Posted: May 01, 2018
Dear Family & Friends,
GQ magazine, in an article on “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read”, has placed the Bible 12th on that list. Calling it overrated, the article says, “The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced. It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned.” The writer then recommends instead Agota Kristof’s The Notebook, “a marvelous tale of two brothers who have to get along when things get rough.”
While I’m convinced the writer has never really read the Bible with an open mind, I’m absolutely certain he’s ignorant of the power of the truths set forth in Scripture, which have transformed infinitely more lives than the combined writing of all other books.
Most importantly, Jesus said the Scriptures point to Him and that it’s in Him that we find life! From the first book of the Bible to the last, we are directed to Jesus, called to believe in Him and what He has done to bring us into relationship with God, “that we might have life in Him.”
Secondly, the Bible teaches us what to believe and how to live; it is, for God’s people, our “rule of faith and practice.” We judge all other ideas, cultural beliefs (and even magazine articles) by the Scriptures.
More than my concern about an obscure article in GQ is my concern that a majority of people, even many people who say they believe the Bible, routinely choose to believe current cultural whims rather than the clearly stated truths of Scripture.
A few weeks ago, the Pope told a friend that he didn’t believe in hell. It’s not popular to believe there is a hell, even though Jesus clearly believed in it and warned us against it. (eg, Luke 12) Are you going to believe the Pope or Jesus?
The Bible tells us God made man in His image, “male and female He made them.” Are you going to believe the latest current trends that say there are dozens of genders, or the Word of God?
These are just two illustrations where pop culture contradicts Scripture. Countless other examples could be cited, be it about marriage, divorce, sin, the identity of Jesus, and on ad infinitum! But you get the point.
Mark Twain supposedly commented, “It’s not the things in the Bible that I don’t understand that bother me; it’s the things that I do understand.”
I think the GQ writer, and many people, reject the Bible because of the things they do understand, that conflict with their personal beliefs and desires. As for me, even if some things are hard to understand, if some things in the Bible make me uncomfortable, I’ll put my trust in the timeless truths found it its pages rather than in the ever-changing whims and fads of culture emanating from fallen, sinful man.
Grace to you,
Pastor Ron and Dee
P.S.: I’ve decided to put GQ at the top of the list of “Magazines you don’t have to read.” It’s overrated.
Update, Pastor Ron & Dee: We returned from Seattle a week ago Sunday. Following tests at the Virginia Mason Medical Center and visits with the oncologist, he concluded the tumor on the pancreas had not grown since the first images taken in December. That was encouraging. The images did confirm, however, that the cancer has spread to the lungs and the nodules there have grown mildly. He felt we needed to return to the second round of chemo, giving it more time, as it had been interrupted every other week due to a plummeting white blood cell count. The plan is to have chemotherapy every other week, giving the blood cells time to recover. I had the first one this past Wednesday, with tolerable side effects. Your prayers and words of encouragement have buoyed us in the Lord!