A few Sundays ago, I was at church. The pastor was away and ended up being away one Sunday longer than he planned. So the children's pastor was presenting with the help of her children's church, They were talking about the Ten Commandments at one point and was asking the adult congregation what each one meant. When they came to what "Taking God's Name in Vain" meant, I raised my hand. She called on me and I said it means, "Saying that God said something when God had not actually said it." She was taken aback and responded, "Oh, that's good."
Why was she taken aback and responded thus? Well, I believe that it is because it has been beaten into our heads from the pulpit that the actual meaning of "Don't take God's name in vain" means don't use God's name as an expletive or swear word. I think most preachers, teachers, and authors do this innocently enough because they don't know any better. But I am sure that some preachers, teachers, and authors teach this on purpose to distract from the real meaning of the command. They want to make sure that this is what people think when, "Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy GOD in vain" comes up. They want people to think that this is referring to Joe Blow who hit his thumb with a hammer and is JCing and GDing all over his garage holding his injured digit. These unscrupulous preachers don't want people to realize that the greater sin of taking God's name in vain is saying that God agrees with them on some wonky doctrine, opinion, or idea that they claim is "biblical".
That Sunday mornings presentation along with the Bare Marriage's podcast on "The Problems With Lies Women Believe" put together with a quote a friend put on Facebook from Mark Driscoll has made me think again about this diversionary tactic concerning taking God's Name in vain.
First, let's look at the Bare Marriage podcast on Nancy DeMoss Wolgemoth's book concerning what Nancy refers to as lies women believe. Sheila and her guests come to the conclusion that it is Nancy who believes lies about God's attitude towards women and marriage. They did not go so far as to say that Nancy was using God's name in vain to convince women that God agrees with Nancy. But that's where my mind went. Does Nancy take God's name in vain when she wrongly uses scripture to warp God's love and nature against His daughters? When she uses the Bible to support her beliefs in a false narrative that the Bible does not actually support is she breaking that commandment? If she truly believes her lies to be true, is she then not held accountable for supporting her lies about God? I don't know. She may use these lies against herself just as much as against other women. So this is between her and her Lord. He loves her. She is in His hands.
Now let's turn to what, in my view, is closer to taking God's name in vain. It is something Mark Driscoll said back in 2007.
The only reason I'm thinking of this now is because a friend and co-worker recently put a Mark Driscoll quote up on Facebook. It was very triggering for me to see this sold-out-for-Jesus, Celebrate Recovery Christian quote Driscoll. In order to help her understand why Driscoll is not a good person to quote, I laid out for her an abbreviated list of reasons in chronological order (that I may post later on this blog). Going through that list of things, I dealt again with the 2007 quote from Mark Driscoll's infamous sermon in Scotland where he claimed that Jesus commanded women to sexually service their husbands in a certain way. He was taking God's name in vain, issuing as command to women something that God never commanded. The bad part of that sermon is also mentioned in the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill episode entitled The Things We Do To Women.at the 34 minute mark.
People were appalled at what Mark said in that sermon. But it never came up that he was taking God's name in vain. It never came up that when Mark told those women in Scotland that Jesus commanded them to service their husbands that he was breaking one of the Ten Commandments. And I don't know why people are so squeamish about calling out this sin and naming it for what it is.
I guess I'm just tired of Christians getting all up in arms about people using God's Name in Vain when they don't actually realize that preachers do it all the time, passing off their own opinion or interpretation as the very oracles of God.
So why am I so ready to say that Driscoll uses God's name in vain over Nancy DeMoss. Well, it has to do with what each gets out of their lies. Nancy's lies hurt herself along with other women. Driscoll's lies are all about propping himself up, serving him, and putting women down. He also labels his opinion of Bible interpretation as a literal "Command" from Jesus. So, yes, I would not be surprised if the judgement against Driscoll would be stronger.
But long and short, they both hurt women and lie about Who God is and how He feels about His daughters. I would not want to be in either one of their shoes come Judgement Day.