Preacher Robert Morris’ Horrible Eisegesis and Mangling of the Book of Job
Edit (Jan 26, 2017): I received a tweet from someone on Twitter in regards to this post who assumes that preacher Morris was referencing some verse from the book of Job where God spoke to Job and asked Job if Job intended to defend himself by putting God down.
However, that was NOT the verse Morris brought up in his sermon – at least not the portion I listened to.
In his sermon, Morris referred to, I believe, Job Chapter 33 (Link) or later, where Elihu (or another person in Job) makes an appearance and judges Job.
Elihu, son of Barakel the Buzite, said that Job was seeking to justify himself in his own eyes or by his own righteousness (see Job 34 – 37). I may be getting the verses or character name wrong, but my point is, Morris pointed to a “friend” in the story who told Job (paraphrase), “You seek to justify yourself based on your own righteousness, and that is wrong.”
Morris agreed with this take on Job by Elihu (or by whomever in the text spoke it) – but the text itself does not say this this was true of Job.
The text does not say that Elihu (or whomever it was in the text who said this) was correct about Job or about God on this.
God shows up at the end of the book of Job to say Job had God right all along, but that Job’s “friends” (such as Elihu) spoke falsely of God – and I think God said the “friends” also spoke falsely of Job, if memory serves.
It makes no sense to me, why, when God says the “friends” (including Elihu) got things wrong, Morris goes against God’s own interpretation to say that Elihu (or which ever friend it was) was correct – very bad biblical exegesis on Morris’ part.
The guy (or woman?) who tweeted me cited Job 42:6 as saying Job repented – but the text does not say Job repented of “self righteousness,” which is what Morris was citing Job for.
Here is what that section of Job says (Link):
Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”
It looks to me like one of the only things Job was repenting of in v.6 was:
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
I do not see Job confessing in that section that he was relying on his own righteousness to be right with God and was also repenting of that.
One wonders why so many gender complementarians argue that women should not be preachers themselves but only listen to male preachers, when so many male preachers are heretics who get the Bible so horribly wrong on so many subjects.
This brings me to the topic of preacher Robert Morris and his sermon about the book of Job. (You can read the book of Job online (Link): here.)
I was watching Texas-based preacher Robert Morris (who is awful, for a lot of reasons I don’t want to get into in the here and now) of Gateway Church sermonizing about the Old Testament book of Job on TV a few days ago.
In the book of Job, God Himself refers to Job as a “righteous man” or communicates that concept.
As a matter of fact, God thinks Job is so great, godly, and righteous, he brags on Job to Satan. From the book of Job:
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
— end Bible verse quote–
Here are a few more excerpts from the book of Job itself:
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.
— end Bible verse quote —
That sure sounds like a righteous man to me. If Job wanted to point to his righteousness to defend himself from the slander of his accusatory friends who show up later in the story, he would not be in the wrong for doing do.
If God Himself conveys that you are an upstanding kind of guy, it’s not bragging, or a sin of self-righteousness, for you to be in agreement with God on this, and to mention to your buddies you are righteous, godly, upstanding, what have you.
If you are a Christian, you likely believe that the Holy Spirit, God Himself in the Third Person, inspired that text, that very wording, so if the text says that Job was “blameless” and so forth, then by doggies, he was blameless.
Job sounds pretty freaking “righteous” to me, based on the Bible’s description of him.
(Being “righteous” is not the same thing as being “sinless.” Maybe that distinction is lost on the Robert Morrises of the world?)
As the book of Job progresses, God and Satan enter into a wager about Job. Satan asks God for permission to harass and abuse Job, and God agrees.
So, Satan does all this awful, crummy stuff to Job, such as allow most of Job’s family to be killed off, Job loses all or most of his wealth (if I remember correctly), and he develops boils all over his body. And so on and so forth.
Over the course of a few weeks, some friends of Job come to visit him. At first, these friends are a genuine source of comfort to Job – they are usually referred to as “Job’s Counselors” when biblical scholars talk about them.
However, as more time goes by, these friends start to Victim-Blame Job. (Just like a lot of Christians today do to hurting people. Some things never change.)
The friends argue that surely Job must have done SOMETHING to deserve being punished by God. Surely, Job must have done some huge sin for God to strike him with boils, to kill off most of his live stock, and so forth.
Job maintains his innocence through-out this hideous victim-blaming and these accusations.
This brings me to Robert Morris’ televised sermon about Job.
Robert Morris thinks he found out Job’s SIN! Morris quotes one of Job’s friends as saying that Job’s sin is his supposed self-righteousness.
Morris then goes on to explain that he thinks that Job is self-righteous, and this is Job’s sin and weak area that gave Satan access to Job. The problem is that the Bible no where says that any of this is so.
Morris used this point as a spring-board to convict Christian listeners that they should not be self-righteous but should only consider Christ’s righteousness.
I have no idea where Morris is getting any of this from, because the biblical text itself, as far as I remember (yes I have read the book of Job before, but it’s been awhile) does NOT accuse Job of being self-righteous.
The Bible actually conveys it’s Job’s very godly life and godly attitudes that made him a target for Satan – not any supposed sin he committed.
As a matter of fact, God Himself shows up at the end of the story of Job to VINDICATE Job and shut his critics up; here is what the biblical text says in the last chapter of the book about that:
After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.
8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.”
9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.
10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.
— end biblical excerpt —
God says Job said and did nothing wrong in his suffering, and Job did not commit some sin that brought on his suffering (remember the whole story kicked off because God was bragging to Satan about how GREAT and GODLY Job was).
In other words, if Job had been afflicted by Satan because he had been self-righteous, as Morris asserted, then God would have said as such, but he did not.
As at the start of the story, there at the end too, God said Job was indeed an upstanding guy.
But Morris is saying contrary to GOD HIMSELF that Job was to be blamed, Job was at fault, Job deserved the calamity that befell him.
If you are a preacher who is trying to warn his congregation about not falling into a self-righteous attitude (like what we see in the Pharisees of the New Testament), then do NOT use the book of Job for that purpose, because by doing so, you are actually standing in complete and stark CONTRADICTION to what that book is communicating.
The book of Job seeks to explain why bad things happen to good people, why God permits stuff to happen, and to strongly warn Christians AGAINST victim blaming.
But here we have Morris, who is using the book of Job, to victim blame Job! Using the book to Victim Blame Job completely goes against one of the main concepts of the book.
This is also proof that someone being a male, having a penis (I assume Morris has one), is not infallible on Bible teaching or anything else.
Women are not “more easily deceived” than men and hence not qualified to preach or understand the Bible. Please.
You have a penis-carrying human who badly mangled the book of Job (and to victim blame folks, which is the opposite intent and point of the book, which really peeves me), and you expect me to think God bans women from preaching or leading, and at that, just for being women?
I’m sorry to have to point out the obvious to you, but possession of a Penis does not make one immune from bungling biblical interpretation. Morris and his take on the book of Job is case in point on that.