June 28, 2011

Dog-Eared Bibles

People often ask questions like: "Is it critical for me to believe that the Virgin Birth is true?" Another question I often get is, "Do you think Adam and Eve really existed?" and I even get the prerequisite, "Do you really believe Jonah really got swallowed by a whale and even if I don't believe it, why would it matter?" What I see is intellectual arrogance and/or apathy and complacence. Enemy of Christian and friend of the Devil.

When faced with these type of questions the first thing any Christian should ponder concerning doctrine before actually answering is: Does it affect my salvation if I do not hold to this belief? That being said I believe the virgin birth is critical to Christianity as is any other statement of fact in the Bible. Yes, you heard me correctly, any. It is all worth arguing for. Not necessarily a literal interpretation of everything but anything that is an absolute truth statement. Figurative, allegorical and other types of interpretation are a matter of hermeneutics and a topic for another post. But things like the virgin birth, Adam and Eve and Jonah should be considered truth. Jesus validated Jonah and Adam and Matthew and Luke attest to the virgin birth as do extra-biblical sources in the early church fathers.

But what is even more important than historical or external (to the Bible) evidences is internal (to the Bible) evidences. Jesus used them and this is all the authority we will ever need as Christians. If Jesus deemed the Scripture suitable for backing up actions and statement - so should Christians.

This is the way I view it. The virgin birth fulfills Scripture or prophecy just as the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus did. We will later read in the writings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4:

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”

Paul wasn't so concerned with offering evidential or historical as he was Scriptural. Scripture is truth and backs itself up. Scripture validates Scripture. Whenever Jesus, Paul or Christians in general needs/needed to validate or substantiate a given tenet defense of a biblical position they went right to the God’s word, not to the Internet, not to Science, not to other men...Scripture. Scripture validates Scripture. We need look no further. Period.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." ~2 Timothy 3:16-17

If we neglect the Virgin Birth then Isaiah and Jeremiah’s assertions about the Messiah's birth through a virgin become invalid. If Matthew and Luke's assertions about angelic visitors to Mary telling her of a virgin birth though her...become invalid. This thereby puts the validity of the whole of Scripture into question. This then damages the Doctrine of the Inerrancy of Scripture. If I can question the virgin birth…then I can question the Crucifixion and Resurrection. We then can potentially question everything in the Bible. This is situation that can easily lead to the damning of the soul.

The only thing better than a Bible? Two dog-eared Bibles that have had plenty of use. Sweeeeet!

Having noted what I have said above I will note what I see as a glaring weakness I see in many Christian's presentation of the Gospel or other doctrines and tenets of the Christian faith. I don’t like that fact that we often open discussions by taking arguments “to the man” by pointing out what others of a liberal persuasion do or don’t believe or even those that do not believe in what is stated in the Bible. Who cares what those that are not Christian believe? As Paul said in Romans 1:14-17

"I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Not only does Paul say it is our obligation or duty to preach the Gospel, he tells us that righteousness is by faith just as it is written, "The righteous will live by faith."

We now have leadership within many churches that do not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and they probably should not even be considered Christian any more than a Mormon or JW. That being said…I view it as irrelevant to the argument. If one has a valid argument for a belief, it shouldn't need to be bounced off of what other’s do not believe to prove its validity. It lends too much credence to errant thought processes that hardly warrant a second glance.

Conversely, if someone that wants an inroad to the mind of someone that either has errant belief/presuppositions about Christianity or is not even Christian, sometimes the approach of explaining where someone's belief is wrong does become necessary. This is often the case when dealing with those that are intellectually arrogant. They will not even consider your point a valid view...so you are forced to go to their point of view and tear it down and show how it is either contradictory, illogical or...idiotic and nonsensical. In these cases you almost have to go to where they stand in their beliefs because they have gone so far off course. You need to gently but emphatically steer them back to what is commonsense or sound reason or they will remain forever lost in their ignorance.

What do both of these topics both have in common? A good comprehensive knowledge of the Bible from long hours in the word. Not for the faint of heart or the weekend worshiper. If your Bible still has its gilded edges or it is covered in dust you haven't opened it enough and studied it.


Philsthrills said...

I don't necessarily believe that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.

Does that mean that I am not a Christian?

I believe that he was swallowed by a great fish:
דג גדול


Philsthrills said...

On a more serious (although no less sarcastic) note:

The Jailer then asked:
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
You have heard Paul and Silas say:
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
But Andy Pierson will tell you...

Andy Pierson said...

Clever Phil. You're a smart dude. You know what I mean. ;)...as Paul Said, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures"

That being said...I stand by my post. The thing that saves us from sin is the Gospel above in encapsulated form. The thing that allows us to drowned in our sin is to begin to water-down the the Word. "Did God Really say....?" (Gen 3:1)

...but thank you for playing devils advocate...it allows contrast in the posts.

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