Red Letters

Red Letters


Is the Bible Really the Word of God?

posted by Tom Davis

Frank Schaeffer doesn’t think so. I must say, I was disturbed when I read this article in the Huffington post. Frank’s father, Francis Schaeffer, was one of the great theologians I grew up reading and wrote books such as: The God Who Is There and How Should We Then LIve? 

Frank is directly contradicting any authority the Bible has in his new book. He makes these kinds of comments:
“maybe if there is a God, or if Jesus spoke truth about how we are to care for others or if the Light of Love in my life has taught me anything, then the best thing a believer in any actual God can do is to admit that a lot of the Bible is hate-filled blasphemy.”

“Maybe if there is a God? If Jesus spoke the truth?” 

This sounds like the words of an atheist or agnostic, not a self-proclaimed Christian. He goes on:

“There is a verse in Timothy that says that all Scripture is for our edification. This verse, not the many Bible stories of the many killings “ordained by God,” is the scariest verse in the Bible.”

Read the article and then I’d love to hear your thoughts about the reliability of the Bible. Can we trust it? Is it the Word of God? Is it even a historically accurate book?



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Jason

posted August 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm


Frank’s article sure doesn’t look like it’s written by a Christian. If anything, it looks to me as the work of someone who wants to make the world’s standards his gospel.



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Renee

posted August 6, 2010 at 12:32 pm


Who hasn’t struggled with understanding and reconciling a God of love with seemingly barbaric tactics of the old testament? But saying let’s throw out the Bible because we cannot understand everything about God is laughable. We will never understand God. He will never make human sense. At some level you have to accept by faith that His word is true, that he is loving, and kind and merciful and just. (And of course it helps if that has played out in your own life as it has mine!) If we can’t have faith that His word is true, then all we have left is a God made up to fit each person’s own image of what and who they think God should be. And that in my opinion is the ultimate “false” God.



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Jeff Goins

posted August 6, 2010 at 12:35 pm


Wow. We live in an interesting era, especially with respect to faith and morals. These are both exciting and dangerous times.



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Delwyn X. Campbell

posted August 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm


It sounds like Frank has relationship issues with his father. That is sad, because he won’t be able to use that to justify his rejection of JEsus Christ when he stands before the judgment seat of Christ.
As regards your question, Schaeffer’s screed has no impact on my trust in God’s Word. Whyshould it, Schaeffer is just a creature, not my Creator



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Sara Schaffer

posted August 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm


I agree with Renee – God will never make human sense. Humans don’t even make sense as Frank has clearly shown us. I thank God there is a Word that is consistent, reliable and true, especially in a world that can be so arrogant and fickle and mean. Thanks for the discussion, Tom!



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Wyatt Roberts

posted August 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm


I think the most significant thing Schaeffer writes is this:
“There is another choice besides rejecting religion outright or adopting an all-the-Bible-is-true fundamentalism, one too rarely made. The fact is too few religious people are willing to suffer the loss of approval by their religious leaders, friends and family to make this other choice: embrace faith in God by thinking for themselves and openly reject the parts of one’s scriptures outright that fly in the face of fact, compassion and decency.
Now, some of what Schaeffer says is silly. Just because a rape is recorded in the Bible doesn’t mean that God approves of it. However, I have to admit that he raises an important question, and it’s one that most Christians are hard pressed to explain: How do you explain what appears to be direct Old Testament commandments by God for Israel to engage in genocide and ethnic cleansing?
As Christians, shouldn’t we have an answer? To simply accuse Schaeffer of not playing fair because he raises hard questions about hard sayings does nothing to recommend our faith.
“This is what the Lord Almighty says… ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'” (1 Samuel 15:3)
So let’s take his question seriously. Was that a commandment from God? Or are they the words of someone justifying their own actions? Or was it something else? If God commanded that, how do we reconcile it with the example of Jesus, who Hebrews tells us was the imprint, the character and essence of God?
(By the way, I don’t appreciate Schaeffer’s snarky attitude either, but that’s not an excuse for ignoring his point).



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Sherie

posted August 6, 2010 at 12:59 pm


I see Frank making an error that many of us (if not all) make at some time. He is taking scripture out of context. The verses he quoted fit into bigger context and when standing on their own they don’t make sense. In the same way I think our lives don’t make sense when we only look at our story without looking at how others and God fit in. This is a journey of faith, and one of where our hearts need to be changed. Right now Frank sounds like he needs a personal touch and awareness of the real God, the God who is full of love, because Frank seems to see wrath, hatred, and restriction. His call that people should “embrace faith in God by thinking for themselves and openly reject the parts of one’s scriptures” has been an argument since Biblical times, but if we don’t accept Scripture, then how are we accepting the Lord?
Is it the Word of God? Yes. It says it is, and it tells us it is okay to test that. I have, and I find nothing else to take its place that holds truth.
Can we trust it? Yes! My saying that doesn’t make it true, and each person has to come to a heart conviction on what is true and what to trust. I just do my part and believe God opens hearts.
Is it even a historically accurate book? Much work has been done to disprove the Bible and most of the stories I know details about confirm that no archaelogical or factual information has been discovered to contradict it. Many facts of been confirmed, but not everything.



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Joe

posted August 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm


People get this idea of God as a benevolent “heavenly grandfather”, as C.S. Lewis put it — where God’s only role is to smile at us approvingly and make sure we’re “happy”. Then they complain that the difficult parts in the Bible and the presence of evil in the world “prove” that (pick one): The Bible is wrong, God does not exist, God is not good, etc.
Difficulty and evil in the world are the products of sin. God permits (and describes in His Word) these things because the consequences of sin clearly show the stark contrast between the works of God and the works of evil. If there were no consequences of sin, people would be oblivious to evil. (Romans 7:13 explains that this was the entire purpose of the law — to expose sin.)
God does not have our “happiness” as his aim — he intends to glorify Himself. In so doing, He draws everyone to Himself (John 12:32) in order that our greatest need — a relationship with Him — becomes possible to fulfill. That is His aim, which if we allow, will make us *eternally* joyful — both here and in heaven. But our earthly happiness was never His aim. People who start from that premise a) miss the point entirely, and b) frequently come to the conclusion that God and/or the Bible are evil.



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Wyatt Roberts

posted August 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm


With all due respect, some of the comments are just so much handwaving? You do understand that to say “The Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true,” doesn’t sound very impressive as an argument, right?
So did God really commanded Israel to engage in infanticide and genocide in 1 Samuel 15:3? It’s a simple question.



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Wyatt Roberts

posted August 6, 2010 at 1:22 pm


(Lots of typos in that last comment…sorry)



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Tom Davis

posted August 6, 2010 at 1:24 pm


Great discussion! There are so many issues this brings up regarding the Bible: authority, inerrancy, infallibility, etc. God’s existence is infinite, ours is finite. The only way we can have knowledge of an infinite being is if He chooses to reveal Himself. I believe He has hence the term, “Word of God.” Schaeffer takes too many liberties with the text in Timothy. He is becoming the finite creature shaking his fist at the infinite because of issues he doesn’t understand. It’s ‘profitable’ to ask questions, it’s healthy. But to be so combative and to make comments such as, “Maybe God doesn’t like of accept the God-of-the-Bible,” is ludicrous.
This will be good to talk about in the week to come.



