September 29, 2020

Open Mic at the iMonk Cafe: Gospel Texts Turned Bad (+ My SBE Guest Room Post)

openmic1Today’s iMonk Cafe open mic question may pertain more to preachers, but also to those who read sermons, hear them, read blogs, books, etc. Anyone who hears the Word handled.

Have you ever heard a text that was meant to proclaim the Gospel- the good news of what GOD has done- turned into LAW? What you had to do?

So here’s today’s question: “What are some examples you’ve heard or read of Good News Gospel texts in scripture being turned into lessons, examples, moralism, advice, demands, guilt trips, shouldas and ought tos, in other words, LAW?

Also, my occasional post at the Steve Brown, Etc guest room is up. It’s called “Sometimes I don’t like any of the answers.”


  1. Oh, I’m a little late jumping in on this one. . ..

    Worst sermon I ever heard was on Joshua 1:2. “”Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites”

    The point this pastor was making was taken from the two words “now then”. Apparemntly the use of this phrease in the text means that God wants all of us to have a “now then” moment in out lives. He spent 45 minutes describing what a “now then” moment was . . . something to do with putting the past behind, yadda yadda yadaa . … . Worst ever.

  2. DreamWings says

    I’m not sure if this is what your looking for; but this is the way I like to explain this passage to people. Hopefully explaining a story with another story doesn’t seem too off..

    We’re all children of God right? Made in His image and everything. So think about children of your own. Say you put them in someone’s care because you have to go away on a severely long trip. Then you come home and these caregivers have treated your children as their own, fed them well, helped extensively with difficult homework, and taken them along on several week long expensive family vacations. You’d be overjoyed right? That’s far more than they were expected to do. These people, even if they weren’t before, would be held as some of your dearest and most respected friends.
    Now take the reverse. You come home and find your children haven’t been bathed. They’ve been missing school because their ‘guardians’ couldn’t be bothered to drive them. Your oldest ran away for two weeks and your youngest has lice. Oh yeah, and there’s the strong possibility one of the ‘guardians’ creepy older relations was making sexual advances towards your twelve year old. Enraged doesn’t even begin to cover it. Your first stop the next day is going to be to a law office and likely the police. You’ll probably even consider taking matters, violently, into your own hands.

    This passage sounds like its about law but it seems more to me to be about relationships. God has asked us to take care of his own. To love those created in His Image. And if you think the Master in the Parable of the Talents got serious about the use and misuse of his money; how much more is the shepherd of this parable going to be about his flock?

  3. OK, I didn’t get done reading the then-30+ comments last night before I had to leave. Now, I’m back- there are 99 comments but only two are visible? I hope they are in the process of being checked & posted or else, man, that is a powerful heap of Moderatin’! (As Jethro Bodine would say!)

  4. Cedric: See the “Older Comments” Tab please. At the end of the comments thread.

  5. Some of these things are traps that are really easy to fall into. I think the “What lepers will you touch today?” is a well-meaning question, and it is applicative in a secondary or tertiary sense, but to speak of it only in that way takes the focus off of Jesus as the realization that God is more wonderful than the people of his day (and we) expected.

    “What’s that in your hand?” Seriously? This happened? That’s close to Snopes-worthy in my opinion.

    I’m always struck by the emphasis that Matthew 5:27-30 receives in regard to adultery but how we pass over the admonitions of 5:21-26. Either they’re both incredibly weighty or they’re both not.