Friday, May 16, 2008

Inconsistencies and Contradictions in the Bible?

Not so long ago...I was going to a church where both the Pastor and the assistant Pastor would occassionally fail to be able to handle certain difficult passages in the Bible successfully and would suggest then that this was due to certain contradictions and/or inconsistencies within the Bible. Yet those Pastors and that church's doctrinal statement both hold to the inerrancy of the Bible. How could there be contradictions or inconsistencies in the infallible Word of God? Surely to novices there are 'seeming' inconsistencies, but are there 'actual' inconsistencies? If there are then how can we claim it to be without error? The inconsistencies are not in the Bible but rather the individuals own theological understanding.

Let me use the following approach to try and make some sense out of how this is so.

Satan said to Jesus, " is written, `HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU'; and `ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.' " Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, `YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.' "

Jesus agrees with satan and says yes, 'such and such', is indeed written. But then He goes on to respond that, even though "it is written", there is a larger principle yet at work here. Therefore you have to take the whole of God's word into account before you make a bold proclamation using just one single verse. Both statements of scripture mentioned above by Christ and satan are correct within their own context but one of them does not contain the whole Truth.

And this is perhaps partly how the leaders of this other church I attended at one time became confused to the point of believing that there are inconsistencies and contradictions in the Word. They would get hung up on certain seemingly contradictory passages after not isolating each passage and looking at it's own unique context in order to get it's meaning; which would have then possibly allowed them to see each passage's unique truth come into harmony with the unique truth of each and every other passage of the Bible.

Here's the root of the problem. This just dawned on me out of the blue this afternoon. The problem is not that there are inconsistencies and contradictions between the passages of the Bible, but rather, between the bible as a whole and their own theological system. Their personal theological system makes it impossible to reconcile the Truth of the Bible to itself. The problem is their flawed theological method.

Well...this idea sure is underdeveloped. It's late at night after an exhausting week. But I've been pondering where this sort of thinking comes from for a long time. I think I may have hit on a partial explanation here. This explanation, which I'm sure has dawned on many others as well, should be useful as a foundation for helping folks like these handle those potentially deceptive passages that would mislead them into believing that there are doctrinal errors, inconsistencies or contradictions in something so True.

I'll probably rework this post a little bit more in the near future. This demands a little more thought than I can give it tonight.

Hearty thanksgiving with you to the Lord.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Poem, Inspired By Lamentations 3.

Surely My Soul Remembers
Surely my soul remembers the land it once wandered,
All baron and dry.
Then how my heart was quickened with Your living waters,
And ceased to die.
Surely my soul remembers that You are my portion,
And I am Your heir,
And how my heart, forgetting Your ways and Your kindness,
Squandered it’s share.
By my hands I'd refashioned Your work to a vessel of sorrow and grief.
Where there’s grief there’s compassion, and new every morning, Your faithful bequeath.
And my heart bows down, because great is Your faithfulness,
And great is my need.
Surely my soul remembers the day when You turned
Your great anger away.
With grace untold Your kindness came reaching instead,
My soul to save.
Surely my soul remembers it’s joy in Your words
To which none can compare.
And death that came by turning away from them
Leaving them wasted there.
By my hands I'd refashioned Your work to a vessel of sorrow and grief.
Where there’s grief there’s compassion, and new every morning, faithfully bequeathed.
And my heart bows down, since great is Your faithfulness,
And great is my need.
Surely my soul remembers the rock and the fortress,
Down from which it flew.
Then by Your Son, You bore it on eagles wings,
Mercifully, back to You.
Surely my soul remembers Your teaching ways,
My crooked pathways made straight.
Turning from them, again and again, I did,
As if them I hate.
By my hands I’d refashioned Your work to a vessel of sorrow and grief.
Where there’s grief there’s compassion, it’s new every morning, faithfully bequeathed.
And my heart bows down, because great is Your faithfulness,
And great is my need.
(-Todd S.)
Here's a little melody to go with it although when I played the last line unfortunately I was not concentrating on phrasing the piano notes according to the words. But soon I'll sing the thing. 2-3 hours of working out my voice, several times a week, has been strengthening it quite a bit. Come back in a few weeks if you want and check it out. This song has got a long way to go but it's a wonder it's here at all. Love, joy.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Bible Conference Weekend at My Church.

Here are a few of my notes from the Bible Conference Weekend at the Mennonite Church of Gleason, WI that I attend. I can't begin to tell you how I enjoyed hearing all of this.

The keynotes and thoughts of the first speaker were as follows:

Let's be ambassadors.

Servants asking to be pierced through the ear. (As in the O.T. practice of fastening an ear ring to the servant who did not want to be freed from service after seven years but wanted to serve for life.)

Bits and pieces on Biblical non-conformity:

Are we building a heavenly city or tearing down the gates of hell? Both perhaps. Believers need to strengthen and encourage each other because each one makes up part of the wall to keep the enemy out - the enemy being, the defiling influences of the world, the flesh and the devil on ourselves and our families.

Maintain purity with daily washings in the water of the Word.

We recognize there are many other builders(outside of our own denominational membership) and not just ourselves.

Our work is all tested.

There will be some latitude from congregation to congregation. We all do our part towards the finished product.

Let's be true builders.

Let's let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory. Humility, ready to take advice. We all need correction at times because we are human.

When standards are drawn up they need to express unity and have a unifying effect.

Other points:

Change in heart is necessary from the kingdom of the world to the kingdom of God. From the power of darkness to the power of the Christian life.

Passing from death into life begins a lifetime of separation.

Separation is the beginning and non-conformity is a continual process.

Beholding the Lord we are changed.

Our motivaton comes from the love of the Lord.

Devotion from thanksgiving opposed to 'formalism' and 'legalism'. Earnest desire to please Him and glorify Him in our body. Separate ourselves from the evil course of society in general. Maintain sense of accountability to the Lord. Keep things out of our homes that might be detrimental to our children.

Train ourselves as servants.

And concerning church discipline:

The need for discipline(setting some straight) is unavoidable and sometimes necessary. The speakers illustration was, "If the church drops he reins of discipline then satan will pick them up and drive the church to hell". Yeah! Aaaamen.

*One of my favorite notes of the weekend were: "The Bible contains spiritual lessons and edification for every generation."

These were the thoughts and instruction of the men who lead my church and the six other sister churches. This stuff was honey to my ears.

Seems like just good sound and basic stuff that is worth keeping close to the front in our Christian minds.

And man, to be around people who aspire to this sort of thing has been a blessing for me.

Thanks for dropping by and may it be all joy to you.


Titus 1:8, "...but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast to the faithful word which is in accordance with teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict."

Sense(sensible): Normal intelligence and judgement.

I think this word 'sensible' as well gives us all great hope.