“My sorrow is, that I cannot get Christ lifted off the dust in Scotland, and set on high, above all the skies, and heaven of heavens.”
– Samuel Rutherford

Five misused Bible verses

“We are nothing more than the result of evolution, born out of primordial ooze which started on a planet in a universe that was nothing more than a collection of elements that came from a random expansion some 14 billion years ago.”
This is a quote from my last post, as it is quoted here this would probably result in more than a  few questions from my brothers and sisters, and possibly from my minister?
On closer inspection of the original post you will see that this was in the context of those with no belief in a creator God, and not my own personal views.
In all forms of media and communication , context is everything. It forms the simple difference between:
“…the fire burnt for the rest of the night and was seen from the next village…”
“After the fireworks display and the barbeque were done, the fire burnt for the rest of the night and was seen from the next village, as the celebrations continued.”

Those who attack the word of God often like to quote the Bible out of context, either intentionally or through ignorance of the wider context.
But the fact is that Christians are also guilty of cutting down the word of God into tweet-sized pieces, and in doing so, ripping the verses out of it’s original context in order to fit in with the point we are trying to make.
I am not saying that we must always quote the whole paragraph or chapter, some verses are perfectly clear  when they are quoted as a single verse.
The problem arises when we cut and snip the text into verses which sound great, and which might well carry some truth about God, but which do not reflect the full meaning  or the context of the passage that we snatched them from.

Starting with Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered…”, we can go on to look at five commonly misused Bible verses.

Think Before you Buy – Amazon or High Street Bookstore?

Originally posted on The Wee Flea:

Yesterday I learned a valuable lesson. I needed to buy a book (Mere Christianity) for someone and did my normal…looked it up on Amazon and was just about to press the button, knowing that it would arrive within a day and that it would be cheap. However before I pressed the thought struck me – ‘why are you doing this? There is a Christian book store in the centre of your town”. So I went to CLC, bought the book. Result? It cost me £1 more, I got it instantly and I got the opportunity to support a Christian presence on the high street in my own city. CLC is a rapidly improving Christian bookstore in the centre of Dundee – should all of us who are believers in this city and who want to support this Christian witness make a habit of buying our books there more often? And…

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Stephen Fry, Suffering and God

Recently an interview featuring Stephen fry has gone viral, in it he is asked the question “What will you say when you meet God?” [paraphrased]

To which Stephen answers:

“I’ll say, “Bone cancer in children? What’s that about? How dare you! How dare you create a world in which there is such suffering that is not our fault? It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god, who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?”

At it’s essence this is the common question “why does God allow suffering?”
This question is certainly not a new one, it has been asked for centuries. No one says that this is an easy question to answer. But if we look at Stephen’s answer he blames God for causing the suffering. This problem of suffering is often used as evidence that there is no God.

So let’s, for now, assume that this is true, that the problem of suffering in this world shows without doubt that there is no God. We are nothing more than the result of evolution, born out of primordial ooze which started on a planet in a universe that was nothing more than a collection of elements that came from a random expansion some 14 billion years ago.

The child still has bone cancer, but now they must have cancer in a cold, lonely universe that doesn’t know or care about what they are going through.
Removing God does not remove the problem of suffering but it does remove any sense of hope that exists in the midst of that suffering.

With God we have the sure hope that all things are in his capable hands, we don’t claim to know why everything happens but we do claim and proudly proclaim that “Our God is in the Heavens he does all that he pleases”(Psalm 115:3), he is in control.

It was no capricious, mean-minded, stupid God that saw humanity in the prison of sin, a prison of their own making, a sentence which resulted in eternal death. A God Who then sent his only beloved Son to die in the place those who rebelled against him. This same Son who broke in pieces the chains and bars that held those in this prison, and who so utterly destroyed their imprisonment so that it would never hold them again (Psalm 107:10-16, Ephesians 4:8)

That is the God we worship and the God we sincerely pray that Stephen will one day come to call his Lord and Saviour.

Comments are always welcome

“The preparation of sermons involves sweat and labour. It can be extremely difficult at times to get all this matter that you have found in the Scriptures into [an outline]. It is like a … blacksmith making shoes for a horse; you have to keep on putting the material into the fire and on to the anvil and hit it again and again with the hammer. Each time it is a bit better, but not quite right; so you put it back again and again until you are satisfied with it or can do no better. This is the most grueling part of the preparation of a sermon; but at the same time it is a most fascinating and a most glorious occupation.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Preachers and Preaching