Please, Don't Buy This Bible

It was only a matter of time. We should have seen it coming.

God have mercy on us.

Patriot’sBibleThomas Nelson publishing has put out what they’re calling The American Patriot’s Bible, a NKJV version of God’s Holy Scriptures “targeting the spiritual needs of those who love our country.” In their own promotional materials they tout this new Bible as using the history of the United States to connect the people and events of Scripture to our own lives. “The story of the United States is wonderfully woven” into the Bible by these people. And now they’re selling it, complete with a glossy cover depicting, not the cross of Christ, not the empty tomb, not the historical and traditional symbols of the Christian faith but, the American flag, George Washington, and the Declaration of Independence.

Please, don’t buy this Bible.

To borrow the words of Greg Boyd — and I agree with him with everything I’ve got — this Bible is “idolatrous, dangerous, and profoundly damaging to the Kingdom. I feel compelled to denounce it in the strongest possible way I can.”

The goal of this Bible and its publishers is to tie American patriotism to the Christian faith, to make the two one. To be a Christian is to be patriotic, according to this Bible. To be patriotic is to live the way God calls us to live. The teachings of Christ “results in the purest patriotism.”

This Bible claims that the phrase “One nation under God” in our country’s pledge of allegiance strengthens the spiritual weapons mentioned in 2 Corinthians 10:5 which “forever will be our country’s most powerful resources in peace and war.”

This Bible equates John 3:16’s “God so loved the world that he sent his only Son” with Colin Powell’s quote about sending our soldiers into foreign lands to fight for freedom. Same thing. See how God-like we are? This Bible claims in other notes and charts and quotes in the margin that fighting for liberty has always been at the heart of our religion. It quotes General Douglas MacArthur saying that sacrificing (and, of course, killing others) for country represents “the noblest development of mankind.” The commentators on the pages of this Bible add, “as long as other Americans serve their country courageously and honorably, his words will live on.” Whose words? God or MacArthur? In this Bible, it’s hard to tell. And that’s by design.

John 8:36, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” in this Bible, is paired up with a long commentary on the Bill of Rights. In direct opposition to our God’s demand that we actually give up all our rights.

Joseph’s statement in Genesis 45 that God had sent him to Egypt to preserve life is equated in this Patriot’s Bible with our country’s Declaration of Independence. Don’t you see? God sent Joseph. God sent the Declaration of Independence. Same thing. See how blessed we are?

Israel’s demand for a king in 1 Samuel, in this Bible, teaches that Americans have a duty to vote.

??????

Please read Greg Boyd’s review. Click here. It’ll take probably three or four minutes to read. But you need to read this. Please. I’m begging you to read it. He says it much better than I can. This is important. These are teachings that go completely against the whole of Scripture, wrapped up in Scripture’s suit and tie. This is Satan — yes, I’m serious — the wolf sneaking around in sheep’s clothing.

The fact that there’s a market for this kind of Bible is disturbing to me. It’s a sad statement about the state of God’s Church and his people in this land that there would be demand for it. This is the kind of thing that perpetuates the practice in our churches of praying for our American soldiers and their families, but not praying for the Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers and their families. We pray for the success of our soldiers, the completion of our country’s mission, but not theirs. As if God is on the side of the U.S. As if our politics and our economic systems and our wars are the righteous will of God and nobody else’s is. This is the sort of stuff that keeps us thinking that God’s will for the world is salvation in Christ AND democracy AND free enterprise. All three. In that order. We think. These are the blasphemous teachings that keep Christians in this country feeling good about asserting personal rights and personal freedoms, at the expense of others, in direct violation of our Savior’s teachings. This Bible weakens the Kingdom.

Please, don’t buy it.

And may God have mercy on our souls.

Peace,

Allan

21 Comments

  1. Jesse

    Wow, talk about Satan masquerading as an angel of light! [I’d always wondered about that one, and with the Spirit’s discernment, it becomes more and more clear.]

    Intriguing to me that for all the atrocities of the Roman Empire — thinking of colosseum “entertainment”, crucifixion, serious class distinctions, slavery, etc…things that would be swiftly squashed in 2009 America — at the time the NT was written, hardly a word is said in scritpure about doing anything to change those bad things of government. In fact, Jesus says to pay the taxes [that would presumably go toward perpetrating such atrocities].

    And yet, we put such faith into America, its government, and its politics; and we scream, and yell, and jump up and down about this or that bad things of our society and government that inhibit our faith and “religion” and that are “killing” Christianity. And for what? What do we accomplish by doing this?

