Following Jesus Christwithout the Bible
The Bible teaches us that it was written by chosen men of God but the source was the Spirit of God.2 Timothy 3:14: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Now we need to comprehend what is meant by this. The writing that Paul is referring Timothy to is sacred, it gave him knowledge for salvation. The Scripture written down from the beginning and passed on to generations was all inspired by God (meaning God breathed), he moved the men, as prophets, scribes, to write the words down. So it is not by there own initiative but God instructing them – This is God’s communication to mankind. ALL Scripture (the writings) means ALL.
Given by God, “God breathed” in the Greek-theopneustos- divinely breathed in. Its source was not man but God. Many have used the example of a wind blowing a sail of ship to carry it along to its destination. In Genesis God breathed into man the breath of life and he became a living soul. In the same sense the word of God has life, (Jesus said my words is Spirit and life) it gives life to those receive it; those who believe it, use faith.
The Scripture has its origin with God not man, (2 Pt.1:21) it is God’s word written in the language of men, God inspired men to write, communicating to man on our level of understanding. Inspiration' refers to the way in which God's revelation is expressed by the words through men in the Bible. The Spirit of God superintended the human authors of Scripture so that their writings communicated accurately God's word to man.
The ancient Greek manuscripts we have been handed down are reliable and faithfully copied from the original inspired autographs, which were, "GOD breathed." The 0.5% has nothing to do with the core teachings of our faith, we call fundamentals. Any differences in the various manuscripts are minor (in translations) and in no way affect Christianity’s unique claims on the person of Christ and the doctrines he taught. All but 11 verses are found of the New Testament, proving the Bible we have today is the same as what was written then.
If we compare the Old and New Testament manuscripts to that of ancient Rome or Greek history we would be surprised. Homer's “Iliad” written in 900 BC has 643 copies; the first copy was found 500 years later (400 BC). Caesar's “Gallic Wars” written in 65 BC has 10 copies; the first copy found 835 years later (900 AD). Plato's “Tetralogies” written in 400 BC has 7 copies; the first copy found 1,300 years later (900 AD). The volcanic eruption of Pompei is accepted as history but it has only one manuscript.
When we look at the New Testament manuscripts there are nearly 25,000 partial and complete manuscript copies of the New Testament. The New Testament fragments are within one generation from the original, we have whole books within about 100 years from the time of the autograph, we have the entire New Testament within 250 years from the date of its completion. No other ancient piece of literature comes close to the Bibles substantiation of its accuracy.
We have whole copies of the Old Testament from 900 AD. When the dead sea scrolls were found preceding the Old Testament text from 900 Ad by 1,000 years, it was nearly word for word it was accurate
If the Bible is to be rejected for its inaccuracy in recording history and events than all ancient history is suspect. The Bible history is not found only in the Bible, secular Historians like Josephus, the Roman Tacitus, the Roman Suetonius, the Roman Governor Pliny the Younger, confirm the people and their customs, the many places and events that are recorded in the New Testament. In order to dismiss the Bible as, inaccurate, not historical or even "corrupt" we must discount a large portion of history. Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, and Homer. What copies we have are superior in number and accuracy, we might as well dismiss all of history if we deny the Bibles accuracy as we have it.
According to a recent Pew survey (August), “only 39 percent of Christians believe that the Bible is the literal word of God, and 18 percent think that it’s just a book written by men and not the word of God at all. In fact, on the question in the Pew survey about what it would take to achieve eternal life, only 1 percent of Christians said living life in accordance with the Bible” (referenced from Heaven for the Godless? By Charles M. Blow Dec. 27, 2008 Op-Ed Columnist) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/27/opinion/27blow.html?_r=2&pagewanted=print
Where do they get ideas like this? Could it be from the current books and videos that are being spread from a youth movement called The Emergent church. They see themselves as having an ongoing conversation, discussing the Bibles doctrines and beliefs and many times challenging the word of God that is now 3500 years written (Old Testament) and was accepted as accurate and true by believers throughout the centuries and in Jesus’ day.
