Bread – Sources

May 8, 2009

Readings for Friday, May 8   
    from the Book of Common Prayer:
    Col. 3:1-11; Luke 7:1-17
    Psalms 40. 51, 54

One of my favorite sayings is "Give me control over the assumptions, and I can deliver to you any conclusion you want."  Translated differently, we are only as good as our sources of information because these provide the predicate, the basis upon which we will make decisions and act; if these are bad, we will come to bad conclusions and engage in poor behaviors, with undesirable outcomes.  If the source of our understanding is impure, we will be or will become sick.

You may have noticed this week that I have had no Old Testament lesson listed.  The reason for this is that the Book of Common Prayer dictates for this week that the Old Testament readings come from the book of "Wisdom."  This book is sometimes referred to as the "Wisdom of Solomon" and is a book contained in the Apocrypha, a section of the Bible which does not appear in most Protestant Bible translations.  The reason for this is that the books of the Apocrypha are not considered by the historical church as part of the "canon" of the Bible; in other words, there is no consensus from the historical church that these books are Scripture.  Instead, those people who include the books of the Apocrypha recognize that the books of the Apocrypha are "almost" Scripture, that although they are not useable to establish doctrines of the church, nonetheless they may be useful for obtaining wisdom.

I do not include them, however, in my listed readings because Wisdom (of Solomon) is not part of the canon of Scripture and, as a result, is an impure source.  Impure sources control conclusions, and not necessarily in desirable ways.

One problem we have as people is that we do not differentiate among sources very well.  We may use the Bible as a source of our understanding about, say evolution, but we may mix up that understanding with using sources about evolution from science, pseudo-science, philosophy, Oprah Winfrey, the internet, the History Channel, NBC television, public radio, our next-door neighbor, etc.  Perhaps we may have so many sources that our conclusions are always changing, based upon the most recent source we have drunk from.

Unfortunately, we have been taught and our own suspicions confirm in regular life that one can only discern the truth by using several sources, because each one is biased.  This is why so many people read so many newspapers or watch so many different opinion shows on television — on the theory that, if I can get a lot of biased information from a lot of different sources, the "truth of the situation" will somehow come out.  Our distrust of sources has burrowed so deep into our thought patterns that we feel very uncomfortable in relying upon a single source.

And yet, isn’t that what the Bible is?  A single source (actually a number of sources combined into a single message)?  Isn’t that what Jesus Christ is?  A single source?

Perhaps it is our fear of single sources that drives us to try to "tease out the truth" by using other sources.  Perhaps that is why we try to understand the Bible using so many man-made theories and sources.  Perhaps that is why we feel it so necessary to "add to" what the Bible says.

Ask yourself the question, where am I on the slippery slope of multiple sources?  Do I consider the Bible and Jesus Christ the only source?  Do I consider them the primary source?  Or do I consider them a good source?  Finally, do I consider them one of many sources?

It doesn’t take long to go from one place to the other.  To use a contemporary example, in our drive for tolerance we recognize that there are many sources of the "truth," and that great wisdom (translated as wisdom that agrees with me) can come from many places and many religions.

In today’s letter to the Colossians, Paul addresses this in the context of salvation.  He says:

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things about, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things…Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature….since you have taken off your old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge of the image of its Creator."  Col. 3:1-10

Restated, "since you have been raised with Christ, rely upon Him and His Word (Scripture) as the source of your behavior.  Get rid of your reliance upon secular, poisoned sources, and put on the source of life itself."

Do you rely on sources outside of the Bible and Christ for your information, for your assumptions about living?

The devil says "give me control over the assumptions, and I will deliver you whatever conclusion you want."

God says "give me control over the assumptions, and I will deliver to you peace, joy, and eternal life."

Consider carefully what you want and then consider who is controlling the assumptions.  In other words, "consider the source."

Lord, help us to wisely answer the question, "Will you really lay down your life for Me?"  Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture, and to solely rely upon them as our source of information about how we should live.  Help us Lord to come to You, once having come to You to become closer to You, and to preach the Gospel to all people in all circumstances, in and out of season, as You have commanded.  Help us know that You are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be willing and obedient servants.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank You and praise You!  Amen.


One Response to “Bread – Sources”

  1. Bob L Says:

    Fantastic Bread! I had to fight this battle in my own heart on Creation v Evolution. Finally I surrendered to the authority of Scripture. It took quite a while, though.

    We are so used to triangulating to validate information received from other (imperfect) people that many do likewise for faith. But you don’t have to triangulate on a God who is everywhere (Ps 139). One of the joys of faith is knowing that you never have to ask God, “Are you sure?”

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