Monday we looked at five Bible Malapropisms.
Today we look at the last four in my list. I am sure there are more.
- God moves in a mysterious way. William Cowper wrote this in one of his last hymns in 1774. He based the thought on his recollections of his life and how he saw what he considered to be God’s hand in the events of his life. The Bible does teach that God understands more than we do and that God’s foolishness is wiser than man’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:25) and from that we might surmise that to us God’s way is mysterious. Paul does talk about the mystery of God that the apostles revealed – that is the Gospel, God’s plan for man’s redemption through the Christ. We need to be careful using this “malapropism” to assign actions to God that may not be His doing. Even the inspired apostle Paul said concerning Onesimus running away from Philemon and finding his way to Paul, “For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while . . . “ (Philemon 1:15 – emp.: SMc). If Paul says “perhaps” why should I think I always know?
- Pray and claim your blessing from God. I hear this or something like it every time I watch certain televangelists. It seems their message is more about God blessing your life for your demanding your promises than about you serving God who already blesses you with the greatest gift of all – salvation through His sacrifices Son. I cannot find anything close to this health and wealth message taught in the Bible as something we should believe. The closest I can find are misguided words of Bildad, Zophar, and Elphaz. These three frineds of Job only thought they knew the heart and mind of God. God straightens them out.
- God needed ___(insert name of deceased here)___ in Heaven. This is one of the most unfortunate and harshest statements about God that I hear at funeral homes. Those who say this, like those who say other Bible malapropisms, think of it as a statement of faith and encouragement. To me this particular phrase makes God out to be a self-absorbed, needy, and greedy monster. Consider this: Your god moves in a mysterious way and everything happens for a reason. Since this god needed your mom in heaven more than you needed her, this god took her from you. You have no say and this god does not care about your feelings. Who wants to serve a god like that?!?! Death came into the world, not because of God, but because of Satan and our sin. God does welcome His children home as a reward for a life lived faithfully, but He does not take our loved ones from us – death does. Death that is a part of life – no matter whether natural causes, disease, an accident, or tragedy brought about that death. If you have to say something at a funeral, please simply offer prayer and a shoulder to cry on, tell them you care, but please do not blame God for their loss. **
- Once saved always saved. This is meant as a statement of eternal security. I know we can have confidence in our salvation, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13). But that confidence lies in knowing that God keeps His promise as we continue to walk in faith. Other passages talk about the dangers of turning away from God and salvation, “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:20-22). Those who escaped are those who have salvation, but they return to the world. We must remain faithful to God to have eternal security.
I would love your thoughts and even suggestions on more Bible Malapropisms.
** For a more detailed look at tragedy and death you might what to read this series from 2014 on When Tragedy Strikes