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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 4:15PM #1
cg4truth
Posts: 108

Does the Bible contradict itself in it's teaching?


If so, how can it be from God?


What is the purpose of the Old Testament?


If we are to follow parts of the old covenant established by Moses, why is it called "Old"?


What is the purpose of the New Testament?


Is there anything in the Bible I MUST be obedient to in order to be saved?


How can I know that what you think I MUST be obedient to is all that God expects?


Can I trust man's thoughts as absolute truth?


If so, why are men often found to be wrong?


What is the church?


How does God expect it to be organized and function?


Would God be okay with changing the examples or commands given in the Bible about the church?


How do I know that He is okay with a change?


Edit: I didn't provide any indication of how one should answer these questions. Answer them for yourself, without reguard of what others are going to think. Speak what you truly believe to be right based on your understanding of life and God's word. I am a Christian interested in understanding truth and uniting beliefs as God desires. The overall goal is to understand the standard one can use to determine truth in living a godly life, serving the Lord as his child. I will do my best to be just and admit when wrong and ask you to do the same. No attempt will be made to belittle you in providing honest answers. Thanks in advance!


P.S. Sorry to those who didn't have this explination beforehand, but I appreciate your boldness in answering to the best of your ability. :)

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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 10:49PM #2
Theo
Posts: 4,687

1) Does the Bible contradict itself in it's teaching?


Yes, and No, it depends. It depends on if you're comparing OT to NT. And it sometimes depends upon the way certain passages have been translated. There are mistakes in the Bible, and you can find these by carefully reading the historical books in the OT, like Samuel 1 & 2, Kings 1 & 2, and Chronicles 1 & 2. And then there are apparent contradictions... like how the ten commandments say, "Thou shalt not kill," and then we find numerous accounts of Biblical characters killing other people, many times at the bidding of God's prophets. It takes training and skill to interpret things of this nature in a proper manner. But when it comes to what the Bible teaches; like who is God? what is He like? can we know Him? how can we be saved... etc. The answer is no, the Bible does not contradict itself.

2) If so, how can it be from God?


The Bible is not from God... not directly. The Bible is a collection of ancient books that devout people over the last 4000 years have collected, that are considered inspired of God, as written by holy men of God. The Jews canonized (validated) the books of the OT 2000 years ago, and the ancient Catholic Church canonized the NT around 1600 years ago.


The Bible is often said to be "the word of God," because it says that it is, and the people who believe what it says, believe God inspired the writers of holy Scripture. Some believe divine inspiration means that the Bible is infallible, while others believe that inspiration means that the writers were moved by the Holy Spirit to say what they said... but that does not mean they never made mistakes or said things that came from their own minds.


And then there is also the subject of textual criticism, which gets into the manuscript evidence that supports the text of the Bible. Lots of variants exist from one manuscript to another, and textual criticism is the science of how to find the original readings of Scripture.


But none of these factors mean that God had no hand in the making of the Bible, in fact, considering the amazing history of the Bible, and the fact that the Roman Empire tried to exterminate it... its hard to not believe God had nothing to do with its preservation.

3) What is the purpose of the Old Testament?


To tell a story about God and the people He chose to reveal Himself to. In the process, it also has alot to say about the human condition and the nature of man, as well as the nature of God and His expectations for us. The OT has been characterized as the Covenant of Moses = the Law. And the purpose of the Law is to expose the sinful nature of man.


4) If we are to follow parts of the old covenant established by Moses, why is it called "Old"?


It was characterized as the Old Covenant or testament by Christianity, which of course is based upon the New Covenant. But it is important to understand, that Christianity is not based upon the Law of Moses, but upon the Covenant God made with Abraham... which you can read about in Genesis. Abraham lived some 500 years before the times of Moses... think Moses = Israel, think Jesus = the Church.


5) What is the purpose of the New Testament?


The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew Mark and Luke) are the story of Christ, His teachings, His deeds, and His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. The Gospel of John interprets the Gospel according to the theology of first century Christianity. And the epistles (letters) of the apostles are letters written to various Churches, instructing them in Christian teachings and beliefs.  


So the purpose of the New Testament is to ground those who believe in Christ in His teachings and the applications and interpretations of the apostles.

6) Is there anything in the Bible I MUST be obedient to in order to be saved?


Absolutely - believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, confess Him as your Lord (i.e. master) and Savior (i.e. Deliverer) and then become His disciple, and abide and obey His commandments... i.e. love God with all your heart, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.

7) How can I know that what you think I MUST be obedient to is all that God expects?


Read the Gospels, believe them, and do what He says.

8) Can I trust man's thoughts as absolute truth?


No, God is the only absolute truth - trust God.

9) If so, why are men often found to be wrong?


Because men are often wrong, some more than others.

10) What is the church?


The word Church translates a Greek word that means, "Those called out to meet together." Thus the Church is an Assembly, or a Congregation of believers who come together to worship God, and build up and strengthen one another in the faith and teachings of Christ. The Church is not a building or a denomination, globally; the Church is a collective of all sincere believing Christians; locally it is found everywhere Christians come together to worship God and proclaim the Gospel..

11) How does God expect it to be organized and function?


