Circular arguments – Part One


“What is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.”

I love the bible – just like that old joke about accountants (“What is five plus five?” What number do you want it to be?), we can also make the bible fit anything we want. Like the verse above, I have seen that – and verses like that – used and abused. Used like nails – just like we use nails to hold things together, to construct something we build, to bang sharp things in using a hammer.

Things that were never “the whole” but become “the whole” by our design.

The “verse” above is not a verse. It is not even half a verse. The full verse is this:

So he said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.

And the narrative from which that verse is nested is this:

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. ‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’ The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.

And the setting for that nesting is the 8 verses in the first half of this passage. And the context of that setting is 15 chapters before and 7.5 after (we are in the first half of Luke 16)

We love to build things. And we love to build things that please our eye. Our image. Our self. And we use nails to build things. Things that would not fit without nails. Things that fit after we bang in a few nails.

Like prayers of intercession. Every Sunday we have prayers of intercession. And almost every Sunday we all have to join in with the punchline. Something akin to “Lord hear our prayer”. That list of “the world” and then the “locality” and the “those who have asked for our prayers”. The switch-off bit of the service (well … one of the switch off bits).

So let’s talk free will.

This relationship with a God who let’s us choose. The choice to choose. And all the angst that comes with that:

I could never believe in a God like that.
A God like what?
Who lets bad things happen.
You done anything bad ever?
Yes – but I’m not God.
But God loves us!
So why does He let bad things happen?
Because He loves us He lets us choose!
Choose an earthquake – what choice do I have in an earthquake – that’s His choice!
Thought you could never believe in a God like that.
I don’t!

Circular arguments! We all do it!

And before we good Christians clap with glee as another atheist is pulled apart … We are the ones who skin a book into a chapter into a passage into a verse into a sliver and add it to our other slivers.  Which we bang into a constructed belief/dogma/ism and call that construction our God (or should that be “our idol”?).  And we are righteously offended when “atheists” laugh at us!  Really???

(Ahhhh – sod it!  Let’s be honest here. Make that anyone who doesn’t agree with us!)

Which brings me nicely back to prayers of intercession. And nails. And constructing things.

(to be continued … )

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2 thoughts on “Circular arguments – Part One

  1. Can’t wait to read the rest! Great article. I have taught also that too many intelligent people, people who should know better love to take Scripture out of context, rely on the “letter” rather than the “spirit” of the Word and so many other pitfalls just to prove the latest religious fad or doctrine. I’ve been gone for a couple months but just got a new computer so trying to catch up with my brothers and sisters in the Lord and as soon as I click your page, boom! A great way to start today as I try to catch up. You know, we can all use the instruction, edification AND confirmation from one another as the Holy Spirit builds up the Body of Christ. We need to be accountable to one another and one of the great ways the Holy Spirit uses, is confirmation. He knows what we need to convict (convince) us either to change direction or keep on the path laid out for you (Psalms 37).
    I MISSED gleaning your posts and timely instruction for even at 63 years young and after many decades in various areas of ministry, I have to agree with Paul that we will never stop learning or growing in the Lord!!
    God bless you for your sensitivity to the Spirit and your willingness to serve (minister) in obedience! I have been fed and so shall go back for another bite!!;-)

    • Hiya Roland – sorry for getting through to the fourth instalment before getting back here to your words. He is busy with me!! 🙂

      Whenever you stop by and share Him and you here, it connects me to something. Something of Him in me and all of us. A little closer, a little more personal, a little more of Him. Thank you.

      And so glad to hear that mundane issues like computers are fixed! 🙂
      I have missed you.

      Paul
      ((hugs))

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