Daily Archives: June 11, 2019

June 11 Reasons to Trust God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 37:1–9

Key Verse: Psalm 37:3

Trust in the Lord, and do good;

Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

There are many reasons why we can trust God:

  • He is the one, true God (2 Samuel 7:21–22). From the beginning of time, those who seek God have found Him. No other god has revealed himself to man in this way.
  • He is the essence of truth (Hebrews 6:17–18). God cannot lie, and He will never lead you astray. However, He has told us that there is one who deceives us, and that is Satan. Jesus called him the “father of lies” and rightly so (John 8:44).
  • He is absolutely faithful (Lamentations 3:23). When was the last time God let you down? He never has, and He never will. No matter what you are facing, God knows about it, and He is near to show you how to resolve your dilemma.
  • He has all power (Matthew 28:18). Henry Thiessen writes, “God can do what he wills to do, but he does not necessarily will to do anything.… To the Christian the omnipotence of God is a source of great comfort and hope.”
  • He loves you unconditionally (John 15:9). God will never stop loving you. Even when you are unlovely, He loves you. And it is His love that draws you away from sin and into His arms of infinite care.
  • He never changes (Hebrews 13:8). God is immutable. Thiessen writes: “He is exalted above all causes and above even the possibility of change.”

You are the one, true God and the essence of all truth. You are faithful, You have all power, You love me unconditionally, and You never change![1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 170). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

June 11 Reinforcing Your Faith

Scripture Reading: Romans 5:1–5

Key Verse: Romans 5:3

Not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.

You forgot a 9:00 a.m. meeting that you were supposed to attend. Your computer lost a half day’s work. You arrived home to discover a car windshield smashed by a baseball. Have you had one of those days when everything went askew? What about one of those weeks or months?

We like our days to be as cooperative as possible. We tolerate adversity but certainly do not appreciate it. Often, however, God can accomplish more of His purposes on these perplexing, aggravating occasions than on unclouded days. God uses rough times to build character:

  • When the boss says no, we develop perseverance.
  • When a mate is ill for an extended time, long-suffering and kindness are cultivated.
  • When a neighbor is harsh, goodness and love are surfaced by the Holy Spirit.

God also uses rough times to build trust.

Jerry Bridges writes in his book Trusting God that it is often “easier to obey God than trust Him.” Trusting God under a heavy cloud cover is the surest sign of a growing faith. God wants us to lean on Him, even when we cannot always see His presence. Let your hard days build sturdy character and reinforce your faith. You may not enjoy them, but they will not be wasted.

Dear God, nothing is wasted—not even the hard and difficult times. Use them to build my character and reinforce my faith. Teach me the value of adversity.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 170). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Pinterest attacks Christians, pro-life perspective | WND

Lila Rose

Pinterest, the social media company apparently used by millions, has responded to documentation released by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas that it discriminates against “Christian” and pro-life subjects by banning Live Action, the very popular and influential organization that fights abortion misinformation with accurate videos and expert analysis.

O’Keefe’s report was on video, and confirmed, with whistleblower testimony and insider documentation, how the company prevents routine access to phrases like “Bible verses,” instead auto-populating search bars with “Bible versus.”

The report also revealed that Pinterest had added Live Action to its “porn” list of blocked sites.

See the report:

Only a short time after the report apparently revealed that Pinterest is anything but a neutral platform that it claims to be, and is a publisher with a definitive agenda, it slammed the Live Action organization a second time.

“Your account was permanently suspended because its contents went against our policies on misinformation,” it claimed. “We don’t allow harmful misinformation on Pinterest. That includes medical misinformation and conspiracies that turn individuals and facilities into targets for harassment or violence.”

Live Action explained, “@Pinterest has just permanently BANNED Live Action, claiming we are causing ‘immediate and detrimental effects on Pinner’s health or public safety.’”

The American Life League, another prominent player in the American fight against the abortion industry, responded to Live Action that its own account previously was suspended when Pinterest claimed it was “spam.”

The Twitter news aggregator Twitchy called out Pinterest for its “censorship.”