That is debatable. Even so, one can hardly argue that God seems to have left much of that up to us. Some Churches follow the hierarchical tradition that began with the apostles, who ordained the bishops and presbyters (i.e. priests) who oversaw the Church... these are traditional Churches like the Catholic and Orthodox Church. Other Churches (mostly reformation Churches) follow a semi-democratic form of government, consisting of a denominational organization, a general assembly of member Churches, and then on the local level, a Church board elected by the members of the Church.   


Personally, I favor the traditional structure... even though I am an Evangelical Christian.

12) Would God be okay with changing the examples or commands given in the Bible about the church?


Some people apparently believe He is okay with that. Personally, I would rather just follow the pattern set forth in Scripture.

13) How do I know that He is okay with a change?


You have to decide for yourself, if following the teachings of Christ is more important than following the opinions of modern religious leaders.


Thanks for your questions.


~ Theophilus

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2 years ago  ::  May 09, 2012 - 10:25AM #3
Whisper01
Posts: 2,649

May 8, 2012 -- 4:15PM, cg4truth wrote:


I'll take a crack at this (remember, we all only have opinions, not absolute answers).


Does the Bible contradict itself in it's teaching?


Yes, mankind often does does this as different ideas from different people dont' align.


If so, how can it be from God?


It's from man, written by man, printed by man, reproduced by man... but all about some men's interpretation of God. Called "wisdom" in some circles.


What is the purpose of the Old Testament?


Understanding of some men's understanding of God back in history.


If we are to follow parts of the old covenant established by Moses, why is it called "Old"?


The only person whom can tell you to follow this covenant or that is YOU. Are you telling yourself to follow the OT? Why?


What is the purpose of the New Testament?


Understanding of some men's understanding of God back in history. To tell of a wonderful new understanding of "grace" and "love" and that we are not alone. We have a mediator who loves us and is on our side! :-)


Is there anything in the Bible I MUST be obedient to in order to be saved?


That is definatly up to you to decide. Does your question mean to ask "in your opinion..." so you can get someone elses take?


How can I know that what you think I MUST be obedient to is all that God expects?


Exactly! You cant. Part of life's journey is making up your own mind :-).


Can I trust man's thoughts as absolute truth?


I would think no, but that's my opinion. Man, all men, have a view and if you listen to other men you can become wise and wisdom leads to truth. But only "leads" not "will lead". That's life.


If so, why are men often found to be wrong?


Because men are not perfect, you might have noticed?


What is the church?


A group of people beliving in conjunction with one another.


How does God expect it to be organized and function?


Ask God. He might have some insights for you.

Would God be okay with changing the examples or commands given in the Bible about the church?


Dunno, again ask God. Maybe those examples & commands are not what you think they are? Maybe they are already changed and you simply don't know it yet?


How do I know that He is okay with a change?


Again, ask God. How can another mortal man/woman answer for God to you specifically? They can only answer for themeselves and thier understanding. Is this what you are really asking, other peoples opinions for themeselves and not you or God?





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2 years ago  ::  May 09, 2012 - 12:40PM #4
cg4truth
Posts: 108

In response to Theo...


1) Does the Bible contradict itself in it's teaching?


I believe the answer is completely no. The reason behind this belief is that God is the same no matter the time period. The original text did not contradict itself. If a translation today contradicts itself something has been misinterpreted and needs editing. If God contradicted himself he would not be found true and athiests would have reason to doubt. As it stands there are no contradictions when one considers the following truth. God has always had complete control of everything written by inspiration. Would it be ignorant to say that "apparent contradictions" are the result misinterpreting scriptures. Can we say that the killings done through God's sovereign will are contradictory to the commandment for man not to murder? God provided the reasoning to take a man's life in commanding stoning. What was the overall purpose or reason? To show that disobedience will result in death. God has every right to decide who lives or dies because He created us. Man has no right to decide who lives or dies. I don't think it is a hopeless or difficult argument to make. The disobedient will not be justified by God. How could He be part of sin? To say that God is unable to create inspired literature that is not contradictory would be to deny God's omnipotence and show a lack of faith. The things that we see that are "contradictory" in our minds could be explained by God if he felt explanation was necessary. I may not understand every instance, but I have faith that it can be explained. He is perfect and all knowing. I am an ignorant, foolish, vapor. How could my short years of life compare with His eternal wisdom?

2) If so, how can it be from God?



How can one say that it is not "from God" and believe that God created the universe and everything in it? The Bible is inspired of God meaning the thoughts of the men writing were given by God. The fact that men canonized the book of books doesn't take away from the fact that the content is from God. If God could inspire men with what to say, could He not also inspire men with what letters are full of inspiration?


One being divinely inspired is the only definition that makes sense to me. No where in the scriptures is one "moved by the Holy Spirit" or "divinely inspired" noted as making a mistake unless they are false teachers who weren't really inspired at all to begin with. Paul gave his opinion and knew that it was different than the Holy Spirit's inspiration. He pointed it out as opinion and advice, not command. Can we say that there are mistakes in the Bible without opening up ever bit of it to scrutiny?


Yes, I am vaguely familiar with textual criticism. It is a very interesting, but how many of the variations would result in doctrinal differences? 0


"its hard to not believe God had nothing to do with its preservation." Then, why is it hard to believe that he inspired it all? Why is it hard to believe that there are no mistakes?

