Is It Time for You to Attack the British?

Some might find this post a little odd, irrelevant and disturbing (in that order), but I beg of you to stick with me until the end.  I hope when you finish you aren’t disturbed as much as challenged.  What I don’t want is for you to write-off what it says simply because it may go against practices you have been taught your entire Christian life.  Those practices, as much as we hate to use the term, are simply religious traditions if they aren’t found in the Word of God.  If they are found there, then it isn’t a tradition we practice but obedience.  So, what religious practice is on the table for discussion?  I’m glad you asked….

On the night of December 25th, 1776 George Washington crossed the icy Delaware River and unexpectedly attacked British forces located on the other side.  As George Washington was one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, my message to all American readers is that they too must attack the British if they are to follow in the footsteps of those who went before us and prove themselves good American citizens!  The history books are accurate, they are clear, and they exist so that we might learn from them and guide our way forward by reviewing what happened in the past.  So how can we say we are being good Americans living in-line with our heritage if we don’t find a river with some British on the other side we can target?  We can’t, at least, not if we use our history books as our literal guide in moving forward.

Are you with me?  Before we run off and find a Brit to attack, maybe we should slow down just a bit and think this over.  After all, it sounds a tad ridiculous to use a history book as our example in what we are to literally go do today.  Do you think maybe we could just use it as a metaphor?  That might work better!  My son used to have a British soccer coach that made some in-game decisions I disliked, so maybe I should have crossed the field unexpectedly (the “Delaware River”) and challenged him on his decisions (“the “attack”).  While that may be the less violent way forward, I’m still getting the feeling that it really isn’t the motive that drove virtually every major American historian to share the account of Washington in their books.  Maybe what I should do instead is look into what was going on at the time of Washington’s attack (the Revolutionary War) and what his motives were in carrying it out (the desire for freedom).  If I did this, I would no doubt learn of our heritage and how much our founding fathers treasured freedom even to the point of risking and giving their lives for it.  The lessons learned would be more in-line with how all people should strive for these freedoms and understand that sometimes they aren’t easy to obtain or keep once they have been acquired.  Maybe another lesson would be a sense of appreciation for the price paid by those who went before me.  But would I have learned that I should be attacking British folk and yelling at soccer coaches?  No, not so much.

This whole discussion may seem a bit irrelevant when the topic is Christian practices and tradition, but I assure you it isn’t.  The kind of reading and study I’m poking fun at here is exactly what several major denominations, missionary organizations and publishing houses have adopted over the last few decades, and countless churches have taught these methods of study to millions of Christians as a result.  If you are a Christian in the United States, it only takes the flip of a switch to turn on a television or radio and hear someone holding up the account of David fighting Goliath as an example of righteous conquest that you are to imitate in your daily walk.  They usually go the metaphorical route (which is good, nobody owns a sling these days) but they still promote an imitation rather than a study of what was going on and what should truly be learned.  And it’s not just Old Testament events, either.  We are told that we are to get out of the boat like Peter, raise the dead like Paul and heal the blind like Ananias.  These are all historical accounts and nowhere (I repeat – absolutely nowhere) are we told that they are recorded for us to imitate any more than we are to imitate other historical events like Washington at the Delaware.  Our Lord told to study Scripture, learn from it, pray for wisdom concerning it, but never are we told that passages describing historical events are to be the literal or metaphorical map for our road ahead.  This way of reading and applying Scripture is actually fairly new to the church, and I’m not sure you would find it many places other than 1st world, western countries over the last 60-80 years.  It’s a tradition, and a fairly recent one at that.

This will sound crazy and maybe even offensive to many readers as this is the accepted method of preaching and teaching in most Christian institutions these days, but it isn’t crazy at all.  It’s hard to re-think a tradition that has become a modern foundation for the faith, isn’t it?  Many folks won’t even allow themselves to consider it!  But my challenge today is that you look through Scripture and see if you can find any place that teaches or directs this way of Bible study.  Look at passages in context, think of who was writing and who the original readers were, and then think of how they would have read the text.  That will be the first, biggest step toward understanding the true meaning which will then lead to the true application.  The truths learned in the Bible should guide our actions and paths, but minimizing those truths so as to embark on some type of reenactment (literal or symbolic) can lead to great trouble.

To many, this will be a tough challenge, but I believe it’s an extremely important one.  Do you really want to hear from God and know the way forward?  Then start reading what He wrote and start thinking about it.  Not so as to imitate, but to learn and then use what you have learned to guide your decisions.  We must stop the practice of inserting our names in the passage so we can think of them as being about us (they aren’t).  We must stop creating clever metaphors for ourselves so as to build a map forward.  And we must stop taking descriptive history lessons and making them prescriptive action-plans.  This method of study is obviously ridiculous when we apply it to American history so where did we learn that it was the acceptable way to study God’s Word?  Not from the pages of Scripture, that much I know.

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One Comment on “Is It Time for You to Attack the British?”

  1. Paul Says:

    Great post bro! Interestingly enough, you notice how Word of Faith people never use the negative verses and insert their names? Just the positive verses? Why? Because it’s another instance of self-worship. Human nature always wants to be on top, rich, successful and popular. We don’t want to suffer and be persecuted for our faith.

    This alone will weed out the tares from the wheat.

    Reply

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