June 18th, 2012, is a historic day in the short history of Christian Era Publishing. More importantly, it could become a historic day for Christians, and even for the world. On this date, I, Martin Pierce, declared war on biblical literalism, Christian sectarianism, and divorce.
That kind of declaration must surely appear arrogant on my part. There’s some levity and optimism in the declaration, but I also meant it seriously. I’ll give you some background information here, including the motivation and the strategy for victory.
First, this wasn’t a mere publicity stunt, as if I had planned it months or even weeks in advance. I didn’t even begin to seriously think about issuing a press release until the week of June 11, after I had sent the book to the printer. On Friday, June 15th, I was out walking in my neighborhood when I heard what sounded like a military jet passing overhead, then another. Although I couldn’t see them because of the trees and houses, I suspected that they were Blue Angels planes practicing for Baltimore’s Sailabration weekend.
For those who didn’t know this, the Sailabration was Baltimore’s bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812, also known as the “Second American Revolution.” Baltimore made history in that war with some help from Francis Scott Key. He wrote the Star Spangled Banner after having been inspired by the valiant defense of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry.
I had heard about the Sailabration on the news, but it took the planes flying overhead to really get my attention. That’s when I made a connection between the historic occasion of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the release of my book, which I believe to also be a historic occasion. I feel it is no coincidence that these events happened at about the same time, 200 years apart. I had wanted to publish my book sooner, but there was one delay after another. This was a lesson to me that everything happens in God’s timing.
I’ll be the first to admit that there is reason to be skeptical about any declaration of war. After all, even the U.S. government hasn’t been successful in most of its wars, including the wars against drugs, poverty, cancer, terrorism, and so on. on drugs, poverty, cancer, terrorism, etc. The government’s wars never end, except when we have to get out of a foreign country because otherwise, everyone in the world starts asking why we keep squandering money and finding people to kill.
What I’m saying is, skepticism can be expected when one individual declares war on such powerful foes as biblical literalism, Christian sectarianism, and divorce. Before I go any further, I realize you might be wondering what biblical literalism is. The literalist method of Bible interpretation is used to justify young-earth creationism, Christian Zionism, and the fatalistic “secret rapture” theology. Thus, opposition to biblical literalism is potentially very meaningful.
I’m well aware that I can do practically nothing on my own. I’m dependent on the Lord, and on people like yourself. I did all I could, which was to present specific plans to defeat the aforementioned evils. Now I’m trying to spread the word.
Here are the three steps that Protestant churches and denominations would need to take in order to unite Christians and save Christian marriages:
1. Convene a general council for the purpose of appointing a standing council and council leader. This council would spend its time studying the Scriptures, seeking God, learning what He is doing in the world, and formulating doctrine to provide general guidance to Christians throughout the world. This is the New Testament model for Christian unity.
2. The general council and/or standing council should declare biblical literalism to be a form of heresy. Other Christians have prepared the way for this by having produced sermons, articles, and books against biblical literalism. I’ve offered reasons to oppose literalism in Chapters 1-7 and Chapter 25 of Return to Genesis.
3. Finally, the standing council would need to call for the establishment of Christian courts, especially to adjudicate divorce cases involving Christians.
You can learn more about my proposed strategies for victory by reading the press release, which you can find by clicking on the “Press Room” tab above. In order to really understand what I believe the Bible instructs us to do, I recommend that you read chapters 25-27 of Return to Genesis. These ideas make this a great book for church leaders. Other chapters explain the poetry in Genesis, which makes great reading for any Christian lay person who is interested in Genesis.
I would be happy to respond to questions here, so please post any questions or comments below.