It concerns me very much that I repeatedly run into people who assume their views are ‘Christian’ because they can find verses to support them in the Bible.
On subjects like the discipline of children, capital punishment for criminals, ostracism of adulterers and homosexuals, for instance, these people have developed a punitive and bloodthirsty religion based on the Old Testament, which they call ‘Christianity’ as if it had come from the lips of Jesus himself.
What came from Jesus’s lips, of course, was something very different. On bringing up children, for instance, he said: “Suffer little children to come unto me … for of such is the Kingdom of God.” On crime and punishment “I say unto you, that you resist not evil, but to him that taketh thy coat, give thy cloak also … Love your enemies … Pray for them that despitefully use you.” On sexual sins, his words to the offender in John 8 were: “Neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more.”
The Old Testament is, of course, the foundation on which Christ based his teachings. But that does not mean that the Old Testament is the same thing as Christianity—else we would all be in danger of ‘hell fire’ if we failed to eat Kosher food, or wore blended cotton and polyester in our clothing.
My particular concern is the attitude many so called ‘Christians’ (I call them the “Alberta Report” variety) have towards those in prison, which basically seems to be to try and make life as unpleasant for them as possible. Crowded living quarters, no funds for toiletries, take away their colour TV, cut down on their chance of parole, and so their opportunity to re-enter the community with guidance to keep out of trouble in the future … The list goes on.
Don’t pretend that Christ ever ordered this behaviour towards sinners… But He did have some very harsh words to say to the ‘religious right’ of his own day—the Scribes and the Pharisees.
Makes you think, doesn’t it!