Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Silly-Putty Bible

I'm constantly upset and disturbed by Christians and Christian "pastors" who like to teach their church that the Bible was merely the subjective babblings of men who used heavy symbolism to attempt to convey contemporary meaning to their audience; essentially relegating any genuine, authoritative or objective point they may have tried to have been making into total obscurity.

If the Bible is only subjectively true, rife with symbols and apt to mean different things to different people (depending on culture, education, etc) then in truth we are using semantics to say the Bible effectively means nothing. It teaches nothing. If it is subject to my opinion of what a text means, rather than an objective truth presented by the Holy Spirit for my acceptance or rejection (but hardly my interpretation), then the word of God is in fact only the word of man. Perhaps it is the word of men who were seeking after God, with some of God's actual word scattered throughout its pages, but is that any better? Who determines which parts God actually inspired, and which were simply human musings, subject to deterioration? And what of the writers who claimed to be speaking for God, inspired BY God? If nothing else can be said about them, they were either demented or deliberate liars.

I think the idea of saying the Bible was written by fallible men who were speaking to their generation is perhaps some backward attempt to salvage the Bible. Some Christians believe the Bible is precise when it comes to morals and eternal matters, but hazy and replete with error when it speaks of history, science or anything that can be empirically verified. But if what can be verified by secular corroboration is at fault, then how am I inspired to believe in a God for my eternal welfare that can't get temporal details right? The Bible becomes a sad relic from the past that ought not to be respected, but quietly set aside and forgotten.

I also believe that people today suffer from chronological snobbery. They think that people today are far smarter than those who lived 2000-3000 years ago. Yet the people who lived in such times gave us complex mathematics, philosophy, and structures that cannot be replicated even today, with techniques that continue to elude the modern mind. If the Second Law of Thermodynamics is correct, then the human mind (a close system) is winding down along with the rest of creation. Man isn't on an upward path of evolutionary change into some eventual god-like being; we are breaking down along with the rest of the world. Joshua said the same when he told Israel: "Behold this day I am going the way of all the earth," Joshua 23:14. He understood that the very planet he inhabited was not going to endure, but was breaking down, just like he was, and would eventually cease to be. In layman's terms, I believe we have become LESS intelligent than our ancestors as time as progressed.

The Bible speaks implicitly that Christians would forsake the faith and have their itching ears tickled by teachers who were not interested in God's word, it's integrity or accuracy, but in leading astray people to follow after them. When you depart in this fashion, actively telling people to doubt the veracity of the Bible, you have replaced the Bible as the authority of spiritual matters. Because who will the church body turn to when questions regarding its interpretation arise? The pastor, of course! Some will decide on their own, but many will follow that old and erroneous saying "want to know your standing with God? Check your relationship with your pastor." The Bible has withstood every acid test used against it, and still people prefer to doubt rather than trust because the pressure of an unbelieving world bears down on them. Either the Bible is totally trustworthy and an objective source of divine truth for the believer to use like as road map to navigate this life, or it is a hodge-podge of useless wranglings of men who deceived both themselves and their readers. You can't have it both ways, to say "I teach the word of God in truth...but only the parts that actually might be true..."

Again, Joshua challenged Israel in his day, and the challenge stands for every professing Christian who thinks they belong to God: "If it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve," Joshua 24:15. Turning from God and maligning His word, altering His word, failing to teach ALL of His word, is effectually committing the sin Israel would chronically be guilt of: failure to adhere 100% to God's revealed word. 99% is disobedience, and therefore a rejection of the Lord's rule for your own, because your supplanting His wisdom with your own, determining for Him which parts of the Bible He got wrong. Furthermore, our sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, is whittled down to a paring knife if we cast constant doubt over any part we find disagreeable, or supposed experts long to reveal as defunct and wrought with error. You're a soldier on a battlefield without a weapon; in other words, you are a sure fire casualty in this war.

To the pastors and teachers who commit such sins, I would implore you to stop poisoning the minds of people who look to you for spiritual leadership. You yourself are blind, because it is only God's revealed word that is a light unto our path, and a lamp for our feet, Psalm 119:105. Jesus warned the blind leading the blind would result in both (teacher and student) falling into a ditch. The word of God, by the leading of the Holy Spirit who dwells in His saints, teaches us what is true. It's time for the saints to be strong, trust that their God is likewise strong, and believe that the Bible is accurate, objective, divinely inspired truth; not only for the generation in which it was written, but entirely applicable today, here and now. Otherwise you may one day find yourself hearing those horrifying words from our Savior: "I never knew you, depart from Me," Matthew 7:23.

2 comments:

  1. Amen, Ian,

    That attitude of picking and choosing what we want while claiming to believe in god is exactly what the doctrine of Balaam is all about, and has been a concern to me for many years, as I'm sure you have noticed. It is a far bigger threat to the church today than any action a government could possibly take. One of the driving forces in my writing the book Prescription For Revival was the hope of waking up a group I had been associated with to what they were doing.

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  2. Thank you for the comment, Donald. I was really grieved by a recent article talking about these very matters, and how casually Christians give up their reliance on the Bible for...something woefully inadequate. It's imperative for teachers who adhere to sound doctrine to be just as vocal and committed to their position, correcting those who err in a spirit of love, and with patience only God can bestow.

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