"Heretics Like Billy Graham"
The 14-member Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, North Carolina has gotten a lot of ink and air time this past week. The church is planning a Bible burning on Halloween to destroy what it calls "Satanic Bibles" which refers to any translation, but the orginal King James Version. Even the New King James will be tossed in the flames. The group will laso burn other Christian books by writers it considers to be heretics, which includes Billy Graham, Mother Teresa and Rick Warren. Not stopping there, the congregation will also burn "Satan's music" which includes southern Gospel and contemporary Christian music.
One news article quoted Pastor Grizzard saying that "the Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning, and all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the preacher." You can also hear him for yourself in the video embeded above.
I know that any preacher in an independent church has no accountability and can become their own dictatorial pope. There is simply too much room to go off the rails. It's one of the things I like about denominations, even if the words "Institutional Church" should be an oxymoron. There is at least some accountability. Don't believe me? try planning a Bible Burning in a more hierarchical denomination (Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, etc.) and see what happens to the pastor. Even in a more congregational church, which is in a denomination, there will be a reaction.
Yet, this church is not simply wrong, but they are damaging the faith. The harm comes in gaining the sort of broad publicity (and yes I know I am adding to that) which turns off those who admire Jesus and might want to find out more about Him, if it weren't for the assorted nuts (me included) who are Christians. Gandhi reportedly said, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ." When I read stories like this one, I tend to agree with him.
I don't really care if Pastor Grizzard doesn't want to own or read The New Living Translation. I just wish he wouldn't drag down the faith I know can transform lives for the better with a stunt like the one they have planned.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
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