ANGUISH OR PERSONAL AGENDAS
There are those who take issue with many biblical texts out of anguish and there are those who dismiss or sideline biblical texts because they have personal or church agendas in mind.
Why would we think it strange if sensitive and passionate people (men and women) take issue with OT (or NT) texts that give the males all the breaks while females are thrown away like used-up pieces of equipment or swapped like possessions the males are tired of? Why would we think it strange that anguished people are appalled at God ordering Joshua to kill even the babies in certain cities? [Especially in light of the fact that today when warring government apologize for killing non-combatant adults much less innocent children.] How can we be surprised that those who live, generation after generation, under oppressive and brutal governments rage when they hear that people should submit to those governments and their orders? [It’s easy enough to quote 1 Peter 2 and Romans 13 when you live in a democracy that permits you to protest and march in the streets. Try that in many parts of the world and see what happens. Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 have a different ring to them in a host of nations.] It doesn’t surprise me that women who have had the blood beaten out of them regularly for years by cruel husbands wonder at texts that (seem to) say they must remain in the marriage and not divorce these brutes. [Especially when many church leaders say they can’t become Christians unless they go back to the brutes; that is, if they had the temerity to divorce them in the first place.]
Anyone who can’t understand this anguish and protest needs his/her eyes opened to both life and scripture. And what’s more—these people who hotly protest under these circumstances force us to look at biblical texts and give them more than a surface reading. They do us a profound service when they force us to look at “the big picture” presented in Scripture and examine these specific texts in the light of the “big picture” and the God who gave it to us.
I’m absolutely certain that while God doesn’t approve of arrogance or insolence that is used to prove our faith is “authentic”—[you've heard the shallow nonsense, “If you don't scream insults at God the way Job did your faith isn’t authentic”]—I’m absolutely certain God would rather have a Job raging against Him for apparent injustice than a grovelling sycophant who crawls in his presence.
These anguished protesters we can applaud but those who though they’re at ease dismiss or sideline plain scripture because they’ve adopted a personal or congregational agenda and vision—they’re another story! In such cases there is no anguish, nothing that appals them or leaves them restless some nights; no, they have their personal agendas and whatever (or whoever or however many) gets in their way they’ll simply dismiss. What matters is their “vision” or “dream” (click here) or the success of their programmes and everything else goes to the wall—because they are the ones who have the power and call all the shots.