For over 200 years The American Bible Society (ABS) has been publishing, distributing and translating the Bible into every language. Their website states their mission is to “transform lives through God’s Word.”
However, the ABS has been met with resistance by some of its employees over a new policy they recently implemented. In fact, some have quit their jobs. What far-out idea could have caused this uproar within ABS?
The new policy is requiring all employees to not only affirm their faith in the Bible, but to commit to living their lives “as described in the Bible.” The policy describes in detail how they are to pursue an identity in Christ that is Biblical.
Specifically, they are to be involved in a local church, engaged in regular Bible study, minister to the needs of others, resist the temptation to engage in “deceptive, malicious speech,” and “to refrain from sexual activity outside of the marriage covenant prescribed and exemplified in the Bible.”
What a radical policy, eh?
At first, I thought this was a satirical news story from the Babylon Bee. But it’s so. I checked it out on their web page.
In a statement released to The Christian Post, ABS President and CEO Roy Peterson said the policy “addresses the core tenets of the historic Christian faith and articulates expected behaviors to uphold a set of unifying beliefs, values, and conduct as set forth in the Bible. We did this because we believe a staff made up of people with a deep and personal connection to the Bible will bring unity and clarity as we continue our third century of ministry.”
Apparently, 9 employees have quit including one who is a homosexual who said the new policy “specifically excludes me.”
God has not just called us to believe, but to behave. The code of conduct of an organization that promotes Biblical values and requires its people to live by them is not a radical idea The ABS policy ought to be the practice of all people professing allegiance to Jesus Christ.
Among the various exhortations the apostle Paul issued to his “son in the faith,” Timothy, he wrote to him so he would know “how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth. (1 Tim. 3:15, ESV)
The Greek word translated behave literally means “to turn upside down, to turn back.” It is used 22 times in the epistles and 8 times by Peter in his letters. The old King James version translated the word “conversation.” Newer versions often translate it “conduct.”
When one becomes a Christian his life is turned around and upside down, compared to his former way of living. The Bible says, “Behave like obedient children. Don’t let your lives be controlled by your desires, as they used to be.” (1 Pet 3:14, CEV)
Behavior has to do with my demeanor, deportment, and manner of life. It means to act in a certain manner. Or to acquit. As “he acquitted himself well under extreme pressure.”
Peter exhorted first century Christians to “abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul” and to keep their “behavior excellent among the Gentiles.” (1 Pet 2:12, NASU)
Shouldn’t this be the “policy” of every church that belongs to Christ? And of every member who wears the name “Christian”? And of every family seeking to build a Christian home?
Yet, it is amazing to hear people rationalize ungodly and immoral behavior all the while claiming loyalty to the Lord. I’ve seen people become upset and incensed at godly Shepherds who insisted they live according to the teaching of the Bible.
In fact, Biblical behavior ought to be more than a policy, it should be a way of life. A result of spiritual transformation. And a commitment to Christ. The Bible says, “But like the One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (1 Pet 1:15, NASU)
The ABS directive is not wild or weird. It’s rightly aligned with the Word. And it should be the desire of every Disciple of Christ.
“Let us behave properly…not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Rom. 13:13-14)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman