Yep, the golden rule, as shouted out with great excitement in a cross gen Bible study by a 6 year old some years back. And while the youngster got tongue tied and flipped Matthew 7:12 upside down, we all knew what he was referring to. In fact I’d go so far that pretty much every Christian, and even many non-Christians would understand what the six year old was trying to say.
Unlike the golden rule, where in the scriptures are well known, and pretty clear, vast multitudes of the scriptures are far from being that explicit and many can be pretty obscure, add in cultural lenses, and all bets are off.
A few weeks back, a fellow posted William Barclay’s commentary on the book of James.
“One of the great mysteries of social thought is how religion, at least the Christian religion, ever came to be regarded as ‘the opiate of the people,’ or how it ever came to seem an other-wordly affair, which neglected this world to concentrate on some world to come. There is no book in any literature with such a burning social passion as the Bible. There is no book which speaks so explosively and dynamically of social wrongs and social injustice. There is no book so burningly conscious that the great gap between riches and poverty is an active and terrible transgression of the law of God and the will of God. There is no book which has, in fact, proved so powerful a social dynamic as the Bible has. The Bible does not condemn wealth as such, but there is no book which more strenuously insists on the responsibility of wealth, and on the perils which surround a person who is abundantly blessed with this world’s goods.”
Another fellow responded to the tune of…
Honestly, I just can’t imagine how anyone can honestly read it and make those assertions. I’d be fine if that’s what it was, but I’d have to pretend that it said stuff that it doesn’t and it didn’t say stuff that it does.
I’m not saying that there is nothing good in it, but I just can’t even see how one can conclude that unless the conclusion was determined beforehand.
I bring this up leaving things anonymous, as I’ve heard similar things and and off for years from prosperity gospel leaning folks. And while James 5 and Matthew 25 are pretty explicit to me, cultural lenses plus the bit about us seeing things dimly may make it much less clear to others.
We can look at a whole multitude of arenas in a similar vein, where in one segment of Christianity sees the scriptures abundantly clear in support of A, but totally absent in the aspect of B, usually with respect to social issues, just as justice, racism, abortion, gay marriage, etc. Such divisions also occur in the theological arena, with Arminians on one side and Calvinists in the other. Things even break apart from the get go in Genesis with creationists on one side, and evolutionists on the other. We can even look at the scriptures and note splits in methods of interpretation, with different means of interpretation, and in some cases even the canon itself.
Its just crazy how divisive things are….
And yet, considering the disaster in Houston and SE Texas, there were no religious tests, there were no political tests, there were people in need, and lots of individuals in boats on a mission to rescue them… up to and including bunnies.
— Mark Mulligan (@mrkmully) August 27, 2017