Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Common distortions of Scripture; Points preachers make that are not really in the text I

This will begin a series on scripture passages that preachers distort to make points that the text does not make. Many of these are self serving. Many help the preacher keep control of the flock. Many are just well accepted interpretations that are not born out by the text in grammatical and historical context. I think that it would be much better if the average church going Christian was more knowledgeable of what the scripture really says, and far more critical and discerning of what they hear. But for now, I guess that will be my job to point these things out.

Rom 10:14-15  "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  (15)  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"

There is more than one distortion in this passage of Romans, that is, from 10:9-17, but we will deal with them individually and have already written in past articles about Romans 10:17. It is related to the distortion of 10:17 but needs to be dealt with on its own. My question is how did preaching as it is now commonly practiced ever come into being? The truth is that Paul is only speaking of preaching the gospel and the only job for a preacher, under the new covenant is to preach the gospel of Christ.

The distortion comes about by only using Romans 10:14. So often, I have heard preachers defend their preaching of just anything in the bible by isolating Romans 10:14 from verse 15. Verse 15 explains very clearly that the thing to be preached is the gospel. Therefore, preachers have no biblical edict to preach what they preach most Sundays as it seldom is the gospel. They usually preach about how to be a better person, or how to be blessed by God, or how to make sure that they are receiving the blessings of Abraham. The truth is that all of the above is best answered by preaching the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It is only in the preaching of the gospel that anything of value happens at a church service.

Even the seasoned saint needs the gospel regularly. The gospel is the spiritual catalyst that brings about the transformation, and stands the saint in the stead of the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant. Romans 10:9-17 expresses unquestionably that it is the gospel alone that the preacher must preach. So one has to wonder why so many preachers preach sermons that have little if anything to do with the gospel? The answer to this question has to be that there is a disconnect between preaching and its new covenant biblical function. It can only be from removing the obvious context of this passage.

It should be understood that the meaning of preach (kerusso in the Greek) is herald, publish, or proclaim. That is what it means to preach. One is not instructed to proclaim the bible per se, but rather to proclaim the gospel of Christ. One should herald or publish the gospel and should NOT be condemning behavior or presenting ways to be a better person. The gospel alone performs that function.

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