While not everyone in the Emergent movement has the same view, the prevailing consensus is liberal. The conversation consists of men like Brian McLaren who states, "Scripture is something God had 'let be,' and so it is at once God's creation and the creation of the dozens of people and communities and cultures who produced it" (McLaren, p. 162 Generous Orthodoxy, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004)
Besides making this an equal distributorship, McLaren is parroting nearly the same argument of Roman Catholicism. That Tradition along with the written word transmits to us the Word of God. Man creating the word is not the view the Bible explains its origin. It is supernaturally delivered to men or it cannot be from God.
Rob Bell who writes in his book the Velvet Elvis, he tells us that the Bible is a “human product... rather than the product of divine fiat.” So he has come to the conclusion that “Everybody’s interpretation is essentially his or her own opinion,” which means no one can be sure they have arrived at the truth, which the word is called by Jesus (Quoted in Christianity Today, November, 2004, p. 38.)
Bell further makes his point by asking:“Is the bible the best that God can do? With God being so massive and awe-inspiring and full of truth, why is his book capable of so much confusion?” (Velvet Elvis)
Who is the one confused? God or man? We have two views in conflict, an infallible person reading a fallible Scripture or fallible person reading the infallible Scripture. I choose the later.
If the written word is only mens words, then why did the Hebrew Scribes have so much respect when they were copying it. If they made one small mistake on a letter, they did not use the page and started to copy it all over again.
Jesus was also quite sure what the Scripture was as he always referred to
it to validate what he taught about himself. Matthew 21:42 Jesus said to
them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "'The stone that the builders
rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is
marvelous in our eyes'? Matthew 22:29: But Jesus answered them, "You
are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”
Could the problem be the same today?
With an open view one does not have to uphold the ancient story of the one who was born at Bethlehem that grew up and ended dying for us on a cross- this is how it is presented today, even inside the church. This is not a conversation but a struggle – a struggle about the word and holding to a literal, biblical interpretation. The Emergent Church movement is using a liberal, mystical paradigm for the church. They want to be a Christian without the word.
This is why they can accept other religions practices, because they are not practicing the word. Why are they not practicing the word? Because they do not recognize it as God’s authority over their lives. By rejecting the word of God given by the Spirit of God they are rejecting the Word of God that became flesh- Jesus.
Its not why can’t God get it right but can they grasp the truth reinterpreting it by their sinful nature and human reasoning? Whatever doctrines these men uphold it is ambiguous by their writings and speaking.
2 Peter 1:20-21: “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Prophecy as well as the writings are all from God as their source and it speaks of Jesus. It is the testimony of Jesus. This is why Jesus used the Old Testament to validate that was indeed the Messiah that was prophesied.
The church’s commission is to protect and promote the word. Paul speaks of conduct in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” We are entrusted with the sacred writings in the same way Israel was given the oracles of God. Paul further goes on to qualify this by stating V.16 ‘And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory (1 Tim. 3:15-16).
The mystery of godliness- God came as man and this is the message that went out to the world.
God did not only send the Holy Spirit, nor did He only give the Bible, the Word of God. He gave us both, the purpose of the Spirit was to lead us into the written truth, illuminate the teachings and give us power to live them. You can’t know God and His ways outside the Bible. Christians, century after century kept Bible doctrine- which are our parameters in following Jesus - now of all of a sudden because our culture is post modern the Bible is not enough. Because of a changing culture we must adopt new ways to interpret the word and make use of other religious practices. True Bible believers, want to live by what is written in the Bible, not something new by some smooth talker selling silky stories to mooove the crowds.
Tony Jones also states, “[We should] stop looking for some objective Truth that is available when we delve into the text of the Bible.”
Brian McLaren likewise writes:
“The Bible is not considered an accurate, absolute, authoritative, or authoritarian source but a book to be experienced and one experience can be as valid as any other can. Experience, dialogue, feelings, and conversations are equated with Scripture while certitude, authority, and doctrine are to be eschewed! No doctrines are to be absolute and truth or doctrine must be considered only with personal experiences, traditions, historical leaders, etc. The Bible is not an answer book” (Brian, McLaren, A New Kind of Christianity, p. 52.)
So then who has the answers? McLaren certainly does not, but he is telling us how to view the word of God. The same word which God has said Ps 119: 89: “Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven.” Ps.119:160 “The entirety of Your word is truth.” Prov. 30:5 “Every word of God is pure.” Psalm 138:2 states that His Word is exalted above His name” But these men have disdain for the word, they diminish its importance and its power. In so doing they reject Jesus the giver of the word- who is called the word.
Jesus taught that the Old Testament is perfect to the letter (Mt. 5:17-18). Scripture cannot be broken (Jn. 10:35). It is free from error, it is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters. This is the doctrine of inerrancy and infallibility. This new kind of Christian McLaren refers to which is being developed in the emergent church movement is a critic of God and His word. If they continue on this course they will become as much a believer as the fallen one.
Tony Jones, youth speaker and National Coordinator of Emergent Village speaks frankly:
“I am quite convinced that the Bible is a subversive text, that it constantly undermines our assumptions, transgresses our boundaries, and subverts our comforts. This may sound like academic mumbo-jumbo, but I really mean it. I think the Bible is a f___ scary book (pardon my French, but that's the only way I know how to convey how strongly I feel about this.)” (Tony Jones, “Why is the Emerging Church drawn to deconstructive theology? The church and postmodern culture: Conversation website, 3/26/2007.)
With uncontrollable mouths and opinions like these who needs Satan to come along and bring doubt.
The attitude of liberalism is strong in the Emergent church as they try to reshape Christianity into something different. Experience is held above doctrine which is straight out of the New Age movements handbook. New age promoter the late Marilyn Ferguson wrote The Aquarian Conspiracy stating, “The radical Center of spiritual experience seems to be knowing without doctrine ... the teacher does not impart knowledge but technique. This is the 'transmission of knowledge by direct experience.' Doctrine on the other hand, is second-hand knowledge, a danger" (Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy pp. 371, 377.)
I find little difference on doctrine from “emergent liberals” and the Gnostics of the New Age. Gnosticism believed that God communicated revelation directly to the spirit, bypassing the mind, not using doctrine, the word. The New Age Movement bases their teaching on experience is a greater teacher than God’s word, which Jesus taught and called the truth.
If the Bible and doctrine are not central then what is your source for Truth?
Titus 1:9: “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught” Rom.16:17-18: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Why say this unless doctrine is our guideline and teaching otherwise it is detrimental to ones life.
In the popular book the Shack we read of this same belittling of God’s word.
“In seminary [Mack] had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow sacred Scripture, properly interpreted, of course. God’s voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects…Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?” (The Shack p. 65-66)
What an obnoxious statement that goes contrary to God’s view. If we are not conducting our spirituality from “The Word” but from other sources or other ways, then we are living by our own opinions, we are not living the Christian life of walking in the Spirit. One is being truculent to think you can improve on what Jesus taught by using your own unique interpretations.
Paul wrote to Timothy “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine,” “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:13, 16).
In John 7:16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” Doctrine is not just a set of rules to remember it is something Jesus served under in obedience to the Father so that he could bring salvation.
McLaren, true to form states “As in so many issues these days, the problem isn’t the Bible; it’s the assumptions we bring to the Bible about how it is supposed to be interpreted. We make demands of the Biblical writers that we don’t make of any other writers, and I’m not sure our demands are sensible or fair at all. As an analogy, I often refer to the Wizard of Oz in my teaching. Does this mean that I believe Dorothy was a historical figure? No. It means that I accept the story of Oz as being part of our culture, and that I can use it to illustrate truth or provide analogies to truth.”(Brian McLaren)
One thing for sure, McLaren is consistent. To McLaren the Bible is not truth itself but illustrates truth, thus it is not taken as literal history or spiritual truth which contains power within its word but is more like a metaphor or something that helps correspond to truth. But in this case truth is putty in the hand of the interpreter. The 66 books become equal to other literary endeavors.
The Old Testament people, events, and miracles are questioned, discussed in their ongoing conversation. The creation account (Mk. 13:19), Adam and Eve (Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7), Cain and Abel (Mt. 23:35; Lk. 11:50-51), Noah and the flood (Mt. 24:37-39), Abraham (Jn. 8:39-40), the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Lk. 17:28-29), Lot's wife turning to salt (Lk. 17:32), Jonah and the whale (Mt. 12:39-41; Lk. 11:29-32), Nineveh repenting at Jonah's preaching (Lk. 11:32), Moses and the burning bush (Mk. 12:26) and his giving the law may not be considered literally true but then illustrate some truth. These become allegories of something deeper- which is what the Liberal Jesus seminars position has been. It is then left up to the interpreter how far he wants to go in this open book called the Bible.
If the Bible is not about absolute truth and doctrine does not teach truth but is instead about hopes and ideas that give us windows to live life by, then we are never anchored in anything absolute or eternal. There is a Biblical hermeneutic principle to be used to come to the right conclusion of the authors meaning. Unfortunately theology and doctrine are not taught today, so a plethora of opinions by unlearned men rule in its place.
When we replace the doctrine in Scripture with doctrines of men – our own interpretations become what we follow. This is a repeat of what the Pharisees did with their own interpretations and additions to the law in Jesus’ day.
For years we have seen spiritual movements divorce them-self from the word of God and think they are being led by the Spirit. Now the emergent movement that has become mature in its position they show their disregard for the word. Neo-Orthodoxy teaches that the Scriptures cannot be relied upon. Karl Barth taught we need an existential encounter with Christ to know Him, there were shreds of mysticism in his concept of encountering Christ. A denial of Biblical inerrancy by saying the Bible is a window into revelation and not revelation itself.
McLaren's writing and lectures have the intention to bring questions about the surety we hold on the word. While it is good to question some things, to arrive at an accurate interpretation we must study the subject out. McLaren does not use the Bible to come to his conclusions as we can see in his interview with Christianity Today: “I don't think we've got the gospel right yet. What does it mean to be 'saved'? When I read the Bible, I don't see it meaning, 'I'm going to heaven after I die.' Before modern evangelicalism nobody accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, or walked down an aisle, or said the sinner's prayer." "I don't think the liberals have it right. But I don't think we have it right either. None of us has arrived at orthodoxy" (The Emergent Mystique, Christianity Today Nov.2004)
A teacher is to promote the word, the truth, the gospel not his own doubts or opinions. McClaren questions nearly everything in the Bible, so how can one preach the gospel of salvation if they do not know the truth of the gospel and exercise faith in it. The Bible says if we doubt, we are double-minded and will receive nothing. This attitude is the opposite of faith. If McLaren says we don’t understand it or know what it is, none of us have it right- then none are saved, for it is by understanding the gospel that determines whether we are saved.
Then no one can really know if they are saved or anything for that matter. Which is the very opposite of what John wrote in his first epistle. I Jn 5:13: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” Having eternal life means going to heaven- Jesus said I give them eternal life, where I am they may be also.
Tell me a story
Erwin McManus tells us: "The Christian faith grew through story - not text. Only later did the stories become Scripture. While the Scripture must be held in the highest regard, we must not neglect the power of story" (Erwin McManus, "An Unstoppable Force,” p. 118)
The Bible says something very different. Paul wrote: “Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house. Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea” (Col. 4:15-16).
McManus believes in storytelling over Scripture and he separates it from doctrine, “The church must acclimate to a changing world, or she will destine herself to irrelevance or even extinction. … that- our environment is the shift from words to images. To do church in a way that is entirely text driven is the kiss of death.”
This isnot a good direction? Picture Christianity is an intentional departure from God’s word.
They find justification for a new practice under the tutelage of openness and experience and excuse anything they do as acceptable to God. On the other hand, there are those, a remnant, that live in the truth by the Bible as they did in the apostles time. Jesus said in Luke 11:28: “blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" are you willing to do this? We think in words not pictures.
John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed." And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Jesus later spoke “thy word is truth” So why would those who claim to follow Jesus not want to hear or abide in the truth?
