(You can listen to this on audio and pause the audio to follow page links, then, you can resume the audio, when you are ready. Please note that I use page links in lieu of footnotes and references for important study details).
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS THING?!”
Recently, a friend suggested that we play a Bible game by asking what are some things we say about the Bible that are not actually in the Bible. For example:
- “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, but the bible says something else. Click this Bible link to find out what.
- “This too shall pass” but the bible says otherwise. Click this Bible link to read more.
- “God helps those who help themselves”. But the bible says something else. Click this Bible link to see what!
- “Hate the sin, but love the sinner”. But the bible has more to say on this. Just click this Bible link to get the right answer.
These quotes seem harmless enough, and the intentions are good. But, sometimes, when acted on, the consequences can be profound.
“So, what’s wrong with that?”, you might ask. The Biblical answer is that “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12
Many people are asking why is what we read in the Bible not seen in “real life” now-a-days? Was it all just hyperbole or metaphors? Was it real?
Here is an amusing, but true, example.
I have an elderly friend who has a problem with technology. From cell phones to iPads, from Smart TVs to laptops, they all drive my friend crazy. If you are around my friend for any time, you are bound to hear, “Why doesn’t this crazy thing work? I feel like throwing it out and going back to my flip phone. I don’t care about all these new (fangled) features, I just want a phone!”
But, the problem with these “crazy things”, most all the time, is the “operator”.
Yes, much of the new technology is complicated, and even though instructions come with all these new devices, the operating instructions can be just as confusing as the device itself.
As a result, many devices with new technology go unused or underused.
This, in a strange way, reminds me of church. Or, at least, I think it does.
I read about how the early Christian movement, although severely persecuted and under funded, was unstoppable. Its growth was exponential.
But, when I see the post-modern church, it is quite another thing.
What has happened? What is happening?
Like my elderly friend’s problem with the complexities of new technologies, it seems that many Christians feel the same way about church in the 21st century. It is complex and has become complicated.
And, like the hard-to-understand instructions which come with advanced techno-devices, the same could be said with many of the current-day sermons and doctrines and denominational differences. I can hear folks saying, “I don’t care about all this other stuff, I just want to hear the Bible”.
There is undoubtedly a problem in our churches in the 21st century. But even discovering the problem is a complicated task.
Here are a few of many “hot button issues” which I think have created confusion in the Church and might just be symptoms of a that deeper problem. See what you think:
Some people say women can be pastors, preachers and Bible Teachers in the pulpit of the church. They say that the Bible is OK with it, because, “There is no distinction between Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female.”
But the Bible actually says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, “for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:28
These verses are clearly about being “Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise”, but, it is being used as justification in many churches to allow women to become pastors and teachers over men.
1. It has become a standard and accepted practice for women to speak up in church and even to speak in churches. But the bible says otherwise. Click this Bible link for the verse.
2. It is considered an oddity for a woman to cover her head while praying or prophesying as a symbol of authority. But the bible says click this Bible link and this commentary What Head Covering in the Bible Means, and How it Applies to us Today.
3. It can be controversial to suggest that a woman submit herself to her husband’s authority, even in Christian homes and churches. But to see what the bible says, click this Bible link.
4. Men rarely consider it their duty to “love their wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her”. But the bible says otherwise. Click this Bible link to see what the Bible says.
5. The Bible says to do all things in moderation, but, is drinking “in moderation” acceptable among Christians, although one may get ‘tipsy’ (a polite word for drunk). Click this Bible link to see what the Bible says.
6. Speaking messages in tongues to the congregation is acceptable and encouraged in some churches. But read what the bible says by clicking this Bible link.
7. The requirement of ‘church membership’ is the practice of most churches, and it is a requirement to have a voice in that local Body of Christ, even if you “tithe” and have attended regularly over many years. But, see what the Bible says by clicking this Bible link.
8. The practice of homosexuality is becoming a tolerated if not an accepted “alternate lifestyle” by some in the church. Many Christians now believe that perhaps one could have been “born that way”. But the bible has some clear and strong words on this matter. Click this Bible link to find the truth on these matters.
9. Gossip in the church and bullying “from the pulpit” or in the church has become a standard of church practice by some pastors and church leaders as a means of control. But the Bible warns against bullying. Click this Bible link and this commentary for details.
10. And just as some people do not see fit to acknowledge God, God gives them up to a depraved mind, to do those things that are not proper; those people having been filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unfeeling, and unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them.”
11. Matthew 24:8, instructs, “But as for you, do not be called Rabbi; for only One, (that is Jesus), is your Teacher, and you are all brothers and sisters. Yet, many still call them Rabbi.
12. Matthew 23:9, says, “And do not call anyone on earth your father; for only One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” Yet, this is the title used for priests in the Catholic Church.
13. Matthew 23:10, says, “And do not be called leaders; for only One is your Leader, that is, Christ. Verse 11. But the greatest of you shall be your servant. Verse 12. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Yet, most Christian churches use this term to identify and honor their ‘leaders’.
It’s dangerous to play “head you win, tails I lose” with The Truth of the Bible.
This is not a matter of semantics. Your words reveals the intent of your heart, soul and mind. Matthew 10:10, tells us, that, “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” And, Proverbs 4:23, cautions us to, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the issues of life.”
Biblical Truths are either being ignored as being “old-fashioned” and out-of-date or grossly misunderstood (or both). Perhaps this is the reason so many people ask, “Why isn’t this thing working?” It is a dangerous game.
Please, let’s all remember, that our Lord and Teacher says in,
Matthew 5:17 , “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.
Verse 18. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Verse 19. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
So, let’s not leave these matter to a “flip of the coin”. Let’s accurately handle the Word of God. Our life depends on it!
Your Brother and Friend
2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Verse 16. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.
Verse 17. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
Verse 18. who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.
Verse 19. Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
Verse 20. In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.
Verse 21. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
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