Eugene Cho

the american patriot’s bible

American Patriot's Bible

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am a thankful citizen of this country.  I’m thankful for my liberties. I vote. I pay my taxes. I know the capital of Nebraska. I even like Garth Brooks.

And I’m also a pastor. I love the Scriptures.  I love reading it, teaching it, and am often clarified, inspired, humbled, and perplexed by it.  But this Bible freaks me out – even while I believe it’s important to pursue the values of Scripture in our society. What are we talking about here:  Kingdom or Empire?

But enough of me, I’ve had enough angry emails for the week.  Sometimes, the best blog post is letting people share their views:

Watch it.  Discuss. What do you think?

and if thats not enough, here’s the 9 minute promo version:

Excerpt from the videos:

  • “For the first time ever, the history of America’s Christian heritage and the Holy Bible are woven together in a single volume.”
  • “Its pages contain an accurate archive of America’s strong ties to the Holy Bible and the God of the Bible. It highlights people and events which demonstrate the godly qualities that make America what it is today…. It is the one Bible that shows how a light from above shaped our nation.”
  • “If you love America and the Scriptures, you will treasure The American Patriot’s Bible.”

Author, pastor and teacher Dr. Richard Lee and Thomas Nelson Publishing have assembled the original, one-of-a-kind “American Patriot’s Bible.” This bible contains every word of the Holy Scriptures in the New King James version and also includes hundreds of articles, illustrations and stories about America’s rich Christian heritage and the bible’s impact on its culture, lifestyles, laws and morals. This bible is availalbe May 2009 wherever bibles are sold.

Update: So, apparently, Greg Boyd, wrote a not so positive review of the Patriot’s Bible:

Have you ever seen the Saturday Night Live skit entitled “Really? With Seth and Amy”? Sometimes it’s pretty funny. I was thinking that perhaps the best way to get through my critique of The American Patriot’s Bible (henceforth Patriot’s Bible) would be to give a “Really?” type report on it.

I want to preface my “report” by saying I am certain the commentators behind thePatriot’s Bible are well intentioned, godly scholars who believe they’re doing the Kingdom (and America) a great service. Despite their noble intentions, however, I believe this Bible is, frankly, idolatrous, dangerous and profoundly damaging to the Kingdom. I feel compelled to denounce it in the strongest possible way I can. The sarcasm that follows is intended for this purpose only.

Here’s some “really?” reflections, in no particular order.

* The Lord’s statement that Moses “is faithful in all My houses” (Num. 12:7) calls for a boxed quote from Grover Cleveland about how the teachings of Christ “results in the purest patriotism…”

Really? Oddly enough, Christians for the first three centuries of the church were persecuted for being unpatriotic. They wouldn’t pledge allegiance to the emperor or fight to defend the empire. Now Jesus becomes the champion of patriotism. Really? Does this hold true for Russians, North Koreans and Iranians, or just Americans? And how on earth did we leap from a verse about God’s “houses” to the topic of patriotism in the first place? Really?

* In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul notes that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are spiritual and mighty in God for the tearing down of strongholds. This inspires thePatriot’s Bible commentators to provide the reader with a historical note about Eisenhower signing into law the clause “one Nation under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance. Eisenhower is quoted as saying this clause would help “strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our countries most powerful resource in peace and war.”

Really? Do you really think Paul – who taught us to give our enemies food and water and to never retaliate (Rom. 12:14-21) – would approve of having his authority borrowed to buttress up America’s resources in war? Really? Doesn’t this verse explicitly say he’s not talking about earthly wars and that our weapons are not carnal? Oh, and by the way, the Patriot’s Bible leaves out “not carnal” in their commentary’s quote of this verse. Really?

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43 Responses

  1. Carol Fenton says:

    Our country was based on freedom of religion. Not this.

  2. Mike says:

    Greg Boyd reviewed the APB for Leadership Journal and wrote about it on his blog (cf. http://bit.ly/bVGJH). One post was a SNL Weekend Update-like “Really?!” review (cf. http://bit.ly/nTwXs). Good stuff on a very odd (potentially dangerous) coupling of patriotism and theology.

  3. Dean says:

    Mike beat me to it. Boyd’s comments/reviews on this are fantastic.

  4. “The American Patriots Bible: available May 2009 wherever nationalistic propaganda is sold. Add something creepy to your bookshelf TODAY!”

    I am dumbfounded by this “bible” and the promo messages. It deserves a lengthy response. Instead, mind if I drop 4 quotes?

    “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” -Sinclair Lewis

    “How can I love my home without coming to realise that other men, no less rightly, love theirs?…If our country’s cause is the cause of God, wars must be wars of annihilation. A false transcendence is given to things which are very much of this world.” – C.S. Lewis

    “The modern scientist has lost God amidst the wonders of this world. We Christians are in real danger of losing God among the wonders of his word.” -A.W. Tozer

    “Every nationalist is haunted by the belief that the past can be altered. He spends part of his time in a fantasy world in which things happen as they should.”-George Orwell

  5. Jake says:

    This is unreal. And I thought an American flag in the sanctuary was a bad idea! Why does America have such a proclivity towards a unification of God and country? Next step: use words like “crusade” when we talk about war!

