I was told tonight that I could probably get my thoughts into words better than an article I shared on Facebook was attempting. The truth is, I knew what the article was trying to get at but I was using it as an example of the mess that can come from topically charged biblical interpretation.
The graphic in the article showed a representation of different forms of marriage listed in the Bible. From loveless, arranged marriages to women being forced by the law to marry their rapists as well as many other unthinkable marriages enforced by law in biblical times. None of the forms of marriage in this graphic showed a loving, Godly marriage as the majority of American Christians understand marriage today. The type of marriage that they shout in defense of. And the article proceeded to criticize the use of Scripture to defend marriage and proposed the idea that marriage should simply be between two people who love each other.
My heart-break comes not from the issue of marriage itself, or the issue of homosexuality, or the issue of abortion, or any other hot button issue…although these topics do evoke strong feelings and opinions in me – which frankly are pointless in any debate. What breaks my heart the most are the arguments themselves and the way Scripture is used to either defend or undermine an argument. I believe that is NOT what Scripture was intended for. But, that’s when I see Scripture getting used the most.
I am a proponent of debate. I am a proponent of discussion. The trouble I have is when people who feel strongly about what they believe refuse to listen respectfully to the opposition or to other thoughts.
I am a proponent of Scripture and Christianity. I am a student of Scripture and church history and if I were only allowed to take one thought with me from what I’ve learned of church history, sadly, it’s that Scripture is often used to make war and promote political arguments rather than to win souls and teach about Christ.
Look at the Crusades! In the name of God, blood was shed. Look at the American Civil War, Scripture was used on BOTH sides of the war. On one hand the Bible was interpreted to end slavery. On the other, the Bible was used to justify it. Although we could argue that there were fundamental mistakes in some of the biblical interpretation that took place then, on both sides there were people who believed they were doing the work of God…their personal political views justified by Scripture.
When Scripture is used in political debates, I seriously want to find a table to hide under. I’m a Christian and those arguments make me sick. You’re fighting from two different platforms. A political platform is not the same as a religious platform. Stop trying to make the United States government become the right hand of God! Stop trying to change the views and behavior of an entire nation. Instead, try to emulate Christ and share His love to win hearts and let HIM change their views and behavior. The argument that the world is going to hell in a hand basket just because some laws don’t emulate Christ is preposterous. There are souls out there who need to experience the love of Christ and I am sorry for those of you who don’t agree with me, but politics and government is not the place for it. In fact, pulling God into government has been more of a turnoff for all the non-Christians I’ve talked to.
In the effort to share our “Godly Political Views”, we’ve turned more and more people away from God.
That was simply the point I was trying to make. Biblical interpretation is tricky. No one person can claim to know at all times and in all occasions the absolutes of Scripture. The Bible is a living document. At one point in your life, a particular passage could mean one thing to you, and at another point, the same passage could tell you something else.
Let’s keep taking. Let’s keep debating Let’s keep discussing. Let’s keep seeking and praying. — All to better understand God’s will. — But, let’s stop dictating and enforcing.