Coercing Compassion: Misusing Scripture and State Power

Don’t you just love it when people who have absolutely no known commitment to Christ and a ridiculously low familiarity with the content of the Bible start pontificating on what the Bible does and does not say, and what Jesus would and would not be in favor of in our day?

I’ve been irritated more than once by media figures (such as Bill O’Reilly, whom I typically enjoy watching) who say with no small amount of self-confidence that, for example, that Jesus would absolutely be opposed to the death penalty. Really? He would? The same man who alerted Pilate to the fact that his authority to execute Him was God-given, and then proceeded to submitted Himself to it?

Well, controversial filmmaker Michael Moore has displayed his ignorance (yet again) by appealing to the words of Jesus to justify state-regulated universal health care. What’s Moore’s proof for this? Jesus said that if you care for the poor, you are actually caring for Him.

Amazingly enough, no less than the renowned Biblical scholar Star Parker herself (of ABC’s The View) has given a stunningly accurate answer: Jesus never intended such action to be forced on people by the state. Such acts were to be voluntary and from a freely given heart of compassion.

I agree, they are not to be forced by the state through the confiscating of its citizen’s money and distributing it to others.

J.P. Moreland (who makes several good points about the issue) writes: “this is not the sort of compassion of which Jesus taught. Star Parker was right: To count as pleasing to God, an act of caring from [sic] the poor must be voluntary not coerced.”

What an anomaly of the universe: an accurate representation of Christ and Scripture on the air! Who would have thought it could happen?

He then adds, “Jesus was angered at moral teaching that emphasized outward conformity to rules without moral action flowing from a heart of compassion and virtue, even if such conformity produced good results.”

Scripture is a powerful and dangerous book. It’s sad and fearful that it gets used with such cavalier and pompous attempts to support people’s own agendas, political or personal. We need to be mighty careful with such important teachings as these. They are Almighty God’s own words, spoken in sovereign authority. We should revere them too much to misuse them.

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9 Responses to Coercing Compassion: Misusing Scripture and State Power

  1. Dave says:

    It appears as if you are being sarcastic about Star Parker by calling her “renowned Biblical scholar”. There’s no reason to believe that she isn’t or shouldn’t be Biblically knowledgeable about such things. It shouldn’t take a renowned Biblical scholar to have enough understanding of the Scripture to realise this.

  2. Scott W. Kay says:

    Dave,

    You are correct about my sarcasm and it not taking a Biblical scholar to make such obvious conclusions as Star made. That was part of the point of my sarcasm. I’m glad someone got it.

    Scott

  3. Dave says:

    It just gave me the impression that, other than with her one observation, you weren’t otherwise impressed with Star.

  4. Scott W. Kay says:

    Dave,

    That impression was unintended. I’m sure Star has plenty of of praiseworthy qualities. My aim was to imply that even someone who is not known for being Biblical scholar, but rather a celebrity, can nail the truth even when shooting from the hip like the co-hosts of the show have to do in that format. So, actually I mean my comments about Star as a humorous, but genuine compliment of her.

    Furthermore, the larger point is how too many people who are the ones CLAIMING to know what they are talking about, don’t.

    Scott

  5. Tom says:

    I’m glad you point out O’Reilly’s mistake…hopefully it will help you realize that most of his opinions are like that – ill-informed, poorly thought out, and more often than not, plain wrong. Then don’t forget that he sexually harasses women, and that he’s pretty much a total jerk, and you’ve got a lot of good reasons to avoid his show like the plague. IMHO, he’s an embarrassment to Conservatism.

  6. Dave says:

    Did you really just use Christ’s Passion as an example of rightly-administered, divinely-endorsed, state-administered capital punishment?

  7. Scott W. kay says:

    Dave,

    Honestly, do you really think that any Christian, such as myself, thinks that Christ’s execution was anything less than the most infinitely evil sin ever perpetuated by men and devils?

    At the same time, do you think that any Christian thinks that His execution was some kind of colossal accident unanticipated by God, and was not instead the sovereign design of God before the foundation of the world to accomplish man’s redemption? God brought this to pass.

    Without dispute, Pilate’s authority was abused, not rightly-administered. As such, the exercise of his power to put Jesus to death was, in his case, sinful (since Christ had committed no sin and was not worthy of that punishment), AND at the same time it was the fulfilling the sovereign plan of God. This is proof that God can and does use man’s sin to bring about greater good – an inscrutable truth about God.

    That said, there is a proper place for capital punishment. Romans 13 makes that quite clear. The authorities, are divinely-appointed, and they bear the “sword”, for nothing less than for the purpose of executing evil doers.

    My point in bringing up Christ’s Passion (which was not the larger point of the blog) was because guys like O’reilly miss the point in using Christ as an example of one who is against capital punishment. If capital punishment is itself so wrong, Jesus had an amazing opportunity to speak out against it in His own case, and yet He did the opposite. He affirmed Pilate’s authority, under God, to do so, but made things abundantly clear that He wasn’t guilty of any crime deserving of such a penalty.

    My point for mentioning that example is because I have found it a common one that people use to commit the larger error I was exposing in the blog: misusing Scripture to promote personal and political agendas.

  8. Dave says:

    I was just following the comments on this. This is the first commenting Dave, who didn’t leave the comment on the 16th – just for the record.

  9. Scott W. kay says:

    Dave #1,

    Yeah, I noticed that that last comment on the 16th was not from you. 🙂

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