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 Copyright © January 2008

Understanding the Basics...Part 16

Church is not necessarily a safe place to be anymore....

~written from the common sense perspective of The Winds of the Soul~

by Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D./D.Phil.(Oxon.)

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I personally believe that the Bible is the Word of God, but I also believe that God and Christ spoke to us from many different perspectives and on many different levels, and thus abolished the trite understanding that the all Scriptures must be taken literally.  Quite simply, how anyone believe that His Omniscience could be literally defined or so confined?  Impossible!

I have often been amazed at some Christians who demand that the Bible is the literal word of God, and therefore should be taken literally, as if the Lord never spoke in parables, and therefore never spoke abstractly but always literally.  This is obviously absurd, but I hear this notion expressed without reservation among many sects and denominations of Christianity, most of which came about only because of the Reformation that occurred hundreds of years ago, whose roots ironically reached into the arena of reason and faithful non-literal interpretation. 

I personally believe that the Bible is the Word of God, but I also believe that God and Christ spoke to us from many different perspectives and on many different levels, and thus abolished the trite understanding that  all Scriptures must be taken literally.  Quite simply, how can anyone believe that His Omniscience could be literally defined or so confined?  Impossible!

For instance, in direct contradiction to the above popular hypothesis, the many "parables" found in the Scriptures should never be taken literally:  think of the hodge-podge that would remain if only the "literal" were allowed.  Indeed, demanding only literal interpretation is most restrictive, if not evil, allowing that no nuance or abstraction, parallel or underlying moral story, etc, could ever be found useful as a teaching, as such takes us beyond the "literal" into the realm of reason, extrapolation and faith, conveying ideas not clearly transparent on the surface. 

Copyright © 2006 Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.).  All Rights Reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, including but not limited to all forms of media print, audio, electronic and video reproduction, without the prior express and specific written content of the author, except in cases of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

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To be sure, and as is well documented, the Lord chose to convey His Word predominantly through the very means of parables and stories, specifically so that those that were not prepared to hear the fullness of His Word would mercifully remain in ignorance and avoid the greater sin of having received greater truth but then denied to follow it. 

Christ even said as much in the Gospels, again using metaphor, simile, and any other construction allowed by language to convey deeper meanings towards which His Words directed us.  This is the manner by which He taught us of His Father's Goodness, and persuaded us to do Good as well..., always shepherding us to higher truths and mysteries, pointing our minds and hearts ever forward to His Eternal Glories and Freedoms, if we proved capable and faithful in the journey. 

To be sure, and as is well documented, the Lord chose to convey His Word predominantly through the very means of parables and stories, specifically so that those that were not prepared to hear the fullness of His Word would mercifully remain in ignorance and avoid the greater sin of having received greater truth but then denied to follow it.  Most simply, the Lord's mercy extended to us in this way keeps us from becoming prematurely responsible for "running" before we've learned to "walk," and most importantly, fulfills His Image of a Merciful and Perfecting God.  This all important inherent capacity for mercy expressed within the teachings of parables is ironically dismissed and forgotten by the protagonists of the "literal," perhaps because it was never spelled out for them...

Moreover, the Scriptures containing the Gospel of the Lord were never given to us in a vacuum but rather meant to be further revealed unto us by His very Power, even by the power of the Holy Ghost.  Our minds by themselves could never embrace, much less understand, the reality of such Truth except not for His constant merciful intervention of Spiritual inspiration to reveal His Meanings and Will to us. 

Therefore, one would think it settled law that it is impossible to understand His Word except we have His Spirit about us.  Indeed, we learn from the Lord, that all knowing and understanding of His Witness comes from Heaven, not from the flesh (or this world), as when He told Peter who testified that He was the Christ: "for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."  And in accordance with that reason, He then stated publically elsewhere that "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him..."  

This defining of our limitations, of our own restricted capacities, is clearly meant to separate us from any notion that we can find His Word all on our own, and to further discourage us from ever believing (or attempting) that all we need is a literal map and we can find Heaven all by ourselves..., as is revealed afresh in the following:

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Clearly, our own minds are insufficient to have come to the realization of intelligence that His Goodness is Supreme, or that it even exists.  By ourselves, we just don't have the capacity to find our way all by our own merits.  We need His continuous Shepherding.  We must be "drawn" to Him, in that He initiates the relationship, not ourselves.

KJV:  Matthew 16:15-17 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

 

KJV:  John 6:41-48 41 ¶ The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life.

 

Clearly, our own minds are insufficient to have come to the realization of intelligence that His Goodness is Supreme, or that it even exists.  By ourselves, we just don't have the capacity to find our way all by our own merits.  We need His continuous Shepherding.  We must be "drawn" to Him, in that He initiates the relationship, not ourselves. Thus, believing that a "literal" map to His Gospel is all that we need, is to believe that we have the personal know-how to find our own way without His Inspiration, repudiating these very truths, which in itself should be the proof needed by "literalists" to repent from their arrogance.

