Saturday, February 07, 2009

When editing scripture makes no sense

If you read the passage 1 John 4:9-12, the passage makes perfect sense, because it is the Gospel
    9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
However, if you leave out verses 9-10, the cross and the atonement, then 11-12 (edited down) don't mean a lot. There's no clue in the edited version about what God did to show his love (so loved us). Here's how this passage appears in a parent newsletter from our church
    "Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other . . . If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us."
By clipping and editing, the writers of the newsletter have turned this passage on its head, putting a works spin on it, the exact opposite of its meaning. Essentially they say, anyone without Jesus is OK with God, just as long as they are loving. But is that what this passage says?

This isn't a children's newsletter, it is a parents' newsletter. Parents bringing their children to a Christian church should be able to cope with what Paul calls "the stumbling block of the cross," or "the scandal of the cross," or "the offense of the cross." (Galatians 5:11). The cross is the center of the Christian religion. It was offensive and absurd to the Jews Paul was referring to, and unfortunately, many who go by the name of Christian today still find it offensive, or at least try to hide it in the closet, lest someone else find it so. Jesus didn't go to the cross because he was a great moral teacher or led protests against the Roman government or tried to free slaves or instituted a local healing program for his followers. It was because of our sin, and this was God's solution for it.

The name and source of the newsletter is theParentLink, from Erie Christian Fellowship in Erie, PA

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