3) What is the purpose of the Old Testament?


Completely agree with your understanding. One addition. It is given for our example. The Israelites were disobedient and fell away. Hebrews 4 makes that argument. Also, 1 Tim 3:16 was referring to OT scriptures, but has application to NT. Finally, 2 Peter1:19-21 is refering to OT scriptures in it's original context, but has application to NT scriptures written by apostles and prophets as well.



4) If we are to follow parts of the old covenant established by Moses, why is it called "Old"?


I Agree. Many say that Christ didn't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. (Matt 5:17) What about verse 18? Doesn't that say that not one iota will pass until all is accomplished? Didn't Jesus say "it is finished?" He did fulfill the law. Now that law is completely obsolete. Trying to keep part of the law requires us to keep all of the law. Hebrews 8:7-13 says that the old covenant was becoming obsolete and ready to vanish away. Gal 5:3-6 makes the point that keeping the law/Old covenant is not part of salvation in the new covenant. Sure there are shadows of the new in the old, but no commandment in the old can be considered part of the apostles' and prophets' doctrine of Christ.



5) What is the purpose of the New Testament?


Agree with your synopsis of the NT, but you probably meant to point out that the letters are written by inspired apostles and prophets who witnessed the life of Christ to churches and individuals.


Agree.

6) Is there anything in the Bible I MUST be obedient to in order to be saved?



As I read through Acts, I see Peter said "repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" in Acts 2:38. Why was baptism not included in your list? Does God expect me to be baptized "for remission of sins?" 


7) How can I know that what you think I MUST be obedient to is all that God expects?


Why didn't you mention the book of Acts? Did Jesus lay out everything in the gospels? Why did he tell His apostles he would send a helper in John 14 and 16 to bring them to "all truth?" Didn't he also tell them that he had more to say? Aren't the actions of Jesus' chosen apostles in establishing the church included in what I need to understand?


8) Can I trust man's thoughts as absolute truth?


Agree whole heartedly, but what you said earlier contradicts this thought that I can trust God. If God contradicts himself. Which version of God should I trust? Should I pick what I want to follow from God? He gives us the truth, not contradictions. Men say that He contradicts Himself. I consider men to be completely fallible and unable to discern everything that is in the mind of God (Duet 29:29).


9) If so, why are men often found to be wrong?


Agree. I'm as likely to be wrong as the next guy. We need an unchanging standard... The Bible.



10) What is the church?



Agree mostly. The church is the body of Christ made up of all those who are "in Christ." How does one get "in Christ." You stated that "the Church is a collective of all sincere believing Christians." Who made "sincere belief" the standard for being "in Christ?" Does the Bible teach this? If so, no obedience to the word is required. Also, no works would ever be needed. Only sincerity in one's belief. Are you unwilling to include any form of obedience to Biblical example when understanding what the church is? (Based on previous answers I would assume the answer is yes.) Furthermore, are you unwilling to include works as necessary for a member of the church? The problem with your statement is that it is too general. "everywhere Christians come together to worship God and proclaim the Gospel" is absolutely true, but what classifies one as a Christian?  Sincere belief is a large part of it, but not the whole.  

11) How does God expect it to be organized and function?


Is that debatable? Will you debate with God on the judgment day? What is the example in the OT? The disobedient nation didn't follow the pattern set before them through Moses. Each did "what was right in his own sight" and they fell away from the Lord. You are correct in saying that the argument that "God seems to have left much of that up to us" is hard to argue. We have the example laid out so that when we read we can follow. Eph 3:3-5. We need to take care that we aren't carried away by false doctrines of men who are trusting in their own wisdom. God's word is all we need. 2 Pet 3:14-17 


I'm glad to hear that you favor the traditional structure because that is the only structure that we can know is approved by God 100%. Why are you "Evangelical?" What does that title mean? That you are following a man's take on the inspired word of God?

12) Would God be okay with changing the examples or commands given in the Bible about the church?


People who believe He is okay with that aren't reading the OT and seeing His "tolerance" for disobedience. Sure the NT shows us a forgiving God, but who would dare say that the NT doesn't have any examples of the disobedient receiving punishment? It is full of warnings against false teachers and yet people believe that that they can change the doctrine Christ gave through His apostles.



13) How do I know that He is okay with a change?


Will I be able to justify my way of life by telling God what I think He really meant to say in His word? NO. Why do we think we are so wise?


I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I am a Christian, but do not affiliate with any organization. I am a member of a congregation that is trying to follow the Bible only with the belief that it is "from God" in the sense that God inspired every doctrinal teaching and example contained inside for us to abide by. There may be acceptable ways to please God outside of what we have scriptural authority to do, but I choose not to do those things because I don't trust my own wisdom nor do I trust the wisdom of my fellow man. (Iss 55:8-9, Jer 10:23, 1 Cor 1:25) I have found that going to the Bible as the sole source of commands and examples provides all the unity necessary. Sure there are differences in opinion on some minor things which very little inspired word discusses, but Rom 14 and 1 Cor 8-10 is hopefully followed in those instances. My congregation interacts with multiple likeminded congregations and we all hold the Bible as the standard. One would think, "that will never work!" How can you organize anything without man made organizations, but God provides and we have no lack or difficulty. It is actually easier because opinions are hardly the decision makers. If it is in the Bible we do it, if it isn't we don't. You might call us "fundamentalists" in an attempt to categorize our belief system, but really we are Christians plain and simple. No ties, no board, no additional creeds or doctrines. We are sinful creatures saved by God's grace, through a faith that is obedient, for the purpose of doing works pleasing to God.


