WHAT ARE THEY TEACHING???

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.

Romans chapter 8, verses 6-7; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

Recently I had a conversation with a fellow United Methodist clergy on Facebook. It was focused on a post this individual had made. It was surprisingly civil (up to this point)–still, I couldn’t help but think: What are they teaching now in United Methodist Seminaries? Here’s the screenshot of that comment:

This person compared understanding Scriptures to a 3-legged stool. The top is the Scriptures and the 3 legs are tradition, reason, and experience. Thus, without tradition, or reason, or experience, one cannot adequately understand Scripture. The primary (and often times “sole determining factor”) way to understand Scripture is through tradition, reason, and experience. Now, before you call me that dreaded “fundamentalist”, hear me out. We do not study the Scriptures in a vacuum. There are traditions. We all have experiences. And God created us to be able to reason, or think if you prefer.

But it seems that many of our clergy are using reason as the final determining factor. In other words, if it doesn’t make sense to us, or if the culture tells us something contrary, then we are free to change or ignore what the Bible clearly teaches. This is what many seminaries are teaching. Not all of them, mind you; but enough of them are and the result has been the dilution and devolution of the power of Scripture to guide us and form in us the life of Holiness demanded by God for His Image Bearers. Go back to the writer’s analogy of that three-legged stool.

The writer is correct in stating that for a three-legged stool to be secure enough to sit on, it needs all three legs. And, by implication, those 3 legs need to be the same length. Otherwise it is unstable. But do not overlook the other implication–that Scripture (the seat of that three-legged stool) cannot safely support us until all three of those legs are the same length. In other words, Scripture is to be formed by OUR traditions, experiences, and reasoning.

Can I be frank with you? I know, my name is Randy. But I need to be FRANK with you this morning. Using the writer’s analogy of that three-legged stool, when those who are supposed to be our Spiritual Leaders are taught that human reasoning overrides the Scriptures and that we need to change our beliefs about anything in the Bible, then the result is the chaos and soon to follow destruction of the United Methodist, and any other church that follows the same primrose path. And to my fundamentalist friends, if you allow your traditions to determine your beliefs about the Bible, then your three-legged stool is just as unsteady.

Hear me out! Yes, reason, tradition, and experience are helpful tools when it comes to understanding Scripture! But they do not determine what is THE TRUTH! The Truth is set by the Bible for all matters of faith, life, and conduct. But none of them gives us the permission to change The Standard clearly set in The Bible! From my perspective, many seminary professors took a bite of that apple Satan offered Eve and Adam, and unlike Eve and Adam who recognized the shame and mistake, they “reason” that the apple is good, and that Satan was right. Is there any doubts now as to why the United Methodist Tribe is imploding? It looks like that three-legged stool analogy doesn’t work after all.

It’s Right There In The Bible! NOT! Part 4

Here’s another one of those things that many people think is there–but it’s ain’t!

Money Is The Root Of All Evil!

This is typically said by those who do not have a lot of it. But the thing is, they use this fake truth to justify their own sense of moral superiority over the rich. The lack of money doesn’t make anyone morally superior; nor does having a lot of money mean that God favors you more than He does others. Let’s look at exactly what the Bible says:

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10 NLT; EMPHASIS mine)

See? It’s right there! My point here, as in this whole series, is that we often read –make that misreadThe Bible without listening to The Bible. There are two points that are often missed:

  1. It’s not money, but the LOVE of money; and
  2. That LOVE is the root of a variety of evils–not ALL evil.

So, if the LOVE of money isn’t the root of all evil, what is that root? Glad you asked! Have you ever read 1 John in The Bible? Look at Chapter 2, Verse 16 where John writes:  For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” The root of each and every sin comes from these 3 arenas of life, and they have nothing to do with money.

Until next time, friends–be careful with wanting to please your flesh–be careful what you look at and want–and really be careful about feeling morally and spiritually superior to ANYONE! Here is the root of all evil!

How’s It Looking To You?

Answer me this:

  • Washington D.C. How’s it looking to you?
  • Politics. How’s it looking to you?
  • Today’s acceptable norms. How’s it looking to you?
  • The price of gasoline? How’s it looking to you?
  • Church. How’s it looking to you?
  • The stock market. How’s it looking to you?
  • The state of the economy. How’s it looking to you?
  • The performance of the President. How’s it looking to you?
  • The prices of goods available. How’s it looking to you?
  • The Pandemic. How’s it looking to you?
  • The Covid-19 Vaccine. How’s it looking to you?
  • Conspiracies. How’s it looking to you?
  • The future. How’s it looking to you?

Most would say that the answers to these questions lies in our opinions. And you know what they say about opinions: Everybody has one and it’s like a certain “part” of the body that most of the time stinks. But I’m thinking this Monday morning. So let’s try another “probing” (no pun intended) question. Where do our opinions originate (for the lesser informed that means ‘come from’)?

  • The News?
  • Other people?
  • Blogs?
  • Podcasts?
  • The Wacky World Web?
  • Google?
  • Pseudo-Wanna Be Experts?
  • Conspiracy Theorists?

Answers such as these assumes a fact not in evidence; and they open the doors to making us victims if our chosen source of opinions is–how can I put it? WRONG! There are nefarious people out there who have twisted the old motto from Greyhound Bus Lines. Greyhound once had the motto: “Leave The Driving To Us.” And these vile, flagitious, opprobrious miscreants want you to LEAVE THE THINKING TO THEM. (very long sigh happening at this moment on my end) And so it is–(even longer sighing)–it seems that many people have relegated the formation of their opinions to others. If one or more of your answers to the above questions is: It’s a mess!, you are grasping what I’m saying this morning.

Even though you may think that many have drank the Kool Aid (thank you Jim Jones for that image) and blame their sources for their opinions–this conclusion is like so many other conclusions in our day–it only scratches the surface. You see, in reality our opinions come from only one source: Perspective! And everyone–I MEAN EVERYONE–chooses their own perspective. Blaming the Pied Pipers of Opinions is a mythical hypothesis. The time has come for everyone to stand up and be a man, be a woman, and admit the blame for all the prevaricated pig slop (you have to be from the South to appreciate this analogy) lies at their own feet.

You can disagree with me–and you’re still wrong. (And if I just offended some snotty nosed millennial, “Toughen up, buttercup!”) We have no control over some of the things that come our way. But Perspective? You own it, and you control it! Do some deep thinking for yourself rather than embracing the blather and twaddle of others. Sure, deep thinking for yourself may give you a headache–but the results may surprise you. It may even contradict the flummery you had called your “opinion”. And you will become a more intelligent person.