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Faith and Politics Re-Mixed: The Patriot’s Bible

posted by Scot McKnight

I’m irritated with Thomas Nelson because they:

(1) Chose to publish The Patriot’s Bible, a Bible that draws the Bible’s message and American nationalism as close as possible, and
(2) Chose as the General Editor Richard Lee, a Southern Baptist pastor (nothing against him or pastors per se), instead of a specialist in Church-State relations who knows Bible, theology, and Church history — not to say the history of political theory.

The use of the Bible for political relations in our modern world — free enterprise liberal democracies with all kinds of histories and issues of pluralism and the like — summons us to exceedingly important nuance and careful definitions.

Anyway, Greg Boyd (one and two parts) and Richard Lee have already gone at it at Out of Ur blog. And John D’Elia weighs in on this one too.

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Ed

posted June 2, 2009 at 2:29 pm


I don’t like the idea of a “Patriot’s Bible” as it tends to reinforce the idea of Christianity as a civil religion. What about other countries? Not at all pleased with Thomas Nelson.



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Randy

posted June 2, 2009 at 2:44 pm


This stuff has been and always will be around. It proves the importance of the solid biblical and historical education that is all too rare today.
The Massachusetts Bay colonists contrived their settlement as a mission to the Native Americans by adopting Paul’s vision of a Man of Macedonia.
One of my first projects as a budding historian in graduate school involved reviewing Nathan Hatch’s “The Sacred Cause of Liberty: Millennialism and Republican Thought in Revolutionary New England.” There, Dr. Hatch (Now President of Wake Forest University) showed how New England preachers working to buttress their colony cast selves, friends and enemies.
In the 1763 Seven Years’ War, the colonies relied heavily on mother Britain to protect them, thus the French were cast as the Papist Catholic French who were quite devilish. But by the 1773 American Revolution, they were casting Britain as the tyrannical/devilish one. The French were seen much more favorably, as Lafayette was a hero of Independence. But by the late 1790s, the French Revolution led to the French being re-cast, now as the ATHEISTIC enemy.
One thing I am pleasantly amazed at today. I preached Sunday on the pentecost church and I could speak about the way some sold land etc. and provided for the poor as a continuation of Jesus call to the rich young man, and I could be fairly certain that no one would protest that I was or promoted Communism. Twenty five years ago none of us could have done that.
Peace,
Randy Gabrielse



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RJS

posted June 2, 2009 at 3:01 pm


I see value in study Bibles – and I see value in study Bibles designed specifically for children or for youth.
Beyond this I find “theme Bibles” distracting or worse – and this one is definitely in the “worse” category.



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Dave

posted June 2, 2009 at 3:28 pm


There’s been quite the uproar about The Patriot’s Bible for good reason. I agree that “theme bibles” in general are problematic at best.
I would be interested in what others around here thought of the Green Bible. Are we as troubled by other themes or is there just something about this one?



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Rick

posted June 2, 2009 at 3:45 pm


I don’t think their motives are bad, just misguided. The timing is interesting on this, since the current trend is to critically re-evaluate the impact the church/state relationship has had on evangelicalism.
As I type this, I am within just a few miles of a church at which Dr. Lee was the senior pastor in the 1980’s-’90’s. To me, he represents the “old school” (not necessarily old age, just mindset) of the 1970’s-early 1990’s, at which time he was influential in this area (I think he still has large church and tv ministry). They see a Christian heritage and culture as needed elements to help propel the church through this new historic paradigm shift.
With the passing of Dr. Kennedy, the pulling back of duties by Dr. Dobson, and the aging of other such leaders, Thomas Nelson Publ. and Dr. Lee may feel like there is a need to re-energize that base, and/or prevent what appears to be a growing movement away from their perspective.



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Kenny Johnson

posted June 2, 2009 at 4:39 pm


I find this Bible really troubling. I don’t like the mixing of American Nationalism with the Gospel of Jesus.
Unfortunately, my church doesn’t agree — as on Memorial Day Sunday, I was treated to videos of tanks and bombs and salutes to our troops in church. I have nothing against patriotism per se, but I think it definately doesn’t belong in the church — especially when it’s presented as militarism, which seems antithetical to the Gospel (eg Love your enemy, blessed are the peacemakers, etc).



