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: https://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.