The first of five parts:
One of the worst things about the performance system is how it twists Scripture to support its teachings. A discussion group I am part of has repeatedly looked at and challenged the manipulation of Scripture passages used by performance based teachers. One thing we need to understand is that this misuse of the Bible has made it very difficult for some to enjoy reading it.
Pavlov taught his dogs to react a certain way at the sound of a bell just by feeding them after ringing it. When only the teacher knows the “whole” truth, the followers learn that their own understanding of Scripture is inferior and not to be trusted. You failed the quiz over and over. They learn that they need the “wisdom” of someone else to truly understand Scripture because they are, presumably, too influenced by the wicked world.
The other thing that happened to many was that they learned to dislike reading Scripture. I know fathers who wanted to throw their Bibles away after the family devotion time because no one in the family seemed interested or appreciative. (Never mind that Dad had forced the whole family to get up at 5:00 AM so he could do this before he went to work.) I know moms who simply stopped reading the Bible because it was constantly condemning. They could see nothing in the Scripture except more to do. And I know of kids who hated the Bible because it represented all the negative things their family was going through. The Bible was said to be the source of the teachings that held everyone back and made life miserable. “Do it because the Bible says. Don’t do it because the Bible says.” They grew up thinking that the enemy of their joy was the Bible.
Overstated? Not according to what some people have told me. It certainly makes sense that people would stop reading their Bible once they are out of the performance system. It became the image of that system. “If you reject the system, you reject the Bible,” the teacher said. “Ok, so be it!” came the response.
Now, remember that this was twisted and misused Scripture that was being rejected. We may know that, but those who were trying so hard to get away from the pain didn’t know that. It was all the same book to them. I have known several people who stopped reading their Bible even though they still wanted to know the Lord. They were not giving up on their faith, not really, they were just rejecting the way it was presented in their lives – and that was connected to the Bible.
More coming…. Comments??