Likely to Lose Some Readers…

Way back when, I was really vocal about the Bible. Knowing next to nothing about it, as I was a brand new Christian who read it and read into it what I wanted to read, I felt qualified to offer opinions on it, usually in heated and aggravated tones. I distinctly remember once in college when I got all bent out of shape by a group of godly men suggesting that women were not to pastor churches. I brushed aside all of their epistle proof and insisted that God had equipped and made women to be pastors, using my one example. Why, look at Deborah! She led all of Israel and did a much better job than a man!

Well, in hindsight, God raised Deborah up to ultimately shame Baruk, a man who failed to trust God and His might in a precarious military situation. The big lesson in that account is not that God used a woman — it was that Israel’s men had hardened their hearts so radically towards God that they were, in essence, worthless to Him. Also, it was about how God showed mercy on Israel and managed to save them despite this. (And, if we’re being honest about it, Judges is a history book, and historical accounts in the Bible aren’t always shining examples of morality. For example, David and Solomon had several wives, sometimes with seemingly no consequences for their polygamy. Should modern men do likewise? The whole of Scripture doesn’t seem to affirm that, right? So we shouldn’t get our permissions from what the patriarchs and historical figures do if their actions don’t line up with the rest of Scripture.)
I didn’t know any of that last paragraph back then. I just knew that I liked hearing that a woman played a significant role in God’s plan. And in my younger days, I was pretty sure that THIS role was infinitely greater than the role exalted and affirmed in the entirety of Scripture — teachable, kind, gentle women who spent their lives showing mercy, compassion, and tender care to children and others. I knew I was made for more than just motherhood or — insert my teenage self rolling my eyes — ministry to “just” women and children.
It’s funny how bold I felt when I was arguing cultural beliefs apart from the Bible. And it’s funny how loud and obnoxious I could get with it.
Fast forward to now, twelve years later. I know enough to know that I don’t know it all. I approach Scripture, not willing it to say what I already believe but actually reading it to see what I should believe. I’ve had many of my previous ways of thinking smashed to bits by seminary professors who correctly handled the Word of God, and I’ve learned that Scripture is more about God than it is about me. I know that I am more knowledgeable about these things now than I was back then, and I’m entirely and completely certain that I’m more Spirit-led now than I was then.
The funny thing, though, is that I’m also more silent. I don’t offer up my theology at every turn in the road. I don’t argue it with people who believe differently. And apart from an occasional blog addressing something that is unscriptural in our society, I keep my opinions to myself.
Last night, an acquaintance from high school posted a link to a DFW association of churches who actually use texts of Scripture to say that Christ affirmed the homosexual lifestyle. I read it with a sense of dread in my stomach, thinking that surely — SURELY — this church wouldn’t have much depth to their argument and their deception would be clear to anyone who read it. I clicked on the link, though, and saw that they had done their homework, used Scripture, and translated the Greek… well, kinda correctly. They translated one word as “boy” (which is correct) and one as “servant” (which is also correct) and had concluded from these two correct translations that the Scripture meant “male lover.” Which was an illogical leap in the Greek and English both. What was blatant Scripture-twisting to me was being heralded on this friend’s site as Biblical confirmation of what culture tells us — that homosexuality isn’t a sin. Christ Himself was okeydokey with it! Wow. (As Wes said, if that flawed interpretation was correct, Christ was not only okay with homosexuality but also child prostitution. Which is really in line with the rest of Christ’s teachings, right? Of COURSE not!)
And I had a choice. Let the discussion (rather one-sided though it was) continue on or actually defend the Word of God. I’ve been reading through Chronicles in my quiet time, and every time a new king came to power, he had a choice to follow God or not follow God. Many of them did follow God, were great kings, and did everything to honor Him… except tear down the high places to Baal and Asherah. They likely didn’t do it for fear of retribution from the culture around them, but by leaving them standing, they were as guilty of the idol worship as those who made sacrifices there. I remembered this last night and remembered Christ’s words that if I’m ashamed of Him here on earth, He will be ashamed of me before God. And I’m certainly not, if I’m not anything, ashamed of Christ. And I’m not going to be guilty of letting false doctrine stand because I’m afraid of a little Facebook retribution.
So, reluctantly, I respectfully disagreed with the conclusions made by the church’s translation. It was clear early on in the discussion that I was the only one who knew the Greek, was the only one familiar with the passage, and was the only one who had likely ever read the Bible. You would think that with all of those things going for me in the conversation, coupled with the fact that I did this as respectfully and kindly as possible, that I wasn’t going to get blasted for suggesting that this church was off in their interpretation. But because the conclusion my correct interpretation led to (ie, that Christ didn’t say anything at all in the particular passage for or against homosexuality) and the assertion that I made regarding the WHOLE of Scripture (that it again and again states that homosexuality is a sin) — because I was being counter-cultural in my desire to be Scriptural, I was pretty much blown out of the water. People I hadn’t heard from in years (LOL!) were coming out of the woodwork to tell me that I needed to read “judge not lest ye be judged” and that Bible translators weren’t always right and that the church is hateful, etc, etc.
Here’s my thing. If you think there are errors in the Word of God, then by all means throw the whole thing out. Don’t believe any of it. But don’t pick your “judge not” passage from a “flawed” text and believe only in that.
Also, if you don’t believe the Bible, then why do you even care what Jesus would do? How can Christ matter apart from His Word? And how can Christ in flesh contradict what Triune God (ie, Jesus!) says in the entirety of Scripture? If you believe that He does, then you don’t believe He is God at all. There are issues here that stretch far beyond the Greek, friends. (And again, the Greek in this situation DOES NOT SAY what this church says it says. Woe to them, learned and educated leaders, who are knowingly twisting the Word of God to gain favor with men!)
I finished the discussion last night and went to bed. And woke up this morning to find that no one had argued the Greek with me (thanks to my Greek-tastic hubby who knows his stuff too well to leave room for any arguments when he translates Scripture) and that no one had acknowledged me saying that they were right in saying I was to be no one’s judge. I simply had one more comment, telling me that it was sad that the church could not move from “condemnation to acceptance” on this issue.
And I have nothing to say to that because — he was right. I can’t accept sin. I can’t accept it for myself, I can’t accept it for you, and I can’t it accept it for others. I can accept PEOPLE, but I cannot accept the things we do, the sins we commit, against a holy God. THERE, my friends, is the problem with our culture. We have gotten ourselves to a point where we want to say that anything goes, and it just doesn’t. If someone murdered your children today, you would most definitely say that they had done wrong. You would JUDGE them for what they had done and would agree that there was black and white, right and wrong, in this situation. You would not be able to accept/okay the sin in this situation, and unless you were redeemed and changed by a mighty, mighty God, you would likely never be able to accept the PERSON who had done this. Make no mistake, there is truth in this world. We’re just picking and choosing what to label as such in our seriously messed up postmodern world.
Anyway, I’m probably still getting comments now that people are actually waking up and reading what was discussed. My name is probably mud in my hometown right about now (ha!), and I’ve won no friends in my attempt to defend God’s Word.
But that’s okay. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and His Word is truth and will not return void. I can only share what the Word of God clearly says and leave it at that. I have no wisdom beyond His Word.
So… how about you? Gotten any hate mail lately? 🙂

