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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bible and personal experience

Post-modernism is the age we afre in now. When attempts are made to define what exactly is meant by post-modernism, usually reference is made to a more hands-on, experiential,relational mode of being. This is good,getting away from strictly rationalistic,intellectual dispassionate style of modernism. A dilemma i see happeining as I scan across the land of blogdom is that so many seem to want to discard the authority and infallibility of the Bible. Thos who adhere to a high view of Scripture are even looked at as idolaters making the Bible an object of worship in and of itself.

The Bible has been attacked and scorned throughout history. Countless attempts have been made to discredit it, silence it and make it meaningless......... all have failed. The Bible doesnt not claim to be Gods absolute Word just for kicks. Jesus declares the absolute infallibility and authority of Scripture and He was referring to the Old Covenant Law,Psalms and Prophets. The Apostle Paul echoes Jesus words in I Timothy when he states *all Scripture is inspired by God and authoritative for reproof and instruction in righteousness* The Bible is objectively written, by many different men of all kinds of backgrounds over a vast difference in time periods. NO WAY could this book possibly maintain its cohesiveness and symmetry throughout unless God authored it... simply impossible to happen.

Personal experiences are a very important part of our lives as believers, energizing us and directing us to carry out the call God has placed inside each one of us. BUT..... we all have subjective and varied experiences and sometimes not all are in line with Gods leading, because we still struggle with our sinful nature even as believers. The Bible serves as the measuring stick with which to balance our experiences to see if they match up with Gods will. If we discount the authority of the Bible, we lose any grounding with which to know whether we are following God or not. All of us have experiences and emotions, no matter what our belief paradigms. If there is no objective revelation from God, anyone can claim to have the 8truth8 for themselves, and many do, relativism being one of the biggest hurdles challenging Christianity today. Tom Cruise claims scientology is the 8truth8 for him. The leader of iran claims Islam is the *truth* Countless others claim there is no absolute truth, that we all create truth ourselves, and thus act as our own gods. See the dilemma??? The Bible is not necessarily simple to understand. However, it is literature and if we know and understand the various genres of literature it contains then understanding becomes that much easier. The Bible interprets the Bible another key principle. Taken as a whole all Scripture ties together when understood that way. Anyone can come up with all kinds of heresy and craziness if they just focus on one book one verse or any combination that distorts the whole.

i hope this doesnt sound like a wooden rant. I just get very uneasy when i see a growing number of believers seeming to downgrade the power,truth and authority of Gods Word. If it loses its identity, how can we trust Jesus is who He claims to be???? Its He who we discover within the Bibles pages and He who declares it to be Divinely Inspired. Hope to hear feedback.


At 7:31 AM, Blogger Karen said...

There is no greater wisdom that He has given to us and it takes on a personal meaning for each of us, even different meanings at different times in our lives; depending on our needs. If that makes sense...

I hope you had a great weekend and I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

At 3:35 AM, Blogger sattvicwarrior said...

after reading your post i cant help but to comment on the bible also
. i have after reading many versions of it over the years have come to conclusion that its the biggest book of filth and lies ever published.
people will believe ANYTHING from justification of murders to incest and rape, as well as endless contradictions. and what better example than a book of fables and myths to promote such a fantasy world than the bible.
thanks for sharing. and NO im not goign to hell for telling you this.

At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Gary Means said...

Hey my friend,
I find myself somewhere in between your position and that of the more extreme liberal position on scripture.

I think that so much of what is taught about the Bible goes through cultural filters which can totally slant the meaning and application. Obviously we have been raised to view the Bible through Modernist eyes. But as for me, I have also been conditioned to view it through fundamentalist eyes at first, then with a more moderate perspective, and more recently I have been exposed to the emergent and charismatic filters. In addition, I have been trained to view it as an American.

Do I believe that the Bible was inspired by God? Absolutely. Do I believe that the Bible is infallible? Absolutely not. But the reason I say that is because of our human weakness and our limited perspectives. Right now in Seattle there are good people who love God, who are about to engage in public battle over a serious doctrinal issue. One side sees the issue as defending the TRUTH of the Gospel and the others view it as standing up for a Biblical view of how God views women. It's complementarians against egalitarians. But it's the same Bible.

