Book Review: The Patriot's Bible (part 1)
Greg Boyd says the American Patriot's Bible is nothing less than "idolatrous."

Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, The American Patriot's Bible (henceforth Patriot's Bible) consists of hundreds of commentaries on various patriotic themes, ranging in length from one sentence to four pages, inserted at various points throughout the New King James Version of the Bible. Every special interest Bible imposes a certain agenda that to some degree colors the Word, but the Patriot's Bible takes this "coloring" to a whole new level. There's not a single commentary in this Bible that even attempts to shed light on what the biblical text actually means. To the contrary, the text of the Bible is used merely as an excuse to further the patriotic agenda of the commentators.

There are a multitude of problematic aspects to the Patriot's Bible, including the remarkable way it excludes from consideration almost every aspect of American history that could blemish the image of America or its heroes. For example, on the basis of Zechariah's prophecy that the Messiah would "speak peace to the nations" (Zech. 9:10) we are given a full page eulogy of Christopher Columbus that celebrates how God had destined this "devout Catholic" to bring the good news of salvation to an unreached people group. Absent from the commentary is any discussion of how he and his fellow pioneers deceived, maimed, raped and murdered a large number of these unreached people.

Yet, the selective retelling of American history found in the Patriot's Bible is not what concerns me the most. What disturbs me more is the way the commentators attempt to give their idealized version of American history divine authority by weaving it into the biblical narrative.

The central assumption that undergirds the Patriot's Bible is that America is, in a unique sense, a nation established, governed, blessed and protected by God. Throughout the Patriot's Bible, but especially in the Old Testament, an explicit parallel is drawn between Israel and America.

For example, George Washington is exalted as the "American Moses," about whom the commentators wonder "[h]ow…is it possible for so much greatness to be embodied in one man?" Similarly, as God brought the Israelites out of oppression and led them into the promised land, so God led the brave pioneers of America out of their oppression and brought them to their promised land. As God fought on the side of the Israelites to ensure victory over their foes, so God's providential hand was at work in all of America's military victories. And just as God used the children of Abraham to bless the whole world, so God has used, and wants to continue to use, America to bless the entire world by bringing it freedom.

May 22, 2009

Displaying 1–10 of 76 comments

matt

December 01, 2011  8:18am

Horrendous. Another example of how American nationalism often equates to Christianity. Syncretistic non-sense!

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true patriot

September 26, 2011  1:48pm

God has chose the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA to rule the world with an iron fist, anyone who says otherwise is a communist and a traitor. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!

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Pat

May 17, 2011  11:47am

...just taking a look (the Book is now available on PCH). Find it interesting that so many are willing to slam a version of God's Word which shows links to the FACT that many Christians were Founding Fathers and that a number of those who are deemed "deists" by today's revisionist historians (and that's what the kids learn in public school if they learn anything about the FF's faith) – were, indeed true believers. I suggest all of you, those for and those against, this Book: get involved and attend The Truth Project in-home classes, which will show you just how far from the God-inspired founding of this nation we have come. Sinners? You bet - we all are, they all were. But the reason this nation has prospered, IMHO, is that we were indeed founded on Biblical principles. The reason we are now floundering, decaying, and going under financially, spiritually, and otherwise - is that we've allowed godless people in all walks of life to draw us away from our founding principles. Everyone needs Jesus Christ; all Americans need to know "It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here." [Patrick Henry ~ May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses]

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Rob

August 05, 2010  9:54pm

The American Patriot's Bible is in no way making a statement that God only blesses America, that Jesus was a patriot, that America should sanction Christianity as a national religion, that the U.S. government has always acted "Christian" in its policies, that patriotism supersedes God, or that it supports African slavery, the genocide of Native Americans, imperialism, expansionism or war for the sake of war. This is a wonderful bible that includes a "compendium" of articles that celebrate great moments in American history through inspirational stories of faith by some really great Americans throughout history. I encourage everyone to "not judge this book by its cover or its title" and investigate it for yourself.

