My last article here, about the injustice done to WNBA player Brittney Griner, resulted in a few angry responses. These were not responses to me personally, but to the friend who posted it on his social media. All of them, ironically, displayed the very biblical ignorance I suggested the average, Evangelical believer exhibits.
One man accused me of not caring that Griner was in flagrant violation of the Bible’s commandments concerning sexuality. His point was that since she’s a sinner in this area over here, then whatever comes her way in another area, over there, is justified. First, I do care about those commandments, and have a public track record of speaking up about them.
Aside from that, though, the point is that your sin in one area does not make it right for tyrants to apply unjust punishments to you for a made-up, unbiblical, so-called “crime.” If I snap at my wife because I’m hungry or tired, it doesn’t suddenly mean it would be good for a police officer to shoot me. The latter thing is still unjust, even if the former thing is a real sin (and it is).
If this was not so, then nothing done by any government anywhere would be unjust, since it would be doing it, in the final analysis, to a bunch of sinners, who have violated God’s commandments in many ways. This isn’t how that works in Scripture. In the law of Moses, which Christ constantly affirmed, the government only gets to punish the crimes that are revealed as criminal, and may punish them only as specified. It doesn’t get to make up crimes as it goes along. In Deuteronomy 17, this is described as turning neither to the right nor to the left.
Another critic hoped to educate me on a Greek word for sorcery that appears three times in the New Testament. It is “pharmakeia” and is where we get words like pharmacist. It has to do with drug use. It doesn’t, however, mean that every time you take drugs or medicine you’re involved in sorcery. Pharmakeia doesn’t outlaw all drugs. It outlaws taking substances in order to work magic, contact spirits, etc.
Marijuana has been used this way in certain non-Christian religions. This doesn’t define it, though. It’s not an evil plant because someone used it that way.
Ironically, this argument is made by people who get upset at the suggestion that guns are evil, because of how some bad guys use them. They want you to understand that not all gun owners are murderers. I agree. And not all pot smokers are doing witchcraft. No one, including her prosecutors, has suggested Griner was using pot to work magic.
Another voice suggested that governments are allowed to make whatever laws they want and Christians must obey them. I have written here several times about why that’s ridiculous, and have published a book length treatment on the topic. I won’t repeat that here. I will just say, thank the Lord that the simple folk of the American colonies didn’t think that way, or we’d all still be subjects of the British crown.
These critics end up making my point. Christians are basically ignorant about how to apply the Bible to real life.
Gordan Runyan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tucumcari. Contact him at: