CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Let’s Amend the Bible – Again

Dec 29, 2012

There is never a shortage of those who wish to amend, change, alter, or cut the Word of God to suit their own preferences, lifestyles, prejudices and sins. It has been happening all throughout church history in fact. There have always been those who thought they could sit in judgment over Scripture, instead of letting it sit in judgment over them.

Thus way back in the second century we had folks like Marcion, a heretic who loved Paul but hated just about everyone else. Incredibly, he took his theological scissors out and sought to expunge all that he was unhappy with. He ended up with just ten of Paul’s epistles and the gospel of Luke. All these remaining books however were further edited by him.

Thus he had his own distorted and truncated canon. He of course was not the only one to do a demolition job on Scripture. In more recent times for example we had the famous Jefferson Bible. Because he was more of a deist than a biblical Christian, he also took out his scissors, deleting the miraculous from the gospels. What was left was his The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.

It is a typical – and unworkable – move by the theological liberals: to seek to divorce the ethics of Jesus from his teachings. But of course that cannot be done. His ethics flow intimately from his teachings, which include his claims to divinity. Take away the supernatural, the divine, and the miraculous, and you no longer have Jesus, just a nice moraliser made in your own image.

C. S. Lewis nailed it in Mere Christianity when he critiqued this totally unbiblical approach to Jesus: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

But the attempts to decimate both Jesus and the Bible continue unabated today as well. The most recent example of this involves an uppity leftist Englishman working with the US media at the moment. He too feels it is time to amend the Bible to accommodate sinful lifestyles.

One report covers the story this way: “While CNN’s Piers Morgan is a well known critic of America’s Second Amendment, he has now ventured into a new campaign to reform another document critical in the development of western civilization; the Bible.

“During a discussion on CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ on Monday – Christmas Eve – with Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren, Morgan argued that there needs to be an ‘amendment to the Bible’ for same-sex marriage, because like the Constitution, the Bible is ‘inherently flawed.’

“‘Both the Bible and the Constitution were well intentioned but they are basically, inherently flawed. Hence, the need to amend it,’ Morgan told Warren during a conversation where Morgan emphasized the need for America to separate Church and State. My point to you about gay rights, for example, it’s time for an amendment to the Bible’.”

Fortunately Warren held the line here, telling Morgan this: “Uh, no. Not a chance. What I believe is flawed is human opinion, because it constantly changes.” Quite so. It is not the Bible which needs to change with the times, but the times which need to change to get in line with the eternally up-to-date Word of God.

Lefties like Morgan of course think they can sit in judgment on Scripture, and pick and choose those bits which are acceptable to them, and those which are not. Sorry, but it does not work that way. The Word of God is the standard which we must measure up to, not the other way around.

And we do not have the luxury of selectively choosing, cafeteria style, what we want and don’t want to acknowledge and obey. We are not God, so we do not have that option. God has decided what truth he has revealed to us, and it is up to us to go along with the plan, and not make things up as we go along.

Here it is the homosexual agenda which is largely pushing for this amending process. And Morgan is not the first to agitate for this. Such theological revisionism has been going on for decades now. Indeed, I recently wrote about a ‘homosexual Bible’ in which all the inconvenient biblical truths about homosexuality have been radically amended: www.billmuehlenberg.com/2012/12/14/the-new-revised-perversion-bible/

The foolishness of all this is highlighted by US commentator Michael L. Brown. He writes: “Even those who do not believe the Bible to be God’s Word generally have the prudence not to call for an amendment to the Scriptures. The idea is patently absurd. (To quote Morgan again, ‘My point to you about gay rights, for example, it’s time for an amendment to the Bible.’)

“Who will be responsible for making the amendments? Shall we amend the Bible on an annual basis? Shall we do it by regional vote? By age? By gender? Perhaps we can each amend the Bible as we please, whenever we like? (Come to think of it, in practical terms, that’s what a lot of people do on a daily basis!)

“Morgan actually called for a ‘new Bible,’ thereby making a mockery of his very position. (Note to Piers Morgan: If ‘the Bible’ is merely a book containing the latest human opinion, it is not ‘the Bible.’ This would be like calling for the manufacture of a ‘new car,’ only to produce a horse.)”

Brown is right to suggest that plenty of folks live as if they are already indeed Bible-amenders. Even plenty of believers can be quite selective, picking and choosing those bits which they are comfortable with, and jettisoning those bits that do not seem to be as PC as liked.

