On Jefferson Lies: Heroes and Why Do We Defend Them?


In the last day or two there have been a lot of news (and here) about David Bartons’ The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson.  Thomas Nelson has pulled its publication and distribution of the book (including ebooks and audio-books).  I must confess that I started to read the book but never finished it.  In the little bit I did read, I found his need to defend Jefferson so vigorously troublesome.  But not having read it fully, I cannot give any final opinion of the book.  I will leave that to others (and overall the reviews do not look good).

This got me thinking . . . why do we feel the need to defend and turn our American heroes into pristine people  that they never were.  I was reminded of the following quote from one of Steve Brown‘s books:

During President Clinton’s tenure in the White House, I heard about a group of Christians and Jews meeting in a political forum.  They were, I was told, for the most part conservatives who discussed their displeasure with the direction of the country.  One lady said that she was greatly troubled by the president’s behavior in the White House and bemoaned that we no longer had “heroes.” “What am I going to tell my children when they see what is going on?” she asked.  “Madam,” a rabbi said, “you tell them the same thing you tell them about David, Abraham, and Jacob . . . that people are bent  and God still rules.”

Later he continues

The reading of Scripture should make the self-righteous blush.  Because he likes us, God told us the truth about our “heroes.”  The Bible is a record of deceit, sexual immorality, hypocrisy, disobedience, sin and God’s grace.  It attests to the way God honors his name despite–not because of–the deceit, sexual immorality, hypocrisy, disobedience, and sin.

If you have any biographical works in your library that don’t tell you both the good and the bad of their subjects, burn those books!  They are not helpful.  They are built on lies and will give you aspirations of something that you simply can’t be . . . a hero who doesn’t have a dark side.  

If you would like to read some other articles, here are a few links:

from Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me


Here’s a couple of great quotes from Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me by Sinclair B. Ferguson.

Being amazed by God’s grace is a sign of spiritual vitality. It is a litmus test of how firm and real is our grasp of the Christian gospel and how close is our walk with Jesus Christ. The growing Christian finds that the grace of God astonishes and amazes.

We do not become sinners by committing specific acts. We commit specific acts of sin because we are sinners. In short, my problem is not the isolated actions that I see as aberrations from what I really am. I am deceiving myself if I think that way. These actions are not aberrations but revelations of what is in my heart. They show that I commit sin because I am in bondage to it.

Here, then, are two sure signs that our religion, even if we call it Christian, is not the real thing. We are not made happy by seeing the grace of God touch the lives of needy men and women so that they are brought to faith in Jesus Christ, and we neither see nor feel any special need for forgiveness for ourselves. We do not see ourselves as “one of nought.”

What Christ is doing in you is still incomplete. But in what Jesus Christ has done for you there is not a single tiny crack that the satanic arrows can penetrate.

Prayer and Fellowship

Books, Theology & The Bible

In reading Bonhoeffer’s new biography by Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, I ran across this quote about prayer and it’s integral part in our fellowship with other believers.

“A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner. This is a happy discovery for the Christian who begins to pray for others.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together

It makes me think of why Christians fight so much, and I cannot help but think that Bonhoeffer is onto something.  How would our fellowship with other believers (both those in our church and in the broader Christian community) be changed if we prayed for each other more?

Free Audiobook by Tim Keller

Books, Theology & The Bible

I am a big fan of audiobooks.  They help to make unproductive times more productive (e.g. driving in the car).

Every month the folks over at ChristianAudio give away a book of the month.  This month the book is Tim Keller’s Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road (Unabridged).  This is one of the best books out there on mercy ministry.  I would highly recommend it.  Use “AUG2010” as a coupon code when you checkout and it is free.  

I’m downloading it now.