And it posted O’Keefe’s updated: “Pinterest REACTS to investigative report that exposed they listed LiveAction as a porn site – banning LiveAction’s account PERMANENTLY. Tweet @Pinterest and ask why they banned LiveAction. Are they a neutral platform or publisher with editorial agenda? Lines drawn.”

O’Keefe’s report on Pinterest explained how the company refuses to allow basic auto-complete functions for its users, such as on the word “Christian.”

Its report included product code, Slack messages and internal policies and terms, revealed by a whistleblower.

“The documents we obtained raise questions about whether or not these tech companies really operate like neutral platforms, as opposed to publishers with editorial agendas,” he stated.

Pinterest, based in San Francisco, apparently was just following the path established by Twitter, which also was caught by O’Keefe’s organization “shadow-banning” conservatives. Facebook also has had leaked documents its own plans to target conservative thought.

The documentation found by Project Veritas regarding Live Action revealed it had been added to Pinterest’s “porn” list, with employee Genet Girmay saying it should be left there.

Project Veritas reported: “The insider explained that the ‘block list’ was intended to be a collection of pornographic websites that Pinterest uses in order ensure that pornography cannot be posted. LiveAction.org is not a pornographic website, instead it is the web domain of a prominent pro-life advocacy group.

“The insider explained that websites on a ‘domain block list’ cannot be linked in posts made by users. While investigating, Project Veritas tried to post the LiveAction.org link on Pinterest and failed to do so, receiving an error message that read, ‘Sorry! Your request could not be completed.’”

Other popular websites found on Pinterest’s “porn” list, the report said, included zerohedge.com, pjmedia.com, teaparty.org and other various conservative websites.

Live Action founder Lila Rose said, “Pinterest says that their mission is to ‘help empower people to discover things that they love,’ but despite the fact that millions of people love babies and the pro-life cause, they are secretly censoring our life-affirming messages. Pinterest users deserve to know the truth and our messages deserve to be treated fairly.”

Project Veritas reported the Live Action ban apparently was instituted by Megan McClellan, “who works on Pinterest’s Trust and Safety Team.”

Project Veritas also confirmed the whistleblower’s documentation revealed “Bible verses” is on the company’s “Sensitive Terms List,” which restricts auto-complete functions.

“Another document Project Veritas received was a screenshot from an internal Slack channel at Pinterest, where Public Policy and Social Impact Manager Ifeoma Ozoma instructed others to monitor the platform for ‘white supremacist’ content from individuals like conservative commentators Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens. Three days after Ozoma’s message, the terms ‘ben shapiro muslim’ and ‘ben shapiro islam’ were added to the ‘Sensitive Terms List,’” the report said.

The whistleblower also explained that Pinterest sometimes simply removes material – and doesn’t even notify those who posted it.

Rose added, “By secretly applying the label of ‘pornography’ to Live Action’s pro-life content, Pinterest demonstrates a concerted effort to sideline a leading pro-life organization the only way they knew how. This does not appear to be a simple mistake. When confronted with an appeal, their employees doubled down and kept LiveAction.org on the pornography list. What exactly is Pinterest attempting to block? Inspirational messages to pregnant mothers, ultrasound images showing the science of prenatal development, medically accurate information on the abortion procedure, and images saying women deserve better than abortion industry leader Planned Parenthood.

“Pinterest has targeted Live Action, I believe, because our message is so effective at educating millions about the humanity of the preborn child and the injustice of abortion.”

Source: Pinterest attacks Christians, pro-life perspective

Pinterest Insider Reveals Company Censors Bible Verses, Christian Terms | CBNNews.com

The whistleblower website Project Veritas is reporting the social media website Pinterest has been banning Bible verses and other Christian terms in its search engine.

“Project Veritas has received and published documents from an insider at Pinterest,” the website reported Monday. “The documents, which include product code, Slack messages, and internal policies, reveal terms and websites that Pinterest apparently censors.”

The group reviewed Pinterest’s “Sensitive Terms List” and found Christian-related terms like “Bible verses” and “Christian Easter” were identified as “brand unsafe.”

In an excerpt of a video interview with Veritas Founder James O’Keefe posted to Twitter, the whistleblower who works for Pinterest explains how the company censors Christian content in their search program.

