For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9: 6 (ESV)
I simply do not understand how some people who claim the mantle of Christianity can behave as if they simply have no true fear of the Lord. The Bible does say that in these last days things will go from bad to worse with those who deceive others as well as those who are deceived themselves. In writing a discernment ministry I have seen people use God and the Bible to defend the most ridiculous anti-biblical positions imaginable. I have seen Paula White claim that 1Chronicles 22:9 means that you should send her $229. We all have seen the church that literally handles snakes during service because they do not understand Mark 16:18. The Osteens preach that the Bible is all about you. Prince teaches that God is never unhappy with you. Warren teaches that if simply say that you love Jesus we do not have to worry about the rest of what you believe. Ronnie Floyd and Robert Morris teach that God will curse all of your money if you do not give them the first ten percent. John Hagee uses the Bible to tell atheists to leave his country and that the blood moons mean something that they do not. Bill Johnson teaches that God always wants to heal and that you can suck the residual anointing from the tombs of dead heretics. There is no end to the absolute lunacy that passes for organized Christianity these days in America. The Bible does warn however about the proliferation of false teachers in the end times so it should come as no shock. Yet every time I think I am beyond being shocked another person hiding behind Jesus steps up to the microphone to make a mockery of God and His Word. This week the role was played by Bryan Fischer:
This link is to a new article on Charismanews.com. If it appeared on a political website as political opinion, I would just as soon leave it alone for the tripe that it is. The problem is that it appears on a Christian website. The problem is that Mr. Fischer is the Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association. The problem is that Mr. Fischer either does not understand the Bible or he does not care if he grossly misrepresents Jesus. He is a proponent of American Christianity over biblical Christianity. In this article, Bryan Fischer takes a serious stab at defending torture during a time of war by using Christ and the Bible. I could just say, "who would Jesus torture" and be done with it but it is important to see how people mishandle God's Word for their own ends. Mr. Fischer did not approach the Word to hear from the Lord. He approached it to prop up his pre-decided position that torturing people is a-ok with him. Let us go through his argument while correctly applying the verses he abused. First up is Exodus:
The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name. - Exodus 15: 3 (ESV)
Hallelujah - pass the ammunition! Except what is the context for this verse? First of all it comes from a song Moses and the Israelites sang immediately following the Lord delivering them at the Red Sea. This is a descriptive text, telling us a real song that was really sung that victorious day. It is not a prescriptive text teaching us some timeless truth about God. That said, we do know from the rest of Scripture that God is mighty. God is strong and victorious. When need be in the Old Testament, God also was successful in battle. To take this one verse and try to pretend that it definitively states that God is pro-war is ludicrous. Just as ludicrous as pointing to Ecclesiastes where it says there will be a time for war. This of course referring to the depravity of man, not an attribute of the Lord. In Fischer's defense, this was as close as he got to the truth. From here on he jumps off a theological cliff:
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. - Revelation 19: 11-13 (ESV)
Fischer uses these verses to state that we ought not think of Jesus as meek and mild because when He returns He will be dripping blood! It is staggering to see someone correctly state a verse as being prophetic and then use it to defend something that is happening today. Staggering in its ignorance. Yes, Revelation is filled with bloody imagery and judgment but these are future events. We are not meant to take them and create temporal doctrine out of them. Fischer then makes a statement without biblical backing by saying that the Bible delineates between just and unjust war. It most certainly does not. Yes, in the Old Testament, before the new covenant, God instructed Israel to wars. Short of such divine revelation today, this does not exist anymore. God did not visit our leaders ten years ago and tell them who to torture. I assure you He did not. Why? Because then He would violate His own Word:
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. - 2Peter 3: 9 (ESV)
This verse was not written just for America beloved. God loves everyone. He desires all to come to repentance. Even those that we hate the most. Not done with his bible twisting, Fischer would continue:
Jesus' command that we are to "turn the other cheek" was given to individuals, not to the state. In fact, the state has precisely the opposite responsibility in the face of evil: Its job is most decidedly not to turn the other cheek but to strike the cheek of the offender in punishment.
While this may sound righteous it is of course not biblical at all. God does not differentiate between the moral responsibilities of the individual versus the individuals that make up the state. There is also a baked in poor assumption here in this logic that accepts at face value that the state must somehow be naturally rooted in righteousness. The Bible makes no such allusion whatsoever. That exists entirely in Mr. Fischer's head. To him this country can do no wrong. It is always in the role of somehow doing God's will. Pillaging the Native Americans? Slavery? Civil War? Kids in sweatshops? Destroying other countries to steal their resources? All of that is somehow justified in the mind of someone whose first citizenship is clearly not in heaven. Mind you that was just the first 100 years of America. Is it still the greatest democratic experiment man has offered up in history? Absolutely, but that does not make it "Christian" or "righteous." When it comes to completely sinful and carnal nations, America is probably the best ever but that does not change the fact that it is inherently sinful and carnal. Fischer would continue:
That's what keeps our society from degenerating into the chaos of vigilante justice: we can choose not to take matters into our own hands, believing that God has promised to take vengeance on our behalf through the state and has delegated his authority to it for exactly that purpose (Rom. 12-13).
Dear Lord. Romans 12-13 does not teach that God has promised to take vengeance on our behalf through the state. This was Paul writing to the new church in Rome who had just been cast out of the city by Claudius. Not only does Fischer not understand the context of Romans 13 but he once again acts as if the Bible only applies to the United States. God's Word must apply universally or you are not interpreting it correctly. You cannot apply Romans 13 to Nazi Germany the way Fischer just applied it to the US. If the state is God's delegated authority there for vengeance on our behalf - how do you biblically explain North Korea? China? Stalinist Russia? The Bible does not work that way beloved. Now we approach the not so subtle sleight of hand employed by Bryan Fischer to excuse torture as Christian:
The Bible understands that things are permitted in a time of war that are not permitted in a time of peace. David was wroth with Joab because he killed Abner in a time of peace as retribution for Abner's killing Joab's younger brother in a time of war (1 Kings 2:5). Blood spilled in a time of war is different than blood spilled in a time of peace.