Sunday, June 25, 2017

Among Papal Potshots...

These days one can have discussions with all kinds of people in the church and many of those people would tell you pretty much the opposite of Psalms 1. They'll probably say something to the effect that the Law of the Lord ( of God) is bondage and slavery. They might say that by following it, you're entering into a covenant of death. Yet in this passage it is the one who delights in the law of God that is given the imagery of life, being planted firmly with strong roots and nurtured... bearing fruit. It says that the one who meditates on the Law of God does not wither.
Yet, when you are in many churches today you might have coffee with your pastor and relate what the scriptures say... but get scoffed at. Perhaps they counsel you to not be obedient to the Law of the Lord that is the Law of God.
What of the pope in his bubble car? If he makes his way to a podium with his fancy hat and robes and says things that are contrary to these passages, should we follow what he says? What authority do they derive this doctrine from? Many attend Bible schools and pay lots of money to be told things that are contrary to what the scriptures report. Should we believe them because of the money they paid?
Think for a moment about this passage

 "When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them,  saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”  But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus,whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
 But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them"  -Acts 5

These men were before the HIGH PRIEST!!! The high priests didn't have their doctrine right and when they were called out, they were angry. In that day, we might be tempted to put our faith that the high priest and the Council. We might have been tempted to say things like " they know more than we do so we should obey them expressly. After all, they've sat at the feet of rabbis and they have studied more than I have" But from this text in Acts is that knowing texts doesn't mean that you're teaching the right doctrine. Sometimes, I'd venture to say that many times... standing up for what it true means that you're going to be mocked and often ridiculed by people, even people that you expected to be on your side.

Am I saying that there is something wrong with Bible school? Absolutely not. Am I saying that all pastors are wicked? By no means. Am I saying the Pope is hogwash?  ... well yeah, kinda... but I'm trying to do it lightly. Talk to your doctor and see if the scriptures are right for you. If they says no, ignore them and read the Bible anyway.

I guess what I am trying to say is that you have to be mindful to those who you rely on to bring you the Word of God. One of the rebuttals that I encounter from time to time when sharing the Scriptures and the applicability of the Torah to the life of believers is a form of a phrase:
" How come the Spirit didn't tell me any of this" or " I prayed a little about it and the spirit didn't tell me to follow any of this." They're dangerous words.

1 John 4 starts out with a charge for believers to test the spirits to see if they are of God
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

From this passage and others like it we can see that there are a number of people that are listening to a spirit, and attributing it to the Holy Spirit. Many of them justifying passions and fleshly desires that are contrary to God. Some times people in these positions of "authority" and "shepardship" may even tell you that they have no desire to discuss the scriptures with you. This is particular problematic as, their position is to correct your doctrine if it is wrong according to the totality of scripture, or to receive correction humbly if it is they who need doctrinal correction. If they're unwilling then perhaps one has to shake the dust from their feet and ramble on.

"As you enter the house, give it your greeting.  If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.  Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city".- Matthew 10

"Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’  But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears from hearing.  They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the Lord of hosts.  And just as He called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen,” says the Lord of hosts "- Zechariah  7