The Bible was without contradiction and
the church I attended was the closest thing to the first century church and
the most important thing, in fact that only thing that mattered, was that I saved souls and
not to worry about things like poverty, the poor, literacy, hunger, or even the environment since the world is going to be burned up anyway and the “Rapture” was coming at any moment and we would get out of here.
But I was wrong.
The Bible, while the inspired Word of God, is not without contradictions and
the church is not a “bit of Heaven on Earth” but rather it can house some of the most nasty, critical, and ungracious people in the land and
while I believe that Jesus is the center of the Kingdom of God and the center of the restoration of relationship between humans and the Creator, I have also come to see that the Kingdom of God is not just “up there” in the Heavens but rather it is right here and now in the world and Jesus’ restoration was to restore all of creation to it’s previous state. ultimately melding the Kingdom of God in Heaven and on earth.. And you and I play a part in it all.
And since I have seen that I was wrong I have changed how I approach things.
One way was how I used the Bible to support my particular point of view on any number of issues. For example there was a time that I would point to particular passages of Scripture and boldly assert the reason I was a Republican was because Republicans line up with God’s truth found in the Bible. Of course in many cases I was parroting back only what I had heard from conservative Bible teachers in church or on the radio. I didn’t really put the “support” passages in their true context. But that is how most of us in the Evangelical world operate.
Let me give you a real example of Bible verse twisting.
Psalm 139:14-16 is used by people in the pro-life movement to support the idea that we are created human in the womb and that abortion kills a human life. But that is not what that Psalm is saying at all. So we have to leap into an assumption and make it say what we want it to say. Conversely someone in the pro-choice movement could use the following passage in Exodus 21 to bolster their point of view…
“22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.” In some translations “fruit depart” is rendered “miscarry”
So we can assume from this passage that since that man that caused the woman to miscarry only needs to pay a fine and does not lose his life because God does not view what she was carrying as human yet.
Sadly, we do this all the time with any number of passages. And multitudes of lives have been harmed, damaged, or destroyed.
Perhaps we all are getting it wrong.