Herman, Who? And Ex-Jesus, What?
By Pastor Ron Buxton
Things are not always as they appear to be by a quick observation. Consider the following true story of a young mother of two children who was busy working in the kitchen. Prior to this, the mother had just laid her weeks’ old son upon a blanket in the nursery. Down the hallway, at this same time, her preschool-aged daughter was quietly playing in her own room. And then it happened.
The extra-sensory perception, that only mothers seem to have, went off! Something was wrong. So she rushed down the hallway towards the baby’s room. And he was missing! Knowing that the baby hadn’t learned to crawl yet—she was now hysterical. That is, until she noticed her daughter’s bedroom. The baby was there with her!
“I told you that you cannot carry your brother!”, scolded the mother.
“But, Mommy,” the little girl protested, “I didn’t carry him.”
“Well, then, how did he get into your room?” responded the angry mother.
“I rolled him”, she innocently replied, “He’s not hurt. He’s just a little dizzy.”
Things are not always as they appear to be by a quick observation. And the same could also be said about reading the Bible. You see, far too many people have taken statements out of context to distort its message. And that’s much worse than rolling a baby down a hallway! The consequences are also much worse than a temporary dizziness!
One of the benefits of graduating from a Bible college is that I got to learn all kinds of new and fancy words. After all, thousands of dollars in tuition should provide something extra to impress your friends with! Two words that I learned, in particular, were hermeneutics and exegesis. My first response was to ask: “Herman–who? and Ex-Jesus–what?” Actually, that first word means “the art and science of Biblical interpretation”, and the second word means “the explanation that is drawn from within a religious text”. Hermeneutics deals more with the “bigger picture” stuff like literary genre, whereas exegesis is more detail-oriented. Think of the difference between a telescope and a microscope.
Why do I mention this today in this article? Well, I am concerned that due to a willful biblical ignorance, most people have allowed a distorted caricature of the Bible to emerge. As a result, the thought of God as some kind of a “moral monster”—a homophobic, genocidal, and capricious despot–is regular fodder for so many popular bloggers nowadays. Sadly, without the tools of hermeneutics and exegesis, most people are helpless to answer these critics. And so, hermeneutics and exegesis comes to the rescue!
Honestly, most people don’t want the Bible’s message to be true, and they go to great lengths to discredit its content. But we are all without excuse. Folks–I challenge you to really read the Bible for yourselves. Things are not as they appear to be! Don’t take my word on it. Take His!