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Laura

posted August 6, 2010 at 1:40 pm


Frank Schaeffer is doing what thousands have done before him. He is making a god that fits his limited view of the universe. His god fits in a nice little box with all questions answered. There is no mystery or anything that the mortal human brain cannot comprehend. How very sad. The Holy One of Israel is a mighty God. He never claimed that we would be able to grasp His ways or His thoughts. He actually stated that we would not be able to comprehend His ways. Having read through Isaiah twice this year, the character of the God of the Bible, the one I have chosen to serve, is not one that any man could have created. He has compassion but also vengeance. He gets horribly angry at sin and evil and he allows/creates consequences for both the sin and the evil it renders. He chases us with a reckless love that is simply unexplainable. Why would He want us? Because He loves us. But there are those that want to be loved without any commitment on their part. No expectations. They want to set the terms. Maybe they should try to create the universe.
I think Mr.Schaeffer believes that, even without redeeming love, he would be a pretty good catch for any god. We are all sinners and it is a hard thing to admit. But admit it we must or we will never come close to grasping how much better the God of the Bible is than anything we could come up with, because let’s face it we don’t do forgiveness nearly as well as he does.
We live in a fallen world. One that Mr. Schaeffer is trying to fit his god into and it just doesn’t work. I want my God to be bigger than me, bigger than anything I can imagine. I want the mystery and the unexplained because that means He was not created by human hands or minds. I cannot pick and choose the parts of the Bible that don’t make sense to me. But I can say that everytime I open it and I learn more and more about the God loved me even unto death. And He truly is an awesome God. One worthy of every praise our mortal minds can consider.



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nnmns

posted August 6, 2010 at 2:15 pm


If we can’t have faith that His word is true, then all we have left is a God made up to fit each person’s own image of what and who they think God should be. And that in my opinion is the ultimate “false” God.

That is in fact what we have, whether you are prepared to believe it or not. Look around. Different Christians have different gods. Some speak through the pope some don’t. Some hate dancing and alcohol some don’t. Some hate abortion (though the thousands of miscarriages should suggest to the believer their gods practice it) and some don’t. And on and on.
These are different gods folks. Each is in one person’s head. Some are quite similar to others and some are quite different but the old idea of different blind people experiencing an elephant differently doesn’t wash if the elephant is all-powerful and has any interest in the blind people understanding it.
Frank Schaeffer is closer to the truth than most of you and I understand that’s uncomfortable but we should try to deal with the world as it is, not as we want it to be. The Bible was written by men for religious and political purposes, parts were canonized and other parts not for political purposes. Errors have been made in transcription and there are clear errors and self-contradictions in the Bible.
This is clearly not a book inspired by an all-powerful god unless It is also quite sloppy or sadistic.



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Jeff Holton

posted August 6, 2010 at 3:15 pm


Frank Schaeffer is a master at wielding Poe’s Law as a weapon against both its proponents and its critics.
What he means in all this is that we’ve offended God by placing our interpretation of Scripture as more inspired than Scripture, while simultaneously claiming that inspiration has ceased in the modern age.
If we would listen to God’s Word we’d be so busy being deeply and sadly humbled over our misinterpretations that we’d have zero time to bash each other over the head with opinions that we assume are Law.



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Wyatt Roberts

posted August 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm


I find most of these comments to be very telling.
No one seems to want to deal with the questions Schaeffer is raising. I’m not sure what he claims to be — believer, atheist, agnostic, or whatever. But you know what? That has absolutely no bearing on whether the questions he is asking are good ones. I think they are. And from what I can tell, Christians seem ill-equipped to answer them.
So…Did God order Israel to participate in infanticide? In ethnic cleansing? You may choose to remain silent on the question, but that silence will be as revealing as any answer. No matter where you come down on this, the implications are troubling.



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Laura

posted August 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm


Wyatt: to answer the question that seems to be bothering you the most…yes God ordered the Israelites to kill ALL of the Amalekites. That is what I Samuel 15 says and if I claim to be a Christian and if I claim to believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God, then I will say that I believe that God ordered Saul to kill every last one of the Amalekites. It is a fascinating story and one that highlights what God did to the enemies of His chosen people.
This is but one of many stories in the Old Testament that make up the history of the Israelites. A history that is full of evil, sin, fallen people, repentance, and mercy. The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament. The covenant changed. Not God. Jesus’ arrival, death and resurrection did not change the character of God. Jesus changed how we can come to God. That is what the ENTIRE Bible is about-God’s plan of salvation.
Many will have trouble understanding how the God of the OT can be the same God of the NT. I hate to sound callous, but it is not my job to make them believe the truth of the Scriptures or the exitence of God. I believe that is the job of the Holy Spirit. I can explain to others why I believe. I can live a life that reflects Christ to the best of my fallen ability. But I CANNOT make them except the salvation that is offered to them.
I think that we spend too much time arguing for the sake of arguing. Our job as believers is to present the Gospel in an authentic manner. If it falls on hostile ears, well we shake the dirt from our sandals and move on to others that are hungry for the word and pray for those that are struggling. Paul spoke to the philsophers of his time, but he did not waste months of his time trying to convince them that God loved them. He told them, he showed them and he prayed for them. He left the rest up to God. Something we find hard to do these days.
I may find it hard to understand why God ordered a people to be completely wiped out. But when I can create sunsets, string the stars through the sky, and give breath to a child, then and only then will I be in a postion to question the creator of the universe. And I still think Schaeffer just wants to create his own god because then he can live according to his rules-which always seems deceptively easier than living by God’s rules.



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nnmns

posted August 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm


“God’s rules”?! So many professing Christians have so many versions of those! The only hypothesis that makes sense is that most people decide, consciously or unconsciously, what rules they want and unconsciously create a god to order him or her to carry out those rules. Of course they start with their understanding of their parent’s god(s) and as they grow up they evolve them. But that’s the gist of it.
Now go study the universe in all its glory. Billions of galaxies with billions of stars in each and billions of planets. Then try to square a god which could and would create a masterpiece like that with one that would choose to favor one little tribe on one little planet, to the detriment if its neighbors. Such an incredible achievement and such a puny god. I think not.
The Testaments, old and new, were written by men, each with their own reasons and none of them holy. Your imaginations have done the rest.



