Two days ago, I happened upon a video about The Naked Gospel, a recent Amazon.com best seller about the truths of the Christian faith. I haven't read it, but the video itself was, at first, offensive. The author of the book, Andrew Farley, is a minister, though I question his adherence to Scripture since he states in one of his sermons that he once married a woman to a corpse (something just seems off about that). At any rate, in this 'teaser' video, he asked ten questions about our faith. Ten questions that most Christians would answer "true." For instance:
Every time we sin, we must repent and ask forgiveness: True or False.
Christians must give ten percent of their income to the church: True of False.
The answer, in his opinion, to every one of the questions was "False." Now, I am not saying that I agree with the first glance of that, but I also know, as a writer, that we purposefully create controversy in order to grab the reader's attention. As I looked up reviews for the book, it seems that Mr. Farley based his answers on different perspectives and definitions of words. Still, the controversy was well appreciated, especially since I am in the beginning stages of writing a book entitled, "True Loves Does Not Wait." I picked that title on purpose, for two reasons:
1- it will draw in those who say, "Oh finally, a Christian who supports premarital sex!" (Which is definitely not the case.
2- to draw in the critics that say, *gasp* "How dare someone attack our doctrine of purity."
At any rate, since watching that video and writing for my own book, I have been increasingly disgusted by how much we are spoon fed our faith. Even the 'core' beliefs of it.
I just read through part of Ezekiel this morning. I don't know that I have ever heard a sermon on anything in Ezekiel except the dry bones. Everyone loves the dry bones story. I am not there yet. Instead, I just finished reading through when God basically calls Israel a whore and says, "You know, you have slept with everyone else, but hello! you are mine! I chose you, remember?" The specific chapters I read this morning showed a foreshadowing of grace and asked the question many ask today, "Is God's way unfair?" to which God replies, "Don't question whether or not my ways are fair. You are the unfair ones." As I read, I thought, "Now why haven't I ever heard of this passage before? Why hasn't this ever been taught??"
How much of our faith is just mashed up and pureed so that it is pallatable? How much of our faith do we actually own? Do we actually know is true?
Yesterday, in church, the entire sermon was on tithe. The pastor never once brought up a Scriptural support for a tithing mandate. There isn't one for the New Testament church, so preaching it as such is unBiblical. Does that mean we shouldn't give? No. We should. But does God still mandate ten percent? No. At least, not from my personal study.
In Sunday School yesterday, we talked about purity and I listened as one of my co-teachers read a passage from Genesis and somehow twisted it to prove that every person on the face of the planet has someone made specifically to be their mate. She should get a Pulitzer, really. That doesn't have Scriptural basis either. Still, the girls were taking it in. She had used God's word to promise them that some day they would get married. Now, all they had to do was wait. True love doesn't wait.
Is it any wonder our faith is so weak? We pick Scripture to skip, and others to twist. Still others we mash up and flavor until it is barely recognizable. We ingest it and become sick, because it is all wrong. It isn't God's word, it is ours- our spoon fed faith.