Satan is a master of a thousand arts when it comes to pulling us away from Christ.
I was just working on some things on Facebook when a woman who says she is the producer of some kind of a radio show or other, ostensibly a Lutheran, popped on to my Facebook page and poured forth a gushing torrent of negativity. I checked out the blog site she is involved with and apparently the site’s sole mission, “Slice of Laodicea,” is to find everything wrong in Christendom and report on it. I’m thinking that people who spend nearly every waking moment on a “crusade” to point out all that is wrong in the Church today are probably transferring some pretty deeply seated emotional/psychological problems.
But it got me to thinking. Where is the line between pathological negativity and the necessary identification of error? And it got me to thinking, when am I so caught up in finding wrong that I miss what is right [my emphasis]
Anyone else ever feel this way?
Posts Tagged ‘Christians’
This is a sermon I preached from John 17:6-19 on May 24, 2009. My congregation has been going through some tough times lately and this sermon was a great way to put those issues in perspective. The battle we wage is not against the flesh; Jesus prayed for and prepared us for the battle that is being waged against us.
You can access the sermon manuscript from box.net in MS Word format. Below is an excerpt.
John 17:6-19: Jesus, the World, and Us
An important evening was about to conclude. The disciples had been introduced to the real Jesus. This was Jesus in the raw…the hardcore Jesus who takes off his clothes and washes feet. This was uncontrollable Jesus who quietly announces that his betrayer is among his throng. This is Jesus who says that his people will be defined by nothing less than their love for one another. This is Jesus who sat and listened and patiently, confidently answered all the questions the disciples put forth that evening.
This was the Jesus who decided that the conversation was over because the ‘hour had come’ and that it was time to close the evening’s conversation. So how else would Jesus conclude a conversation, but in prayer. So Eugene Peterson writes:
“The disciples are in the room, but they are no longer asking questions and making comments. They are listening to Jesus speaking with the Father. As Jesus’ followers, we are most definitely included as listening participants.” (Tell it Slant, 217)
Remember, this prayer became Scripture for us. We are not just reading a prayer or even listening to a prayer, but we are listening to the Very Word of God, prayed on and remembered from the night of his betrayal, the eve of his crucifixion. The very night before his death Jesus prayed. It is necessary, then, for us to hear and listen to this prayer—this prayer turned Scripture.
When we take the time to listen to the words of Jesus then we start to hear the voice of Jesus—praying for us, praying with us, praying to the Father. The book of Hebrews says he always lives to make intercession for us. We hear the voice of Jesus in the upper room, on the night he was betrayed, some two-thousand years ago praying a mighty prayer for his people. I want you to hear that prayer this morning.
Be blessed in the Lord.
I was recently reminded of a short but important blog post over at Boar’s Head Tavern. It’s an older post from January, written by Paul McCain, but it is still worth reading:
I think Scripture is rather clear on this too. Here’s how the apostle said it:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29-32, NIV)
Thank you Mr McCain for a brilliant post. It just goes to show that the blogging world is but a microcosm of the greater world of churchianity. We just cannot understand grace. Too bad for us.
Source: Boar’s Head Tavern
Here is episode #2 of the Rain and Snow Skycast. In this episode, I finish my exploration of Revelation 1 by studying with you verses 9-21. I also included a book review of NT Wright’s book Surprised By Hope. I close the Skycast by talking about God’s grace and how the modern manifestation of the church seems to be lacking in grace to one another and those who are not like us. This is a serious, serious problem. The podcast opens with a quote from the book The Justification of God (or free here). by PT Forsyth which I believe serves as a great segue into my discussion of the contents of Revelation 1:9-21. This episode is about 34 minutes long. Thanks for stopping by. Tell your friends about the Rain and Snow Skycast. Thanks, and may God bless you as you search His Scripture, jerry
Listen here: Resurrected Jesus among the Churches
Or use the inline player below:
You can listen to the previous episode of the Rain and Snow Skycast, The unveiling of Jesus to the Church, here:
Here’s a quote from Eugene Peterson’s book on the Revelation Reversed Thunder:
The subtlest and most common attack in the satanic assault on God’s ways among us is a subversion of the word. This subversion unobtrusively disengages our imagination from God’s word and gets us to think of it as something wonderful in print, at the same time that it dulls any awareness that it is spoken by a living God. It has been an enormously successful strategy: millions of people use the Bible in which they devoutly believe to condemn people they do not approve of; millions more read the word of God daily and within ten minutes are speaking words to spouses, neighbors, children, and collegues that are contemptuous, irritable, manipulative, and misleading. How does this happen? How is it possible for people who give so much attention to the word of God, to remain so unaffected by it?
Yes indeed. How have we remained unaffected by the living word?
Soli Deo Gloria!
