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On Misusing Scripture

Published Date: July 1, 2015

by: Dr. Ellsworth Kalas

Let me celebrate these lovely early days of summer by escorting you to a different world on this planet, though only a few will recognize it. I want to tell you about the only time I ever intentionally misused Scripture.

As I said, it was a different world. We were teenagers and we lived in a world where Christians didn’t play cards, smoke, dance or go to the movies. At times we had vigorous discussions around such questions as, “Suppose you were in a movie when the Lord comes? What then?” Consensus was that you would be left behind.

So how did high schoolers amuse themselves in a world where dancing, movies, etc, were forbidden? There was a word for it then; I don’t know what, if anything, is the equivalent term today. We called it necking. Generally this meant holding hands and a little kissing. Mind you, sometimes some went further, but not often. As I said, it was a different world.

But I was a timid soul, which left me on the outside. In that little world I was also the resident Bible scholar. By the time I was in my mid-teens, I had read the Bible, King James Version, (the only one available) through four or five times.

In the course of my reading I was fascinated by a verse in Deuteronomy 18 warning Israel that they should not allow any variety of evil in the land, including necromancers. I checked a dictionary and learned that necromancy had to do with sorcery or witchcraft.

But it was too good to resist. Thus one day when a fellow teenager of tender conscience asked if necking might be a sin, I was ready: “It’s forbidden In Deuteronomy,” I said.  “You shall not allow a necromancer in the land.” “It couldn’t be more clear; necking and romance. They’re forbidden.”

The word spread quickly. Nobody bothered to check a dictionary. And nobody gave up necking.

Eventually, I kissed a girl. The kiss was more tentative than romantic, but Edith remembered what she had heard. I confessed that I had purposely misled my fellow teenager. We noted that though I was widely quoted, I had no real converts.

This is the true story of the only time I ever intentionally misused Scripture. And that’s my report for this lovely summer day.

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