At the end of last month's Shoveletter I stated that this one would be "The 'authorized' version: an English loophole?", and I will get to it ASAP (whatever that means, huh?). But this time I am sending out the response I wrote to some objections I received from the last letter. Why? Because some of you probably have similar objections ... or some of you have been also presented with similar objections. Please know, this is in no way meant to be a scolding to any who would question my approach, but as a sincere desire to communicate the good news of Christ. Here is that letter:
My dear friend,
In order to conclude that I suggest that "the Scriptures aren't true" you have obviously overlooked or ignored what I've actually written. I have received more responses and feedback from those who have struggled with the legalistic bondage I speak of with no indication that such consider that I'm disregarding the Bible itself - only the slavish need to have it all figured out as a textbook to spirituality.
Depending on where each person is coming from, some are able to put the book down for a time, while others are able to pick it back up. The former have been trapped by the condemnation of achieving its standards and interpretations, while the latter have finally seen it as the testimony to Christ that it is.
If the Scriptures aren't true - and that's the implication of your idea about the non-importance of their veracity - then it is ridiculous to believe in Jesus - because it is "them that give witness to Me," He said. Anonymous
That would be your interpretation of my implication. I have made no such suggestion. Regarding the witness factor of the OT scriptures that you assume I overlook, I have made it a premise of everything about these written words of God. Consider again what I wrote in the 3rd part of the Bibliology portion:
Our Owner's Manual?
Whatever God had actually spoken to individuals in times past - whether recorded or not - ultimately testified of Christ, who is the EVERYTHING of God. Somehow, though, our Christian perspective on those collected written words forces them to serve as our textbook or owner's manual or even as that cutesy acrostic made from the word BIBLE proposes: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. I wonder where we get the idea that this is distinctly Christian? How is it then that this mindset instigates the same concepts and reactions in our Christian marketplace as it did with the Jews when Jesus walked among them?
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life ... For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? John 5:39,40,46-47
You may be familiar with this passage, but did you know what stirred Jesus to say it? There were two things, and they were both connected. The first was based in their lifeless, legal perceptions of the recorded words of God scribed by Moses. The second, because they refused to recognize that the one standing in front of them was the incarnation of Moses' testimony.
I'm not sure why you would assume that I am now contradicting what I am building upon. Do you hold that the Bible is our textbook so that we may finally know God through carefully study ... or do you recognize that the Spirit of Christ (to whom the written words testify) is the One by whom we have been NOW brought into the knowledge of God? From our earlier communications and the articles you used to send me I thought for sure you would have recognized this distinction so that you would understand what it is that I'm really objecting to - and presenting - in this whole series. I am a little perplexed by your objections.
So if the witness is false Anonymous
Who is really claiming that the witness to Christ is false? You seem to think that I am. Interesting ... for I have been demanding over and over again that EVERYTHING contained in whatever God spoke through men was ultimately a testimony to Christ. Don't you know that this is NOT what the religious Christian system claims?
IF the Scriptures aren't true ... so IF the witness is false ... and IF they were just a bunch of contradictions Anonymous
How can I even begin to answer implications you have derived from something I have not said - nor believe? The subtitle of the last Shoveletter may have been "Not 100% Accurate?" but my whole point in the article portrayed this question as one formulated by the fleshly perception as it incessantly strives for a 100% accurate INTERPRETATION of the Bible.
The Biblical contradictions throughout religious history have been the result of the textbook mentality through which many systems have been created in hopes of achieving a total harmony of Scripture. These are the same kind of technical contradictions we put had forth as unbelievers, somehow thinking them necessary to resolve before we believed in the God of the Bible. Do we really believe our former intellectual objections of seeming contradictions were EVER the real reason we objected to Christ? Do we not realize it was based upon that former mindset that we regarded the Bible as a flawed textbook needing to be harmonized if it was to be believed?
