Why do I enjoy debating? Debating forces me to think about what I believe. Why do I detest debating? Being accused of this and that grows tiresome.
Of course, no one is perfect, there is an element of truth in every accusation, but mostly the accusations are just a foolish waste. The accusers of Christians who are just trying to spread the Gospel have nothing to brag about, and there is often a certain amusing irony. It is kind of weird to be accused of not being a good enough Christian by people who don’t even believe the Bible.
Rarely do such accusers realize how preposterous they sound. Where do they think they got their beliefs about right and wrong from? From the Bible, of course.
We live in a nation with a Christian heritage. In recent decades we have departed considerably from our historical understanding of what the Bible declares good and evil. Still, even those who reject Christianity want to be considered “good” (as in, I am a good person), so most of these accusers profess to care about others and believe in Jesus Christ’s message of love.
What kind of accusations do I receive? Well, I am not actually the one receiving the accusation, God is. The accusation is that my God is unworthy of worship.
Consider this accusation.
The reality is as we distance ourselves from the tyranny of the Priest class, the Pharisees, and are actually able to analyze and critique the text, its humanness becomes ever more apparent. And the blood thirsty God of the Old Testament starts to take on a very different perspective. I like to reference Elisha and the two bears story, in 2 Kings 2:23-25 for this point. No moral, sane person would say a God that possessed a couple she-bears and made them kill a couple dozen youths, for the mere insult of calling Elisha “baldie” is moral, or godly.amcmulin914
I ignored the reference to the Priest class, the Pharisees. When Jesus walked the earth, the Sadducees actually led the Sanhedrin, and Roman tyrants ruled the Jews. Instead, I gave amcmulin914 a couple of references: https://christiancourier.com/articles/2-kings-2-23-25-elisha-and-the-lads-of-bethel and https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%202:23-25&version=AMPC. Unfortunately, the references didn’t make any difference. Nevertheless, 2 Kings 2:23-25 had kind of puzzled me. So, I was happy to gain of better understanding of that passage.
Unfortunately, amcmulin914 is on a roll now. He apparently intends to list complaint after complaint about the integrity of the Bible, but he isn’t paying attention to my answers. I have not got the time to do research he is perfectly capable of doing. Does he really think any of his complaints are new, that they have not been rebutted?
Here is another.
Finally, the bible makes some very direct promises of what true believers should be able to do, and not one Christian can do them. Christians will try to claim that I can’t possibly know every christian and that is a red herring. True believers should be able to do impossible feats like Jesus, and they should have any prayer answered with what is asked for, no exceptions, and answered quickly. They also should be benevolent and want to help others since these miracles repeatedly are claimed to include supernatural healing like Jesus. We should be able to know true Christians by their “fruits” and no “fruits” are to be found. I should be able to see true believers healing amputees and burn victims constantly. No one does.
I’ve had quite an interaction on Youtube with a christian who claimed he would be able to heal anyone. I asked him to heal Tammy Duckworth, who lost her legs in an attack in Afghanistan and Cooper, a child paralyzed in the Highland Park shooting. He promised within 72 hours they would be healed, or he would admit he was a fraud. Surprise, he lied.from clubschadenfreude
What do we do with a whopper like that? Read the Bible to them? I just observed that “Club” makes charge after charge without feeling any need to justify any of her charges, that even the Apostles didn’t run around claiming they could heal anyone.
I suppose I could have added a reference to 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Here the Lord refused Paul’s request for his own healing, and Paul describes acceptance of this thorn in his flesh as a blessing.
Plain, unambiguous miracles are rare events. Miracles provide a sign that the miracle worker speaks for God. God rarely allows anyone to speak for Him. For the time being we have His Word.
Are there any miracles being performed today? I suppose there are prayers being answered, but double amputees are not regrowing their legs. Instead, we see lives changing when people accept Jesus.
What do these accusers neglect to do? They fail to humble themselves before God. Either they deny the existence of God, or they claim we cannot prove God exists. They don’t bother to actually try to understand the Bible. They just find fault. So, of course they find it difficult to read the Bible and understand it.
If we want to understand the Bible, why is it necessary to humble ourselves before God? When we read the Bible, we are a third party. Through the writers He inspired, God is communicating with us, but we are not the original audience. God had the Bible written for us too, but He did not write it to us. With divine inspiration the writers of Bible wrote to the people of their time. Therefore, we must understand the Bible as the people for whom the Bible was written were supposed to understand it. And that requires considerable effort. We must:
- Put ourselves in the shoes of the people who first heard the Bible. We are thousands of years removed. We have translations of the Bible. Our cultural context is different.
- Try to understand what the writer was trying to tell his intended audience. Who was he writing to? What was his main concern? What truths did he want his readers to understand?
- Look at each book of the Bible from our Lord’s perspective. What is His message in each book? How does each book complement the other books? What do we now know that the writer and his readers did not know? How should that affect our understanding?
Why is humility required for each of these tasks?
- Humility is required to put ourselves in the shoes of the original readers of the Bible. Here we must concede that the Bible was written to someone else, not “me”. Here we must envision why someone might uphold values that we do not share and try to understand why they thought their beliefs good. Here we must take the time to grasp idioms, the culture, and the practices of a people long dead.
- Humility is required to accept the fact that God honored a man now long dead by communicating through that man, not “me”. Here we must imagine ourselves as that man, and we must struggle to imagine what his words meant from his perspective. Picture Moses struggling to confront the Pharoh and then writing about that experience years later. Consider how David prayed to God through the Psalms he wrote. Wonder how the Apostle Paul wrote epistles to those he had discipled from prison.
- Humility is required to submit to God and to accept HIs Word as the Truth. We want to define good and evil from our own perspective. We want to hold God accountable to our truth, but God is our Creator, and we are His creatures. Whether we like it or not, God makes the rules, and His Word says what He wants it to say. If we love our Lord with all heart, strength, soul, and mind, then we must obey Him. We cannot obey our Lord unless we strive to substitute His perspective for our own.
How do we substitute God’s perspective for our own? He has given us the Bible. When we read the Bible, we can learn about the One who made us.