By Pastor Ron Buxton
One of the most beloved authors of American literature once said this in a revealing interview with a major U.S. newspaper: “To this day I cherish an unappeased bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who…compelled me to read an unexpurgated [not cleansed from filthiness] Bible through before I was 15 years old.” And so, to this very influential author, the Bible was just a composition of dirty stories and horrible conclusions about life. Today, allow me to explain the dangers of “twisted Scripture”.
St. Augustine wrote: “We love the truth when it enlightens us. However, we hate the truth when it convicts us of personal sin.” And that is why Mark Twain—the author mentioned in that first paragraph—was so hostile to Christianity and the Bible. And, sadly, his influence continues to negatively impact future generations of readers. Why? Second-hand information regarding the message of the Bible itself can be dangerous. You see, Mark Twain’s twisting of Scripture has probably done more to derail an honest approach to Biblical Christianity than any other American author!
Statistically, the Bible has been the #1 best-seller of all time. Ironically, it has also remained the #1 least read book of all time! Thus, its contents are easily twisted for folks with a second-hand knowledge of it. And Mark Twain was known to do just that. Nowhere else is that more evident than in his very best-selling book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In that book, Twain’s perspective on slavery was the very climax of that entire story, and yet, it was his dramatic twisting of Scripture which has gone unnoticed to most readers.
First of all, the slavery in the Bible was not the same horrendous practice that later became the ugliest period of American history. However, Twain invented a fictional internal struggle for Huckleberry Finn concerning an escaped slave named Jim. Apparently, Huck was convinced that the proper Christian thing to do would be to return Jim to his master. Moreover, Huck was also convinced that he would be damned to hell by God for not doing that! And so, the climax was the statement that he would just go to hell rather than betray his friend! So twisted—and yet so unchallenged—by the naive public which continues to esteem and enjoy that book!
Deuteronomy 23:15 clearly states: “You shall not give back to his master the slave who has escaped from his master to you.” It couldn’t be any more plain! Nonetheless, Mark Twain’s fictional account has become “moral ammunition” to an increasingly skeptical society. And, sadly, people don’t realize that that negative influence could eternally separate them from a loving and redemptive God! They just don’t realize how dangerous the twisting of Scripture can be. Just read Genesis chapter three for yourselves! Folks—we need first-hand knowledge of the Bible! Don’t allow twisted Scripture to put your soul into some kind of knot that you’ll never be able to untie!