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03 March 2011

The Teaser Trailer Gospel

DreamWorks' Megamind was released on DVD an BluRay a week ago. It may not appeal to you for one reason or another, but hopefully it'll work for an illustration. When I saw this trailer, I really wanted to see the movie:

In just a few minutes we get the whole story laid out for us, from the birth of the "anti-hero" through the climax of the story. If you liked the trailer, there's a good chance that you decided to either see the movie in theaters or buy the DVD/BluRay when it was released. You wanted to see the whole thing.

Would anyone realistically watch only the trailer and then claim that they loved the movie? Would anyone buy the DVD and fast-forward through it, watching only the scenes they thought would be funny or action-packed, and think that they knew everything about the movie?

This is exactly what we Christ-followers do when we cherry-pick verses from our Bibles that make us feel good or address a specific situation we're having trouble with. Rather than staying in the Word, being prepared in season and out of season, we're content to get our doctrine from a 15-20 minute talk on a weekend, possibly with a few verses thrown in throughout the week.

There's no way to get a clear picture of the message of the Gospel this way. Matter of fact, this kind of habit will give us a warped picture of the Word, and it's the kind of thing that will lead us to take Scripture out of context. Here are just a couple of examples.

"For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in the their midst." (Matthew 18:20, NASB) Kids, this is Jesus talking about Church discipline, not about having a prayer meeting at Starbucks.

"...for God is not a God of disorder, but of peace." (1 Corinthians 14:33, NLT) While this verse has been used to justify just about anything that the Church wants to keep people silent about, it's actually talking about open participatory meetings of the Church.

Are there any examples you can think of, particularly passages that you've discovered you were taking out of context?

I encourage you to stay in the Word. Be on your guard against complacency and laziness, and remember that in order to get the whole story, you actually have to pay attention to the whole story.


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