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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Applying Right Division to Firefly

On my podcast, I've covered the topic of filtering. That is, the practice of taking all you see and hear and filter through the lens of scripture and true Christianity. Two simple examples: Supertramp's "Lord is it Mine" or George Harrison's "Give Me Love" (with one lyrical correction) can bring my thoughts to the true Lord. 

Obviously, this has its limits (we can't filter porn, for example). It might also show up in places unexpected. As we have noted on this blog in several posts, some of the "beloved hymns of the faith" contain some bad theology. Sometimes, then, I have to filter the hymns. So, filtering is not just for secular things, it should apply to all things. Another way to look at some Christian content is to eat the orange and spit out the seeds.

Taking a purely secular case, a 2002 episode of the futuristic science fiction program "Firefly" features one of the main characters being marked as a witch for her "uncanny perceptions." When we're first introduced to the town which eventually tries to burn her at the stake, we hear them thanking the Lord and we are given the impression they run their society by biblical standards.

When the character mentioned is perceived to be a witch, a townswoman quotes from Exodus 22:18

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. 

Well, that is scriptural. It's part of the Law. It is a command from God to His people... that is, his people, ISRAEL, in the land, under the covenant of the Kingdom of priests [Exodus 19:5-7].

Before we apply Right Division to verse 18, let's look at the immediate context and verse 20.

He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

Did Israel go about destroying every person and every nation anywhere which sacrificed unto any other God than unto Yahweh? No. This command, as the other, is for Israel, in her land, for her kingdom. Do we obey this command in the current age (whether in the land or not)? No. So, neither Israel in the age of the Law outside the land nor we in this age anywhere take this as a "Bible command to be obeyed" without recognizing its time and place.

Whereas most people think these are ridiculous examples, they are actually quite relevant. If we're going to go about grabbing verses and commands and instructions from anywhere we want in scripture, we're going to have to deal with these verses (and the many like them).

However, when we apply the sound scriptural practice of "rightly dividing the Word of Truth," we recognize that these commands are not only not for today, they were never given to anyone apart from Israel in the land.