I had lunch today with one of the godliest people I know. The conversation took an interesting turn when this person suddenly launched into the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate. Everyone, including this person, knows this lively debate will continue until Jesus returns, but what surprised me was this person’s unwillingness to consider that predestination could even possibly be a part of God’s plan, even though it’s recorded numerous times in the Word.
For the record, I see both “sides” represented in the Word. Do I understand how it all fits together? Nope, but I trust that God does and that’s all that matters. I’m not blogging to re-hash that debate.
I am blogging, however, because on my way home from lunch, I couldn’t help but think of a sub chapter found in Mark Batterson’s soon-to-be-released book “Wild Goose Chase”, entitled “Cut-And-Paste Christianity.” The sub chapter begins with these words: “In the beginning God made man in His image. Man has been making God in his image ever since.”
Mark goes on to share how Thomas Jefferson loved the teachings of Jesus, but that he was also a child of the Enlightenment. “He didn’t have a cognitive category for miracles, so Jefferson literally took a pair of scissors and cut them out of his King James Bible. It took him two or three nights. And by the time he was done, he had cut out the Virgin Birth, cut out the angels, cut out the Resurrection. Jefferson extracted every miracle, and the result was a book titled The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, or what is commonly referred to as the Jefferson Bible. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? And something rises up within those of us who believe the Bible is divinely inspired by God. Part of us scoffs or scolds Jefferson. You can’t pick and choose. You can’t cut and paste. You can’t do that to the Bible. But here’s the truth: while most of us can’t imagine taking a pair of scissors to the Bible and physically cutting verses out, we do exactly what Jefferson did. We ignore verses we cannot comprehend. We avoid verses we do not like. And we rationalize verses that are too radical.”
Obviously, there’s no need to explain why Mark’s book came to mind today, but here are some of the reasons why this particular chapter turned out to be my favorite in the booklet…and the most memorable:
- I learned something new about Thomas Jefferson’s beliefs (or lack there of)
- It reminded me just how vital childlike faith is to my daily walk
- My appreciation and awe-factor rose to new heights thinking on the miracles recorded in God’s Word, thankful that His ways are so much higher than mine.
- It renewed my thankfulness for Precept Ministries, which taught me the importance of reading, studying, and believing Scripture based on its context — not on certain verses that could easily be “cut and pasted” to fit my beliefs.