Saturday, February 25, 2012

24-7 prayer and narcigetical video teaching

"Narcigesis" seems to have become quite the popular term, at least in some circles. It's basically a mashing together of the words "narcissistic" and "eisegesis". Narcissitic, you probably know, is unseemly self-love. Eisegesis maybe a more obscure word, but it basically means reading ideas into a text or maybe other things rather then trying to understand what the text is itself saying. Narcigesis is usually being used in regards to the Bible, to how biblical passages, verses, or even verse fragments are being used or misused.

The idea goes something like this--a pastor or some kind of teacher reads a passage or verse, let's say the story of Gideon putting out the fleeces to see if God had really told him to do what he'd been called to do. The pastor then tries to replace Gideon with someone else, maybe himself, maybe his listeners. He teaches that, just as Gideon tested what he had heard from God, so we need to "put out a fleece" to make sure that what we may have heard or thought we'd heard is from God.

(Actually, "heard" is not the right word for what people today experience. Gideon had an angel give him a message, he actually heard real words. People today don't really "hear" anything, they just get strange feelings which, by and large, will be different in a few days)

So, although the Bible in no way commands us to do what Gideon did, we are told that we should do something like it. Not necessarily going outside and putting a piece of wool or other cloth on the ground, of course, but...well, come up with something.

Here is another example, courtesy of 24-7 Prayer.

This man, I think it's Peter Grieg who is the head honcho of the organization, begins by reading John 1:40-42, about Andrew getting his brother Simon and bring him to Jesus, and Jesus giving Simon the name Cephas. All well and good so far, but then...

Dont you love that? This is Jesus meeting the great apostle of the church, Peter, for the first time. And the very first thing his does is, he gives him a nickname, Cephas, Peter, it means 'the rock', of course. And in a way they would all have been sniggering, it was all a joke, because Peter was the least rock-like person ever. He was impetuous, he blew hot and cold, he shot his mouth off. But Jesus saw something different in Peter. And in fact, of course, the history books tell us he went on to be someone who was even faithful to Jesus unto death.

Isn't it amazing that God looks at you today, not as you are with all the problems and struggles you bring in to this day, or even as you were, but he sees you as you will one day be. And so my challenge, my question for you today is, "What are the seeds of brilliance that God has put in you?" "What is the destiny being out-worked in you?" "What is the unique contribution only you can bring to the world for his glory?"

Wow. Just. Wow.

First, here's the passage. Yes, he read it, but then went tangent.

jn.1.40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. jn.1.41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.† jn.1.42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 167503-167508). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.

Listening to Grieg speak, one would think that Jesus should have felt honored to have finally met "the great apostle of the church, Peter", instead of noting that it was Simon Peter who should have felt honored beyond the telling of it that he should be in the presence of Jesus.

Now, yes, in this passage, Jesus gives Peter a new name. Ok, very well. On the other hand, Jesus didn't seem to be in the habit of changing people's names like that. I can't think of any other disciple to whom He did that. I know there were the Sons of Thunder, the brothers James and John, though I'm not sure if Jesus gave them that nickname or if they were given it elsewhere. But, really, poor Thaddeus and Philip seemed doomed to be just plain Thaddeus and Philip.

It's always interesting to see how people read Peter's life. It seems like every two-bit pastor or teacher wants to claim Peter as their favorite, portraying him as being rather head-long, acting before thinking, sticking his foot in his mouth, if he had two thoughts in his head at the same time they'd complain about the sudden lack of space, and all that. They don't do that to Thomas or Matthew, one may wonder why.

So, does this encounter between Jesus and Peter teach us that God sees us as we one day will be? Now, why didn't Grieg try to take, let's say, an encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees and Sadducees, and try to teach this same lesson? Well, I guess that would have been a bit more negative.

I'm rambling a bit here, I fear, so, to finally get to the point...

This passage is not about what a great guy Peter was. It's not about the "seeds of brilliance" in Peter, or some destiny being out-worked in Peter, or Peter's unique contributions. And it for sure isn't about you or me and anything about us.

Andrew did not bring Peter to Jesus so that Jesus could see what a great guy his brother was. He brought Peter to Jesus because Jesus was the Messiah, the Lamb of God who had come to take away the sins of the world.

Peter was like all of us, lost in sins and in need of a savior. Christ died for his sins, just as He died for those of all of us. Jesus loved Peter, not because Peter was a swell guy, because he wasn't. Jesus loves us, but not because we're lovable. We're not, we're filthy in our sins, we have no seeds of brilliance.

God has shown his love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Grieg is playing to your ego. He's trying to sell you Christianity by making you think it's about you and how wonderful a person you are, how much you have to offer.

You have nothing to offer. Nothing. Christ is the one who gave Himself for you, because you couldn't help yourself. You have no seeds of brilliance, your were dead in sins and your attempts at righteousness are as the vilest of rags. Your destiny was hell, but Christ gave Himself so that you might have forgiveness of sins through faith in Him and repentence. You have no unique contribution that God couldn't do without, you are the one who needs Christ's sacrifice.

This video is pathetic. Shame on Peter Grieg for distorting this passage, and trying to make it say things that it shouldn't. Shame on Peter Grieg for teaching things designed solely to tickle itching ears and draw people, not to Christ in repentence, but to his organization so that it will grow.

This marks the official end of my attempts to like or tolerate 24-7 Prayer. I'm done, they've crossed the line, they're concerned only with their own popularity.

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