Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Last night I was at the University of Judaism here in L.A. for a Lecture. Avi Faust was the lecturer on the topic of Biblical Archaeology, the prophets of Israel, and the poor. It was a good lecture, but I was floored when I heard something that the introductory speaker said.

Before Avi came up to lecture, a man recapped what last week's lecture, talked about next week, and then gave some background information of Avi. Then the introductory speaker read a Scripture from the OT on loving the poor, fatherless and widow and then he quoted a verse from the "Christian Bible" (or the NT) about loving your enemies and when Jesus said that the "poor you will always have with you."

Then just as he introduced Avi to speak, he concluded his introduction by saying, "Please forgive me for quoting either from the Hebrew Bible or from the Christian Bible."

What? Are you serious? Is this man apologizing for the Bible? Is he ashamed? Does he think the Bible will offend? Of all places, I was at the university of Judaism, you think they would - if anyone would - quote from the Hebrew Bible and not be ashamed of it.

It caused me to think as I was driving home as to how desperately sick our culture is. The world we live in today is entirely afraid of absolute truth. The day and age in which we live is completely against offending anyone. It is about comfort. It is about not offending others.

Or is it?

Are we called, as believers in the Messiah Jesus, to make certain that people feel comfortable and never offend them? Is it my responsibility after I read a passage from the Bible in church, or better yet preach in church, to apologize to the listeners for quoting from the Bible for fear that it may offend someone.
Listen, if a person is NOT offended, then they will NOT get saved. The Gospel is offensive. Hear the Apostle's words:

1 Corinthians 1:18-24 18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside." 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

If there is anything in our culture that is (and MUST BE) offensive, it is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must never apologize for using, quoting, memorizing, praying through, meditating on or reveling in the Scriptures. If that is the case, then we fear man more than we fear God.

May we take a step of faith and be heralds of this Gospel unashamedly without ever apologizing for quoting Scripture. God be merciful on our generation.


G.M. Grena said...

Hi Geoffrey! I enjoyed reading your comments. I'm curious if you deliberately omitted the moderator's name (he's the Distinguished Professor of Biblical Literature at UJ), or if you genuinely couldn't remember it (I'm deliberately omitting it in case that's your position). Personally, I enjoy his intros, though I--like you--disagree with some of the beliefs he expresses. I thought he did an exceptional job at this series last year for Cristoph Uehlinger's intro. Were you there this past Monday night for Jane Cahill's lecture? And what are your thoughts about the series terminating this year? (Here's a link to my blog of Monday's lecture for reference.)

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