WHAT’S IN A TITLE?
by David Jones
In the past few years I have read numerous christian articles that have been a blessing and a challenge to me. There are excellent journals, blogs and magazines available to us where we can read and be provoked to thought about any number of things. From in depth understanding of a passage of scripture to how we can biblically view social issues that currently are challenging the church. Reading and becoming informed equips us to be intelligent as we defend or support a biblical worldview. I would caution myself along with you that we should always go to the Bible first and see what God has to say before we seek opinions that are found in albeit good articles; but we need the Lord to be able to directly speak to us and guide us through His holy word.
The thing that has motivated my writing is found in a title that I see popping up more frequently these days. The motivation of the writers is not sinister nor necessarily wrong in its fundamental message. What is at stake is the delivery and communication of any article which is written and how the reader receives it. The content may be excellent, but the title itself may misguide the reader. The title usually says, “___ lies that the Church taught me about _____”. I have read this title for a variety of articles. Usually there is a number at the beginning and then a topic is mentioned at the end of the title.
Usually the article has excellent points but the message through the title puts a slant on the possibility that the Church is wrong in its teaching. I am suggesting that psychologically this could lead a reader to attach wrong guidance that emanates from the church itself. It is true that at times we have received teaching and guidance that is not the best or somewhat misguiding in our home churches but that is based on human beings who are fallible and mistakes can happen.
Let us look at a couple of scriptures, firstly Ephesians 2:19-22.
“19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit”.
When the church is mentioned as a source of wrong teaching someone who is young or immature in their faith could be persuaded to think wrongly about the very place and the people that give guidance in their lives. The scriptures clearly state that Christ is the head of the church, and our faith is built upon Him. The physical church is comprised of individuals and we are the church. It is not the source of lies or a place to be mistrusted but rather we must always strive to discern biblically what is correct and what is not. Through teaching given in sermons, sunday school or special meetings we will hear things that make us pause and consider but it should never be thought that the motivation of the leaders and teachers would be to willingly misguide us.
Another verse found in 1 Timothy 3:15 states
15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
The purpose of the church is for community, instruction and a place that dispenses the truth of God’s word. When I read articles that through titles try to catch the eye of the reader and state “lies that I learned from the church” it concerns me greatly. The scriptures call the church “the bride of Christ”. Ephesians 5:27 says the following; “So that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish”. The holiness and desire of Christ is to purify and cleanse and prepare the church for His return. Through teaching by individuals in the church we can at times receive guidance that could mislead us. I would rather read titles that don’t implicate the church but rather titles that can grab us but not hurt our understanding of the place where Christ is the head and we are His bride.