Well I have news for Morgan and all the other Marcionites out there. It is not the Bible that needs amending. It is us who need the radical amending. We are the ones who need to get in sync with God and his holy standards. The sooner we learn that lesson, the better.

As Charles Spurgeon once reminded us, “If there is any verse that you would like left out of the Bible, that is the verse that ought to stick to you, like a blister, until you really attend to its teaching.” That is as true of Christians as it is of critics like Morgan.

www.theblaze.com/stories/piers-morgan-both-the-bible-and-u-s-constitution-are-inherently-flawed-and-need-to-be-amended/
townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2012/12/28/piers-morgan-wants-to-amend-moses-n1475003

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9 Responses to Let’s Amend the Bible – Again

  • Piers Morgan is a man who has been cited for obstruction, and has been made responsible for the phone hacking scandal (including royalty) in Britain that has recently ended. That’s why he’s a worker in the United States, rather than in his home country. Were he to return, I imagine, he would be jailed. So his approach to anyone’s rights has to be questioned. The United States is so ignorant of who he is that they take him as he presents himself: a somewhat intelligent journalist. He’s not. He is scum.
    Julia Marks

  • Dear Bill, It is obvious that the homosexual activists and their friends like Piers Morgan regard the teachings against homosexuality as “hard sayings”. Where have we heard that before? I also read somewhere that some Muslim fanatics in Pakistan believe the Bible should be changed to suit their beliefs. We have to stand our ground and pray for these foolish people. I wish you all the best for 2013.
    Regards, Franklin Wood

  • Somewhat off-topic, Bill, but surely Lewis’s comments about Jesus apply perfectly to Islam, which regards Jesus (“Isa”) as a prophet, and even accepts the virgin birth, but rejects His claims to be God.
    Mark Henderson

  • Thanks Mark

    But surely not. As you should know, a text without a context is a pretext, and as you also should know, Lewis fully supported the deity of Christ and the orthodox Christian teachings about his one person and two natures. All that is fully denied by Islam of course.

    Thus to be honest, I am not quite sure what you are getting at here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Mark Twain once avowed it was the parts of the Bible that he understood that bothered him… In a fallen world where man has a bad habit of trying to hide himself and his sin, a Bible which bothers nobody could never be the revealed word of the one true, thrice-holy God!

    John Wigg

  • Nothing new under the sun here! However the Christian will take this as another timely warning about the deceptiveness of the human heart and our resulting tendency to slowly wander off the narrow path if we are not careful. Know what you believe and stick to it like glue!

    Steve Davis

  • John Wigg, yes, that thought occurred to me. It is not so much the passages of the Bible that we grapple to understand that are the problem, but the ones that we do understand. As Jeremiah says in chapter 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
    Not that I wish to be guilty of amending the Bible but I am sure Jeremiah might have added that the heart and mind of Piers Morgan is desperately deluded, double-minded, double–dealing, dishonest, denying the truth, dissimulating, duplicitous, defiant, disobedient, disrespectful, disdainful, distracted, deviant, diverted, disruptive, dysfunctional, disordered, distorted, disgraceful, depraved, decadent. degenerate, debauched, dehumanised, despairing, damned, destructive and dominated by the devil.

    David Skinner, UK

  • What Piers and his ilk, like Obama, are guilty of is the most appalling hypocrisy. They pretend that we live in a progressive, 21st century world that is free of all guilt, shame, personal responsibility and consequences to how we behave. They make out that no one pays for sinful behaviour that they regard as virtuous and honourable, and that if bad things do happen to those who commit adultery, fornication and sodomy, it is somehow due to lack of resources, public funds and in many cases the fault of God.

    Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more because what she was doing was destructive not just to herself but to the rest of society. Someone pays. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price on the cross and people like Morgan and Obama are happy to trample on it.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnmS_vULPxw

    David Skinner, UK

  • Bill,
    This tampering with Scripture goes back to the nineteenth century. Francis Anderson in his commentary on Job points out that in the heyday of criticism (19th C.) scholars were quick to infer that a passage they could not understand must be ‘corrupt’ and then proceeded to ‘correct’ it. Some problems might have been solved in this way, he says,…..But rewriting the text does not solve the problem. It merely destroys the evidence.
    Clive Skewes

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