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Dave

posted June 2, 2009 at 4:53 pm


Kenny,
First, let me establish that I think The Patriotic Bible is disturbing for multpiple reasons. On this we’re agreed.
But I am curious to know why you think it is wrong to “salute our troops” in church. Is there something about this particular calling that not worthy of honor? Would you be opposed to saluting teachers, doctors or farmers?
I think we need to be careful that we don’t confuse the church and the state. But I for one am thankful to live in a state that protects me and my family. While we would never want to see the church take up arms I have no problem with countries (including my own) that have a military to protect it’s citizens. And in Romans 13 Paul seems to underscore the importance of government protecting the people.



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Kenny Johnson

posted June 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm


Dave,
I think it was more of the pro-war message I felt I was getting from the pulpit — especially the videos. The whole ‘sermon’ was about how America is a Christian nation founded by Christians, etc. I felt it mixed American nationalism way too much with the Gospel.
But as to your question itself… I think the problem with ‘saluting troops’ at church is that it’s gives the impression they’re doing God’s work. During the Iraq war, would it have been ok for Iraqi Christians to praise the Iraqi troops in their churches who were fighting our troops?
I just think we start to blur the line — and suddenly America is doing God’s work when this is preached at the pulpit. Is it wrong for Christians to go to a Memorial Day parade? No. Of course not. But I’m not sure nationalism/patriotism belongs in the church community where we preach the Gospel of Jesus — who came for all nations!



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stephen

posted June 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm


Patriot’s bible? That wouldn’t be a reissue of the Jefferson bible, would it? :)



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Dave

posted June 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm


Kenny,
I think this is an interesting question. To what extent do we renounce our nationality when we become a Christian? Since we don’t worship a ruler here I don’t think there is anything wrong with the fact that I enjoy being an American and feel a certain national pride. I have Christian friend in India, Great Britain, Romania, etc. who feel the same way about their countries. I like to think that the US military has contributed good to the world. I think oppressed people have been freed and humantitarian work has been done. Therefore I don’t have a problem being thankful for my country and the freedoms I enjoy.
As for Iraqi Christians, I’m not sure if they could take pride in their national military for similar reasons. I wonder if they would see them instead as oppressive tot heir ability to worship Christ.



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Bill S.

posted June 2, 2009 at 5:27 pm


Take a look at all the reader reviews of it posted on Amazon.com if you want to see Christian “dialogue” at less than its best.
Here are just a few of the more memorable lines I encountered there:
“A Sinful Book”
“AN EPIC WORK: It’s incredible how threatened some people are about the role the bible played in our nations history.”
“A blasphemous, idolatrous pile of feces!”
“At last——–real Biblical Truth”
“Please fellow christians do not believe the liberal nay sayers who are bashing the fiber of this wonderful book. Even those reviewers who claim to be Christians can not be believed or trusted. The devil is hard at work in these people and it is nothing new.”
…..and there’s plenty more of this you can read for yourself on Amazon.com.
So what are we waiting for? This is another wonderful opportunity for us to have yet another schism! I can just see it in the history books now – The Patriot Bible Schism of 2009!!!!!! :)



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dopderbeck

posted June 2, 2009 at 5:33 pm


The notion of a “patriot’s” bible is silly at best and idolatrous at worst.



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Kenny Johnson

posted June 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm


Dave,
I think you make valid points. And as I said, I’m not against patriotism per se, I’m just not sure it belongs in the church (wherever we gather to celebrate, worship, and teach Jesus).
I’m also happy to be an American and to live in a free country. Don’t get me wrong there. I just think there is a line-crossing.
As for Iraqi Christians.. Let’s use a different example. The American Revolution. Both of us were Christian nations. Would it make sense for Christians in both countries to be praising their troops in church?



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RJS

posted June 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm


Bill S.
Those posting Amazon reviews should read James (and A Brother’s Wisdom 62) before submitting?