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Layla Payton

posted August 7, 2010 at 11:16 am


Well, said Laura! I could not agree more! All this article made me want to do is pray for protection over my own children, should they be tempted to fall away from their faith in the one, TRUE God. When I read Frank’s article, I just saw a lot of Scripture taken out of context. This is a pattern that I notice in any and all man-made religions/gods. Take what you like…leave out the rest. THAT IS NOT FAITH. THAT IS NOT TRUTH. You MUST read it ALL and put it into context. Otherwise, you treat the Bible like a shopping mall, choosing what looks shiny and attractive. There is a whole lot of unattractive stuff in there. We serve a mighty, jealous, powerful, and JUST God. He has shown His people patience and mercy all throughout the Old and New Testaments. It’s amazing to me that the entire world has not been wiped out for good. We have laughed and spit into the very face of THE God who suffered it all, so that we might live. Do I understand every single facet of the Bible? NO! DO I believe that it is the inspired Word of God? Yes! This is where FAITH comes in…and I am staking my life on it! The more you read, pray, and follow in obedience, the more God’s Word is revealed into our hearts. We (Christians) are a work in progress. BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!!!



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Layla Payton

posted August 7, 2010 at 11:17 am


Well, said Laura! I could not agree more! All this article made me want to do is pray for protection over my own children, should they be tempted to fall away from their faith in the one, TRUE God. When I read Frank’s article, I just saw a lot of Scripture taken out of context. This is a pattern that I notice in any and all man-made religions/gods. Take what you like…leave out the rest. THAT IS NOT FAITH. THAT IS NOT TRUTH. You MUST read it ALL and put it into context. Otherwise, you treat the Bible like a shopping mall, choosing what looks shiny and attractive. There is a whole lot of unattractive stuff in there. We serve a mighty, jealous, powerful, and JUST God. He has shown His people patience and mercy all throughout the Old and New Testaments. It’s amazing to me that the entire world has not been wiped out for good. We have laughed and spit into the very face of THE God who suffered it all, so that we might live. Do I understand every single facet of the Bible? NO! DO I believe that it is the inspired Word of God? Yes! This is where FAITH comes in…and I am staking my life on it! The more you read, pray, and follow in obedience, the more God’s Word is revealed into our hearts. We (Christians) are a work in progress. BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!!!



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Bob

posted August 7, 2010 at 11:43 am


Frank is a “wondering pilgrim”…raised in the Schaeffer home under the influence of his father, the prominent evangelical theologian. I interviewed him on a radio program in the 90s surrounding his book “Dancing Along” wherein he professed to be a dedicated member of the Eastern Orthodox church with emphasis on the certainty it afforded. Now he is I don’t know what…except confused.
And on nnms comments…aren’t you doing exactly what you are accusing others of doing…saying what God should be like if He is God…describing what your acceptable God looks like and how he is approached? If God is reduced down to what you deem not “puny”, you have created a manageable deity reduced to what satisfies your reason and sensibilities. Too bad you don’t have the opportunity to wrestle with the big themes you mention with Francis Schaeffer. I am sure you would find his intellectual honesty on such matters worthy of your respect…and at least as salient as his son Frank. If you haven’t…read his works.



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nnmns

posted August 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm


Bob I don’t happen to believe in any god. But the kinds of gods so many Christians believe in, e.g. many posting here, just don’t compute. Why would a god who could create the whole majestic universe, with its billions of billions of stars of many kinds and its gasses and dark matter and all choose one little tribe and say “if you worship me just right I’ll let you lord it over your neighbors”? Big accomplishment, small-minded god.
That’s the kind of god someone might write about if they thought the stars were just a few lights in the sky for amusement and their tribe was their whole world. It’s the kind of god someone might write about if they weren’t happy with the way people were worshiping, or not worshiping, the god in whose temple they made their living. Or wanted to.
You have the misfortune of having been brought up to believe the randomly handed down writings of men long ago who wrote for their own reasons, which have little to do with our situation now.



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John Piper

posted August 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm


The problem I see is this. Many people make the mistake of believing that they can understand God, and can explain all of his ways. Those who say “If God is Love then how can He do…” but fail to take into account all the other characteristics of God. “I am a Jealous God” – now how often do we remember that? We would normally associate Jealousy as a bad thing, but it isn’t always.
One thing to remember is that, before Christ came, mans relationship with God was very different. The Israelite people were God’s chosen people. They were His firstborn. Any enemy of them was an enemy of God. (but that does not mean that God didn’t also discipline his own people). Some people find this hard to comprehend, but God wiped out his childrens enemies. But He was (and is) a just God. Anyone who wasn’t an Israelite but turned to Him and believed in Him became one of his.
Read the account of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt. God hardened Pharaohs heart, so that he would not let the people of Israel go free. Now why would He do that? For two reasons. Firstly, to show His power and might for His glory, and secondly so that when the Israelites were finally allowed to go the Egyptians would bless them with their wealth and possessions.
We get so hung up on “But if God is Love how can he…” and fail to remember that the reason there is sin in this world is because man let it in!!!



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nnmns

posted August 7, 2010 at 1:46 pm


John the problem I see is that so many people accept a religion with no foundation. To many people the foundation of Christianity is the miracles described in the Bible.
And they are miracles and if they’d happened they’d have made a big splash and someone, somewhere, would have written about them. But no one did.
The only records of these miracles come from Christian (earlier, Jewish) hands and obviously they don’t count (do you trust Muslim’s accounts of Allah, Mormans’ accounts of their god?) No, there were plenty of people writing things down back then so there was plenty of opportunity for such miracles to be recorded and to have survived to now. But no independent account exists. The only accounts we have of those miracles are from people with vested interests in people believing they happened.
I hope if you buy a used car you inspect the thing better than you did when you bought into a religion.



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John Piper

posted August 7, 2010 at 3:59 pm


nnmns: I hope if you buy a used car you inspect the thing better than you did when you bought into a religion.
My faith in God is not based on my belief in miracles that Jesus did (or if you are to be believed did not) do. My faith is based on what God has done in my own life, in the miracles that He has performed and that I have witnessed.
When I was 5 I was diagnosed with a type of Leukemia which at the time was very hard to treat. The recovery rate was about 20%. I was in a hospital ward where 80% of the children around me died. Now, you can choose to say that the medicine cured me, which it did. But why didn’t I die like the others? I choose to believe that God caused me to live.
A few years later, while my immune system was still very low, I caught pneumonia. By the time I was admitted to hospital I was extremely sick, and the doctors told my parents to prepare for the worst. They gave me two days to live. Two days later I WALKED out of the hospital. They doctors were amazed, and were left scratching their heads.
Less than a year after that I caught a nasty stomach bug. Because my immune system was still so bad, it affected me much worse than others who got it. Again I was admitted to hospital, and again the doctors gave me less than a week to live. Again I got better, and the doctors could not explain it.
You may choose to believe that the medicine cured me – which even the doctors did not think. You may choose to believe that it was just “chance” – what ever that is. I choose to believe that it was Gods hand protecting me.
When life is tough, which it very often is, who do you turn to? Who do you call to when you’re struggling and there seems like no hope? I turn to my father God, and he comforts and protects me. My faith is based not on a belief in a God that used to do miracles, but on a relationship with a God who cares enough about me that he will lead me through life at every step of the way.