Casey

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2 years ago  ::  May 09, 2012 - 1:00PM #5
cg4truth
Posts: 108

May 9, 2012 -- 10:25AM, Whisper01 wrote:


May 8, 2012 -- 4:15PM, cg4truth wrote:


I'll take a crack at this (remember, we all only have opinions, not absolute answers).


Does the Bible contradict itself in it's teaching?


Yes, mankind often does does this as different ideas from different people dont' align.


My question is based on the thought that the Bible is "from God." If you don't believe that the Bible is from God, of course it would contradict itself. Men do that all the time. 


If so, how can it be from God?


It's from man, written by man, printed by man, reproduced by man... but all about some men's interpretation of God. Called "wisdom" in some circles.


If I believed that the Bible was from man's thinking, I wouldn't follow it. I agree with your answer below of men being wrong. I agree with the fact that it is written by men, but are the thoughts expressed from man or God? Why does it claim to be inspired by God? 2 Tim 3:16? Where do you find it contradictory? I have not found any clear cut contradictions. If it was written by men inspired by God then any instances that we might find and say "it is contradictory" is most definately a result of our own inadequacy in seeing how two things relate together. Most of the time we take things out of context. If the Bible is from men's "wisdom" what is the point in following it? We can be wrong, right? How deep can one's faith become in words of men? God is perfect and all powerful. He can create a book that doesn't contradict itself and teaches everything pertaining to life and godliness.

What is the purpose of the Old Testament?


Understanding of some men's understanding of God back in history.


If this it is just an explanation of men's understanding, why does claim to have laws directly from God? Sure there is some history in there, but there is also a lot of direct communication from God to man. Is this a figment of some man's imagination? If so, it is no different than the atheistic point of view. If not, the creator of us all has given us everything we need to understand the truth of the history of mankind and what He expects of us. (No guessing required.)



If we are to follow parts of the old covenant established by Moses, why is it called "Old"?


The only person whom can tell you to follow this covenant or that is YOU. Are you telling yourself to follow the OT? Why?


You are correct in the sense that I am the only one who can choose to enter into a covenant with God. I think you might have misunderstood the question. Most people don't get what being in a covenant relationship is all about. It is an agreement between two people. In the case of the Bible, there is the covenant given through Moses and the covenant given through Jesus. We aren't flesh descendents of Abraham born into a covenant as outlined in the OT. We are in the NT covenant by choice. Therefore, we leave all of the OT laws, commandments, and worship alone for establishing what we do. Do we understand what that means? The OT was given for the example of man trying to be just before God by perfect law keeping. It was impossible because man is weak. God knew that and gave this covenant to show man his own inability to be perfect like God is perfect. Also, it can be seen an example of what not to do since we see disobedience to God's will resulted in captivity and destruction.  The Israelites were given a pattern to follow, and they didn't follow it.

What is the purpose of the New Testament?


Understanding of some men's understanding of God back in history. To tell of a wonderful new understanding of "grace" and "love" and that we are not alone. We have a mediator who loves us and is on our side! :-)


Sure, you could say that the gospels and Acts are historical in nature, but I wouldn't classify the any of the NT as men's understanding of God back in history. The Epistles are doctrinal in nature, not historical in nature. They don't tell a story as much as they provide instruction and revelation of God's will for the church and disciple of Christ. Overall I think that the purpose is to establish the covenant relationship with God that can be seen through Christ our perfect mediator as you stated.



Is there anything in the Bible I MUST be obedient to in order to be saved?


That is definatly up to you to decide. Does your question mean to ask "in your opinion..." so you can get someone elses take?


Up to me? So the Bible provides no doctrine or direction as to what I need to do to be forgiven of sins? This is an attempt to get someone elses take. What do you think that the Bible teaches on salvation? Are you under the impression that everyone everywhere is saved just because? Help me find the verses that say that. If it is just your thought, how do I know what you think is what God thinks?

How can I know that what you think I MUST be obedient to is all that God expects?


Exactly! You cant. Part of life's journey is making up your own mind :-).


:) If you can't then God would be the author of confusion not of peace. 1 Cor 14:33. I find no peace in thinking that my thoughts are what is right. If the guy next to me has the thought that he must blow up 5 people in order to be saved, I'm not at PEACE! God has given us His word to know what He wants. Too many people today are ignoring what His word says and doing what they think is best. The book of Judges is about that kind of catastrophe.

Can I trust man's thoughts as absolute truth?


I would think no, but that's my opinion. Man, all men, have a view and if you listen to other men you can become wise and wisdom leads to truth. But only "leads" not "will lead". That's life.


Nothing coming from man can be absolutely true because man lives a short time on earth. His wisdom is limited. God is eternal. His thoughts are higher than ours (Iss 55:8-9, Jer 10:25, 1 Cor 1:25)

If so, why are men often found to be wrong?


Because men are not perfect, you might have noticed?


