Recently one of our insta-celebrities, one Tomi Lahren, dove into some hot water. Somehow Lahren had gotten herself known as a conservative commentatrix, sharing as among her opinions the notion that abortion is killing children – which she held firmly until she appeared on The View. Then, suddenly, Lahren declared that she’s “pro-choice” – why, just like her newest bestest friends! Whereupon Lahren was reminded that the internet is forever.
That whole predictable affair is background and not my focus. Let’s take two of Lahren’s tweets, released after this tea kettle had begun its tempest. They will seem unrelated, but stay with me.
First, Lahren issued this defiant cry on March 18, 2017:
I speak my truth. If you don't like it, tough. I will always be honest and stand in my truth.
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 18, 2017
To which, by the way, I replied:
Fun fact: there's just ONE truth, and God owns it, and He has made it known — on His terms (Prov. 1:7; 9:10; John 14:6; 17:17) https://t.co/7nR5gMadMU
— Dan Phillips (Inspired By Actual Events) (@BibChr) March 18, 2017
Lahren likely never saw it, however, and made no reply.
But then Lahren tweeted this in a somewhat different tone, on March 25, 2017:
"Don't be afraid" is written in the Bible 365 times- a daily reminder from God to live everyday fearlessly.
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) March 26, 2017
Leaving aside the accuracy of her count – do you see the mutual exclusivity of her two Tweets? Or what should be their mutual exclusivity? If we understood their cores as we should, we should all be anxious that they not touch each other, lest the universe explode.
In the first, Lahren speaks belligerently of her truth. In what I am sure is an unconscious (and wholly unwarranted) echo of Martin Luther, she slams down her own Hier stehe ich (“Here I stand”).
Yet in the second, Lahren appeals to something “written in the Bible,” and calls it “a reminder from God.”
In what universe can those two concepts coexist? On the one hand, Lahren has her truth, her own truth, and she stands on that truth, impervious to any external authority. Like Eve, she wants to determine good and evil for herself, and be her own god, answerable to none.
Then, in a blink, Lahren cherry-picks a few words from the Bible and identifies them as constituting a “reminder” from “God.”
So is Tomi Lahren the ultimate source of truth, or is the Bible? It can’t be both.
For instance, what of God’s other “reminders” in the Bible? For instance, the Bible very clearly teaches that elective abortion is a sin, is always wrong. That’s God’s truth, and I’m pretty sure He stands on it, no matter what anyone says.What about that reminder?
Or even more fundamentally – and in response to the words Lahren happened to like on that particular day – what about the reminder that there is a kind of fear that we all must have if we’re to have knowledge or wisdom?
Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 9:10: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
(If you’d like to understand Biblical teaching about the fear of the Lord, I study and open the subject up at great length in my book about Proverbs.)
We should know that Jesus would not ever be one to say to everyone, indiscriminately, that they should “live everyday [sic] fearlessly.” How do I know? By the fact that He said, in so many words,
I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! (Luke 12:4-5)
Jesus would say that the one who lives without the fear of God commended by Solomon and Himself – and, indeed, all over the Bible literally from Genesis to Revelation – is a great fool, not a happy soul (Luke 12:16-21).
As I explained when responding to Nicholas Kristof’s musings about Christianity, the Bible is not like a pile of Fortune Cookie messages, each detachable from the others as the picker’s whim dictates. Rather, the Bible is like one big, long sentence. Try to divorce any part from the rest, and it will turn on you, and you’ll be very, very sorry (Proverbs 13:13; 2 Peter 3:16).
This is what we must understand. The Bible does not present us with a few inspirational ideas and moral bromides, for us to pick and choose and work into our own already-established way of looking at things. No, the Bible is itself an opposing worldview, a kingdom that challenges our kingdom. Indeed, in our kingdoms, self is sovereign and my truth is the truth. In that, we all by default stand where Tomi Lahren said she stands. But in the Kingdom of God, Christ alone is Lord. I am not called to see which of His thoughts I find malleable and acceptable. I am called to repent.
If we are not reading the Bible’s great good news as world-tilting, fundamentally transformative and epochal, we are reading it wrong.
As I fear Tomi Lahren may be. I pray sincerely, for her own good, that she comes to see it otherwise.