Stop sugarcoating the Bible!

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
A dear brother brought this article to my attention today. It is by the best-selling novelist, Steven James. I cannot attest to Mr. James' beliefs and doctrine, but he makes an awful lot of sense in this article. Here is a taste of it:


Stop sugarcoating the Bible

(CNN) – The Bible is a gritty book. Very raw. Very real. It deals with people just like us, just as needy and screwed up as we are, encountering a God who would rather die than spend eternity without them.

Yet despite that, it seems like Christians are uncomfortable with how earthy the Bible really is. They feel the need to tidy up God.

For example, look in any modern translation of Isaiah 64:6, and you’ll find that, to a holy God, even our most righteous acts are like “filthy rags.” The original language doesn’t say “filthy rags”; it says “menstrual rags.” But that sounds a little too crass, so let’s just call them filthy instead.

And let’s not talk so much about Jesus being naked on the cross, and let’s pretend Paul said that he considered his good deeds “a pile of garbage” in Philippians 3:8 rather than a pile of crap, as the Greek would more accurately be translated.

And let’s definitely not mention the six times in the Old Testament that the Jewish writers referred to Gentile men as those who “pisseth against the wall.” (At least the King James Version got that one right.)

The point?

God’s message was not meant to be run through some arbitrary, holier-than-thou politeness filter. He intended the Bible to speak to people where they’re at, caught up in the stark reality of life on a fractured planet.

Dozens of Psalms are complaints and heart-wrenching cries of despair to God, not holy-sounding, reverently worded soliloquies. Take Psalm 77:1-3: “I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help” (New Living Translation).

And rather than shy away from difficult and painful topics, the Old Testament includes vivid descriptions of murder, cannibalism, witchcraft, dismemberment, torture, rape, idolatry, erotic sex and animal sacrifice. According to St. Paul, those stories were written as examples and warnings for us (1 Corinthians 10:11). So obviously they were meant to be retold without editing out all the things we don’t consider nice or agreeable.

I believe that Scripture includes such graphic material to show how far we, as a race, have fallen and how far God was willing to come to rescue us from ourselves.

God is much more interested in honesty than pietism.

(The rest of this article, should you be interested, can be found at My Take: Stop sugarcoating the Bible – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs)

I am interested in your reactions to what Mr. James says.
 

Robert

Well-Known Member
Well, at the same time, we don't have to go into graphic detail either to get the point across.
 

soundingthealarm

Fleethewrath2come
I think this hi-lights how watered down modern day Churchianity has become we've exalted man and lowered God and the gulf between our depravity and His Amazing Grace has been devalued in the wash! My best Life now is a filthy rag! Love has waxed cold because we've lost sight of of how much we have been forgiven. I say we not pointing at anyone else but in reference to this apostate church age
 

SteveJM

Well-Known Member
A dear brother brought this article to my attention today. It is by the best-selling novelist, Steven James. I cannot attest to Mr. James' beliefs and doctrine, but he makes an awful lot of sense in this article. Here is a taste of it:


Stop sugarcoating the Bible

(CNN) – The Bible is a gritty book. Very raw. Very real. It deals with people just like us, just as needy and screwed up as we are, encountering a God who would rather die than spend eternity without them.

Yet despite that, it seems like Christians are uncomfortable with how earthy the Bible really is. They feel the need to tidy up God.

For example, look in any modern translation of Isaiah 64:6, and you’ll find that, to a holy God, even our most righteous acts are like “filthy rags.” The original language doesn’t say “filthy rags”; it says “menstrual rags.” But that sounds a little too crass, so let’s just call them filthy instead.

And let’s not talk so much about Jesus being naked on the cross, and let’s pretend Paul said that he considered his good deeds “a pile of garbage” in Philippians 3:8 rather than a pile of crap, as the Greek would more accurately be translated.

And let’s definitely not mention the six times in the Old Testament that the Jewish writers referred to Gentile men as those who “pisseth against the wall.” (At least the King James Version got that one right.)

The point?

God’s message was not meant to be run through some arbitrary, holier-than-thou politeness filter. He intended the Bible to speak to people where they’re at, caught up in the stark reality of life on a fractured planet.

Dozens of Psalms are complaints and heart-wrenching cries of despair to God, not holy-sounding, reverently worded soliloquies. Take Psalm 77:1-3: “I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help” (New Living Translation).

And rather than shy away from difficult and painful topics, the Old Testament includes vivid descriptions of murder, cannibalism, witchcraft, dismemberment, torture, rape, idolatry, erotic sex and animal sacrifice. According to St. Paul, those stories were written as examples and warnings for us (1 Corinthians 10:11). So obviously they were meant to be retold without editing out all the things we don’t consider nice or agreeable.

