A Societal Shift of Epic Proportions

I am going to share a burden that has been on my heart with love, respect, and gentleness. Something concerns me greatly as I look at society today. We live in a Twittered, Face booked, “my views only”society where if you do not agree with someone’s view you are labeled intolerant. Isn’t the whole meaning of “tolerance,” loving the other person even if you don’t agree with them? I am not going to get into “political talk” because I am not a politician. I never want to be; and I never will be. I am a Christian. Let me explain what that means. I feel horrible that I have to explain what it means because the term now ultimately means whatever one wants it to mean. A Christian is a Christ-follower. A true Christian is one who always seeks to show the love of Jesus Christ to all people; but still speaks the truth in love. A Christian is a sinner; who has been saved by GRACE (not themselves) because of what Jesus did on the cross.

The Bible is the most important Book (made up of 66 Books in 1) in the history of mankind. You do not read it; it reads you. It is a historical and literary masterpiece with approximately 40 different authors all inspired by God with one common theme throughout: Salvation in Jesus Christ alone. It is not to be used for political gain; and is not to be associated with a political party. There are a great number of wolves in sheep’s clothing who use the Bible to further their own agendas.

Today, everyone seems to be an expert on the Bible all of a sudden. With societal/sociological wars going back and forth on “this view vs. that view” people throw around Bible verses without any thought. Some are quick to criticize the Bible and take snippets out of it and quote (or shall I say misquote) whatever they want to prove their own point. However, this is an incredible misrepresentation of how the Bible should actually be read.

The Bible must be read within its’ CONTEXT which means you can’t just read a passage without reading the whole chapter or book. Furthermore, you need to know the background of the particular book of the Bible you are reading. There are 66 books in the Bible. You must read each book with the following in mind: Location (where it was written), Essence, Genre, Author, Context, and Years (when it was written). You must read the Bible for all its worth; which means you must read it as a science. Without adhering to this practice you will take it out of context and formulate it to mean whatever you choose.

The Bible cannot be read by picking and choosing parts like going to Subway for example and choosing which veggies you want on your $5.00 foot long. For example: Choosing to read an isolated Old Testament text such as a verse in Leviticus and using Jewish Law within the context of Western culture is incorrect. Additionally, the Bible is not open to your or my own private interpretation. As I mentioned above, CONTEXT is everything. The Bible is not different for you and I based on how weinterpret it. The Bible stands by itself. If one does not ‘agree’ with a portion of the Bible it does not make it false. This would be like me saying I am a car because I live in a garage.

As you channel surf today between various news programs or talk-shows; everyone seems to have an opinion on the Bible. Most of the opinions are that it is an irrelevant and outdated book that is no longer of use to us. The consensus is that we have evolved way beyond the Bible’s “moral teachings” and we are now ultimately responsible for setting a new morality for today’s changing human race. Unfortunately, this is the most absurd ideology in itself. The religion of “feelings” and “agenda’s” have bullied their way to the forefront of society where if someone does not agree; that alone makes it a false statement wrapped in bigotry. There can only be one truth. Something is either true or false. There is no middle ground. And trusting in our own “feelings” makes us intolerant in itself because we are only seeing our point of view. We are by nature selfish creatures. Again, you can still LOVE someone and disagree with them at the same time. This must work both ways. You have to choose to love; it is not automatic. I have many friends that I may not agree with on a particular view or belief; however, I still love them. They know where I stand and I know where they stand. That does not make me or them intolerant or ignorant.

In closing, the Bible is not up for private interpretation. I have heard people say if they disagree with what the Bible truly says in context: “Well, that’s your interpretation of the Bible . . . “. The only way to know what the Bible means is by studying it. I am not talking about just reading it for 10 minutes and coming up with an opinion. The historicity of the Bible speaks for itself. What many people don’t know is that the Bible has been attacked for thousands of years now and it’s still standing strong. No matter how many people try to discredit the Bible or “get rid of it,” the Bible stands on its’ own feet and will continue to do so for the rest of time.

In this age of “what’s true for you is true for you” and “what’s true for me is true for me,” I urge you not to be on the wrong side of this one . . . The one decision that impacts your eternity is not one you get back. There are no do-overs. Be educated on what the Bible really says; not what some TV show host, politician, or even preacher says. In fact, the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says to “test” what people say about the Bible in light of what the Scriptures actually say (paraphrase). That means don’t take their word for it. Check for yourself! Paul even said this about himself! When someone is talking about a passage or verse; open up the Bible and check to make sure what they are saying is true! This is true of pastors, priests, news anchors; anyone. Unfortunately, this has become a lost art today; and has had tragic ramifications especially within the church.

Authored by: Jonathan Barrett

Jonathan Barrett 

Class of 2013 SeminaryMasters in Theological Studies Lynchburg, Virginia
Currently studying Masters in Theological Studies (Pastoral) at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (class of 2014).  Jonathan has served as fill-in Preacher at Neriah Baptist Church in Buena Vista, VA in 2012.  He is a graduate of the University of Alabama with Bachelor of Science in Communications and lives in Lynchburg, Virginia with his wife Sarah and two daughters, Katelyn and Rebecca. Jonathan is Doreen’s brother.

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