As I opened a letter today to reply to one of my pen pals, a Bible Tract fell out. It wasn’t a surprise given who this pen pal is, but as I browsed the Tract, I couldn’t help but giggle.
The Tract in question is one of those “$1,000,000 Question” ones; it looks like a $1,000,000 bill (U.S. Currency), with the pitch on the back. This one has Thomas Jefferson on the face, which immediately struck me as odd because when he was running for president of the US, his opponents people (because it was the “people” who did the campaigning, not the candidate back then) labeled him an atheist.
Thomas Jefferson wasn’t an atheist, but he’s certainly not the first president (or other founding father) I’d associate with an Evangelical Bible Tract! I mean, this is the man who literally cut apart a Bible (possibly 2 or 3 because I think he included the Greek and Latin (and Wikipedia hints at the French as well) translations) to create the “Jefferson Bible” which reorders the story of Jesus into chronological order (combining Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John into one continuous story) while removing all the supernatural events. This was his way of making sense of Christianity.
So, reading the back of this tract made my head explode because it includes “Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death”, but Jefferson ended his Bible with the tomb stone being rolled closed, which means that he rejected the resurrection of Jesus, a key tenant of traditional Christianity!
But, I think that LivingWaters.com has received complaints about this particular Tract because it’s not amongst the 65 Tracts that are currently up for sale (this post was written on 11/6/2016). I found this out when I went to find a link to the Tract and see what it’s “billed” as. It looks like they’ve replaced Jefferson with Benjamin Franklin (who apparently wrote a letter now titled: Advice to a Friend on Choosing a Mistress).
I’m starting to think that maybe I’ve missed the point of these particular Tracts. Maybe we’re supposed to reject the front part ($1,000,000 and the “stately Statesman”) and instead focus on the message on the back…I guess I need to ask this pen pal for clarification.