Monday, May 11, 2009

Between The Patriot's Bible and the movie The American President: The Futilitiy of Study Bibles

The conversation between Lewis Rothschild and President Andrew Shepherd:

"Lewis Rothschild: You have a deeper love of this country than any man I’ve ever known. And I want to know what it says to you that in the past seven weeks, 59% of Americans have begun to question your patriotism.

President Andrew Shepherd: Look, if the people want to listen to-…

Lewis Rothschild: They don’t have a choice! Bob Rumson is the only one doing the talking! People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.

President Andrew Shepherd: Lewis, we’ve had presidents who were beloved, who couldn’t find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.”

Recently, on the biblio/theo-blogosphere, there has been some outrage expressed at the latest study Bible published by Thomas Nelson called The Patriot's Bible. Pastor Greg Boyd was so disturbed by the nationalism and violence promoted in this book that he has begun to write a series about it on his blog in addition to a book review on it. My friends Celucien and T.C. authors of Christ My Righteousness and Theological Graffitti have shared their concerns for the Patriot's Bible as well.

I believe that the real problem is not so much American Christian nationalism, per se, but that our dilemma starts with the fact that most North American Christians do not know the difference between the true religion of Jesus the Messiah and the American brand. Like Lewis Rothschild shouts to President Shepherd, that the people do not have a choice and so that they will listen to whoever offers the truth. Rather than being offered Gospel Truth by religious educators and preachers, lay persons, thirsty for knowledge and hungry for truth, run to their closest Christian bookstores and buy the latest, most fashionable study Bible. There are markets for study bibles for teenagers, women, men, African Americans, followers of Joel Olsteen, etc. What's next? A study bible for Democrats and another for Republicans? I forgot, they already exist, the New Revised Standard Version (D) and the English Standard Version (R).

President Andrew Shepherd is also right. The people when they are thirsty do not know the difference between sand and water. North American Christian education ministries have failed to equip the saints to be discerning between the truth and untruth. So, we should not be surprised when a book called, "The Patriots Bible" comes off the presses. What needs to happen is that alternative voices need to begin to speak out, to put to shame the liars and the false prophets. Otherwise, I can start doing research for the creation of the Libertarian Study Bible. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

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