“Jesus . . . would not be pleased with the Roman Catholic’s Church’s duplicitous
and indeed false ‘official position’ on the Shroud.”

imageFrom Stephen’s blog yesterday (the use of bold font is his. It is his way of identifying his own words):

As I have commented before, I regard the Roman Catholic’s Church’s official position on the Shroud, that it is merely "a valuable relic worth preserving," as weak, and even dishonest. As John Evangelist Walsh (himself a Catholic) pointed out 50 years ago, either the Shroud of Turin is a deliberate fraud, or it is Jesus’ burial shroud:

Only this much is certain: The Shroud of Turin is either the most awesome and instructive relic of Jesus Christ in existence-showing us in its dark simplicity how He appeared to men-or it is one of the most ingenious, most unbelievably clever, products of the human mind and hand on record. It is one or the other; there is no middle ground." (Walsh, J.E., "The Shroud," Random House: New York NY, 1963, pp.x-xii. My emphasis)

If the Shroud is a deliberate fraud, then it would almost certainly be a work of Satan "the deceiver of the whole world" (Rev 12:9), and no Church that calls itself Christian should be promoting a deliberate fraud (let alone a work of Satan)! But if the Shroud is authentic (as the evidence is overwhelming that it is), then Jesus whose image it would then be on the Shroud, who commanded His followers:

"Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil." (Mt 5:37)

would not be pleased with the Roman Catholic’s Church’s duplicitous and indeed false "official position" on the Shroud.]

Jesus would not be pleased?  From a fragmentary snippet of out-of-context scripture we can know this? Good grief!

D. A. Carson from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School is highly regarded for his advice on how to avoid mistakes when interpreting scripture. He is justifiably quoted widely when he says, “A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text.” That is what I think is happening here.

The wider context is the Sermon on the Mount. The wording, “‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” comes to mind. Oh, I shouldn’t have said that; that was wrong. But that is just what using text out of context is like. Snippets from the Beatitudes is hardly what we want to use judgmentally in a literal sense.

Let’s put a bit more context around the snippet by reading from verse 5:33 and not just the snippet that is verse 37 (I’m using the NRSV):

‘Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.” But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be “Yes, Yes” or “No, No”; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

The subject of the text is vows, oaths, swearing falsely. And then, to fully understand it and interpret it correctly, there is a whole lot of historical context that we should consider.

I was sorry to see this posted. I was also sorry to see Walsh used in this way.