Thursday, April 24, 2008

When sin is left out of the message

Scott has noticed something missing in the lectionary:
    "At the church where you worshiped April 20, was the second lesson I Peter 2:2-10? Did you wonder why the text started with verse 2, rather than at the beginning of the chapter? Was the text read from a Bible or off a Scripture insert in the bulletin?

    I ask those questions, because, over the years, I have begun to analyze the lectionary more carefully, noting especially what is *not* included. I have learned to pay particular attention whenever the appointed readings skip an odd verse or two, because very often the verses that are left out are those that declare judgment against sin--the voice of the Law. The bad news of our sinful nature and condemnation before God is too often carefully removed, so that only the good news of salvation remains. When those lessons are read from Scripture inserts, it is easy not even to notice the actual citation and so not realize that the readings have been abridged in that way."
It's not just missing from the lectionary. It's also missing from the Sunday School take-homes at my church. Last Sunday's Hands-On Bible Curriculum (see April 21 entry) Bible verse was James 4:8a, "Come close to God, and God will come close to you." No, this isn't the Thomas Jefferson Bible. The writers just left out some very telling details that put this into perspective. Verse 7 says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." The other half of verse 8 says, "Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

1 comment:

Joe said...

So much of Christian television these days leaves sin out as well. I have DirecTV and about ten Christian channels, and very few contain solid Bible teaching and the true gospel. Many sermons skip right over to grace without dealing with sin and repentance.

Thanks for shining a light on this.