or something like that. I think it is time to write another Bible. Oh, I don’t mean the one we have isn’t good enough or isn’t inerrant. It surely is. But let’s face it. Somewhere in the past and likely for several reasons the conservative church in North America has built a fence around its practice that seems far from what the text actually says and teaches. Look at the Beatitudes (in a humorous fashion) as an example. Does this show practice more than the inerrant text?
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the back pew.
2. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall do so in isolation.
3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall be considered as having poor self esteem.
4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be considered fanatics.
5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be taken advantage of.
6. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall not serve on our committees.
7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called naïve.
8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for they shall be given the left foot of fellowship.
9. Blessed are you when they shall revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil about you (often truthfully), for religion’s sake.
As you know, this is NOT what Jesus said in Matthew 5:3-11. But I thought it might provoke some thought.
My observation is that we tend to write our own Bibles by the way we live our lives. Some write them by omitting certain Biblical teachings. Others write them by adding to certain Biblical teachings. And my soul, we just cannot have mystery and obscurity – we must know everything the Divine was thinking. How else can we lead the people of God?
Every generation produces its own religious fads. unfortunately, some follow them. One extreme is to become cultic. Another is to drop out from religious fatigue.
Obviously the above errant and uninspired “Beatitudes” are my attempt to illustrate the point. I have heard talk of the failure of delivery systems designed to feed the hungry (literal, physical hunger) as being ineffective. I applaud feeding both the physically hungry and the spiritually hungry. Do we need different delivery systems?
May I suggest the local church? Is it not effective? If not, why not?
The Evangelical church in America that is a product of the Church Growth movement is pretty anemic. Why? Think of sermons like “Five Reasons Why It Is Dumb to Play in the Freeway”. Think of those Bibles for sale that are not actual translations, but are paraphrases. Many do not recognize these are one person’s commentary on the text. Think of people in the pew that really want “iChurch”. Think of prayer-less congregations and congregations so desperate for ‘converts’ that anything and everything is accepted. Think of hundreds of “Christians” unable to give a reason for the hope that is within them. But in all sincerity they come. They haven’t failed; leadership has failed them. The failure of leadership is a failure of prayer and making the Gospel plain. “If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?” (1 Cor. 14:8, NKJV)
Perhaps it is time to dig deep in the passages of the New Testament that speak of repentance. I know the Old is also inerrant, but we are in the New Covenant and that is what the New Testament is about – life in a new covenant. And that life in the Spirit is different than the revivals of the Old Covenant.
Some pastors are called to situations they did not create. So let me ask you, “How long has been, pastor, since you have preached a message on repentance and done so with a broken heart?” Pray until God breaks your heart for those whom God has assigned you (think Calling), then dig deep and preach from the overflow!
You see, the inerrant Beatitude actually says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6, NKJV). May you be filled to overflow as you serve in Jesus’ Name!