Friday, August 08, 2014

Which Part Of The Bible Should We Believe?

Talking with James Dobson earlier this week, Dr. Ben Carson asked "If the Bible is wrong on gay marriage, then why isn't it wrong on everything else?"

It's understandable that atheists and secularists take every opportunity to undermine the authority of the Bible.

But how can those who claim to be "Christian" square up with the notion that we can "selectively" accept biblical teaching on morality?

The Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist church and other denominations are being torn apart by this and similar issues.

Too many Pastors and political leaders continue to claim a belief in the Bible, yet condition their professed belief by only believing certain parts of it.

How does one chose which part to believe, and which not to believe?

Should the Bible shape the culture, or should the culture shape the Bible?

If the culture should shape the Bible, what then becomes the moral compass for society?


Dobson was interviewing Dr. Ben Carson, recently retired head of pediatric surgery at Johns Hopkins, on his radio program earlier this week.

Dr. Carson said to Dobson, "I find it difficult to understand why ministers are willing to abandon the Scriptures...I guess its go along and get along."

Dobson agreed saying he knows many formerly conservative pastors, many in large influential churches, who have abandoned biblical teaching on morality.

He said, "If they're right today, were they wrong yesterday?"

The so-called "Emerging Church" movement has subtly moved the focus from "knowing" the Truth, to seeking or "pursuing" the Truth.

The shift seems insignificant, but it isn't.

The "Emerging Church" often uses paintings, slides, drawings, candles and other visual expressions to stimulate dialog about moral and spiritual truth. This, they say, better relates to the Postmodern worldview and allows the church to relate to our present culture.

While none of these activities are inherently wrong in and of themselves, the results are destructive.

The problem with this attempt to relate is that it affirms rather than changes the culture. It leads to a place where morality, social construction (the culture), political movements, art, and even religion are relative to cultural norms, rather than absolute Truth.

While many in the Emerging Church movement claim a sincere attempt to "reach" the culture, in the end, the culture has shaped the church.

In order to relate, there is necessarily a subtle revision and shift of emphasis. A generation that has been indoctrinated in public education to believe all things are relevant and evolutionary can say they accept Jesus as Savior, but believe He is not the only way to God. That would be unfair, it would violate God's love and equality toward all people.

That idea stands in absolute contradiction to what Jesus Himself taught. He said that He is the "only" way to God.

This same generation can also believe the biblical model for marriage was good in the past, but things have changed, claiming Christian love, acceptance, equality and fairness as the basis for redefining marriage---and God's Word.

While the Christian church must reach the current culture in a relevant way, merely affirming their "lostness" is not a way to lead.

Scripture calls this "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it."

In the end the Bible was given, not to relate, but to save and transform. To present the Truth which sets people free. When the Bible is presented in the spirit of Christ's love it often conflicts with the cultural norms, but it also calls one to a better life---now and in eternity.

That message is relevant in every culture and in all times.

Relativism is morally destructive. It is also politically and culturally destructive.

Terence Jeffrey wrote an article this week tilted, "The American Left vs. God Given Rights."

While his purpose was a bit different than the point I make, it also makes our point.

Jeffrey refers to a recent opinion from Judge Henry Floyd of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, given after he declared Virginia's marriage---one man, one woman, unconstitutional.

He says the judge's perception of the disagreement over marriage is wrong.

He says this:

The opponents and proponents agree that marriage is a fundamental right," the judge wrote. "They strongly disagree, however, regarding whether that right encompasses the right to same-sex marriage. The opponents argue that the fundamental right to marry belongs to the individual, who enjoys the right to marry the person of his or her choice. By contrast, the proponents point out that, traditionally, states have sanctioned only man-woman marriages. They contend that, in light of this history, the right to marry does not include a right to same-sex marriage."

Neither of these arguments — as summarized by the judge — is true. Even if states had historically approved of same-sex marriage, that would not make such marriages a right. After all, some states had historically approved of letting some people hold other people in slavery — which was not a right, but rather a profound violation of the God-given rights of the people who were enslaved.

The truth is that all rights come from God, whether the state recognizes it or not.

If any other power claims to be the author of our rights, that power is attempting to usurp an authority that belongs only to God.

Our Founders made it abundantly clear that our rights come from God. America was founded on that Truth.

The progressive left today are claiming "rights" that God has not given, therefore they are not rights.

The Emerging Church is affirming all this under the guise of wanting to "relate."

Did God give doctors the right to kill unwanted,unborn children?

Did God give two men or two women the "right" to marry one another and then adopt children with the approval of the state?

