It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true Word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers will bring us to Him. When it becomes really necessary (i.e. for our spiritual life, not for controversy or curiosity) to know whether a particular passage is rightly translated or is Myth (but of course Myth specially chosen by God from among countless Myths to carry a spiritual truth) or history, we shall no doubt be guided to the right answer. But we must not use the Bible (our ancestors too often did) as a sort of Encyclopedia out of which texts (isolated from their context and read without attention to the whole nature and purport of the books in which they occur) can be taken for use as weapons.
- The distinction which St. Paul makes in 1 Corinthians 7 between ‘yet not I but the Lord’ (v.10), and ‘I say, not the Lord’ (v.12).
- The apparent inconsistencies between the genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 2: between the accounts of the death of Judas in Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18-19.
- St. Luke’s own account of how he obtained his matter (Luke 1:1-4).
- The universally admitted unhistoricity (I do not say, of course, falsity) of at least some narratives in Scripture (the parables) which may well also extend to Jonah and Job.
- If every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights, then all true and edifying writings, whether in Scripture or not, must be in some sense inspired.
- John 11:49-52. Inspiration may operate in a wicked man without his knowing it, and he can then utter the untruth he intends (propriety of making an innocent man a political scapegoat) as well as the truth he does not intend (the divine sacrifice).
I was going to speak to you this morning about the work of Philip the evangelist, as the last sermon in our series of ‘More Bible People You May Not Remember’, but then I read today’s gospel and realised that we couldn’t really read it unless I also preached on it. This is because, for some of us in church today, the words of Jesus here will come across as words of condemnation and not words of hope. And while it isn’t part of my job as a preacher to protect you from the words of Jesus, it is part of my job to make sure we’ve heard those words accurately.
So let’s start by acknowledging that, for many of us, Jesus’ words that we heard a moment ago were very painful. For some of us who are living with the pain of very difficult marriages, his words seemed to close a potential escape hatch for us. For some of us who have been divorced and are now remarried, his words seem to condemn us to living in sin for the rest of our lives. Some of us have a different kind of pain; we have been the victims of frivolous divorce. We didn’t abuse our spouses or cheat on them; they simply found someone younger and prettier than us, and so we were traded in for a newer model. And some of us are the children of divorce, grappling with the fact that statistically we are far more likely to go through divorce ourselves than are the children of lasting marriages.
Jesus wants to spare us pain by teaching us how to live in accordance with God’s original intention for us. We need to try to find a way to hear this text today as a word of life and grace, not condemnation. So let’s turn in our Bibles to Mark 10:1-12 and take a closer look at it.
Read the rest here.
What: Songs for Small and Tall- all ages music & singalong
Where: St. Margaret’s Anglican Church: 12603 Ellerslie Road
When: Friday, October 2nd at 7.30 pm.
Bryan Moyer Suderman is a musician in the Mennonite tradition; his music company is called ‘Small Tall Music’, because, as he says, he writes ‘worship songs for small and tall’ – for children and for adults (see his website here). Bryan has produced several CDs, including songs for Vacation Bible School and Christian Education programs, worship songs, songs about stewardship, and a new CD based largely on texts from the prophets you can find our more about his CDs and here some samples here). This concert is jointly sponsored between St. Margaret’s Anglican Church and Edmonton First Mennonite Church, and it will be an all-age event. Admission will be by donation at the door, with a suggested donation of $10 per person or $25 per family.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been looking at the stories of some Bible people who aren’t so well known. We’ve thought about Mary Magdalene and how Jesus transformed her life, and John Mark and how God gave him a second chance even when the apostle Paul didn’t. We’ve thought about Cornelius, an outsider who was seeking God, and how God reached out to include him, and about Naaman’s servant girl who spoke the crucial words of witness that led Naaman to ask the God of Israel for healing for his skin disease.
Today I want to talk with you about the story of Hannah, a woman who was in a desperate situation and who cried out to the Lord for help. There are some aspects of Hannah’s story that we don’t find it so easy to relate to; she was in a polygamous marriage, and the tensions and rivalries of that sort of marriage are hard for us to imagine today. But the main factor in her story is all too familiar to many people; she longed for a child, and her longing had not been fulfilled. There are many people today who know all about that sort of grief, and even if we aren’t familiar with it, we’ve all had times when we longed for things and our longing was not fulfilled. So let’s see what happens in the story of Hannah.
Read the rest here.