Oh I have noticed and it is the foundation of my thinking on what to trust, God or man. Either the Bible is from God and is the only source of truth. Or we are without any absolute truth because no matter who you are, you can always be wrong.


What is the church?


A group of people beliving in conjunction with one another.


It is most definately a group of people believing in conjunction with one another, but what is THE CHURCH? It is described in the scriptures as those who are saved by God's grace, through a faith that is obedient to God's word, for the purpose of working to the glory of God.

How does God expect it to be organized and function?


Ask God. He might have some insights for you.


I did, then I looked into His word for the answer. Read the book of Acts sometime and understand what the first church was really like. If God revealed what the first church was like and how it was started, would He expect us to follow that pattern?  

Would God be okay with changing the examples or commands given in the Bible about the church?


Dunno, again ask God. Maybe those examples & commands are not what you think they are? Maybe they are already changed and you simply don't know it yet?


Maybe they aren't what I think they are. That is why I have to study to find out. Maybe they have changed? Then God would be an author of confusion. That really wouldn't make sense would it? God created us then just left us down here not knowing what to do... I doubt it. He told us what to do. He gave us a pattern to follow.


How do I know that He is okay with a change?


Again, ask God. How can another mortal man/woman answer for God to you specifically? They can only answer for themeselves and thier understanding. Is this what you are really asking, other peoples opinions for themeselves and not you or God?


I can't tell you what to God wants from my own mind. You are correct in that statement, but can I not tell you what God has said on the subject by relaying what is written in His inspired word? I am asking for other people to tell me what they believe God's word is really all about. If I am wrong, I want to change to be right.







The rationale is to develop grounds for debate. The only thing worth debating with other Christians is the standard of truth. If the standard of truth is opinion, we can never come to an agreement. All of the question responses will be to some degree opinionated, but can you back up why you believe what you do with Scripture combined with decent rationale? If there is no Scripture and reasoning included in your answer, there is no argument because what is not from God is subjective. You have a right to believe as you desire. I would like to know why you believe what you do and discuss how our reasoning differs. Not to cast judgments or downplay your beliefs, but to come to a better understanding of truth myself and put the truth into words. Developing that wisdom you spoke of that comes through experience. Sorry for the confusion. Please see my response to Theo as well. Thanks for giving it a crack! :)

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2 years ago  ::  May 09, 2012 - 10:59PM #6
Theo
Posts: 4,687

cg4truth: I answered your questions under the mistaken belief that I was addressing a seeker, not a Christian looking to debate those who responded to your questions. That right there provides the context to much of what I said. Even so, over the years, I found that the higher the bar you set for yourself, the more reasonable people may require of you. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but dogmatic assertions that are not backed up by Scripture and sound reasoning are nothing more than individual opinions. Thus I try to avoid landmines when I see signs of them in the ground.


As far as the Bible contradicting itself; I have debated that question with Christians, Mormons, JWs and Agnostics and Atheists, and I have yet to be presented with a genuine contradiction that was more than a matter of interpretation. However, when dealing with seekers and skeptics, coming out of the gate with a statement like, "I believe the Bible is the Word of God and contains no contradictions..." is frankly the wrong approach. You can not persuade people with no reason to trust what you say... moreover, faith comes from hearing the word of God (i.e. the Gospel) not from arguing with a dogmatic Christian.


How can one say that it is not "from God" and believe that God created the universe and everything in it? 


Easy - I believe God created all things, visible and invisible & I do not believe the Bible fell to earth from the hand of God in heaven.


See how easy that was? Men were involved at every step, and recognizing that fact is a good way to connect with seekers who are looking for reasonable answers, not statements of faith... remember what I said about setting the bar too high.


The Bible is inspired of God meaning the thoughts of the men writing were given by God. The fact that men canonized the book of books doesn't take away from the fact that the content is from God. If God could inspire men with what to say, could He not also inspire men with what letters are full of inspiration?


I believe Holy Scriptures are inspired by God, meaning that God had a lot to do with what's in the Bible. But requiring others to accept your meaning (i.e. interpretation) is not the way to reach seekers and skeptics. The Greek word for "inspired" as found in 1 Tim 3:16 means "God-breathed" which is why it was translated as "inspired," but in order to define what level of inspiration this implies, you have to do a whole Bible Study showing how Scripture was called the Word of God by Jesus and the apostles... Again, that is setting the bar hopelessly high when engaging seekers and agnostics on a discussion forum like this one. Dogmatic arguments do not lead people to faith in Christ.


Yes, I am vaguely familiar with textual criticism. It is a very interesting, but how many of the variations would result in doctrinal differences? 0


Wrong, many... this is a subject I am very familiar with. The NASB be says that Jesus is a begotten God in John 1:18 - do you believe that? I do not, He is the only begotten Son, according to the vast majority of Greek Manuscripts.


As I read through Acts, I see Peter said "repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" in Acts 2:38. Why was baptism not included in your list? Does God expect me to be baptized "for remission of sins?" 


Simple, I could have included many things. For example; Jesus said that if we do not eat His flesh and drink His blood we have no life in us... but I did not think you wanted an inclusive list, so I gave you the most important items and left it at that. Of course, I believe you should be baptized - and yes, "for the forgiveness of sins..." same word as remission in the Greek.


