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Abusing Scripture for Personal or Political Purposes

Abusing Scripture for Personal or Political Purposes

Roger E. Olson
Aug. 30, 2020

Every Christian ought to be repulsed and speak out against politicians or anyone changing the words of Scripture to support their own agendas or vested interests--including those of their parties, organizations, businesses, or nations.

Recently, in the U.S., someone speaking at a major political party event "quoted" a passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews inserting words that make it sound as if the Bible (this passage in Hebrews, anyway) supports his or her political agenda and America as a nation favored by God, as if the party and America are somehow "hidden" in the Bible.

It's one thing to argue that a particular political persuasion or even a nation is obliquely referred to in the Bible or that some biblical principle supports some parts of those. It's a step beyond that (an ancient and common misuse of the Bible) to actually altering the words of Scripture, misquoting Scripture, to mix into it a modern political agenda or national status. American patriotism and nationalism are not in the Bible.

I am flabbergasted that any true Christian could so abuse Scripture. That they do strongly supports my suspicion that many American Christians are Americans first and Christians second. And as a Christian theologian I believe you cannot be a Christian and change the very words of Scripture to support a political agenda or nationalism.

I am increasingly concerned that many American "Christians" are more committed to a "Make America Great Again" (or "Keep America Great") political, patriotic, nationalistic agenda than to the honor of God's Word.

And I believe the time has come for a new Confessing Church movement that eschews this sort of nationalistic, political syncretism--to the point of excluding every evidence of it from the churches. Jesus does not stand somewhere on a pyramid of other values and commitments and neither he nor the Bible can be manipulated to support a political or nationalistic philosophy or agenda. "Jesus is Lord" means that he stands above all of that. So with the Bible as God's Word written--it stands above all humanly devised philosophies, political agendas, nation-states, parties, denominations, etc. Manipulating God, Jesus Christ, God's Word to support such is heresy if not apostasy.

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