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David Diller

posted June 2, 2009 at 5:48 pm


In Richard Lee’s defense of the Patriot’s Bible he closes with:
“Let us be reminded that as a people, Americans have sought to follow the God of the Bible and what He has taught us through His Word. And the results are the obvious blessings He has provided, not only for us, but for all who seek ‘?life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'”
When did “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” become the way of the Gospel (is God really concerned with my happiness?)? “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is more an American slogan, or even better, the American Gospel.
It seems that that way of the kindgom invites to: death (of self), servanthood (to God and to serve people), and the pursuit of joy (that comes through suffering).



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Your Name

posted June 2, 2009 at 5:54 pm


Kenny,
Off to a deacons meeting in mere moments but the American Revolution is definately tricky. Frankly, I’m glad I wasn’t there to have to take a side especially with the whole tar and feathering thing going on.
I think we agree. I personally believe that the kingdom of God will be (future – I know, very old fashioned) a time when people from all nations worship our Lord Jesus side by side; the Jew with the Syrian and the Egyptian…the American and the Iraqi. Personally I can’t wait.



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Bill S.

posted June 2, 2009 at 7:39 pm


RJS (14),
Good point! I really liked that teaching from James.
I haven’t seen The Patriot Bible firsthand (and don’t know if I ever will), so I’m refraining from taking a firm position on it just yet. However, I will admit that my gut reaction when first hearing about it was not a particularly positive one.
I did like Scot’s statement though. He had substance to what he said, and he said it with both candor and courtesy.



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Nathan

posted June 2, 2009 at 7:51 pm


The gathering of people as Church should not involve any saluting of any kind other than the praise and adoration of Jesus Christ.



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Michael S. Hyatt

posted June 2, 2009 at 8:12 pm


Hi, I am the CEO of Thomas Nelson. Certainly, I get that the Kingdom of God is not bound to one nation or culture. But I don’t think this is what the Bible advocates. Have you actually read this Bible or are you simply reacting to the idea.



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Travis Greene

posted June 2, 2009 at 8:13 pm


Dave,
To respond your earlier question, I found the Green Bible equally problematic, for similar reasons. Theme Bibles are stupid.
On a separate question, I don’t think people in other countries do combine patriotism and Christianity in quite the way we do. Love of country and one’s people…the kind that makes you homesick…is one thing, and perfectly natural and good. American exceptionalism, and the equating of the U.S. with ancient Israel, including the appropriation of her promises, is something else. Having an American flag on the altar is also, in my opinion, idolatrous. I’ll celebrate July 4th as much as the next guy, but not in the church.
Of course, the peace churches would say it is wrong to salute our troops in church, insisting that Christians should not kill under any circumstances. That’s not a value shared by many churches, I realize.



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Chaplain Mike

posted June 2, 2009 at 8:24 pm


The beginning of the Declaration of Independence, in fact, consciously avoids appealing to the Bible, and this was Jefferson’s intentional choice. “We hold these truths to be SELF-EVIDENT” asserts that what follows is sourced in natural law and reason, not divine revelation.



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AHH

posted June 2, 2009 at 8:50 pm


A related question, out of curiosity:
In the U.S., it is fairly common for churches to have an American flag up front, either prominently (think D. James Kennedy) or off to the side. Sometimes paired with a “Christian flag”. I agree with those for whom this sets off the idolatry alarm.
Is there ANY other country today where it is common for Christian churches to feature the national flag in the sanctuary?
The answer to this question would get at the issue some have raised here about the degree to which the U.S. is unique in its syncretism of Christianity with nationalism and civil religion.



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Mick Porter

posted June 2, 2009 at 10:50 pm


Dave said:
” I have Christian friend in India, Great Britain, Romania, etc. who feel the same way about their countries.”
As a non-American (Australian) I would be very surprised if this was the case. Other countries seem generally patriotic in a sense of loving their culture and so-on, but I don’t know any who frame it this way. You will not find them buying “The United Kingdom” bible and so-on, with some kind of belief that their country is somehow special in a Christian sense.
At the heart of it seems to be a fundamental assumption that righteousness is entirely about morality. As the US was founded upon certain principles that seemed to include uncommonly-high moral principles for some time, it was simultaneously building a foundation of reliance on slavery, massive consumption of the world’s resources, elevation of the “self-made man”, obsession with status, arrogance towards the rest of the world, and so on.
There’s an unfortunate backlash to this, which would seek to downplay moral concern and make righteousness all about social concern.
Perhaps if we can see Jesus as both morally concerned (he came to deal with sin!) and also socially involved (he ministered to the marginalised, revealed God’s nature as the defender of the oppressed), if we can see that Israel was exiled for moral failing and for injustice and failure to show mercy, then we can balance this picture up a little.
BTW, I’ve got a short video on my blog that attempts to probe this left-wing/right-wing divide a little.



