THE ILLUSION OF THE DILUTION – “NEW LFE” BULLETIN
In the adult class last Sunday, Mike Branch involved us in a discussion about how we understand, i.e., interpret scripture.
He brought a blog written by Joy Sylvester-Johnson, former director of the Rescue Mission. In it she talked about being reprimanded by a friend because her view of a certain scripture was in conflict with her friend’s understanding. She went on to discuss all the past teachings and influences we bring to scripture when we read it. In other words, we can’t all see the Bible alike, regardless the title of a sermon, article, or book on the shelf. That’s an illusion of the dilution.
It’s like saying if you have the same bat, the same stance in the batter’s box, the same height and weight, you could hit the ball as well as Hank Aaron. For basketball lovers, think Lebron James.
For the intellectuals out there, it would be like saying everyone who attended the same class, heard the same instructors, graduated with the same degree, would have the same understanding and application of the subject. All lawyers would interpret the law the same way, all doctors would have the same understanding of illness, there would be no need for a consultation.
Yet when it comes to understanding the Bible, only idiots disagree as to what it says and means.
Notice how Paul reinterprets Moses in Romans 10:5ff. “Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: ‘The man who does these things (in the law) (parentheses mine kw) will live by them.’ But the righteousness that is by faith says: ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven…’” The last quote is from the book of Deuteronomy. Paul is “layering” scripture over scripture. He quotes Moses saying it is by the law that a man is righteous, and then quotes Moses to say righteousness is by faith. Which is it? It is both. Scripture interprets scripture. Moses said then, but now Moses says this.
In other words, Paul moves the meaning forward and interprets it in the light of Christ. That is still necessary. However, as in Joy Johnson’s case, not everyone would agree, as I’m sure not every Jewish rabbi agreed with Paul’s understanding of Moses.
Question: If your doctor said he or she was going to treat you with the same medical practices which were used a thousand years ago, how would you feel? If his or her understanding of illness was that of a thousand years ago, would you feel safe? If the only “official” medicine you could be given was the same medicine used a thousand years ago, would you feel okey with that?
Why is it then that when it comes to the Bible, we think everything in it has to be brought forward? There is nothing in the Bible that forbids polygamy. In fact, there are numerous examples of it. Is that “cultural?” So it seems, but how do we then separate other such “cultural” views?
What made God suddenly decide those who had physical deformities, dwarfism, eunuchs and others, were welcome in the assembly when God banned them in the Old Testament?
At one time, (even in my lifetime) the curse of Ham was taught as the reason for black-skinned people, and that they were a “cursed” people. This led to explaining why they could be enslaved and considered as less valuable than light-skinned people.
We are diluted by the illusion that the Bible can be understood the same by any and everyone who reads it. That was no even true in Biblical times. I stand with Paul when he says neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything of religious value. But not all Christians agreed. However, he never told those Jewish converts not to continue to circumcise their sons, in spite of the fact that circumcision was declared to be an “everlasting covenant” Gen. 17:9-14. If you read that text it is quite straightforward.
At no time did Jesus speak pro or con about it, even though he himself was. It is said that Peter’s visit to Cornelius, an uncircumcised Gentile, did away with it. Great. But why? Did it mean something to God, or did it comply with social beliefs at the time? The Egyptians practiced it as did other nations. Was it a reinterpretation of an old rite, which because of a better understanding of God, was tossed out by those who followed Jesus? The Jews have not changed their view of the “everlasting covenant.” How many other things are dividing people because of the refusal to look at God through the advances of human understanding?
If you want a good example of what happens when everyone understands the Bible alike, look at Jesus. The general consensus was he was wrong and the guardians of the word were right. That dilution got him killed.
Can we all agree with Jesus when he said, “By their fruit you will know them.”
CONCERNS: Good news! Judy Hall is now recuperating at home. The spot on Ellen McRoy’s lung is being monitored. She is Debbie’s sister-in-law. Keep Deanna McRoy in prayer that she may remain cancer free. Jim Hunter is three years cancer free now. Carlos and Silvia Baltedano as they settle in Nashville. Lilly, who is a CF
double lung transplant patient is not doing well at UVA Med Center. Remember the mother of Del Bolin, The parents of Joni and Allen Beach and Teryn Gaynor. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder. Tim is having serious problems with diabetes.
Today we are blessed to have with us Shen Kretzschmar, who is a nurse with Health Talents and works among the people in and around Chichicastenango, Guatemala. She will be speaking after a brief sermon by Keith. She has also brought her parents with her and we welcome then to Roanoke.
Jeff and Kathy Martin have moved. They had someone who made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Their new address is 7022 Mountain Spring Trail, Roanoke, 24018 Vivian will be joining them soon, if not by today.
The Wagners will be away on Super Sunday, May 20, Keith is conducting a wedding in Huntington, WVa. for the daughter of a couple he married several years ago. They will be returning on Sunday.
The banquet for our graduates has been rescheduled for June. May was just too busy to enable as many friends and relatives to be able to come. However, it will be an evening function in the annex.
Congratulations to Garrett Lee Williams who receive his AA Degree from Virginia Western. To Logan McRoy who will graduate from James Madison University and Laura Hogan who will graduate from Hollins University. They will be honored at the banquet in June.
THE ANNEX LIGHTS
The lights in the annex are acting up again so some changes will be made as soon as we can get it done.