Thursday, August 06, 2009

Deface the Bible... for art!

I find Scotland ineffably sad.

My dear wife and I spent nearly two absolutely delightful weeks there, loving virtually every moment of it. In that time, I met two, maybe three Christian believers, apart from a Baptist church in whose worship we gladly joined. Apart from that, there were no signs of spiritual life whatever.

There were however many pleasant and friendly drunks walking about, and many signs of overwhelming government dependence and socialism.

The proud, independent land of the fiery faith of John Knox had — as far as we saw — forfeited both. Knox himself now lies buried under a parking-lot.

And now?

Now the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow has an exhibit of a Bible, with several pens and a note that reads "If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it."

Many theophobes have written obscenities, heavily featuring (of course) embracers of the day's favorite perversions. The exhibit "includes a woman ripping pages from a Bible and stuffing them into her underwear."

No word whether liars, rapists, drunkards, murderers, thieves, abortionists and adulterers are also penning their deep and reflective thoughts.

Some Christians are blaming — surprise! — Christians for this disgrace.

Me, I more lean towards explanations such as Psalm 14:1, Psalm 14:3, Psalm 74:22, Proverbs 1:22, Proverbs 15:12, John 3:19-20, and Ephesians 4:18-19.

No doubt the museum and the pen-wielders think themselves very bold and brave. After all, they run the risk of Christians... well, expressing disapproval.

Me? I say if they want to be really brave...

...let them try this with a Koran.


Mike Riccardi said...


I like that.

The Christians who blame Christians for these things seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding about what makes God / the Gospel offensive and repulsive and what makes God and His Gospel appealing and acceptable. It's an anthropological issue. It would seem those Christians have yet to grasp how depraved, wicked, darkened, and dead humanity is without the gracious regeneration and 'shining Light' (2Cor 4:4-6) of the Holy Spirit.

And my word verification is "whines." Gotta love that.

Anonymous said...

But it is understandable that people who feel excluded would react to that exclusion. However, it is not the Bible that has marginalised people. Sadly, it is a failure of the wider Christian church to adequately live and demonstrate the message of God's reconciliation which is the issue.

So said Eddie Arthur, Executive Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, a man who apparently has no understanding of sin.

My word verification is "incode." Should I be worried the Obama Administration is reading this?

Jon said...

I'm going with yesterday's theme and blaming the heresy/bad theology of dispensationalism for this downfall.


DJP said...


Yes, it's Theme Week at BibChr.

Michelle said...

I find it interesting that the "exhibit" was originally proposed by an East London "church" which follows female "pastors" and calls itself a Christ-centred church of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities inviting all people to share in an adventure of spirituality and faith.

I find it ironic that in this case the Bible defacers have a clearer understanding of what God says about their perversion and are more honest in their rejection thereof, however debased.

Andrew Faris said...

That Koran comment is brilliantly poignant.

All I can think after reading this is, "Why do so many idiots think they're smart?"

Rom. 3, that's why.


Mike Westfall said...

...ans when you're writing your way back into the Bible, don't be a Theophobe. (/Bill O'Reilly)

Mike Westfall said...

> Same-sex love, such as that
> between Ruth and Naomi, existed,
> but has been written out over time.

Written out? It's still there in my Bible. Or, is somebody confusing same-sex love with same-sex sex?

Angus said...

I studied history at Strathclyde in Glasgow (before moving to the States a few years ago), and one of my profs was Callum Brown, possibly the best current historian of Religion in Modern Scotland. One of his most recent books is "The Death of Christian Britain". It's a depressing read, but sadly our Church here in the States we go door to door at least once a week, and while many find it hard going, you should try it in Scotland today! It's 10 times worse. I love Scotland, and am proud of my heritage, but though 'Bible Loving Scotland' was never quite the truth, it is far further from it now than it has been for a long time. There are still some bright jewels (Ferguson, Begg - though many of them make their way over here!), but the state of Christ's Church in Scotland is certainly something for mourning...

Aaron said...

when did you go to Scotland?

My wife and I went for about two weeks about five years ago. I can't wait to go back. I'd love to do missionary work there. Scotland was stunningly beautiful and had an amazing history, especially with respect to the church's influence over politics (John Knox included). The old churches there are absolutely amazing in their architecture, especially in the hand carved stone works.

My church supports missionaries in Britain and we receive regular reports about the darkness there. Scotland is much worse.

Frankly, I'd rather go door to door in Scotland. In America, you go door to door and everyone says they are a Christian even though they clearly are not. It's far easier to discuss the gospel with somebody who hasn't been deceived into thinking they are a Christian.

Aaron said...

Are there any gay people in the Bible? Out of the tens of thousands of people who appear in the Old and New Testaments, there must have been.

Yeah, there were many homosexuals in the Bible. You have those who died in the flood. You had those who died in Sodom. You had those whom Paul told to repent in various Greek cities...

DJP said...