    Not that involvement is bad, but Jesus’ call is not to government involvement, but to personal involvement by loving the lost. Individual souls are saved or lost…systems and institutions aren’t. Should put a different perspective on where I, as a follower of Christ, can make the most impact in His name.

  2. Rob's Dad

    Just for grins, head over to Amazon and read through the reviews. It’s late and I’m tired after an extra innings Ranger win (and a Kenneth foul ball) otherwise I’d cut and paste a few of them into this reply.

    Not than any of us have the time, yet it might be interesting to follow this and see if the author makes the rounds with the famous religious television shows and radio programs and see how he is recieved.

  3. Gordon

    When you say Iraqi and Afgani Soldiers are you talking about the government forces or those (radical muslims) that American, Afgani, Iraqi and other nations are fighting?? Is there a difference ??

  4. Allan

    As far as our prayers are concerned? Of course, absolutely no difference.

    As far as our King is concerned, the one to whom we claim allegiance, his will is that they all be brought into the Kingdom. His will is that they all be saved. Our Father loves them. Our Savior died for them. He sees them as children who need to be reached. And forgiven. And loved. His non-negotiable command is that we love them and pray for them.

    Somehow a lot of us have come to believe that God’s Kingdom and the American kingdom are almost the same thing, with similar values and similar agendas. Just a surface skim of the Scriptures reveals the two are actually polar opposites.

  5. Gordon

    So. . . . we pray that our soldiers will be safe and that our cause, i.e,. the defeat of radical islam, will be successful and that there will be freedom in those countries and peace in the world.

    Are you saying that we should be praying for the safety of the radical muslims and that their cause, i.e., the rule of Islam in Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan, etc. will be successful??

  6. Weldon McKinney

    Well, let me ask this question: when did Jesus come to live among us? Wasn’t it the fullness of time?

    And why? Because of the civilization that Rome had brought to the world–well, these is certainly PART of the fullness of time concept.

    After the fall of Rome, the world began a slid into what history has deemed the “Dark Ages.” The reasons for the “darkness” are copious.

    The modern era brought the world out of that darkness. And again, I see the hand of God in this. Surely, from history, we can see the Providential hand in the formation of the United States. If one can not see that providence, then there is an absolute failure to understand our history. Our founding fathers were not mere deists as the current post-modern liberal mind-set proclaim. No, rather, these men were believers who came from Europe seeking religious freedom and expression.

    This mind-set among our founding fathers is seen time and again in their writings and actions. And, it was this mind-set that gave to us the greatest human document ever written: Our Constitution.

    Now I don’t know much about this new study Bible, but there are several different kinds of study Bibles in use today–for example, I believe that there is one for women and another for our youth.

    I believe fully in American exceptionalism and the Providential hand of God in use American Christians to spread the Word around the world.

    The post-modernism reveled in our liberal society simply sees a world community and generally blames America first.

    To those men and women who have died in the service of this country that we might maintain that freedom to worship and evangelism the world–I hope them and thank my Father that they were willing to lay down their lives for others.

  7. Allan

    To clarify the one paragraph on praying for the success of our country’s soldiers and our country’s mission and not the enemy’s:

    Of course we would never pray for the success of those whose will it is to kill us and destroy us. Never. It’s absurd. My question is, isn’t it just as absurd to pray for the success of our country’s mission, which is also to kill and destroy? Why would Christians ever pray for the death of our enemies?

    Our Holy Father and his Holy Scriptures call for us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. It’s undeniable. It’s a command. My hope is that we would stop praying for the success of our country’s military in their mission to kill and occupy and rule and start praying for every soldier and every family and every government on every side that they would be safe. That they would be protected. Spared. That their hearts would be softened by our God and that all the senseless killing would stop. That peace would reign. That God’s love would prevail. That nobody else would have to die. That everybody gets to go home. And that they would all come to know Christ Jesus — American, Iraqi, Afghani, all of them (us) — as the Savior of the World.

    That’s our God’s vision. That’s his mission. That’s his goal. As his children, it should be ours, too. And it should be our prayer.

  8. Gordon

    I don’t think that we really ever pray for the death of our enemies, just that their cause (in this case, the spread of radical islam) will be defeated. In WW II our country prayed for the defeat of the Nazis, etc. Of course, this meant that humans would die. . . .but was it a direct prayer for the death of someone?

  9. Allan

    I know what our country prays(ed) for. My concern is with what God’s Church prays for.

