President Bush and the High Places

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Brian Mattson, of The Banty Rooster, has raised some interesting questions about my characterization of President Bush as a false teacher. In response to this, Mattson cites the biblical example of Asa.

“But back to the issue about President Bush. All I want to do is quote 1 Kings 15.14: “Although he did not remove the ‘high places'” – that is, places of abhorrent pagan worship – “Asa’s heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life.” Interesting how those two things can be said in the same sentence. If it could be said of Asa, it can be said of President Bush.”

So how would I respond to this “high places” argument? There are three important things to note.

First, assuming them to have been places of pagan worship, there is a difference between not removing the high places, and worshipping in the high places. There is a difference between President Bush getting rid of all syncretism in America (which I certainly don’t expect him to do) and President Bush advancing syncretism in America. He is actively engaged in doing the latter, and the fact that Asa provides an example of someone in the former situation is simply beside the point. Not only is Bush actively involved in doing the latter, but a number of evangelical Christians, who should know better, are defending him.

Second, not all the high places were places where false gods were worshipped. For example, Solomon received his great gift from Yahweh at the high place at Gibeon (1 Kings 3:5). So Solomon worshipped in one of the high places, but he was worshipping the true God there.

Third, when Solomon later began advancing false religions (as President Bush is doing), this is what Scripture says about him.

“And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant” (1 Kings 11:8-11).

In passing, Mattson asks why I am so nice to N.T. Wright and then turn around and call President Bush a “false teacher.” In fact, I have taken issue with Wright on more topics than I have with Bush, and have sought to be respectful of both of them. Bishop Wright is a godly Christian man who believes some goofy things, such as the ordination of women priests. But if he ever equates God the Father with Allah, I will say that he is a false teacher too. President Bush is a sincere Christian layman (not well-taught) who is saying that Allah and God the Father are the same God — let’s just call him Tashlan. My real problem is not with the president in this. It is with those evangelical Christian leaders who nod their heads in agreement with this kind of thing, who defend it. I said in my post that I like President Bush, and certainly was not employing the “serrated edge” on him. He is a false teacher, but that is simply an objective fact.

My use of the serrated edge can be seen in all this when I say that there are Christian leaders out there who are shilling for Allah. The triune God is deliberately being confused with Allah the idol, as a matter of public policy, and Christian men stand there with arms like wet ropes. Syncretism is rampant in evangelical circles, and the elders of Zion sit around scratching their beards. Modern evangelicals are a piece of work. On the down side, we are helping to advance false worship of a false god. On the bright side, we got Rolling Stone magazine to accept an ad for our new gender-tinkered version of the Bible. Our prophets have the backbone of a wet napkin. We attack the great doctrinal issues of the day with Occam’s sponge, blurring everything. Our grasp of central Christian truths looks like a watercolor that somebody left out in the rain. That is the serrated edge, and those who don’t like it need to learn to be more upset with overt idolatry than they currently are with colorful metaphors.

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