Firing of Sunday School Teacher Inconsistent with Biblical Literalism

First, let me just say I am not a literalist in that I believe the Bible is to be taken 100% literally. I recognize that there are figures of speech, hyperbole, parables, metaphors, anthropomorphization, and other common literary tools used throughout Scripture. I am, however, a biblical literalist upon all other points which the text itself does not insinuate as being anything but literal. For instance, nothing in Genesis 1, 2, or the rest of the Bible for that matter even hints at the creation account being anything other than literal, and so I accept it as such as well.

Second, have any other believers noticed how often objections are raised against Christians, and that more often than not they stem from a misunderstanding of the Law of Moses and how it applies to the Christian?

Leonard Pitts, Jr., in a column on states that it was inconsistent for the First Baptist Church of Waterton, NY, to fire a female Sunday school teacher because she was a woman on the basis of what the Bible said regarding women speaking in church assemblies.

Rather than exegete the relevant passages (1 Timothy 2:11-14; 1 Corinthians 14:34,35) to figure out what Paul actually meant (if not what the text plainly says), Mr. Pitts uses the common straw man argument that says if a church is not following through on the death penalty injunctions and other laws given to Moses for Israel, then it is being inconsistent.

I call this a straw man because it is a position which assumes that national instruction given to Israel as part of a covenant with the nation of Israel is somehow pertinent to the body of Christian believers, which is neither a nation nor Israel. Such a position would be akin to someone judging modern American governments for not governing according to Native American principles. In the same way that this land gave way to a new form of government, so has the Law of Moses been superceded by the Law of Christ. We can learn a lot from the Law of Moses–perhaps a lot more than many give it credit for–and it will ever be a source of study and edification for those who, like David, love God’s Law, Christians are free from the Law and the condemnation it brought.

It should also be pointed out that it is certainly in line with the mind of God to believe that adulterers, rebellious teens, Sabbath breakers, etc. all deserve death, it should be pointed out that Paul emphatically declares that it is the government which bears the sword of wrath against those who would transgress. It is not a matter for churches to execute; rather, we are called to show love and mercy, something I often neglect to do.

This issue comes up so often–I see it in the headlines listed in Google News at the very least on a weekly basis–and there seems to be so much ignorance regarding the word of God in America. I think that’s another thing Christians are guilty of–assuming everyone here in the States has already had exposure to the Bible and knows its basic teachings.

The relationship between the Church and the Law of God has always been a tricky one. I’m fairly confident everything I said above is accurate, theologically, but I may find out I’m wrong. The middle portion of the Book of Romans seems an ever-filling, overflowing fountain of knowledge regarding the Jews and the Christians, and there is, for my part, still much study to be done just on that portion of Scripture.

But since this misconception appears so often–that Christians are unwilling to put to death transgressors of Israel’s Law and so there is obviously something wrong with the Bible–that we should all be ready to give a reply to it. With the exception of some more vengeful, hateful “Christians”… Why don’t we cast the first stone? Why don’t we stone certain transgressors? How do we explain such a change from Malachi to Matthew in simple terms?

Certainly looks like plenty to study on for the next long while. :D

2 thoughts on “Firing of Sunday School Teacher Inconsistent with Biblical Literalism”

  1. Man, you hit the nail on the head here. It’s such a touchy issue to begin with. Understanding the context in which the biblical writings were written is of utmost importance, as you pointed out. Most misconceptions, I find, arise out of my own misunderstanding of the culture of the day.

  2. ” How do we explain such a change from Malachi to Matthew in simple terms?”

    I totally understand.I live in the Middle east and when i tell Muslims about the transitition from the Law of Moses to the Law under Jesus.They seem to get the point.But its so much more difficult to get some christians understand the difference.

    The reason for this is:Fundamentally we feel that any law is Bad.(I mean from a very basis sesnse,we think that “No rules” is always better than “Rules”.

    So in that sense it will seem stupid to go from one set of rules to ANOTHER!

    Thats where the challenge lies:You need to explain the freedom attained through the Laws of Jesus Vs the law of Moses.

    Side Note:
    On the other hand,a muslim who is born under the Quranic law is taught the right things to eat,drink,practice and almost every aspect of common life is written.Recently a cleric banned Life indurance in India!! (Google link not incl.)

    Thats why muslims seem to understand the transition better.

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