Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Is your agenda getting in the way of truth?

In the midst of a very busy schedule, I’m going to insert a lone post instead of the next Winston Churchill episode or the next installment of “Luther’s Baggage” - though they are both coming along.
A few weeks ago I heard an excellent sermon by Dave Ward at Central Wesleyan called Think: The Church, The Truth & Women in Ministry. 02/12/2012 http://www.centralwesleyan.org/Biblestudy/studieslist.html
While this post is not about that subject (The Church, The Truth & Women in Ministry), I highly recommend watching the video of the sermon; it was very insightful and could well change how you look on the subject. What I do want to highlight though, is a statement that Dave Ward made that was important: As he sought to find scriptural support for the points in his sermon, he began with Torah (though he didn’t call it that) and explained the Hebrew words that shed light on the meaning of various passages in our translations. For example, the Hebrew word ezer is translated as “helper” in Genesis 2:18. “Helper” is a poor translation. This word ezer is used 21 times in the Bible and it often refers to the help that God gives, such as: “How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God” Psalm 146:5. This is a strong word and refers to someone who is powerful and strong; not someone who is subservient or weak. Dave Ward then said that he doesn’t like it when translators “mess with his Bible,” especially when they clearly have an agenda. Dave said that verses about women in ministry are among the most poorly translated verses in the Bible. If that is so, then there is another subject I’d like to mention where the translators have consistently “messed with the Bible” because they have an agenda. That subject is Torah. The ironic thing is that Dave Ward did the same thing a couple of months ago when he was a guest speaker on the series for the book of Galatians. He came to the spot in Galatians where it says:
Galatians 4:7-12 “Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how [is it that] you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain. Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I [became] like you. You have not injured me at all.” In this passage, Dave, like many other Evangelical pastors, said these “weak and beggarly elements,” refer to Jewish things, such as the Biblical holidays. It’s interesting that in both of these errors, the word “weak” is falsely applied. 
The people that Paul is referring to in this passage of Galatians are pagan converts who used to follow the Roman pantheon and holidays. We must remember that Romans were expected to pay homage to the Roman gods; to not do so (as a believer in Jesus, for instance) could put the person at risk of arrest or persecution. The fact that some reverted to pagan ways is unfortunate but understandable. The only way they could escape the charge of not worshiping the Roman gods is if they became Jewish, for Jews were exempted from this requirement. This is why so many of the God-Fearers wanted to choose that approach. But I digress. How could Paul refer to God’s holidays as “weak and beggarly?” How could the statement “when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods” be associated with Biblical observances that Paul regularly obeyed? We all need to be consistent in our interpretation and sound in our logic. To do otherwise doesn’t make sense, unless you have an agenda that overrules the truth. If you don’t want to allow women to serve in ministry, then some of Paul’s words (when taken at face value-in English) can give you the leverage to twist it that way. If you don’t want to believe that the New Testament ecclesia worshipped in Messianic synagogues and followed the Biblical festivals then you’ll come up with another way to teach church history. If you can’t imagine not eating bratwurst or bacon for breakfast, then you’ll gloss over the Biblical wisdom on eating as something that “Jesus did away with” as I heard preached at a church in Wixom, Michigan two weeks ago. 
Is your agenda getting in the way of truth?

1 comment:

  1. I do not come across your point of view very often with regard to God's Torah, especially in this Galatians passage. I think we misunderstand New Testament when we do not seek to know and follow Torah (as Yeshuah did), or understand the debates and traditions Yeshuah.

    Shalom and thanks for sharing about Ray!