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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Southern Baptist Covention - God, Guts, & Guns

Check out this article from the Baptist Center for Ethics.

A snippet below...
The Air Force denied it was a sponsor of a Memorial Day weekend festival at Stone Mountain, Ga., honoring the military and featuring introduction of a new paperback Bible designed for military personnel published by the Southern Baptist Convention.

Holman Bible Outreach International, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources, announced plans to give away 3,000 copies of its new Holman CSB Military Bible, "designed to meet the specific needs of military personnel and was created a format that is easy to carry," at the May 26-28 event honoring active duty and veteran U.S. troops and their families.

Featured speakers at the three-day event, expected to draw 100,000 people, included former SBC President Bobby Welch, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and author of You, The Warrior Leader.

LifeWay said it was sponsoring the event with the United States Air Force, Task Force Patriot USA, General Motors and others. The advance press release described the Task Force Patriot Salute to the Troops as "an official U.S. Air Force 60th anniversary event." At least one military publication, from Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, called it an official Air Force event.

Let's forget (for a moment) about the church-state issues that surround this event.

What the heck is a CSB Military Bible?

From the article...

"For these perilous times, for the men and women who serve the cause of freedom around the world, Holman Bible Publishers is pleased to provide the entire Bible in a format that is easy to carry, and that is designed to meet the specific needs of those who serve in the most difficult of situations," said a product description on LifeWay's online store.

LifeWay has for some time carried the New Testament and Psalms customized with the particular seal of the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines and containing hymns including the "Star Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful," "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Onward Christian Soldier."

Other special features in all editions, according to one on-line vendor, include the Pledge of Allegiance, plan of salvation, prayers of General George S. Patton and President George Washington and quotes from current Commander in Chief President George W. Bush.

Talk about some God and Country! The publisher of the Southern Baptist Covention is selling a Bible that contains quotes from George W. Bush! What to say?

I thought I'd heard it all. Seriously. Wow. Folks, this is Civil Religion at its finest. This is just one of many examples that prove that the misguided focus of the SBC on the notion of a Christian America has resulted in an insiduous form of civil religion. Civil Religion is simply the mixing of traditional religion with national life until the two become indistinguishable. That's precisely what we have here - the Holy Bible combined with a heavy dose of American Nationalism. For what purpose? To serve whose militaristic desires? As one wise Baptist said years ago - "This idolatrous religion depends upon patriotic fervor to be its Holy Spirit and Adam Smith its prophet...When the largest Baptist body in the nation, historic champions of religious freedom, officially and blatantly turns to accommodation rather than separation, and CIVIL RELIGION rather than prophetic witness, it is ALARMING."

UPDATE:

For more on the SBC's own military B-I-B-L-E

Levellers - Idolatrous Nationalism From SBC Publishing House

For God's Sake Shut Up! - Militaristic Christianity

Also, take a minute and contact Lifeway with your displeasure. I am.

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12 Comments:

Blogger Streak said...

I like the quotes from GWB. I wonder which ones they choose. Maybe "mission accomplished," or perhaps the "bring it on" challenge to our enemies.

1:25 PM

 
Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Alarming doesn't begin to touch this.

5:53 PM

 
Blogger Kaylor said...

Wow! That is a crazy picture. Where's it from?

And good words about this problem.

6:13 PM

 
Blogger Nathan said...

Wow. Just wow. I just finished up a Christ and Culture class with Beth Newman at BTSR... we touched on this some, but between that and our church's Memorial Day Service, I definitely need to read up more on this.

BTW, thank you for the shoutout in your journal article.

Hope all is well.

7:06 PM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

"Alarming" is being nice.

A disclaimer of sorts to my Southern Baptist readers: the picture came from a simple Google image search for "Jesus" and "America." Though, if the military Bible had a few pages of glossy pics - this one would fit rather nicely I do think.

Nathan, thanks for stopping by.

And Michael, thanks for the links to the global baptist bloggers.

7:30 PM

 
Blogger Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Having just watched most of Patton Sunday evening I find it slightly amusing that his "prayers" would be included. Now there's an example of Christian faith!!!

9:00 PM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

That is an amazing picture. I have no words. Not nice ones, anyway.

9:06 PM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Bush quotes that are near-biblical:

We must all hear the universal call to like your neighbor just like you like to be liked yourself.

I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.

If you don't stand for anything, you don't stand for anything.


You see? It'd be hard to tell if those were Bible quotes or Bush quotes - these jots and tittles would fit nicely in this Bible.

6:01 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appreciated you stopping by BDBO.

In 1991 The American Bible Society provided 3 hundred thousand bibles for US troops in Iraq, camo cover, but no word on 'extras.'

Does Holman have a contract with the Defense Department or is this a private initiative?

Your post is excellent and it continues to haunt me.
Apart from the numerous theological difficulties - I've been wondering what a NATO serviceman or woman would think and feel if a US soldier gave them one of these Holman bibles?
Or an english speaking Iraqi Christian, or...anyone.


This is a gross misrespentation of Christianity.
Add to that the syncretism in an international theatre, undermining the universality of Christianity. This shames Jesus Christ.
This shames all of us.

Is there anything those of us not in the US can do to help?
Bene D

3:47 PM

 
Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Bene D, you don't have to be a U.S. American to email Lifeway and protest these "Bibles." Write as a Christian from another country. The email link is on Big Daddy Weave's post. Thanks for your concern.

4:10 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Michael, I'll be happy to contact Lifeway.
I'm also going to write the communications office of the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists.

BD

4:34 PM

 
Anonymous K Scott said...

Maybe when y'all are done bashing Holman you'd like to start on the Gideons. God forbid, but they actually often have the Star Spangled Banner and an American flag in their pocket NT's.

But hey, people in church's attack each other all the time so why not this series of lunacy. Maybe we can get Bibles for that--the liberal forces Bible or the Conservative forces Bible or whatever.

Folks, yall might just might want to spend a little mor time worrying about the various fatwah's issued around the world by the various and sundry unsaved as well as the leftists (in and out of the church) that are trying to get every form of immoral and deviant sexual behavior accepted in every church in this land as well as the cultrue in general.

In the mean time, as Tiny Tim said, "God bless us, everyone." We sure need it.

Grace and peace, truly.

3:45 PM

 

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