We Christians are aware that other people pick and choose among Scriptures to create their doctrines, which we declare to be wrong if they don’t agree with the doctrines we have constructed from our own gleanings. Considering that the Bible is an anthology of sixty-six books including history, poetry, wise sayings, and prophecy, there is a huge field from which to glean.
I had only been a Christian for one year when I first noticed this. A battle was waging over authority and submission and speaking in tongues. I noticed that pastors on both sides could marshal reams of scriptures to prove that the opposing party was wrong; nay evil-the very emissaries of Satan!
Both sides were heatedly “defending the faith” from heresy. Both sides used this scripture: “Beloved…I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) Few referred to this scripture: “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15)
Then a battle broke out regarding women. The hard-liners wanted women to stay home, make babies and keep quiet. Their opponents wanted women to get a job, minister and be heard. The group with which I was affiliated was hard-liners. I must have heard 400 sermons on “Wives, submit to your husbands…” (Ephesians 5:22) but never heard one on “Submit one to another in the fear of the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:21) Gleanings. But what did I know? I was just a newbie. I did question the advice I heard at a woman’s Bible study: that we should submit to our husband even if he wanted to rob a bank; be a helpmate-drive the getaway car.
Decades have passed and new battles are being waged, but the gleaning continues unabated. So for fun, I have constructed the Bling Doctrine:
1). God blesses good people and punishes bad people. Obviously, if you have money, you must be a good person and if you’re broke, you are a bad person. Wealth is important and should be diligently pursued.
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
but poverty is the ruin of the poor. (Proverbs 10:15)
2). You don’t have to work hard to get rich, that’s for losers. Fraudulent credit default swaps comes to mind…
The blessing of the Lord brings wealth,
without painful toil for it. (Proverbs 10:22)
3). One benefit of Blingism is that you will live longer. People who die young must have been evil.
If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner! (Proverbs 11:31)
4). Another benefit of following Bling is that people will like you.
Wealth attracts many friends,
but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them. (Proverbs 19:4)
The poor are shunned by all their relatives—
how much more do their friends avoid them!
Though the poor pursue them with pleading,
they are nowhere to be found (Proverbs 19:7)
5). Bribes are helpful in attaining Bling:
A gift given in secret soothes anger,
and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath. (Proverbs 21:14)
What? You don’t like my doctrine of Bling? You say it contradicts almost everything else the Bible says about wealth versus poverty? You are correct, but you would have actually had to read everything else to know that.
Do you swallow whatever some pastor has taught you? Is there something that does not seem quite right (driving the getaway car?) Maybe God is trying to tell you something. For God sake, think for yourself.