Monday, February 27, 2017

Pick and Choose Theology

"Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use the deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” 2 Co 4:1-2.

Paul was writing to the Corinthians at a time when false teachers were infiltrating the new church. They were doing great harm to the church by twisting the truth of God’s message in the Gospel. Their interpretation was one that distorted God’s true intent of how mankind was to behave when walking out the gospel of Christ. They were twisting the words of God to approve any behavior that was more closely approved by their society. ‘In Paul’s day, the false teachers were twisting the sacred Scriptures to condone whatever greed, immorality, and power struggles they wanted to engage in. The very same thing is happening today and we desperately need discernment from the Holy Spirit and knowledge from the Word to have eyes to see this deception. There are two ways our culture is guilty of this today: through bending the Word to either condemn a behavior it doesn’t or condoning a behavior it doesn’t.’ All Things New, Kelly Minter, p. 56.

Formerly, I was the Development Director of an organization that fought to free children from human trafficking. Part of my job was to approach the faith community in hopes of a partnership with their organization. One particular meeting was with the leader of a large and flourishing United Methodist Church in the center of Charlotte. In the end, they chose to decline a partnership because our mission statement included our belief that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. When the leader gave me their objection she explained that they do not believe the Bible is without error. She went on to say that their church was certainly more ‘progressive’ than to believe that statement. It is no wonder that they have accepted any and all beliefs when dealing with man. If we believe that the Bible contains mistakes, then who of us determines those errors? How is the measuring stick applied? On any given whim, we can discredit others with God’s word or validate our own behavior through the Word.

The Word of God can only be effective and true when we allow the Holy Spirit to impress the mind of God into our hearts and minds. The Bible was never meant to be this mysterious and difficult to understand book. What God says about every topic in the Bible is what He requires. God’s mind and heart is clearly communicated through His commands. If the interpretation is left to man we fall vulnerable to good intentions…not good theology. When our spiritual life has a ‘pick and choose theology’ we will run aground at some point, allowing our lives to disrupt into chaos just like the Corinthians. Every decision in life should be measured against the Word of God, and opened to the interpretation of the Holy Spirit, not man.

Along with prayer and meditation in the Word, we can confidently move forward in every decision. This is the only way we can experience true peace, apart from this world of chaos and confusion. Then we can be blessings as we ‘set forth the truth plainly’ for ourselves and those who need guidance.

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