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Tom C.

posted August 8, 2010 at 1:06 am


Frank should have taken into account 2 Timothy 3:10-17, Paul talking to Timothy about the context of “all Scripture”:
You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
It isn’t a matter of taking every verse of Scripture as a direct prescriptive blueprint for how to live our lives. That’s not what this whole passage is talking about. But Frank’s impersonal formulaic approach is, in my experience, how you end up looking at God outside of a trusting relationship with God Himself, walking with Him through Jesus, and also with others who father us spiritually, as Paul did with Timothy, through our own journey in the time and place in which we find ourselves in His story.
I honestly pray for Frank that he will experience that. Frank’s suggestion for others to follow in his black-and-white footsteps to accept this and reject that as formulaic rules for living life, is not really going to help them find the true Father.



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LutheranChik

posted August 8, 2010 at 5:01 pm


In my theological circles, Jesus Christ is the Word of God.
Martin Luther once described the Bible as the cradle that holds Christ — but added that the cradle itself was “right strawy” in places.



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nnmns

posted August 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm


John Piper, congratulations on those “miraculous” recoveries you claim. But they indeed can be due to medicine and chance.
If you choose to think some god favored five-year-old you over other five year olds I can see that would give you a big head. And it might be sort of natural; we are not any of us perfect people.
But it means nothing to me and it shouldn’t mean anything to anyone looking for a religion. It’s your claim about things that could indeed have happened by accident and good doctoring.
And anyway why would it make you believe in your particular Christian god rather than another one or Allah or Shiva or … ? I’m sorry but your argument as presented makes no sense.



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Sherie

posted August 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm


nnmns, I am trying to listen and understand your heart and passion here, because it is obvious you feel deeply about this. You said, “the problem I see is that so many people accept a religion with no foundation. To many people the foundation of Christianity is the miracles described in the Bible.”
Are you opposed to Christianity, or how people are walking it out? By your statement above it appears that the issue is people and what they are believing, not Christ and what he taught. You have made some references to God creating the world and having a small tribe be his chosen people, but Christ opened the door for anyone. He destroyed the barriers that had existed before.
Maybe I am unlike most other Christians, but I do not believe because of the miracles described in the Bible, or because of things I was taught by my family or my church growing up. I believe because I have come to know Christ relationally and personally. Unlike other religious beliefs, Christianity offers me the chance to have a personal relationship with my God, and that is something I have lived out. I have studied other religions (I have a BA in it), I have hit a crisis in my life that left me questioning everything I believed and built my life around with Christianity and was told by others that I didn’t fit in the box they had made for “good Christians”. People, what they believe, and how they live it out do not change God and Christianity. My faith is based on the entire Bible. Unless someone is willing to sit down and show me in Scripture how their belief is correct and my belief is Scripturally wrong (and I am wrong at times!) I hold to the understanding I have of God’s word, an understanding I believe came from HIM. 1 John 5:20 says “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true.” It takes faith to believe in that scripture, and the Bible says faith comes from God.
Thank you so much for being willing to share some of your thoughts and insights here! I really appreciate and respect people who are willing to share when their beliefs do not match because we learn from each other.



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Gemma

posted August 8, 2010 at 9:19 pm


I found this article challenging and interesting.
I have a very strong faith in God & Jesus. But to be really honest I do have trouble reconciling the principles of Jesus with the old testament.
Now clearly God is bigger than we could ever understand…so we’re never going to grasp it all.
But how then do we justify the way in which we pick & choose what verses we take literally?
I struggle with the idea of how much of scripture’s meaning could have been lost through translations, eras & and cultural interprerations.
It’s a hard topic to wrestle with.



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nnmns

posted August 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm


Sherie, thanks for your interest. I would be happy to leave people to believe whatever they choose, but these days a lot of people are using their religions as excuses to affect my life and the lives of those I love in bad ways.
Some oppose teaching of real biology because it conflicts with their belief every word of the Bible is true (despite all the internal contradictions that prove not all parts are true). Others use their beliefs to oppose teaching effective sex education, even to oppose allowing people to make their own decisions about contraception, abortion and whom to marry. And some people actually think Christians make better leaders and thus were fooled by GWB’s talking the talk.
In short I’m very concerned by the impact of some people’s religions on my life. I’ve chosen to fight those impacts by showing those religions don’t make sense, which in fact they don’t. You can certainly believe in things that don’t make sense, or that I think don’t make sense, but please don’t use those beliefs to control my life or my loved ones’ lives.



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Sherie

posted August 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm


nnmns, Thank you for your honesty. I understand how frustrating it can be to believe in things that others oppose and disagree with. I think all of us face what you touch on here where we feel others believe and dictate things that affects our lives in ways we do not want them to. From speed limits to compliance requirements to due date and late fees to retail pricing, we face that every day.
I love dialogue and believe in the freedom to express opposing beliefs. That is part of what makes each of us unique. One common thing I see happen when we try to fight others beliefs though is that we engage the mind, but not the heart. The mind leads us to argue, justify, defend, and make assumptions. Engaging the heart brings down barriers, invites openness and sharing, allows for examination of the roots underneath beliefs, and prepares for unity and common purposes. In my experience, real change only happens when we move beyond the mind and the heart is engaged.
I completely understand your frustration, and I for one have no problems with your thoughts. My only area of puzzlement is around if you feel Tom and those speaking here are doing the things you named, and how being a part of this will lead to the change you want. I too have some problems with how things you named are walked out, but those are not Christianity to me, they are a few people’s attempt to live out their beliefs. Thanks again for your openness.



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nnmns

posted August 10, 2010 at 1:27 am


And thank you Sherie.



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Stephen

posted August 10, 2010 at 4:46 am


To be short, I see nothing in Schaffer’s article that would cause me any pause in my current continued belief that the Bible is the word of God.
Quite simply, he is performing atomistic proof texting, not a reasoned exegesis of the Bible. He takes passages out of the redemptive-historical context (as many Christians also do, I freely admit) and then pillories the resulting nutty conclusions. To say that “All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching” does not mean that “any and all segments of scripture, whether rightly divided or not, and whatever interpretation I would generally place on them are God-breathed”.
In some sense it’s the same error as many fundamentalists fall into. This is why I hear people quoting Job’s friends (who are later rebuked) concerning the will of God, or claiming promises given to ancient Israel for the modern United States, etc. etc. ad nauseum.
Thus to this point, I see no reason from what is given to doubt the reliability of scripture.



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Stephen

posted August 10, 2010 at 5:01 am


nnmns: Am I right in reading that your argument against the possibility of the Bible being written by an all powerful God is that different people have different ideas of God? That would only follow if we add the (false) premise that God intended to overcome all sin (such as willful blindness to Him) and misunderstanding through the text of the Bible; of which I haven’t heard anybody claim, and I’m a pretty conservative Christian; I’ve heard some very strident claims.
and Wyatt, I actually don’t answer the question of whether God commanded the eradication of the Amelekites or the Moabites in the Old Testament because the question is itself inflammatory. regardless of the answer 1) it is designed to denigrate faith in the Bible (I say yes: isn’t that an evil God; I say no, then the Bible is false cause it says God did) and 2) has no bearing on how a Christian is to live their lives in the New Testament, save as perhaps a warning as to the fact God is both powerful to save and powerful to smite, or a warning that “good” is not what utilitarians think it is as maximal comfort for the maximum number of people.



