Three Silly Christian Practices

A depressed man once randomly opened the Bible for God’s will for his life. A verse caught his eye “And Judas hung himself…” Horrified,  he again opened randomly, “Go and do likewise”. Dejected, he once more flopped it open, “What you must do, do quickly”.

Fictitious story, sure. However, people do these types of foolish activities every day – in fact it seems most of Christendom is infected. I find three silly “Christian” practices illuminated by this tale. Probably most of us have done all three before, including myself.

Doctrines in search for proof texts

1) Building doctrine or rules from passages taken out of context (proof texting). We are called to correctly divide the word of truth, not take things out of context (1).  

Descriptions vs. prescriptions 

2) Some are agnostic when it comes to understanding the difference between descriptions and prescriptions. Many times the writer is just telling what he saw or heard. Many things were written for a specific time or people in history. Consequences of those involved it the biblical historical described accounts were written for our instruction (2).

Reading between the lines for private interpretation 

3) Arbitrarily opening the Scriptures “to find God’s personal direction” by reading phrases and words out of context is not a biblical teaching, we should not abuse the text – it’s God’s holy word (3)! When one “feels that God is speaking” to him or her after randomly opening Scriptures, one is doing something that neither the Scriptures teach, the biblical writers intended nor Christians taught for over nineteen hundred years (4). 

How shall we then live?

We are called to use wisdom, James 1 says that if we need more wisdom, we are to ask and it will be given us. Each one of these points are not only unwise, but also goes against biblical teaching. By gaining knowledge from the Scriptures we can use it as our bases of reasoning and moral guidance. Thus when we use our volition to make decisions, we can be confident if they are biblically based – because we know what Christ expects out of us. Judgment and discernment are important attributes of a Christian, not arbitrariness and unreasonableness.

(1) 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” And 2 Peter 3:16.

(2) Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” and 
1 Corinthians 10:11 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

(3) At the end of second Peter, Peter seems to give us two ideas. First, prophesies from the scriptures came from Spirit inspired writers. Second, it seems to say that we need to carefully read and exegesis the text.

 2 Peter 1:19-21 “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

(4) This relativity new practice that stems back no later than one to two hundred years (mid 1800’s). Some assume it is from some form of Pietism, Evangelicalism, a holiness movement, a Methodist sect or Pentecostal movement. Now it is quite common in all Christendom. See  J.I. Packer’s book “Hot Tub Religion”. Also this post was interesting: http://mcclare.blogspot.com/2004/08/gods-guidance-voice-from-past.htmlAlso see David Bercot’s audio CD on “Predestination and Free Will” where he recommends a book that completely covers this late belief called “Decision Making and the Will of God” by Gary Friesen.

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