Accepted Misinformation

All intelligent people want to know the truth, we assume, though
some search more diligently and open-mindedly for it than others. 
All of us are aware that there is much  misinformation spread
deliberately by the media, politicians, and most everybody who has
an agenda — even preachers!  So it is not easy to find the truth. 
Added to all this is the fact that we generally accept much
misinformation that we actually already know is error.  Some of these
areas may be of little concern while others may bear more weight. 
We will offer a few examples, and you may be able to add many
others to the list. 

Four of the twelve months of the year are wrongly named! 
September, October, November, and December were named after
the numbers seven, eight, nine, and ten, but as our calendar
developed they became nine, ten, eleven, and twelve in the
sequence. 

We commonly think in terms of the rotation of the earth as a 24-hour
day and 365 of those days making a year, yet we know that is
inaccurate. The earth rotates in 23 hours, 56 minutes, and slightly
more than 4 seconds.  The earth rotates around the sun in 1 year, 5
hours, 48 minutes, and 48 seconds.  The weather man still tells us
when the sun will rise and set for the next day as though it actually
rises and sets. 

Looking at a flat map, most of us conclude that Colorado and
Wyoming are rectangular.  However, observation on a globe will
necessarily show their northern borders as shorter than their
southern borders and no borders form a ninety degree angle. 

By use of a carpenter’s or surveyor’s  level, we think to make a slab
or plot of land level.  However, holding a carpenter’s level against a
globe would illustrate how inaccurate that would be for the lines
would extend into space.  A straight line that is level would circle the
globe, and perfectly calm oceans making the seas level would
indicate level to be spherical. 

My cup of coffee each morning is enhanced by Half-and-Half which
presumably is half cream and half milk.  But no such deceptive claim
is made for that on the carton. The fine print of analysis reveals that
it is10.5% fat.  And now you have the choice of non-fat Half-and-
Half! 

We generally think our nation is a true democracy, but it is a republic
ruled by a representative democracy.  Each issue is not decided by a
majority vote of the citizens.  A majority vote elects representatives
who make decisions for us.   But, enough of the secular illustrations.
Let’s look at some relating to religion. 

From kindergarten through adult classes and from the pulpit our
people are taught that the Bible is composed of the Old Testament
and the New Testament.  Those portions of the  Scriptures are not
the testaments.  A testament is a covenant.  The
covenants/testaments God has made with man are revealed in the
Bible.  The first part of the Bible is Scriptures which relate to the
first/old covenant(s) and the second part is writings which relate
more to the new covenant God made with man. 

Preachers will hold up a copy of the writings relating to the new
covenant and declare that it is the gospel from cover to cover.  Not
so!  It is true that those writings reveal the good news — the gospel —
of salvation through Christ but they also reveal the teachings /
doctrines written by inspired men.  There is a great difference in the
gospel and the apostolic teachings.  The gospel brings us to Christ;
the teachings direct our lives after we have obeyed the gospel.  The
gospel which brings us to Christ was preached long before an epistle
was written. 

Notice how often our people speak of the “New Testament church.” 
By that, they mean the church produced by the scriptures which they
call the New Testament.  The church was produced through the
proclamation of the gospel and it operated decades before most of
the writings relating to the new covenant were written.  It is actually
more accurate to say the church produced the writings than the
writings produced the church. Even the term “new covenant church”
is rather redundant.  Have you ever known of anyone promoting an
“old covenant church”? 

A common slogan among us is that “We speak where he Bible
speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent, we do Bible things in
Bible ways, and we call Bible things by Bible names.”  Sounds great! 
Who could question such an aspiration?  But the word “Bible” is not
in the Bible!!  Did I just hear a deflating fizz? 

In seeking to identify the “true” church, we have heard it commonly
taught that the community of believers should wear the “scriptural
name” Church of Christ.  But our word “church” should not be in the
Bible.  It is not translated from any word in the original text.  It is a
mistranslation of the Greek word “ekklesia” which should be
rendered with the connotation of “assembly” or “congregation.”  So,
how could a mistranslated word be a part of a “scriptural” name? 

Although everybody knows that Jesus was a carpenter, no one has
pointed to a Scripture reference that indicates it.  Joseph, his father
was a “tekton” which denotes a craftsman  which could be carpentry,
woodwork, or any other craft.  It is the root word from which we get
our word “technician.”  An older rendering is “artificer.”  Even if
Joseph was a carpenter it is presumptuous to conclude that Jesus
followed that trade. 

Poor Mary Magdalene!  From early history and through the centuries
until this time, it is declared matter-of-factly that Mary Magdalene
was formerly a prostitute.  That is unfounded gossip still being
repeated! No one can point to any evidence of its truth in the
Scriptures.  On a preaching tour Jesus was accompanied by the
apostles and some women “who had been healed of evil spirits and
infirmities; Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had
gone out .” and other women notable enough to have been
mentioned by name (Luke 8:1-3).  Jesus was courageous in
breaking traditions, but it is beyond belief that he would have
compromised his influence by traveling about with former prostitutes
on his preaching tour! 

No doubt, you can add other illustrations of generally accepted
concepts that are in error, and you may correct some of my scientific
observations.  It is not contended here that any of these
misunderstandings will bar one from the kingdom of God though
some are confusing.  My hope here is to cause us to realize that we
may be misinformed on many  of the things we readily accept and
confidently proclaim.  This realization should temper dogmatism and
make us less judgmental of those who differ from us on points of
interpretation and understanding.  The higher purpose is to lead us
to true honesty and greater dedication to the learning of God’s will. 

Cecil Hook   April 2003

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