“When I type in the word ‘Christian’ and something interesting happens,” O’Keefe told the insider who remains off camera and whose voice is disguised.

“‘Christian,’ the insider explains, “is being blocked from auto-complete.”

WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE

NEW: Tech Insider Blows Whistle on How Pinterest Listed Top Pro-Life Site as Porn, “Bible Verses” Censored #LifeCensored (See full story: https://t.co/mzMipyy02N) pic.twitter.com/scyNxBfJIV

— Project Veritas (@Project_Veritas) June 11, 2019

Pinterest is a publicly-traded social media company headquartered in San Francisco, CA with more than 300 million monthly users.

“The documents we obtained raise questions about whether or not these tech companies really operate like neutral platforms, as opposed to publishers with editorial agendas,” O’Keefe writes.

When Project Veritas asked Pinterest for a comment on the story, a company spokesman provided the following statement.

“Religious content is allowed on Pinterest, and many people use our service to search for and save Pins inspired by their beliefs. To protect our users from being targeted based on personal characteristics such as their religion, we have policies in place so that ads and recommendations don’t appear alongside certain terms.” 

When asked why he came forward, the whistleblower told O’Keefe: “I think when public policies don’t match with how social media companies are actually implementing them, people have a right to know, people have a right to that transparency. And the thing is one person can make all the difference… one person can bring transparency to big tech.”

At the same time that the news about the Bible censoring surfaced, Pinterest also banned the pro-life group Live Action from the site. Read more about that story HERE.

Source: Pinterest Insider Reveals Company Censors Bible Verses, Christian Terms

Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference Focuses on the Beatitudes & Elects David Uth as President — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Danny Wood, president of the 2019 SBC Pastors’ Conference and pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Vestavia Hills, Ala., welcomes hundreds of Southern Baptist pastors to the annual event June 9 at the opening session of the two-day conference at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. A combined choir of Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, and Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church helped lead worship. Photo by Matt Miller

“Kingdom Character” was the theme of Monday afternoon’s and evening’s 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference (June 10). The focus, from Matthew 5, was on the last three Beatitudes and being salt and light.

Pastors also elected David Uth, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Orlando, Fla., as president of the 2020 SBC Pastors’ Conference during Monday afternoon’s session, held in conjunction with the SBC’s annual meeting in Birmingham June 9-10.

Speakers challenged attendees as follows:

Ben Mandrell

Ben Mandrell, pastor of Storyline Fellowship in Denver, gives a message on “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit” June 10 on the last day of the two-day 2019 SBC Pastors’ Conference at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. Photo by Lindy Lynch

Quoting from the iconic college football movie, “Rudy,” Ben Mandrell, pastor of Denver’s Storyline Fellowship, helped pastors focus on seeing God as part of their study of the Beatitudes during the 2019 Pastors’ Conference.

“This is the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen,” quoted Mandrell, referring to the moment Rudy’s father beholds the Notre Dame stadium for the first time. Mandrell added, “One of the greatest gifts that God has given to us is the ability to see.”

His message from Matthew 5:8, titled “Blessed are the pure in heart,” challenged pastors to refocus their eyes on what it takes to truly see God. “If you get your heart right, you get a ‘Rudy,’ God-moment,” he said. “The people who get to see God are the people who desire above all other things and who have purity in their hearts.”

Addressing issues of power-seeking, adultery, and sharing negativity about the church in the pastor’s home, Mandrell said it was impossible to bring a message about how the pure in heart will be blessed by seeing God without confronting pastors with these difficult issues.

“We all think that we are immune from this. And, because we actually believe this, we don’t keep our guard up,” Mandrell said. “We must take better care of our hearts and take better care of our homes so that when we see Him we will say, ‘This is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.’”

Dhati Lewis

Dhati Lewis, lead pastor of Blue Print Church in Atlanta, shares the message of Matthew 5:9 — “Blessed are the peacemakers” — June 10 on the last day of the two-day 2019 SBC Pastors’ Conference at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. Photo by Lindy Lynch

Being a peacemaker is not “elective,” but is a call from Christ to every believer, Dhati Lewis, lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta, Ga., and vice president of Send Network for the North American Mission Board, said.