There is no doubt that many true things have been stated by those holding to certain systems of thought, but when the collected writings are viewed as the final word from God - INSTEAD of Christ HIMSELF as being the final word - then these collected writings are pulled back and forth and cross-referenced in the attempt to create a technical harmony. As a WITNESS, the words always end up testifying to Christ. But as a HARMONY of various writings from various times to various people dealing with various issues originally recorded in ancient languages of which only copies remain which contain some discrepancies among them we have only turned the Bible into truth that stands or falls upon our particular system. And if you examine these systems you will realize that Jesus may be IMPORTANT to certain portions of the writings and/or of the basic belief structure, but not ESSENTIAL to EVERYTHING.
Who is it that is really claiming the Bible to be not 100% accurate? It is those who are desperately trying to prove that it is! This desperation is a carry-over from the fleshly mindset - or perhaps it is the only mindset known to some of those who are trying to teach us of God through the Bible. The real question is: Why do we still play their game? Do we need those fleshly-perceived contradictions resolved in order to validate the testimony declared in the recorded words given by God? Or are we perhaps still forcing those contradictions by viewing the Bible as God's textbook in the same manner as we did before we received the life of Christ?
Are you following what I'm saying here? I am suggesting that the concept of 100% accuracy is an illusion created by the old fleshly mind - one which many are still struggling against. The concept has nestled itself as a bogeyman in the minds of many who have been made alive in Christ so that they have been forced to adopt a system that resolves most of their Biblical questions, doubts and/or fears. Maybe we suppose such a fix is worthwhile so that we don't suspect that it may only fuel most of the controversies many believers are preoccupied with.
"your idea about the non-importance of their veracity"
"so their truthfulness is non-important ..."
"But I have to say that it is not good to play fast and easy with God's words and witness."
"Our God's words that give witness to Christ likewise say you are utterly wrong in your chevalier attitude toward the truthfulness of them, calling them unessential." Anonymous
The context of my writings do not suggest any of this. The veracity or truthfulness I hold as non-important has been carefully presented as MAN'S religious sense of control and authority through interpretations and fleshly perceptions of the Bible. Men will hold the Bible as being God's ultimate authority - while ignoring or denying the fact GOD HIMSELF is His own ultimate authority and that CHRIST is His final word to man. This is why without being given the living Spirit of Christ we have NO REAL authority, even when quoting Scripture. I disregard the whole idea that the Bible was given as the textbook, but it should be obvious by so much of what I write that I don't disregard its testimony.
And no, I have not called God's words unessential, for I have been insisting that they are this witness to Christ you have decided I am utterly wrong about. As I said before, I am perplexed by such statements in view of what I've been careful to present.
I see the modern Christian perception of the Bible as that of a magic book full of spells and incantations which must be applied in meticulous detail to keep it from backfiring on the spell weaver. I have witnessed an incredible similarity of religious fervency between people who look for God's direction in the pages of the Bible and those who can't seem to live without reading their daily personal horoscope in the pages of the local newspaper.
Consider, though we may reject the horoscope, it is often filled with some pretty good bits of advice, which indicates that it's not advice in and of itself that we reject but instead it's the religiously authoritative premise behind everything it claims. It takes something as simple as "Don't step in the mud puddle on the way home" and turns it into a message from the cosmic force of nature to be applied to your life for that day. This is not much different from what believers are taught to see the Bible as being to them so that they worry and fret that they may be misreading God's will for them in their daily lives.
Anyway, why would I believe in a God who can't even choose a true witness? Anonymous
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26
When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, HE WILL TESTIFY ABOUT ME, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. John 15:26-27
Now, before you object by stating that this testifying was only to the disciples so they could provide written words by which we could know God, consider these words John wrote:
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 1 John 2 :20
As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. 1 John 2:27
The REAL reason you ever believed in the true God is because God DID choose a true witness: The Spirit of Christ. This is not a denial of the witness demanded by the written words, but is the recognition of the witness behind the true teaching by which we know God.