I am uncomfortable saying that the Bible is infallible only because what that usually means is that the person making that statement believes that their interpretation of the Bible is infallible.

It's far more difficult to live with uncertainty in matters of faith. But I have seen so many people abused by those who have a rigid, black or white view of scripture. In the case of the complementarians in Seattle, they believe that women may speak in church IF they are "godly" women and have something "godly" to say. Otherwise they are supposed to wait until they are home and ask their husband for instruction. This church teaches that all women pastors are ungodly, and possibly demonic. They believe that the role of a woman is to stay at home and raise babies. This church has 5,000 members and has planted 200 churches. And yes, they are VERY clear that the Bible is infallible, especially as interpreted by their pastor.

On the other hand, I am equally uncomfortable with those who just throw out substitutionary atonement, and hell, and the masculine identity of the Father and Son, and who deny miracles or the divinity of Christ. That is equally ludicrous. But they all point to the same scriptures as the foundation of their faith.

If I say that I do not believe that the Bible is infallible, does that mean that I believe there is no absolute truth? Of course not. I think that the former position does not automatically lead to the latter. I wouldn't even say that denying the infallibility of scripture necessarily undermines the authority of scripture.

Finally, I wonder if Christ was declaring the infallibility of scripture or if He was proclaiming that it is from God and that it is authoritative.

If it's infallible, then why do we have Catholics and Protestants, let alone the myriad other sects in our faith? Why have good men shed blood over the centuries over different interpretations of this Book?

Perhaps this is merely an issue of semantics. Maybe my understanding of the word, "infallible" is different than yours.

1. absolutely trustworthy or sure: an infallible rule.
2. unfailing in effectiveness or operation; certain: an infallible remedy.
3. not fallible; exempt from liability to error, as persons, their judgment, or pronouncements: an infallible principle.
4. Roman Catholic Church: immune from fallacy or liability to error in expounding matters of faith or morals by virtue of the promise made by Christ to the Church.

Perhaps if I look at the opposite: fallible
1. (of persons) liable to err, esp. in being deceived or mistaken.
2. liable to be erroneous or false; not accurate: fallible information.

If the Bible is infallible, if it is absolutely trustworthy, or unfailing in effectiveness or operation, why is it still used every day of our lives to wound, shame, oppress, condemn, exclude, and reject people? It's because no matter how perfect the Word may be, during our lives on this Earth, it will always be interpreted by fallible men and women. Often it will be used to point to hope in Christ and bring freedom to those ensnared by the enemy. It IS valuable for instruction and reproof in the ways of righteousness. But we humans have a pretty hideous track record of distorting the most beautiful and awesome gifts of God.

You raise some interesting questions, Robert. I look forward to getting together with you. (Oh I don't know, Gary seems dangerously liberal!)

At 12:23 AM, Blogger Robert said...

Karen- so right His Word is living and really does hit us differently almost each time we read it have a very good thanksgiving!!

sattvicwarrior- thanks for stopping in. Obviously i have a much different take on the Bible than you, but i do thank you for commenting and leaving your own blog and email, leaves a chance for dialogue at least. I sure hope I don't copme across in the way you described believers over on Pams blog.

gary- well my friend you once again show a knack for being unable to express yourself. *insert sarcastic twinge here* lol I thank you so much for sharing your analysis. I think I agree with you more than might appear from my post. As fallen sinful humans, even after being redeemed we still possess the old nature that fights against our new one, we DO have severely difficult times rightly dividing the Word of truth as you so eruditely shared. I think the original manuscripts which we do not possess WERE infallible, but the copies are not as shown by many textual omissions and reconstructions. Even so, I think God has made sure we have all we need in order to place complete confidence in Hos Word as authoritative for living life how He desires us to livew it.

I really am looking fwd to meeting you as well, even if you display left-leaning liberal tendencies, we can *seek a word from the Spirit* about that!!! LOL thanks Mr Dude!!


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