Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How Can we get it so Wrong?

I recently had a fleeting visit to the city of York. This city has a very long history over many centuries which I don’t claim to know much about. However I recently became aware of an incident that happened in 1190. The outline of which can be seen in the photo below.



This anti-Semitism partly stemmed from the utterly incomprehensible idea that all Jews were responsible for Killing Jesus. This has been a recurring theme of anti-Semitic behaviour from people who claim to be Christian through the centuries.

This got me thinking about why and how such atrocities can occur and how people claiming to be Christian get it so horribly wrong when it quite clearly goes against anything that is written in the Bible. Then it occurred to me that up until the Bible was translated into normal everyday language, whatever that may be, ‘Christians’ only knew what was taught them from the pulpit of the Church. (From a brief search this site gives an outline of the History of the Bible translations). Not until the 1500’s was an English translation of the Bible available for the common man. The Roman Church tried to suppress any version that was not in Latin and killed many in the process. It became clear that the Latin Vulgate bible that the Catholic church held to was massively corrupt and I am sure the source of much of the error that seeped into the church over the centuries. Satan won a great victory for a time here by blinding the understanding of the common man by using our innate desire for power and corrupting what started as good, the Church!

Not until everyone could read the Bible for themselves could they discern that what was being taught by the Church was far from ‘the Truth’. This kicked off the Reformation and much conflict between the Catholic and for a time Anglican church who wanted to retain tight control and those that Declared the Truth of scripture boldly challenging the established order. I am not about to discuss the Reformation here, Google it if you wish to look that up.

We are encouraged to search the scriptures daily like the Bereans (Acts 17:10-11), finding out if what is being taught us is right. We should never take on face value any teaching that is given. We are to test the spirits to make sure everything is from God and not from the Devil. The only way to do that is to know what is contained in the Bible. Without scripture we will warp God’s word and come up with all sorts of error in our thinking about our Faith for ‘the Heart is Deceitful above all Things, and desperately sick;’ (Jeremiah 17:9-10). A Christian needs to live in the Spirit but from the Word of God. Without both we either end up as ‘Charismaniacs’ and falling into all sort of gross lunatic heresy or we become legalists bound by duty and adherence to the law.

Either being ignorant of scripture or choosing to put your own slant on something, influenced by culture for instance, leads to such errors that Steve Chalke is currently declaring. He has denied the ‘Substitutionary Atonement’ of Jesus calling it cosmic child abuse. The whole of Christian faith pretty much hangs on this doctrine and it is so clearly taught right from the beginning to the end of scripture. The current Emergent church seems to be falling in to this trap of discarding Biblical Doctrine for the sake or being culturally relevant. Taken to its ultimate end is how the Cults that are based on Christianity came about. Where a Man or Men decided to add to what the Bible says and distort what is clearly taught in the Bible alone. Revelation 22:18 clearly warns that God is really not impressed by anyone who adds to scripture along with Other OT passages that command us not to add to God’s Word.

So in conclusion and in answer to my Question that is the Title of this article. How do we get it so wrong in reference to doing things in the name of God that are so in contradiction with God and His commandments. If we do not understand what is in Gods word, about the human condition, our sinful nature, our ultimate destination if we do not accept Jesus Christ and his Substitutionary death on the Cross, ie: Hell. We will invent our own theories and doctrines and be deceived by the Devil who is the great deceiver and father of lies. His very goal is to get us to put ourselves in the place of God and walk in utter darkness while thinking we are in the light.

Hebrews 4:12 says: ‘For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.’

If you do not know what the Word says then you will be deceived and are in fact in Darkness and heading for a most horrendous place. This life on earth is the closest you will get to Heaven. Happy to live your own life, your way, for you alone. I plead with all my heart that you would come to know and understand that without surrender and submission to Christ there is no hope. But with Christ there is salvation, Hope, joy, life and unconditional Love for eternity. Living knowing this life is the nearest you will ever get to Hell.

So such atrocities that occurred in York and through the Centuries and up to today in the name of the God of the Bible absolutely inexcusable in the light of the Word of God. The conflicts in the world today are not because of ‘Religion’ even when they are in its name. They are caused by such things as greed, selfishness, pride, desire for power, covetousness, ignorance, false religion, hatred and idolatry. True Christianity speaks against such things because the Bible does and therefore God does. We are to stand up for truth and fight against evil and oppression but only out of a heart to see people brought to Christ and for God’s Kingdom to come on Earth for the Glory of God alone.


Alastair said...

Just to be slightly off beam, I think one of the problems we have is that the Bible has been translated and that people think they understand it! I count myself in on this criticism - the little of Scripture I know in its original language and the multiple layers of meaning that exist within the Hebrew and Greek texts completely blows my mind and has changed my own perspective, so that I would no longer consider myself a Biblical literalist, fundamentalist or creationist as I did twenty five years ago, just because I can see more of what the original writers were saying and how they said it. Yes I believe it to be inspired, but rarely as people interpret it to be. Certainly some of the translations around today are abysmal at communicating the depth and breadth of what is in the original language.

But hey, by Grace God allows us to see his meaning within our limited means! I would like everyone to have a copy of Scripture in language they understand, but I would also like it not to stop there and that the study of Scripture would be at the core of every Christian's life....

Oh, and in response to the start of the post - I agree, we as a Church still have a lot of repenting to do for the wrong we speak and do in God's name.

Alicia said...

I'm currently reading a book about the Middle East in history and prophecy. In this I am learning about the history of the Jews and Arabs. It's sad that the crusaders did this in the name of Christianity... what they did was extreem and brutal and far from anything Christian.

Andrew said...


Gosh it has taken me a long time to make any response. Holiday and general laziness and all that.

Thank you for your comments. If you don't take the Bible 'literally', assuming we are talking about the same meaning of that word, how do you approach reading it?

Do you consider the Bible to be the inspired word of God and without error in its original text? If not how do you know what bits are inspired and what bits are not?

I agree that some version of The Bible are poor translations etc... I have recently switched to the ESV as many have recommended its more literal word for word translation than that of say the NIV which is more a translation into English phraseology.

I don't for a second pretend to know any Greek or Hebrew but try to listen to folks who do. Still with this knowledge of these languages and how how the Bible uses them they come to the conclusion of its inerrancy and that Genesis 1-11 is Historical narrative and not story for instance.

How would you approach these kind of passages?

I totally agree that we can only understand The Bible by Gods Grace and through the Holy Spirit. Without which it is just words and not alive to the soul.

My first Pastor, Roger Welch, is on the board of Wycliffe Bible Translators. A man who also would like to see translations into all languages of the world. Who also happens to be one gifted Bible teacher and church Historian. I had good grounding as a new Christian.

I know you are busy man, so just throwing out the questions if you get time to answer them.