Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Go thou and do likewise"

Just for fun, I started a list of passages of scripture that - in my opinion - have been sadly abused and misused through the years. Unfortunately, for some of these I have been just a guilty as he next guy. Just because something can be applied, doesn't mean it should - especially if you are trying to represent the author correctly.

Ten of the Most Abused Passages in the New Testament
1. Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them." This is all about resolving problems with a brother and has NOTHING to do with the assembly of the saints. I still remember a preacher using this verse to say that if you miss church, you're missing a chance to be with Jesus!
2. John 9:31 "We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will." There is a principle of answered prayer there, but this is an uninspired healed man, who is being questioned by the Pharisees. To use this verse to teach that God only listens to Christians is to ignore the whole principle of seeking him. He was only trying to say that God was clearly listening to Jesus.
3. 1 Corinthians 14:32 "For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace." This admonishment to inconsiderate tongues speakers and prophets has nothing to do with whether or not it's okay to sing during the passing of communion. Don't say "Duh!" I've heard it used that way.
4. 1 Corinthians 14:40 "But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way." This is not a defense of tradition or the standard order of worship.
5. Philippians 2:12 " out your salvation with fear and trembling." It is not a call for involvement but a call to continue on a journey to know God better. "...for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." (vs.13)
6. Matthew 28:19-20 The Great Commission - you know it. Jesus never called all of his followers to be missionaries spreading his Gospel. He did call on all of us to be his witnesses wherever we are. There is a reason why "apostle" means "one sent".
7. Hebrews 10:25 "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." This never was about attendance, but about missing an opportunity to encourage others. The whole point was looking for ways to "spur one another on toward love and good deeds." If the assembly stops being an opportunity to encourage others, and all about "getting" encouraged - it stops being what God wanted it to be.
8. Titus 1:5-9 & 1 Timothy 3:1-7 You know it - the elder stuff. I don't believe Paul ever intended this to be a list of the qualifications of an elder. He was simply describing what a mature, godly leader might look like.
9. Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who come to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." The concept of faith in this passage is not doctrinal correctness. Faith is the earnest seeking after God, who "we do not see" (vs.1). This isn't about the right conclusions but the right journey.
10. 2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Paul was talking about the Old Testament "holy Scriptures" Timothy had been studying since his infancy, not the 27 books, including his thirteen letters, that would centuries later be known a the New Testament. It might apply, but he certainly wasn't thinking of that when he wrote to Timothy.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Great list. Too bad it COULD be a mile long!