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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When Christians Bite Green Persimmons

What kinds of legalism do Christians fall prey to? How is your faith liberating you from the spiritual bondage?  (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition,  page 1620).

Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV).

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Every passage of Scripture is found within the broader context of the Bible. Taking the Bible as a whole we come down to the basic thrust of the matter epitomized in Jesus's articulation of the great commandment and its ancillary. This places primacy on love of God and love of neighbor.  When Christians run into difficulty is when they isolate several passages of Scripture and remove it from the broader context and spirit of the Gospels. Almost in every case the result is not an inclusiveness based upon love, but an exclusiveness based upon disqualifying technicalities. There is an undertow present that tends to form an exclusive club based upon a handful of strained interpretations that redounds with multiple backflips of rationalizations.  It is apparent in Jesus's daily ministry characterized as it was by simple openness and inclusiveness that a restraining order based upon technical machinations of often obscure passages is basically invalid.  As oft bears repeating: Only God knows with complete assurance the human heart.  The church's mission is to bring life and redemption to our world, not judgment enshrouded beneath white sheets of sanctimony.

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