Being Biblical™: When the Bible Becomes a Brand

I have written a post over on the Davenant blog, in which I discuss some of the dangers in certain uses of the term ‘biblical’ in some conservative Reformed and evangelical circles.

The term ‘biblical’ has come to function as a sort of trademark, performing many of a trademark’s purposes. Biblical™ offers people the quality assurance of the trusted Christian brand, relieving people of the uncertainty and anxiety of having to determine the quality of things for themselves. We have biblical™ worldviews, biblical™ parenting, biblical™ business, biblical™ politics, biblical™ leadership, biblical™ counselling, and numerous other biblical™ institutions, techniques, ideas, and products. Like many trademarks, there is a labelling creep, as all the weight of the trademark is placed behind many products that are quite unworthy of it. Adherence to the trademark and its associated brand demonstrates that a person values radically authentic, 100% natural and organic biblical™ Christianity. It also serves as a social identifier, a sign of belonging to the tribe of Bible-believing™, gospel-centred™ Christians.

Given the consumerist form of contemporary Western society, it is not entirely surprising that the term ‘biblical’ has come to function in such a manner. However, the shift has been accelerated by the ideologization of Christian belief I have described. In both cases, we see a very complex array of judgments being simplified in the direction of a single value choice. Ideologies tend to collapse the task of deliberation into that of reflection, the determination of the right into our knowledge of the good. Provided that we are committed to the correct fundamental value—the Bible!—we need not trouble ourselves overmuch with the task of working out what commitment to that looks like in messy realm of practice. Biblical™ worldview assures us that correct practice follows fairly directly from value and, indeed, a great deal of biblical™ teaching declares what such practice ought to be to those who hold the value.

Read the whole thing here.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christian Experience, Controversies, Culture, Davenant Institute, Ethics, Guest Post, Hermeneutics, Scripture, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

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