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BenB

posted June 2, 2009 at 11:36 pm


Michael Hyatt,
I don’t think those here need to read the Patriot’s Bible to know that the Gospel and Patriotism do not mix. They have absolutely nothing to do with each other.
I also feel like the assertions being made by the editor in his response to Greg Boyd show that this whole thing just seems misguided.
“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” have zero to do with the Bible. Our founding fathers were far more indebted to the Enlightenment than the Bible (evidenced by Jefferson’s cut-out-what-i-don’t-like version of the Bible). And, as Brian McLaren has stated quite well (http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/brian_d_mclaren/2009/04/a_christian_nation_wouldnt_act_this_way.html), very little of our country’s past actually resembles the life of Christ.
This is why many of us find the mixing of patriotism with the Bible as borderline idolatrous.
I have nothing wrong with patriotism, and I am proud to live in the U.S.A. I also think that the overwhelming base of Christian citizens has done a deal of good in shaping PARTS of our country’s laws and so forth. So, Christianity has had an effect, in good way, shown in our Country.
However, overall, it just seems like a slap in the face to the Gospel.



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Mike M

posted June 3, 2009 at 12:19 am


This blog is very interesting. As with laws, medicine, entertainment, and religion in this country, LOOK FOR THE MONEY TRAIL. For example, (ahem, Michael Hyatt) who wins monetarily with a bible like this? Not just the publisher but also those who make money equating God with US. Who bleeds if such a silly notion as a Patriot’s Bible is not accepted? No, I haven’t read it but did these same people actually go see “The Golden Compass?”



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Dan

posted June 3, 2009 at 12:20 am


I leafed through the Patriot’s Bible at Borders. I saw quotes from founding fathers. I saw quotes from JFK and Martin Luther King. Hardly seemed like the evil, nationalistic tool of the satanic religious right that so many want to portray it as.
This whole Christian America issue is not a question of America being a Christian nation in the sense most people here are criticizing. It is about the fact that even though not everyone in the founding of the USA were Christians, there was a consensus about some general principles that did have roots in reading of the Old and New Testament. Most importantly, the notion of limited government was largely informed by the idea that human beings are fallen and those in power needed to be held accountable to a higher law. Laws dealing with murder, stealing and marriage contracts certainly had some connection to the Ten Commandments. A legal system that presumed innocence and required a plurality of witnesses to convict certainly echoed the Old Testament idea that a matter should be settled by two or three witnesses.
I don’t like “niche” Bible’s that much, and maybe this is one example of a glut of niche Bibles. But I sense what is being criticized has less to do with the Patriot’s Bible than with an overblown reaction against the so-called religious right. It just seems to be in vogue to praise the Greg Boyd’s of the world and throw knives at the James Dobsons and D. James Kennedys. Maybe it looks better to the increasingly intolerant left to not be “one of them backward right-wingers”. I sure feel a bit like “the enemy” reading the comments here.
I’m not sure the publishers of the Patriot’s Bible equate Christianity with America, but I’m sure as heck not convinced that being a Christian requires me to stop being a citizen, or a patriot.



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Chris B

posted June 3, 2009 at 1:37 am


In reply to AHH, it’s certainly not common for the national flag to be found in churches in Australia, or even flown on a flagpole outside. There may be some, but they would be in the minority. We certainly have no idea of what a “christian flag” may be. Thankfully we seem to have missed out on the conflating of our national identity with Christianity to a large degree, even though it was part of early settlement, although there are some who would wish it otherwise and try to stir things up. There is a vigorous public debate about the function of “religious influence” at every election, but because Australia is probably the most secular nation on the face of the earth it amounts to a lot of huffing and puffing really. The whole idea of a Patriot’s Bible is laughable in Oz. We’re not even particularly fussed about flags either, it’s not the Australian way.



