I was reading a news story today about some people from the Westboro Baptist Church (you know the ones that overtly celebrate national tragedy as evidence of God's wrath on our 'disobedient' nation) who were on vacation in Daytona Beach, FL. They decided to stand outside the front of a church to picket a soldier's funeral. Shirley Phelps (one the hate-mongers) considers it her prophetic duty to to America to repent the sin of sodomy. Shirley's family were holding signs that read, "God is America's Terror," "Soldiers die, God laughs," and "Pray for more dead kids." Just what Jesus would say. . .
In an attempt to defend their atrocious picketing and others' assertions that they are not acting in accordance to God, Rebekah Phelps said "you can't pick what you like (out of the Bible)." To me, that statement implies that there is a way to just accept the bible at face value when really, anyone who attends church or studies the bible is deciding to follow or making their own interpretations about the bible. It is a mysterious and interactive collection.
There are verses describing how women should dress, directing us to greet each other with a holy kiss, telling us to stone people who blaspheme God, and commanding us to sell our possessions and give to the poor. Obviously, since few churches are doing things these ways, someone at some point made some decisions about how to interpret the bible and others are following that. When someone set forth to translate scripture from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into English, that person had to make decisions like this as well. Sometimes, there are not exact English words to use and so the translator would have to make a decision on how best to interpret what the original writer wanted to convey. So whenever we read the bible in English we are following a translator's best interpretation.
I am not saying that the bible isn't the authoritive word of God, I believe it is. I'm just saying that the book makes so many statements and raises so many questions that a group of believers need to decide collectively what general interpretation that are going to go with.
Logically, Rebekah Phelps has contradicted herself by claiming, "you can't pick what you want," because its obvious to me that the people at Westboro Baptist have chosen to ignore 1Corinthian 13.
I want to know what you think. Is it possible for a church to just "teach the bible," or is everyone following someone's interpretations? Also, feel free to vent about disgusting the folks at Westboro Baptist conduct themselves.
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