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Bob

posted August 10, 2010 at 5:20 am


Those who take the time to research how the Bible came to be, will find that it’s a collection of popular books
of the time, chosen by a group of religious leaders, trying to unite the hundreds of differend tribes of Christianity. Books written by men. All to often people try to put God in a box. The stories in the Bible are great stories, many lessons to be learned. Factual? Did the whole world flood? No. Did the area Where Noah lived flood? Yes. Point being, the lesson of the story is that Noah listens to God, gathers his family and two of several different animals and servived the floods. Another point, 7 days to make Heaven and earth? People will say a day for God is a thousand years. When in fact a day on Pluto is 287 days so for God a day could be 7 million years. Evolution happened!!!! The point being God started it all. Lastly Why is everyone trying to convince themselves that only there religion is the only way to get to Heaven? I’m pretty forgiving, however I unlike God could not forgive Hitler, people who hurt children and a whole bunch of other people. I feel God loves all his children. Some sweet little girl grows up in a far off land in the mountains, lives a life of helping others, dies of old age. She stands before God and he says sorry I damn you to Hell for ever????? Gods the master of psychology and human nature. He knows you’re raised in your faith taught to you by family. Then one days these white people show up to you village saying you’ve got it all wrong we have the right religion!!! Think about how many times someone has knocked on your door claiming the same thing. When you die and stand before all Gods glory, wouldn’t it suck if he turned and said to you, the Mormon’s were correct, I sent them to you house several times and you didn’t listen, so it’s forever in Hell for you. Think about it and keep an opened mind and stop putting God in a box.



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Monty

posted August 10, 2010 at 9:30 am


Please tell me what verse to read in Timothy regarding comment if the Bible is the real book of God and Jesus Christ.



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Tom Davis

posted August 10, 2010 at 9:50 am


Monty, the verse is in 2 Timothy 3:16. Here is the verse in the context of Paul’s encouragement and charge to Timothy:
10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.



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Yohana

posted August 10, 2010 at 11:36 am


Well for me … I can’t understand what is in the Bible with my own knowledge and my own self, I was so angry and so sad when I read the Old Testaments. I am so frustrated but I pray so the Holy Spirit will help me understand and from that time … no matter how bad it is what is in the Bible makes sense to me after reading the old and new Testaments.
May the Holy Spirit always let us understand the Word of God.
Peace to be with you all and God bless you all :-)



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bunny

posted August 10, 2010 at 11:40 am


The problem I have with people’s opinions of the bible and GOD (some supreme all good emcompassing entity existing in a form some of us are not able to comprehend or haven’t any knowledge of)is the comparisons of both in relation to the opposite of mutual exclusivity (all or nothing). For instance, if our belief in the bible is limited or null, then we are atheists or agnostic. If there is no bible, there’s no idea of GOD (spirituality). I don’t understand that and basically, steer clear of discussing any issues with them.



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bunny

posted August 10, 2010 at 11:48 am


BOB’s comment is beyond awesome :)



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Kevin

posted August 10, 2010 at 12:16 pm


As I read scripture daily and submit myself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I find articles like Frank’s to be very sad. Perhaps compassion is also one of Frank’s pet peeves. Our hearts and minds change concerning the authority, truth, purpose, and benefits of living God’s word when we personally know the author.



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Neil Gilligan

posted August 10, 2010 at 3:30 pm


I could not find the article easily. Tom, could you provide a link to it? However, I read the blog by Tom Davis and the comments and here’s my comment:
When I began seeing people healed, miracles happen, demons cast out and words of knowledge occurring regularly…I put down my own opinion and realized the Bible is God’s Word…whether I like all that is written or not. One thing I find that has revolutionized my faith is that the phrase “The Kingdom of God is at hand” which I had always thought was a metaphor…but now having been filled by the Holy Spirit the power flows out of my hands. The kingdom of God literally is at hand! Paul tells us in Romans 13:15 to clothe ourselves in Jesus Christ….that is part of the sub-title in my book: “Transformed by the Power of God: Learning to be Clothed in Jesus Christ” by Neil Gilligan Published by Destiny Image Sept 1, 2010, and I FEEL THE ANOINTING OVER MY HEAD AND BODY—AS I AM CLOTHED IN JESUS CHRIST-LITERALLY. The Bible is the Word of God.
The western worldview has deprecated I idea of the devil and evil spirits as myths from a dark age. But the Bible clearly says evil spirits are real. Again the people I cast demons off of or out of really know they had some evil opposition. And they are thankful I had the authority and power to get rid of the demons. Get clothed and you will too. Get the book.
The problem with people who judge the violence in the Bible or the hate-filled Blasphemy are ignorant that there is a spiritual world that exerts influence on our world. Some beings are Godly spirits and some are ungodly spirits. See my http://www.youtube.com video called “Get off my back Demon! In Jesus’ name. You can see believers speak about the evil spirits that assailed them. These spiritual beings try to influence people to fight for their cause. Violence and Blasphemy come from ungodly spiritual influences. But the western world has lost a true biblical world view because they have taken “The Christ” out of being a “Christian.” “Transformed by the Power of God: Learning to be Clothed in Jesus Christ” is a call for Christians to put the Christ in you and upon you.



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DavidS

posted August 10, 2010 at 4:20 pm


Frankie has rejected the Biblical God that his father worshiped and has turned his back on reformed theology. In fact, Frankie has embraced Eastern Orthodoxy, which of course, puts tradition and rituals above Holy scripture. Francis Schaeffer must be turning in his grave.



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Phillip Smith

posted August 11, 2010 at 7:02 am


Tom Davis’ above article is spot on. It depends what what one means by “The Word of God”. Even though I concede that we say in the Anglican Church of Australia, of which, I’ve been a passionate parishioner for about 15 years, now, that we say at the end of our reading “Hear the Word of the Lord”(I believe the Uniting Church say similar “Itn this is the Word of the Lord”, I interpret it metaphorically. Last night, my parents and I just concluded a series entitled “The First Light & the Kingdom of God”, which I found life changing, with Borg and John Domenic Crossan. In one of the sessions,Borg refers to the Bible as a mixture of Memory & Metaphor. The former, some of the events ACTUALLY HAPPENED. Metaphor, some did happen, but the way they’re depicted gives them a more than literal, more than factual, kind of meaning. I believe, that if we viewed the Bible, and for that matter, other religious texts in this way, we could lead to a more harmonious, more compassionate, world for all. Thanks so much, Tom, and all the best.



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Tom Davis

posted August 11, 2010 at 11:31 am


Thanks for visiting from Australia Phillip! I’m checking out your blog now. Another post coming on this issue of the Bible and its credibility.



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Michel

posted August 12, 2010 at 3:57 am


the Bible may be a source of truth or wisdom. It is what an individual brings to reading the Bible that will determine what he brings away. The Bible is indeed the truth, but where is the infallible interpreter? The latter thought from Rufus Jones.



