I love turkey. Thanksgiving starts me thinking of it, and then Christmas comes…. Yum…. I could happily eat turkey several times a week. Yes, I am an un-apologetic Carnivore. 😀 Actually, I love tofu. I like tempeh too. I buy them. I eat them- so you know this post is NOT about the evils of tofu, or any such nonsense. It IS about Tofurkey. Preparing a Turkey is time intensive. It must be handled carefully, thawed properly, cooked carefully. Tofurkey? Well let’s just say if you leave it out on the counter a little too long before you cook it- it probably wouldn’t kill you. A real turkey could.
Now- no one I know would pretend Tofurkey is actually flesh. True, it looks a bit like turkey, and it may even taste quite a bit like turkey…but if you served me tofurkey when I was expecting The Real Deal- let’s just say, I’d know. :p Recently I have encountered some scriptural tofurkey. Looked like Bible, sounded like scripture…sounded Christian enough…but it was definitely NOT the Real Deal. Shockingly enough, this was coming from my very own Pastor. 😦
So if I understand the making of tofu correctly, it goes something like this… Soybeans are fermented…until they get mushy maybe? At any rate, the resulting goo- which is called ‘curd’ much like the beginnings of cheese- is then refined a bit, perhaps pressed, and eventually you get a block of the wonderful wiggly white stuff. 🙂 We arrive at Scriptural tofu in much the same way. First you take the genuine article, a passage of scripture for example, and then you remove it from its living element (context) and allow it to begin to decompose. In time, you have an indistinct sludge which you can adapt to support any of your opinions with astonishing ease. *yuck*
Interpreting Scripture requires accountability. Given the human being’s capacity to extend rationalization into the far reaches of logic, we must be careful not to put our own spin on things. One man in particular, has taken the process of manipulating Scripture to a whole new level. Bill Gothard. He’s taken his liberties with the Word WAAAYYYY beyond proof texting- which is pulling a verse out straight from Scripture to prove a point- and he has invented something that looks good. It smells convincing and has the right labels- but what he has created is some serious Tofurkey. He has created his own version of the Old Testament Law- based in the New Testament. And my very own beloved Pastor is under that man’s influence. 😦
The Bible places accountability for recognizing truth and avoiding deception squarely on our own shoulders. This is, in fact, the recurring theme in 1st and 2nd Timothy. I love reading in Timothy. Nothing is more encouraging to a young(ish) Believer dedicated to learning Holiness, than the letters Paul wrote to his protégé. Paul loved Timothy like a son. ❤ He was the one to whom Paul chose to pass the ‘torch’ of his ministry, and Paul asked Timothy to choose other worthy people to pass that torch to, yet again. You see, Paul’s main concern was that the Gospel message– ‘Jesus the Christ, Son of God, crucified for us and raised again’- was passed on in its purest of forms. Why would Paul have boiled the message down to its bare bones? Because He knew just how easy it is to use a human mind to embellish and distort the Word of the Truth.
It happens sometimes by accident! I don’t think there is one of us who- in our study of the scriptures- haven’t read a passage and thought, “Am I an idiot? What does this MEAN???” Remember the Ethiopian? In Acts 8:28-40 we read of a man studying the scriptures. He needed someone to explain them, someone to enlighten him. When a person is open in this way, he is vulnerable. We yearn for knowledge; we yearn for that depth of understanding. Like Fox Mulder said, “I WANT to believe!” How open are we then, to untruths? We sometimes stretch so hard, to grasp something from what we read, we reach right past truth and grasp something we did not intend, a product of our own reasoning.
Even so, THIS is not sin. Oh no. It is error. It can become sin if we cease to prayerfully examine what we have concluded. If we close our ears then, to the Holy Spirit’s prompts and begin to insist that this is THE truth- it is now that we fall into sin. And if we go further? If we begin to preach that what we have invented is truth, what have we done?
I believe that I am responsible for the words coming out of my mouth, and for the conclusions I draw and post here at Dare to Disciple. I am responsible for checking and Re-checking that what I say is truth. I have the entire Bible to measure my thoughts against- and just in case the Living Word is not enough, I have the Holy Spirit to guide me, and teach me, and to provide ‘checks’ against what might be untruth. The bottom line is that if I am paying ATTENTION! I will be instructed and informed when I make mistakes. I WILL make mistakes. I count on it. But God is Faithful; because as Paul reminded Timothy, “When we are faithless, He will remain Faithful; for he cannot disown himself.”