Pastor's Corner

12 Dec
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Mid-Week Challenge

The Lord’s Prayer recorded in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 has brought comfort to millions of people in their time of need.  It is one passage of Scripture that most everyone you come in contact with has had some history.  Sport teams recite it before games, business meetings begin with it being read, and countless churches use it at every worship gathering. One does not have to be an avid reader of the Bible to know it or parts of it.  It is a prayer that Jesus gave us at the request of His disciples.  “Teach us to pray as John taught his disciples,” they asked.  It is a request to be able to pray in such a way so that the Father will rightfully be glorified and respectfully petitioned.  In a sense it is a template for prayer, so in some circles it is called the model prayer.  The purpose is not to cover all aspects of a person’s life before God but to hit the points most encountered by the one praying.  To dig deeper into the theology of the prayer one must have a working knowledge of language and theological doctrine from other parts of the Bible, so it comes as a surprise to read today that the Pope is leaning to support a change in wording to the prayer submitted by the Italian Episcopal Conference. The committee asked that the verse “lead us not into temptation” be changed to “abandon us not when in temptation,” because they believe the original version makes God seem like He is tempting people.

Many things can be lost when translating another language into English.  First year language students know this after just a few weeks in vocabulary.  But a text that has been with us for a couple thousand years, and has been dissected by scholars many times, it surprises me to see the present proposal.  The report tells us that they spent the last 16 years on the prayer but I am fearful that the modern cultural movement to soften the attributes of the Father has weighed into their decision.  Yes, we do not want to think of Abba Father leading anyone into temptation but the original text and other examples from Scripture support Him doing just that.  The greatest of these in Matthew 4 where Jesus is lead of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.  Other examples include OT heroes and Peter and Paul from the New Testament.  The Bible is clear that God does not tempt anyone but He does allow us to go into temptation.  It is through these trials and tests that we learn to trust Him and not ourselves.  It is in these situations that our faith and knowledge grow in Him.  David, in Psalm 23:4 reminds us that although we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we should have no fear because He is with us.  God does not take us anywhere He has not already been and He never allows us to go at it alone.  Unfortunately, our modern culture wants God to be like a big brother who fights off our bullies instead of the Almighty Father He is who lets us experience life and grow through it. 

Original words are rich with meaning and it is difficult going from one language to another.  If anything, this report should cause us to get back into the Bible as the Bereans (Acts 17:11) did with Paul.  Don’t just take someone’s word for it. We are blessed to have our own copy of God’s word and the tools to dig deeper into it!  Don’t lose the awe and majesty of God the Father in a culture that would reduce Him to our level.  Jesus came so that we might know the Father and the strength found in Him during our time of need and the love He has for us in the giving of His Son.    

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 

Serving the Savior

Bro. Jonathan

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