Who is really lying to you?
Every Sunday morning from various pulpits in America you will hear a minister saying: “Don’t believe the devil’s lies”. Then they begin to list all the things that the devil said that are indeed lies and some that the poor devil really never said. It is very easy to impress people stating that something is not true therefore don’t believe it expecting that everyone in the audience will be so mentally dormant that they will not notice exactly what is the real intention of the one behind the pulpit in delineating what people should reject as a lie.
Recently I have been saying a few things in small Christian gatherings (I am not one to exaggerate my audience to match my ego; my ego is big, but my audiences are not always big although they were in a remote past), that people ponder and wonder if I have changed at all from my previous positions. No, I really have not changed, I just believe that even Jesus found that certain things have a proper time to be said and expounded (John 16:12) and now is the time, I believe, for me to say such things. One of them is that one of the big lies that the devil never said but the same preachers who charge the devil for lying are guilty themselves of saying is: “ignore historical facts, ignore theology, shun textual criticism, because that is (again) “of the devil”. No it is not! Our faith cannot or should not be shaken by the fact that scientists, historians, theologians, archaeologists, and other who work in similar fields, have to say about facts of the Bible. Furthermore, we should not “run for cover” every time some theologian say that we should be careful with the interpretation of certain texts because they were written for a certain time, to deal with a certain problem and although the core message of the text may be a lesson for our daily living today, the methods may be not! Take for example Paul telling Timothy in 1 Tim 5:23 “no longer to drink water but also to drink wine” The King James Version says it clearly: No longer drink water μηκέτιv (mēketi), the Greek term used here means “no longer” or “from now on, hereafter”! Well, we can take from that message Paul’s care and interest on his “son in the faith” health and welfare, but please, don’t obey it the “no longer drink water” today! Ask any doctor the harms of dehydrating your body and, worse, in a state of dehydration, to drink wine… adding alcohol to a dehydrated body!
This is merely one example that not using an analytic mind, checking your brains at the door. Not using those who make a living out of being analytic may be dangerous to you. Lie the preacher who says you are not to listen to textual analyses or criticism, history, rules of hermeneutics, and things of this nature, and even attribute some sinfulness to any act that discusses any aspect of the text. Even if it is out of ignorance, it is not true; if it is not true it is a lie. No gray area!
Reasoning out a text, questioning and criticizing it in light of everyday knowledge or common sense is neither inappropriate or sinful. As a matter of fact God Himself calls us to reason together with Him (Isaiah 1:8).God is not afraid of dissidents neither is He afraid of questioning, and we should not be either.
When listening to a minister keep thinking! Some preachers will lie to you because they can’t deal with the issues that will arise from a good session of questioning certain things!
So, don’t check your brains at your church’s foyer!