God showed me something that I’ve never seen before. We actually don’t have to worry about washing our hands during the COVID-19 pandemic! Jesus even said so.
You see, when he was owning the Pharisees, Jesus said that hand washing doesn’t matter and that what goes into the body doesn’t defile it. The only thing that matters is what is on the inside, and the real you is on the inside, and God thinks you’re awesome.
It’s that easy
No doubt, some of you are ready to fling your phone or computer monitor across the room, but the preceding two paragraphs had a point. It really is that easy to twist Scripture to say whatever you want, provided you yank a verse or even half a verse – Matthew 15 in this case – out of context. It’s even easier when it’s not even read out but merely driven by, waved at, and passed on for the next biblical tourist attraction before reaching our final destination of Sola Feels.
In the opening paragraph, I went from zero to “God told me” to modern headline to appealing to Jesus to ripping on Pharisees (read: “anyone with any shred of doctrinal standards”) to proto-Gnosticism to Pelagianism at a breakneck pace. So quickly, in fact, that those who haven’t connected certain dots within the Christian faith – whether by inexperience, immaturity, or both – could have fallen prey to any or all of those errors.
And that’s how the prosperity preachers and theological liberals get you. “You will be the head and not the tail,” they say. “God will heal our land.” “He will deliver you from pestilence.” “God so loved the WORLD.” “Justification and life for all men.”
And before long, it’s declarations of, “COVID-19!” coupled with blowing a raspberry, and, “Substitutionary atonement is divine child abuse. What kind of god would be so petulant that he had to kill his own Son to stop being angry?” First they hook you with real phrases in the Bible that actually promise far more than how they apply them, then they reel you in with an emotional ploy, then they net you with heresy so egregious that they’ve actually invented a new religion.
But it’s not all doom and gloom
Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to refute nonsense like this or even the Fauci/Bill Gates/Wuhan lab/mark of the beast conspiracy theories. A quick Google search for the phrase in question – or an Accordance, Bible Hub, or Logos search for biblical references – will bring up the verses where the phrase is found. Put that in the chapter or chapters surrounding and voila, the context itself debunks the abuse of Scripture. And if it’s a particularly crafty abuse, free commentaries abound on sites like Bible Hub, and explanatory blogs can often be found on Desiring God, Ligonier, etc. You can even do the same with some of the terms I’ve thrown around here, all from the comfort of the supercomputer you carry in your pocket. The cat videos can wait.
And, yes, there is biblical support for this, and I invite you to fact check me on this. The Bereans were considered “more noble” than the Thessalonians because they fact checked Paul and Silas. They very much touched God’s anointed, to further twist yet another twisted Scripture (And I’m both surprised and disappointed that a Christian hair band hasn’t used that as their name). Though it’s not explicit in Acts 17, there’s a real possibility that Paul and Silas muffed a point here and there or occasionally didn’t speak with the greatest of clarity, so the Bereans likely had to ask clarifying questions and were ready to refute the Apostle if what he said contradicted the Scriptures, which was the Old Testament in their case.
This is a good and godly thing to do, and we would be wise to exercise this responsibility every time someone claims to speak for God.