Monday, May 01, 2006

The Battle for the Book

There is a battle going on out there over interpretation of the Scriptures. There are variant scriptural views that have created many denomination splits & caused for teaching about God whether accurate or inaccurate. The problem is this: we are teaching about God, not some human being, and a distorted view on God can create real distorted people who think they are doing God's will; dangerous. The problem is the structure may be harming some people. Better to have no information than to have mis-information. This is where we need to start writing some wrongs. Here is an example.

I know a guy that thinks he is a prophet. I think this was prophesied to him, oddly enough. The fact is that he isn't. He has made some supposed 'prophetic' statements that have turned out false, nothing wrong with that but it shows he is mis-informed. The tragic thing is he believes he is doing God's will. Nothing wrong yet? It gets worse. Apparently he has a condition whereby you need medication to remain balanced; he stopped taking it. God will cure him. He has a wife and kids also. He has a fetish for the end-times stuff also. Problem being that if it was just him being effected by teaching that has helped him warp his mind then no problem, the thing is lots of people are being effected (some are kids). Now he believes he is a prophet and can't be told anything productive to change that. Truth is he is twisting words in an off-kilter spitituality that was taught to him by church leaders. What's the outcome? That chapter remains open. All I know is I won't sit by and idly watch.

Now I am teaching a bible study, starting with the book of Matthew. I am coming to write the wrongs that I have seen. I am teaching what is actually there and not over-spiritualizing something. Understanding that everything we do is spiritual. Sometimes things just need to be portrayed as they really are and it will make all the sense in the world. Here are some crazy examples.

John the Baptist says a line I know gets mis-interpretated a lot. "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire". Most current church theology says this means 'on fire for God', they are right oddly enough - in an off-kilter way. The truth is from looking at that scripture fire comes to mean judgment since the preceding uses of fire are to 'burn useless wood' and 'useless wheat chaff'; also it is said to the Pharisees. What is actually being meant is a baptism is coming, some to holiness and some to fire...a judgment. The current church is right that they are 'on fire', cause they 'judge' people like it's going to be a lost art. The real point of the scripture is Jesus baptizes with these 2 things, something only God can do.

Jesus uses an interesting bunch of scriptures in Matthew 5 that ends with 'be perfect as God is perfect'. I have heard this used to mean literally 'be perfect' or 'sinless'. That scripture couldn't ask more of you if that's true. But that's not what is being asked. The actual point being made is 'be like God in this regard, treat everyone the same'. That means treating people of faith and non-faith alike, even to a point the people that hate you deserve your kindness. The scripture backs that up with examples, one being God makes the sun shine on the good and the bad (equally). I am saying when we ask for perfection we may be putting a huge expectation on someone they can't live up too, thus they leave church feeling God is kinda against them. They have been mislead. Treat everyone as an equal.

For some reason the church doesn't find this odd but their view on money is a little warped. I think I saw Hagee on t.v. the other talking about the 4000 places in the bible where you will be blessed by God with money, some kind of promises; God is like a debit machine I guess. Actually the teachings on money seem to actually favor giving it rather than recieving it. Jesus actually mentions the story of the rich young dude who couldn't get in the kingdom due to wealth. There's a parable about some dude named Lazarus and the rich dude; the rich dude goes to hell for his behavior (but they make a point to say he was wealthy). The problem with serving 2 masters, God and money. The list goes on and on in the gospels. Truth be told, the early disciples in Acts sold everything and gave their money to one another and the community. There seems to be some Capitalism slipping into the church and oddly enough I am not a Capital-ist, I am a Christ-ian. But you couldn't tell that by church teaching. Whoever said 'blessed are the poor' musta been crazy.

It's getting funny but the few examples I threw out there really do make a difference if you change the meanings slightly. For some it changes the way they view spirituality, for some the right to judge others, and for some the right to be greedy. The problem is it makes people who don't follow that lead look like they are non-faith, not a friend of God. I think the core of the teachings is alright but try teach the end-times without driving a few people bonkers. The message is this: we are responsible for what we teach others and we are responsible to work to change that if we mess up. We are responsible! I am teaching a gospel and I will be responsible for what I say. Maybe I will even help clean up others messes in the process. Not to say I got it all together but I am saying I will be responsible. Take my word for it, wait...take your word for it.


ty said...

amen, somewhere in the epistles Paul says teachers will be judged more harshly. I think the end times culture is actully on the verge of cultic. Jesus said that even he didn't know the time, so who can be greater than Him and know it?

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curious servant said...

I stopped by and thought I'd best leave a little note that I was here.

Not sure what to say about the delusional prophet.

As for money... I agree. And apparently the spambot's comment above this one ties in nicely.

(This particular spambot is especially annoying in that it finds your old archived posts and comments there as well. On one post I found its message had been left four times!)

jollybeggar said...

"There seems to be some Capitalism slipping into the church and oddly enough I am not a Capital-ist, I am a Christ-ian. But you couldn't tell that by church teaching. Whoever said 'blessed are the poor' musta been crazy."

yeah, who was that guy- didn't he also say " 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.' "

it appears as though our recent dialogue was inspiring, for i too have posted some reflections upon the strange relationship between misinterpretation of scripture and endtimes fanaticity...


jollybeggar said...

ps: as for spammers, i think that they may very well be destined for the 3rd circle of dante's hell, to withstand the perpetual deluge of their own useless words for eternity? there is probably some blurring of the lines between circles two and three for both spammers AND bloggers... it probably depends on whether there is anyone reading or responding to their stuff...

still kinda funny that you were talking about the den of robbers and some sweet-talking spammer shows up to plug his secret shopper scam. pretty obvious that your post wasn't read, no matter how nice anon claimed it was!