The inability to read the Bible correctly is disturbing in our modern world. Generally this inability is a trait of those who are apart of churches known as Independent Fundamental Baptist. These groups like the Taliban of Islam read the text without any literary criticism. They have no understanding of hermeneutics or exegesis. They read the Bible as God’s word; as in every single word that is written regardless of who wrote it, why it was written, to whom it was written, the response of the intended receiver, the culture of the day etc.
I want to focus on preachers such as Steven Anderson who believes the government should kill homosexuals as a capital offense. Anderson truly believes that homosexuals should be put to death. He reads the text from Leviticus and understands the text outside of the ancient Jewish culture of the day. Anderson’s creates a blanket argument that transcends any common sense. Anderson states he has much of the Bible memorized yet he certainly has little skill when it comes to its interpretation.
Let’s look briefly at the verse regarding homosexuals. I will even use the King James Version which is the only version according to most IFB’s that should be used. Yes, it is true “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6, KJV). Here is the text from Leviticus, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (20:13, KJV). Let us examine this verse for a bit to see if it has any relevance in today’s church.
Obviously if we were to read it as Steven, we would come to the same conclusion. Yet doing so is improper for biblical teaching. The text does say what it says that is without much question, what must be questioned is the motive. Ancient Jews did not perceive women as equals with men. Essentially the verse is saying that if two men sleep with each other as a man sleeps with a woman then the men are lowering themselves to the level of a woman. For the Jews of the day this was not acceptable and worthy of death; just as a person could be put to death according to ancient Jewish law for a number of things that even IFB churches would not condemn. Violators of the Sabbath were to be put to death. I wonder if Steven Anderson obeys the Sabbath rules? Also those who falsely acted as priest should be put to death. One could make a compelling argument that Steven Anderson takes it upon himself to be a priest. He is not even Jewish and certainly not of the tribe of Levi.
Of all of the Jewish regulations that would require the death penalty most fundamental Christians single out the verses that focus on homosexuality. All of the others are looked over; just as slave owners would point towards verses that eased their conscience for conducting a slave trade. For these reasons and so many more preachers need to have at least undergrad training in hermeneutics. Individuals like Steven Anderson may be able to repeat the Bible like a parrot but just as a parrot does not understand what it is repeating, neither does Steven Anderson.