A devotional thought from Christian George for “Understanding How God Speaks”
Misinterpreting Scripture has heartbreaking consequences. In 2011, the leaders of Westboro Church, a hate group that disguises itself as “Baptist,” saw an opportunity to put into practice the psalms that speak about God’s enemies. Believing America to be an enemy of God, Westboro often pickets the funerals of soldiers who died protecting their country. In this instance, they sought to picket the funeral of a nine-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green, who died when a gunman opened fire in Tucson, Arizona. With signs that read “God Sent the Shooter” and “God Hates America,” Westboro protesters traveled to Tucson, ready to put “God’s plan” into action.
Citing Scripture such as Ezekiel 7:8, “I will pour out My wrath on you very soon; I will exhaust My anger against you and judge you according to your ways. I will punish you for all your detestable practices,” Westboro sought to justify their actions.
To protect Christina-Taylor’s grieving family, the residents of Tucson constructed giant angel wings that would shield the funeral from the sight of the angry Westboro protesters. The threat of this barrier proved enough to ward off the church from this event.
You and I also need barriers that shield us from the dangers of misguided interpretations of Scripture. Hermeneutics provides us with that barrier, and through a careful handling of the Bible, through an in-depth study of context, purpose, and genre, we are able to shield one another from the consequences of twisting Scripture to serve our own purposes.
Pause and Reflect
• The First London Baptist Confession of Faith (1646) says that God is “most holy, every way infinite, in greatness, wisdom, power, love, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; who giveth being, moving, and preservation to all creatures.” Think about each of these attributes in the context of Exodus 3:14; Romans 11:36; and 1 Corinthians 8:6.