We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Be Careful How You Use Scripture


Cults are famous for taking Scripture out of context to “prove” their claims, and Christians rightly challenge them on it.  But Christians have also been known to take Scripture out of context to “prove” their claims.  At times, cult members may know this is the case (as with Christians’ use of Rev. 22:18-19 against them) and cry “foul.”

Usually Christians abuse Scripture more for “feel good” reasons, but some also abuse it for legalistic reasons.  Either way, they are wrong.  If we expect the cults to be held accountable for misuse of Scripture, then we should make sure our own houses are clean - so to speak.

Aside from the article I wrote about Revelation 22:18-19 (linked above), I have also written about the abuse of the following passages:


And the BIG one for our current political times, 2 Chronicles 7:14.

I can’t think of any more at this time (other than Psalm 46:10), but I’m sure there are plenty.  If you know of one, I’d appreciate it if you’d send it my way so I can write about it!

Some of the problems come from the false doctrine known as “replacement theology” - the claim that the Church has replaced Israel and so all the promises, blessings and curses for Israel are now the Church’s.  This is, quite frankly, total nonsense.  One has to spiritualize a great part of the Old Testament to come to such conclusions.  This teaching pretty much had its origin in Augustine, who is responsible for much false teaching which helped to lead the Roman Catholic Church into its apostate condition.

One thing we can do with some of the passages which are abused, is to put them with other passages about the same or similar subject so as to show a principle (as I discuss in my article about Rev.22:18-19).  Of course that would mean you couldn’t just make one-verse a banner!

Now, there are some out there who will attack me as being “legalistic,” “overly literal,” etc, but we need to properly interpret Scripture for what it says, rather than promoting a particular belief.  If we expect the cults to properly use Scripture, then we’d better get the log out of our own eye!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have heard Revelation 3:20 used numerous times as an evangelistic passage, usually with the comment that Jesus is standing at a person's "heart door" knocking, asking to be let in, which is usually accompanied by a plea to invite Jesus into your heart. I can't find that terminology or concept in Scripture.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous,

PERFECT! Great example. Now I have to get a chance to write about it. I'm sort of busy preparing for a trip so it may not get done right away, but that is exactly what I'm looking for.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Ok so what is Rev 3:20 intending then?

ali said...

Perhaps 2 Chronicles 7:14 was written to the Jews, but this scripture rings true for all, Jew or Greek, bond or free.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus". Galatians 3:28

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Ali,

No, because the passage promises that God will "heal their land." This is only in response to Solomon's prayer about returning blessings to Israel if they repent. God has never promised to heal the land of any Christian.

Gal. 3:28 is only stating the fact of the non-discriminatory nature of the Gospel, that we are all saved through Christ.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous,

I'm going to discuss the true meaning of Rev. 3:20 in my next post.

richrock said...

Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me) is often used as a justification to do whatever worldly things we like under the guise of Christ. I would be interested to know your views on this passage.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi richrock,
Sorry for the delay responding - I have been out of town for a week with no internet access.

I've never heard this passage used that way, and that is pretty bizarre eisegesis!

Paul just got through explaining that he knows what it is to be in need or plenty and that he has learned the secret of being content no matter what - that he can do every thing through Christ. That's all it means; that no matter what our circumstances, we can still carry on through Christ's strength.