Monday, October 01, 2007

Bad Religion and Toxic Faith

Is there ever a time when you should NOT obey the Bible? I think so.

Paul said that "the Letter (of the Law) kills but the Spirit gives life". (2 Corinthians 3:16). And that's exactly what some Bible verses do when applied in the wrong situation. If you listened to my sermon on Sunday about The Good Samaritan, you heard me tell how both the Priest and the Levite in Jesus' parable used scripture to excuse them from helping a man near death.

That's bad religion. That's toxic faith. It totally misrepresents who God is to the world.

But Jewish rabbi’s had a practice called “binding and loosing” scripture to prevent this from happening. When someone felt that a scripture shouldn't be obeyed the elders in the community were to determine if that person should be “bound” to obey scripture or “loosed” to not obey it.

Jesus gave this same right to his disciples. This is important so that the Bible doesn’t put us in bondage to meaningless rules. A good example is the woman caught in adultery (John 8). The Bible says to stone people caught in adultery but Jesus loosed the community from carrying this out. He forgave her but challenged her to stop her life of sin.

Have you ever seen a Bible verse obeyed that did more damage than good?


Rosann said...

I wonder about helping people when they like to pretend they don't need help. I know I am guilty of acting ok when falling apart inside. Where does the line of neighbor fall when presented with the illusion of "I'm OK."?

Remy Diederich said...

Interesting thought. Well, if I see that you are in need and I can meet it, then you are my neighbor and I ought to help. But if you don't want help then my help comes in 1. praying for you 2. building trust with you so you will open up to me eventually 3. looking for opportunities to help when you finally do open up. The thing that we have to be careful about is "fixing people" that we think need help. If we break boundary lines we will lose our right to help.

angie said...

You used the word conflicted in your Sunday service. That word went of on the inside if me. I love God and want to be an extension of his love yet I feel so conflected on the inside of me by all the needs I see before me. How do you know when you are helping or enabling a descrutive pattern or lifestyle...angie

Remy Diederich said...

Good question, Angie. I'll answer that in a post instead of here.