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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « Selling Christianity Part 2: The Church "Service" | Be Picky Eaters »
    Tuesday
    Jun072011

    Selling Christianity Part 1: The Bible

    Plagiarism has become such a widespread problem that now in most any high school or college course, students must complete a small packet of information defining, explaining, and providing step-by-step instructions for avoiding even unintentional plagiarism.

     

    It is such a serious offense, a student may automatically fail a test or assignment, and in some cases even be removed from class. Professionals caught plagiarizing stand to lose their positions and reputations.

     

    The Purdue University’s online writing lab defines plagiarism as “the uncredited use (both intentional and unintentional) of somebody else's words or ideas” (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/01/).    

     

    It is one of the tricky things about plagiarism that an author may take the written ideas and/or words of another and slightly change them slightly to fit their immediate needs.

     

    Many times, this is what we do (usually with good intentions) to the Bible in order to make it “nicer” or more relevant to others, especially non-believers. But God’s word can stand up for itself.

     

    We do not need to feel obliged to change wording, by softening, removing, or adding verbiage in an attempt to make it more appealing to others (this is plagiarism). It was here long before we were, and it will stand long after we’ve gone. 

     

    Even if we may sell people on it, by changing it to be “relevant” we end up selling a lie. Truth is offensive to most people because they don’t want it. If their lives do not line up with the truth, they would need to change. And many people don’t want to change. They are “happy” with the way their lives are (most importantly, they feel in charge). 1 John 3:13,  

    “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.”

     

    The great thing about truth is that it never, ever changes. Fads come and go, but the truth does not fluctuate even a little.

     

    If Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), if “the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32), if “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), if John 1 is right that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”, then we have NO BUSINESS altering Scripture.

     

    I am not advocating against translations (the Message Bible is NOT a translation by the way, however they market it. Do some basic research on it.), but against the concept of making it “relevant”. By changing the Bible to say things the way we deem fit (even by taking verses out of context), it ceases to say what God sees fit.

     

    Helping people understand what the Bible is saying is one thing; trying to make it sound good so people will like it is another thing. It is our job to present information and truth in a loving manner. It is not our job to sell God, the Bible, or Christianity.

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