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Elophint in the Room  

Sunday morning. My wife and I have guests sitting with us at church: four-year-old Emma and seven-year-old Ava. Both are busy drawing. With a few magical strokes of her pencil, Ava transforms a blue prayer card into a canvas featuring a decidedly happy elephant.

On the reverse side of the card, Ava prints her name and identifies the subject of her sketch: “Elofint.” How can you not smile?

Young children are notorious for spelling words phonetically or looking at life literally. They also take extraordinary Bible promises at face value, without the slightest doubt. Probing questions here and there—yes—but cynicism or skepticism? Not kids.

Surely, that's one reason Jesus said we must receive the kingdom of heaven "like a little child."  Which takes me to the—ur—Elophint in the room. Why do we struggle so much to take the Bible at face value?

Sure, books like Daniel and Revelation are steeped in metaphor and allegory. But the vast majority of the Bible is plain English, and we are asked to believe it literally, like children.

Here's just a straightforward example. Colossians 3:13 commands us to “forgive as the Lord forgave you." But do we? Most of us are willing to follow that verse—to a point. Only when cornered, do we admit, "Well, that was true of Jesus, but there are some things in life you really can’t forgive?"

Essentially, we’ve shaved off just enough of the edge on that Bible truth to make ourselves comfortable. But who gave us that permission?

Surely, there are deep things in Scripture beyond our understanding. Still, we dare not modify, minimize, or ignore the biblical call to trust—and obey.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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