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treesbydavid

posted August 12, 2010 at 4:40 am


I would like to know “WHY” did they not put ALL of the stories about JESUS into the bible,, I’ve been watching the History chanel alot and they are saying this about the bible,,,,sincerely treesbydavid…



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Kunle

posted August 12, 2010 at 4:57 am


He has taken just a part of the scriptur4e out of context and misiterpreted it, the word of god is complete, every word of God has it’s complimentary part. he should look very well. he needs the Holy Spirit to teach and explain things to him, it’s the Holy Spirit that brings all things to our understanding not reading the bible as a novel.



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Malcolm Carnwath

posted August 12, 2010 at 8:35 am


Is anything perfect do we have to know if the Bible is truth and to what degree. Isn’t this the Beauty in life the mystery, as ins’t faith key to life. Would the Bible be altered to meet the needs of the Greedy or those who desire control. Does sin exist? Wasn’t Martin Luther motivated by the flaws he saw in Rome; the Cardials and their concubines. Isn’t god’s work in every microb, every cell of every living thing. Must we create an image of God. Isn’t it enough to live in his love and glory and magnificence and marvel at it all. We will never understand it, but we must accept it. That’s my take



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Heaven

posted August 12, 2010 at 11:12 am


I am writing my two cents, without first reading any other posts. I’ll preface my comments by saying that I live my life for God, speaking daily with him AND Jesus. I pray before each meal, upon awakening, at bed time, and with all the horrors/injustices in my life, know that THEY protect me, all is for a reason, & to forge on in faith, which provides hope & strength.
I hope not to upset people here, and hope for open mindedness.
Now, if a person has read the bible from cover to cover, they would know the passages that speak of God striking people down, and ordering deaths of people who violate rules not in the 10 commandments. Do you believe everything you read in books, newspapers, on the internet, hear on tv? Or, do you view everything, and formulate your own thoughts? These passages in the bible are dictated to scribes by various religious leaders – much may be lost in translation, or parables to teach lessons create fear/caution, etc. My feeling is that many parts of the bible were written to keep people of that time “in check”; the motivator being fear & punishment. To sway people into living the way religious leaders of that day wanted them to – POLITICS – The fact is: none of us were there………..
I believe God is a loving spirit of light, with the power to create/destroy everything, but that his goal is ‘positive reinforcement’. Jesus was the example for us all to live by.
The masses have been holding tenaciously for generations, to this book. I imagine it must be terrifying that after hundreds of years, the possibility that their faith is based upon hearsay, could drive them into “what-if” madness.
Therefore, I say that Frank Schaeffer is BRAVE & courageous. You can question it all, & still be a devout, faithful, Christian – knowing the possibility of a new truth – that really wouldn’t change ANYTHING, in the grand scheme of things. Still help/love thy neighbor, do the right thing, try to live like Jesus, treat others as you wish to be treated, don’t steal/murder/cheat, try to always be honest………… I can go on for days – the fact is, that I think God would want our eyes to be open, and our minds to be enlightened – not to believe something because someone told you to – but because you feel it in your mind, heart, instinct.
Haven’t we attained the message from Him, that forgiveness is the way? Then why believe every passage in a book filled with hypocrisy, & complete contradictions? There are great passages written with truth & love, & important life lessons. Others seem to be filled with anger, vehemence, vengeance, wrath, & living in terror of your every move.
Just give it some consideration – & try to keep the faith in the Great Spirit of Light – not ink on parchment



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Heaven

posted August 12, 2010 at 11:16 am


And YES, I still read the bible! I do draw inspiration – & grasp from the scripture, what I need.



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Rudy Harrison

posted August 12, 2010 at 11:17 am


As far as I’m concerned “The Bible” depending on the version that one has or bothers to read, is THE WORD! It may not be easy to read and understand for some people, but it is not to be critized or cast aside.
To me the BIBLE is not, a love story, a murder mystery, a horror story, a comic book, etc or anything that MAN has created from so called “thoughts” of their own. It is not to be likened to anything that MAN can think of.
The BIBLE is seperate and distinct, just as we are as people, seperate and distinct!



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Heaven

posted August 12, 2010 at 11:27 am


I agree with bunny; Bob’s comment (as well as so many people’s comments) – beyond awesome. Great to see the true deep realistic faith in existence here.



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Coni

posted August 12, 2010 at 12:31 pm


I believe with all my heart that the Bible is the word of GOD. It was written my mortal men on the Lords direction.
It is on faith alone you believe in your heart that God is real and the Bible is a guide book on how to live.
Anyone can belittle the belief. That doesn’t deminish the worth of it or the value to our very souls to follow the Lord.
Satin clouds judgement. We as humans have a free spirit to worship or walk. My only choice will always be to worship the Lord.
God Bless you in your quest to disprove him. It can’t be done.



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TLC

posted August 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm


It is easy to see why so many people, including myself, can become confused with the words that are in the Bible. The Bible was written by many people, some inspired by God. While I don’t agree that the words always represent actual events, the truths that the words represent are real. In the historical sense, you have to remember that most of the early scrolls were written in rebuttal to the gods that were worshipped by other cultures of the time – Babylon, Greece, and especially Egypt. The only way to make your deity more powerful and attract more followers is to report that He only loves the ones He chooses, and that all others are condemned. This, of course, keeps people in line, but it has tragically crept into religions that still exist today. The angry God of vengenance, the fearful God, the jealous God – have all stemmed from a humanized God by human writers of the Bible. He loves us, then He doesn’t. He favors us, then He doesn’t. No wonder humans never know whether we’re on the right path or not! Christ said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) So, we can be as perfect in our souls as God is – even if we make mistakes in our human bodies, which exists in a world of many temptations. The flesh is weak, and God knows it, but the soul is strong and clings to Him. When you believe in the Creator, you don’t have to dwell on doubts or defend your faith. You can have peace in knowing that you can just keep seeking the truth and not get so hung up on the words and who wrote them that you forget to experience God.



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Bob Gill

posted August 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm


Bibliolatry seems to be what Frank Schaeffer wishes to attack. Bibliolatry is when we put the words of Scripture ahead of the message of Scripture – when we take verses out of context and apart from their intent and use them for unGodly, unloving purposes. Let’s be honest: we can hold Scripture up so high that it becomes an idol, and not want anyone to besmirch it. Even a casual knowledge of church history shows how often we believers have done hurtful, hateful things (you know – sin) in the name of God and backed up by Scripture.
In the 70’s and 80’s one of the prominent theological arguments in evangelical churches was whether the Bible was inerrant (totally without any kind of error) or authoratative (trustworthy, providing the clearest possible picture of God, it has a say on how we should live).
Sounds to me like the senior Schaeffer came down in the “inerrant” camp, while the junior Schaeffer initially came down in the “authoratative” camp. But I sense Frank Jr. has gone further toward discrediting Scripture altogether.
What do we truly fear when we confront contrary points of view? Do we really need to defend Scripture? We might just as well defend a lion.



