Great Expectations

My name is Mark Smith. I'm a guy who loves Jesus, His Word, and His Church. I am filled with Great Expectations for what the future will ultimately bring - Matthew 24:14.

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Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

My favourite verse is Psalm 16:11, my other favourite verse is Acts 20:24, my other favourite verse is Habakkuk 3:17-19, and my other favourite verse is Matthew 24:14.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Appearance of Evil

The 19th President of the USA (Rutherford B. Hayes) once said, "In avoiding the appearance of evil, I am not sure but I have sometimes unnecessarily deprived myself and others of innocent enjoyments."

Why then would he bother avoiding the appearance of evil? "Because the Bible says so!" No, actually the Bible does not say to avoid the appearance of evil. I just realized this recently when I had been thinking about it all day and then read Mark Driscoll at night explain how the phrase "avoid every appearance of evil" is from the King James Version of the Bible and is a blatant mistranslation of what 1 Thessalonians 5:22 really says. Neither 1 Thessalonians 5:22 nor any other verse in the Bible instructs us to avoid the appearance of evil. I started to wonder about it when I thought about Jesus hanging out with sinners and tax collectors and prostitutes, et cetera, and how he was not really avoiding the appearance of evil whatsoever. He was right in the mix seeking to save evil people like a doctor hangs around sick people to try to heal them. So if we follow Christ's example then we're going to have to hang with some people and probably in some places where some legalistic Christian might think that we are appearing to do something evil. Interesting.... What we must do is what 1 Thessalonians 5:22 really says, which is, "Abstain from every form of evil." We need to avoid actual evil. Not some false appearance. This doesn't mean we can put ourselves in situations where temptation to evil will be too much for us. Certainly wisdom and discernment is desperately needed here. But let's not fall into the pharisaical trap of putting extra rules out there (like avoid the appearance of evil) for the sake of keeping the real rule (avoid actual forms of evil).

I heard my pastor mention one time about a guy in a former church of his who was pround of having lived his whole life avoiding every apperance of evil. The example he was most proud of was the fact that he had never had his non-Christian neighbour inside his house for anything. What a shame! Perhaps he could have saved that neighbour if he had realized that his zeal was completely misplaced. If he had been as zealous about 1 Corinthians 9:18-23 as he was about his mistranslation of 1 Thessalonians 5:22 who knows if his neighbour would be in Heaven right now....

I guess this is another reason to be constantly searching the Scriptures to find out how to live and not to be relying on tradition. Like Jim Cymbala once said, there is some good meat in tradition...but a lot of bones in it too.

The Bible, on the other hand, is all pure meat so let's dig in.


Blogger Patrick Sutherland said...

Exellcent post... I affirm this message... I think of a line in a song I once posted part of here that says "So what must we do, here in the west we want to follow you... we speak the language and we keep all the rules... even a few we made up"

Its intriguing that often in attempts to make the christian walk easier we create rules and regulations based on what or who a christian should be. The bible talks about this as trying to make a new law... instead of going back the people were attempting to create a new law structured around the teaching of Jews and Christ. And to quote the same artist in a different song
"what's the point of trading a law you can never keep, for one you can but cannot get you anything."

The bible calls us to live life and learn the rythm of grace... it's not easy, and its not all black and white. When describing jazz music one would say it has 'soul.' A depth, a truth, the markings of a meaningful thing, has soul. And as we strive to become people with souls... we need to balance the unknown black and white... and tread through the difficult waters til we come out on the other side prepared to live with soul.

So in conclusion... I like your post

P the P

Monday, September 04, 2006 3:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting Mark...

Monday, September 11, 2006 12:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nonetheless, sometimes "I get anxious and feel the urge to run..." ha ha...good old J.R.

Monday, September 11, 2006 3:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must be careful with this idea of Jesus hanging out with tax collects, sinners and prostitutes. Yes Jesus did in the course of everyday life but did Jesus enter 1st century taverns and brothels? I do not think so. When he was accused he was simply having a meal at Levi's house with some of his unsaved friends. Be careful. Some use this concept as a license to get to close to the world to satisfy the flesh rather than fleeing from its evil.

Monday, September 11, 2006 3:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mark D. Smith said...

Pat, I just heard that song cause Derek Webb put that album online to download for free! What a song!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 7:59:00 PM  

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