8 thoughts on “Likely to Lose Some Readers…

  1. wesfaulk.com says:

    Jennifer you are dead on… if the word of God is not 100% true then it is 100% false. The bible must not be interpreted through the lens of culture, but we must interpret culture the lens of the whole of scripture.

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  2. Shannon says:

    Kudos for taking the tough stand for what is right and true, and amen to Wes's comment above! It takes conscious effort and a lot of courage-mustering for me to speak boldly in similar situations, (something I'm battling because, I think, *fear* of people's responses essentially equates to seeking their approval…which I don't want to do)…so your experience really offers great encouragement. Thanks for posting this!

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  3. wesfaulk.com says:

    Our culture today says that we are judgmental because we as a people condemn sin. Here is the truth… Whether we say it or not, a person in condemned by the sins in their life. The reason we call sin- sin is so that we might help people see their need for God.

    If you went to the doctor and the doctor noticed the early signs of a cancer, which if left untreated would be terminal… What if the doctor, not wanting to give you bad news, just didn’t tell you about what he found? Is that compassionate? The truth is for the doctor to treat you he needs to tell you the tough news.

    We are living in a day where people do not know that sin leads to death… It is not compassionate to ignore sin. By ignoring it we are indeed partners in condemning our friends to hell. As practitioners of peace, we must share the deadly diagnosis so that we can show the Great Physician who heals curse of death.

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  4. SparkleDiva says:

    We are immersed in a decadent and declining culture and we must discern what is right and wrong based on God's inerrant word, not on the standards of acceptability around us. (understanding that the process of translation from the original languages is at best flawed for those of us who are not Greek and Hebrew scholars) To do so we must evaluate situations, lifestyles, and actions based on the totality of God's word, not twisting and bending scripture to suit what contemporary society deems as acceptable at the moment. Just as pollsters write questions to get the results they want, humans can find ways to twist and bend scripture to validate their personal belief systems. Cults, criminals, con artists and others take bits and pieces of scripture much like making a collage, tearing and pasting together misshapen parts together to create what appears to be a work of art but in reality is just a bunch of torn pieces of paper from different sources. God's word in its entirety clearly reveals sin as sin and separates truth from lies. The whole point is what Wes says at the end of the last comment…..people ignore the fact that sin leads to death….We are too worried about what people will think of us or “offending” someone. The Great Lie that that one can get to heaven by multiple ways via multiple gods does make the Christian seem foolish and one-dimensional, but that is exactly what is intended……narrow is the way, few will find it! Standing up for truth and integrity and calling sin what it is is not popular but is essential! Yes, too, we do have to “judge” what is right and wrong and stand tall on righteousness and truth!

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  5. Michelle says:

    I think of the scripture in 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Your story illustrates this truth very clearly. At least they don't stone us yet, like they did to Stephen, but intolerance for the truth is at an all time high.

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