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TLC

posted August 12, 2010 at 2:12 pm


Most of these response posts to Frank Schaeffer are very interesting. I was especially interested in Bob’s point of view. “Don’t put God in a box.” Why would we claim God is the Creator of all of us, all- powerful and all- knowing and then limit Him by claiming our way is the only way? Why would our loving Creator think any (of all that He created and saw that we were “very good”) want to seek such a horrible example of punishment or revenge because we “fail?” He could simply dispose of us if he wanted to. I don’t think God is vengeful. A simple denial of communion with Him would be punishment enough. My understanding of God’s plan is that He will never be separated from us (“I will be with you always.”) nor us from Him. Such a thing as Hell would be to deny who you are or who He is. What would be the purpose of that?



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G

posted August 12, 2010 at 2:22 pm


I will just address one issue the ‘circular argument in order to prove the Bible true”
The argument goes something like: The Bible is true..because Jesus, Paul and others said that the Bible is true.”
The problem : Our info about Jesus and Paul and others is based in the Bible therefore..the Bible must be proved true FIRST, before one can believe what the characters in the Bible have stated.
So: what Jesus and Paul said about scriptures cannot be applied to scriptures UNLESS it is known for a fact that the scriptures are true>
If the scriptures are proven true, then and only then can the accounts contained ‘within’ scriptures be said to be true.
Now. I happen to believe that God spoke through the scriptures, why?? I really have no explanation as of yet but it is not because I believe in the ‘circular reasoning’ many propose..and it not because of the many experiences I have had that I can attribute to God and His love. The fact is, those occurrences, as wonderful as they may have been, are also subject to probabilities, chance and other natural phenomena.
I just find myself praying continually and asking “Who are you? and are you the ‘I AM’..and I just seek to learn and to know…and I am not afraid that getting it ‘wrong’ will doom me to hell.”



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TLC

posted August 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm


Such great posts! IS the Bible the unaltered word of God? Due to centuries of social, political, language and geographical changes and the fact that it was written by humans with human motives – NO. If the Bible was written by God and never altered by humans, it would be the unerrant word of God. In fact, as some of you have pointed out, the current Christian Bible as we know it isn’t complete. The most glaring deletion was at the Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in 325 AD, which was limited to the Roman Empire under Augustus’ claim to “ruler of the world” and Constantine. They decided what was “heretical” and what to leave out. There was a lot of controversy. Christians, (as well as Jews, Muslims, and others) have to let go of religious elitism, believing that what they believe is the only true belief. We must allow God to be the God of all people, as Psalms states. Christ is universal. Each culture worships in the way that evokes God’s love for them. Therefore, Jesus’ message is greater than Christianity. In the Gospels Jesus clearly distinguishes between legalistic spiritual practice – following the rules, honoring authority, observing traditions – and living with compassion. Jesus models human life by serving all people and being a healing presence for all people.



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TLC

posted August 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm


To quote an earlier post – “He is making a god that fits his limited view of the universe. His god fits in a nice little box with all questions answered.”
Maybe it is the other way around – limiting God by saying there is only one box. Of course our views as humans are limited. But then our Creator gave us a gift – free will, the ability to make choices. He didn’t say , “But, you have to choose this or that.” Then it would not be a gift, would it? We can only work with the information we have. Obviously we are all still seeking more information. Although I don’t necessarily agree with Franks Jr.s observation, I respect his right to choose to find answers, however different.
Is has challenged us to think and respectively choose for ourselves as well.



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Ron

posted August 12, 2010 at 4:28 pm


The following should reflect a summary of a very conservative, doctrinal, “Scripture Supreme” point of view.
My Christian VIEWS: The Bible (Scripture) is the “WORD” and is the supreme authority when compared to other writings
and precepts. All of the ACTUAL WORDS therein were “Spirit Inspired”, and “Superintended”. The ~40 authors and their scribes recorded these words in “original manuscripts” which were without error.
Systematic study of Scripture leads one to the conclusion that it is God’s supreme way of speaking to Man.
The “economy” or God’s methods of relating to Man changed from Old Testament times to New Testament due to the historical appearance of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the God-Man. The Bible as a piece
of literature is withhout peer, and it has been miraculously preserved, translated, and distributed.
New Testament TESTS: Authenticity and Authority.
The first passing: all 27 books were accepted by the Council of Carthage, ~397 AD. There are more than 5000 manuscripts of the New Testament….the best attested document of ALL ancient writings.
There are numerous fragments dating from ~135 -800 AD written on papyrus. There are hundreds of accurate parchment
copies produced in the 4th-5th centuries. There are ~86,000 quotations in old Latin, Latin, Syriac, and Egyptian translations
from the 3rd century. There is more scholarly work done on this piece of literature than any other in existence.(Ryrie 2084)
Conclusion: Gospels are reliable, worthy of trust, and a collection of
authorized “historians” account of a historical person…
Jesus of Nazareth
The Great Bible Studies:
Luke 24:44-45..Post Resurrection Jesus to His remaining disciples:
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you:
Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me
in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
“Perfect Recall” = RELIABILITY of the 4 Gospels and “Dr.” Luke’s investigations in at least Acts 1-12:
John 14:26 (Jesus to his followers: Upper Room Discourse)
“…But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you…”
And Scripture is not just “WORDS”…
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
SEE: 1 Corinthians 2:13-15
2 Timothy 3: 14-16…
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures,
which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for
teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Romans 15
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have hope.



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Jodi Jackson Tucker

posted August 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm


For me, Joyce Meyer said it best.
“It hit me one day…if some of it’s true, then all of it has to be true”.
Yep, think about it. That did it for me.



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maegin zindi

posted August 12, 2010 at 6:27 pm


The word GOD is LOVE.
LOVE is everything anyone can expect in their lives. This includes peace, happiness, kindness, helping, caring, praising the one who love you to be loved and love others the way they love you genuinely. If anyone does not agree with love you belong to hell. Love is spiritually, you only feel it with your own heart. If you do not feel, you can’t love. If you blame who talk of loving another, the way you would love them to love you, or want to scrutinise why they talk of loving others, then ask yourself the BIG Question? WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN?



