Freddie Krueger, M. Div: Slasher of TextsAuthor: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Bible, Exegesis, Hermeneutics, Humor, Ministry, Patternism, Sectarianism
A Conversation & Meme
Today I want to reflect a little on Preacherman, the Slasher of Texts. Inspired by a conversation I observed and a meme with Freddie on it today.
Some claim to have a Master of Divinity (=MDiv, not a bad thing in itself but Freddie was making a big deal out of it) and lecture us on sound doctrine (nothing wrong with sound doctrine as long as it is genuinely sound). During the lecture, Freddie Krueger, MDiv proved to be an astonishing Slasher of Texts. A shocking disregard for context ran through the entire discourse … It has to be a lack of study regardless of having an MDiv because surely the person is not the kind that simply does not care about the context. The result was the same with the text sliced and diced and bleeding from wrongly handling the word of truth.
Slashing Texts is a terrifying reality that occurs when teachers to deal with the context of passage whether on a historical or literary level because they are more concerned with some point of party loyalty. Sometimes shredding happens because some are not concerned about context, some are only concerned with what they already believe so a text is cut to support that position. It is the position that counts not the text. Some do not seek to read in context because they are driven by already held opinions of what can and cannot be true. And truthfully some are simply unwilling to do a little extra study to become aware of the context. It is often “safer” to just spout the party line rather than come to the text once again and do actual exegesis. In each case Freddie Krueger wreaks havoc on the text.
So let me begin with a quotation from Kenny Carl Moser written in the April 13, 1933, Gospel Advocate (p.353)
“Some men do not speak their own convictions, for fear they will be put out of the synagogue. They speak as others given them utterance; and so speaking, compliment themselves upon their orthodoxy! The world will always need HONEST [sic] students of God’s word.”
In response to the terror of text slashing by Freddie MDiv, especially in the pulpit (topical preaching is renown for its show casing a preacher’s alliterative abilities but almost zero biblical exposition takes place) and debate platforms, and … Facebook groups! I offer a plea for not becoming Freddie Kruger with the biblical text.
Examples of the Slashed and Bleeding Text …
I wish preachers and Bible students would learn to actually honor context in Bible reading rather than give lip service to it.
Context brings life, Slashing kills! Sometimes a minister will point to some harsh sounding passage, then assumes this gives him warrant for speaking in a similar manner to nonbelievers today. But context is ignored. Every passage, without exception, in the Epistles is addressed to believers not nonbelievers.
The Epistles are “in house” talk, explaining to believers how believers should act. They are not models for addressing a nonbeliever in his/her “evil ways,” but rather our walk with God. If you want to see how we should interact with, and talk to, those outside the camp then look at Acts 17 which sounds radically different than, say, Romans 1 & 2 written by the speaker of Acts and even addressing similar themes. Why different? The audience is different. Look at how Jesus speaks to the “sinners” (Jn 4/Lk 7) … Always respectful and always in a way to lead people to Grace. Context matters beloved. In this case the context of the TEXT and the context of the people we are talking to.
Context brings life, Slashing Kills! Sometimes preachers easily fall back on memorized, canned, pre-made doctrine found in sermon books or old debates when they want to score rhetorical points – even when they are actually wrong. In so doing they often quote nonexistent texts! Ordinarily they would not do this but in these moments its easy to fall prey to the sectarian impulse. Thus a preacher might say that in baptism God adds people to the church and cite Acts 2.47 (which does not have the word church but older preachers memorized this in the faulty KJV) or when they want to imagine a plan of salvation they will declare we must make the good confession and cite the nonexistent Acts 8.37. Or they will say “faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of GOD” (Rom 10.17). But Romans 10.17 does not actually say “God” in any translation but the King James Version. It says “word of CHRIST.” In these cases our tradition is allowed to trump what is actually in the Bible.
Context heals, Slashing Bleeds! The author of ‘to the Hebrews,’ thought the word of God was powerful. He uses the unforgettable metaphor describing the word as “living, active, sharper than any two edged sword” (Heb 4.12). How many today utterly ignore the context. This Preacher who stresses the “new covenant” more than any writer in the so called “New Testament” applies this saying to the “OLD TESTAMENT!” The Preacher just quoted Psalm 95 from what today’s believers call the OT. Those believers today rarely think the Hebrew Bible is sharper than any two edged sword which pierces us with the Holy Spirit’s word. There was no NT and for the NT church the powerful word of God was one many preachers rarely preach from at all. Context matters.
Context matters. Freddie destroys God’s word for the sake of tradition. When I was younger, I heard preachers speak of Jesus coming and taking vengeance on those who were not faithful (I still see it from Freddie MDiv). This was frequent actually. It was used to, pardon my French, scare the hell out of me. That was what the Slasher of Texts intended in fact, and it worked. I was paranoid that God was looking for any old thing to fry me.
Freddie will even quote, directly, 2 Thessalonians 1.8 or a portion of it. The use for which the text was used is diametrically opposite of Paul. But I never knew that because I did not grow up hearing about the healing balm of context. Paul says these words to SUFFERING persecuted disciples. He says these words for the purpose of comfort, encouragement, and ASSURANCE! These words were intended to lift them up, not to scare, or shame or manipulate them. God will come in Jesus, and he will destroy the PERSECUTORS. Those that know NOT God and his Gospel. But the Thessalonians did know God and his Gospel. The passage says When he does come, he will “give RELIEF to the AFFLICTED.” God’s coming in judgement upon enemies means deliverance for the Thessalonian believers! He is not coming to punish the Thessalonians because they are not perfect or have every “i” or “t” precisely done. He is coming to give relief to them (and us). Second Thessalonians 1 is one of the most encouraging passages in the Bible for the saints, assuring us that God will rescue us, his church, from evil. The passage is not a threat to the church, it is a promise that God knows what we are going thru!! We do know God.
we do know Jesus. we have obeyed the gospel. We are NOT the target of wrath on that great day. It is a day of the Lord’s salvation on that day. Oh how different it sounds when preachers do not Hack the Text to death … because they are more loyal to a sectarian agenda. I shudder for brethren that will manipulate the text to frighten people. They have become Freddie Kruger in the pulpit, in articles and on FB.
Context matters. Slashing hurts! Paul never once told individual believers in Philippi to “work out their own salvation.” Paul told the GROUP, the congregation, to work together because God was working in THEM (Phil 2.12-13). Both vv. 12 and 13 go together and Paul says “YA’LL” (plural). Working out salvation is the community living in such a way that shows they are at peace with one another. Titus, yes Titus, appoints elders but no mention of deacons will be found. Paul did allow women, just like the rest of the Bible, to pray and prophesy (1 Cor 11). Etc we could go on. Context. Context. Context.
Eschew the hermeneutics of Freddie Master of Divinity … the “Slasher of Texts.”