I saw this on a coffee table at a church. It set me off a little. Allow me to explain why
Sex, money and power. Can you see it?
‘Sexcess’, ‘learn to prosper’, ‘lists for getting ahead’
Maybe you might see these phrases on Rolling Stone or FHM. But on a Bible?
Perhaps you don’t really see what is wrong with this picture. Surly God wants me to be in a happy relationship? Surly he wants me to have enough money and be a leader in my business?
The issue for me is this: The lifestyle portrayed on the front of this magazine/new testament is a far cry from the lifestyle portrayed in it’s pages. I mean, if you were looking to pick up this book for tips on how to get a woman to sleep with you, you’d be sorely disappointed when you read the words of Jesus which say:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
Or maybe you want to be rich? Of course the bible can help! Tragically, again, our reader is going to be dissapointed:
“I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)
As for ‘getting ahead’? Pretty sure the bible isn’t going to be much help there. Paul writes a wonderful passage about what the Christian’s attitude should me, modeled after Jesus:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Philippians 2:5-11)
The problem with this example of propaganda evangelistic literature is that it is not an accurate portrayal of the life, work and message of Jesus. The cover promises things which supposedly appeal to your average non-christian male, as if to say that God is fine with womanising, greed and power-hoarding. The Jesus-way contained in the New Testament challenges every part of what masculinity has come to mean in our culture. Men are called to take the role of a servant, like Jesus. To willingly give up their power and status. Men are to live generously. Men are to honour and respect women.
This cover tells men they can be winners! But Jesus was a loser. And his followers were, too. They lost. They lost their families, their livelihoods and their lives. I find it offensive, even a cheapening of the Gospel to make these false promises about what the Bible teaches.
What do you think? Did you ever own one of these types of New Testaments? What promises did yours make?