I admire and respect Erick Erickson as a politician, but not as a theologian. Last week, our self-acclaimed guardian of all things Christian and protector of the Bible, wrote an opinion column titled, “The sacred not the sscriptural,” in which he blasted First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon for voting to allow same-sex marriages. He opines they are marching toward paganism. The Bible condemns homosexuality in no uncertain terms, he says, and he’s right about that: “They must be put to death!” (Lev. 20:13).
Erick would have us believe that every word in the Bible must be carried out, otherwise we are giving in to a “secret gnostic insight.” I guess Erick and his distinguished group in Nashville who authored, “The Nashville Statement,” would gladly put to death all the LGBTQ in Macon. Why not? Isn’t that what the Bible says? I guess we could stone them to death in the middle of the Coliseum.
Of course, if we do that we would have to include all disobedient children. You know what Deuteronomy says about “stubborn and rebellious sons who do not obey their mother and father.” We could herd them all into the Coliseum with the gays and lesbians because these kids will have to be stoned to death, too.
And if we’re following scripture we cannot exclude from a stoning death the person who curses his mother or father and the people who commit adultery; just think of all the room we must make for them. Are we running out of stones?
Erick’s problem, and the conundrum of our literal fundamentalists is very simple. Yes, we all love the Bible, and yes, we all believe it contains thousands of words of inspired comfort and spiritual direction and most of us read it every day, but the brute fact is that it contains errors and misconceptions and directions we are not going to follow.
For example, ask Erick if he really wants to stone all those people. Will he follow scripture, or, will he, as he says of others, “excuse and explain it all away, lying to himself that he has a biblical basis to do the unbiblical?” And it’s not just the Tanakh (Old Testament). Think of all the problems Erick and his tribe must be having with our New Testament. He can’t walk away from challenges like these:
▪ Your women (Your?) must be silent in church meetings. If they want to learn something they should ask their husbands at home (1Cor.14:34). Obviously, the man who wrote this had a lot to learn about women who were “owned” by their husbands.
▪ The slave’s master will come at an hour he does not expect and cut him to pieces (Matt. 24:51). Matthew quotes Jesus as thinking slavery was an accepted way of life, as well as the murder of bad slaves
Our Bible was written thousands of years ago by ordinary men with foibles and falsehoods and built-in prejudices. Divine inspiration did not erase their humanity. They said beautiful things about God and Jesus and love, and they were right. But they also demeaned women, condoned slavery and condemned homosexuality. And here they were dead wrong. And I think it’s OK to admit it.
What the brave parishioners of First Baptist Church in Macon did two weeks ago with their vote to include the LGBTQ community was totally Christian. What the Nashville group did with their negative and exclusive “Nashville Statement” was totally non-Christian. But that’s my opinion.
I don’t think I could ever convince Erickson that Christianity is growing and changing and evolving; he flat out denies it. He sees any deviation from his original childhood perception as corruption that must be condemned and washed away. But that’s his opinion.
And that’s OK because, after all, this is the Opinion Page.
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