Do children not have a God given right to a father and mother?

The secular progressives not only want this nation to recognize things that are not rights, as rights, but to abridge rights that are truly God-given and inalienable."

In this narrative, the state becomes God, the citizens become subjects.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating. Patrick Henry, one of our Founders said, "When people forget God, tyrants forge their chains."

More importantly the Bible says "There is a way that seems right to man, but the end is death."

I agree with a growing majority of Americans, our country is on the wrong track.

Our Founding Fathers knew the "right" way---they wrote it down in the Declaration of Independence. Many who followed them knew it as well.

It's time to sound the alarm in this generation and it must begin in the church.

If the church would proclaim the whole gospel with clarity and conviction, this generation could be changed and the culture restored.

This is not a time to remain silent---striving for relevance. The Word of God "is" relevant.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Bold. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.

11 comments:

  1. I think it's simple silly and certainly intellectually shallow to interpret the Bible literally. God did not talk to automatons who transcribed His thoughts word-for-word. Instead, the Bible is the word of God in the words of man. And those men were part of a culture, part of a time, that influenced how they wrote and how they thought. They wrote with their audiences in mind, using different genres to communicate God's message -- psalms, gospels, stories, letters, songs... Slavery was an accepted part of that time period. But God does not teach us that He wants us to be slave owners. And that's an important point: What is written in the Bible is not the same as what the Bible teaches. Taking it literally is like taking a library literally.

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    1. Can you expand with more examples as I'm not sure this thought holds in all cases. There are some books in a library that teach facts that can be taken literally like the law of gravity. You jump out of a plane and you will fall.

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    2. When God said "thou shall not kill", was he speaking figuratively? or literally? If figuratively, then I can kill anyone anytime. Oh, you mean I can't? Why? Because God speaks literally, through his people, word for word.

      We play with fire when pick and choose which of God's clearly spoken word to follow. I've said this before, the Laodician church spoken about in Rev.3:14ff is alive and growing. Be discerning indeed!

      Thanks Gary, again!

      Craig in Lacey

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    3. Thanks Craig that helped clarify your original post especially your last paragraph

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    4. God condemns slavery in the -same- passage he condemns homosexuality (I Tim 1:8-11). Both kidnapping/selling people into slavery, and men sleeping with each other sexually, are both condemned as 'contrary to sound doctrine' and nonconforming with the gospel. While it is good to understand the difference between poetry, parable, analogy, cultural context - etc - there is no getting around explicit passages. Homosexuality is condemned along with slavery, matricide, homicide, lawbreaking, perjury - etc. Are any of those ok just because the culture decides they are ok? No - the word helps us stand against the culture, we do not let the culture redefine the word.

      That christians were to remain slaves if they were when converted is a different matter - here, peace and the testimony for God was far more important than using violence to break their chains. Conversely, masters who converted were to treat their slaves as brothers, not slaves. Culturally it would have been difficult to let them go, though that could be done as well. This is also why many Christians in early America didn't buy slaves, but if given them treated them well - as if they let them go without the proper paperwork or set up (or even with) they could be kidnapped or sold into slavery again.

      There were 'bondslaves' as well, but this is a very different concept. These are poor people who would willingly enter a contract of servitude in exchange for shelter/wages/etc. It's more like 'live in work'. They were released from the work automatically every 7 years. Their bosses couldn't kill them or cheat them, etc. Some liked the arrangement so much that they chose to enter a life long contract, or have their family serve as well (similar to the medieval concept of serfs).

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  2. The Bible isn't wrong on 'gay marriage':

    Marriage is a thing of this world, there will be no 'marry or marriage'.
    The ability to be celibate is a gift from God that not all can receive.
    If one cannot remain celibate then they should marry.
    There is no male or female in the body of Christ.
    The marriage bed is undefiled.

    Pretty clear - Christians can and should marry if they can't be celibate, gay or straight.

    That's the miracle of Scripture - written by flawed mortal men but it says exactly what God wanted it to say and teaches the lessons we need to learn.

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    1. Oh?....Are you saying that there is no difference between Any of the trees of the garden?

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    2. Are trees in the body of Christ?

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  3. Sheep or Goats? What are we willing to be? That's what's happening right now.
    This IS a test. Will we hold to the Word and say what the Word says or not?

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  4. Lots of people need to get back to the beginning. It's a good place to start all over again.

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  5. Because there is a difference between right and wrong, something wrong should never be given the place of a right. Civil rights belong to things that are both civil and right.

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