To Do. Pilgrim Press. 1969. pg. 201-219)
"Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Every one there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes." (C. S. Lewis - Mere Christianity. Macmillan Publishing. 1978. pgs. 130,131)
"The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to do good. The Christian thinks any good he does come from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us..." (C. S. Lewis - Mere Christianity. Macmillan Publishing. 1978. pg. 64)
There is no other book like the Bible in the world where you have to know the Author to understand the book. If Christianity were the religion of the Book then it would be no different than any other religion in the world. But, Christianity is Christ! It is the dynamic, personal Spirit of God functioning in man.