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…or, “AOC, Theologian?”

From Christianheadlines.com, “AOC Says Religious Liberty Advocates Are ‘Weaponizing Scripture’ to ‘Justify Bigotry’ against LGBTQ Community“:

In a House Oversight Committee hearing to discuss LGBTQ rights, Ocasio-Cortez called out those who use Scripture to take away rights from gay people. She also compared religious freedom advocates to white supremacists.

“It’s very difficult to sit here and listen to arguments in the long history of this country of using Scripture and weaponizing and abusing Scripture to justify bigotry,” she said. “White supremacists have done it. Those who justified slavery did it. Those who fought against integration did it, and we’re seeing it today.

The most foundational problem in the congresswoman’s analysis is buying into the whole framework of the LGBTQ movement, in which matters of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ are treated as fundamental identity characteristics on par with race and sex.  That is the great con in this whole business, which has taken in all too many people.  It is only through that ruse that activists are able to regard sensible people as bigots, to put advocating religious freedom in the same category as white supremacy, and to paint their sexual revolution as a civil rights movement.

But the most interesting problem in the congresswoman’s analysis is her understanding of religion, and particularly of the Bible.  For her, religion would seem to be interpreted through the lens of secular liberation ideology; good religion, true religion, is as tolerant and non-judgmental (of liberal agendas) as she is.  And the Scriptures are supposed to be a benign message of tolerance.  For AOC, maintaining the Bible’s view of LGBTQ+ ideology, and wanting to live consistently with it, is somehow an abuse of Scripture.

Most interestingly, the congresswoman derides the use of Scripture in promoting sexual morality as “weaponizing” Scripture.

What?  Weaponizing the sword of the Spirit?

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17, NIV).

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).

One cannot weaponize a sword.  A sword is already a weapon.  The Scriptures cut us to the heart, exposing all of our wickedness and sin.  The Bible is not a feather that strokes our self-esteem.  It is not a tolerant cushion that accepts and affirms us just as we are.  It is a sword that cuts through all lies and convicts us of sin–greed, pride, hatred, sexual immorality, all of it.  The Bible speaks of God’s holiness and our wickedness, it speaks of the wrath of God upon the ungodly, it tells us what is good for human flourishing, and it points us to the only means of forgiveness, wholeness, and life–Jesus Christ, our crucified and risen Savior.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

The problem in American Christianity is not that we are weaponizing the sword of the Spirit, but that we are neglecting it.  We take it out for our quiet time, and then put it back in its sheath, as though we could tackle our desperate social issues without it.  We blunt its edges, as though our soft words were wiser than God’s pointed conviction; it must be admitted that the Bible speaks more directly and severely of sin than many a Christian–and many a pastor–is willing to do.

Christianity calls for conviction.  God gave us a sword, and He expects us to wield it.  The stakes are higher than whether or not religious liberty will be preserved in this nation for awhile yet.  The eternal destinies of men and women are at stake.