02 August 2012

Billy Graham and Mark 7:9: No picking and choosing allowed!
(You must stone to death your disobedient children.)

God, I love Billy Graham's answers. And they're getting better all the time.

Here, for example, is L.K.'s July 31 question:
I find it inspiring to read the Bible, but I can’t go along with those who say it’s the divine Word of God, because frankly I find some of it kind of hard to swallow. Why can’t we just choose the parts we agree with and leave the rest alone?
And Billy Graham's answer:
We could do this, of course; many people actually do exactly that — picking and choosing what they’ll believe in the Bible while rejecting the rest. They are like the people of whom Jesus said, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (Mark 7:9).
So, Yes L.K., the Bible has some awful stuff in it. But you can't just pick and choose what to believe: you have to believe and obey it all -- just like Jesus said in Mark 7:9.

But what was Jesus talking about in Mark 7:9? To understand that, you need to look at the context. Here are the relevant verses from Mark 7.
7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

7:10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
In this passage, Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for not washing his hands before eating. He defends himself by attacking them for not killing disobedient children according to the commandment of God: "He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death."

The "commandment of God" that Jesus referred to is found in Leviticus 20:9.
For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
And Jesus had a good point here. The Bible is clear about children -- those that curse their parents (Leviticus 20:9), or strike them (Exodus 21:15), or refuse to obey them (Deuteronomy 21:18-21) are to be killed, in the latter case by stoning to death. But the Bible is much less clear about washing hands before eating.

So don't worry too much about washing up before meals. There's not much in the Bible about it and Jesus didn't bother with it. But if your kids disobey you, you know what you have to do.

You don't have to ask Billy Graham about it. He and Jesus have already answered that question for you.


No said...

For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

Mom and dad I can't thank you enough for not taking the Bible litterally !

I can't begin to imagine the madness around when this divine decree actually made sense to someone.

Like Sam Harris says we come from people who used to put babies in post holes so their building can be protected by the gods.

If this verse doesn't guarantee believers that the Bible (OT at least) is the work of iron age people than I don't know what could possibly ring a bell since this verse is about childrens.

Sabio Lantz said...

Very well said. The Jesus who is loving and not Jewish is not present in these verses. Who let these verses slip?

Slips like that make me think Jesus may have been a real character -- and a cranky one at that.

Sabio Lantz said...

ooops, forgot to follow. Have you ever consider not moderating comments?

Steve Wells said...

Yes, Sabio, I have tried not moderating comments, but I found it too hard to keep out the spam, drivel, and vitriol.

Stephen said...

Steve Wells said...
"Yes, Sabio, I have tried not moderating comments, but I found it too hard to keep out the spam, drivel, and vitriol."

I know what you mean, Steve... but sometimes that vitriol is really entertaining! ;-)
Steve Weeks

Unknown said...

I have to admit that for years those commandments, and the idea that cursing my parents was evil, kept me from disclosing the incest and physical abuse that happened to me as a child.

I wonder if parents who beat their children were just practicing for when their children finally cursed them? Seems kind of chicken and egg to me.

BTW, found your blog through MSP. I am trying to check out at least five new blogs a week. I am enjoying yours!


nazani said...

These verses were explained away to me as requiring a "formal" curse before the death penalty was necessary. I guess a formal curse would involve reading a magical spell against your parent, and killing a chicken may be involved. Just yelling "Dang you, Meemaw!" does not meet the Dark Powers' standards for a sincere, well-crafted curse.