Why didn't you mention the book of Acts? 


When talking to seekers and skeptics, I point them to Jesus, he carries more weight with most of them than His disciples.


The church is the body of Christ made up of all those who are "in Christ." 


Yes it is, but then the "body of Christ" is a biblical allegory, and I try to keep things simple when talking to seekers.


Why are you "Evangelical?" What does that title mean? That you are following a man's take on the inspired word of God?



Evangelical is a word that basically refers to Christians who believe the Gospel. I am a catholic Christian, but not as far as the Catholic Church is concerned... even so I am catholic as far as historic Christianity is concerned. I am a Protestant, meaning that I am not Roman Catholic or Orthodox. I am a born-again Christian, meaning that I believe you must be born again, I am a Charismatic Christian, meaning that I believe the gifts of the Spirit are for today.


~ Theophilus

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2 years ago  ::  May 10, 2012 - 10:15AM #7
cg4truth
Posts: 108

cg4truth: I answered your questions under the mistaken belief that I was addressing a seeker, not a Christian looking to debate those who responded to your questions.



Sorry for the confusion. I will modify my beginning thread for others. My goal was to establish some solid ground we can debate on. If I'm talking to someone who doesn't hold to the scriptures as the uncontradictory word of God (some claim to be Christians and do not) we will never agree to anything.


over the years, I found that the higher the bar you set for yourself, the more reasonable people may require of you. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but dogmatic assertions that are not backed up by Scripture and sound reasoning are nothing more than individual opinions. Thus I try to avoid landmines when I see signs of them in the ground.



I think that this is the trouble many Christians find in talking to non-believers, but the Bible makes extraordinary claims which we should be willing to defend. It's claim to be "the truth" corresponds with the "dogmatic assertion" that it isn't contradictory. The requirement for "extraordinary evidence" to back up extraordinary claims is easily found in the fact that God has revealed the truth and faith is required to believe some aspects of it. If believe were made up entirely of evidence, faith wouldn't be possible. I agree that there is plenty of evidence that demands attention, but nature itself should provide all the evidence one needs to know that their is a designer to the universe. When one reads the word with the belief of a GREAT designer, they should see the timeless wisdom with which it is written.


We cannot make the claim that God's word is contradictory. We can say it may seem contradictory, but it is NOT. Claiming God's word is contradictory shows a lack of faith. If I say that I believe Jesus could be the son of God, have I really brought glory to Him? Have I made any confession? No matter who I speak with, I will stand on the fact that the Bible does not contradict itself until a man is wise enough to completely prove me wrong. I have faith in the word.


As far as the Bible contradicting itself; I have debated that question with Christians, Mormons, JWs and Agnostics and Atheists, and I have yet to be presented with a genuine contradiction that was more than a matter of interpretation. However, when dealing with seekers and skeptics, coming out of the gate with a statement like, "I believe the Bible is the Word of God and contains no contradictions..." is frankly the wrong approach. You can not persuade people with no reason to trust what you say... moreover, faith comes from hearing the word of God (i.e. the Gospel) not from arguing with a dogmatic Christian.



I think you have some sound advice here in trying to be tactful, but you say "I believe the Bible is the Word of God and contains no contradictions..." is frankly the wrong approach. Is that not scriptural? Is that not directly from the word of God? Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." He also told His apostles He would send them a helper to guide them to "all truth." Then, He told them to "go out into the world and preach to gospel, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and low, I am with you always even to the end of the age." So, the teachings of Jesus and His apostles claim to be "truth." Truth cannot contradict itself. NT writers are eye witnesses of all that they are writing. 2 Pet 1:16. Some make a claim to have recieved inspiration from the HS. The writings that make no claim like that are considered inspired because they have stood the test of time and do not contradict the inspired text. Then, there is 2 Tim 3:16 which was originally referring to the OT scriptures, but should be said of all NT scriptures today.


Is the Bible not itself "dogmatic?" I am not aware of the teaching in the Bible that other ways are truth. Help me find them...


cg:How can one say that it is not "from God" and believe that God created the universe and everything in it? 



T:Easy - I believe God created all things, visible and invisible & I do not believe the Bible fell to earth from the hand of God in heaven.


See how easy that was? Men were involved at every step, and recognizing that fact is a good way to connect with seekers who are looking for reasonable answers, not statements of faith... remember what I said about setting the bar too high.



I am not saying that men weren't involved every step of the way, rather that God WAS involved every step of the way. See the difference? :) Keep God in the arguement. Reasonable statements of faith are required. They (seekers, agnostics) make unreasonable statements of faith when they say that God did not create the world. Do they not? Why can't I make a reasonable statement of faith. This is not setting the bar too high, but refusing to set the bar lower than God does. That is my fear more than anything. If they see me do that, they will pounce and rip me to pieces.


God's word is the standard. If we try to fit in the mold of the atheist, we put ourselves in danger of taking away from God's glorious image. Did Jesus ever sympathize with non-believers? Take the Samaritan woman for example although she believed in God she was a sinner, and the Lord addressed her sin as sinful. He told her the true worshippers would worship "in spirit and in truth." The debate over whether God's word is uncontradictory truth or not comes down to whether or not one is willing to swallow their pride, admit their sinfulness, and follow the truth. We aren't doing anybody any favor by hiding their prideful arogance in using the phrase "reasonable."


cg:The Bible is inspired of God meaning the thoughts of the men writing were given by God. The fact that men canonized the book of books doesn't take away from the fact that the content is from God. If God could inspire men with what to say, could He not also inspire men with what letters are full of inspiration?



