August 31, 2015

Shock and Awe

I’ve known youth ministers who’ve used sexual situations in the Bible, particularly OT Scriptures, to shock their youth groups and give themselves a springboard to discuss sexuality. Recently I heard an older pastor doing something similar. It’s disheartening for someone to justify putting a salacious spin on a presentation by implying they are simply quoting the Bible. Those who proclaim the Word to others should follow in Paul’s example, “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Cor 4:2).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----Much of what I say about preachers, elders, church leaders, etc. seems like I don’t think any of the lot are worth their salt, and that they alone are the source of error in the church and the reason the church has fragmented into sequestered, little, feckless, communities of groupies. I fear that’s the impression I’ve given everyone. Of course, it certainly was not the lay people who formulated and diversified theologies for everyone to separate and group around. For centuries people were too busy grunting in their fields sun-up to sun-down until being incarcerated in their hardly sufficient little huts by snow and ice for a few months before becoming slaves to the fields again. They had neither the time, the education, nor enough remaining ambition necessary to embellish upon the Word of God sufficiently for creating such an array of differences as what holds the church’s unity at bay. Granted, lay people support their leaders’ ideas like good little lackeys should. But it actually was the leaders who spawned the factions the lackeys animated. Sorry guys. Leaders are guilty.
-----Abundantly expressing that truth is not what problems me. My failure to stress the church leaders’ humanity bothers me. Their humanity is what makes them lovable, for the Father longs to correct what calls out to Him for correction. And they do as much as you and I do. Yet their humanity is also what makes their abject failure to stir up the unity of love, spirit, and truth within the whole church. Certainly they do this within their own little church on their own little street corner; like any other group of humans, every church has its ways of squeezing the “not-chosen” out from the ranks of the “chosen” when need be. Human nature is never short of ways to maintain group identities and boundaries. So, leaders are like lay people, too. They are imperfect. They mess up at least as much as they spiff up. And they stumble forward a bit more than they fall backward. If leaders and lay people alike admitted these realities in mind and emotion both, if we humbled ourselves so as to need no advancement before man’s eyes, we would not strain for special, private interpretations of the Word distinguishing ourselves amongst others. But everyone is a shake bag of good and evil. Me too. It’s why we have Christ as our hope. Mine too. And He will hang onto us more faithfully than we hang on to Him. It is just the way things are. Church leaders serve many of God’s purposes. No one of them serves all His purposes. Not even do they altogether serve every purpose of God. It is yet His greatness that extracts the fullness of His purpose from our partially faulty endeavors. And somehow, this smacks as the way He meant things to be, “that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” (Eph 3:10) It rather accentuates to everyone, including the principalities and powers in the heavenly places that little, feckless, men, whether leaders or not, can’t really serve God anything which He can joyfully receive without at least some measure of grace and mercy for our failure to get it perfectly correct. This is the first and most basic way our doings glorify Him: His grace!

Love you all,
Steve Corey