Yes, it was also about 5 years ago for us, and it was stunning and haunting. We'd love to go back. We'd love to go back and stay.

Aaron said...

Are you interested in Pastoring there? The missionaries my church helps to support in the UK are probably going to be forced to leave (visa expiration). They are trying to raise up leaders within the local body, but perhaps there is opportunity for you there (in Britain) or elsewhere in Scotland, maybe? I could inquire if you like.

Aaron said...

We should plan a trip in five years or so. Maybe we can make it a Dan Phillips Bible Tour of Scotland or something. you know like Medved does with Israel? It would be a fascinating look at Reformation history.

Jay said...

Great point about the Koran. Societies who follow that book actually do execute homosexuals, fornicators, and religious nonconformists in the village square. How is Christianity seen as intolerant compared to that?

Barbara said...

Let them try this with the Koran.

No kidding.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Sir Aaron: "Yeah, there were many homosexuals in the Bible. You have those who died in the flood. You had those who died in Sodom. You had those whom Paul told to repent in various Greek cities..."

Dat was even better than DJP's Koran remark!

Good one, Sir Aaron!

Gilbert said...

If you think Britain or Scotland are bad, try Germany. I've been to Frankfurt, Erfurt, Nurnberg,and others...and let me tell you, the architecture is fantastic, the spiritual condition is horrific. You pay a "church tax" over there, even though few attend; it's the government's "social agency", and they run the churches in most ways.

The "Free" churches are better,
because they don't get any government funding; donations to the church are voluntary (imagine that!). Still, just by walking through Erfurt, I got the chills.

steve s said...

@ sir aaron.
As an Englishman,may I tug my forelock and tell you how grateful I am, oh, yes siree, for your church sending missionaries in our direction. It's so dark here, and, of course, we have no true American Christianity. ;-)
Is your two weeks in Scotland the sum total of your experience here?
I have considerably more time spent in your fair country, all over, and (should I really need to tell you this?) it's every bit as dark but less....self aware.

Aaron said...

Steve S:

What I said is: "My church supports missionaries in Britain and we receive regular reports about the darkness there."

So no, I didn't base my perception on any of my visits to the United Kingdom.

I'm not sure why you are so antagonistic. I think I expressed great affection for the UK and Scotland in particular, but lamented to see the quite obvious departure from it's Biblical foundation. As with respect to America, to our great shame we desire to emulate the UK and are moving as rapidly as we can into the same pit.

steve s said...

Antagonistic? I had intended playful, informative with, I confess, a hint of sarcastic.
Your church would need to sponsor a thousand John Pipers (or whoever you consider to be best) in order to undo the damage done daily by TBN and it's type. If you really want to help the Church in the UK, spend your hard earned dollars seeing what you can do to close down your 'christian' pyramid salesmen.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Greetings from Scotland!

Aye, someone from Scotland does read your blog occasionally. (And enjoys it!)

Yes, it is dark here. There are also a lot of faithful pastors. But the ground is hard.

Keep praying for us.

DJP said...

So glad you visit, Young Mr.

My own sadness over Scotland is far from condescending or blind to our own apostasy. It's a wistful sadness. Scotland has such a legacy, but that has been so crushed.

In fact, readers of my blog would LOVE the J. Gresham Machen quotation over at your blog, to wit:

"Everywhere there rises before our eyes the spectre of a society where security, if it is attained at all, will be attained at the expense of freedom, where the security that is attained will be the security of fed beasts in a stable, and where all the high aspirations of humanity will have been crushed by an all-powerful state."


Aaron said...

Steve:'s not a contest on which country is more hard-hearted and opposed to God. Nobody would like to see an end to TBN more than I (or rather a change to solid Biblical doctrine). Nobody would love to see the Joel Osteens of America repent and start preaching the true Gospel.

And I didn't pick which missionaries the church supports. They were already supporting missionaries to Russia, UK, and some small tribes in Venezuela when I started attending. In addition, we help a crisis pregnancy center locally. I personally support "missionaries" on college campuses in America. So it's not as if I'm ambivalent to the blight in my own country and I do spend my hard earned dollars here. But that doesn't somehow invalidate the observations of people who take the gospel to the UK. And the only reason why I even care about what goes on in the UK, especially in Scotland, is because of my great affection for the land of my ancestors (both physical and Biblical).

steve s said...

Of course, you're absolutely right. It's not a competition.
I'd have to say though, living here, the biggest problem isn't so much the darkness as the artificial light.
We've actually got a pretty good handle on the Gospel over here and some decent 'leadership' in the 'local body' that doesn't need 'raising up'. What I'm asking is, send your missionaries someplace that needs them, and stop sending us your pretend christianity.

steve s said...


Aaron said...

Well, If I were responsible for the latter part, I would stop it. But since TBN and the like aren't supported by members of my church, I have little I can do but speak out against it.

At least in Scotland, I can share a good Scotch with the believers there. I wouldn't dare try that here.