He spoke on Matthew 5:9 and Christ’s Beatitude, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Lewis defined being a peacemaker as “bringing reconciliation where God has called us.”

For him, that means leading a multiethnic church in the heart of Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward — an area that is home to an ongoing gentrification initiative and the city’s largest Section 8 housing area.

As a leader of a diverse church and a husband in a diverse family (his wife is Caucasian), he encourages believers to “run to the tension” and to be known for their vision, instead of their “anti-vision” defined as being known “more for what you’re against than what you’re for.”

Additionally, instead of seeking justice, the believer must seek reconciliation, because, “Justice without reconciliation is what the Bible calls hell,” he said.

Matthew 7:12-14 encourages Christians to “rep” (represent) Christ as peacemakers by calling them to reflect personally, emphasize corporately, and pursue the narrow road of reconciliation, Lewis shared.

This can only be done if an individual lays aside prejudices that come from being “more dependent on culture than on Christ.”

“My prayer for us in the SBC is that we can give what we can [and] start to have (peace) and that one day we would be able to really embrace the beauty and the complexity (of diversity),” he said.

His vision for members of the SBC is that churches would “really be able to plant churches everywhere for everyone. And that we can demonstrate the complexity of what it means to be SBC, what it means to embrace our identity in Christ as peacemakers.”

In order to achieve that, though, “We recognize that even though we fall short, we have the ultimate Prince of Peace” and believers must be “willing to pay the price for the type of peace that God wants for this country, for our denomination, for the body of Christ.”

Click here to read more.
Source: Baptist Press

via Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference Focuses on the Beatitudes & Elects David Uth as President — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Robert Smith Jr. Opens Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference With a Call to Character From the Beatitudes — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Robert Smith, Jr., the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair in Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, gives an overview of the Beatitudes June 9 during the opening session of the two-day 2019 SBC Pastors’ Conference at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. Photo by Matt Miller

Whether in suffering or dealing with a social media firestorm, lean into the godly character that the Holy Spirit is fashioning in your heart — that was the core challenge of the first two sessions of the 2019 Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference June 9-10 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala.

The first seven speakers began working their way through the Beatitudes — found in Matthew 5:1-12 — challenging church leaders to live out the theme of “Kingdom Character.”

Robert Smith Jr.

Robert Smith, Jr., the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair in Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, gives an overview of the Beatitudes June 9 during the opening session of the two-day 2019 SBC Pastors’ Conference at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. Photo by Matt Miller

Robert Smith Jr. began session one by preaching an overview of the Beatitudes.

Smith, the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, explained that the Beatitudes were paradoxical statements made by Jesus.

“A paradox occurs when two mutually exclusive statements meet at the intersection of apparent contradiction only to produce truth,” Smith said.

The Beatitudes address nine “cause” statements and then leave the rest of the Sermon on the Mount to address the effect, he said. “They address the root while the sermon addresses the fruit. The Beatitudes address the motive, why you do what you do, leaving the entirety of the Sermon on the Mount to address the action.”

Smith concluded his message by explaining that Christians will not be able to live out the Beatitudes without the power of the Holy Spirit and will not be able to embody them fully until they are glorified in Heaven.

“The Holy Spirit is not a luxury, He is a necessity,” Smith said. “It’s like you can’t even be a Christian without the Spirit. God is working to develop from the inside what He has already put in you. In other words, you don’t have seven of these blessings, you have all nine of them. The question is not how much of the Spirit do you have, but how much of you does the Spirit have?”

Jay and Katherine Wolf

Jay Wolf and his wife, Katherine, speak on the beatitude Blessed are the poor in spirit during the 2019 SBC Pastor’s Conference June 9 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. The couple are evangelists and advocates for disabled people. Photo by Matt Miller

Evangelists Jay and Katherine Wolf of Hope Heals in Atlanta displayed Christ’s power in suffering by telling how Katherine nearly died from a massive brain stem stroke at age 26. From a wheelchair on stage, Katherine, now severely disabled, said all people “have invisible wheelchairs of so many different kinds.”

“We’ve all been through various types of suffering — hard things, past trauma, pain, the sin that’s hurt us, how we’ve hurt others,” Katherine said during the Sunday night session.