  6. Barb says:

    I agree that it’s totally creepy and if there are people who actually buy it THOSE are the people I worry about.

  7. Dan says:

    Kitsch! This is worse than that sign that went “jesUSAves” with “USA” in stars and stripes.

  8. Tyler says:

    To be frank, this makes me sick. Does it make me less of a patriot if I don’t read this or want to read it?

  9. shawn says:

    Creepy is a good way to describe it. The sad thing is if you try to say anything critical about this Bible to some your Christianity is questioned. Boyd’s review was spot-on.

  10. RL says:

    In a pluralistic postmodern society, it is very difficult to communicate to our youth the Christian history and underpinnings of our nation that has been almost eradicated from our history books by modern day redactors. To have a one-volume reference book and a bible formatted together will be a blessing.

  11. CN says:

    But your Founding Fathers, though Christian, actually wanted a separation of Church and State (because many of them came from persecuted religions). This smacks of revisionist history and “reading into” history implications that aren’t there; in the very least; over-emphasizing certain aspects of American history.

  12. Dean says:

    To further spur on the dialogue, I’d suggest reading this article: http://www.patrolmag.com/times/1678/whose-america-is-it-anyway.

  13. reJoyce says:

    I’ll take it a step further and say I don’t care for any of the “themed” bibles. I am sure that the publishers mean well, but those bibles all seem like kitsch to me. This one takes the cake though.

  14. Sally K says:

    Amen @ reJoyce. Doesn’t the Bible speak for itself, without being dressed up in “green” or “patriot” drag?

    I know this is a marketing tactic, and I guess if it gets more people to read the Bible it’s a good thing, but gosh, isn’t it enough for the Bible to be the word of God?

  15. joelbrady says:

    oh but you postmodern hippies will read the message just because bono does!

    well i say, God bless the empire!! my kids are going to have this memorized by the time they’re five and enlisted at 17. rl is right, this is a blessing we miss at our own risk.

  16. chad m says:

    ever since reading Boyd’s book, myth of a chr nation, i can’t help but ask, “were we Christian before or after we enslaved people, killed off the Native Americans with small pox, and destroyed the environment?” i can’t remember…

    do they address these issues in this translation?

  17. Lamenting says:

    This is downright heretical. The Gospel is unequivocally against the unification of worldly powers with the Church. He calls his beleivers to pledge their allegiance to no kingdom on earth, but to the Kingdom of Christ. This is Idolatry, and will be extremeley detrimental to the Church in America. I think we need to practice a little more Christian Anarchism if we are to ever become a part of Gods kingdom.

  18. Lamenting says:

    To Rl and Joel Brady. If you actually stuied the nations founding fathers, you would quickly see that they were no Christians at all. They were all deists, who did not beleive in the incarnation of Jesus. Thomas Jefferson cut out all of the parts in the bible that had to do with Jesus’ miracles! Stop falling for the lie that our nation is a christian nation.

  19. joelbrady says:

    lamenting, it was sarcasm.

  20. randplaty says:

    I don’t like themed bibles period. It is creepy and weird.

    But it’s not heresy. It doesn’t deserve a strong reaction. It’s just weird.

  21. If anybody is interested in reading a book that’s the 100% exact opposite of this one: _God and Empire_ by John Dominic Crossan is a careful scholarly work exploring the tension between Christ and civilization. Or, as Crossan would put it, between the Kingdom of God and the “brutal normalcy of civilization.”

  22. theologien says:

    Maybe you should add this to your “the most anti-essential christian books”?

  23. As someone who’s British, a Christian, and passionate about Justice, I would want to know whether Ron Sider and Shane Claibourne get any references in this translation. No? Thought not! (I’m taking a wild guess, I realise, but hey)

    Themed bibles are weird, though simple commentary bibles are really useful I find. But I do think its necessary to take a stand on a publication like this, simply because it is based on such a wild deviation from the meaning of scripture.

    Thanks for the suggestions of books which deal with this issue in a more biblical way, I might have to check out any that have crossed the pond.

  24. Peter Adams says:

    American friends, be assured its not just you that have this problem. We do in England / UK too. We are currently in midst of a political campaign for the European parliament and local government elections in which the British National Party (BNP), extreme nationalists, are claiming to be the rightful guardians of English Christian heritage. In fact they even have a campaign poster that says “If they persecuted me they will even persecute you[nationalists]. What would Jesus do? Vote BNP” NO he wouldn’t. ( read http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/article:332-A-stunt-that-will-come-back-to-haunt-them for more. ) They are of the ugly, violent brand of nationalism, and the readers of the patriot bible would not want to be identified in the same category, but there are some strong similarities in the message.

    They are not as

  25. Andy M says:

    I could not agree more with Greg Boyd’s take on that bible being idolatrous and dangerous. But I am not at all surprised at it. Its actually surprising to me that it didn’t come out years ago.

    I’m all for recognizing how Christian values influenced the politics of our country, but this bible is an attempt to lay claim to power and authority in this country. If they establish the idea that the US was a Christian nation way back then, then Christians now would then have some kind of ownership over the ideas and “values” of the nation today. Just one more way of trying to control people.

  26. .elise.anne. says:

    noooooo!

    you should have heard my gasp when i saw even the title of this post.

    oh ignorance, how you are more prevalent than i wish to imagine!

  27. jadanzzy says:

    stanley hauerwas is suicidal right now, i bet.

  28. […] I’m adding the American Patriot’s Bible to this list.  The crazy thing is that it’s a real book unlike the list […]

  29. Matthew says:

    Not that great a fan of Hauerwas, but I’m in complete agreement with Boyd: this has to be some kind of bad joke! To try to give this kind of ultra-nationalism sanction using the Gospel is an existential non-starter – Jesus was crucified, and crucifixion was a punishment reserved solely for political enemies of the Empire. That the early followers of Jesus coopted the symbol of the Cross was a deeply subversive anti-Roman symbolic statement.

    If this catches on, may God help us all.

    Matthew

  30. Julie Glavic says:

    Why did the publishers bother with this? Thomas Jefferson already published an alternative Bible. Granted, its emphasis was on demythologization/selective-editing-of-“spiritual”-things instead of patriotism, but still. Or did the publishers not like the idea that America’s founding fathers were deists and materialists?

  31. Steve Hampton says:

    Jesus announced his Kingdom (note the word choice– not Family, or Community, or Temple). We are to be soldiers of Christ whose citizenship is in heaven.

    Given our context, living in a country whose military budget is more than every other nation combined, where just 4% of that budget would meet the Millenium Development Goals for ending extreme poverty, I’d go beyond labelling this “weird” or “kitsch”. It’s definitely heresy, idolatry, and –new term here– “patriot porn”.

  32. Wayne Park says:

    I blame the publisher(s) and the Christian book industry. they flood the market with garbage.

  33. beattieblog says:

    simply disturbing. And how are we different than the audiences the OT prophets spoke against?

  34. […] You can see more discussion on the Patriot’s Bible including a couple of decidedly strange promos here. […]

  35. elliot says:

    in addition to Boyd’s book, i’d recommend “The Search for Christian America” by Mark Noll, George Marsden and Nathan Hatch. it’s 20 years old, but it was written by these three American historians in order to combat pro-Christian historical revisionism.

  36. Andy M says:

    You know its funny. Until I read the comments on this post, I had never heard the phrase, “historical revisionism” applied to people who wanted to prove a Christian heritage in the US. I usually heard it from those people when they were talking about people who wanted to deny a Christian heritage of the US.

    @Julie Glavic,
    It isn’t that the publisher doesn’t like the idea that the US founding fathers were deists or whatever. It is that they believe that the founding fathers weren’t deists, that they were all, or mostly, Christians. And some were, of course, but the publishers have tunnelvision when it comes to US history and miss what the founding fathers intended.

    Though if it were me, I would not want the history of the US to be attached to Christianity even if it had been a Christian nation. The US has a bloody history that most people don’t talk about in discussions about how “great” this country is. I greive for those slain in the path to our “freedom”.

  37. iy says:

    greg boyd’s column cracked me up because i heard it in my head as seth and amy. your post was the first time i’d heard about it, and it is just plain wrong/incorrect/immoral.

  38. […] [korean] movies/films my top 10 wedding advicesusan boyle and the lesson we should all learn – againthe american patriot's biblepc vs mac: what laptop should i get?fighting global poverty f.a.q.my storyf**k human trafficking. […]

  39. […] America is a country influenced by Judeo Christian values; by God’s grace, it has stories (past & present) of the movement of the Holy Spirit; it has many people that identify themselves as Christians – but it is not a Christian nation. Even despite the American Patiot’s Bible. […]

  40. […] that seems most applicable for the American Patriot’s Bible that is now making the rounds in the […]

  41. […] discussion here where Eugene Cho disapprovingly notes: The Lord’s statement that Moses “is faithful in all My […]

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One Day’s Wages

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Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer. Seattle. 7:00pm. Desperately holding on to summer. #goldengardenpark #nofilter Happy Birthday, Minhee! I'm so grateful for you. You radiate faith, hope, and love.  No...you don't complete me. That would be silly and simply humanly impossible but you keep pointing me and our family to Christ who informs and transforms our lives, marriage, family, and ministry. Thanks for being so faithful. I love you so much. (* And what a gift to be in Korea together.)

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