For decades now, evangelical Christians have argued that American culture has become more Godless over time. To be sure, the latter half of the twentieth century wreaked havoc on American society as more people came to accept relativism and multiculturalism as honorable “truths, ” and anyone who did not accept the new paradigm must be labeled an intolerant bigot. The United States Supreme Court ruled public prayer illegal in schoolhouses, and they said it is ok to murder unborn babies. Today, even in the most conservative states, same-sex marriage has become an accepted part of life. In short, there is a great lack of respect for authority in today’s America, respect for the Constitution, and most of all, for Scripture. (Most people who do not respect one usually do not respect the other. Just saying.)
We recieved this book in exchange for our honest review and opinion.
In their new book about the Bible as the ultimate mover and shaker of world history, Hobby Lobby founders Steve and Jackie Green seek to create better understanding about why the Bible still matters, and always will. They take a no-nonsense approach to the story of how the Scriptures came to shape history, including the American past. With great attention to detail, analysis, and context, the Greens provide readers with a concise, professional picture of why the Bible came to mean so much in history, and why it should matter to us now. The central argument of the book is that the Bible is more than a good book, it is the divine Word of God, and therefore a highly dangerous text. It is more than a text designed to tickle the ear, to make one feel happy or good about life, it is designed to threaten the power of sin in the world and in the hearts of individuals. The Greens remind us that Scripture does not promise a life of complete ease and comfort. It promises rejection, struggle, trials, as well as joy, hope, and peace to those who would place their faith and trust in Christ. History is full of stories about people who elected to follow Christ, only to be banished from communities, misunderstood among friends, and sometimes, killed. It is a dangerous book indeed.
The Greens show how the founding generation of the United States enjoyed a worldview shaped by the teachings of the Bible. They rightly point out that certain men, including Jefferson and Franklin, did not believe in the divinity of Christ. (It might also be noted that Jefferson never once tried to influence others to question Christ’s divinity in this way. He understood how powerfully many Americans believed in the death and resurrection of Jesus.) On the other hand, the book also reveals the extent to which American culture, until the very recent past, obeyed certain moral truths as defined in the Bible. The older America displayed moral instincts that have nearly vanished from the modern scene.
While the Greens do provide an intriguing and helpful account of the Bible’s story, I am less certain that enough Americans, even Christian Americans, take their faith and discipleship serious enough. Christ has become a commodity in a current society that is arguably shaped by consumerism as much as religion. Large businesses, including Hobby Lobby, make a handsome profit by selling Christian themed items. It’s not wrong to do this, but I wonder if the Word of God is receiving less respect than it deserves. Today, we have portraits of our favorite Scripture verses hanging on our walls, we tell others “Jesus is the reason for the season,” and we have Bibles on our coffee tables to show others how righteous we are. But do we really live by the conviction of our beliefs? Is the Bible still a dangerous, sin-threatening force in our life as individuals and as a country? Perhaps the Greens’ new Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. will help force us to answer that question more honestly and pointedly.
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