Just a bit ago, I saw a video clip wherein JD Greear was said to have claimed “the Bible changed over time.” Given current controversy, I gave it a watch, and was shocked to discover him answering his interviewer’s question (billed in the caption as “Does the Bible change over time?”) “of course it does!”
Shock! Amaze! Horror!
Except… that is not what the clip actually said. What made me wonder was the kick up into high gear that his following words made – he started talking exceptionally fast – often a sign that you have an important point to make – OR that you are recovering from a mistake in speech – as learned as someone who had speech therapy for quite a while, due to a catastrophically bad stuttering issue. The clip *actually* begins with the b in “Bible” only partially included – “-ible change over time?” Greear’s answer then begins with “of course it does!”
In any case, it made me wonder what the context was – and how it went on. So, I found the interview in question. Yeah, it doesn’t say “does the Bible change over time.” She asks “Does understanding of the Bible change over time?” A very different question, I hope you’d agree!
Basically, whether intentionally or not (and I have to believe it was intentional, sadly), the clip was altered to give the impression that he was denying the authority of Scripture by his answer. The question was presented as does the Bible change, in the introduction of the clip. Only the one who clipped this can tell us whether it was intentional – but the introduction given along with it certainly inserted information that wasn’t present in the clip!
Whatever issues we might have with someone’s teaching, it’s not acceptable to misrepresent it – or to uncritically pass along misrepresentations as fact. That, dear brothers and sisters, is libelous – and specifically forbidden by Scripture – and especially against elders in the Church. It’s hard to remain faithful – and the ease of failure is deceptive. I came within a whisker today of doing so. God’s grace is amazing, is it not?
UPDATE: The author of the clip claims, in subsequent tweets, that she merely erred in the timing of her recording’s start. I have no reason to disbelieve her, although I am still curious why she chose to use an altered beginning of the interviewer’s question in the description. Perhaps that, too, was mistaken. In any case, I am gratified that there has been a retraction, of a sort. She has since deleted the tweet listed above, and replaced it with a link a larger section of the interview. Unfortunately, this doesn’t repair the damage inflicted by it earlier in the day – a lesson which we should all take to heart.