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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Thessalonians and Congress

The latest game from the con artists who call themselves conservative Republicans is to quote Thessalonians. I normally don't do exegesis on the New Testament but I always follow quotes to see what their context is, and I always find it a hoot when the text almost always refutes the out of context use it is put to. This is no exception. The passage quoted by the regressives is this at the end of Thessalonians II:

"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. {3:7} For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; {3:8} Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: {3:9} Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. {3:10} For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. {3:11} For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. {3:12} Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. {3:13} But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. {3:14} And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. {3:15} Yet count [him] not as an enemy, but admonish [him] as a brother. {3:16} Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord [be] with you all."[From King James Version, italics and bold face added]

Now the gist of this is a long letter, attributed to the apostle Paul, (who was said to be "preaching among the uncircumscribed") talking to the leaders of the church and admonishing them to work for the church and not be "disorderly" or selfish and lazy. As an excuse for cutting welfare benefits this isn't a good one as the admonition was not to ordinary people but to leadership. So this in a more modern context would be more applicable to Congress than persons needing welfare benefits.

Indeed the passage "For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies" seems to be speaking directly to congress, isn't it now? On the contrary, the Republicans, if they really were Christians wouldn't hunt for out of context quotes but listen to the story of the Rich Man and Jesus:

[After listing the ordinary acts of virtue in the 10 commandments] "The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? {19:21} Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me. {19:22} But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions."[Matthew Page 570]

Sounds like the Modern Republican Party. So once again the argumentation basis for cutting welfare citing Thessalonians is an abusive lie coming from a party which increasingly sounds like the people who Paul warned his disciples to be on guard against.

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