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"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." ~ 1 Peter 3:15-16
Knowing Christ Together

I chanced upon this free ebook by Frank, and would like to share it with all brothers and sisters out there. There is an excerpt that I found refreshing if not entertaining, and would like to share it here, which I hope will spur you on to read the book.

THE HINDRANCE OF OUR RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

One of the greatest obstacles to laying hold of God’s mind is our religious background. Virtually every Christian has at some point been given a narrow lens through which they interpret the Scripture, the Lord,and the Lord’s speaking.

It is critical that we understand that we all have been given such a lens. The following list shows how incredibly powerful are our religious backgrounds.

Suppose that you are traveling to work and you come to a stop sign. What do you do? Well, that depends on your religious background. For example . . .

1. An educated Catholic would roll through the intersection because he believes he cannot understand the stop sign apart from his interpretive community and tradition. Observing that the interpretive community does not take it too seriously, he does not feel obligated to take it too seriously either.

2. A fundamentalist, taking the text very literally, stops at the stop sign and waits for it to tell him to go.

3. A Christian in a mainline denomination does not bother to read the sign, but he will stop if the car in front of him does.

4. A seminary educated evangelical preacher might look up “stop” in his English lexicon and discover that it can mean: 1) Something which prevents motion, 2) A location where a train or bus lets off passengers. The main point of his sermon the following Sunday on this text is: When you see a stop sign, realize that it is a place where traffic is naturally clogged; therefore, it is a good place to let off passengers from your car.

5. A legalist does one of two things. He takes another route to work that does not have a stop sign so he does not run the risk of disobeying the law. Or he may stop at the stop sign and pray, “Thank you, Oh Lord, for your commandment to stop.” He waits three seconds according to his watch and then proceeds. He also keeps a sharp eye out to see if others run the stop sign so he can condemn them.

6. A NT scholar notices that there is no stop sign on Mark Street, but there is one on Matthew Street and Luke Street. He then concludes that the ones on Luke and Matthew Streets were copied from a sign on the street that no one has ever seen called “Q” Street.

7. A prophetic preacher of end-time theology notices that the square root of the sum of the numeric representations of the letters S-T-O-P (which are sigma tau omicron pi in the Greek alphabet), multiplied by 40 (the number of testing), divided by 4 (the number of the earth) equals 666. He concludes, therefore, that stop signs are the dreaded mark of the beast, a harbinger of Divine judgment, and must be avoided at all costs.

8. A Charismatic/Pentecostal will only stop if he feels led of the Spirit and the sign is a rhema word and not a logos word.

9. A prosperity preacher will stop at the sign, make a positive confession about stopping, and offer “the prayer of Jabez,” concluding that God must make him rich.

10. An Arminian believes that if he runs the stop sign he will lose his salvation. So with fear and trembling he works hard at stopping at every stop sign.

11. A Calvinist believes that God has predestinated his reaction to the sign. If he runs the stop sign, he was never saved to begin with. If he stops, he was elected before creation.

12. A Southern Baptist believes that God wants him to stop at the sign, but he will still be saved if he does not. For if you once stopped, you have always stopped.

13. Upon seeing the stop sign, a libertine begins to sing “Hallelujah I’m free,” pushes his foot down on the pedal and runs the stop sign at full throttle. He then gets run over by a Mack truck!

14. A liberation theologian believes that stop signs should only stop those who are of the elitist, wealthy class. But the poor are free to run them whenever they wish.

Well, this list makes a point. We all have a lens that we inherited from our religious background. And we are conditioned to interpret the Scripture, the Lord, and His speaking through that lens.

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