 Again, as is clearly and repetitively relayed throughout the Scriptures, non-literal constructions are constantly used.  For example, the Lord continuously and persistently used metaphors in telling us what the Kingdom of Heaven was "like," what it could be compared to, how some understanding of it could be conveyed to us, knowing that there really wasn't a literal definition full enough to convey all the reality that was there within His Eternal Vision and Understanding. 

To illustrate further, witness His Words again as recorded in Luke, pointing out that His Doctrine was not to be applied literally or by rote according to the letter of the Scriptures..., but only by His Spirit of revelation and inspiration, which continually spoke to us in the voice of love, reason and compassion..., and only then could we understand the correct execution of His Father's Will:

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Most importantly, to insist that everything Biblical must be taken "literally" is to actually deny the robustness of the Lord's Word, turning its intention into something that mocks, if not repudiates and enfeebles, the Gospel's Fair Proportions, stripping it of its breadth and depth, its majesty and universal power.  Indeed, such misbegotten insistence for literalness renders the Lord's Word uninspired, dull and pedestrian-like.

KJV:  Luke 13:10-21 10 ¶ And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.   12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.     13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. 15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? 17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

 

18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

 

20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

 

It is impossible to demand literalness to everything the Lord declares, as much of what He said to us was meant figuratively, pointing us ever higher to Heaven's meanings and understandings.  But, claims the literalist, doesn't this make it then less authoritative or less real, less directing or less pure?  No, not one whit!  In fact, it's just the opposite!

Most importantly, to insist that everything Biblical must be taken "literally" is to actually deny the robustness of the Lord's Word, turning its intention into something that mocks, if not repudiates and enfeebles, the Gospel's Fair Proportions, stripping it of its breadth and depth, its majesty and universal power.  Indeed, such misbegotten insistence for literalness renders the Lord's Word uninspired, dull and pedestrian-like. 

But perhaps quintessentially, such a despicable twisting and defamation makes the Gospel into what Satan intended and still intends all along... an abomination of desolation... an ongoing montage of tormenting obedience that forever proves wide of the mark, resulting in acts of religious desperation incapable of saving anyone.   

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Having repeatedly witnessed this over time, I have found that "reason" generally does not prevail with this sort.  No matter how extensive the research presented to them, no matter the better argument that then glorifies the Lord even more than their previous understanding could anticipate, they refuse to be so directed....

And isn't this what Satan really intends for us ---- a misery akin to his own?  By denying the inherent robustness of His Word, we literally deny the Lord's Spirit from having any influence or saving-power within us, and sign-up for one of Satan's so-called "free" vacation packages to hell. 

Despite the clarity of this argument, many literalists remain curiously affixed to their "literal word," not realizing that such restrictions placed on His Word renders the Gospel ripe for take-over by malignant evil forces, stupidly fearing that they will be cut-off from the Lord if they venture more into His Word.  Truly they remain slaves to their own egos.

Having repeatedly witnessed this over time, I have found that "reason" generally does not prevail with this sort.  No matter how extensive the research presented to them, no matter the better argument that then glorifies the Lord even more than their previous understanding could anticipate, they refuse to be so directed....  They remain entrenched within their literally confined mindset, believing that "all is well in Zion," though denying the greater revelation presented.

Perhaps these have never really accepted the Word of Lord, never having understood that the Walk Prescribed is one of change towards His Goodness..., something that these never really signed on for.  Instead, they were seeking something that did not challenge them as much, allowing them their many uncivil hidden habits, while giving them the outward appearance of inclusion and "being on the team." 

Unfortunately, it also introduced many of these into the power of religious organizations, wherein they immediately became attracted to positions of authority over others and thereinafter begin to rewrite the Lord's Word in their own image.  Although at first they may have appeared harmless, they soon pressed and subjected their inflexibilities upon all that would listen, claiming that their inflexible "literacy" is the TRUTH..., and then label all those who refuse to tote their heinous baggage as heretics to their cause, and by blasphemous direct association, to the cause of God.  So much for "fair" team play!   

These are stealth pretenders to the faith who generally give Christianity a bad name, just as did the scribes and Pharisees for the Jewish faith in Jesus' time.  This is, by the way, the routine picture many non-Christians have of Christianity and of religious organizations as a whole:  An inflexible, mind-staring, gathering of those who seemingly end-up blindly practicing an unreasonable acceptance of questionable traditions, one which seems to further inculcate, incubate and protect some of the most overbearing, dogmatically authoritarian and arrogant personality characteristics known to mankind.  And all "done" in the Name of Christ..., as if the Lord would condone such a thing.  I don't think most of us knowingly signed up for that... 

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Honestly, from this maligned perspective, Christianity is not very attractive.  Yet, these "posers," these pretenders to our faith, have often been those who most misrepresent the Church to the world.  Of course, these are the very hypocrisies and pretensions which repelled Christ from the scribes and Pharisees of His time.  

