I Double Dog Dare You!
Were it not for abrogation, we would still be relying on the “old and outdated” instead of the “new and improved”. Most everyone does it. Bankers, lawyers, food service, toy manufacturers, and the list goes on forever. So what is abrogation? It’s kind of like built in obsolescence. If you are the manufacturer and you need to sell a new version of an old product, then design your product to fail at a place where you want to sell the new and improved version. Simple.
Still lost on abrogation? Tell your child or grandchild that in your home, “There will be no sweets before meals. If you are caught breaking this rule, you will go to bed without a sweet desert for a week.” (If you aren’t caught, congratulations) To practice abrogation then is to say, “I know I said, ‘no sweets before meals’, but that was last year. A lot has changed since then. This old rule has been abolished, annulled, canceled, invalidated, out-validated, negated and voided. It has been ABROGATED.” The new and improved, abrogated version might now say, “Hi sweetheart. You look like you could use a doughnut. If you wait until after dinner, you could become ill. Better eat a few now, just to be sure you can survive until supper. That’s the new and improved order in this new and improved house.”
Abrogation rarely goes to the stricter sense. The kind we see today is where the line of demarcation goes in reverse. It is a lot like the boy who draws a line in the sand and the bully steps over the line in spite of the dare. Not knowing quite what to do, the boy draws yet another line and says, “I double dog dare you.”
The church is experiencing a lot of bullying from the world today. We seem to feel a need to abrogate frequently. How are we doing?
Martin Luther would have yet another reformation fit were he here to see how the Lutheran church has abrogated the truth of scripture away to the cries of societal conformity, compromise and tolerance.
The two Johns, Calvin and Knox, would most certainly resist the abrogated teachings of the Presbyterian USA church of today.
Charles and John Wesley are in the wings daring the Methodist church to follow after the Lutherans, Episcopalians and Presbyterians. Those boys never drew a second line for doctrinal deviants while they were alive.
Split after split, the Baptists and other Evangelicals have certainly laid out a palate of theological offerings to which one might adhere to. (or not) They have become as the insecure teenage girl who gradually raises her skirt in compromise only to attract the boys who have no interest in her beyond course appetite for pleasure and me-ism that pervades our narcissistic culture. To the world, the modern, insecure, failing church cries out,
“Please like us. We will do anything. We will change whatever you like. Just attend our “new and improved” relevant services and give an offering.”
This might well be the most languishing picture of abrogation’s deceit.
The whole of USA Christendom has drawn line after line in the sands of time, only to back up in compromise, only to see their memberships dwindle as commensurate to their abandonment of scripture. No longer is there an unwavering, absolute truth for every generation, culture and society. Any and all discomfort that might result from a man’s rebellious, sinful lifestyle is explained away, condoned and rewarded just as the child backs away from the bully in fear of the enemy.
Church intelligentsia is seemingly more than willing to abrogate what used to be the unalterable truth of scripture. The denominational appointments of those smarter than God himself have given our main-line denominations the distinction of quick abandon and slow death.
Interestingly, neither math, science, physics nor medicine
encourage such tolerance.
Another group that practices abrogation is the Islamic. Just as the bible for Christians, the Qur’an for Muslims is up for abrogation. The Qur’an consists of 114 Suras. (chapters) 86 of these chapters reflect Muhammad’s time in Mecca and 28 his days in Medina. Now keep in mind that the Qur’an for the Muslim is not just a book. It is, for the Muslim, the divine will of Allah.
So how does one go about changing (abrogating) the divine words of Allah in the Qur’an? Well, they have one of their “scholars” do it. It has to be “professionally” done.
Abrogating the Qur’an is deemed necessary if they are to move forward as the cultures surrounding them changes or if contradictions are discovered. This provides consternation to the true and faithful Muslim who resists such changes.
If the conservative Christian theologian believes the bible to be truth without error, how much more the Muslim theologian, the Qur’an to be unalterable. The great difficulty for Muslim and non-Muslim alike is a question. Who is qualified to abrogate (change) the Divine Will? How, when and why?
One option is that later revelations may abrogate the earlier. So it is a time thing, where truth may cease to be truth as culture and societal norms shift over the generations? Sounds just like the Christians as of late.
Let’s take Sura 9:5. “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war.”
This is known as “the Sword Verse” dated 731, meaning at the end of Muhammad’s life. Are not those being called “Radical Islamic Muslim Extremists” essentially saying, Muhammad’s later revelation to be rid of the non-Muslims abrogates all the verses preceding that teach tolerance toward these infidels (infidels–that would be me and all the atheists or people of the book-Christians and Jews)? How literal must the Muslim take all of the divine will?
Al-Qaeda and Isis are Muslims who refuse to abrogate the divine will of Allah. Radical! Their scholars want nothing to do with creating a “modern, “moderate”, “liberal” version of Islam where abrogation is needed to make Islam appear to be peaceful towards the infidels. They want nothing of cultural conformity or assimilation into anything but a pure Sharia Law.
Demands for abrogation rise from all fronts, in every culture and religion. Resistance shows up in many forms, both peaceful and violent.
Will the Christian Church abrogate it’s bible into non-existence? Is the bible divine truth or an assimilation of facts, myths and ideologies? The dominating cry of answer to these questions today seems to be a universal insistence of social and moral tolerance. Interestingly, neither math, science, physics nor medicine encourage such tolerance. Why must the truth of scripture take this bow of shame?
Could this possibly explain all the “I double dog dare you” we see and hear today from both Muslim and Christian teachers?