Monday, July 10, 2006
America and the Bible
Mark Noll writes in the Wall Street Journal a reflection about America's use of the Bible in times past.
The opening paragraph reads--In 1911 the English-speaking world paused to mark the 300th anniversary of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, with American political leaders foremost in the chorus of exaltation. To former president Theodore Roosevelt, this Bible translation was "the Magna Carta of the poor and the oppressed . . . the most democratic book in the world." Soon-to-be president Woodrow Wilson said much the same thing: "The Bible (with its individual value of the human soul) is undoubtedly the book that has made democracy and been the source of all progress."
As America has made room for greater diversity at the "table of ideas" it seems to me that some have wanted to remove the Bible from the discussion. I'm grateful to live in our day and I welcome robust discussion of ideas and beliefs. If someone wants to bring the teachings of another faith into the conversation then I will be the first to seek to listen. However, let's have a real conversation. If the Bible has been used as a "club" in your life in times past I sincerely regret that you suffered its misuse. Many of us have found it to be the fountain of truth from which to take a deep drink.
From the pages of the Bible I've discovered how to have closeness with God, how to love my wife, raise my children, sacrifice my life on behalf of others and conduct myself with honesty, mercy and generosity. It is a great treasure to my daily living.