CHRISTIANS GET ACCUSED of cherry-picking the Bible.
Have you ever picked cherries?
You pick the ones that are ripe and juicy. You leave the ones that are rotten and wormy.
Bible cherries Christians love to chew on
- “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
- “Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
We can deal with this stuff.
Bible cherries Christians can’t swallow
- “Do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39).
- “Those who use the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).
But when a drone strike takes out a terrorist leader, Christians celebrate with non-Christians. One big happy party.
Atheist and comedian Bill Maher accuses Christians of “lawyering the Bible” to find loopholes around Jesus.
We want to read “pray for your enemy” as something we do after we blow them up.
I wonder if there might be any value to admitting that Mr. Maher is right.
We simply say yes, there are parts of the Bible we believe, but don’t live.
But those Christians know homosexuals and they believe that the sexual orientation of those folks is natural to them, regardless of what Paul said.
So they disregard Paul and they regard homosexuals.
They don’t pick Paul’s cherry off the tree.
In the same way, Christians who want nothing more than to see drones taking out terrorists disregard Jesus’ pacifist cherries hanging in the tree.
- damage Christianity
- or bring a sense of honesty to Christianity
if we simply admitted that there are commandments in the Bible we refuse to practice for one reason or another?
Or should we go back to lawyering the Bible, defending what seems to amount to a rewrite – and sometimes an absolute reversal?
The reason I’m thinking about this is because my Bible study group is currently in a series of lessons that talk about the tough side of being a Christian. I assigned myself the topic “We get a bad press.”
So I’ve been looking at the criticisms that non-Christians make about Christians.
And some of the toughest criticisms I’ve read seem justified.
So they need a response.
Even if the response is, “I know it’s in the Bible. I have great respect for the Bible. But that is just something I’m not willing to practice.”
This topic is pretty doggone close to some others I’ve covered – which got me in trouble:
The more I study the Bible and the more I work with people who have grown up in the church, the more I realize that some longtime Christians simply don’t want to think about it.
They believe what they believe.
They really don’t want anyone telling them different: preacher, teacher, or the Bible.
So when they get confronted, they
- clam up
- steam up
- or blow up.
Some, however, manage to calm down and think about it.