I realize there are Christians who take very word of the Bible literally. I realize there are Christians who base their faith on a literal interpretation of the Bible. I find that lacking, but it is, after all, their choice. The problem comes when they feel the need to enforce their view of scripture on others. In so doing, they become the fodder for those who see Christianity as a bunch of antiquated superstition.
Such was the case with a letter in the newspaper lately. The writer followed the usual method of reminding us of the fact that Bible believers thought the earth was flat, the center of the universe and a number of other were-worn historical facts. And, those are facts. However, “facts” of one period of time are not facts for all time. The fact that God was seen and understood in a particular way during a certain time in history can not be used as the final word on God, even if some Christians say so.
Those who use the literal and fundamental statements made by those who will not let the truths of the Bible “grow”, as all truth does, are the ones always used as an example of faulty belief. It is if they represent all of those who are Christian, which is not true.
Do we treat other sciences the same? What about medicine? The author of the letter spoke about advances in medicine, which is a good point. Bloodletting, drilling a hole in the head to relieve a headache are some. (“I need this like a hole in the head”)
Lets look at a few others. Until 1910 babies were given morphine to keep them quiet. Heroin was invented by Bayer, the aspirin people. In the 1940s insulin was used to induce comas. Lobotomies were performed until the mid fifties. The was even a tape worm diet. You get the picture. By the way, I understand that is still going on in a few cases. The list is much longer, and it’s an interesting read on the internet.
But, as the author pointed out, medicine advanced. Yes, just about as slowly as any other science. A more than a shallow look at the Bible (He was talking about the Judeo-Christian religion) shows a rejection of former held beliefs. For example, the author said the Bible taught that illness was the result of sin. That is true. However as the understanding of God grew, especially in the teachings of Jesus, that false belief was replaced. This is seen in Luke 13, and the many places Jesus healed and then said, “Your sins are forgiven”. Which may seem that sin was involved, which, of course, it was, but not as the cause. The “sin” which Jesus assured the person was forgiven, was the deep seated, mistaken belief, that their illness was the result of sin. Any good doctor knows that the person needs to be free of anything that would inhibit the healing process. Believing you were responsible for you illness when you were not, also needs to be removed. The only way, under those conditions, would be for the healer to also remove any guilt by assuring the person that their sin, which they had been taught and believed was the problem, was also gone.
In other places Jesus will say, “You have heard it said of old, but I say to you.” At that point, Jesus is moving the understanding of God to a newer, and higher level.
The newspaper writer pointed out the rejection of interracial marriage in past times. (And still today, by some) He seemed to imply that only Christians (That was his context) objected to such changes in marriage. That, of course, is not true. While many Christians stood out in that issue, I have met more than one person (usually in the South) who believe nothing about God, but believes ignorant things about race.
If we look for Biblical change in such areas, we might look at how the early Christians took the message of Jesus and broke down the very deep, long and strong wall between the Jews and the Gentiles. Reading the book of Acts shows how difficult an advancement that was. But it did happen, just as today, most segregationist Christians have come around.
Are Christians continuing to have a deeper and growing understanding about what the God Jesus revealed is like? Yes, and it must continue. And I would ask that while that has and will continue, those who are critical would know there are believers who are trying to be honest to God.
CONCERNS: Anna Ferrell asks for prayers for a friend, Erin Carroll, she is in critical condition. Rich Crites’ sister will need back surgery due to a fall. Martha Foy asks prayers for her aunt, Sue Huels, and for Sandra Anderson. Continue to remember Gary Overstreet, Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, Garrett Lee Williams’ friend, Hannah, Gil Richardson, Jim Hunter, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Sharon, Del Bolin’s friend, Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas, Mary Smith and Tim Elder. A friend of Jim Hunter has asked prayers for his mother, Mrs. Matara.
OUR DAILY BREAD: FEBRUARY 3-8
Monday: Genesis 12:1-20
Tuesday: I Samuel 3:1-18
Wednesday: Philippians 4:4-9
Thursday: I John 4:7-21
Friday: Romans 7:13-8: 11
Saturday: Ephesians 3:7-21
OUR DAILY BREAD: FEBRUARY 9-14
Monday: Jeremiah 31:23-34
Tuesday: I Corinthians 11:17-34
Wednesday: Acts 6:1-7
Thursday: Matthew 5:21-48
Friday: Psalm 119:129-152
Saturday: Psalm 67:1-7
The day of Alma Martin’s memorial service, we learned of the death of Doris Cornett. Doris and Bob had retired to Ashland, Oregon where their son Steven lived, after spending time in Florida. Before that they were part of this congregation for many years. Doris remained in Oregon after Bob died.
She developed bacteria in her lungs a few years back, which damaged her lungs. They were able to stop that, but later she developed a fungus in her lungs that was unable to be diagnosed for treatment even after going to several large hospitals in different states. She became a test case for the doctors, but gradually lost the use of her remaining lungs and died of pneumonia last Saturday.
The funeral was Saturday and she was laid to rest beside Bob at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem.
WELL, IT DID IT AGAIN
Once again the frigid weather causedus to cancel the Wednesday evening service. Hopefully these arctic blasts will soon be gone and we can get back to normal.
Some of our young folks will be attending Winterfest in Gatlinburg on February 14-16. This is also the weekend of Super Sunday, so as before, they will arrive back here in time to eat with the rest of us. Pray that they will have a safe and meaningful trip. Megan and James Downing will also be in Gatlinburg that weekend, for a getaway.
HEALTH TALENTS INT.
Two reports from HTI are on the downstairs bulletin board. One features the ABC work and contains the story of one such student who is now a teacher of elementary education in Guatemala. Along with the 40th Anniversary edition, they sent a book, “Mud on Your Own Boots” by Marie Agee. It is the story of Health Talents which highlights the vision and work of Dr. Robert Clark which involved Belize as well as Guatemala. It spans forty years of progress in that country. See Keith if you would like to read it. It will need to be checked out from the office.