Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Bible Lesson for the Pastor: Bill Gothard Was Blessed by God

My last blog post was a direct copy of a letter I received from an Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Pastor and my response. But, as I read his letter over and over again, something began to rub me the wrong way. One little phrase he used in there jumped out at me (sort of like the times when you sit in a Bible study and people say that verses jumped out at them, giving them a Eureka, except they never subsequently ran naked, into the street).

The pastor wrote:
[Bill Gothard] is a spiritual "ishmaelite"--Galatians 4:29-31.
Why didn't he capitalize 'Ishmaelite':?...

Now, several things jump out to me here. First, the fact that the pastor didn't capitalize the word 'Ishmaelite.' It could have been an inadvertent mistake, though, both respect and the English language would have dictated that he capitalize the 'I'. But, let's assume it was purposeful.

In Fundamentalist circles, you use a lowercase letter at the beginning of a proper noun to show deference to the real owner of that proper noun.

For example, if you were writing a sentence about the Bible god, you would write it like so:
God rules the world with an iron fist but somehow cannot even stop a righteous farmer from getting caught up in a tornado.
And then, when you are writing about another people's god, you would write it like this.
So god went about the world like a pansy, not being able to do anything, because he had no love. Only one God had love. The One True God.
You get my point. Not capitalizing the first letter of a proper noun is a clear message that you are poking that proper noun in the eye. You have no respect for it. Keep this in mind for later...

But that wasn't this pastor's worst offense:

In truth, this pastor shouldn't take all the blame here. It's a fault of the scriptural message, as espoused by the Apostle Paul, traditionally considered to be the author of Galatians.

The verses the pastor quoted were Galatians 4:29-31:
At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
IC, what do those verses mean!?...

These verses are referring to the story of Ishmael in Genesis. In Genesis 16, Sarai, the wife of ole' Abe, decided that she wasn't going to have any children, which was a huge deal in those days. So, she did the cultural thing and let her husband have sex with her maid, Hagar. Hagar would then birth the child, Ishmael on Sarai's lap and the son would essentially be hers.


But it wasn't that simple. Sarai saw that Hagar was pregnant and hated her for it. She went to ole' Abe and lied to him, using romantical words, "You made love to her and she conceived, and now look! She hates me!" Nowhere had it said that Hagar hated Sarai. But, ole' Abe, the stand-up gentleman he was, said, "She's your freaking maid. You deal with her. I just had sex with her for God's sake (literally)."

Oops...don't do that! Your wife is pissed!...

So Sarai was mean to her. Hagar left the camp and was met by an angel that told her that Ishmael would grow up and be a mighty man. He would live amongst his relatives. He would fight with them and they would fight with him. Then she went back to the camp.

But wait! A real son!...

Then, Isaac was born. THIS BOY was the one God had promised ole' Abe. He was actually from Abe's sperm and Sarai's egg. So, he was the correct son. 

Kids will be kids...

One day, the two half-bro lads were having a sibling rivalry. Because God had given Ishmael a mighty hand, he was probably besting Isaac in some game. He began to mock Isaac, as kids do. But it pissed Sarai off. Here was her stepson, whom she had told ole'Abe to drill her maid to birth, being mean to her full-blooded boy.

So, she told Abe to kick him and his ma out of the camp for good. Abe was told by an angel that it was okay, so he did it.

But the angel told him a peculiar thing, and also reiterated this peculiar thing to Hagar later - Ishmael, due to being born of Abraham, was going to be blessed as ole' Abe's seed, and birth a great nation - just like Isaac.

So here's the lesson for the pastor (and for the Apostle Paul, for that matter)...

Ishmael was blessed too. Exactly like Isaac. Sure, Isaac didn't receive the blessing about being awesome, and an enmity in the eyes of all his brethren. But they were both promised a great nation. They were both guaranteed to be blessed because they came from Abraham. A blessing from YOUR GOD! Not some half-assed pseudo-religious blessing, meaningless in the eyes of True Christianity. Nope. A gosh darned equal blessing by the very god that you say blessed Isaac so much so that you have to write 'Ishmael' with a lowercase 'i'.

Sir, you need to capitalize 'Ishmael'.

And the final (worst) lesson...

If, as you say, Bill Gothard was an 'Ishmaelite,' I hate to say it but, he is blessed by your god - and will birth a great nation. Look at his "ministry". He has!

Now, do you see why I view religion as utter poppycock?


  1. Bravo. A well written expose. In fact, a good sermon on the topic. But poppycock? Some of us do try to fathom the ways of the winds behind the waves that toss us so.

    1. Ah, yes. But we DO know where the wind comes from, don't we? ;)