We live in an amazing age of advancement. When I was growing up in the 1970s, we essentially had two versions of the Bible, the King James Version and the New International Version. There were other more obscure translations, but these were the two primary translations of the Bible.
Today, we have dozens of Bible translations and paraphrases. One I have found particularly interesting is The Cotton Patch Gospel by Clarence Jordan. He has creatively retells the New Testament by resetting it in the mid-20th century American South. Here’s a sample from Acts 1:6-12: 6. So those about him began asking, “Will that be the occasion on which you will take over the government?” He said to them, “You are not to get all worked up about timetables and events which the Father has under his own control. But as the Holy Spirit comes over you, you will get power and will be my agents in Atlanta and said this, and while they were watching, he was carried away and a cloud kept them from seeing him. 10. As he went away, and while they were still staring into the sky, two men in blue jeans joined them and asked, “Citizens of America, why stand there looking at the sky? This Jesus who was carried away from you into the sky will come just as you saw him going into the sky.” 12. Then they returned to Atlanta from “Peach Hill Orchard,” which is in the suburbs of Atlanta. When they got back, they went upstairs where they were living. This included Rock and Jack and Jim and Andy, Phil and Tom, Bart and Matt, Jim Alston and Simon the Rebel, and Joe Jameson. All of them, including the women and Mary, Jesus’ mother, and his brothers, were continually praying together.
As you can see, Jerusalem is now Atlanta; Peter, James, and John are not Rock, Jack, and Jim. It provides a humorous, creative retelling of familiar events from the New Testament.
With the advent of things like The Cotton Patch Gospel and a multibillion dollar Christian media/publishing industry, Christians today have more opportunity than ever to learn from different voices within the church. On your smart phone you can listen to the podcast of almost any pastor in America, regardless of the size or location of the church. You can download apps that have complete Bible libraries only a couple of touches away from your smart phone home screen. It really is amazing.
Yet, with all of this information, the need for discernment has never been greater. False Teachers have greater access to the church today than at any time in history. A key factor in maintaining purity and unity within a church is the need for fellow church members to hold one another accountable. This is the thrust of 2 John. He is encouraging his readers in this short letter to “walk in the truth” and to “love one another.”
At First Family, this kind of personal accountability and love for one another is found within our Lighthouses. None of us is infallible, and we must keep watch over one another to ensure that we don’t inadvertently fall victim to a false teacher. As you study and read the lesson this week from 2 John, prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to protect you and your family from the false teachers of our day, while at the same time to give you courage and boldness to lovingly caution a fellow believer if you sense he or she may be wandering into doctrinal error.
This Week’s R2R Distinctive
The Church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 4:15-16): We believe in the church as the body of Christ, which is composed of all believers who have accepted Christ as Savior. We believe the church is God’s primary way to accomplish His purposes on earth today.