“… We’re just a testament to the power of Jesus taking some really hard, bad suffering and using it. I want to encourage you to listen to us share with that perspective, seeing yourself in this story because it is in fact your story too,” she said. “The specifics may be different … but I guarantee you’ve had hard stuff in your story.”

Jay, whose father is the longtime pastor Jay Wolf at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., said the body of Christ “forever has changed our story and our life, and I know we wouldn’t be here today were it not for the church coming around us and uplifting our life and our story when everything fell apart.”

In the hours after the stroke, Katherine’s doctor did not expect her to live but decided to risk a lengthy surgery to give her a slight chance at survival. During that surgery, he had to make decisions about which parts of her would become disabled in order to sustain her life.

“In the wounding of Katherine came the healing of Katherine,” she said. “I think that is true in all of our stories. In our terrible woundings, a beautiful healing can come, and that is the Christian life.”

Katherine encouraged believers to accept that there is pain that is “lifelong that we will not understand or that will not be healed, taken away, until heaven.”

“We need to be OK with the tension that everything is not healed and restored on earth and that there is a tenor of sadness to things in life for sure, and that that’s OK, that God is absolutely present and at work even in the hard, sad things where there is ultimately such beauty,” Katherine said.

Ed Litton

Ed Litton, pastor of Redemption Church in Mobile, Ala., preaches on the beatitude Blessed are those who mourn during the 2019 SBC Pastor’s Conference June 9 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala. Litton and his wife both experienced the loss of previous spouses in car accidents. Photo by Matt Miller

When Ed Litton’s wife Tammy passed away in a tragic car accident in 2007, he wanted to “helicopter over” the Valley of the Shadow of Death and get through it as quickly as possible. But God invited him to walk through it instead, he told those present at the Sunday night session.

“When I was standing at the trailhead of the Valley of the Shadow of Death I was frightened; I was terribly afraid,” said Litton, pastor of Redemption Church, Mobile.

He asked, “Lord, how long is this going to take?” But God didn’t answer him, Litton said.

“The more I traveled with Him, I discovered He is utterly faithful to us,” he said. “He draws near to those who are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit.”

If you skip the walk, “the reality is you miss the beauty that is hidden in that dark trail of tears,” Litton said. “We miss the beauty and the God who says I will never leave you or forsake you.”

This “blessed condition” for those in grief and sorrow is “only possible because of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said as he spoke on Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn.” But mourning in the Beatitudes doesn’t just mean grief because of the loss of a loved one or an ability or ministry, he explained.

“I’m talking about a greater kind of loss, the kind of loss when we drift from the Lord or depart from the Lord,” he said. When Christians see their sin the way God sees it, it leads to mourning.

“There’s a hole in our repentance,” Litton said. “We tend not to mourn; we helicopter over it and go straight to (God’s) forgiveness.”

True godly sorrow in repentance is not a quick fix, he said — it’s a blacksmith in Christians’ hearts beating out the sin that keeps them from God, sins like racism and indifference toward their neighbors. It’s this kind of repentance that can truly bring revival, Litton said.

“We need to stop just saying we want revival, and we’ve got to start filling the hole in our repentance which brings what we long for,” he said.

Click here to read more.
Source: Baptist Press

via Robert Smith Jr. Opens Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference With a Call to Character From the Beatitudes — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

June 11 God Is in Everything

Scripture reading: Psalm 89:1–17

Key verse: Psalm 89:11

The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;

The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.

God is involved in every area of your life. And while this may be easy to understand in joyful times, it is just as true in times of sorrow and heartache. God will never abandon you to the harsh forces of this world without some form of help and support.

In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the apostle Paul told us: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Let the Holy Spirit show you a deeper meaning of this word. Temptation can come in the form of a testing of your faith. It may involve something that suddenly appears and leaves you feeling helplessly overwhelmed.

Often you cannot see the outcome of the testing of your faith. God stretches you in your relationships, job, and other areas to see if you will remain steadfast and true to Him and the others involved. Ultimately, the outcome of your testing is tremendous blessing.

Is God in everything? The answer is a hardy yes! He is not the One who causes the pain you feel or the disappointment you experience, but He promises to use each one for your good and His glory. Therefore, you can trust Him in times of rain, wind, and sunshine.