T:I believe Holy Scriptures are inspired by God, meaning that God had a lot to do with what's in the Bible. But requiring others to accept your meaning (i.e. interpretation) is not the way to reach seekers and skeptics.



"had a lot to do with" or "had everything to do with?" If he only "had a lot to do with" it how do I know which portions he had nothing to do with? Do you see the door you have opened? Requiring others to accept the scriptures as "inspired" is the only way to reach seekers and skeptics. They want a definate answer and the Bible is it. Period. 2 Peter 1:19-21 gets this accross more clearly than I ever could. "And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophesy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophesy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."


The men of the NT are our prophets. God put them in the positions they were in for the reason of providing us with truth. Eph 3:3-5 says "how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."


1 Pet 1:10-12 has a similar thought in that revelation was made through these men who preached the gospel. Revelation that prophets of old and even angels didn't know. It's all from God.


The Greek word for "inspired" as found in 1 Tim 3:16 means "God-breathed" which is why it was translated as "inspired," but in order to define what level of inspiration this implies, you have to do a whole Bible Study showing how Scripture was called the Word of God by Jesus and the apostles... Again, that is setting the bar hopelessly high when engaging seekers and agnostics on a discussion forum like this one. Dogmatic arguments do not lead people to faith in Christ.



I am discouraged by your notion that one who is seeking to preach the Bible as being completely inspired of God is setting the bar "hopelessly high" for people who seek truth. I think there is no other way to help those who are truly seeking truth. We are told Paul didn't address people by preaching the wisdom of men, but of God. Please take some time to read 1 Cor 1:17-25. If you read no other passage, READ THIS ONE! :) I think you could be emptying the power of the cross which involves faith not wisdom.


cg:Yes, I am vaguely familiar with textual criticism. It is a very interesting, but how many of the variations would result in doctrinal differences? 0



T:Wrong, many... this is a subject I am very familiar with. The NASB be says that Jesus is a begotten God in John 1:18 - do you believe that? I do not, He is the only begotten Son, according to the vast majority of Greek Manuscripts.



Yes I believe that. Because John said earlier in his prologue that Jesus was the Word incarnate (John 1:14) and that the "Word was God" in verse 1. I also believe that He was the "only begotten" in the sense that when He lived as a man, no one before Him had ever truly known God. He has made Him known to us. How does this effect a doctrine of any kind? If anyone goes around teaching that Jesus is not a begotten God. Would they be wrong? John the baptist said that Jesus was before him. How could this be unless he was God before becoming man? He was God in the flesh. Is that hard to believe? The entire book of John shows us why it is easy to believe that He is God. I will admit that I don't fully grasp the concept of the one God that has three heads, I believe that Jesus was in the beginning with God. Gen 1:26 - "Let Us make man in Our image."


This is the same as contradictions. They can easily be understood to one who has an open mind and faith in God's ability to protect the truth.


cg:As I read through Acts, I see Peter said "repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" in Acts 2:38. Why was baptism not included in your list? Does God expect me to be baptized "for remission of sins?" 



T: Simple, I could have included many things. For example; Jesus said that if we do not eat His flesh and drink His blood we have no life in us... but I did not think you wanted an inclusive list, so I gave you the most important items and left it at that. Of course, I believe you should be baptized - and yes, "for the forgiveness of sins..." same word as remission in the Greek.



Huh? How can you say that your list contains the essentials, yet doesn't contain the very act that washes away one's sins? I'm confused here. Help me out... :)


cg: Why didn't you mention the book of Acts? 



T: When talking to seekers and skeptics, I point them to Jesus, he carries more weight with most of them than His disciples.



Didn't Jesus say that His disciples were the ones who would be led into all truth? If we leave out the establishment of the church, we leave out the essense of what Christ wants us to do in order to become a disciple of His in His absense. Aren't you confusing people by telling them they need to find Jesus and follow Him to the cross without explaining how people became disciples of Christ and members of Christ's church?


cg:The church is the body of Christ made up of all those who are "in Christ." 



T:Yes it is, but then the "body of Christ" is a biblical allegory, and I try to keep things simple when talking to seekers.



It is our job to put things into simple terminology. That much I agree with. This allegory is not difficult to understand. God has made wise the simple. He has related the church to a human body that functions based on what the head tells it to do. In order to be a part of that body one must be baptized into that body after they confess their belief and determine to submit their mindset to Christ. Gal 3:27. As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Why would we say that that is difficult to understand? It is difficult to believe if you are living a life based on the foolish, prideful wisdom of the world, but not if you are desiring to understand God's will. Didn't our Lord speak in parables?


cg:Why are you "Evangelical?" What does that title mean? That you are following a man's take on the inspired word of God?



T:Evangelical is a word that basically refers to Christians who believe the Gospel. I am a catholic Christian, but not as far as the Catholic Church is concerned... even so I am catholic as far as historic Christianity is concerned. I am a Protestant, meaning that I am not Roman Catholic or Orthodox. I am a born-again Christian, meaning that I believe you must be born again, I am a Charismatic Christian, meaning that I believe the gifts of the Spirit are for today.