McManus explains "The Christian faith grew through story - not text. Only later did the stories become Scripture. While the Scripture must be held in the highest regard, we must not neglect the power of story" Erwin McManus, "An Unstoppable Force, p. 118)
God spoke His word to the prophets and gave them the future – written prophecy- are we going to call these stories? Yes Jesus used everyday life to have people understand his teachings but if one reads the Bible correctly they will find over 30 parable and stories and hundreds of quotes from the Old Testament as Jesus drew people back to a faith and fulfillment in God’s word.
McManus also says "One of the arts that leaders must craft is the
selection of great stories." (McManus, “"An Unstoppable Force,” p.
McManus’ makes this plain by his symbol for water, shaped in the symbol of the Yin and Yang, a Chinese symbol associated with Tai Chi. symbolizing oneness.
His idea of mosaic contains synthesizing another religious symbols and concepts with Christianity. This speaks loud and clear where the Emergent church is headed.
On the website
elements are illustrated:
These five categories are reinterpreted by Christian idea or words that have no resemblance to the Bible. They belong to other religions, Taoism- Yin and Yang. This is neo-Christianity- a synthesis of other religious ideas.
To some “Emergent pupils” God doesn't care what religion you are in, just add Jesus to what you already are practicing and that will make you a believer in God (Christian?),
John writes of Jesus in his book the Revelation of Jesus Christ and commends those that keep his word, hold fast to his name, and did not deny My faith. Deut. 4:2: “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.”
These “reshapers” of the church are interested in redefining Christian beliefs, reinterpreting the Bible to what they think; adding teachings and practices that are not in Scripture.
L. Sweet in a moment of transparency writes “Old Lights include the resurgent fundamentalists in every religion who put a freeze on history and fortify their adherents against the “new dark age” in which they are forced to live. “Back to the Bible,” Old Lights shout; “back to the Koran,” Old Lights thunder. But not everything Old Lights say is wrong. Much is right. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, the old adage reminds us.” (Sweet p.46 Quantum Spirituality)
Putting aside the sarcasm, Sweet has put the Bible put on equality with the Koran. Back to the Bible is what Jesus pointed the Pharisees too that were wrong in their religious practices- back to the Bible is what the apostles told the church. Peter wrote “That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior” (2 Peter 3:2; Jude 1:17). The light has not changed, the bible says the light is his word that is constant in a dark fallen world.
The reformation began by going back to the Bible? Jesus referred to the Old Testament in nearly everything he taught. Jesus began His ministry by quoting Isaiah 61, Scripture, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Jesus always quoted the Scriptures as the final source of authority (Matt. 22:29 32; Mark 7:9, 13). He often stated the phrase, “It is written,” (repeated 92 times New Testament), “have you not read?” “search the Scriptures”, “is it not written in your law?” “You err, not knowing the Scriptures...”
And here lies the problem NOT knowing the Scripture. Their mission is to convince you to let go of the Biblical traditions they call the old ways -for the new, they are putting the dialectic practice to work. They need to introduce this change to make you a disciple of the new inter-spirituality, so that Jesus is not considered the only way. To take this to the next level- in that no one religion has all the truth, they are all like spokes of the same wheel, how do I know this… I used to believe this as I read the Bible while practicing other religions as part of the new age movement before I became a Christian. Those of us who were once there easily recognize what is at work.
As Brian McLaren states “I can’t see church history in any other way except this: semper reformanda, continually being led and taught and guided by the Spirit into new truth.”
Paul admonishes “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16). On the other hand he warns in 1 Cor.4:6 “not to go beyond what is written.” But this is what this emergent movement is about, they adopt other religions practices and unbiblical teachings and interpretations to produce their spirituality. Which make them a neo-christian sect.
How can the church be effective in the time we live in? Not become Postmodern, or multicultural or adopt inter-spirituality
W. E. Vine wrote, “Those who have been known as men of God have lived under the power and guidance of the Scriptures” (W. E. Vine, Collected Writings). This is why Psalm 138:2 states, God esteems His Word above His name.
Pt.2 The Real problem with the Emergent Movement