I trust You, Lord, in good times and in bad. You have promised to use everything for my good and Your glory.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 170). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Russell Moore: “An SBC that doesn’t have a place for Beth Moore doesn’t have a place for a lot of us” — Reformation Charlotte

Russell Moore is the head of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and a political change agent. A former Democratic staff member, Moore has taken his leftist political ideology and transformed the Southern Baptist Convention into a progressive organization wrought with anti-Christian ideologies such as Critical Race Theory. Putting a Christian facade over these progressive ideas and cloaking them in Bible verses, Moore has been able to turn a large portion of the once conservative denomination into a religious organization that now largely elevates social issues such as financial and economic equality over and above biblical issues such as abortion and homosexuality.

Russell Moore has also been an outspoken defender of Beth Moore (no relation) who has, on the other side of the social justice aisle, made her mission in life to advance feminism and abolish biblical complementarianism.

Beth Moore calls herself a complementarian. Of course, she isn’t, as she regularly disobeys the Scriptures and assumes the function of pastor and elder and preaches to mixed audiences — even on Sunday mornings.

Some conservative leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention have been adamant about holding fast to the biblical complementarian position. On May 7th 2019, Dr. Owen Strachan of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary published an article Divine Order in a Chaotic Age: On Women Preaching, where he called Beth Moore and SBC president, JD Greear’s endorsement of women preaching into question. Beth Moore responded angrily on Twitter, stating she would be “terrified” to be a woman that Strachan would “approve of.”

Read more: Russell Moore: “An SBC that doesn’t have a place for Beth Moore doesn’t have a place for a lot of us” — Reformation Charlotte

While the SBC Falls Apart, Top Leaders Take to Stage to Perform Lynyrd Skynyrd Song — Reformation Charlotte

The Southern Baptist Convention is undoubtedly dying. The once conservative denomination has been turned into a progressive political organization with a focus on “cultural engagement.”

While the SBC is falling apart, with the threat of schism looming closely as conservative leaders hang on to the last thread trying to save the denomination, some of the convention’s top leaders are wasting time at the annual convention performing Lynyrd Skynyrd songs, among other things.

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

Colossians 4:5

At the North American Mission Board (NAMB) luncheon at the 2019 SBC Convention, leaders Kevin Ezzell of NAMB, Jamie Dew, Adam Greenway, former SBC president Ronnie Floyd, and IMB president, Paul Chitwood can be seen in the video below.

The SBC is falling apart. In other news, SBC leaders doing this performing Lynyrd Skynyrd at annual convention. pic.twitter.com/3w1dpuar9x

via While the SBC Falls Apart, Top Leaders Take to Stage to Perform Lynyrd Skynyrd Song — Reformation Charlotte

Bad Bible Interpretation Really Can Hurt People — Logos Bible Software Blog

Anyone who teaches the Word of God wants people excited about exploring Scripture. Ultimately, you want to turn listeners into competent students so that they can teach others. Along the way, you have to deal with a lot of mistaken methods and conclusions. But so what? Hey—having folks engaged in studying the Bible is more important than what they actually think they see in it. It’s no concern that what most Christians think is “digging deep” is barely scratching the surface of a passage or a topic. I’ll take one misguided Bible student over a hundred straight-laced, passive, ecclesiastically-correct “believers” who never open a Bible anywhere else but church. At least those are the sorts of things I’ve told myself for a long time. If I’m honest, though, I’ve had doubts about the wisdom of my position. I still do.

I’ve run across a lot of bad Bible interpretation over the years. The problem isn’t just the Internet. Granted, most of what passes for Bible teaching online could be aggregated under the banner of the “P.T. Barnum School of the Bible.” Unfortunately, a lot of poor thinking about Scripture has been published for popular consumption in the Church—and consumed it is.

But is it really harmful? Most of it isn’t destructive. It won’t do anything worse than keep those who buy into it ignorant and never able to move on to what they might really discover. And I’ve seen a few instances where bad Bible interpretation has even been helpful. Because of the sorts of things I do—especially writing paranormal fiction and maintaining two blogs on strange stuff that people believe—I often encounter people with terribly misguided ideas about the Bible and its meaning. My offbeat “ministry” produces all sorts of, shall we say, interesting email.

