Monday, July 23, 2007

Meeting the Author

I attended a funeral this past week, but this post has nothing to do with the deceased. Rather I would like to address something I noticed in passing. Hanging on one of the walls of the church where the service was held was a "tapestry" (if I am using the word correctly). You have probably seen similar ones if you visit many churches, or may even have some on the walls of your church. Usually they have a solid colored background with some sort of images on them along with a line or two of text declaring something theological. This particular one caught my eye because it stated something to the effect of "You need to continue with bible study until the day you meet the author"

Now I know as well as anyone the danger of "bumper sticker theology". Its just too easy read into a one line text nearly any thing you want it to say. If all truth could be conveyed in just a line or two, then certainly our Lord would not have given us so many books in the Bible. And believe me, I understand what was meant by this saying. Clearly it was meant to mean that we will never know enough about God's word until the day we die. However, that didn't stop me from critiquing the saying in my mind.

I will certainly admit to the tendency of being overly critical of things spiritual that are coming from a source with doctrine that I disagree with. In many cases I do think I would do better to practice Christian charity by giving others the benefit of the doubt as to their intended meaning.

In this case though, I know that the intended meaning was right and a nice positive message, but the saying still brought a negative rebuttal to my mind; "If you haven't met the author before you die, it will be too late." You see, all that Bible study will have done you no good if you have never met the author. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus said; "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. "

This passage of scripture should be enough to give every one pause! Have we not prophesied in thy name? And have we not cast out devils? (actually I have done neither of those first two things) And have we not diligently gone to Bible studies? And have not we been baptized in thy name? And yet despite all these wonderful works, Jesus will say in that day that he never knew them. Are you sure that you have already met the author?

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