~ Theophilus



At this point I will keep from going into the details of our differences. I will just say this. I am a Christian. Striving to do what the Bible says for me to do because it contains the words of life in Christ. Defining myself by any other terminology is making complicated the simple nature of my belief. Some might add names to me based on my beliefs, but I reject them because I want to be what they were in the 1st century... Christians, Saints, disciples of Christ, members of the body of Christ, the church of the living God, the Lord's church, the church of Christ. Anything more than that is borderline Gnostic.


v/r


Casey
 

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2 years ago  ::  May 10, 2012 - 11:14AM #8
Ironhold
Posts: 11,491

May 9, 2012 -- 10:59PM, Theo wrote:


As far as the Bible contradicting itself; I have debated that question with Christians, Mormons, JWs and Agnostics and Atheists, and I have yet to be presented with a genuine contradiction that was more than a matter of interpretation.



When I bring up purported contradictions, I'm doing so in order to see whether or not the would-be critic has even read their scriptures in the first place and is actually capable of forming their own arguments.


I've dealt with entirely too many "defenders of the faith" who were ignorant of the faith that they were trying to defend, including one poor schmuck who insisted that his interpretation of the Bible was correct despite his not having even read it cover-to-cover yet. To say that it was a "one-sided battle" would be an understatement.


However, when dealing with seekers and skeptics, coming out of the gate with a statement like, "I believe the Bible is the Word of God and contains no contradictions..." is frankly the wrong approach. You can not persuade people with no reason to trust what you say... moreover, faith comes from hearing the word of God (i.e. the Gospel) not from arguing with a dogmatic Christian.



Problem is, Theo, "full frontal assault" is the default mode for entirely too many people who want to try and defend their interpretation of Christianity.

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2 years ago  ::  May 10, 2012 - 11:32AM #9
cg4truth
Posts: 108

May 10, 2012 -- 11:14AM, Ironhold wrote:


May 9, 2012 -- 10:59PM, Theo wrote:


As far as the Bible contradicting itself; I have debated that question with Christians, Mormons, JWs and Agnostics and Atheists, and I have yet to be presented with a genuine contradiction that was more than a matter of interpretation.



When I bring up purported contradictions, I'm doing so in order to see whether or not the would-be critic has even read their scriptures in the first place and is actually capable of forming their own arguments.


I've dealt with entirely too many "defenders of the faith" who were ignorant of the faith that they were trying to defend, including one poor schmuck who insisted that his interpretation of the Bible was correct despite his not having even read it cover-to-cover yet. To say that it was a "one-sided battle" would be an understatement.


However, when dealing with seekers and skeptics, coming out of the gate with a statement like, "I believe the Bible is the Word of God and contains no contradictions..." is frankly the wrong approach. You can not persuade people with no reason to trust what you say... moreover, faith comes from hearing the word of God (i.e. the Gospel) not from arguing with a dogmatic Christian.



Problem is, Theo, "full frontal assault" is the default mode for entirely too many people who want to try and defend their interpretation of Christianity.




I agree that the one professing faith should have an understanding of the faith they have. That is the whole purpose of this thread...


I disagree with your understanding of the true problem. Problem is becoming: No one expects men of "reason" to deny the truth. I am a fool for Christ's sake. That is what Paul was too. If they won't accept a "full on frontal assault." It may be because of my attitude or it may be because they consider the truth foolish, but it's not because I'm using a "full on frontal assault." Paul used it and it worked. We need to imitate him.


I'm not saying don't use tact, I'm simply saying not to hide the truth in an attempt to get someone to believe it. The result of this method is people saying they believe but not knowing what they truly believe. The Bible is the standard. Anything else is man's thoughts... worthless.

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2 years ago  ::  May 10, 2012 - 4:21PM #10
Ironhold
Posts: 11,491

May 10, 2012 -- 11:32AM, cg4truth wrote:


I agree that the one professing faith should have an understanding of the faith they have. That is the whole purpose of this thread...


I disagree with your understanding of the true problem. Problem is becoming: No one expects men of "reason" to deny the truth. I am a fool for Christ's sake. That is what Paul was too. If they won't accept a "full on frontal assault." It may be because of my attitude or it may be because they consider the truth foolish, but it's not because I'm using a "full on frontal assault." Paul used it and it worked. We need to imitate him.


I'm not saying don't use tact, I'm simply saying not to hide the truth in an attempt to get someone to believe it. The result of this method is people saying they believe but not knowing what they truly believe. The Bible is the standard. Anything else is man's thoughts... worthless.




I'm an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, making me one of the "heretics" Theo was talking about earlier.


The vast majority of people I've seen to want to try and "save" me simply don't know what they're talking about.


Instead, someone (often a minister) spoon-fed them some random arguments and sent them on their way.


It's actually quite sad, really; by the time we're done with these unfortunates, they often can't tell heads from tails. They either go into "denial" mode and try to pretend that their minister didn't lie to them or go into hysterics like a rabid animal. Only a handful are capable of recognizing what they're lacking and set about doing their own research accordingly.


There are people out there who actually think we have horns. That's how much misinformation is floating around.

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