The Scripture Must Always Have a Context

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, Hermeneutics

PeterMarshall_LG A reader forwarded a video to me that was meant to celebrate the life of the late Peter Marshall, Jr. and his idea of Christian America. Marshall died on September 9, 2010. Marshall, as some readers will know, was the less-famous son of the pastor Peter Marshall. The son became involved in teaching the idea that America was a distinctively Christian nation. He co-wrote several books that attempted to show why this was historically true, such as The Light and the Glory. I read this book, part of the second in this series, and then finally stopped reading his work many years ago. He was so unbalanced in his understanding of history that his message was deeply distorted and very problematic.

In a tribute given to Marshall after his death this misunderstanding of Scripture is advanced to the point of incredulity. The text cited is found in the Fourth Gospel.

John 14:1-3,  1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwellings,  if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Please watch this video and you will plainly see what I mean. The idea you will see is that the “place” spoken of by Jesus in John 14 is America. This should be staggering to any first year Bible student. Yet I am quite sure many Christians pay little or no attention to this problem when they celebrate this nation as they do. Love America? Yes. Use the Scripture wrongly to teach a point of view that is both false and profoundly misleading? No, never, not so long as we read the Word of God rightly.