craftiness, honesty, and the word
I finished Jack Good s book, The Dishonest Church. It was an okay read. I clearly don t agree with everything he says. But the basic issue he has is that pastors are not being honest with their churches. In his case, he thinks that if they don t believe in, say, the divinity of Jesus, then they should be honest and preach that from their pulpits. Good is convinced that the congregation may appreciate the honesty, probably admit that s what they believe themselves anyway, and everyone will be happy except those who do believe in the divinity of Jesus. I agree with Good that preachers should be honest. I disagree with the tack Good takes after that. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 4:2 says: We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. Paul insists on honesty. As Chambers says today, in reference to the same verse he translates as, Not walking in craftiness : that is, resorting to what will carry your point. This is a great snare. Good starts with the human mind s conclusions based on experience, selected research, and hunches, and then canonizes which scriptures support these conclusions and rejects the rest. Paul went the other way, rigorously pressing God s word upon the human mind and its conclusions. It is one thing to be honest with ourselves. But what if we ourselves are crooked, confused, and wrong? Paul asks: are we honest in light of God s word? If we are honestly falsifying God s word, then is that honesty or craftiness? That s a totally different question.