CUT AND PASTE

CUT AND PASTE
By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

The third president of the United States, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and the “right’s activist” who wrote The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (the work responsible for securing and declaring religion a natural right,) was Thomas Jefferson.
Admiration for his zeal, zest, and intellect are well founded … yet realities about the mind that moved the ink should be understood.
As with all authors, his religious background and fundamental belief in God, should be studied and reflected on carefully before delving into his work.
Thomas Jefferson was a child of the “Enlightenment” period (an 18th century European movement that haled man’s intellect and reasoning as the supreme force for the interpretation and understanding of politics, philosophy, and all written works including God’s word.) Known also as the “Age of Reason” it produced extraordinary “thinkers” but not necessarily Biblical ones.
In light of this reality … consider the following book excerpt:
In February 1804, Jefferson went to work with a razor. He clipped his favorite passages out of His Bible and pasted them in double columns on forty-six octavo sheets. Jefferson included the teachings of Jesus but excluded the miracles. He deleted the virgin birth, the resurrection, and every supernatural event in between. In the words of historian Edwin Gaustad, ‘If a moral lesson was embedded in a miracle, the lesson survived in Jeffersonian scripture, but the miracle did not. Even when this took careful cutting with the scissors.” The story of the man with the withered hand is a classic example. In Jefferson’s Bible, Jesus still offers commentary on the Sabbath, but the man’s hand is left unhealed. When Jefferson got to John’s Gospel, Gausted notes, he “kept his blades busy.” Jefferson’s version of the Gospels ends with the stone in front of the tomb. Jesus died on the cross but never rose from the dead.
Hard to imagine, isn’t it … taking scissors to the sacred text of Scripture? But don’t we do the same thing? We wouldn’t dare use a razor, but we cut and paste nonetheless. We pick and choose our favorite verses while ignoring the texts we cannot comprehend or don’t particularly like. We rationalize the verses that are too radical. We scrub down the verses that are too supernatural. We put Scripture on the chopping block of human logic and end up with a neutered gospel. We commit intellectual idolatry, creating God in our own image. So instead of living a life that resembles the supernatural standard set in Scripture, we follow an abridged version of the Bible that looks an awful lot like us.
-Mark Batterson
The Grave Robber
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“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction of righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17