Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Untaught and Unstable

There is a growing trend among the churches to "simplify" the Bible. If they cannot understand it, then use an easier version ... or leave out difficult parts ... or include more stories and illustrations ... or use pictures and videos. Church leaders are doing whatever they can to make the Bible palatable to the public, because a media-addicted generation has been screaming, "I'm bored!"

Why is it that parents will coddle their children when it comes to the church, but push them when it comes to sports? The same dad who makes his son go through his pitching drills "one more time" because a major league career could be at stake doesn't think to make him read a Bible verse "one more time" because his soul could be at stake.

Church leaders are following a similar logic. Attendance and participation are more important than spiritual maturity. As long as the member drops a check in the plate, they are deemed "spiritually healthy." Then they scratch their heads in confusion when they need a Sunday School teacher, but can't find anyone who is able.

The "pastor" provides the answer! "Let's take our people on a 685 week journey through the Scriptures. We'll tell them the stories just like they did in Sunday School when they were growing up! We'll use lots of pretty pictures ... maybe some VeggieTales videos. This will be great, and we'll all learn together!"


2 Peter 3:14-16 says, "Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, [15] and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, [16] as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction."

Where are the preachers and leaders encouraging their congregations to be "spotless and blameless"? It's so popular to stand up in the pulpit today and remind the masses that "we're all sinners." One church I attended recently had as its catch phrase - "An imperfect people serving a perfect God." Doesn't that just sound "relevant" and "timely" and "fresh" and "spiritual"?

Know what it sounds like to me? Wrong ... and deadly. The apostle Peter admitted that some of Paul's writings were "hard to understand," but also recognized that this was "wisdom given him" by the Holy Spirit. Today's presumptious leaders obviously believe that the Spirit was wise, but not very smart. "Thank you, Lord, for your word ... even though we now have to dumb it down for people to understand it." Heaven forbid we actually educate people.

What did Peter do? He admitted that Paul's writings were "hard to understand." Did he suggest simplifying the message? No, but he did clarify the single largest problem in the churches today. He spoke of the message, "... in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort ...." If your flock doesn't understand it, it's because they are "untaught." If people are changing the message to make it more palatable, it's because they are "unstable."

Modern congregations would do well to wake up and pay attention to the simplified Bibles that they praise so highly. The Message is popular. It says, "Some things Paul writes are difficult to understand. Irresponsible people who don’t know what they are talking about twist them every which way. They do it to the rest of the Scriptures, too, destroying themselves as they do it." It seems like most churches preach from the NIV. It says, "His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction."

In fact, it really doesn't matter how "simply" you put it. Those who are working so hard to make things easier for people rather than educating them are "irresponsible" and "ignorant." By dumbing down the Scriptures, they are actually distorting God's word and twisting it every which way. The end result is the same ... destruction. They are "destroying themselves."

When I was five, I wouldn't have been able to understand algebra at all. But I have been taught and trained. I understand it now just fine. Our "church members" would also learn ... if we would actually teach them. If we want people to avoid the coming destruction, they must learn ... even things which may be "hard to understand." A real Christian education will produce members who are TAUGHT and STABLE. Isn't that what we want? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.