Controversial Texts

In our study of Matthew, we’re entering into a couple of chapters that are among the most misunderstood, chapters twenty-four and twenty-five.  These chapters are full of words and phrases, such as, sign of Your coming, end of the age, tribulation, abomination of desolation, etc.

What do we do with controversial texts?  Most churches ignore the most controversial texts.  We will not.  It is not a point of pride; I don’t mind telling you that I have struggled mightily this week in my studies and without a lot to show for it.

I have spent the week alternately reading everything I could find and begging God in prayer to give me wisdom.  I’ve lost sleep because my mind won’t stop racing.  I’ve missed meals because not understanding what I want to communicate on Sunday morning makes me sick to my stomach.  And these aren’t new topics to me!  They’re just ones that I haven’t taught or preached, personally.

I’ve learned a lot about other teachers and preachers and myself this week.  In regards to other teachers and preachers, I’ve learned that some that teach on controversial texts simply pick another teacher or preacher they like and repeat what those teachers or preachers have previously said, often times word for word.

While this is a very tempting means of hitting the easy button, I have found that I rarely, upon a full study of a text, draw the exact same conclusions as those who came before me. 

I’ve learned that while it is very tempting to pick an interpretation and then defend it with full gusto, that this also seems unnecessary.  There are things that must be defended, such as, the fact that Jesus will return to this earth, however, if we disagree about some of the details of what that will look like, we have to be alright with that. 

Controversy is nothing new.  Some 1,600 years ago (give or take a few), Augustine wrote, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity,” with charity, of course, meaning love.  I like this approach.

Picking a position and defending it automatically creates a “Me vs You” atmosphere that often abandons humility and kindness toward one another.  There’s also nothing wrong with saying, “This is what I believe and why I believe it, but I could be mistaken.” 

And get this church, MOST people are mistaken in one way or many regarding these texts.  How do I know?  Because there are at least four major views regarding the texts that I’m referring to, and they cannot, obviously, all be correct.

The lesson for this week is an introductory lesson, but next week the fun begins!  I beg of you, pray for your preacher!  I promise to do the best I can, but my best isn’t enough.  Pray that God will bless these next months of study and that we will all come away with a greater knowledge and faith that manifests itself in lives that live more fully to the glory of our Lord and savior, Jesus.

Much Love!

Wes LeFlore (918) 607-8489 or