As I observe Christianity, I notice that most Christian disagreements are based on what passages of Scripture to ignore.
Every believer ignores, or at least downplays the importance of, various passages of Scripture. There is no agreement on which passages to ignore per se.
For instance, some believers ignore the Sermon on the Mount as being for some other age. Other believers, while holding to the Sermon on the Mount, reject Paul’s teaching about women.
However, there is agreement on what kinds of passages to ignore!
What I mean is: while some ignore the Sermon on the Mount and others ignore Paul’s teachings about women, both are ignoring passages they don’t want to do!
Yes, they disagree as to specific passages, but they agree that they don’t want to do certain things God said! The passages we ignore tend to be the passages that tell us to obey things we don’t want to do.
I find this fascinating!
People throw out James because James is perhaps the most practical book of the New Testament. Verse after verse about how to live and what we are to do. People don’t want to hear that, so just throw out the whole book.
People throw out the Sermon on the Mount because it’s just stuff we’re supposed to do. It’s not just any stuff to do, it’s impossible stuff to do! Stuff that would totally ruin my enjoyment of life, so throw it out!
Paul tells women to be quiet in church and to honor their husbands. Seriously? And don’t even bring up head coverings. We don’t want to do that, so throw it out!
Oh I know, I know, it’s “cultural” and we’ve progressed past that stuff. I know.
I wonder if culturally we’ve progressed passed the Gospel too? How would we know this? What if God decided not to do what He said because we decided not to do what He said?
“But God wouldn’t do that, the Bible says God doesn’t change,” you protest.
I know, but how can you trust that? If other things in there no longer mean what they say, what’s to say God won’t change? What if God just said He didn’t change because that’s what the culture at the time needed to hear?
We need to be careful playing the game of deciding what passages God meant and what ones He didn’t mean. We need to be careful about being God’s judge. We need to be careful not to be the Bible’s editor.
Yes, there are changes in some of God’s dealings with people (the Bible explains what those are, for instance the book of Hebrews is all about changes between the Old and New Covenant), but there is also a very consistent continuity. God wants people to listen to Him, whether you like that or not. Ignoring what God said doesn’t mean He didn’t say it.