Friday, February 5, 2010

Proof-Texting

In attending an open forum on Christianity the other day, I was listening to an Atheist point out all the horrible things that God has done—or more precisely—what man has done in the name of God in the Old Testament; when the thought struck me, “He is 'proof-texting'”; he was pulling scripture out of its context.

But don’t we as Christians do the very same thing? We pick out all the “positive” and “uplifting” verses to pin to our walls and sticky note to our mirrors in the bathroom, in a kind of uplifting motivational game.

I believe we need to stop skipping over the “hard” verses, and take in the whole picture—the good and the bad. We live in a fallen, fractured world; and this is the reality and Truth presented in the Bible—not glossed over or sugar coated. We all know there is evil in the world, yet there is great beauty also.

As I drive into work, I am witness to a beautiful sunrise…a glorious blend of colors; yet I am not unaware of the traffic, trash, and homeless begging on the corner. It is up to us as members of the body of Christ to see the glimpses of the Glory to come; yet be serving to alleviate the suffering around us in the here-and-now.

If the Bible is nothing more than “proof-texting” out inspirational verses; it is reduced to a worthless book. The inspiration comes from seeing the whole picture of grace and redemption; the wonder of God’s infinite love to his image bearers.


“Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” Isaiah 58:6-7

“Then He will also say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;’ I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in; naked and you did not cloth Me; sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me,’ Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry, or thirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’” Matthew 25:41-45

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