Saturday, February 11, 2006

Tempting People to Go to Church

I grew up in the United Church of Christ so I'm not usually surprised by their "creative" use of Scripture. But this one shocked even me. One congregation chose a very interesting text to include in the banner of its website. (HT: Between Two Worlds)

Update - 2/13/06: St. James U.C.C. has replaced the biblical text with the church's phone number and thanks all who informed them about "our previously inaccurate quote." Thanks to Milton Stanley at Transforming Sermons for leaving a comment with that info.

I had emailed the church's pastor, telling him that if he'd be willing to offer an explanation for the selected text, I'd be interested in reading it and posting it here. While typing the above update I received the following reply from Pastor Roth:
"Embarrassing faux pas! Thanks friend! I never noticed! Whoops! Webmaster is correcting."

As other bloggers have noted, this serves as a vivid illustration of the importance of not treating biblical verses atomistically but understanding them in their literary and canonical contexts. 

Update - 6:15 PM: Chuck Currie, a UCC seminarian, left the following comment at Reverend Mike's House of Homiletic Hash: "I understand that the church will be offering a statement soon on their website explaining that someone hacked into their system and put up that piece of scripture." 


Milton Stanley said...

Looks like they took it down. Could it be the "previously inaccurate quote" they now mention?

KP said...

Thanks, Milton. I checked back a few times since posting and am glad to learn that they have since corrected the "previously inaccurate quote."

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

For posterity's sake, and for those who happened to miss the original entirely, what exactly did it say?

KP said...

Luke 4:7 (KJV)

YnottonY said...

Like Drudge, you could at least leave a "Developing..." comment after each update ;-)

jerryb said...

Sure it could have been a mistake, but... check out how they describe themselves, quote:

6. No boxes

God can blow the lid off any box, unfold it and turn it into a dance floor. We tend to be the "out of the box" people. Among our many firsts, we were the first mainline church to take a stand against slavery (1700), the first to ordain an African American person (1785), the first to ordain a woman (1853), the first in foreign missions (1810), and the first to ordain openly gay lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons (1972). We value education for all people. We founded Harvard and Yale, as well as many historically black colleges, six of which remain affiliated with the UCC to this day.

5. One God, One Faith, One Baptism for All

When we baptize you into our community, we promise that we will never take it back - no matter what you discover about yourself or what others discover about you along life's journey. We believe that baptism places each of us into the "body of Christ" and lasts forever. Some are baptized as infants, others as adults. Some are sprinkled. Others are immersed. Some reclaim their baptism from a previous church life. For each of us, however, baptism is big enough, strong enough and cleansing enough to last forever. We believe that everyone - old, young, straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, physically or emotionally challenged, rich or poor, sure or unsure, lost or found"

Perhaps there is a reason for not knowing the source of a quote from the Bible. They don't believe it.

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Wow. Thanks.