Words of a Fether

Opinions on Faith and Life

Red-Letter Christians

I came across an article today by Jan Markell called “Red-Letter Christians: Neo-Marxism in the Church?”. Interesting timing, since the last few days I’ve read so much about the evil “Christian Right”. Now don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of evil in the “Christian Right”. But this hardly means there is less evil in the “Christian Left”. Related misconceptions include the idea that only the “right” is political, or only the “left” adds or removes things from scripture. Neither side has a right to point fingers at the other.

But these “red-letter Christians” want to throw out pretty much the entire Bible, except for the words of Jesus typically printed in red ink in many editions. Yet at the same time, they are the most likely group to dispute what He actually said! Many who espouse the fundamentals (oh, the irony!) of this view believe that much of what Jesus taught was derived from earlier ones, e.g. Hammurabi, or that His disciples embellished His actual words. They are quick to accept as fact the likes of the Gnostic “gospels” but dismiss out-of-hand the much more thoroughly studied Bible.

Anyone who disagrees with the “left” is labeled backward, “fundy”, uneducated, blind, or just plain stupid. The “right” dishes out labels too, but what’s important always must be the essentials of the gospel— the “good news” about Jesus. To take only His quoted words is to take them out of context, and to ignore His own statements about why He came and who He was is to be unfaithful to His teachings, regardless of one’s political leanings.

I’ve already written about Jesus’ purpose and claims for Himself, so I’ll just list some here. Please let me know if there’s a broken link.

Now if the “red letter” group can accept ALL the words of Jesus, even if they choose to ignore the eyewitness testimonies and the teachings of those inspired to write, they will have to choose between that and their views about the gospel, the Bible, and the Christian life. They should also consider the consistency of their view in light of the fact that Luke wrote both a Gospel and Acts, the latter of which tells us a lot about that “bad guy” named Paul. Any view can be painted as “Christian”, but only if we ignore its inconsistencies. Yes, the “right” has its issues to deal with too, but my point today is that we need to be impartial and consistent when deciding what the gospel is, what Christianity is, what truth is.

Let’s trade “left” and “right” for “straight and narrow”.

Posted 2009-10-07 under Salvation, Other, Christian, Bible Text, Jesus, salvation, Bible Text