He talks in his blog about how those embarrassed by Jesus or made to feel uncomfortable by Jesus like to flip backwards in the Bible till they find something that makes them feel comfortable again.
The Church of God has always been a backwards flipping church. It lived in the past and in the law of the Old Testament stories and hero's. Jesus makes them extremely uncomfortable, but they do like to quote angry Paul and others that are pissed at the local churches for some failure. That makes them feel good. Jesus' words have the opposite effect so they would rather find comfort in law or an angry pissed off God who is ready for revenge.
The beauty of the context of this discussion in John, is that Jesus is talking to religious people who are quite similar to a lot of folks we encounter today- folks who, when confronted with the radical teachings of Jesus will keep flipping the page away from Jesus, backwards or forwards, until they land on a verse that makes them feel a little safer. This process of flipping the page away from Jesus until we find something more comfortable- in the name of “believing the whole Bible”, is a gross abuse of scripture. When Jesus confronted these people he blasted them, saying (my paraphrase):“You know the scriptures backwards and forwards, but you’ve missed the most important part: me.“ (John 5:39-40)
If you see something in Jesus that makes you uncomfortable, but flip the page backwards until you feel more comfortable, you are misusing scripture.
Oh, how we especially like flipping the page backwards. The Old Testament has so many different verbal portraits of God, that everyone would probably find something to suit them. There are portraits where God is angry, portraits where he is sad and regretful, portraits where he is a warrior, portraits where he commands baby killing, portraits where he is feminine and compares him to a nursing mother, portraits where he is loving and patient, portraits where God is…
There are a lot of portraits. This provides a very convenient opportunity for those who wish to avoid the teachings of Jesus, and instead turn the pages backwards until one finds a portrait of God that seems to line up with who we want him to be. I see people do this for a host of reasons- there are all sorts of things we can seemingly justify if we flip the page away from Jesus.
Want to justify nationalism, oppression, violence, sexism, and ____ (fill in the blank)? Just keep flipping the pages away from Jesus and you’ll probably find something to make you feel justified.
- See more at: Flipping the Pages Away from Jesus: why some parts of the Bible are more important than others