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G

posted August 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm


New Testament TESTS: Authenticity and Authority.
The first passing: all 27 books were accepted by the Council of Carthage, ~397 AD. Almost 400 years after the ‘event’. These men were qualified how? They had no predjudice, no political bent, no ingrained dogmatic beliefs that acted as filters against any writing that challenged their beliefs? This point can lead to many conclusions other than authenticating the current form of the New Testament.
There are more than 5000 manuscripts of the New Testament….the best attested document of ALL ancient writings.
There are 10s of thousands of copies of the Harry Potter books, it doesn’t mean that Harry Potter is true. And the fact that the manuscripts are ancient is more cause for concern for accuracy than for belief that they are true. There are thousands of artifacts suggesting that the Earth is billions of years old and that man evolved why can’t they be true?
There are numerous fragments dating from ~135 -800 AD written on papyrus. There are hundreds of accurate parchment
copies produced in the 4th-5th centuries. There are ~86,000 quotations in old Latin, Latin, Syriac, and Egyptian translations
from the 3rd century. All of these fragments can be interpreted many ways and this particular conclusion is only one of many many possible conclusions. This conclusion comes from those who already ‘believe’ in the dogma and not necessarily corroborated by ‘independent and non=prejudiced investigation’.
There is more scholarly work done on this piece of literature than any other in existence.(Ryrie 2084) So what? This leads to no rational conclusion. There has been more scholarly work done by Science on the evolution of the Earth and solar system done with much more sophisticated tools and understanding than the ‘ancients’ so if ‘scholarly’ work is a criteria for belief and acceptance, than science has it hands down.
Conclusion: Gospels are reliable, worthy of trust, and a collection of
authorized “historians” account of a historical person…
Jesus of Nazareth Conclusion only by already beleiving and dogmatic followers. Also, this arguments are also very selective and do not paint the entire picture of competing church dogmas and doctrines that existed since the ‘event’. Dogmas and doctrines at odds with one another and each based from different areas of the Mid-East, and many of them competing viciously which included Church fathers from one region ex-communicating church fathers from other areas. (Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.) Christanity was never a single entity from the beginning but many competing sects with different doctrines on the founder. As is still the case today.



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Jamal Smith

posted August 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm


I personally don’t have a problem with this guy confessing to be a Christian but doubting the Bible. There has been no point in history where all believers believed in everything equally; there were variations and different focuses. Also, the times and culture they were in also play a part in the formation of their faith, and its been different for each time and culture.
The Bible was put together as a response to a ‘bible’ put together by a gnostic Christian who included all the books he felt should be in there. There was no ‘thus sayeth the Lord you will put together 66 books and you shall call it the Bible”, like you have with the 10 commandments. Before that, even though there were books floating around, there were also books that did not make it in and that even the Bible as we know it refers to such as the book of Enoch.
Secondly, the Bible as it is now was not as it was then. And different places in the world have their own take on how many books are in there. Are we going to say, ‘no you’re wrong because thats not what I was taught to believe the bible was’? That is cultural arrogance.
Thirdly, there are discripencies within the bible that have nothing to do with interpretation, such as Exodus mentioning that craftsmen built the Ark, and then later Deuteronomy saying Moses built it himself.
Fourth, when the New Testament writers refer to the “scriptures”, they are talking about the Old testament, not their own writings. Even if one said that they could rely on the church to extend the meaning, that falls into the trap of if you believe the church on that point, then you have to agree on the apostolic succession system and the Apostolic cities where they alone could make judgement calls on what was to included n Christianity. (which if that is the case, then every non-catholic and orthodox Christian to have ever lived was and is a heretic since they are the historical descendants of that early church).
Point being that there is more than enough room to question traditional Christianity’s claim that ALL the Bible is divinely inspired, and there is nothing wrong with that. Even Mother Theresa went through a long period where she doubted the very existence of God. Because ultimately, it was not 66 books that lived and died and were resurrected. It was Jesus. My God is not a book. And while I can admit that the book does help point to him, my faith is not based on it, but on my personal encounter with Jesus, and the approval of others is not required for that. God alone judges and the same goes for Frank Schaeffer as well.



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Jamal Smith

posted August 13, 2010 at 6:15 pm


There is nothing wrong with questioning the Bible’s legitimacy. There is more than enough room in church history for it. God does not give a command to put together 66 books and call it the Bible, just like he never said to create a religion and call it Christianity. It was put together because someone else whom orthodox leadership disagreed with, the Gnostic, Marcion, did it first.
The Bible we have now is not the one they had then. And there are other places across the world where their bible has more or less books in it. If we say that they are wrong because its not our bible, then we are being culturally arrogant.
Even if you said the church was doing right by God to create it, then you would then have to consider why we are not following the other church traditions as well, such as apostolic succession, apostolic cities where all doctrine is to be decided(which automatically makes anything non-catholic or orthodox heretical), and that Jesus is not talking to US in the Bible, he’s talking to the 12 disciples.
And when was the last time we saw one Christian give another Christian the holy kiss, which was also commanded?
When the New testament refers to scriptures, they are talking about the Old Testament, not their writings. Someone else decided that. There’s a big difference between saying the Bible is historically accurate, and saying its divinely inspired. My God is not a book. It’s Jesus, who admittedly the Book refers to, but he is by no means bound to it. Especially since it was put together by men.
I am going to venture that one of the main reasons most people would be upset by Schaeffer’s faith is because it was not how they were taught Jesus works. And anything that is beyond what they were taught is automatically heretical or non-Christian. God is the one who decides who is saved and who is not, not us. Everyone wants a simple faith and uncomplicated faith, but if we ignore the complications that do appear for the sake of our own comfort zone, the we are God because we have faith for US, not Jesus.
If we truly believe in the teachings of Jesus, then we respect and love people who claim to be Christians even if we disagree. After all Genesis says that God made the universe in 7 days just by speaking it into existence. Do we really think then that he needs help in determining who has his heart and who doesn’t?



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impossibleape

posted August 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm


well Frankie jr. is right
the bible ain’t all what narrow evangelicalism make it out to be
even Jesus said about at least one old testament provision regarding marriage
the old book may say…….,but I say unto you it was not like this from the beginning…..
it was because of the hardest of our hearts that God allowed wretchedness to be dressed up as holy (paraphrasing Jesus)
and from the beginning may be a good place for “God said it and I believe it” Christians to start over in their understanding
we haven’t learnt what God wants us to know and hopefully He hasn’t given up trying to get some simple things thru our thick heads and hearts



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carol

posted August 17, 2010 at 7:11 pm


yes god is love and all the good things that happen and if you belive in the way the romes lived back in bc time then why shounld’t the bible be ture and if you take way all the happy and good feelings of life then what would you have



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Sue W

posted August 31, 2010 at 3:20 am


I think it’s liberating. I am reading through the Bible from end-to-end and am in Samuel and I have to say my overwhelming thought has been that I love Jesus and his teachings, but I don’t like the OT God.



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Abambagibus

posted September 2, 2010 at 7:14 pm


Relevant to SUE W’s comment is the fact that a significant number of very early Christians felt exactly the same way that she does. And, on this point, she is far from alone in the contemporary church. The OT God can be likened to the General Patton of the celestial realm, while the NT God can be likened to a universal Mother Teresa. But Christian theologians have been able to rationalize this discrepancy away anyway. God’s is the power of Tough Love, powerfully mean at times when He has to be.



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Abambagibus

posted September 2, 2010 at 7:20 pm


Relevant to SUE W’s comment is the fact that a significant number of very early Christians felt exactly the same way that she does. And, on this point, she is far from alone in the contemporary church. The OT God can be likened to the General Patton of the celestial realm, while the NT God can be likened to a universal Mother Teresa. But Christian theologians have been able to rationalize this discrepancy away anyway. God’s is the power of Tough Love, powerfully mean at times when He has to be.



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Nicholas

posted October 4, 2010 at 5:22 pm


The new is in the old concealed.
The old is in the new revealed.



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