CHRISTIAN ’CONTEXT’ IN CONTEXT.
I find that whenever I disagree with Christians on Biblical issues they almost without fail play the context card. Context is always the magical key that unlocks Jesus’s/God's words.
Let us briefly examine two popular examples and have a look at this “Get Out Of Jail Free” card called context:
1. The Second Coming:
Matthew 24:36 clearly states that the Second Coming was going to happen within that specific generation:
Mat 24:34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
Matthew 16: 28 is even clearer on the issue. It will happen within the lifetimes of some in the audience.
Mat 16:28 "Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.
Can it be clearer than that?
2. The Sermon on the Mount (or was it the Plain?)
Mat_7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
An unconditional promise by Jesus that He will deliver. All you have to do is ask, see or knock. Does that work? Sadly, no.
Mat 6:31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
Mat 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
No need to elaborate. If this not the worst advice anyone can give a person, I would like to see what is. No need to worry about saving for your retirement or to provide for your family. There will be provided for you. Does that happen? Sadly, no.
Again Christians will not agree and point me to some mostly unrelated verses to go and find some of the magical and oh-so-evasive context.
“Oh, but you don’t understand. You are quoting out of context!” I already hear them say. “You should look at what Peter says in Acts.” or “Paul said this, that and the other in his epistles.”
a) Do Christians really expect the faithful to value the word of Peter or Paul over that of their Messiah, which, according to their own doctrine, is God Himself, in search for ‘context’?
b) a) The audiences in both these examples were mostly illiterate, working class people. One would expect Jesus/Almighty God to realise this and not to address them in riddles on such important issues, but in a clear, unambiguous language that they all could all understand without the need of ‘context’.
c) b) Who was Jesus addressing – the largely illiterate crowd of the 1st century or us, a people who live a distant 2000 years ahead of their time?
d) c) Christians are always reminding/expecting others to look at the New Testament in context, almost always in Acts or the letters of Paul. But ask yourself this – what ‘context’ was available to the crowd in the time of these utterances of Jesus? This was around the year 30CE. These people did not have a New Testament to run to for context, simply because it did not exist at the time. The first New Testament (not even in its final form) was compiled under very suspect conditions in 325CE at the Council of Nicea. (Google is your friend) All the people in the crowd had to go on was the verbatim words of Jesus/God which they heard first hand. How can Christians justify sidelining this in favour of looking for context in the works of mere mortals, written many decades after the fact?
To me it seems as if Christians, when the words of their Messiah do not suit their agenda, are inclined to go and look elsewhere for ‘context’. It doing so, the words of Jesus are twisted, trimmed, panel-beated, and sometimes blatantly distorted until it fits.
[All quoted verses from the New International Version (NIV) Bible]
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