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Steve

posted June 3, 2009 at 7:47 am


Kevin Phillips’ book “American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21stCentury” does a good job at exposing this dangerous mix. Phillips is an excellent historian and political commentator and comes from the Republican side of the aisle. It is not fun reading for church folk, but very important none the less.



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Jjjoe

posted June 3, 2009 at 8:43 am


This reminds me too much of seeing pictures of swastikas up front in churches in Nazi Germany.
They believed that God had chosen their nation to play a special role in history, to be more blessed, etc. Where have we heard that before?
There’s nothing wrong with being a patriot, as long as you understand that God always comes before country.
The temptation is strong to mix the two, however.
Any time one believes that God has chosen his or her country to be more special or blessed than another country, you can bet that’s not God at work, but rather pride, greed, anger, jealousy and so on.
To the extent a Patriot’s Bible drives that viewpoint, it’s worse than no Bible at all. Because it leads us, once again, to use Scripture as a weapon.



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Jim Jameson

posted June 3, 2009 at 11:33 am


I can’t believe what I’m reading. As a former soldier in both Desert Storm and Iraq I’m really blown away by most of the people’s comments.
Have any of you actually held arms to defend this great country? Have any of you actually had your life on the line for the values and mission of the US? I doubt it.
My best friend gave me this bible as a gift (Yes, Mr. Hyatt, I’ve actually read it) and it brought me to tears. We live in a free country founded on a belief system deeply rooted in judeo christian principles. We have a supreme court that has a bible verse deeply imbedded in it’s architecture. We open congress with prayer, yet those of you who’ve commented out of ignorance can’t stand it. Amazing.
The values we cherish are eroding. Yet when a product tries to bring to mind the effect of the Bible on our culture you spit on it without even reading it or experiencing what it means to defend what we hold as true and dear.
I’m blown away. Embrace what we have, embrace the pillars of our values and stop the noise.



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Larry

posted June 3, 2009 at 11:36 am


It’s things like this that make me more and more reluctant to identify myself as an evangelical.
I do find it telling that Lee’s supposed rebuttal to Boyd’s criticism contained no rebuttals at all, no refutations of Boyd’s specific criticisms, but was instead just an appeal to patriotism and American exceptionalism.



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Larry

posted June 3, 2009 at 11:45 am


Have any of you actually held arms to defend this great country? Have any of you actually had your life on the line for the values and mission of the US? I doubt it.
You haven’t either, this country hasn’t been in any real danger since at least WWII, all of the “wars” since then have been mere adventurism. Not one of them has come close to meeting the classical criteria for a just war.



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Jim Jameson

posted June 3, 2009 at 11:59 am


Larry,
You’re an idiot. And your friends Larry and Moe are probably idiots as well.
What the heck is a classic war? Starring down a gun from an enemy is war. You’ve not been there. You’ve not seen your friends killed, you’ve not witnessed the stench of battle. You have no clue what it means to have people want, more than anything, to kill you in that moment. I’m glad you were never asked to serve. Maybe a nice cushy desk job while you twirl around town in your BMW.
We’ll take care of you Larry and the freedoms you possess. Don’t worry. We won’t ask you.



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Scot McKnight

posted June 3, 2009 at 12:04 pm


Jim and Larry, #s 29, 31…
First, I deeply appreciate that you have written in. We know your struggle and we know that critique of this Bible can come off as disrespect to you.
But, second, your military service is not the point — and no, I’ve not served. The issue is the mixing of a patriotic message in a Bible that is for all humans, including our enemies. We find mixing that kind of message with the Bible itself, in effect shaping the Bible into a pro-American book, distorts the message of the Bible and potentially harms the way of the gospel in this world.



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Nora

posted June 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm


Pastor Lee’s response misses the point. If he (and Thomas Nelson) wanted to write a book about how the Bible has influenced the founding and development of the USA, that is one thing (although the conclusions may still be debatable). The problem comes from the fact that with this product, American Patriotism has been superimposed over the Bible — and therefore the Gospel message — itself. In other words, they are equated. Consequently, the implication is that America has a Biblical mandate to wage wars and save the world! America is not the Savior of the world. Jesus is.
I love America, but I love her because I choose to see her honestly, warts and all, not because I believe that everything she does is blessed or mandated by God.