I believe that Scripture includes such graphic material to show how far we, as a race, have fallen and how far God was willing to come to rescue us from ourselves.

God is much more interested in honesty than pietism.

(The rest of this article, should you be interested, can be found at My Take: Stop sugarcoating the Bible – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs)

I am interested in your reactions to what Mr. James says.
I don't know enough about author Steven James, but I did find his blog on CNN to be interesting and I agree with most if not all of what he has to say in it.

Steven James-"The point?

God’s message was not meant to be run through some arbitrary, holier-than-thou politeness filter. He intended the Bible to speak to people where they’re at, caught up in the stark reality of life on a fractured planet."
Steven James-"I don’t believe we’ll ever recognize our need for the light until we’ve seen the depth of the darkness. So God wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty with us about life and temptation and forgiveness. And grace.

Only when the Bible seems relevant to us (which it is), only when the characters seem real to us (which they were), only then will the message of redemption become personal for us (which it was always meant to be).

We don’t need to edit God. We need to let him be the author of our new lives."
 

FaithInChrist

Well-Known Member
I believe that Scripture includes such graphic material to show how far we, as a race, have fallen and how far God was willing to come to rescue us from ourselves..
It also proves to show how much we have become to look like a race of people that have been destroyed many times over in the Bible. It is time for people to get deep into the Bible, for that is where they are going to find themselves and find the path God wants them to take.
 

livin_in_the_Son

Well-Known Member
My (well not favorite) comparison was the difference in Isa 64:6....every woman can attest that 'menstrual rags equals filthy'....but mud is filthy, rotten food is filthy, sour milk is nasty, that oily, hardened slice of hot dog found behind the couch cushion is GROSS!!...a lot of disgusting comparisons come to mind....but menstrual rags....every man out there would gag at the thought (but could change a poopie, stinkie, nasty diaper without too much complaint), they could mop up after a flu fest (from both ends) that never made it to the bathroom, shoot, my husband once held a job that required him to clean up after dead bodies that have been discovered days after the expiration date.

What better way to show a MAN just how much more disgusting even our BEST actions are in comparison to God's Holiness? Sure, a point can be made without graphic detail....but sometiimes, a certain graphic (without basic description) is so much more powerful, and conveys such a stronger emotion. Plus, it seriously could have been so much MORE graphic. JMHO (as a woman)
 

GlennO

Well-Known Member
The content of the CNN blog was a :shocked to me. I am not offended in the least by the title. :wave

LivinInTheSon said:
What better way to show a MAN just how much more disgusting even our BEST actions are in comparison to God's Holiness? Sure, a point can be made without graphic detail....but sometiimes, a certain graphic (without basic description) is so much more powerful, and conveys such a stronger emotion. Plus, it seriously could have been so much MORE graphic. JMHO (as a woman)
:thumbup:nod
 

SteveJM

Well-Known Member
As I stated in my first response, "I don't know enough about author Steven James." I will say after my initial read of his blog I felt he was playing very loose and free. For someone without discernment you could come away thinking that, "Partying" was okay and that Jesus did it. As we know, there's a big difference between what a group of believers would call a party and what the world calls partying. One time I heard a Baptist preacher say that Jesus was a party animal. I took great offense to that statement. For one thing it's extremely wrong to call our Savior an animal, and what the term "party animal" brings to mind is not good either. I know that the religious leaders were offended with the company that Jesus kept and made accusations against Jesus because of it. The pastor was trying to shock and provoke his listeners. Even though it's not related, the pastor has since had an affair, is divorced, and left the ministry, perhaps he decided to be a party animal. As far as playing loose, the characterizations of Noah as a drunk and Abraham as a liar, on a first read also seemed offensive. The term drunk and liar implies that it's a practice. I don't believe that James is meaning it that way. After reading the blog again, I considered the point that he was trying to make, and giving James the benefit of the doubt, I had to agree on his point, and much of his blog.

I am skeptical about James to say the least. He reminds me a bit of another author who was quite clever and said many things that you could agree with, but also many things that would raise your eyebrows, and worse. The author that I'm thinking of is CS Lewis.

Mr. James according to /www.blogger.com/ has listed among his interests, Jesus and mysticism. On his blog, if you type mystic into the blogs search area, a Francois de Fenelon keeps showing up, but when you click on the link to read the blog there is no mention of the French Roman Catholic mystic, archbishop, theologian, poet and writer.

Mr. James also seems to have an appreciation for Harry Potter. The following quote is from his blog.

