The best-selling book of all time just made a top 10 list of the most frequently challenged books in America. I'm surprised it wasn't number one.
Every year the American Library Association publishes a list of challenged and banned books in an effort to inform "about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools." The Association defines a challenge as "a formal written complaint filed with the library or school requesting that the materials be removed because of content or appropriateness."
Last year the Holy Bible shot up the list to number six, just four places behind the sexually explicit Fifty Shades of Grey, and three places behind I Am Jazz, the story of a transgender child. I imagine many Christians will take offense that God's Word found itself on such a controversial list that included titles like, "Two Boys Kissing." I for one am shocked for another reason. I want to know why it wasn't first.
How is it that the most radical and revolutionary text ever scribed doesn't top the list by a large margin each and every year? Is there really a more offensive and subversive text to a secular and sinful world than the Bible? I cannot think of one.
Consider this: If you are a God-hater or atheist who is infuriated by the words "In God We Trust" boldly printed on every coin and bill in your wallet; if you've remained silent during the Pledge of Allegiance because you cringe at the thought of uttering "one nation under God"; if you've worked tirelessly to see the Ten Commandments removed from every governmental building; and if "separation of church and state" is your favorite catch phrase, how could you possibly tolerate the thought of a Bible sitting on the shelf of the local library? Isn't the Bible the antithesis of everything you believe? What happens if a curious young mind picks it up and allows those radical thoughts to take root in his or her mind? I'm surprised you're not on the phone right now demanding its removal!
Perhaps the Bible is not yet number one because it hasn't been perceived as the threat it truly is. Apparently we believers need to do a better job preaching the whole Word with both boldness and love. When we do, I expect multitudes to be reborn while others become enraged.
Let's not be naive. The Bible will always be controversial because it is the ultimate challenge to the world's status quo. It offers freedom and truth to captives. It sets people free from the fear of this life and points their faith towards the next life. This is why regimes throughout history have banned and burned the book by the millions. They understood that it undermined their agendas. Even today in several nations it is a crime to have a Bible in your possession. Many brave believers have risked their lives smuggling the text across such borders. The Bible is dangerous indeed!
Even in our politically correct, postmodern culture that rejects absolute truth and holds tolerance as its only virtue, the Bible is a severe threat. Tolerance says every viewpoint and opinion must be celebrated as equal. It contends that truth is in the eye of the beholder and that everyone can be right in their own eyes. The Bible judges such notions as false. It offers a definitive contrast between right and wrong. It presents itself as the infallible word of truth and holds man accountable to that truth. It is the final word and supreme authority concerning morality. If tolerance is your aim then the Bible cannot be tolerated!
The Bible is a threat to anyone who celebrates a life of depravity. Such men and women find the light of the Bible to be incredibly uncomfortable. The truth of God's Word exposes the sin and sinfulness of humanity. It warns of God's wrath and judgment that awaits those who remain in sin. When the sinner is subjected to the scrutiny of Scripture, he's left with only two choices; humble himself in complete surrender to the Savior, or run away in humiliation. Expect those who refuse surrender to demand censorship.
My friend, the Bible leaves no room for compromise and conformity to the world. It draws a line between two opposing kingdoms and demands each man or woman choose a side. Jesus made this abundantly clear. He said, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on Earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's foes will be those of his own household'" (Matt. 10:34-36). In the end, there is nothing more divisive than God's Word. It truly is a two-edged sword that separates the flesh from the spirit.
Christians, don't back down from the Bible's bold stance on truth. It is the rock upon which you stand. Better to build upon it than to be crushed by it. We need not be ashamed of the gospel message. It is the power of God for the salvation of the world. Oh, the Bible may never be popular on Earth, but it will always be powerful. Don't shy away from the verses the world deems inappropriate. Share its truth loudly and clearly! Who knows, perhaps an unbelieving world will hear you, pick it up and read this dangerous text for themselves. Sure it might make the top of ALA's list, but imagine how many souls will make the Lord's List!
Daniel K. Norris is an evangelist who worked alongside Steve Hill bringing the message of revival and repentance to the nations. Together, they co-hosted a broadcast called "From the Frontlines." Norris also hosts the Collision Youth Conference that is broadcast all over the world. He can be contacted at danielknorris.com.
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