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Hobby Lobby, Archaeological Artifacts, and Contradiction

I noticed this story going around on social media this morning and wanted to offer a quick comment. It appears that a settlement has been reached between the owners of Hobby Lobby and the government regarding the unlawful acquisition of archaeological artifacts for their Museum of the Bible. They have agreed to forfeit the artifacts and put in place policies and procedures to ensure that such illegal acquisitions do not take place in the future. You may read the story here and here.

In our zeal to defend and preserve the Bible, Christians must ensure that their methods are both moral and legal. I do not know if the Hobby Lobby owners knowingly acted illegally or not (my understanding is that there is much evidence to suggest intended smuggling), but they definitely needed to do more research and take extra steps to ensure moral and legal acquisition of the artifacts. If the Museum of the Bible is to stand as a testament to the reliable transmission of the Bible through the ages, it cannot stand due to a violation of the morals taught within the Bible's pages.

I'm glad to see Hobby Lobby take steps to improve their methods and reduce possibility of legal violations with future acquisitions. Let's pray that the owners will learn from this experience and will act in wisdom going forward to complete their project.

This needs to be a lesson for all Christians, especially those involved in representing Christ in a very public way (all parachurch ministries fall into this category). We need to ensure that our scholarship and execution of projects are conducted with the highest level of honesty and legality (intellectual and financial). I like how Ravi Zacharias articulated the potential problem:

Quote from "The Grand Weaver" by Ravi Zacharias- "The moral law also serves as a profound reminder that in God there is no contradiction. The moral law stands as a consistent, contradiction-free expression of God's character. if I violate this law, I bring contradiction into my own life, and my life begins to fall apart."

If we do not conduct our ministries with the highest level of moral character, then we run the risks of allowing contradiction to enter our lives and being identified as hypocrites. Intelligent people know that the correct worldview cannot contain contradictions, and if we present our worldview as contradictory, we provide them with a reason to reject our worldview as true. We must make the conscious choice to represent Christ with the highest level of honesty, so "they may see our good works and glorify our Father, who is in heaven." (Matt 5:16b)

For further investigation into the ethical topics covered here check out these deeper posts: