Christians love strong, bold declarative statements. We like to stand in front of the world and declare that we belong to God, and he is our creator, savior and judge. It’s like a badge of honor and to some degree, I’m OK with that.
Last summer, my daughter went to the Vacation Bible School of a local church. Overall, the experience of VBS at that church was good for her. But that summer’s theme really rubbed me the wrong way. It’s a very popular Christian slogan/bumper sticker, and I hate it with such great passion.
“God said it…I believe it…that settles it!” (Please note I’m clenching my teeth right now!)
It’s an amazingly bold statement. In the context of the VBS, I get it. It’s meant to convey to children the greatness of God and the importance of his word, the Bible.
It’s a funny statement, however. I mean I believe the words of the statement, but it’s the tone and finality of the statement that I find reprehensible.
Full Disclosure: I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. I believe every word in the Bible is God-breathed and must be taken seriously. I fall on the inerrant side vs. the infallible. So before you label me a back-sliden Christian, read this blog. We don’t disagree on the message. We disagree on the method.
My problem is this statement is a justification for legalism. I hate legalism with the same passion Christ did whenever he faced religious leaders. Just read any story about the Pharisees confronting Jesus. They start their “trap” with the phrase, “Doesn’t the Law say…” And they would point out what Jesus was doing wrong. What exactly was Jesus doing wrong? How about healing the sick on a holy day? Talking to a prostitute?
Sign of Laziness
Christian bumper stickers like this, are what I like to call “Lazy Theology.” It’s a quick way to win an argument without having to do any work, like read the Bible. Let’s break down the statement:
“God said it…” That, my friend, is a loaded statement. Implication is if God said it, then there can be no debate. “Are you so knowledgeable in the Word that you can argue with God?”
“I believe it…” Now this is the lazy part. If it’s written in the Bible, then God said it. Therefore, whatever God says, I believe without question. We like rules because they are black and white statements of right and wrong. But why did God say it in the first place, that takes work to find out.
“That settles it.” Or “End of debate…period.” The implication is if you are a true Christian; then you cannot question what God says in his Word. You do not need to know why God made the rule. Just accept the fact that he did. And that is lazy theology.
God did not just set arbitrary rules, just to do it. In all cases, God set these rules and laws for a reason. The law is a reflection of God. If the goal of our lives on earth is to be Christ-like, each law is a glimpse into the character of Christ.
All throughout Christ’s ministry, the Pharisees accused Jesus of not following the law of God. The law of God delivered by Moses to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament Deuteronomy and Leviticus.
We want to believe we’re not like the Pharisees, but we can’t help but judge the actions and motivations of fellow Christians because they do or do not follow the strict words of Christ. You can say the Pharisees attack on Jesus was based on the Levitical laws. If we judge a person based on the Old Testament law or the very words of Christ himself, it’s still legalism.
Any time you create a list of do’s and don’ts, whether its based on the Old Testament law, the New Testament epistles or the very words of Christ, that is legalism and condemned by Christ as false religion. And as it was proven in the Old Testament, it’s a futile attempt to earn salvation. You’ll go mad.
It’s an unwinnable challenge. I challenge anyone to live his/her life trying to remember every single do and don’t in the Bible. Don’t waste your time? Also, don’t waste your time trying to get answers from the Bible about every decision you have to make in life.
Is it God’s will for me to take this job? Is this person my chosen soul mate for me? What color socks should I wear today? The truth is you’re not going to find a single verse in the Bible that will answer this question.
The funny thing is I believe the Bible does have answers to every question about life. Let me restate that…the Bible has the answer about how we should come to an answer about every question about life. That’s called wisdom.
Become more Christ-like. Walk on earth and in the circles of people in your life as if you were Jesus Christ walking the earth. The more you learn about the character of Christ the more your life will bear fruit…you know love, joy, peace, etc. Then God will give you the wisdom to answer life’s questions and you’ll be able to answer them quickly.
Before you become completely upset that I’ve destroyed a perfectly effective bumper sticker. How bout we change the statement to say:
“God said it… I will live it… And your life will be blessed too!”