WORDS FROM W.W. November 15, 2009
“Scripturally Evasive”

One of the things I enjoy doing, besides being a pastor, is officiating basketball. This will be my ninth year doing high school basketball, and I’m first year doing junior college games. As you become more experienced and, hopefully, better the games you referee become more intense, and the coaches more demanding. After all, for many of the junior college coaches this is their occupation.
An important part of being a good, and respected, official then is to know the rules. An official who says “It’s in the rules, coach!”, but isn’t quite sure where in the rules it is will quickly be discounted by a coach. As officials we have a saying, “If you don’t know the rule, don’t call it!” In other words, better to not call something than to call something wrong.
I find that more and more Christians are becoming less and less knowledgeable about what the Bible says. One of the ripples of that is an increase in the amount of scriptural evasiveness. Decreasing use of the Bible is resulting in decreasing use of, as we used to say, “the address”.
And so we find people saying things like “According to scripture…” or “It says in scripture…” I’m guilty of this myself. In reflecting on my messages and writings I’ve realized that I used the phrase “Scripture teaches…” more often than a teenager uses Clearasil.
To put it in a different conversation of life, it would be like a 7th grader coming home from school and saying, “Hey! No school tomorrow!” The parent’s response no doubt would be “Who said?”
“One of my teachers.”
“Which one?”
“I don’t know. It was someone I had in some class today.”
People are being intentionally evasive about where scripture says what, We’re known as “the people of the book”, but we seem to be forgetting that we’re there are 66 books in “The Book.” We’re getting more generic, even as our culture is getting more specific and inquisitive.
Evasiveness will cause us to lose a grip on what is truth.
It’s always interesting as we get towards Christmas at how “what scripture says” (There I go again!) gets mixed together with what we’ve added to it. When you read the Matthew and Luke account of the birth narrative you begin to realize how much of view of Christmas has been shaped by Chjristmas carols instead of scripture.
On-going evasiveness may blur the picture of the Bible even more. Pretty soon Hezekiah will become more frequently quoted than Isaiah; and Madonna will be sung more than Psalms.
George Barna reported that eight out of ten Americans believe the phrase “God helps those4 who help themselves” is in the Bible. Actually, it was Benjamin Franklin who said it…about 1,700 years after the Bible was written.
Bottom line, being scripturally evasive will lead to being spiritually irrelevant.

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