Re: That which is perfect
Originally Posted by Boo
You shared your heart in this post. Thank you! Your pov is very understandable. I've encountered a great many folks who do exactly as you said. Verses, even entire letters, are ignored, commentaries are sought, fragments not found in some manuscripts are either inserted or deleted, context is ignored, etc., etc, ad infinitum ad nauseum...all in attempts to justify a certain doctrine or doctrines. That is truly sad.
May I, perhaps, posit another reason (to use your words) why some of us pry, parse, separate, dissect and define/redefine all the words as we study? At least, I'll say why I do it and I'll use the topic of this thread as an example. I was raised in a church that was person-centered. Yes, we studied and learned about God, about Christ, and about the scriptures. On the surface, it appeared to me that all was well. They encouraged "daily Bible reading" almost to the point of shaming those of us who forgot or missed a day. By the time I was ~10, I began to ask questions, because there was a lot I was finding in scripture that was either not being taught or that was different than what I was observing. I asked about all sorts of things, sometimes in classes, sometimes at home. When I pointed out the differences in the behavior of some of the leaders I observed on Sundays & Wednesdays at church and the rest of the week, I was roundly and soundly scolded. When I began to ask about the Holy Ghost (we only used the KJV back then as it was shortly after the dinosaurs disappeared), they couldn't answer the questions. When I persisted, they finally told me not to worry about Him, He doesn't really do anything anymore, and I just needed to concentrate on not doing wrong and staying out of hell. If you let that soak in a bit, it is a staggering thing to tell a child. The upshot of it, when considered, is that our works make us righteous and that God owes us eternity with Him if we do A, B, C, D, and E. Nothing was really about God, it was about what we could get from Him.
By the time I was 15, the hypocrisy was so obvious (to my rather innocent and naive mind), that I decided if this was the only bunch of folks going to heaven, then heaven would be a very lonely place. Couple that with the teaching that heaven was like an eternal hymn-singing and sermon in the sky, and I rebelled. The course my life took over the next 25 years, as a result of my turning my back on God cost me friends, a family, bankruptcy, and twice, nearly cost my life. The really cool thing about this story, though, is this: although I "left" God, He never left me. When I first started hearing Him, I thought I'd lost my mind. But the things He was saying matched what I had, and was, reading in scripture. I began to seek the ideal church you described, and she wasn't to be found. However, I did find a small number of like-minded brothers and sisters who were also seekers. For ~15 years, we studied and prayed together. We met in houses, in empty rooms in church buildings on nights when there were no services, even in an auto parts store. We learned to love each other, to bear with our differences, to trust each other...and to truly seek the Lord, who is Truth.
The upshot of all this is: I parse and study, define and redefine (when examples are present in ancient uses to justify it). I separate and dissect the scriptures in an effort to find those things that have been lost over the centuries. I do this because this is how the Lord teaches me. Prayer is always involved. Many dead ends are reached, so I turn, retrace my study path, and look for the place I missed God's will. You see, the reason we're here is not to dodge hell....it isn't even to get to heaven. The reason we're here is to be transformed into children of God. We are to be in the world as was Jesus. Jesus did/said nothing but what He saw our Father doing. He did this to the point that He could say, If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father. His entire purpose was to glorify our Father. He knew His destination when His work was finished. My goal, in these threads and in my life, is to point others to Christ. Sons look like their fathers. I pray we all look more and more like our Father as we are changed from glory to glory.
Ok, rambling complete. The reason for this thread is that there are rather large implications in the meaning of that which is perfect. I was taught the perfect is the Bible. Further, I was taught that if I obeyed all the commands of the Bible, then I would get to heaven. Couple that teaching with the teaching that the Holy Spirit no longer works directly in saints, and you have the formula for the disaster that used to be my life, and the lives of countless others. I hesitate to guess how many folks have burned out and lost heart because nothing they ever did was enough, or good enough. We cannot please God apart from the aid of the Holy Spirit. We can do works that look good, even works found in scripture, but at the the end of the day (when we do not avail ourselves of God's power) we fall miserably short. That thought--not being good enough to please God (and consequently being damned to hell)--has driven many to drinking, drugs, insanity, and even suicide. I parse and dissect, etc, in an effort to help others avoid the trap the spirit of religion set for me...and the passage of scripture under consideration in this thread is but one example of a place in holy writ where the enemy has spread confusion and disagreement. It isn't that I want to change God's teachings, not at all. But I will tear down and destroy the doctrines and traditions of man with the same passion Jesus had when He cleared the temple of the money-changers. And if I am convicted that something I've learned/taught is erroneous, then I'll tear that down with equal fervor.
Sunset remembers Eden...sunrise prophesies its return.