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Idiot Proof Texts

Scripture sells. After all, who doesn’t want to posess divine inspiration. But it has always struck me as a little profane how those with the highest views of scripture seem the most uncritical of how their holiest texts are monitized.

The New York Times carried a story recently on the thriving legacy of C. S. Lewis. It included the following paragraph.

Michael Maudlin, an editor of the new “C.S. Lewis Bible” — a Bible annotated with Lewis quotations — says he does not want to make of Lewis a “personality cult.” But the cult is here, and growing. This Bible edition does not diminish the cult, but it should not get the blame, either.

If a corporate billionaire can use the C.S. Lewis name to sell cookie cutter film CGI glosses of the great imaginative worlds of the Narnia series, I guess why not toss in some marginalia next to God’s Word, in this case thanks to News Corp., which owns HarperCollins, the seller of the Bible.

But in Adventism, Remnant Publications has taken it a step further. For a little while now they have been marketing their Ellen G. White Study Bible, pardon me, the Remnant Study Bible with E. G. White Comments.

Before you buy another NKJV Study Bible Read this! The Ellen White Study Bible has a unique chain reference study system for enhanced bible study. Are you tired of reading the Bible with little insight? Having trouble navigating through endless chain reference studies that lead to no real spiritual depth? The Ellen White Study Bible (Remnant Study Bible with E. G. White Comments) provides excellent study aides that are not just limited to the parables of Jesus or prophecies of Jesus, but they deepen your knowledge with a chain reference study system of Bible studies. . . . Interwoven in the text are the comments of Ellen White. Her insightful commentary on the Bible will open your understanding to the plan of salvation, Bible prophecy, and much more.

Here is a screen shot I took of the second page in Genesis. Note the “chain reference system” chain images alerting the reader that 1:29 mixes with Genesis 7:2 to teach about Health. Also, there’s a helpful gloss filling almost half the page reminding us that because scientists revise their deductions and conflict with one another, they aren’t reliable.

“From the hottest pen since the Bible prophets,” here is how the proof-texting chain reference system works.

As much as the literalists love to find an enemy in academia, among higher critics and scientists, often the folks treating them like idiots the most, to get their money or use them to gain power, are those who feed them the familiar. It’s pretty clear in the marketing language of the video above that Remnant Publications is trying to sell two ultimate authorities for the price of. . .a lot of Bibles. They start at $50 and if you want the special Special Forces edition, it’s $89.95. I’m not sure where this militia language fits into the actual message of the Word made flesh, but the video also equated Special Forces with this Bible and that purchaing this “sword” will give the buyer extra power. Yes, in a world where where we trade our labor for capital in order to get out a little power to survive, even in our church we find those who prey on an ideological sense of powerlessness to make a buck. Are they really implying that by purchaing their doubly-inspired book someone can increase their spiritual power?

Now, I’m not sure if I can figure out my Bible without Lewis and White’s help, but if I read through Acts 8, I believe that I see a parallel here to what’s known as the sin of simony.

 9But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

 10To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.

 11And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

 12But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

 13Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

 14Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

 15Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

 16(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

 17Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

 18And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,

 19Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

 20But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

Are these marketing ploys simony? I’m just trying to figure out how to call sin by its right name.

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