Monday, July 30, 2012

The Real Thing

For those of you are are unfamiliar with this song, its called "The Rain Song."  Believe it or not, its by Led Zeppelin -- yep, as in Stairway to Heaven.  As I think about it, some of you who are familiar with The Rain Song probably didn't recognize my rendition!

You may be wondering why I would post a video of myself playing guitar.  Well, I'm glad you asked.  And let me start by assuring you that my purpose in posting this was not to show off my limited guitar skills. 

If you are unfamiliar with this song and/or are not a musician, it may not have sounded half bad.  In fact, I don't think it sounds half bad.  

On the other hand, if you are a big Led Zeppelin fan or an accomplished guitarist, you probably noticed a number of things that are not quite right about my rendition.  As a few examples, the timing is off, I missed a few notes, I cheated on a few chords that are hard for me to play and there are some fills that it would take far longer to master than the time I am willing to put in.  After all, I play for fun and relaxation.  I don't see myself joining the worship team anytime soon. 

My point is this -- while my rendition of The Rain Song may resemble the real thing in a lot of ways, if you were to really compare my version with the real thing you would see that there are significant differences between the two.  For the untrained ear, I may have played close enough to the original that it would not immediately strike you that there are problems with my version.  But, trust me, they are there.

What does all of this have to do with the Christian faith or the Bible?  I'm glad you asked!

You see, I am concerned that Christians in America today are, on the whole, ill-equipped to tell when there are significant differences between what is being preached on TV, on the radio, on the internet and even sometimes in our local churches and the authentic message of the Bible.  I am concerned that all too often what is being taught has just enough truth and just enough familiarity to be taken on faith, with no real discernment about its accuracy or consistency with the teachings of Christ.
We obviously live in an age of unprecedented access to information.  And, there is a great deal of really good information and resources out there for people with a desire to deepen their understanding of the Bible.  But, there is also, not surprisingly, a wealth of misinformation out there as well.

In preparing to write this blog I looked at a number of studies on Bible literacy.  Some of the statistics I read would have been really funny (simple things like the percentage of people who can name all four Gospels) if the problem were not so pervasive and so serious.

And, even those who do regularly read the Bible apparently do so in only a cursory way.  After a recent study on Biblical literacy, the Barna group had this to say:  

“Bible reading has become the religious equivalent of sound-bite journalism. When people read from the Bible they typically open it, read a brief passage without much regard for the context, and consider the primary thought or feeling that the passage provided. If they are comfortable with it, they accept it; otherwise, they deem it interesting but irrelevant to their life, and move on. There is shockingly little growth evident in people’s understanding of the fundamental themes of the scriptures and amazingly little interest in deepening their knowledge and application of biblical principles."
It is my hope and prayer that you not only take the time to read the Bible, but that you do so regularly and with a seriousness of purpose.  There is so much good that comes out of really studying and meditating on God's Word.  And, at some point I will try to write about that and look at some resources that might help you develop that discipline.   
For the time being though, I just want to emphasize that there is a great danger in not spending time in the Bible.  Jesus warned us that churches would be infiltrated with wolves and false teachers.  He was, not surprisingly, right.

And, I guess my question for you today is this:  Do you know the Bible well enough to tell an imitation from the real thing?

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Matthew 7:15-20


Nancy Golden said...

Phil and I loved it - Pastor John can jam! Great message too. It is very scary how secular thinking is being passed off as Biblical truths. We need to be "thinking" Christians armed with the knowledge of the real truth of God's Word if we are going to be light in a dark world that desperately needs Jesus!

PG said...

Great rendition Pastor John. Thank you for your blog, it has been very encouraging to read.

Blog Archive