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"The Revolt"
 - Menachem Begin - his memoirs 



Keep It Simple, Stupid


Bob is a school teacher.  Sherry, his wife, walks over to Bob and gives him a huge hug.  "I just love you," she says as she squeezes him as tight as she can.


Bob is elated.  The loving touch of his wife is always appreciated. 


"But I just don't get some of the things you tell me Bob, so as they say, just keep it simple, stupid," she mutters aloud as she walks into the kitchen. 


Bob has heard those words before.  One minute it's a loving hug and the next minute it's keep it simple, stupid.  "These words hurt," Bob's saddened heart thinks.  "If she'd just take the time to sit down with me I could explain what she doesn't get, but she doesn't take the time.  She never has.  She probably never will."    


Over the years I've heard many Christians repeat Sherry's words to Bob.  "Keep it simple, stupid" is the fundamental approach that many Christians take when it comes to the Bible.  I realize that there are some theological concepts that are complex and difficult to grasp.  I admit that some Bible teachers seem to enjoy impressing their audience with their use of humongous theological terms that leave everyone with a darkened understanding. I get why some want to keep it simple. 


I agree with the Apostle Paul.  "Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying?  You will just be speaking into the air (1 Corinthians 14:9 NIV)."  I know Paul was writing about speaking in tongues in this verse, but his point is applicable to what I'm saying.   


Despite the fact that there have been many sermons in Christendom spoken into the air, I believe "keep it simple, stupid" is a product of our post modern dumbed down culture that rejects a detailed, systematic, and analytical approach to reasoning issues through to their logical conclusions.  For those so persuaded, attempting to understand truth is nonsense because there is no universal truth to understand.  Truth is relevant.  It varies from place to place, from person to person, and from time to time.  This dumbed down approach to understanding issues has sadly crept into western Christianity.  In many sectors of that which we call church today Biblical truth is a misnomer.  There is no fixed Biblical truth by which we must live.  The Bible is a book that is meant to inspire us, not to educate us.  I call this mentality inspired ignorance.       


If we are to give a clear and precise explanation for why we believe as 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) admonishes, we must understand what we believe.  If we are to be competent to instruct others as Romans 15:14 (NIV) encourages, we must understand what we instruct.  The ultimate conclusion to "keep it simple, stupid" prevents us from understanding our beliefs sufficiently enough to competently explain them.  The result is that the truth Jesus commands us to teach (Mathew 28:19 - 20) doesn't get taught.  If the truth doesn't get taught, people don't hear it.  If people don't hear the truth, they can't call on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:14).    


Consider Moses.  When God chose him to be the founding father of Old Testament Jewish Law he was a well educated man.  Consider the Apostle Paul.  God chose him to be the founding father of Christian theology.  He defined Christian teaching more than anyone else, and that includes Jesus.  Paul was well educated in Christian doctrine, Jewish tradition, and Greek philosophy.  Read Paul's letter to the Romans.  He systematically details Biblical truths.  The sad fact is that "keep it simple, stupid" prohibits many of us from reading and studying the truths Paul teaches in Romans.  It leaves us with a dumbed down, inspired but ignorant, Christian community.     


I don't believe all Christians need a PhD in Christian theology.  I do believe that there must be some among us who are sufficiently educated in the Word of God that we can respect and learn from.  If we're ever going to be able to explain why we believe as we do we must give ourselves to the instruction of God's Word.  Understanding Biblical truth must be primary in our lives.  I also agree with Paul when he wrote, "Stop thinking like children.  In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults (1 Corinthians 14:20 NIV)."  I can't say it any clearer than that.      


We can certainly make complicated Biblical issues easier to understand, but when we take "keep it simple, stupid" to its logical conclusion; the simple minded will eventually become stupid. 


Sherry, in the above story, claimed to love Bob, but her failure to take the time to understand the things he said tells a different story.  In like fashion, if we tell Jesus we love Him as we raise our hands in worship and then ignore much of what He has spoken to us in the Bible, our actions deny our words of love.  If we love Jesus, we will sit at His feet and hang onto every last word He has penned between the covers of what we call God's Word, the Bible.  



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