I love jigsaw puzzles. There is something both compelling and satisfying in assembling the pieces of a puzzle and watching a picture slowly emerge.
A few days ago a co-worker brought a puzzle to work and many in the office helped assemble the 1000 piece seaside scene over the course of a week. While the social dynamic of passersby stopping to add a piece or two was interesting, I pondered the unspoken pattern which was naturally followed by all of the participants. First the corners and border were put in place, then major obvious parts of the image before the less clear and detailed pieces were assembled.
I’ve put puzzles together with many groups and the largely unspoken pattern is almost always followed. Start with the most obvious and work toward the less clear.
Theology and doctrine is supposed to be much the same way: Start with the obvious indisputable verses and work toward those that are less clear. In fact, the rules of interpretation (Hermeneutics) dictate that clear verses be used to understand unclear or difficult verses, not the other way around. Like a puzzle, we start with the unambiguous parts of the picture before progressively working toward the less clear parts of the image.
The image printed on the puzzle pieces does not change, so to correctly reflect what appears on the box top, we must not mash pieces together or throw out pieces that do not fit our preconceived notion of the picture. In like manner, God does not change and His Word is everlasting. Every single verse fits and not one is tossed out or brought to naught. (Scripture never contradicts Scripture, a topic explored in this post: What is truth? I highly recommend the Van Kampen quote in that article!!)
All of this leads me to my very simple point: Here are five verses that overturn much dogma (improperly assembled doctrines in Christian theology). Remember, the obvious clear verse cannot be discounted and must set the standard for less clear verses…
- Exodus 31:16-17 So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to [a]celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”
- Exodus 12:14 ‘Now this day [Passover] will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as [p]a permanent ordinance.
- Leviticus 11:45 For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’” 46 This is the law regarding the animal and the bird, and every living thing that moves in the waters and everything that swarms on the earth, 47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the edible creature and the creature which is not to be eaten.
- Leviticus 23:21 On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations. (Repeated four times in Lev. 23. see vss. 14, 21, 31, 41!!)
- Psalm 119:1 How blessed are those whose way is [a]blameless,
Who walk in the law (Torah) of the Lord.
If these verses do not square with your doctrines, then the solution is not to take a very clear statement of everlasting Word and sweep it under the rug, rather, you must re-evaluate your doctrine. Truth demands it!
There are hundreds of clear verses in Scripture that do not square with with basic Christian doctrines. The verses are not wrong, the doctrines are….