It came out in the news today that yet another pastor is planning to burn a holy book. “Uh Oh,” you are probably thinking. “Who is getting ready to burn Korans for publicity?” But it isn’t the Koran Marc Grizzard of Amazing Grace Baptist Church of Canton, North Carolina plans to burn over a bonfire. It is the Bible. Why pray tell would Christians plan to burn Bibles? Because they want to burn “all those Satanic Bibles.” Wait, what Satanic Bibles? You know, all those Bibles printed that are not the King James Version.
Earlier in life, this would have gotten me going. While the King James Bible is a hallmark in the history of Bible, and still retains some of the most beautiful use of the English language, to think that that version is somehow spiritually superior to other translations shows a profound lack of understanding of translation of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. I cannot fathom anyone who has spent anytime in Biblical study taking this position (especially in the 21st century), and yet, apparently he and his church does. So much so that they not only believe the King Jams Version is the only real Bible but that all others are written by Satan and his minions.
So, what should be done? Should Christians show up en masse and voice our displeasure at the Reverend Grizzard and his church? I would say no for two reasons. First, all Grizzard will accomplish is burning paper (problematic for our atmosphere but I suspect that is not much of an issue to him). God’s Word is living and alive and not contained just in the pages of a book. As for God’s written Word, we’ve got copies of Bibles everywhere these days including on many of our cell phones. Beyond his symbolism, he will not stop anyone from reading any translation of the Bible that they wish. But, second, and most importantly, I don’t think Jesus would show up to protest in outrage but would show up in compassion and love. I hope that Christians in North Carolina do go to his church to reason with him and his church. It is not by rioting or by threat that we can change people’s hearts and perceptions. It is by reaching out to them as brothers and sisters.
Let us pray for the Reverend Grizzard and his church. And let’s continue to read the Bible through each each translation that we find edifying.
Until next time,