YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A CONTEXT – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN
I don’t like “cherry-picking” scriptures. That’s when a point is being made, even a legitimate one, and to enforce it, an out of context scripture is attached. The problem is that in so doing, both the point and the scripture is weakened. The point is either valid or not, and tagging on a scripture that is out of context, damages both.
Preachers are as bad as anyone, and they shouldn’t be. That is not to say what they are talking about is baseless, just that attaching a scripture to it does not make it any more authentic, and if the scripture is out of context, the point becomes questionable.
A week or so ago a local minister dropped by to say hello. (Not a CofC preacher) As we were talking the phone rang. I let it ring through, telling him it was probably a call for money, or some other help. It was, because as soon as the answering machine came on they hung up. I said I supposed he got those kind of calls. He said yes, but the ones that bothered him were the ones where the people showed up at church services. I told him we had a little of that, but generally it was people who came to the office. I said I’d heard a lot of different stories. At that point his eyebrows raised and I almost knew what he was going to say. He said, “Well, the Bible says he who will not work shall not eat.” He then pointed out how it was wrong to help people who would not work. I told him of some of the people who come seeking help and asked if he knew any place that would hire the likes of them with, say, no public transportation available or decent clothing. The discussion more or less ended there.
I agree we should not cater to freeloaders, my problem is that he felt the scripture he used sealed it in stone. It’s in II Thess. 2:10, where Paul says, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Context. Thessalonians deals with the expected return of the Lord. At the end of I Thessalonians Paul deals with the issue of when the Lord will return and who will be with him. In 4:14 it says it will be those who have “fallen asleep in him.” In v. 15 he says “…we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left til the coming of the Lord, will certainly not proceed those who have fallen asleep.” In 5:14 he urges them to “warn the idol”. II Thessalonians continues to deal with, among other things, the same issue. He ends with, “…keep away from every brother who is idol and who does not live according to the teaching you received from us. (3:6) He then reminds them that they (he) worked for their food. Meaning they were not idol, but paid for their food, even if they had the right to be fed. (v. 9) Then he says the man who will not work shall not eat. In v. 11 he refers to the non-workers as “busybodies”.
Context: Those who were not working were members of the church, brothers and sisters. Had they never worked? Or were they now waiting for the return of the Lord and expecting, for some reason, to be fed by the church? Were they the ones who were causing confusion about the coming of the Lord? What was the “teaching” they were ignoring? We don’t know. What we do know is they were called “brothers” who had stopped working and expected the others to feed them.
Are we to assume that no one in Thessalonica would give them a handout? There are some things we do not know, but what we do know is they were part of the church. If the church found itself in a similar situation today, and I have no idea what that would be, could it react the same? Yes.
I’ve mentioned before that Jesus teaches without backing it up with scripture. “By what authority does he do this?” A thing is good or bad, true or not by itself. When he said “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is talking you to court…”, he didn’t back it up with a scripture. (Matt 5:25,26) Is it a true statement without a scripture? Of course.
If I told you that I was God’s son because the Bible said so, how would you react? You would ask me where I got such an idea. If I said in Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22, you would say those words were spoken to and about Jesus, and you’d be right. They are there, but only about Jesus in that context.
I saw a scripture sited the other day which was used to prove the beginning of human life. It was Jeremiah 1:5. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to all the nations.” Context: This is God telling Jeremiah that he had been set apart before he was born. It is no more about every person than God’s words to Jesus being God’s son being about all people. Or because Paul was a “Chosen instrument” (Acts 9:15), that we all chosen instruments as well.
Issues about wealth, poverty, life, death and the environment are important for every human being. Misusing scripture only makes the argument look weak.
THOSE TO SERVE IN FEBRUARY
Announcements: Wayne Flora
Serve Communion: Maggie Foy
Usher: Erma Williams
Communion Care: Connie Crites
3-Alan Beach Martha Foy
10-Karen Branch James Downing
17-Del Bolin Judy McWhorter
24-Scott Blessing Susan Jordan
3-Scott Blessing Connie Crites
10-Mike Branch Susan Jordan
17-Abraham Sirgy Holly Wagner
24-Wayne Flora Holly Wagner
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams
5-Wayne Phlegar 15-Steve Gaynor
25-Karen Branch 28-Nick Bolin
19-Buster & Debra McRoy
CONCERNS: Debbie McRoy is recovering from an injured back. Others in Debbie’s family with health problems are a cousin, Linda Alsup and her husband, Prentice. Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell may have to reenter the hospital for cancer treatment. Jo’s cousin, Herald Clark has lung cancer. Teryn Gaynor’s mother is once again in cancer treatment and her step-father is having Parkinson’s issues. Remember Del Bolin’s mother, Alan Beach’s father and Joni Beach’s father. A CF patient friend of Holly Wagner’s, Dante McCadden and his wife and children. Bill Albert is recovering from a back injury. Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law (brain cancer) Among the shut-ins are Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith. Also Sheila Jansen and Daughter, Amber Weaver Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnell Barns and Tim Elder
The Wednesday evening soup supper and Bible study has been disrupted due to several factors the last two weeks. With the severe cold appearing to be past, we look forward to regular services for a least awhile.
With all of our number who were gone last Sunday, we were blessed with visitors from the area. Pray that they will come back. With regard to that, a ride may be needed for one of them. They live in the Colonia Rd, Ogden Rd area. The ride will be just for worship. Let Keith know if you can help with that.
The Steering Committee will be talking to several people about doing some painting and repairs around the building Due to the cooler weather, such things as outside painting will have to wait awhile, but some other things can and will be scheduled
SOUP FOR SENIORS
You may have read about the Soup for Seniors drive. This notice is rather soon, because it will end on Saturday, Feb. 9th. That means you will have to remember to bring it next Sunday and it will be delivered on Monday. Items needed are soups (low sodium),peanut butter, crackers and individual breakfast packages. See on line for a longer list. As you know, we have a food pantry here at the annex. It is stocked by individual contributions and is available for those who are in need who come by the office.