Honestly, from this maligned perspective, Christianity is not very attractive.  Yet, these "posers," these pretenders to our faith, have often been those who most misrepresent the Church to the world.  Of course, these are the very hypocrisies and pretensions which repelled Christ from the scribes and Pharisees of His time.  And interestingly, these same mindsets seem to gravitate towards the powers of religious expression in our times as well, continually gumming up the works for the rest of us while thinking that they are blessing each of us with their doting and doddering presence. 

So desperate to prove themselves right and justified, the "posers" will sacrifice each and every one of us to their ceremonies of literal judgment, exclusion, expulsion and ostracism, turning the formal powers of the organization against any who would question them or think them misdirected.  Indeed, these will gladly condemn others so as to justify themselves or think themselves righteous, seeking to parade their feigned superiority before others, as has been their manner historically.  We will recall that Christ has said as much to the misbegotten religious leaders of His time:

 

KJV: Matthew 23:13-33 13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. 14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

 

16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. 19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. 21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

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And just as it was in times past, think not that we can find safety in the "Church," or security or protection amongst the people of our faith.  Accordingly, "Church" is not necessarily a safe or secure place to be... nor necessarily a place to find uninterrupted rest.  Jesus surely didn't find such reception, though as an example, he occasionally attended and spoke openly.

25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

 

27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

 

 ¶ 29Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

 

Think not, therefore, that the times have changed.  They haven't.  We see amongst us today the same breed of faithlessness, the same hunger for power over others, the same need to suppress the Truth, the same lust to control men's beliefs that was witnessed in times past. 

And just as it was in times past, think not that we can find safety in the "Church," or security or protection amongst the people of our faith.  Accordingly, "Church" is not necessarily a safe or secure place to be... nor necessarily a place to find uninterrupted rest.  Jesus surely didn't find such reception, though as an example, he occasionally attended and spoke openly.  He well knew that many "church leaders" in His day were "whited sepulchres," and strove to divide and conquer any who would disagree with them.  Should we think ourselves somehow especially removed from such adversaries? 

Please understand that this warning is not meant to discourage church-goers to regularly attend their services, but to be aware of the realities which pursue us.  Remember, this is not the fiction born from Hollywood where Satan isn't allowed to operate on "holy ground."  Indeed, upon "holy ground" is where he will likely be the most active in his lying and deception.  And Satan's wolves/children (in sheep's clothing) generally gather where the sheep are most vulnerable, and where they can do the most damage. 

Again, the Lord reminds us that our persecutors and foes will not only be of the "world," but perhaps more tragically and heartbreakingly they will be found insinuated more closely amongst the very fabric of our own personal lives, even within the intimacies of our own families and extended households, and our own trusted churches and synagogues. 

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About the Author:  Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.) is a Neuroscientist, Physicist, and Clinical Psychologist and having been educated abroad where he completed his postgraduate studies at King’s College, the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and then graduated and received his Doctorate from the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. He has been in practice and research for over 25 years, being active as an author, popular radio and TV personality, public speaker, and biomedical researcher. He is the author of The Winds of the Soul~Heaven’s First Voice To Us books  &  The Winds of Forgiveness~Heaven's Healing Promises, as well as numerous other scholarly papers and works.

 

 

 

 

Warning and Disclaimer: Although the author and publisher have made every effort in the preparation to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the information given in this eNewsletter and the books, The Winds of the Soul & The Winds of Forgiveness, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions of any kind. The information provided is offered entirely on an “as is“ basis and is simply the point of view of its author. Moreover, the information in this eNewsletter as well as the book is offered without warranty, claim of fitness, or therapeutic effectiveness and appropriateness, either express or implied, nor does it claim or seek to offer any form of diagnosis or treatment for any form of disease or dysfunction. Any individual requiring psychological intervention, diagnosis and/or treatment should always seek the professional services of a responsible and licensed Psychologist or Psychiatrist. Neither the author or Davidic Publishing will be liable or responsible for any damages whatsoever or however defined, caused or alleged to be caused directly, indirectly, incidentally, or consequentially by the information contained in the eNewsletter and the books, The Winds of the Soul & The Winds of Forgiveness.

KJV:  Matthew 10:34-37 34 ¶ Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.     35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

 

KJV:  John 15:20 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

 

KJV:  Matthew 5:11-12  ¶ 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

 

KJV:  Luke 21:12 12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.

 

 The battle for us in this gifted Happy New Year, and every year thereafter we spend here on this earth, is to adorn ourselves ever better with His Mantle of Protection, knowing first how we of ourselves are nothing, as the Lord sarcastically told Job in the following:

 

KJV:  Job 40:6-14 6 Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? 9 Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? 10 Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. 11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him. 12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. 13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. 14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.

 

And, then in contrast, knowing of His Majesty....

 

KJV:  1 Peter 1:13-21 13 ¶ Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;          14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:   20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

 

Happy New Year with His Blessings upon us!


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