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Why This May Be the Most Offensive Verse in the Bible by Trevin Wax

What is the most offensive verse in the Bible today?

Ask that question of people in 21st-century North America, and you’re likely to think about Bible verses that insist upon the exclusivist nature of Jesus’s teaching, or warn about hellfire and judgment, or forbid sexual behavior that society celebrates. Verses like these go against the grain of contemporary “common sense,” because they oppose pluralism, universalism, and the sexual revolution.

But I’m convinced that there’s one Bible verse that, when rightly understood, proves most offensive to people whose sensibilities have been shaped by Western notions of inclusivity and freedom. All the controversies mentioned above can be traced back to a simple command and affirmation found in one of the Bible’s most popular songs: Psalm 100, the one that starts by urging us to “make a joyful noise unto the LORD.” Two verses later, we read…

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Trevin Wax is senior vice president of theology and communications at LifeWay Christian Resources and a visiting professor at Wheaton College. He is the general editor of The Gospel Project, and the author of multiple books, including Rethink Your Self, This Is Our Time, Eschatological Discipleship, and Gospel Centered Teaching. You can follow him on TwitterFacebook, or receive his columns via email.