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Archive for the tag “accurate Bible”

What I learned in San Francisco.

This last week I took a trip with the family to San Francisco. If you know me, you know that I’ve typically considered California – particularly that part – the equivalent to Sodom and Gomorrah. So I went and I kept a wary eye open. Here’s what I came away with.

While I was running around the Bay Area and Northern California I saw no rainbow stickers on cars.  Of the other car decorations (Darwin “fish”, “Coexist” stickers) that typically cause me to bristle, I saw less in San Fran than I see in Ft. Worth. What I didn’t see: drag queens, a bunch of gays doing open PDA, hippies, or angry libs.  I also didn’t see some things I usually see in Texas. I didn’t see strip clubs. Nor billboards advertising strip clubs on every freeway. In Texas, if you travel any US or interstate highway for at least 60 miles you’ll drive by at least one “porn shack” (adult video store/theater). I didn’t see any of those either.  Also in Texas, if you go in a mens’ restroom (especially in public parks) you’ll find men who leave their phone numbers and sexual requests written on the bathroom wall. I never saw any of that either in Cali. The fact is, I see more flaunting of pornography, strippers, and homosexuality in North Central Texas than I did in Northern California.

The Bible belt appears to be less sexually moral than San Francisco.

I was really expecting someone to comment about my accent (especially as I realized how many times I say “fixin’ to.”)  Everyone I did talk to was friendly and helpful. Those that weren’t originally from Texas seemed cool with Texas. Whether in Tahoe City, San Francisco, or the wine country. The only person conscious of my accent or my home state was me.

It made me think of how things are in my Bible Belt town and Bible Belt circles. People that go to various churches in my town can’t even get along with other people from the other churches. That’s why we have 3 Southern Baptist churches that are all pretty much the same format. People within the churches can’t agree on what should be considered “proper” worship music. Think of some of the most controversial topics in evangelical circles:

Contemporary style vs traditional.
Hymns vs praise songs
Arminianism vs Calvinism
Cessationism vs Continuationism
Freewill vs Election
Once saved always saved vs Losing salvation
Us vs Them

All of these – All. Of. These. – are all different views that can be supported by Scripture and argued against by other Scripture. We consider ourselves the bearers of “real truth,” fortifying our doctrine with select verse and interpretations. Meanwhile we’re snuffing out our own light trying to throw water on the other side of the argument. None of those topics I mentioned are without flaws, holes, and misinterpretation. Yet we’ll stand our righteous ground like a Texan holds to his opinion about San Francisco without ever actually having gone there. And, like I was, we probably know we’re not really “right” but we can’t convince ourselves of that.

Am I making sense here?

Often what causes a negative opinion is a bad experience. Some people throw out spiritual gifts like healing and prophecy because they’ve seen them misused by charismatic churches. I’ve heard people who favor traditional worship dismiss contemporary worship because praise songs are repetitive.  Another cause of a negative opinion is when we read something that sounds agreeable then filter our Bible reading based on our new ideas. Then we feed ourselves only stuff we agree with, thinking our way is the ultimate truth. If the definition of “doctrine” isn’t “my opinion about what God says, as incomplete as it may be,” it probably should be.  After I’m done studying for this test for work, I think I’m going to pick an author who I usually wouldn’t and read one book of theirs.

Since when is it a good idea to develop a doctrine about the Bible, then try to place what is eternal and the very definition of life into our little doctrine box? Instead of tossing the pendulum back and forth, can we not just put it in the middle and leave it there? Or maybe, just maybe, we need to realize that the real Biblical truth lies somewhere in the middle of our polar views.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t know what we believe. We just need to realize that these hot buttons aren’t the complete picture and we need to quit hanging our faith on them. Just like it was completely silly for me to be so judgmental about another city’s culture. As I found out, where I’m from actually had the bigger plank of the place whose speck I ridiculed so much.

What’s dissolving the influence of Christianity in this country isn’t just Hollywood or liberals. It’s Christians trying to fit church and Jesus around what they want, and not what actually ispendulum.

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Reading the Bible through another person’s glasses.

In a post here, people were talking about a church with Calvinist sounding beliefs trying to join a local Baptist association. Without getting into detail explanation, basically a church that believed certain things about what the Bible said was trying to join a club that didn’t agree with that church. I posted a comment that I thought I would share here:

I think the bigger issue is that believers are aligning to a doctrine and allowing that to be the lens in which they view the Bible – the Living Word of God. I grew up in a church that had a hermeneutic that did just that. If you read the Bible through their glasses you’d see how what they said was true, but you’d have to dismiss, ignore, or excuse away other scripture. I think people do the same thing when they choose to adopt Calvinism, Arminianism, Wesleyan,  et. al.

Let me remind everyone that Calvin, Wesley, Stone, Campbell etc. are men. They are men who wrote an opinion of what they believed and found verses that agreed with such a belief. This is the essence of these doctrines – they are opinions!

Instead of allowing a doctrine or belief to shape how we read the Bible, we need to be reading the Bible with the mindset of the whole picture, letting the Holy Spirit guide us to proper interpretation.

