Posts Tagged With: old testament

Christianity as the True Worldview pt. 1

Allow me to Defend Christianity

Many times I hear folks dismiss the Bible as an accurate record of history because the Old Testament stories are too far-fetched. What rational person in 2013 believes that God created this entire universe in six days?

For one, I do. I believe that Genesis is all true, very true. I believe a donkey talked in the book of Numbers. I believe Moses really wrote the body of the first five books of the Bible, and that the sun stood still while Joshua led the Israelites into battle, and on and on. And my I.Q. is well over 100 – I’ve been tested a number of times since a boy.

What gives? I was a biology major for my first 2 1/2 years in college, taking plenty of chemistry, genetics, evolutionary theory, and math. I have a degree in English and creative writing, and I have an extensive library in my home. I’m working through a Master’s degree in Theology. I’ve traveled much more than the average person, and I understand at least three languages on a functional level, with reading comprehension in more.

What’s up with me? Many atheists tend to get huffy and rude, making light of anyone who believes in an inerrant Bible (and I can understand why – 9/10 Christians in the West seem to be about as able to argue their beliefs as an elephant is able to compose a symphony, leaving themselves wide-open to ridicule and scorn).

Yet there are many of us who are nobody’s fool. I believe in the full inspiration of every word of the Bible – nothing false or incorrect, and I am happy to argue for it.

Simple but not Easy

Being smart about consistencyyour faith does not mean being complicated. The simple fact is that without God we cannot know anything. The Christian worldview is the only way of looking at our world that is fully consistent. That is your mark of truth. Ultimate truth.

That doesn’t mean people will agree or recognize the consistency of the Christian worldview. There are major obstacles in the way:

  1. Every person conceived is fallen in the sin of Adam and Eve, and therefore their rationality is skewed. We can’t think straight. We won’t think straight, for as we do, our knowledge leads us right to the God against whom we have sinned. The Bible tells us that no one (outside of the work of the Holy Spirit) seeks for God, no not one. This means that every form of worldview that does not start and conclude with the God of the Bible is a demonstration of futile rebellion. We strive to escape the sovereignty of the God we all know, and our religions, philosophies, and educations are our main tools to do so.
  2. Christians are poorly equipped and educated. Many times I float around the internet looking at how Christians are arguing for the faith. It is a miracle anyone is a Christian who has ever seen the internet. The majority of the Christian voice out here is totally silly – plagued with straw-man arguments, baseless assertions, logical fallacies, and worse. This is not a failure of Christianity to be able to stand as the consistent explanation of all things – it is a failure of her adherents to know what they believe and why they believe it.
  3. Most of the Western world’s Christianity is a misrepresentation of the faith and thinking of the historical church. As I often do, I lay the lion’s share of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the anti-intellectual carnival barkers passing for pastors and theologians. Men and women within the church are far more destructive to the Christian message than anyone outside of it: Ed Young Jr. the 50+ screecher trying so hard to be 25, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Peter Lumpkins, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Ergun Caner and on and on it goes. We are absolutely outshouted by heresy, idiocy, prosperity hawking, and general provincialism. It’s no wonder we’re a joke to so many.

And there are even more obstacles. Christian truth is generally buried beneath a mountain of cultural trash in the church. Yet by God’s grace, there are many of us who still stand. We don’t have all points agreement on all things, but the best of Presbyterianism, Lutheranism, and Baptist Protestantism are still producing women and men who know how to defend the faith and worldview of Christ’s religion.

Next time I post, I’ll delve into the arguments for the Christian worldview. Keep in mind, I’m not a philosopher by trade; there are many others who do a better, more thorough job of defending Christianity. Yet as I do my best to explain our religion in all its glory, I provide another committed voice to the equation, showing that the words of Jesus are ever true: “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…” (Matt. 16:18b).

Until next time,

-Justin

Categories: Comparative Religions, Foundations of ItC blog, The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Are You a Radical Bible Skeptic?

Here’s a question you might ask yourself: how much evidence would be enough to satisfy me in demonstrating the Bible as inerrant and perfect in its historicity, and that it is the unique Word of God? Many scholars and ordinary people seem to be demanding, without saying it out loud, that we would need to see recorded footage of the historical events in order to believe the Bible as history. This underlying assumption belies an extreme skepticism which, in order to be consistent, would have to question whether George Washington was really the President of the United States. Is this a description of you? This thinking masquerades as “intellectualism” but is actually shown to be a hard-core presupposed assumption that there can be nothing supernatural in this here cosmos.

Is that you? Do you scoff at the miraculous parting of the Red Sea because “things like that don’t happen”?

If you are a hard-line skeptic, then I suppose even if I could show you film footage of Jesus rising from the dead, that you would object that it was a re-enactment and a hoax. Therefore, I am mainly speaking to those of you who have an open mind to think critically and honestly about the evidence and beauty of the historical and theological records in the Bible. Once the prejudices one is holding have been challenged and discarded, there opens up a cosmic vision of glory and beauty and pleasure which would be impossible for the hardcore skeptic.

So let’s interpret the nature of the Bible… One of the more fascinating ways to check the history of the Bible is to study archaeological finds from the Middle East. A good sampling of sources claim that there are more than 25,000 archaeological finds which confirm just the Old Testament history. Keep in mind that the great majority of the Bible is narrative which can be placed in an historical setting – a specific location, people, and set of events. This opens it up to being scrutinized for accuracy against the archaeological record, (and by the way is a very bold move if you are trying to create a fictional story as if it were true) . You would think that if the biblical authors were making it all up as myth, that there would be scads of digging which would turn up the truth of the matters and overturn the Bible as a reliable history of the cosmos.

Yet that doesn’t happen.

Infamous 19th century atheist skeptic Sir William Ramsay decided to once for all prove the Bible wrong by attacking the book of Luke, archaeologically. His forays into the Middle East and ancient Greek world turned him into a Bible believing Christian after every archaeological study he attempted proved Luke to have been accurate to the greatest detail.

As an example, the Book of Mormon on the other hand is filled with faulty history, even claiming that the Native Americans are the descendents of the Israelite Jews. The Quran also shows itself to be definitively human as the author did not even know what the Christian doctrine of the Trinity was, over 500 years after the completion of the New Testament; claiming that the Trinity according to Christians was Father, Son, and Mary. If the God of the Quran truly was God, then do you think he would know what Christians had believed and preached for hundreds of years?

With all of our archaeological work, we continue to find evidence corroborating the biblical record. 40+ authors writing over the course of 1,500+ years starting almost 4,000 years ago, and their witness is found to be accurate and true. Wow! I love the Bible and its unified, glorious interpretation of the cosmos. Have you looked through it by faith? Or are you continuing to presume that for the Bible to be truly God’s Word, it would have to be truly simple, non-supernatural, and filled with video recordings of the events it depicts?

Besides all of the exciting physical, historical evidence for the biblical record, there is the overriding power of its composition. If and because it is the true, unique Word from the unique God, it is therefore able to transform people as they read it and believe it. This is the witness of God’s Spirit.

In my next post, I will begin to commend the Bible to you as not only the supreme lens through which to interpret the cosmos in general, but the only true and undefiled lens through which to interpret your own self. When you see yourself through the lens of God’s Word, you can also see the beauty and glory of the entire story of redemption, and how it applies to you. I hope you are hungry for delicious, fulfilling truth.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Foundations of ItC blog, The Nature of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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