Taking the Bible Seriously | Sojourners

Taking the Bible Seriously

One thing I find remarkable in the current theopolitical climate is how difficult it is to find treatments either by those on the political Left or the political Right that take seriously the founding text of the Christian faith -- the Bible. In some cases people avoid the biblical texts outright. How many times have you heard people talk about what sorts of political positions Jesus would have undoubtedly supported, but never bother to tell us what Jesus actually said?

Or how many times have you heard someone make a claim about what scripture says about some political position and then cite a biblical passage in support of it? Consider the claim that "Jesus was not political," which is usually supported with a passage such as Luke 20:25 ("Jesus said to them, 'Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God's'"). In this case, once one examines the broader context of Luke 20, one can see that this passage does not actually support the claim.

I recently came across a statement by an organization opposed to legalized abortion. The organization claimed rather strongly that "'God is pro-life’ (Deuteronomy 30:19)." I dutifully opened my Bible to the referenced passage, only to find that the words "choose life" came at the end of Moses' address to the Israelites just before they were to enter the Promised Land. Moses had described to the people a set of instructions from God. He then said, in essence, that if the people obeyed these instructions, they would live well in the land; if they disobeyed them, it would mean death. The command to choose life was Moses' way of saying, “I have given you God’s instructions. God’s instructions lead to life. So choose life! Be obedient!"

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