"When the Harry Potter books and movies came out, many fundamentalist Christians avoided them because of the content (spells, magic, wizards, etc…) and didn’t acknowledge the artistic excellence of the storytelling. In addition, the world of Harry Potter is unashamedly moral, choices matter, life is not just a matter of fate and timing. However, in the Harry Potter world, the ends justify the means. I believe discernment is harder than blind condemnation, but also more worthwhile."
We do have to learn from our experiences and be wise, such as in the case of Lewis. I won't be running out and buying any Steven James books.
 

Meg

Well-Known Member
I love your reply, SteveJM!! Full confession, I didn't bother to follow the link in the OP, because choosing the crude aspects of current translations out of everything that might have been translated more literally was enough evidence to me that the guy was off. Thats why I said he strained out a gnat and swallowed a camel. I have done word studies in the NT clarifying the finer points of what was meant by drunk, for example, I have come across studies on the titles or names of God in the OT, and I recently received a literal translation of the whole Bible as a gift and noticed some interesting details in the deeper meanings of the Hebrew, all of which I could have discussed with anyone, including my Mother. You know them by their fruits, and those fruits are found in the choices they make or don't.
 

ray neukirch

He Lives
What I take note of is that this is a piece from CNN. Are people from outside the Church family beginning to see the apostolic taint that is taking hold in and out of the churches in America? :tsk:
 

soundingthealarm

Fleethewrath2come
What I take note of is that this is a piece from CNN. Are people from outside the Church family beginning to see the apostolic taint that is taking hold in and out of the churches in America? :tsk:
EXACTLY!!!

that coupled with Skip Bayless on ESPN speaking up on the Great Commission ..pretty eye catching the sources
 

WKUHilltopper

Well-Known Member
Wow! This came from CNN?? Are the blind seeing now?


A dear brother brought this article to my attention today. It is by the best-selling novelist, Steven James. I cannot attest to Mr. James' beliefs and doctrine, but he makes an awful lot of sense in this article. Here is a taste of it:


Stop sugarcoating the Bible

(CNN) – The Bible is a gritty book. Very raw. Very real. It deals with people just like us, just as needy and screwed up as we are, encountering a God who would rather die than spend eternity without them.

Yet despite that, it seems like Christians are uncomfortable with how earthy the Bible really is. They feel the need to tidy up God.

For example, look in any modern translation of Isaiah 64:6, and you’ll find that, to a holy God, even our most righteous acts are like “filthy rags.” The original language doesn’t say “filthy rags”; it says “menstrual rags.” But that sounds a little too crass, so let’s just call them filthy instead.

And let’s not talk so much about Jesus being naked on the cross, and let’s pretend Paul said that he considered his good deeds “a pile of garbage” in Philippians 3:8 rather than a pile of crap, as the Greek would more accurately be translated.

And let’s definitely not mention the six times in the Old Testament that the Jewish writers referred to Gentile men as those who “pisseth against the wall.” (At least the King James Version got that one right.)

The point?

God’s message was not meant to be run through some arbitrary, holier-than-thou politeness filter. He intended the Bible to speak to people where they’re at, caught up in the stark reality of life on a fractured planet.

Dozens of Psalms are complaints and heart-wrenching cries of despair to God, not holy-sounding, reverently worded soliloquies. Take Psalm 77:1-3: “I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help” (New Living Translation).

And rather than shy away from difficult and painful topics, the Old Testament includes vivid descriptions of murder, cannibalism, witchcraft, dismemberment, torture, rape, idolatry, erotic sex and animal sacrifice. According to St. Paul, those stories were written as examples and warnings for us (1 Corinthians 10:11). So obviously they were meant to be retold without editing out all the things we don’t consider nice or agreeable.

I believe that Scripture includes such graphic material to show how far we, as a race, have fallen and how far God was willing to come to rescue us from ourselves.

God is much more interested in honesty than pietism.

(The rest of this article, should you be interested, can be found at My Take: Stop sugarcoating the Bible – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs)

I am interested in your reactions to what Mr. James says.
 

nillapoet

Well-Known Member
I love your reply, SteveJM!! Full confession, I didn't bother to follow the link in the OP, because choosing the crude aspects of current translations out of everything that might have been translated more literally was enough evidence to me that the guy was off. Thats why I said he strained out a gnat and swallowed a camel. I have done word studies in the NT clarifying the finer points of what was meant by drunk, for example, I have come across studies on the titles or names of God in the OT, and I recently received a literal translation of the whole Bible as a gift and noticed some interesting details in the deeper meanings of the Hebrew, all of which I could have discussed with anyone, including my Mother. You know them by their fruits, and those fruits are found in the choices they make or don't.
Would you be willing to PM what you found out about the meaning of drunk/wine? I tried to PM you, but apparently I'm not cool enough. :lol:
 
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