Thursday, April 11, 2013

Should Christians Use the Bible in Public Debate?

As I was looking through facebook, I saw this link: 

This article inspired today's Question of Provocation, though I did mis-label it on facebook. I asked the question a little differently than did Brother Russell. My question was a wee less political. I was enjoying seeing the different responses I received, and then another friend seemed to have happened by the same link that inspired my question. He then posted the link, kinda letting the air out of my balloon, so to speak. 

If you haven't read the article yet, take time to read it. What inspired his article was something that Bill O'Reilly said on Fox News channel. (Really, regardless of the label, we need to be careful what we digest and accept as truthful, be it conservative, mainstream, and especially Christian media.) I am also coming from listening to the words of one world leader saying how great it is to have a Christian faith, but when we enter the public sector, we need to leave the faith at home. (Personally a person can no more separate himself from his faith than a scuba diver would dive without his airtank. It's not possible, or the person is not truly a Christian. But more on this for another time.)

From this article, as well as some personal reflections during the days prior to this article, I've come to the conclusion that I need to bring up the Bible a bit more, not just in discussions with people whom I come into contact, but also with other preachers as well. I think perhaps we tend to assume that the other person has some or a great deal of Bible knowledge, and we may assume even that the person we are talking to, be we know of his faith or no, knows that we are coming from the point of view of God's Word. I say 'we' but I definitely mean me. 

I know that there are ways in which we need to do this, to be clear on our approach. Sometimes we need to be blatant. I don't mean to be hateful and ugly, but when someone says that "same gender marriage is good because we've evolved", then I will stand up and say no. The mere usage of the word 'evolve' assumes there is no God. We become no better than animals. We lose purpose, we lose hope. (Oh, and no! There is no compromise on this point. God and evolution cannot exist together. You have the One, reject the other.)

But I am fair. I cannot prove Genesis 1.1. But the person who brings up this silly argument must also be fair. Neither can he prove that we have 'evolved'. Once he broaches that subject, I am able to stand on the Word plainly, overtly.

There are times, however, that we must be wary of waving the Bible. Some people do not like to hear from the Bible. They instantly put up walls and close their ears, even if what is in the Word speaks perfectly to their situation. For example, I used to work for Child Protective Services for Arizona. Being that it's the State government, I had to mark my words. Then at one counseling session where one parent had a substance abuse problem and the other parent was having trouble coping with the addicted spouse, I told the worrying spouse that "there is an old saying about worrying. Do not worry about tomorrow, for today has enough problems of its own. Today {your spouse} is sober. Celebrate it. Focus on this victory. Then by focusing on today, then perhaps tomorrow will continue to remain tomorrow." That was my advice. I gave it, and still stand by it. It's great advice! After all, who can argue with Jesus? But I never cited the quote. I was being innocent in my quote.

I was feeling good at my desk later that afternoon, giving the Word of God in a covert way. Then my supervisor called me in. He asked me where the advice I gave came from. I asked him if it was bad advice? He focused on the source instead of answering me. I told him and gave him the direct context of the reason for quoting the Scripture in a "state meeting" that was held at the privately owned counseling center. I told him and then he told me I can't even do that much. He apologized but he had to give me a written reprimand and then I would have to apologize to the people in the meeting the next day, a meeting that was specially called for my apology.

Now mind you, I was upset. I was ticked. Only 5 people knew what I said. Of those 5, 2 (just TWO) knew where my quote was from. One of those wasn't even in the meeting. Because I told (this person) too soon before the supervisor called me in (this person) wasn't on my list of suspects. But both people are what they confess to as being "solid Christians". So why do I have to apologize for using the word?

Sorry, didn't mean to vent on you. But it still irked me that I could be so easily turned in for my indiscretion. But here is Romans 8.28 comes into play: The day of the meeting, I stated that the reason they were all called to the meeting was because "I had used the Bible to give solid advice and that I must apologize for it. So for quoting Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount, I apologize." I don't regret stating that statement. From there, the addict and the counselor, who loved quoting Buddha and the Native American icons, both gave me opportunities to share the Bible and God's love with them.

My point is that we need to be more intentional using the Word in the public realm. (Let me encourage you to further rely upon it with your family members who "believe but not quite the same as you".) There will be times we need to make it clear that it's our faith in the Word that shapes our views. But then that all comes back to being as "innocent as doves but as shrewd as serpents." 

Thanks for thinking with me. I appreciate your feedback, your comments. --smh

No comments:

Post a Comment