An Atypical American’s Typical Bible Knowledge

Charles Barkley is no average Joe. In the 1990s, he was one of the best basketball players in the world. While playing in the National Basketball Association, he scored more than 23,000 points, played in nine All-Star games, was voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 1993, and now serves as a television basketball analyst. Even people who know very little about basketball are familiar with Charles Barkley. As atypical as Barkley is as a famous athlete and television personality, sadly, his Bible knowledge is typical of many Americans.

In a recent political discussion with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Barkley condemned “conservative” Christians for making judgments against homosexuals and abortionists. He said:

Every time I hear the word “conservative,” it makes me sick to my stomach because they’re really just fake Christians…. I think they want to be judge and jury. Like, I’m for gay marriage. It’s none of my business if gay people want to get married. I’m pro-choice. And I think these Christians—first of all, they’re supposed to be—they’re not supposed to judge other people, but they’re the most hypocritical judge of people we have in this country…. [T]hey act like they’re Christians, and they’re not forgiving at all (2008).

Barkley has implied that “fake Christians” are those who oppose homosexuality and abortion. Christians who condemn homosexuality and abortion supposedly are hypocritically judging others, and being unforgiving.

Sadly, Barkley’s beliefs and allegations are typical of many, many Americans whose Bible knowledge would hardly fill a thimble. This kind of ignorance, combined with an attempt to teach people about unrighteous judgments, forgiveness, and morality, is a dangerous combination. You get the very opposite of what God’s Word actually teaches.

The same Jesus who said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1), taught men to “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). The same Jesus who taught about the necessity of forgiveness (Matthew 6:12; Luke 17:3-4), denounced fornication, adultery, and murder (Matthew 15:18-20). In the same letter in which the apostle Paul warned Roman Christians of making unrighteous judgments (Romans 14:3-4), he condemned men who “burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful” (Romans 1:27). To the same church that Paul wrote to “forgive and comfort” (2 Corinthians 2:7), he commanded to condemn sexually immoral Christians when the church gathered together (1 Corinthians 5:1-13).

The fact is, Satan has sold lie after lie to Americans. Just like he convinced Israel in Isaiah’s day to “put darkness for light, and light for darkness…bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter,” he has convinced American politicians, the media, and others to “call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).

“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight” (Isaiah 5:21). Woe to the typical, biblically ignorant American who attempts to pit the virtues of forgiveness and righteous judgments against specific sins that Almighty God condemns. Americans, be warned. Christians, listen carefully. The same prophet who condemned Israel for their depravity, prophesied of their captivity.

“Therefore my people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge” (Isaiah 5:13, emp. added).

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hosea 4:6).


Barkley, Charles (2008), “CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer,” CNN, February 17, [On-line], URL:


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