Think Piece from The Christian Post
“Don't Trash the Bible.” The editorial warns those who question the Bible, and illustrates the kind of logic and theology favored by evangelicals. The author, Ray Comfort, “is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters and the bestselling author of more than 80 books… He cohosts the award-winning television program ‘Way of the Master,’ seen in almost 200 countries.”
Mr. Comfort tells CP’s readers:
“Many in this sinful world will tell you that the Scriptures are filled with unscientific statements, mistakes, contradictions, and atrocities. They will claim, among other things, that the Bible says if you mix cotton and wool you won't get into Heaven, that we are instructed to stone homosexuals, and that God is guilty of genocide. But if you believe them and trash the Bible, you will shred the directions on how to find everlasting life.”
The bit about the ‘sinful world’ is gratuitous, but sets the mood. Mr. Comfort informs the reader that many (non-evangelical) people point out various shortcomings in the Scriptures - presumably those responsible for all those sins out there. Mr. Comfort makes no attempt to deny that Scriptures have “unscientific statements, mistakes, contradictions and atrocities.” They are all true, and he wasn’t up to the challenge of refuting them.
He asserts that if you believe those things, you are ‘trashing the Bible.’ But this is nonsense. For example, the vast majority of Christians believe the Bible’s story of creation is filled with unscientific and incorrect statements. But they do not think that constitutes ‘trashing the Bible.’ And most people think it is immoral to kill all men, women, and children who do not hold your religious beliefs, despite the fact that both the Book of Joshua and the Book of Revelation claim this was Divine will.
Then Mr. Comfort discussed ‘how to find everlasting life.’ His discussion has little to do with either Jesus or the Bible. First, he dismisses Biblical commandments. He calls them “ordinances” rather than “commandments,” assuming that this will convince his readers they are no longer God’s commandments. Regarding the mixing of cotton and wool, he says “that was a ceremonial ordinance given to Israel three thousand years ago.” God never said this or any other commandment was ceremonial - he just said “Don’t do it!” – just like idolatry, murder, theft, and so on. As we will see, both God and Jesus damned those who dismiss any of the commandments.
Then he says, “rape, murder, kidnapping, adultery, and homosexuality were crimes in Israel and were given capital punishment. We don't instigate another country's laws in our country, and so we don't execute homosexuals.” As Mr. Comfort knows, these were defined as crimes in Mosaic Law long before there was a nation of Israel. They became crimes in Israel because it was a theocracy that adopted Mosaic Law. Mr. Comfort not only got things ass-backwards, he did so intentionally.
Since Mr. Comfort asserts that “rape, murder, kidnapping, adultery, and homosexuality were crimes in Israel” – rather than crimes in Mosaic Law – he dismisses them as merely laws of a foreign nation that we can ignore. However, he chooses to ignore only the law against homosexuality, and assumes his readers are too dumb to follow his argument.
His readers are also too ignorant to know what Jesus said about playing fast and loose with God’s commandments. Jesus condemned “whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments” (Matthew 5.19). He made no distinction involving “ceremonial” commandments – even the least must be obeyed. Furthermore, Jesus condemned “anyone who “teaches others to do the same [break even the least of the laws]” (Matthew 5.19). According to Jesus, Mr. Comfort is damnable.
Mr. Comfort passed along St. Paul’s instructions about how not to be saved: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9,10).” Mr. Comfort would have the readers believe that such activities are damned because Paul said so. This is mendacity. Paul was simply providing a partial list of activities banned in Mosaic Law. Paul knew the Corinthians accepted the Law as God’s Word, and he reviewed a few points.
Finally, Mr. Comfort gives the reader his take on what it takes to be saved: “The Bible says that there is only one way to Heaven, and until we find that way, we are lost. We must do a U-turn and put our faith in Jesus Christ alone, who suffered and died on the cross and rose again on the third day. And once we know the right way, we must share those directions with others.”
Once again, he is being dishonest. The vast majority of the Bible does not associate salvation with faith-alone in Jesus Christ – including the genuine teachings of Jesus. Only the gospel of John comes close to saying this – not the other three gospels- and the vast majority of New Testament scholars agree that Jesus never said those words John put in his mouth.
Jesus’ central teaching, which the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke state repeatedly, is to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Mr. Comfort and his followers virtually ignore God. Everything is about Jesus. They have a personal relation with Jesus, and believe Jesus loves them unconditionally and happily entertains all their requests. While evangelicals may occasionally praise the Golden Rule, they don’t believe it has anything to do with salvation. They are not known for loving their neighbors.