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What happened to the book of Ephesians?
I have been meaning to write an article about this for a long time (many years to be exact), but just have not been able to wrap my mind around a tactful way to say what I want to say. These days, any criticism of anything (even in Christianity) is often shot down as being 'judgemental', which means if I want people to take me seriously I have to remove anything that might sound that way. That is hard especially when most people nowadays read things into what you are saying that you didn't intend. Unfortunately we don't have the benefit that people like the Apostles Paul and Peter did in the Bible. When there were problems that needed addressed in the early church, they didn't mince words - they just 'told it like it is' and that was that. Those guys would have been kicked out of churches as 'divisive and judgemental' if they said the same things today. They were not being judgemental, they were just saying, "hey, we have a problem here."
In that same thread, I'm saying "hey we have a problem here". I'm not sure if it is because many Christians today have never read the book of Ephesians or if its teachings have been explained away somehow. First of all I'm just going to quote a couple of things in Ephesians from two different translations:
New King James Version:
As someone who tries to take this scripture seriously, I'm finding myself increasingly standing alone. Not in the world, but in the church. If I'm interpreting those scriptures incorrectly, I'd like someone to correct me. In fact please email me if you think I'm misreading the scripture here. If you're reading this, I hope you don't take it personally as I'm not trying to single anyone out. This is a widespread thing. I don't know what to say except for this:
"Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them." - Ephesians 5:1-7
"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." - Ephesians 5:1-7
New Living Translation:
"Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes - these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don't participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true." - Ephesians 5:1-9
"Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." - Ephesians 5:1-7
"We've got a problem here".
- Take the most popular TV shows and movies among Christians these days and stand them up to Ephesians 4 and 5.
- Take the common talk, off-color joking and profanity within the Christian community today and stand them up to Ephesians 4 and 5.
If you know me well, you know I am not perfect and still have some of my own problems to work out. I'm not standing on a pedestal here and if I offended you, that was not my intention. The problem with the Ephesians rebellion is that it has become a problem in the church that has gone unchallenged, unchecked and even protected in the name of 'anti-judgementalism' and 'Christian liberty' (both of those are topics I could spend hours discussing). If it does not stop, the scripture makes it clear that there will be ramifications.
I don't know what else to say about it so I'll just leave it at that. One day when I'm able to better collect my thoughts together, I'll try to write a more detailed article.
In the meantime, here are a few good resources on the subject:
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