The Bible is NOT a Weapon
In an age where theological differences are aired out in the public square (even more so than when Luther nail his book report to a door) what happens when the words we use do not match with the one we claim to be defending? And where did we get the idea that God needs our defense?
In a nation where guns are the new golden calf, some Christians are going so far as to to proclaim that the Word of God, the written Bible, is the most powerful weapon one can use not only when combating the threat of an active shooter but also when engaging the world around them.
I'm not talking about throwing Bibles as weapons, I am referring to the weaponization the Holy Word of God to do battle against your enemy. This is not in a spiritual warfare scenario but rather to battle back against secularization in an attempt to reclaim the Church's position of authority and power in the United States. To maintain the status quo for churches who thrive on a combination of nationalism, patriotism, and bad praise music.
The problem though is that words matter. And when we talk about the Word of God we are not just talking about words on a piece of paper. We are talking about much more.
To begin we need definitions
Word of God:
"The nature of God is revealed to us through the Threefold Word of God, which includes: the personal word of God, the written word of God, and the proclaimed word of God. These three forms for the word of God are ways in which we come to know God. These are the ways in which God is revealed to us through God’s own initiative. At the center of the word of God, Christ is the Word made flesh. He is Emmanuel.
In order to come to know the personal word of God one must come to believe in God, as well as the credibility of Jesus of Nazareth. The primary way of learning and understanding the personal word of God is through encountering the teachings of, sharing a meal with, or by responding to an encounter with Christ. Jesus Christ, the personal word of God, is the centerpoint of Christianity. The written word of God and the proclaimed word of God both point to the Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ." - Teer Hardy
Definition of Weapon:
1: something (such as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy
2: a means of contending against another
This is where the trouble begins.
At the center of the Word of God (the Bible) is Jesus Christ, the Word Made flesh.
As we will talk about at the Crackers and Grape Juice Annual Conference pre-party this year, words matter. Words matter even more when we dive deeper in to what we are talking about when we talk about God.
Scripture will become a weapon this summer as the UMC continues its conversations about human sexuality, in anticipation of the called 2019 General Conference (or International UMC Sex Conference as some are calling it). The Word of God will be thrown like hand grenades, with intentionality, towards those who stand in opposition to the WCA. But that is a blog post for another day.
I get that it is easy for fear of the unknown to take ahold of one's being. I truly do. And I understand that for many people they have not fully worked through the ramifications of what it means to say that the Bible (in the shape of a gun) is the most powerful weapon in the world. After all there are pastors and theologians who for better or worse say things like "you will have to take my gun from my cold, dead hand."
For the Word Made Flesh to be weaponized means that the church, Christ's body on earth, is attempting to weaponize the One who walked into Jerusalem on a colt and led a peaceful resistance to the religious powers of first century Israel.
For the Word Made Flesh to be weaponized means we are attempting the realign Christ with those who not only had him crucified but also with those who maintain power today through threats of violence and marginalization.
On the other side of the equation, weapons, were designed by definition to do harm to another living thing.
Weapons by their very definition are used to destroy that which they are used against. When confronted with an adversary Jesus did not destroy instead he showed mercy and grace.
Words matter because while on one side of our mouths we proclaim that Christ came to over come the power of sin and death, then on the other side when we say that the Word of God can and should be used to cause harm to others (and that's what weapons were designed to do by definition). We contradict everything we learned about Christ through his ministry, death, and resurrection when we try to weaponize the Word of God.