The Bible doesn’t contradict itself. You can’t have free will or election exclusively; worship with instruments or a cappella exclusively; ‘once saved always saved’ with ‘one transgression and you’re condemned’. The Bible has verses that support all of these opposing views. This means that not one of them is exclusively correct. There’s a middle ground, explanation, or interpretation that will allow all these views to agree. We need to seek that agreement.

Whether or not one adopts Calvinism/Reformation theology or any other doctrine as their personal doctrine is one thing. Letting that doctrine read the Bible to them and close them off to anything the Scriptures may be saying outside of their preferred doctrine is another.

Imagine taking off the doctrine glasses, and reading the Bible with as little presumptions as possible.  I did this 17 years ago and it was the best thing I ever did for my spiritual growth.                                                                                        pts-bible-glasses-photo

Is the Bible for Real: How did the ancients know?

This post is a continuation of the last one, discussing if the Bible is really accurate and true…

I got this information from Stand To Reason’s website. Feel free to check out their page. Another good page for learning how the Bible and its events are true is Answers in Genesis.

Is the Universe Expanding?
Primitive cultures couldn’t observe the nature of the universe. Because of that little is written in ancient writings about the nature and origin of the universe. Secular scientists didn’t discover the expansion of the universe until the 1920s. But the Bible mentioned it 2600 years before that.

Isaiah 45:12 “It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.”

Isaiah 40:22 “He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.”

Stand to Reason explains this:
“The expression ‘stretched out’ is used over and over again in the scriptures to explain the process by which God created the universe. There are many other words or expressions that could have been used, but God inspired men to use THIS expression. Why? Well, it is certainly consistent with our present understanding of an expanding universe. Our present ability to observe the cosmos has confirmed that the universe is, indeed, expanding. The distance between the stars is ‘stretching’, just as the writers of scripture first indicated, even when their contemporaries were completely silent or mistaken on this issue.”

What is the Shape of the Earth?
Primitive man had no way to actually know that the earth is spherical. Most all primitive men and cultures said it was flat. The Bible says differently:

Isaiah 40:22 “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth…”

Hindu and Buddhist teachings taught that if they travelled too far in any direction, they would fall over the edge. Arab Muslims would speak of infidels being pushed over the edge of the earth into space. But 2700 years ago, the Bible said the earth was round.

The Bible is archaeologically and scientifically true. More than any other mythical or religious document known. Because of this truth, the Bible is not mythology and it’s not “just another religious book.” Since it’s true about scientific things that none of the writers could have known on their own, we can deduce it’s true about all other matters in the text. The Bible is the source of truth.

These two issues aren’t the only things I found. As I’m writing this I’ve got a 9 page document full of these questions and Biblical proof texts to answer them.

If you question the validity of the Bible from a scientific point of view, go check out Stand To Reason and Answers in Genesis. If, after reading through what I’ve linked, you still have questions, I’d love to talk to you about it.

Is the Bible for real?

A lot of what I’m going to be putting on this blog will be referring to Bible passages, or thoughtsapologetics1-full and ideas from the Bible. Lately there seems to be a lot of doubt concerning the Bible. Was it written by men or God? Did men manipulate it over time? How can a book that claims the earth is about 10,000 years old agree with modern science that says the earth is millions of years old? There are whole books that address some of those questions. Even so, scholars can’t agree on which of those books are even right.

Few people would doubt that Homer or Plato really wrote the works credited to them. The Bible is far more authenticated. In other words, there are more historical documents and original documents that are consistent. More than any other religious or ancient book! If someone’s going to argue against the Bible being authentic, they’re going to have to doubt the authenticity of all other ancient works.

Some passages of the Bible, which critics once claimed were myth, have now been confirmed archeologically. For example:

  •     Secular archaeologists once thought the five cities of the plain described in Genesis 14:2 were  mythical. Now documents have been found that list these cities as part of ancient trade routes.
  •     The excavation of Jericho reveals that the walls did fall as described in the book of Joshua.

A few passages in the Bible predict future events in  detail. These are future events to the writers that have since occurred. Around 536-539 BCE, Daniel wrote a prophecy that predicted the next three world empires and their falls: Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires. If the Bible weren’t inspired by God, how could the human writers in know about these later empires?

While the Bible isn’t written as a science book, it mentions scientific principles and facts that go beyond what was known to people back then. It’s has been historically and archaeologically proven that the following books were written:
Genesis – 1445-1405 BCE
2 Samuel – late 900s BCE
Psalm – late 900s BCE
Proverbs – 970-700 BCE
Ecclesiastes – 935 BCE
Isaiah – 700-680 BCE
Jeremiah – 585-580 BCE
Jonah – 760 BCE
1 Corinthians – 55-56 CE
Job – The event of Job occurred around 2000 BCE but may not have been recorded until 583-538 BCE.

This page has this to say:

“The truth of the Bible is obvious to anyone willing to fairly investigate it. The Bible is uniquely self-consistent and extraordinarily authentic. It has changed the lives of millions of people who have placed their faith in Christ. It has been confirmed countless times by archaeology and other sciences. It possesses divine insight into the nature of the universe and has made correct predictions about distant future events with perfect accuracy.”

Next post we’re going to look at some scientific principles and compare them to what the Bible says about it.

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