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This week I’m beginning an analysis of the evangelical wing of spirituality. Let’s examine one of its biggest representatives and spokespersons today: Pat Robertson. I have watched the 700 Club from time to time and I appreciate the intent to help and alleviate suffering that CBN and Robertson practice on a day to day basis. Pat Robertson operates Operation Blessing International, which has provided hunger relief, disaster relief, medical aid and community development to more than 192.8 million people in 96 countries and all 50 states, providing goods and services valued at more than $1.2 billion (Source: Wikipedia). God bless this man and his family for their love and kindness to humanity. However, I must take pause with Pat Robertson about his self-appointed elevation to being a spokesperson for God; in effect, becoming a modern day Paul.
I recently saw an interview with Pat Robertson where he said that homosexuals were “on their way to Hell; you’ve got to love them to rescue them.” How DARE he! As with many other preachers since the birth of Christianity they misinterpret the written word based upon their understanding of what it means. I have coined the term, Literary Authoritarianism for those who follow the written word alone, without deep introspection into the spirit of the law of God. Jesus said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9). Personally, I am a Read the Red guy. This is a term that applies to those who read what Jesus has said in red-letter editions of the Bible. I follow what was uttered from the mouth of Jesus after I have compared what he said paralleled in the four gospels. I also apply what idioms were used during the time of Jesus’ life. What is an idiom? An idiom is an expression whose meaning is not the literal meaning. For example, the saying “It’s in the bag.” Does it mean that something is literally in a bag? No; it means that something is definitely going to happen. All cultures have geographic and language specific idioms and one must know the meanings before one can embrace the message being imparted.
A good translator of the French language listens to the words and visualizes the thoughts, ideas and idioms that are being said and then translates those thoughts into the words of the translated language. They don’t translate the meaning word for word because it might not be the same thoughts. The books in the Bible were written down with geographic and language specific meanings; they were recopied and canonized by the Catholic church; their misinterpreted meanings have been the source of wars, pilgrimages and acts of atrocities all by people who misunderstood their real meanings. Is this what Jesus had intended? Hardly. He preached a message of love and forgiveness; not judgment. Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Pat Robertson obviously has missed this one. In fact, check out his off camera chatter here. In his quest to help he has forgotten that you do not enforce what YOU believe on someone else. For example, I do not believe in abortion unless the health of the child or mother is at risk. I am a man and I don’t have woman’s body. How can I choose for someone else? The same applies to homosexuality. For myself, I am a heterosexual. That is my choice. Homosexuality is not for me. But what right do I have to judge another for the choices that they make? None. I am responsible only for the choices I make in my life. I have no right to judge others or I will be judged myself. Jesus made this crystal clear.
Not once did Jesus mention homosexuality or abortion. In fact, he embraced those who were outcasts of their society or practiced alternative lifestyles. Those who were looked down upon by the mainstream population or status quo. Jesus stated in Matthew 25 that being saved is expressing universal compassion and those who don’t express compassion and judge others are not saved. Where does that put you Mr. Robertson? Click the above video to view his compassion. In following Christ Mother Theresa sought out to help others and not condemn them. Victor Frankl noted the deep compassion of the Jews in concentration camps and according to the Apostle Paul, because they didn’t confess Jesus as their savior, they were going to Hell. What? A converted Jew that would sentence his brothers and sisters to Hell! And what about Paul? Who was he anyway? Paul was originally known as Saul of Tarsus; a persecutor of Christians until his “conversion” to Christianity. Paul was astute in his knowledge of the law. But did he use his knowledge of the law to enlighten the followers of Jesus or lead them astray? Paul was a devout and mysterious character to say the least. His influence on Christianity is profound. In his writings he espouses many of his own beliefs and not necessarily what Jesus said. In fact, Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “Paul was…the first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus” (Works, 1829 edition, Vol. 4, p. 327). Who do we believe? Paul or Jesus? Pat Robertson or Jesus? Since I am a Read the Red guy I know who I am going to believe. More to come…
For more info: Download my free Wilmington Spirituality Examiner toolbar. “Life is a gift. Be thankful for it and it will be replete with abundance. Encourage others to express creativity, release negativity and embrace pro-activity." Dean A. Banks, MCIWD, DD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or banksnet.com. Download my free eBook on Articles 1-10 here.