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Bill S.

posted June 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm


Any word yet on when they’re releasing the Dolphins’, Packers’ or Raiders’ Bible? I’m not a big fan of New England. :)



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John W Frye

posted June 3, 2009 at 12:43 pm


How is the *Patriots Bible* any different than the Koran which melds middle Eastern religion with middle Eastern nationalism (with the ugly result of bloodshed)?



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jeremy bouma

posted June 3, 2009 at 12:59 pm


Dear Michael S. Hyatt, Thomas Nelson, et al…
You say, “I get that the Kingdom of God is not bound to one nation or culture” but do you ‘get’ that Bible is for all people? If so, how is “The American Patriot’s Bible” a bible for all people? How can all the peoples of the world find connection to the Holy Scriptures using your AMERICAN themed Bible? Will a curious Iraqi? How about a Native American? The fact of the matter is Thomas Nelson has turned the Holy Scriptures into AMERICA’S Scriptures with little connection to the “all nations” promise of the availability of God’s Story of Rescue found in Christ.
How would a Muslim feel if they walked into Family Christian Stores and the first Bible they see is “The American Patriots Bible?” They are curious about Jesus of Nazareth who said ALL YOU WHO ARE WEARY come to me, and then they see a Bible that screams: “This is for America.” Thomas Nelson has successfully fenced off the gospel from that Muslim because of an absolutely ill-conceived, money-making project.
My fiance is a marketing director for the bible division of a major competitor…so I’ve gotten a healthy glimpse into the world of Bibles. Admit it Michael: you all saw a multi-BILLION dollar market share in conservative evangelical PATRIOTIC Christians and decided you wanted a slice of the American Evangelical Christian Apple Pie. The very fact you used the BUZZWORD “Patriot” tips your hand. So you took time to package together a PRODUCT that would sell 100,000 units, maybe 200,000. All because you knew a market share would lap up your carefully crafted, consumer-centric product.
One word: disgusting.
I for one will never buy a Thomas Nelson product again in my life.
Anyone want to join in?
-jeremy



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dopderbeck

posted June 3, 2009 at 2:36 pm


BTW, is there a chapter in the “Patriot’s Bible” on how the Bible influenced the founders’ views on African slavery? I have a book on my “to read” pile here, John Patrick Daly, “When Slavery Was Called Freedom: Evangelicalism, Proslavery, and the Causes of the Civil War.” It shows how some evangelicals specifically used the Bible to justify the institution of African slavery.
Before anyone gets bent out of shape, no not all the founders were pro-slavery, and yes, the Bible properly understood does not support slavery as an ongoing institution. But if you want to talk seriously about how the Bible influenced the early American polis, it is simply dishonest to brush over the nasty bits, and this is clearly one of them.



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BenB

posted June 3, 2009 at 2:49 pm


Jeremy,
I feel that such a critique is a little vitriolic and quite presumptuous. You may be correct, but I don’t find such a statement fitting with the typical way we discuss things here at Jesus Creed.
Please give our brother Mr. Hyatt, and all of the others at Thomas Nelson a little bit more respect and faith than that. Please.



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jeremy bouma

posted June 3, 2009 at 3:57 pm


BenB
I’ve been around the community Jesus Creed since it’s inception on blogspot. I know how things go around here, tenor and discourse and all. And while my little comment was certainly critical, I don’t feel it was “bitter criticism.” Nor do I feel it was presumptuous because I’ve also been around the inside of American Evangelicalism to know a thing or two of how this animal roams.
Unfortunately, our bother Hyatt is caught in the web of a multi-billion dollar industry, the realities of making money in a faltering economy, the consumer-driven nature of the Evangelical sub-culture, and now apparently the hyper-patriotic wing of said sub-culture.
As plenty of JesusCreeders have pointed out, Richard Lee’s retort to Greb Boyd’s review was nonsensical at best and deliberately evasive at worst. Michael Hyatt has yet to formulate a substantive response to Scot’s and the rest of our “irritation,” let alone Boyd’s.
So while my comment might have been a bit hyperbolic in tone (perhaps…), the substance of the comment (echoed by a whole heck of a lot of peeps!) is left unanswered by him and Thomas Nelson. Personally I don’t think “respect and faith” is what’s needed. Honesty and accounting is the issue.
-jeremy



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Guillaume Smit

posted June 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm


It is exactly because Afrikaner theologians and politicians in the early years of the previous century tried to integrate Afrikaner nationalism and theology that South Africa was put through 40 years of apartheid.
The abuse of the Bible to promote some nation’s patriotic ideals is absolutely abhorrent.



