Lately I’ve been attempting to read “God’s Politics” by Jim Wallis. It is certainly an exercise in patience (and that’s putting it lightly). I can only swallow a few pages at a time. Wallis constantly makes blanket statements without explaining or defining his terms. He either (1) takes scripture out of obvious context or (2) takes ambiguous scriptures and twists them into Christian mandates (that also conveniently support his leftist agenda).
Here’s an example.
In his book he included the 2004 “Unity Statement on Overcoming Poverty” which he signed. The document uses the typical leftist rhetoric that sounds good until you know what they actually mean by those words. Their use of scripture was particularly galling, as usual. As evidence for the biblical case for “economic justice” they quote Isaiah 65:20-23. (They actually cite 20-25 but I’ll get to that later).
20 No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord— and their descendants as well.
Other than the fact that nothing in this passage suggests a welfare state or the leftist agenda, it seems that at least one of those people at the convention would have read the three prior verses which sets up the context (vs 17-19, bolding mine).
17 For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress.
This entire passage seems to be talking about the “new heavens and a new earth” that God will create someday after this present world is destroyed (Revelations 21). It has nothing to do with this present world which will “pass away.”
If this group had actually quoted the entire passage in Isaiah to verse 25, as they cited, they would have seen that “’The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,’ says the Lord.”
If this passage is a mandate to change our present world, along with “economic justice” are we to make lions eat straw and wolves graze alongside lambs? I believe the answer is “no” because this passage is not likely talking about this present earth at all. It is a future earth that is perfect and has no pain and suffering.
In reading Jim Wallis, this is a tactic I see over and over. As stated above, he either uses scriptures out of obvious context or transforms ambiguous ones into commandments that match his beliefs.
Ironically, the verses actually seem to promote a belief in private property. “They will not build and another inhabit. They will not plant and another eat.” The redistributionists, like Jim Wallis, actually promote taking the fruits of other people’s labor to give to someone else. Yet somehow he still reads this verse as promoting the leftist agenda.