  10. Bill

    Very interesting comments. I agree with the premise that we should not be so bold as to assume that God is automatically on our side in a conflict with another country. A great example is the civil war. Which side was God on? I would have difficulties praying for other than God’s will being accomplished in any conflict. I am having difficulties with the notion of praying for governments that imprison and kill christians because of their views. American soldiers are required to take an oath to defend the constitution. I will always pray for those men and deplore the notion that military troops mission is to “kill and occupy and rule”. What??? If we had that objective, we would be talking about more than 50 states. We freed Germany, Japan, Italy, and yes IRAQ from rule by tyrants and allowed the local people to rule their own land. If our objective was to rule these countries, then Pres. Obama would be ruler of much of the world today. The fact is that the United States went into war due to a percieved theat to the United States itself. The objective of the military is not to kill and mame. The objective is to limit the bloodshed and return to peace. If bloodshed was the objective, their would not be a need for surgical strikes. Why didn’t the US just nuke Iraq into oblivion? That is not the objective. The objective is to restore peace and allow every one of us to express our opinion without fear of retribution. I applaud our way of life and the right for people to express their views. I have defended that right and will again. I also feel that we have an obligation to be active in our government. If we don”t like the way our country is heading, we need to write our representatives or run for office ourselves. I will not pray for a particular government, especially if it opposes the spread of the gospel, and murders christians. I will pray for GOD’s will to be accomplished in all cases

  11. Mac

    I was proud to serve my country for 7 years 6 months 5 days in the U.S. Air Force. I flew 164 combat missions and dropped tons of bombs. This was done to defend an ally against an agressor nation. At no time did I see any intent by the U.S. government or military to kill, occupy, and rule in any conflict. Certainly, not the one in which I was involved. Many people have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today. It would be difficult to explain to their families they are considered murderers.

  12. Taylor

    Why do you say our country’s mission is to, “kill and occupy and rule…” rather than protect?
    How many wars has America started?

    If someone were trying to kill your family, would you pray for the assailant’s protection?
    If you’re going to protect your family, you may have to harm/kill said assailant.

    Do you wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough?=)

  13. Allan

    Again, we may call it whatever we like — protect, defend, even “just war” — but the means to that end, surgical strikes or bombing runs, is still killing and occupying and ruling. I understand it happens. I know it’s part of life. I’m certain all of us in this conversation are saddened by it. I also am aware that our Father raises up armies and governments and worldly agencies to do his bidding. It’s true.

    But my concern here is with God’s Church. Our attitudes, our focus, our prayers, our mission. I can’t find anywhere in Scripture where God’s Church is called to destroy radical islam. That’s up to governments and worldly powers, of which God’s Church is not a part. Ultimately, of course, it’s up to God.

    Naturally, I like to think I can hold to the clear teachings of our Christ and turn the other cheek. Love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. I take his instruction seriously. And I trust all of us do. He never tells us to assert or protect our rights, he tells us to give up our rights. He never tells us to protect ourselves, he tells us to give up ourselves.

    Is that hard? You bet. Is that doubly difficult for us Americans who live in a country that holds freedom and individual rights as sacred? Oh, yeah.

    Being a disciple of the Christ is tough. It takes making these kinds of choices everyday.

    The interesting thing, Taylor, to your question regarding someone trying to kill my family is to wonder what Jesus would do in that same situation. Me? I think if someone were in my house attacking my wife and children, I would do everything in my power to protect them. I’m certain I would do whatever it takes, maybe even to the point of harming or killing.

    I’m just as certain, in the same situation, our Savior wouldn’t harm or kill the assailant. Never. He would step in front of Carrie-Anne, he would step in front of Whitney and Valerie and Carley and me, and he would, in sacrificial love, take the attack on himself. He would suffer the pain for us. And he would forgive the attacker.

    See how far away we are?

  14. Charlie J

    Good discussion. I saw this Bible the other day, and, admittedly, I cringed for many of the same reasons that you mentioned Allan. Christianity does not have a “made in America” stamp, and I know that many of our values do not match Christian virtues…although there are some. I struggle with this concept of Christianity and the military…pacifism vs. just war. I have not come to a satisfying conclusion myself (I don’t think I’m alone.) If the military is used to bring peace in the world and limit bloodshed, than I agree that it is a good thing. Does a strong military presence in the world deter tyrannical rule? I think it does. I do wonder why we have not gone full force into Darfur. Is it because Darfur is not in our Country’s best interest? I realize it is a complex situation and we are really spread thin…but would there be a better place in the world to bring peace and protect the helpless? I appreciate our men and women in the military, and I hope that we treat them with the respect they deserve. I am writing this freely without fear of retaliation because of their sacrifice, and I am grateful. With all that being said, I believe that we need to tread carefully when mixing American values and Christianity…which is why I find the American Patriot Bible to be a dangerous product. There are some great things that America has brought to the world, but there are some bad…consumerism and the trash coming out of Hollywood not withstanding. Be careful what you mix! Love the discussion. My ramblings betray me as I have not figured this one out! Peace.

