In part one, we looked at an author who was attempting to secularize Christ. Now, let’s look at (yet another Huffington Post offering) an article by one Keith Augustus Burton, who is the ‘Director of the Center for Adventist-Muslim Relations at Oakwood University.’
Mr. Burton’s bio tells us that he has received accolades for his ‘successful bridge building initiatives between Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities.’ In addition, it states that he teaches at the ‘School of Religion.’ Sounds impressive; yet the title of his article we’ll examine gives me pause: The Bible Has No Place In Modern American Society: Sobering Lessons from Donald Trump and Kim Burrell. His bio does not specifically state his particular theological beliefs, but some book titles he’s authored suggests a Christian perspective. We’ll see…
His article begins with his personal assessments of the Bible and of the so-called damage that it wreaks: ‘…many of the bigoted and outdated teachings have no place in our enlightened society.’ ‘…its content is seriously out of place with modern American values.’ and ‘…its teachings are a most meddlesome inconvenience that if embraced will place them (the followers) in a permanent state of cognitive dissonance.’
We can see then where Mr. Burton’s mindset is, by his own admissions. As we move into the body of his article, he presents his talking points:
1. The Bible is a relic of a Superstitious Past
His ‘proof’(?) consists of his assertion that because presidents have done bad things after placing their hands on a Bible during their inauguration, that the word of God has no power. In truth, his discursive prose consists only of a political rant at best. Nothing here that connects the Bible with a superstitious past.
2. The Bible is a Convenient Political Prop
This discussion is nothing more than a hate-filled pontification against our present president, the vice president, the ‘gullible masses who are still beguiled by the myth of a “Christian” America’, and ‘the cold-hearted “evangelicals” ‘ that voted for the present administration and their policies. Not anything of value about the Bible itself so far.
I’m beginning to feel that perhaps Mr. Burton has a grudge and that the mention of the Bible in his title is but an attempt to try to catch readers so that he can advance his agenda by political bashing.
3. The Bible is an Obstacle to American Freedom
Wow! his opening salvo demonstrates his true discriminations: ‘Whereas the conservatives’ repulsion to the Bible is guarded by a conniving cloak of acceptance, progressives are more honest. As far as they are concerned, the socially liberating sections of so-called “scripture” are not enough to redeem its bigoted and outdated parts.’ Who’s the bigot here? Again, no discussion of the Bible, just hurling hate against people whom he perceives thwart his beliefs.
Mr. Burton, your article purports to be about the Bible first. Your political candidate lost. Give it a rest. You’ll get a chance to change this in four years.
He doesn’t let up, finally getting around to attacking the Bible: ‘It is a dangerous book…that must be delegitimized…’
He then sounds off against marriage defined by the union of a man and a woman. Why? Because in his opinion, the 21st century mores and the Supreme Court defines it differently. (Thus, they are the greater authority?) Well, we see that Mr. Burton’s temple is constructed around himself.
4. The Bible informs “Personal” Belief and Behavior
In this, his last ‘talking point,’ Mr. Burton never really pinpoints what he means by this subtitle. What he expounds upon is that people should love and accept other people who have beliefs that are ‘contrary’ to the Bible, even if thy promote sex between men and boys. But according to him, most don’t because they are ‘ideological bigots.’
Pardon me, but I don’t see anywhere where the author makes his case for ostracizing the Bible from ‘modern society.’
What I would have you notice is not what Mr. Burton is saying specifically, but what he is lecturing about in general: he is a perfect example of those who denigrate the word of God because what God says does not suit them and their agenda. I daresay as well, that perhaps some of their bellicosity is rooted in a guilt from an inner conviction of their self-righteousness regarding their willful and knowing rebellion against God:
I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts… Jer. 31:33 NKJV
But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may obey it. Dt. 30:14 AMP
The trouble is that many people don’t follow their hearts; thus, they can’t understand the message:
But that natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them for they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2:14 NKJV
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Cor. 1:18 NKJV
And that is the main point, isn’t it? We must endure and cling to our faith. We are called to evangelize everyone, even those who are presently following another drummer. Regardless of their bluster*, we must try to present the word, opening ourselves up to the Holy Spirit to do the talking:
*(The words of his mouth begin with foolishness, and the end of his talk is raving madness. Eccl. 10:13 NKJV)
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word [as an official messenger]; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome]; correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior], warn [those who sin], exhort and encourage [those who are growing toward spiritual maturity], with inexhaustible patience and [faithful] teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable]. 2 Tim. 4:1- 4. AMP
It is true that Jesus calls us to love our ‘enemy.’ And who are our enemies but God’s people who have gone astray due to unfavorable circumstances. Many parts of the world and the people in it are victims of poverty, cruelty and ignorance, who are desperately seeking relief from their misery. Many times, that search leads to self-defeating and destructive behavior. As followers of Christ, we must love them but not their aberrant practices. We must do our best to show them the way to salvation so that they can abandon the false teachers and counterfeit Christs:
“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you (unbelievers) and obey you rather than God, you must judge [for yourselves; for we on our part, cannot stop telling [people] about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19, 20. AMP
But when that enemy rejects us with spite, hatred and disregard, we are to turn the other cheek and place our efforts to spread the kingdom elsewhere:
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pears before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” Mt. 7:6 NKJV
Remember that we are entering the closing times. The devil knows his time is short, and he will drive his minions mercilessly to attempt to bring God’s kingdom down:
“…you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another…And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures till the end shall be saved.” Mt. 24:9, 10 & 12. NKJV
How do we endure? We do it by clinging to the Bible, the word of God, having faith in it and staying in line with it. That can only be done if we stand behind its purity:
You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord our God which I command you. Dt. 4:2 NKJV
We can put our full faith in His undiluted word:
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. 1 Sam. 22:31 NKJV
You can stand upon it because it does not change:
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Is. 40:8 NKJV
Things don’t bode well for those who don’t follow God’s word:
“Cursed is the man who does not obey the words of this covenant…” Jer. 11:3 NKJV
“But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself,” says the LORD, “that this house shall become a desolation.” Jer. 22:5 NKJV
Just what are those bad parts of the scriptures that Mr. Burton attests to?
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness… 2 Tim. 3:16 NKJV
Hmmm. Seems like there are no bad parts. Indeed, Christ seemed to think that all the parts were important:
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Mt. 4:4 NKJ
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Mt. 24:35 NKJV
So, detractors (e.g. Mr. Burton) will sometimes say that Christ was okay, but the rest of the Bible is superstition. I invite them to meditate upon Jesus’ words:
“Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you and most solemnly say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke [of the pen] will pass from the Law until all things [which it foreshadows] are accomplished.” Mt. 5:17, 18. AMP
Goodnight and God bless.