Here’s a great post from Mo, one of my Facebook friends:
“Jesus and the teachers of the law both quoted a lot of scripture.
“The stunning difference was in the lens through which they saw it, the lens that defined its purpose and set its context.
“The Pharisees used the scriptures to condemn, to accuse, to prove guilt. Present-day people are pros at this pastime and propose plenty of proof-text piles to penalize perpetrators.
“I’ve done this too often, sad to say.
“Jesus came to show that the entire scriptures pointed to Him (Luke 24:27), the One who came to bring healing, forgiveness, wholeness, restoration, peace and Life.
“The Pharisees “weaponized” the scriptures, while Jesus came to disarm them and bring to us an entirely new way of engaging with the world. . .
“A way informed by His Love, built on
the foundation of His Shalom.
I have written on this subject before. Some people see the Bible as the Word of God, and that the ‘Word of God’ is not only the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ (Eph 6:17), but also ‘…quick and powerful, cutting [really deeply]’ (Heb 4:12). I personally have likened the idea of the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ as being the ‘Lightsaber of the Spirit‘, albeit jokingly.
But I am concerned when Christians conduct what I would call ‘friendly fire’ attacks on fellow believers by wielding the Bible as a club, sword or other weapon. As I quoted in the first of the articles in the paragraph above,
“Every time [Scripture] is used, it should be used in a way that matches the heart of God. If it is not, it is being abused.”
How true that is. The great Christian theologian and apologist, C. S. Lewis, also agreed:
A-flippin’-men to that. Yes, it is Jesus Who is the Word of God (Jn1:1), not the Bible, although it does contain some of the words of God – some of the things He said. And the Bible is, as Lewis says, is one of the devices God can use to bring us to Christ. It is so sad, then, that in these days, people use the Bible as a judgemental weapon to beat up both those in the Church, and those outside it. Is it any wonder that I get so frustrated seeing, time and again, ‘believers’ hurting others with this powerful book – albeit a book that only has real power when people agree that it has. In other words, for those that do not believe in things written in the Bible, it holds no power.
Conversely, though, the Bible holds the power both to build up or to destroy those who do believe in what the Bible says. This is why the message of inerrancy – that the Bible is always right – is so damaging, because firstly the Bible was never intended to be always right; secondly, those who have dogmatically decided that what they believe is right are the ones who batter people over the head with their own beliefs, based on their own interpretation. That there are many ways of interpreting the Bible is beyond doubt; that is why there are tens of thousands of Chistian denominations all across this world of ours.
The damage caused by this sort of behaviour is at least twofold. Here are the two principal types of damage I can think of: firstly, those who believe the Bible is an authoritative document are led into lives of slavery and misery by those who claim to have everything all ‘right’; all their doctrines lined up neatly like ducks in a row. Secondly, people outside the Church see all this theological infighting and decide, quite rightly, that they want nothing whatever to do with this sort of thing. In a very real way, the ‘gatekeepers of Heaven‘ are shutting the doors of Heaven in men’s faces by their misuse of this book which is such a precious spiritual resource but which is misused so often, as in the Lewis quotation above.
Instead, then, let’s use the Bible as the way to build people up. Let’s use it for its primary purpose, which is to lead people to the true Word of God, Who is Jesus Christ – not in an accusatory or condemnatory way, but in portraying God as Jesus portrayed Him: full of mercy, compassion and Love. When we lift Jesus up, He draws all men to Himself (Jn 12:32).
This is so much more upbuilding than causing vast spiritual and emotional damage akin to waving a razor-sharp sword around.
Or even a lightsaber…
So, to my mind, it’s about time people stopped waving this lightsaber around like that.
They’ll have someone’s arm off….* 😉
*This is a reference to how, in most of the Star Wars movies, someone’s arm gets lopped off by a lightsaber. I have heard it jokingly said that it’s not a proper Star Wars movie unless someone loses an arm… 😉
7 thoughts on “The Weaponization of Scripture”
Good comments until at the end I sense the insinuation that portraying God as Jesus did and lifting Jesus up actually means lifting Him up as God. I don’t read that in Scripture but rather that he came to serve God and to show us how.
I don’t really see any insinuation there, and if there is one it is unintentional. I am Autistic, and I usually tend to put things down clearly without insinuation.
That said, I personally *do* believe that Jesus is indeed God and that He portrays the Father perfectly, subject of course to His human limitations like not being everywhere at once and so on. I respect that your reading of Scripture does not lead you to that conclusion, and that’s fine; we are all on a journey of discovery.
Peace and Grace to you, brother 🙂
Did you write this? I grew up fundamentalist. Then I grew up. This gives me hope for Christianity.
Thanks for your comments! I wrote the bits that are not in italics, yes 🙂 But I was inspired by my friend’s ideas too.
Glad you got some hope from it!
Jesus believed in an inerrant text when he said not one yod nor tittle will pass from the law until all is fulfilled. Teach them to obey all that I have commanded you. All Scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching and training in righteousness. New Living Translation
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”
It is now more important to believe in the Christ and the inspired texts. Baptism is for adult believers who are able to repent and understand and so they are united into Christ.
Biblical Literalism a mental health issue.