  15. Rob's Dad

    Wish we could get everyone in the same room and have this discussion face to face.

    Leonard – maybe this could be the topic for a class (seriously). What do you think about stringing this together?

  16. Howard Holmes

    Biblical interpretation is a lot of fun. “Pray for our enemies.” No problem there. The Bible says it; I believe it. The problem arises when we start interpreting: Do we pray FOR them to be killed? Do we pray FOR them to kill us? Do we pray FOR them to find Jesus?

    The Bible doesn’t help us there. It also doesn’t let us know whether God is pro-American or not. Mayble we won the last two big ones because God was on our side, or maybe it was just because we had the enemy outnumbered. Who knows? It would be fun to have a discussion on the mind of God, but He seems to refuse to join in the discussion. All the rest is just jargon.

  17. Gordon

    Just curious. . . what countries has the US taken over with the purpose of ruling that country??

  18. DavidW

    How would a Native American answer that question?

  19. Gordon

    I’ll give you that one. . . . .how about modern times?

  20. Allan

    To nitpick this kind of stuff is to validate the notion that there exists a kind of threatening or killing that is Christ-like. There’s not.

    At the risk of doing that, I’ll suggest that dictating by military presence and power, asserting one’s own will by power, is ruling.

  21. Bill C.

    hat happened to the point made by Taylor earlier in this discussion? She had a great point and now it seems missing from this blog. She proposed to you that if a burgler was to come into your home, you would probably protect your family and defend it to the point of death. I totally agree with that. I also would disagree with your statement that Jesus would just step in front of the burgler and let his life be taken so that the burgler would not take the life of your family. Jesus went to the cross to die for us because there was no other way we could be saved. He labored with the decision for hours at the garden of gethsemane and pleaded with God to find another way to accomplish this objective. Jesus willingly gave up his life because he knew that it would assure us our lives. In your example, Jesus would die and then the rest of your family would die. Jesus did not Die In Vain. I would suggest that “dictating by military Presence and power” is a perfect discription of the taliban or the regime in Iraq. It is not a description of the US military. The military is protecting and defending the lives of the citizens it has sworn to defend. Any more damage or lives taken than what is required to stop an aggressor would be murder. When the will of an agressor has been eliminated, the military presence is removed. Nothing More, Nothing Less. Jesus, the King of Kings showed his agression in the temple when he ran out the moneychangers. Do we assume the moneychangers were by themselves? They were probably smart enough to hire some bodyguards to protect them. Jesus ran them out of the temple because he was protecting the people from those that would take advantage of them. Paul shows this compassion by preventing the jailor from taking his own life. Peter inspires us by converting the first gentile to the Lord’s Kingdom…remind me again who it was…oh yeah a Rpman Centurion (occupier, Murderer, ruler, killer) that was known for being “Righteous and God-fearing” according to Acts 10:22. He was respected by the Jewish people (those people he ruled, murdered and destroyed). Peter converted him to Christ and then told him he could be a soldier no more. Maybe that other part was omitted from the text? I think that Christ did display a threatening that is appropriate. To deny his power, and his compassion for us is absurd…he has always displayed his love for us and gave his life for us as many soldiers have throughout the history of our country. It is time to stop labeling our troops as “murderers that kill and occupy and rule” and start remembering that there is no greater love that can be displayed than that of one laying down his life for his brother. That is the essence and the mission of the U.S. military soldier that has returned from Iwo Jima, Flanders, Normandy, Saigon, and Bagdad. I hope and pray that we never forget or cheapen the sacrifices they made. I agree with not buying this book. I will never agree with the premise that the military are “murderers tnat Kill and Destroy”, “Occupy and Rule” and “assert one’s own will by power” . The point of the military is to prevent others from doing so to us. If we do not understand the proper role of the military, we cannot fully appreciate the sacrifice and the role they played. I love you man, but in this arena you have been influenced by those that feel that the military is an evil extension of oil and land barons. That is a very offensive notion to me. Thank you very much Cornelius for showing the rest of us the way.

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