Shallow Christianity Can Take You To Church, But Not To Heaven The ignorance of their own religion that exists in Christianity is scary. And this ignorance does not exist only amongst the congregation, it is almost as pervasive amongst the clergy, especially amongst the unregulated Pentecostal and evangelical churches. In fact, so pervasive is this ignorance that it has created Frankenstein monsters, who are the creation of pastors who are themselves unlearned on what they profess to teach, but nevertheless teach it with authority. One area where this ignorance is most pervasive is in the articles of our faith, and especially something as elementary as The Bible. Many Christians do not understand that The Bible is not Scripture, though it contains some translations of Scripture.
Scripture is defined in 2 Timothy 3:16, which says: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. ” IN other words Scripture is the inspired word of God. Paul, who wrote this, was himself a practicing Jew, as was Christ and as were His disciples. To understand what Scripture is, you need to understand what Judaism is. Jews do not consider all the books in our present Bible as Scripture.
In fact, if you read Scripture, you will not find the word Bible in it. The Bible is a set of books (usually 66, but more if you are a Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, Ethiopian Orthodox, or Assyrian Christian), that were agreed upon by human beings at various councils, chief of which is The Council of Rome in the year 382 AD. The term Old Testament, which we use in Christianity is a completely Christian construct, that sometimes misleads Christians into thinking that what they call the Old Testament is obsolete. When you see the words Scripture used in The Bible by a Jew, such as Christ, or His disciples, they are referring to the Torah, which are the five Books of Moses, and the Neviʾim, which refers to the prophets that were inspired and instructed to write their ‘thus says The LORD’ works of prophecy and guidance.
There is a third part of the Jewish canon, which is called Ketuvim. The Ketuvim is considered as religious poetry and books of wisdom. They are not books of law. Why is it important to know this? Because, the Torah is the Law from God and the Neviʾim are prophets speaking subsequent laws and directives from God. However, the Ketuvim are works of religious poetry and wisdom, which are meant to inspire believers, but they were not meant to alter or have precedence over the Torah or Neviʾim. So, for instance, notice what Christ said in Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I am come to destroy THE LAW, or THE PROPHETS: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Notice His emphasis. It is on “the law, or the prophets.” Now, the challenge in Christianity is that many Christians, including pastors, are unaware of this, because they have been deceived by the Word Bible, and automatically equate Bible with Scripture.
Take a book like Songs of Solomon. It is a book of almost erotic poetry, in which the word ‘God’ is not even mentioned. Let me even shock you deeper, the author of Songs of Solomon is unknown. Oh! You thought King Solomon wrote it? No he did not. It is not known who wrote it. The book itself is considered harmless allegories, which is read by Jews with the understanding that it is not to guide religious doctrine. But many Christians do not know that. To speak in pidgin English, dem just carry am put for head! Then there is the book called Proverbs of Solomon, or the Book of Proverbs. This book is part of the Ketuvim, and while it is an inspirational work, it is not meant to create any doctrine that will counter the doctrines in the Law (Torah) or the Prophets (Neviʾim).
For instance, if the Law of Moses or the Prophets set a doctrine on any issue, and the Book of Proverbs says something that can arguably be used to counter, or adjust or avoid that doctrine, then the Law of Moses or the Prophets supersedes, because they are the undisputed “thus says The LORD” word. But many Christians do not understand that, and this leads to confusion, arguments, and apathy. Then when you come to what Christians call the New Testament, we have to understand that Christ Himself never wrote any book. So, the best we can get of the word of God are the words of eyewitnesses, of which the books of Mark and John are the most reliable. In fact, all the four Gospels, except the Book John, are believed to have been based off the Gospel of Mark, which is the oldest Book amongst the four Gospels and was written by an eyewitness. Now, going to Paul.
I am surprised when many Christians are surprised that though the writings of Paul are good, and Godly, Paul himself never claimed that he was speaking on the instruction of God all the time. Most of his writings are in that light, however, not all are to be taken like that, and to his own credit, Paul does tell us, but because many of us do not read Scripture by ourselves, and are beguiled by that word, Bible, we miss seeing what is there in plain sight. Paul was a genuine man of God, sent by Christ to minister to we, the Gentiles. But we must understand that some (not all) of his writings were personal letters he wrote to specific communities of The Way (as Christianity was called then) or the Sect of the Nazarene (another name by which early Christianity was known). And the reason why I am surprised when Christians are surprised is because Paul himself did not hide this fact.
If you read his writings, he says it. For example, if you read 1 Corinthians 7:12, that verse says: “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. ”Now, if you read 1 Corinthians 4:3 in the King James Version, it says:“ But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.” Now, the above verse is quite hard to understand when read in the KJV. However, if you read it in more modern translations, Paul’s meaning is clearer. For example, in the New Living Translation, the same verse says:“ As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. ”Again, if you read 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul says:“ I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.”Here, Paul is not giving Scripture or doctrine.
He is giving his own opinion, and he does not hide it. He makes it very clear that these are his own rules for his own personal ministry, the way one denomination sets rules that do not apply to another. This is what is called dogma. Christ Himself did not take this Pauline attitude towards women. Obviously, God has set a command, through Moses, that the man is the head of the family. However, Moses allowed Miriam to speak. In Exodus 15:20-21, Miriam was called a Prophet, and she spoke in the assembly:“ And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” Also, God gave Israel a female Judge to lead them in the person of Deborah. We see this in Judges 4:4: “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.”
Notice how she was described. She was described as ‘the wife of Lapidoth.’ Meaning that even while she led Israel, she was still subject to her husband. For those who do not know what a Scriptural judge is, it meant a ruler over the people of Israel, who stood in the place of Moses, and was selected by God to guide the nation. And Christ Himself allowed women to speak to Him and in His Assembly, we see this in John 11:21-22: ““Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “ if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” So, why did Paul say what he said about women? Because that was his personal opinion, reflecting his personal biases. God is perfect. His words are Law when He speaks the “thus says the LORD” word through His prophets. Christ is perfect.
His words are law and doctrine. However, the words of anyone who contradicts Them are neither perfect, nor Law. This is why I have urged Christians to stop depending on pastors and church denominations. Get Scripture yourself and read it. If you can, go to Israel and learn from the Jews, because as Christ said, “salvation is from the Jews”– John 4:22. Because of Scripture, I went to Israel, Palestine (a different country from Israel), Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Italy, The Vatican and Spain, amongst others. My conclusion after reading Scripture and visiting these places, is that I would have been blind as a bat about my faith, if I sat down in one church, listening to one pastor and shouting Hallelujah, without searching the Scriptures myself. Now, please do not just accept what you have just read hook, line or sinker. Research it.
Make sure I am not deceiving you. Reno #OmokriGospeller. Deep Thinker. #1 Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years. Avid traveler. Hollywood Magazine Film Festival Humanitarian of the Year, 2019.