“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 28, NO. 21&22 – BY WHAT AUTHORITY?
When you read the Bible through as the Sunday morning adult class has been doing, questions develop . When it is read without chapters and verses, the questions may be easier to see. This is what the class has been doing with the first part of the Old Testament from the NIV.
Few, if any readers do this without some prior knowledge or influence. In other words, we already know what is there, or at least we think we do. This may not come from actual reading, but from sermons and other things we’ve heard.
For example, when the elders of Israel decided they didn’t want Samuel’s corrupt sons taking his place, they asked for a king. In the text, God tells Samuel to grant their wishes, but it was not a rejection of him, but of God. So a king was not what God wanted. However, in Deut. 17:14ff God tells the Israelites they can have a king once they arrive in the promised land. There is no sense of rejecting God in the passage, only that it be the man of God’s choosing.
The law of adultery was clear. Both the man and the married woman were to be killed. There is no place in the Bible where that law was revoked. Yet King David commits adultery with Bathsheba, and the idea of capital punishment never enters the picture. Why? By what and whose authority was the law modified?
In Exodus 12 detailed instructions about the Passover are given. It is to be something continually done. Yet in II Kings 23:21ff it says “The king gave this order to all the people: ‘Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God as it is written in the book of the Covenant.’ Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed.” Where was the “word of the Lord” all those years?
I know I may be guilty of “hobby riding” by discussing Biblical understanding again, But in light of the idiotic remarks coming from preachers after the mass shooting in Orlando, I have to vent again.
When we read the books of the law of Moses, we read that the Lord barred from he assembly those who were disfigured in any way. (Deut. 21:16-23) While I’m not sure we can find a place in the OT where such a person was allowed in the assembly, (congregation) we do know such people were not barred from the synagogues in the NT. What changed, and when?
We know from The book of Ruth that the view of Moabites changed. When and how?
The Biblical view of slavery gave way to freedom. And I know about how slaves in the Bible were different than the slaves in America and other parts of the world centuries later. My question is: Why would anyone want to own another person? Sure, treat your slaves right. In some cases they owe you a debt. But could a person view the slave as not a slave, but an equal, and still collect a debt, or take care of their needs? Paul, in his letters, goes a long way in trying to level that playing field. (Gal. 3:28, Eph. 6:9, Col. 3:11)
My “proof list” could be a lot longer, but here’s the point: The most significant changes in the development of the history of Bible are those involving how people are viewed and treated. Why? Because the Bible, without it’s constant historical evolution, becomes a book which can be used for evil. Exodus 21: 20,21 says a slave can be beaten as long as he or she does not die, but recovers after a day or two. This passage was used by slave owners in later centuries to justify beating slaves. However, no one seemed to hold them accountable if the slave died, as the OT said should be done.
The mass killings of men, women and children in the Old Testament reveals the tribal attitude of the time. It was seen as a matter of survival, not as mass murder. This was historically true for all people and nations, not just the Hebrews. The enemy was not seen as an equal, but as a threat to survival. That is still true.
The constant question is if the God portrayed in such bloody violence is indeed, God? The answer is “Yes”. But the key word is “portrayed”. God is always understood within the constraints and confines of the time. To confine God to one moment in time is to essentially destroy God. The knowledge of God is ever expanding and always limited by its point in time. In other words, we understand God within the framework of the world as we know it. However, there is a foundation of understanding God which flows through time. In spite of everything else, the everlasting nature of God is in both testaments. Love God, love your neighbor as you love your self. That is the eternal God.
Those preachers and others who say the deaths of 49 LBGT (and straight) people in Orlando is God-ordained because of statements in The OT are as dangerous as the one who pulled the trigger. They are ignorant of the Bible and God. Debate over scripture is worthless. This is about the spirit of Jesus Christ and they don’t get it.
Do any of these people who quote OT scripture want to recreate the world of Moses? Do they believe the world today should be that world? Do they want adulterers murdered? Do they want tribal wars? Do they want women to be treated as they were at that time? Well, if they do, they can’t have it. Not because they can’t smite their chests and quote scripture, but because the creative power we call God moves continually forward. The problem is in all other fields of study the progress is quicker than in the area of humanity. Added o that is the fact that too often it has been the “God fearing” who have stood in the way of progress in areas of equality and dignity.
In the Bible, the hated Samaritan becomes the hero who lives in such a way as to gain eternal life. The Eunuch is baptized and welcomed into the assembly. The Gentile is seen as a brother. The tax collector and prostitute are seen as real people, worthy of love. Those disfigured are seen as whole. It’s not about quoting scripture. It is about the movement of God, or God’s spirit, moving in the world in such a way that it cannot, and never has been, stopped. Thank God.
CONCERNS: Martha Foy’s uncle, Ronnie Gentry is recovering from a severe heart attack. Teresa Wilcox asks prayers for her aunt, Patricia Hall, who has lymphodema, and her brother, Michael Wilcox, who has serious heaart issues. Teresa has also had some minor surgery. Melisha Scruggs asks prayers for a cousin. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones has heart problems. Teryn Gaynor’s mother continues cancer treatment. Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson (cancer), Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s parents, as well as her aunt, Pat Voss and a niece, Jamie Cole. Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sandy Blanchard is now in hospice care. Ray and Darnell Barns, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: JUNE 20-25
Monday: Psalm 119:25-48
Tuesday: Matthew 4:1-20
Wednesday: I Corinthians 1:10-31
Thursday: Galatians 5:1-25
Friday: Daniel 3:13-30
Saturday: Colossians 1:3-20
OUR DAILY BREAD: JUNE 26-JULY 2
Monday: Genesis 2:15-3:7
Tuesday: Exodus 4:1-17
Wednesday: Hebrews 11:1-18
Thursday: Ephesisns 4:17-32
Friday: II Corinthians 4:7-18
Saturday: Psalm 47:1-9
As you can see, the bulletin looks different. This is because the copy machine is beyond repair, and until we decide on a course of action, the bulletin will be printed on the printer in the office. The steering committee will be looking into how to proceed. The old copier was given to us by Cole & King when they bought a new one when Stephanie Dixon worked there. It served us well, but parts are no longer available.
Today is Super Sunday. As always, it also falls on Father’s Day. There will be some folks gone this weekend, but if you are staying in town, plan to attend. This can be a double treat for dad. If you want to treat dad to a restaurant meal, do it on some evening this week.
Any members of the steering committee who are available after the fellowship meal will meet briefly to be informed about the copy machine replacement situation.
There will be a yard sale here on Saturday. Any members who would like to be involved are welcome. It may be both an inside/outside sale, depending on items and space. It would be a good idea to bring your sale items on Friday evening because people get in a hurry to find bargains early. The start time will be 7AM. Megan and James are out of town today, but if you need information, give them a call.
If you travel up Carlton you can tell work has been done on the area above the handicapped parkingg area. Roger and Mitch Fisher worked there last week. Then our yard man moved it to the curb. Thanks Roger and Mitch!
As was announced last week, we were saddened to learn of the sudden death of Alan Beach’s brother from complications from an artery stent placement. He lived in Albuquerque, NM. He is to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Remember this family in your prayers.