good news for evangelicals

Ironic, no? The "evangel" is a English transliteration of the greek word for "good news." Evangelicals have brought good news to the world, but like much religion, can't do it without bad news as well. Evangelicals often teach bad news because they confuse their distinctive high view of the Bible, as the revealed word of God, with Jesus, the most complete revelation of God. But here's the good news, evangelicals, you do not have to defend the atrocity-endorsing parts of the Bible.

I'm reading a manuscript now with an approach to Biblical theology called progressive revelation. It contends God couldn't force on the Israelites the ethics of Jesus because they couldn't handle the truth.

via GIPHY

The argument is then used to explain how much better the Israelite laws were than their contemporary societies, e.g. Yes, God did allow the Israeli soldiers to make wives of captured enemy virgins, but he forced them to recognize the women's humanity by allowing them to mourn for a month before forcing them to marry. No matter that this is rape. No matter that this violates other Mosaic laws forbidding Jew-Gentile marriages, something that made the prophet Ezra go overboard in response to such marriages. No matter that the great king David's genealogy never fails to mention his non-Jewish foremother Ruth. No matter that different contributing writers of the Bible have conflicting viewpoints of what God's will actually is on this topic. No, God let them forcibly marry non-Jews like contemporary terrorists ISIS in the middle east Levant and Boko Haram in Nigeria. It is horrific now and it was horrific 3000 years ago. Even if it weren't horrific to the men who lost daughters, or the men who captured the women, or the men who defend this depiction of God today, it was always and has always been horrific to the women who suffered under these men. Who was God to these women? Was it good news to them that God let them mourn a month before they were raped?

No.

The lawgivers got God wrong. We know this because we know what Jesus valued as the only law, love. Jesus said he would not break the law, not even the tiniest thing. Yet he overruled Moses, and broke Mosaic law. He could say this and act this way because only the laws of love for neighbor were God's laws. This is good news for evangelicals. Jesus is contrasted to the negative space of these Bronze age understandings of god.
Love, generosity, compassion, kindness, forgiveness are the ethics Jesus elevates. The parts of the Bible that disagree, even though claiming God's authority, are wrong. Simple. Go forth in love this advent, and please don't lend your political support to child molesters, woman gropers, kleptocrats, and poor-despising Ayn Randian policies in the name of Jesus and the Bible.

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