Many people who contact me are Christians with genuine testimonies who’ve had an unusual, frightening experience, or who’ve spent too much time watching Ancient Aliens on the Fantasy (er, History) Channel. After their pastor or another friend who’s ill-equipped to talk about what’s causing their spiritual crisis tells them they need counseling (or worse), they have a decision to make: dump Christianity or find a way to process what’s disturbing them using the Bible. I’ve heard some of the most absurd Bible interpretation imaginable emerge from those sorts of struggles, but it often keeps people pursuing the Lord. So be it. In these circumstances, the last thing that’s needed is a biblical scholar-bully destroying the interpretations that keep people in the faith. It’s far better to maintain some relationship and build some trust. Maybe down the road we can have a talk about the fact that the Tower of Babel really wasn’t a Stargate.

Truly Destructive Bible Interpretation

But some Bible interpretation is truly damaging—and on a wide scale. For that sort of harm, you needed professionals—people who are supposed to know better because they have degrees or are in positions of spiritual leadership.

Perhaps the most egregious example is racism. Since the Age of Exploration (sixteenth century) on through the eras of European empire and colonization, the racism that was an inextricable part of those centuries can be laid at the feet of the Church. Though it may make you flinch, it’s true—and I’m not launching into some ludicrous left-wing propagandistic screed. It’s pretty simple and, on its own terms, very understandable, though the coherence of how it all came about is no excuse.

In the sixteenth century, as Europeans ventured for the first time across the Atlantic and deepened their penetration east into the “Indies,” they encountered people and places that were not part of the biblical world. The place that would be called North America was not India or China, places that Europeans had been exposed to earlier. How did they get here? The Bible said nothing about them. Things didn’t get any more comfortable in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries after the decipherment of the literary language of ancient India (Sanskrit). In a shocking twist, Sanskrit turned out to be from the same language family as classical Latin and Greek (Indo-European), the intellectual bedrock of European civilization. Sanskrit texts revealed a much longer human history than that of the Bible. And the physical evidence of a civilization much older than the patriarchs gave weight to that history.

The cumulative impact of all these discoveries was that the Bible no longer looked like it had any claim on being special. To make the crisis even more acute, in 1859 Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. In the wake of that bombshell, the alternative stories of creation in Sanskrit and the discoveries of people in the New World who shouldn’t have been there (because the Bible didn’t mention them) gave opponents of the Bible all the ammunition they needed. The Bible was not only wrong but inferior. After all, it was such a Jewish book.

It’s no accident that this was the era that produced theories about how all races not European (especially blacks and Semitic peoples) were inferior to the “more pure” Europeans. Defenders of the Bible couldn’t argue there; instead, they did their best to make the Bible support those things. The era produced “scholarly” defenses of how the sin of Ham produced the black peoples, or how Cain’s wife proved there were co-Adamic races in antiquity, inferior to Adam, who wasn’t Jewish by the way, or that Jesus wasn’t really a Jew but an Aryan, a Sanskrit term for the high born. Other interpretive leaps were used to justify older suspicions of Jews as Christ-killers whose disinheritance by God had subordinated them to the civilization that had embraced Christianity—the Europeans. But at least the Bible wasn’t left behind in its “accurate” understanding of history. It still deserved its high status. And so the Bible was “saved” through horrific Bible interpretation. And we’re still living with the results since this was all brought to American shores.

So yes, sometimes bad Bible interpretation is truly destructive—with effects lasting generations. This is yet another illustration why we need to get serious about interpreting the Bible in its own context, not against the backdrop of our own modern questions. The tragic baptism of racism was completely unnecessary. But there it is.

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why is the bible hard to understandThis article is excerpted from Dr. Heiser’s book The Bible Unfiltered.

Dr. Michael S. Heiser is a scholar-in-residence for Faithlife, the makers of Logos Bible Software. He is the author of The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible and Angels: What the Bible Really Says about God’s Heavenly Host.

via Bad Bible Interpretation Really Can Hurt People — Logos Bible Software Blog