COMING SOON TO a Bible shelf near you: The NCV (New Cancel Version). This translation eliminates characters with a compromised past. As you may imagine, such selective editing results in a rather slim edition. Among those who don’t make the cut:
Abraham. The guy who passed off his wife as his sister to save his neck, impregnated one of his servants (he had a bunch), and consorted with several concubines. Oh, and who was called “the father of all who believe” (Rom. 4:16, NLT).
Jacob. A conniver who took advantage of his brother’s impetuosity to advance himself, and lied to his dying father. God later told him, “I will make you into a great nation” (Gen.46:3).
Moses. Grew up in Egyptian privilege. If that wasn’t bad enough, he also killed a guy. God spoke to him “as a man speaks to his friend” (Exod. 33:11).
David. Had his own #MeToo episode with Bathsheba, arranged to have her husband killed to cover up the resulting pregnancy, and took a number of wives from other people groups—in express violation of God’s decree. Also known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14).
Paul. Conspired to have people killed because they didn’t believe the way he did (Mr. Intolerance). Later wrote much of the New Testament, which means those pages have to go to because . . . well.
The list goes on. By the time you have gotten rid of everyone who ever screwed up, you are pretty much just left with some genealogies (and those minus the awkward parts that need some explaining; Rahab or Tamar, anyone?), some Psalms, and a few maps.
Should people be called to account for past wrongdoing? Of course. But airbrushing history won’t help paint a brighter future. It seems to me that many who want to eliminate people from the pages of the past because of their failings have too black-and-white a view of things. They fail to recognize that, actually, we are all checkered to some degree. Each one of us.
By dismissing the good of the bad, we deny the promise and hope of redemption.
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