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anonymous

July 31, 2010  1:25am

From an American living in a nationalistic religious "To be a .. is to be a Muslim") country for the past 23 years–- stop wasting time, money and emotional energy on fear-based (e.g., God will remove His Blessing on the USA if we don't get back to our roots) or anger-based (e.g., these so-called Patriots are heretics or bigots,) Start seeking God about where He'd have you 100% active in His Kingdom (every tribe, tongue, people group, gender, ability.) Seek a new Pentecost in your own life and in your community. For example: At the present time in my country of residence and service there are less than 3,000 believers in Jesus the Messiah while the population exceeds 70 million. While Bibles are now available in the national language, believers are terrorized by actual or threatened imprisonment and baseless courtcases to dissuade sharing the Word. The constitution of this secular Muslim state supposedly guarantees freedom of religious choice but in actual practice this doesn't happen much–both the reigning political parties as well as the powerful secular military have singled out Christians as "threats to national security and well-being". Seekers and new believers are warned off of opening Bibles to read for themselves. School books teach that those who share the Good News are terrorists and insurgents. Close friends of mine have been taken into prison after having their homes raided by the ppoice looking for Bibles and "Christian " propaganda. I am not surprised. After all Jesus said this would happen to those who follow Him. What Is disturbing to me in relation to the debates in the US among Christians, Republican, Democrat or in-between is that the governments of this world (America and the U.K. being two of the most powerful influences here) tacitly back this persecution. They either keeping silent about it–I've given testimony about these facts as well as the brutualization of abandoned children with disabilities housed in state institutions more than once at the US Embassy here during the Bush years as well as the Clinton years and never heard or seen any statements decrying the injustices. Or worse, they aid the forces of oppression by telling Americans who move here that they should NOT share their faith or give anyone a Bible since it's against the law (a blatant lie but one the American authorities here choose to perpetrate). I pray that judgement on the USA will not fall–for whatever reason–but that Christians will start obeying Christ's last command to go into all the world and preach the Good News, making disciples and teaching everyone everywhere what He taught His students and friends. We are only visiting this planet and have only one life to live here. One day we will stand before the Throne of God–then wood,hay,stubble-like stuff will not survive the heat. Go for the Gold!

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John A.

July 15, 2010  8:27am

The editor, publisher and any purchasers need to repent. This is Sacralism out of control. Thank you for recognizing and exposing this evil. John A. Protoprotestant

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jaigner

January 14, 2010  12:23pm

Barry, The very fact that you credit Dr. Lee with authoring this Bible should be a major red flag.

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Michael

January 06, 2010  11:06pm

As far as I can tell from my reading of scripture, all men are sinners and fall short of God's glory - including George Washington. Yes, there were Christians involved in the founding of this nation, but not all of the founders were Christian in the sense that they recognized the divinity of Jesus, repented their sins and sought to make Him Lord in their lives. This has never been nor will it ever be a "Christian Nation." A careful reading of the Gospels should make it clear that there can be no such thing. An individual can be a "Christian" or "follower of the way" but not a nation. Our relationship with Christ is individual. All such individuals become part of the body of Christ, His church. No government entity, organization or group can be or become a "Christian." So many Americans have confused our society's values and their own politics with what is supposed to be a faith walk taken in "trembling and fear" lest we be swayed by false prophets or pseudo-gospels. Jesus told us to render to God that which is His and to Caesar that which is Caesar's. There is nothing wrong with being patriotic, but patriotism is not Christianity. Nor do you have to be a Republican to be a Christian. The one has nothing to do with the other. The more we muddy that water, the more we move away from our first love. The more extreme one group of Christians becomes on the right; the more extreme another group become to the left. One group condones the torture of terrorists and another allows sexual sinners to teach heresy from the pulpit. It has to be Jesus Christ, only Jesus Christ, and Him crucified without additions or we find ourselves fulfilling John the apostle's fears for us. declaring that which is sin to be no sin and that which is no sin to be the greatest sin. The tears of Jesus fall regularly on His church.

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Chris Hewko

January 05, 2010  4:04pm

I'm Canadian. I guess I'll have to wait for them to come out with the fur trader's bible (which will be in French and English) and celebrate all the bronze medals we win in the Olympics.

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Forrest

November 11, 2009  9:37pm

I scanned over the article which I found quite interesting. Unfortunately though is a lack of understanding of what the history of our nation began from. If you look at history in context to what our nation began from then you will find the reason why the Puritans and Pilgrims first came to this land. Basically it was to escape a repressive English Government that wanted to not only control but force its people to worship as the king wanted. The first colonist's wish was to have a relationship with mother England but without the burden of being controlled by them. As far as the notion that during the American revolution that it was victory of violence against our christian English brothers is a bit much. Just remember that much of what we fought against was a professional English army which the king used to suppress and tax the American colonists. Taxation without representation. Boston tea party. To say that it was violence is true but it was war to prevent the domination over our nation. We wanted to be free of such oppression, which is why we fought. Maybe this Bible has flaws but you need to look at the bigger picture because history is repeating itself right now in America. Big Government, oppression, Taxes, wild spending, a hate crimes bill, Control over the media. Instead of directing your views on this Bible you should instead look at your own hearts and make sure you know who our enemy really is. The devil goes around to devour who he may. The True church needs to rise up against the satanic liberal church in this nation. The truth of the gospel must be preached. Our religious heritage from our founding fathers must be told. Our nation's roots come from those brave men and women who first came to settle in Jamestown. They brought with them the beginnings of what our nation should be. Our Godly heritage in America must be preserved for future generations.

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