As a Christian, I want to always share the good news - the Gospel of Jesus Christ - so I try to speak about the goodness of God every time I get a chance. Because no matter what mistakes we made in our lives, we know that Christ paid for the sins of those who trust Him. So I tend to try to share the good news with anyone – any sinner – who’s willing to listen.
But also as a Christian I have high expectations of those who speak from a pulpit – you don’t have to be perfect, but you need to understand Scripture. And you need to be passionate about Jesus and about people – showing the same love and compassion towards sinners that Jesus showed. So what I definitely don’t want to see is a “Church” in which they allow in their pulpit anyone who clearly has no understanding of the Word of God – someone like Mayor Pete who hates babies and is in favor of killing them if their moms don’t want them.
This past Sunday, Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg spoke at the First Baptist Church in James Island, South Carolina, and decided to quote the Bible to get his political message across. The problem is, while using the Bible, he clearly misunderstood the very verse he used. I’ll explain that in just a moment, but let me share with you what he actually said:
“My point in standing before you is not to claim that I understand more than I do, but rather to promise – as the Scripture says – not to lean on my own understanding too much, but to do a lot of listening along the way”. And he added “Not to say that I get it, but to promise to always surround myself with people who will let me know when I don't.”
Now, all of this sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Mayor Pete has this ability to sound so reasonable all the time. After all, there’s nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with people who will let you know what you don’t know. That makes perfect sense. Except he’s citing a Bible verse to appeal to Christians as if the Bible was the one directing Buttigieg to listen to other people when he doesn’t know - and this is where he's wrong. The problem is that that’s not what the Bible says. The Bible actually warns us about false prophets, for example, and to be careful about who we surround ourselves with. We obviously don’t want to listen to murderers, do we? Or sexual predators. What good thing could we possibly learn from them?
What Mayor Pete said comes from Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding”.
If Buttigieg knew anything about the Bible he’d know that a) it’s the inerrant Word of God and b) it must be interpreted by the Bible itself. As many Theologians would point out, “you have to interpret the Bible by the Bible”. This means you don’t just read one verse and interpret it any way you want, which is what Buttigieg mostly does, but rather you need to continue the reading of Scriptures and understand that particular verse by other verses in the Bible such that you will be consistent and correct in your interpretation.
But in this particular case, the verse is so clear that it doesn’t require reading any additional Bible verse to understand its meaning.
You see, what God asks from us in that verse is that a) we trust Him and b) we do not lean on our own understanding. That even when we see bad things happening, we need to trust God's plan.
As you can see, God is not telling us to go listen to other people to understand better, but rather to trust Him. That's the mandate. How do you trust Him? By listening to Him. And we listen to Him by reading all of the Bible and trust what He says – when you get to know God you know He’s the only one you can truly trust. He told Abraham that he would have a son and He would give his offspring a land “flowing with milk and honey”. And He did. I wonder if Mayor Pete knows that. God said that if we walk in all His statutes, He would cause everything we touch to prosper. I wonder if Mayor Pete knows that. God also said that He would never leave us nor forsake us. I wonder if Mayor Pete knows that. Jesus healed everybody who asked Him to heal them – He never denied healing to anyone who came to Him. I wonder if Mayor Pete knows that.
Mayor Pete is not supposed to go listen to other people, though that’s not a bad thing to do, but rather listen to GOD. Listening to God by the reading of Scriptures is the BEST way to lead your life. If Buttigieg did read the Bible regularly, he’d be a much better politician (and definitely would not be a Democrat). He would also do his best to stop sinning, knowing he isn't perfect and he will sin by his very nature, but will try to mitigate that sin. But because we know he’s leading a life that God calls “an abomination” (Bible verses against homosexuality include Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9 and many more), we can tell he doesn’t understand God at all. And how could he, when it's clear he doesn't understand this simple Bible verse?
For this reason, Mayor Pete should never be allowed to speak from a pulpit. No matter what the message is. He should attend service and try to understand who God is and who he is, as a sinner. And furthermore, he would know that there’s a way to Heaven that is inclusive but also unique and does not involve doing good deeds to try to convince God on judgement day that you weren’t all that bad while here on Earth. The Bible is clear, in Galatians 3:11 "the righteous shall live by Faith". We're saved by faith and by faith alone.
The sad part is that Mayor Pete and, likely, the leaders of the church where he “preached” do not understand the good news. You see, if it wasn’t for the bad news there wouldn’t be any good news. The bad news is that we’re all sinners. The good news is that God provided a way for us sinners to ensure eternal life. And that way is Jesus Christ exclusively. There is no other way. And when you understand the work of redemption that Jesus did 2,000 years ago – the fact that He was sinless, the fact that He was tortured by the Romans and crucified FOR OUR SINS, descended into Hell and was raised from the dead, then understanding what He did for you causes you to want to know everything about Jesus. Like when you follow an athlete or a singer, you want to know everything about them, right? Followers of Christ want to know everything about Him. And out of gratitude for what He did for us, we want to obey Him in all His commandments. But it all starts with understanding God.
Did Jesus die for everybody? No. He died only for those who trust Him, like John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”. "Whoever believes in Him" excludes those who don't. God tells us that Jesus died for the sins of those who trust Him. Those who don’t trust Him are going to end up in Hell. There is one condition for salvation and that’s that you trust Jesus. When you do, you get ALL the blessings God promises. ALL of them.
I pray that Mayor Pete one day sees the light and truly gives his life to Jesus.
1 Kings 2:3
“keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn .“
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