Manipulating God's word, twisting it, misinterpreting and misapplying it, presenting a false gospel in the name of Jesus, have alarmingly become Mayor Pete's niche in this campaign – and it deserves universal censure and rebuke.
I'm fine with the fact that I disagree with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on virtually every political issue. We can debate those.
Even though as a Hoosier myself, I am more intimately aware of the mismanaged manure pile his administration has produced, I know that can be endured and fixed.
I am annoyed by his politically-motivated doublespeak regarding Vice President Mike Pence – claiming a positive working relationship with the "nice" Vice President, before sharpening his tongue to stab him as a "fanatical" homophobe when it was expedient. But I can tolerate that as standard political backstabbing.
Where I personally draw the line with Mayor Pete, however, is his persistent, naked attempts to hijack the Holy Spirit-inspired Scriptures for his own personal gain.
Manipulating God's word, twisting it, misinterpreting and misapplying it, presenting a false gospel in the name of Jesus, have alarmingly become Buttigieg's niche in this campaign. And it deserves universal censure and rebuke. If not from Americans at large, at least from Christians.
As a Christ-follower, my people are His people. My primary citizenship is in His kingdom. My principal concern is the propagation of, and fidelity to, His truth. And since Mayor Buttigieg has chosen to make the central focus of his presidential campaign this effort to misrepresent the Word of God to a watching world, I'll happily go on record issuing a full-throated and unequivocal condemnation.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Buttigieg declared,
"There's simply no way that a literal understanding of Scripture can fit into the Bible that I find in my hands. Jesus speaks so often in hyperbole and parable, in mysterious code."
To anyone who takes Scripture seriously, this was a jarringly incoherent thought. Biblical scholars – including unbelieving ones – understand that far from any "mysterious code," Jesus of Nazareth employed the use of parables in His teachings to ensure the lessons would be within the grasp of even a child. Buttigieg's confusion on that point is either insincere for convenience sake or frighteningly revealing about his lack of exposure to the biblical text.
The Bible itself is a remarkably broad compilation of ancient texts that employ a wide range of genres. There are proscriptive texts as well as descriptive ones. There is poetry, personification, parable – and as any academic worth his salt will affirm, context doesn't reflexively prevent "literal understanding" of a text.
What this intellectually silly statement does do, however, is reveal precisely why Mayor Pete swings so wildly and misses so badly when he attempts to speak from a position of biblical authority: he doesn't understand or even appear to want to understand the Bible.
What he wants is what all human nature wants: to justify acting on his own urges and desires.
Mayor Pete wants to justify acting on his own same-sex desire and urge to be with another man romantically. So despite the objective condemnation of such relationships in Scripture, Buttigieg "contextually" erases such prohibition and declares,
"My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man. And yes…it has moved me closer to God."
Mayor Pete wants to justify his own politically-motivated support for abortion. So despite the objective Scriptural affirmation of the inviolability of life in the womb, Buttigieg cherry-picks the singular account of God animating the first human by breathing life into his lungs, and irresponsibly extrapolates outward to say,
"[T]here's [sic] so many parts of the Bible that associate the beginning of life with breath that there's plenty of scriptural basis to reach different conclusions about that."
Mayor Pete wants to justify his own goodness and promote himself a man of merited self-righteousness. So despite the objective teaching of Scripture that salvation is received through the unearned grace of God extended in Christ's redemptive blood alone, Buttigieg piously maintains,
"My faith teaches me that salvation has to do with how I make myself useful to those who have been excluded, marginalized, and cast aside and oppressed in society."
So let's not be kids. Pete Buttigieg, like any other human being, has the right to voice his thoughts and opinions. What he has no authority to do – indeed what none of us have the authority to do – is to bastardize the Word of God in some vain attempt to give our words more meaning and persuasion than they deserve.
The gospel of Pete is merely a progressive political agenda lightly marinated in the language of Scripture. A discerning mind will not confuse it with the soul-changing power of the gospel of Christ.
Peter Heck (email@example.com) is a speaker, author and teacher who hosts a weekly radio broadcast on WIBC (93.1 FM) in Indianapolis, Indiana. This column was first posted at Disrn.com.
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