A lot was made recently of a woman in Texas bastardizing the Word of God in spectacular fashion as she made her case for securing election integrity.
There's nothing quite like ripping a Bible verse out of context to support one's political agenda to get a bevy of online Twitter theologians worked into a lather. It's not that I don't think such a galling misapplication of Scripture needs correcting; it's more that I'm perplexed at the selective application of outrage and contempt over the offense.
Consider that just a few days after the Texas clip went viral, well-known Bible teacher Beth Moore decided it appropriate to use her own social media account to adulterate a teaching of Christ Jesus Himself.
Just a few months ago if someone asked me to pinpoint the most misinterpreted, misapplied, and misconstrued verse in all of Scripture, the answer was easy. The teaching of Jesus to "Judge not, or you too will be judged" has been a favorite go-to of those wanting to deflect any moral correction of their conduct.
As they see it, Jesus – the God-man who spent more of His time on earth warning of the dangers of Hell than any other figure in Scripture – taught mankind to avoid pesky subjects of right and wrong. Absurd.
But in the era of COVID, any fair observer is forced to acknowledge that the command of Christ to "love your neighbor as yourself" has become a convenient, catch-all condemnation used all too frequently against anyone who approaches pandemic precautions in a different manner.
Consider the assumptions Moore makes in this ill-advised tweet. She implies that "following Jesus" requires an individual unvaccinated against COVID to wear a mask in public places. What exactly does that mean?
- That a person who does not mask up is failing to follow Jesus?
- Does that mean it's sinful to go maskless?
- Does that mean one can't be "in Christ" and secure in salvation if they aren't donning the face diaper?
- Are there exceptions or is this a blanket truth?
- The unvaccinated person who has recovered from COVID – are they exempted from this expectation?
- What about those with medical conditions that prohibit mask wearing?
Does Ms. Moore believe we are "loving our neighbor" when we force young autistic children into restrictive masks in order to be allowed in public? With publicly released lab results showing the immense saturation of child face masks with harmful pathogens after just one school day of use, how does forced exposure to those toxins constitute an act of love towards those little ones Jesus cared so much about?
Further, are there varying degrees of loving our neighbor to which we are judged based on how long we are capable of keeping our mask over our face?
- For instance, do we love our neighbor more if we leave the mask on at our restaurant table and only remove it when actively taking a bite of food?
- And what about outdoors – can we be loving and remove the mask outside, but just be considered extra loving in Christ's eyes if we put it on?
- And who determines when it becomes loving to go maskless again?
- Are the expectations of Mark 12:31 tied directly to CDC recommendations so that we can know?
Just stop and contemplate the silliness of Moore's proposition. How is this not a prime example of mind-numbing, and Christ-dishonoring legalism?
What's remarkable is that in responding to the current debacle in Afghanistan, Moore again took to Twitter to call for less judgmentalism and more respect for nuance. Seriously.
Nuance is the reality of the world on issues like Afghanistan as well as COVID response. It's frustrating to see someone as influential as Ms. Moore embrace that truth when it shields her from criticism regarding the former, but ignore that truth when she wants to bludgeon others with criticism regarding the latter.
I understand that in the past Ms. Moore has claimed to have received "special revelations" from God. She assuredly has not. She has received what all mankind has received – the revealed Scriptures, perfect, inerrant, and infallible. When proclaiming what those Scriptures teach is "godly," believers should be dutifully committed to speaking only where it speaks, and identifying as our opinion where it doesn't.
I would implore Ms. Moore, as a successful Bible teacher whose work has impacted so very many, as one I personally believe has the best of intentions, to confess her drift into political idolatry that has become increasingly apparent to even casual observers of her ministry, and to embrace the spirit of Christ that manifests in grace – not spiritual judgment – towards those with whom we disagree.
P.S. While you're here you might as well take a brain break by enjoying our latest video about a spectacular parent fail: