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Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Bible as proof that I'm right and you're wrong!

Another Otagosh post caught my eye yesterday. The text of an article that originally appeared on Ambassador Watch by one Micah Royal entitled "Confronting Bible Abuse" was reposted to provide more context for exploring the issue of human sexuality. You can view that article here: http://otagosh.blogspot.com/2015/02/progressive-redneck-preacher.html In the article, Pastor Royal addressed the issue of how many Christian individuals and organizations use Scripture to browbeat and persecute certain minorities. He points to the treatment of women, inter-racial couples, gays and gender issues as evidence of this kind of abuse. Micah then goes on to ask a profound question: "Is the Bible’s purpose to cause such agony in the lives of others?"

Although Micah came to the conclusion long ago that the answer to his question was a resounding NO, it appears that too many "Christians" still employ Scripture in this fashion. Ironically, many of the folks who do so are among the most vociferous defenders of Scripture and the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. They, however, seem completely oblivious to what the various authors of Scripture reveal about the purpose(s) of their writings. They ignore these clear references to purpose within the text and employ Scripture as a weapon against each other and the groups or individuals who challenge, contradict or provoke them.

Since many of these folks love proof texts, let's take a quick look at some of the internal evidence provided by Scripture relative to purpose. We know, for instance, that the four Gospel accounts were written by individuals seeking to bring some order and clarity to the oral traditions about the life of Christ and preserve them for future generations. The author of Luke tells us that he wrote his account "to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us," (which, incidentally, he was doing for the sole benefit of someone named Theophilus). Luke 1:1 In the "Gospel According to John," we read: "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:31 Likewise, we know that Paul composed his letters to correct and encourage some of the congregations of the First Century that he was personally familiar with or had played some role in founding. The author of II Peter wanted his readers to remember the things which he had taught them after his death. II Peter 1:13-15 Finally, John tells us that he wanted the writings that we know of as the book of Revelation (or The Apocalypse) to be an accurate record of the vision he had been given so that they could serve as a warning and a blessing to his readers. Revelation 1:1-20

Yes, Scripture does serve to convict people of sin and bring them to repentance, but its authors (including God) clearly never intended that these writings be used to browbeat, punish or torture sinners. Moreover, even in those instances when Scripture appears to be employed as a "weapon," it is always deployed in a defensive fashion. Christ withstood Satan's attack against him by relying on Scripture. Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13 and Luke 4:1-13 When Paul told the Ephesians to "Put on the whole armor of God," he clearly told them to do so as a defensive measure so that they would "be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Ephesians 6:10-17 In short, Scripture is always employed within Scripture in a positive fashion - to help and protect. It is never employed as an offensive weapon to hurt or destroy others.

Remember, it was always the Pharisees and Sadducees who used Scripture and religion in an attempt to triumph over Christ with one of those "gotcha" moments. Christ always employed Scripture to underscore God's sovereignty, righteousness and compassion.

Unfortunately, I don't see many of the folks who employ Scripture as a club laying down that weapon any time soon. It has simply been much too effective when used in that capacity. They will continue to use Genesis 19:1-29, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, I Corinthians 6:9 as clobber scriptures - to demonstrate just how wrong, wicked and abominable homosexuals really are in God's sight. They will continue to use the first three chapters of Genesis to argue with scientists and prove that they are wicked and wrong. Oh well, I guess all that we can do is pray for these poor souls and continue to try to expose the "TRUTH" about the proper use of Scripture.

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