Lifeway Bible Study ‘The Psalms Don’t Fully Reflect the Ethic Taught By Jesus’

The money-grubbing publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, Lifeway, has released its quarterly Bible Study for Life, winter 2020-21 edition, and one lesson stands out as particularly excretable. Pitting scripture against scripture, it explains that “the Psalms don’t fully reflect the ethic taught By Jesus.”

Written by Janice Meier, the study on anger, based primarily on Psalms 35:1-3, reads:

Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help.
Also draw out the spear, and stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’

The lesson explains how David likely wrote this psalm as he was being pursued by Saul, and that it was an imprecatory prayer, whereby “many people are uncomfortable with these psalms because they seem diametrically opposed to Jesus command to love our enemies.”

In the “setting” portion of the lesson, Meier writes:

The imprecatory psalms are one category in the collection that deal with hurt and anger, and with the desire that God brings immediate retribution. Modern believers understand these psalms are pre-Christian since they don’t fully reflect the ethic taught by Jesus. However, the psalms teach us to bring all feelings and emotions to God as the means to rid ourselves of destructive anger and to find assurance of his presence and concern for us.

Later she explains:

[David] believed God cared for him, though he didn’t understand why God allowed his current predicament. Though Christians have another and higher ethic and are taught to love our enemies, unlike the emotion expressed in this verse, we can learn from this writer who spoke his frustration first to God.

The Lifeway lesson gives the suspect theological advice that “Venting our anger by bringing it to God is appropriate. It is one way we can find release from the grip of anger. We can go to our place or prayer and express whatever we feel to God without believing we will offend him since he’s big enough not to be offended by our brashness.” and then concludes by saying that “the concept of eternal judgment was evolving in the Old Testament” and that while David had the wrong idea about eternity, “Modern believers have the assurance that God will ‘sort things out’ in eternity when all men and women stand before him.”

Here’s the thing though. Jesus wrote the Old Testament and the New Testament, being the ultimate author of scripture, and so and pitting the word of God against each other is profoundly unbiblical.

Imprecatory prayers are not a lesser or less-evolved ethic relegated to the Old Testament, but rather are part of a well-rounded biblical ethic that is internally consistent and can be found perfectly at home in the New Testament.

In fact, the imprecatory genre in the scripture is not contained wholly within the Old Testament but also the New. We see this where a curse is placed, such as Jesus saying “Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites, you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, neither go in yourself nor let anyone else go in.

We see this in 1 Cor. 16:22, “if any man doesn’t love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be cut off, let him be accursed.” Same with Galatians 1:8 and 9, very similarly, “if anyone were to come and preach to you a different gospel let him be accursed.”

Saying Jesus’ words don’t reflect the ethic taught by Jesus? Yet another reason why LifeWay needs to go up in flames.

Editor’s Note. We’re on record as having our own imprecatory prayer against Lifeway, writing in this post, and others:

Far from being concerned about equipping Southern Baptists with an exquisite selection of the best books that Christendom has to offer, Lifeway’s primary driving factor is the pursuit of the almighty dollar, routinely taking little sidequests along the highways and byways of the Baptist experience, on a mission to attain some of that sweet, sweet filthy lucre.

How else can you explain their propensity to stock every sort of soft-covered spiritual strychnine they can put on their shelves in any space not currently occupied by a Beth Moore bible study?

We ask that metaphorically, of course, as the Lord was merciful to his children when he took out Lifeway’s physical locations and then cursed them with a 25% drop in online sales. Consequently, we’re thankful for every hardship they endure, every calamity they suffer through, and every misery they abide. Harsh? Hardly. How else should we feel about the largest retailer of heresy in the world?

We have one prayer for Lifeway: that they utterly and completely implode into a smoldering crater for all the gangrenous blasphemy they’ve been peddling for decades. Our feelings run to the point where if the Lord tarries a thousand years, old Southern Baptist men and women will look back with solemn eyes, wistful words, and speak with deep regret and shame that they ever allowed the theological abortion known as Lifeway to be even passingly associated with their denomination.

Alternately, we pray that Lifeway steps back from the black mass they’re currently engulfed in, rend their proverbial garments, and repent for the great sins they’ve engaged in by giving Southern Baptists the knife to slit their own throats on account of all the poisonous content they’ve been providing over the years.

Until then, let it burn.


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