I’m working on a book demonstrating that the Bible is divine as opposed to merely human in origin, and I can’t think of a time in recent history, where that topic is more salient and more significant. People all over the world are misquoting the Bible. We can say without peradventure of a doubt that the Bible is under siege.
The way it’s under siege is significant as well. We have the President of the United States of America saying things that clearly marginalize the Word of God. We have professors who are suggesting that the Bible is riddled with factual errors. And just last week, I was listening to a debate on Anderson Cooper between Pastor Troy Sanders and Ted Haggard. Ted Haggard formally was the very significant pastor in Colorado that got involved in homosexual transgressions, and pastor Troy Sanders is openly homosexual. He calls himself a “same gender loving man.” But what’s significant is that to approve of their practice, they take the Bible out of context. In fact, they marginalize the Bible such that anyone listening to their words would say at the end of the conversation you simply can’t trust the Bible. Why? Because the Bible says that slavery is ok. The Bible says eating pork is a sin. The Bible says sowing garments together from two different threads is a sin. That obviously can’t be true, and, therefore, the Bible can’t be trusted.
Well, Pastor Troy Sanders as well as Ted Haggard are having this conversation. If you missed it, I want to replay it on a clip for you, so that you can listen to it and I can point out its errors directly. The point of doing this is to say that you too should be ready to give an answer. When someone listen to an interview like this, and no doubt millions did, you should be ready to use the diversion of Troy Sanders as a pastor, use his diversion as an opportunity to communicate truth to your friends, family members, children, and neighbors. Here’s Troy Sanders on Anderson Cooper,
I think that there has to be a place in our religious discourse to critique Scripture, because the same Bible—now, the premise that I cannot stand for is that homosexuality is sin or wrong, because the same Scriptures that we used to lift up that said that women could not preach, said that we could not eat pork, or that two twains of fabric could not be in, and that slavery was actually instigated and upheld by that same ancient oppressive text. So, at some point, we have to reevaluate what we believe. And we cannot couch it in, we are all sinners and we all have our shortcomings. No, there are some things that we have to give off, we have to let go of around oppressive theology. And homosexuality and homosexual oppression, homophobia in the church is one of those things.
Well does the Bible really do what Pastor Troy Sanders says it does? Does the Bible say women cannot preach? Paul gives instructions in 1 Corinthians 11 for women to prophesy and pray in public. And prophesying is clearly delineated as exhorting, edifying, and equipping the body of Christ.
As far as sowing garments together from two different threads, this is not something that literally applies to us in any sense whatsoever. Scripture simply uses the object lessons of seeding crops and sewing cloths to illustrate the spiritual and social distinction between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. In other words, the mixing of different things was associated with the syncretistic pagan practices that Israel was to avoid. Scripture in that way provides a wide variety of illustrations to underscore the principle of undivided loyalty to God.
As far as pork is concerned, there is a quantum difference between enduring moral principles, such as those regarding homosexuality, and temporary ceremonial practices relegated to a particular historical context. The distinction between clean and unclean animals symbolized the distinction between that which was holy and that which was unholy within the context of a theocracy. And remember, Jesus made it very plain, that it is not what goes into a man’s mouth then into the stomach and out of his body that defiles him, but what proceeds out of his heart. And Jesus was talking to the Pharisees in much the way He would talk to Pastor Troy Sanders, “Don’t you see,” in other words, are you blind? Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him unclean? For it doesn’t go into his heart, but into his stomach, and then out of his body. In saying that, Jesus declared all foods clean (cf. Mark 7:14-23).
There is then the notion of slavery. Far from extolling the virtues of slavery the Bible denounces slavery as sin. The New Testament goes so far as to put slave traders in the same category as murderers, adulterers, perverts, and liars. In fact it was the application of biblical principles that ultimately led to the overthrow of slavery both in ancient Israel and in the USA. Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt became a model for the liberation of slaves in general. Read the Bible! You’ll see over and over again that if one supposes that the Bible teaches slavery as something that can be practiced, there is something wrong with God, or the Bible is not divine in origin. But that’s not what the Bible teaches. Ephesians 6 teaches that God is our Master. He is Master to both slave and free, and in God’s economy there is no favoritism, no partiality, complete equality. Go to the Old Testament. When Joseph was sold into slavery, it was considered a great evil, and slavery in the Old Testament was due to economic realities, not to racial distinctions. In fact, in a biblical worldview there is no such thing as race except to “run the race.”
My point in saying all of this is you have pastors—here we have the past President of the National Association of Evangelicals, represents the evangelicals of the world, in a debate with Pastor Troy Sanders, both with a predilection towards homosexuality—what they do is they beat up the Bible. In other words, it’s the Bible that’s at fault. There’s something wrong with the Bible. It’s called an “ancient oppressive text” by Troy Sanders. We live in an age in which the Bible is under siege and will be so until people learn how to read the Bible for all its worth. Sometimes it’s just a matter of reading the Bible. You can’t read through the Bible and think that the Bible teaches slavery. The Bible certainly communicates the reality of slavery, and in most parts due to economic necessities were someone would sell themselves into slaver to pay off a debt, but it never promotes the practice of slavery. Again, always be ready to give an answer, a reason for the hope that lies within you with gentleness and with respect.
 Anderson Cooper 360, September 23, 2010