Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bad Dog! No Biscuit!

I'm sorry, but I'm getting tired of seeing discipleship or mentoring getting the short end of the stick by appealing to a snippet from Isaiah:
"Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule, a little here, a little there..." (Isaiah 28:10)
I'm always surprised when people try to use this partial verse -- taken grossly out of context -- as biblical justification for their approach to discipleship, mentoring, and/or "christian education".

Reading the surrounding context of this little abused piece of Scripture puts an entirely different light on it.

Would you like to follow leaders like these?
Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions. All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth. (Isaiah 28:7-8)
It is these drunken, puking, incompetent, filthy priests and prophets who are proclaiming the "do and do, rule on rule" approach to spirituality. Later in the same passage, God basically decides to give them what they want, and let them reap the consequences:
"So then, the word of the LORD to them will become: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there — so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured." (Isaiah 28:13)
And just a few verses later, God prophesies His remedy to the situation, in one of the more well-known Messianic passages:
So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed." (Isaiah 28:16)
Surely we can come up with better biblical foundations for discipleship, apprenticeship or mentoring than not noticing that this little tidbit is actually part of curse from God against those who live this way, and instead look to the Jesus, the Remedy for those trapped in a performance & rules-based religious trap.

/end rant/