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Picking and Choosing

In 'The Blue Parakeet', Scot McKnight says:

What I learned was an uncomfortable but incredibly intriguing truth: every one of us adopts the Bible and (at the same time) adapts the Bible to our culture.....Everyone picks and chooses.... I believe many of us want to know why we pick and choose.  Even more importantly, many of us want to know how to do this in a way that honors God and embraces the Bible as God's word for all times.

He gives some examples of how Christians Pick and Choose:
  • In the bible, observing the Sabbath meant doing no work from Friday night to Saturday Night (Ex 20:9-10) yet not many Christians really practice Sabbath.
  • Tithing in the bible includes support for temple workers, the poor, and aliens.  This is different to how tithing is practiced in many churches.
  • Jesus commanded footwashing in John 13:14, but most of us haven't done this or if we have, don't do it regularly
  • Not many Christians follow Jesus specific instruction: 'In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have [possessions] cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:33)'

Even within one passage this occurs.  You might like to go through this list and mark the commands from Leviticus you think we should observe today:

  1. Be holy, because I, the Lord your God am holy (19:2)
  2. You must observe my Sabbaths, I am the Lord your God (19:3)
  3. When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God. (19:9-10)
  4. Do not go about spreading slander among your people (19:16)
  5. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.  Do not wear clothing woven with two kinds of materials (19:19)
  6. Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it (19:26)
  7. Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard (19:27)
  8. Do not ... put tattoo marks on yourselves.  I am the Lord (19:28)
  9. Stand up in the presence of the aged (19:32)
  10. Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them.  I am the Lord (19:37)

David Wanstall, 15/06/2011