Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Smack-dab in the middle of the Bible Belt

Well, I have lived in Memphis for a year and a half now, and reflecting on my new life here I had an epiphany the other day. I was looking at 2 Corinthians 10:4 and I thought about strongholds and fortresses. If you look in NASB, a version that I particularly like, (no it is not perfect, and believe me once you understand just a little Greek, you will know that there is no such thing as a perfect translation, I digress…) Anyway, I used to wonder about the word fortress that is used in many of the new translations. I always thought that stronghold was better. Not so any longer!

Of course, the Greek word, OCHUROMATON (the last two o’s are omegas and not omicrons) means castle or fort so fortress is certainly more correct than stronghold in a literal sense. But until yesterday I preferred stronghold. Thus the epiphany; I believe for good biblical reasons that the strong man that so many folk speak of is none other than Satan himself and his stronghold/fortress is as the demon of religion. That is the strong man.

I suddenly realized that religion has a stronghold in California, a stronghold in Michigan, a stronghold in New York, but here in the Mid South… smack-dab in the middle of the bible-belt it is indeed a fortress!

Stronghold does not begin to adequately describe the hold that the demon of religion has on the bible-belt. If there was ever a place where wooden legalism, devoid  of the Spirit exists, it is here. It saddens me to see that the people of God are so oblivious to it. They seem to get excited about legalism as much as they get excited for the liberating gospel of grace.  Where is the discernment?

It is almost as if Isaiah 29:10-13 is descriptive of the state of evangelicalism in the bible-belt. NASB “For the LORD has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, He has shut your eyes, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, the seers.  (11)  The entire vision will be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, "Please read this," he will say, "I cannot, for it is sealed."  (12)  Then the book will be given to the one who is illiterate, saying, "Please read this." And he will say, "I cannot read."  (13)  Then the Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,”

The Lamb has opened the sealed scroll. Jesus showed his immediate followers that the scripture was about redemption. It is the redemptive narrative and it is NOT a legal constitutional document. Not for Christ followers at least. It was a legal constitutional document for national Israel in Old Covenant times. No so today!

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