Friday, November 25, 2011

Cracks in the Wall

The longer I live the more I realize how little I know.

Over the years I've found myself uncomfortable with sweeping generalities...with all inclusive statements, with just accepting things as they are, just because they have always been that way.

In the area of my theology, I look back over the years and see where I don't hold the same positions today that I held in the past.

One of the greatest traps that we can fall into is to stop thinking, stop challenging the status quo.

 "An unexamined life is not worth living." -
  --  Socrates

Matthew 15:1-9 gives us tremendous insight into the dangers of just following religious tradition without thinking.

The religious leaders of Jesus' day (the scribes and pharisees) accused the disciples of breaking the tradition of the elders verse 1.

The religious leaders accused the disciples of not washing their hands before they ate---thus breaking the tradition (the extra biblical law) of the official institutional religious system of the Jews verse 2.

The rest of the verses (3-9) record the rebuke of Jesus---giving an example of how tradition contradicted the clear teaching of the Scriptures.

One of the traditions taught that a person does not have to take care of their parents in their old age. The tradition taught that children could set aside money for GWAD (god = the religious leaders) while ignoring the needs of their elderly parents.

Jesus sharply rebukes the religious leaders and their un-scriptural tradition by quoting from Exodus 20:12 that says to "honor your mother and father." The Jews knew that part of honoring their parents was to make sure that their parents financial needs were met.

Jesus concludes, with yet another rebuke to the religious leaders---he tells them that it is not what goes into the mouth that makes a man evil, but it is what comes out of the mouth (comes from the heart-the center of our being) that makes a man evil.

Jesus goes back into the Old Testament and quotes from the book of Isaiah---telling the religious leaders that the prophet Isaiah foretold of people like you. Jesus said that you are the people that honor God with your mouth and lips, but your HEART is far from God.

The goal of the Christian life is to allow our thinking to be informed by the authoritative Word of God. Don't just accept the teachings of your church or pastor, priest, or your religious leader; challenge, think, argue, by being INFORMED BY THE WORD OF GOD.

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