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Bill S.

posted June 3, 2009 at 8:56 pm


As much as I am turned off by what I know thus far about the Patriot Bible, and as much as I am not persuaded by the defenses of it which I have heard, I think we are moving into some dangerous territory when we start to speculate on the motives of the editor and publisher. I just don’t think it gets us anywhere, and it is probably more likely to create a stand-off with neither side willing to budge.
Again, most of what I know about this Bible so far has me quite disturbed, but I’m willing to give Rev. Lee and Thomas Nelson the benefit of the doubt that their efforts here were well intentioned.



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John W Frye

posted June 3, 2009 at 9:47 pm


Bill S (#43),
What would you think are the motives for publishing a product called THE AMERICAN PATRIOTS BIBLE? To spread the Word of God? Couldn’t that be done without American nationalism notes? A publisher publishes to make money. You concede that the motives of Thomas Nelson et al are well-intentioned. Well-intentioned to do what?



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MatthewS

posted June 3, 2009 at 11:00 pm


You haven’t either, this country hasn’t been in any real danger since at least WWII, all of the “wars” since then have been mere adventurism. Not one of them has come close to meeting the classical criteria for a just war.
If we were all sitting at coffee and someone said this to a Vet returned from war, it would tend to be a conversation-stopper for me. One may not agree with the wars in progress but there are many soldiers who are fighting for freedom in good faith. Some of them lose limbs. Many (all?) of them lose friends. Some of them lose their own life. Many suffer from PTSD and struggle to make a new life upon returning home. They put their lives on the line and they deserve respect for it. Perhaps Larry is just trying to provoke a response. Either way, I would not idly let this comment go in conversation.
Nevertheless, I don’t like the Patriot’s Bible nor the group-think by which people will accept or reject others as persons deserving of respect based on the litmus test of their response to this Bible.
BTW, I thought it was a fair question to ask if this Bible is substantially worse than the Green Bible, clearly another politically involved “product.” Surely the endorsement by the Sierra Club won’t hurt its sales. I found that Scot linked here http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/february/19.28.html earlier this year, to a negative review of said product.



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Bill S.

posted June 3, 2009 at 11:40 pm


Hi John (#44),
I think it’s very possible that Rev. Lee and Thomas Nelson are motivated by spreading the Word of God. I am further inclined to believe that they care about their country and think that this is a tool that will help bring our nation closer to God.
To be clear, I’m definitely leaning towards the camp that has big problems with their approach (the only reason I say “leaning” is because I haven’t reviewed this Bible firsthand). But I’m not questioning the “purity” of their intentions. For all I know their intentions might be less than 100% “pure”, but I would need to hear much more than just the existence of a profit motive before I’m willing to go down that path.
As I said in my previous post, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt right now (as I would hope someone would do for me if I was in such a situation). Maybe others have a much more solid case against them, but I haven’t yet heard anything to thoroughly convince me that they are just out for themselves.
God bless,
Bill



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Mike M

posted June 4, 2009 at 2:38 am


Jim (#30): Yes, I have served as a Vietnam Era Vet. We were well on our way to Korea during the “Apple Tree” incident when it was called off. Peace to you, Brother. If the large corporations have convinced you that sacrifice for their profits is justifiable, more power to them. I can’t justify that, though. No more than I can justify the money changers in Jesus’ day.



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Dave

posted June 17, 2009 at 3:32 pm


Perhaps we should adopt Greg Boyd as our new savior, after all it would seem most people prefer he speaks for them. I love the cut and paste crowd who simple link their blogs to Greg’s commentary, as though our guru of sane Christianity is wrapped up in his personna. All hail lord Greg.



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