"MISINFORMATION" by Rembert Truluck
- CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE
By Rembert Truluck. Update for October 5, 1999
"Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" http://www.truluck.com
Thanks for passing this on. Feel free to print and mail this. Please
put a LINK to my web site on yours. Tell me if you have a web site.
When I taught Bible courses at the Baptist College of Charleston, SC,
from 1973 to 1981, my first priority was to help the students "unlearn" some
of the misinformation that they had been given about the Bible. I usually
had about 300 students in one big class of Bible Survey. A semester of Old
Testament Survey and a semester of New Testament Survey were required for
graduation at that time.
My classes included a great diversity of religions, races, culture
backgrounds, ages, and levels of education. The college offered
government funded scholarships to all who qualified, and that required
compliance with the recently enacted national civil rights
anti-discrimination laws. One semester, my survey classes included 30
Moslem students from Iran, most of whom had never seen a New Testament.
I met individually with each of the Iranian students and told them that I
would help them pass the course, because I realized that everything that
they gave to me on a test was learned in the class and that they had no
background at all in New Testament to draw on. They all passed. I felt that
this was my way of being a true follower of Jesus and that this could help
open the door for them to know about Jesus in a positive way. Who knows, I
might have had a future President of Iran in my
All of my survey classes included Jews, Catholics, Pentecostals,
Atheists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists,
other Evangelicals, and many varieties of religion. Local clergy also took
my classes. I am sure that a lot of Gay and Lesbian people were in the
classes, but at that time, of course, everybody tried hard to remain in the
closet, including me.
Teaching these college classes helped to prepare me for my increasingly
inclusive ministry in MCC in Atlanta, San Francisco and Nashville and laid a
foundation for my web site and book. One fact was obvious to me as I taught
college level courses in Bible. Most people are not prepared for objective
study of the Bible based on what they have been told about the Bible in
their homes and churches. Misinformation about the Bible is far more deeply
entrenched in our culture than I had ever imagined.
THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER OF MISINFORMATION
The word most used in the Greek New Testament for "ignorant" or
"ignorance" is "AGNOSIS" from which we get the word "agnostic" that
means "not to know" based on the Greek word "gnosis" for knowledge.
"Agnosis" is translated by the word "ignorant" in Romans 1:13, where
Paul said: "I do not want you to be ignorant, sisters and brothers."
Other uses of "AGNOSIS" as "ignorance" are in Romans 10:3 and throughout
many of Paul's writings. One very strong use of the term is in 1 Peter
1:15: "It is the will of God that by doing the right thing, you may silence
the ignorance of foolish people." (See the variety of uses of this term for
"ignorant" and "ignorance" in Romans 11:25; 1 Corinthians 10:l, 12:1; 14:38;
2 Corinthians 1:8; 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13; Ephesians 4:18; Acts 3:17 and
17:30; and 1 Peter 1:14.)
The word "agnosis" is used in a very negative sense as a "sin" in
Hebrews 9:7: "The high priest offers (blood) for himself and for the
sins (Greek: "agnoematon" literally "ignorances") of the people." The
term is used in the Apocrapha for "the sin of ignorance."
A different more intense word is used for "ignorant" in Acts 4:13, where
Peter and John were called "uneducated" (Greek: "agrammatoi") and "ignorant"
(Greek: "idiotai") which referred to a "homebody" or private person as
contrasted to a learned professional. Our word "idiot" derives from it and
goes beyond the original meaning to refer to a "simpleton" or someone who is
foolish or stupid.
JESUS CONFRONTED MISINFORMATION
Jesus always dealt with the ignorance of the common people with
compassion and understanding. Jesus explained Bible passages that had
been misused to hurt people and took the time to give correct
information about God and God's unconditional love and acceptance of all
Jesus, however, was far more stern in rebuking the religious leaders for
their blindness and false teachings. Jesus is pictured in Matthew 23 in
eloquent confrontation with professional religious teachers who had
misinformed the people about God. At the end of the story about the man
born blind in John 9, Jesus said that religious leaders were the ones who
were really blind.
"Not seeing" and "not knowing" often were used interchangeably in the
Gospels, as in Mark 8:17-18, "Do you not yet see or understand? Do you
have a hardened (dull and insensible) heart ? Having eyes, do you not
see? And having ears, do you not hear? (quote from Ezekiel 12:2) And do you
not remember�?" And in 8:21, Jesus added, "Do you not yet
understand?" This theme of the ignorance of the disciples in grasping the
message of Jesus continues through most of Mark chapters 8 and 9.
MISINFORMATION CAN BE DEADLY
Incorrectly labeled medicine can kill. Misinformation about the Bible
and homosexuality has led to an epidemic of self-destructive behavior
and suicide. Twisting and abusing the Bible to mislead people about
God's inclusive love and acceptance of all people is one of the greatest
crimes of our century. Misinformation about the Bible and about God covers
the land like a giant blanket of dark polluted fog that blinds and stings
the eyes and confuses the mind.
Much of modern American "Christianity" has begun to offer a deadly brew of
emotions, prejudices, scientific errors, political ambitions and
manipulations, and mind darkening false explanations of selected
biblical texts instead of the clear consistent "good news" of the Gospel of
Jesus Christ, "once delivered to the saints" and continued through those who
faithfully follow Jesus. Gloomy legalism has replaced the joyful good news
of freedom in Christ for multitudes of people.
Churches: Get back to Jesus, where you belong, or quit calling
yourselves "Christian." This is the challenge to the Christian world
in the beginning of the new millenium. LGBT believers are God's special
chosen people to lead the way out of the darkness and back into the light of
God's love for all people. You have an important role in this new beginning
of God's love and truth. You are helping to shape the future even now as
you read this.
We will not fail. We cannot fail. Eventually, the TRUTH that has been
smothered in misinformation and radical ignorance will burst out of the
darkness and into the glorious light of the presence of God. The exact
forms of this new beginning are only now beginning to emerge and grow. What
is your role in what is happening and about to happen in the spiritual
renewal of America and the world and in your own personal rebirth of life
After the Sunday service, a pastor asked his wife what was wrong with
his sermon. She replied, "Your prayer was misdirected. You prayed for
power, but what that sermon needed was ideas!"
"It's a pity that ignorance isn't painful."
For encouragement read all of Romans, chapters 5, 6, 7, & 8 and dwell on the
hope described in 8:31 "If God is for us, who can stand against us?" and the
absolute promises of God's unconditional love in 8:31-39.
See http://www.truluck.com/html/legalism_as_idolatry.html for a
corrective to misinformed religion. Click and Read the Bible passages.
PO Box 24062, Oakland, CA 94623. Phone: (510) 533-4588