Isaiah 3:1-4:1 For, behold, the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah stay and staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water; (2) the mighty man, and the man of war; the judge, and the prophet, and the diviner, and the elder; (3) the captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counsellor, and the expert artificer, and the skilful enchanter. (4) And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. (5) And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor: the child shall behave himself proudly against the old man, and the base against the honorable. (6) When a man shall take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand; (7) in that day shall he lift up his voice, saying, I will not be a healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: ye shall not make me ruler of the people. (8) For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen; because their tongue and their doings are against Jehovah, to provoke the eyes of his glory. (9) The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have done evil unto themselves. (10) Say ye of the righteous, that it shall be well with him; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. (11) Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him; for what his hands have done shall be done unto him. (12) As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they that lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. (13) Jehovah standeth up to contend, and standeth to judge the peoples. (14) Jehovah will enter into judgment with the elders of his people, and the princes thereof: It is ye that have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses: (15) what mean ye that ye crush my people, and grind the face of the poor? saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts. (16) Moreover Jehovah said, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with outstretched necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet; (17) therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and Jehovah will lay bare their secret parts. (18) In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, and the cauls, and the crescents; (19) the pendants, and the bracelets, and the mufflers; (20) the headtires, and the ankle chains, and the sashes, and the perfume-boxes, and the amulets; (21) the rings, and the nose-jewels; (22) the festival robes, and the mantles, and the shawls, and the satchels; (23) the hand-mirrors, and the fine linen, and the turbans, and the veils. (24) And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet spices there shall be rottenness; and instead of a girdle, a rope; and instead of well set hair, baldness; and instead of a robe, a girding of sackcloth; branding instead of beauty. (25) Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. (26) And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she shall be desolate and sit upon the ground. (4:1) And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name; take thou away our reproach.
When I finished last week, the challenge was: In whom are you placing your trust? Those were the words the prophet ended with, and I thought it was appropriate not to stray too far from his point: In whom have we placed our trust? I am fairly confident that the prophet now intends to draw out some meaning from that as he sort of stretches us out and shows us a little more of what is coming, what is happening, what God is planning for his people.
A while back I read a short book by a Catholic priest who had served time in a Soviet work camp. The book is called He Leadeth Me. It is a fabulous little book. In the book, he asks his readers to consider deeply the implications of our faith in the rather fragile things of this earth:
That same lesson each of us must learn, difficult or not. How easy it is, in times of ease, for us to become dependent on our routines, on the established order of our day-to-day existence, to carry us along. We begin to take things for granted, to rely on ourselves and on our own resources, to ‘settle in’ in this world and look to it for our support. We all too easily come to equate being comfortable with a sense of our well-being, to see our comfort solely in the sense of being comfortable. Friends and possessions surround us, one day is followed by the next, good health and happiness for the most part are ours. We don’t have to desire much of the things of this world-to be enamored of the riches, for example, or greedy or avaricious-in order to have gained this sense of comfort and well-being, to trust in them as our support-and to take God for granted. It is the status quo that we rely on, that carries us from day to day, and somehow we begin to lose sight of the fact that under all these things and behind all these things it is God who supports and sustains us. We go along, taking for granted that tomorrow will be very much like today, comfortable in the world we have created for ourselves, secure in the established order we have learned to live with, however imperfect it may be, and give little thought to God at all.-He Leadeth Me, Walter Ciszek, 21
What are we to do? Here the Lord God made it perfectly clear to the people of Judah that he was going to remove every last vestige of strength from among them. There would be nothing left: A complete reversal of all human wisdom, strength, power, and wealth. All of it would be removed.
All those people so typically counted on to lead and provide and guide and direct and encourage and strengthen and reveal: Gone. No more supplies. No more support. No more food. No more water. No more heroes. No more warriors. No more judges. No more prophets. No more elders. No more captains. Not one. They would all be removed. What will become of you and me when the Lord removes all visible means of support? What will we do? How will we survive?
I had another blog one time where I wrote some short devotionals for my congregation here in Madison. I came across them the other day and, well, here is one of them. I have preserved my original thoughts and language so they might appear a bit strange.
I mentioned that I have been reading Edwin Way Teale’s wonderful volume A Book About Bees originally published as The Golden Throng. The book is fascinating reading even for the non-entomologists among us. He writes with an enthusiasm and joy for for his work as if bees were the pinnacle of the created order. He is, at times, childlike in his wonder of their existence.
Here is what I read on page 148 of the slim book:
Anyone who watches day after day the infinitely varied activity of the bees finds and increasing source of amazement in the manner in which each insect, like a cog in a smooth-running machine, plays its part. Some bees, apparently just the right number, are standing guard at the door; others, apparently just the right number required for the task, are air-conditioning the interior; others are feeding the grubs, cleaning the hive, producing royal jelly for the younger larvae, storing honey, gathering pollen. And so, under the varying conditions of the year, each active worker of the hive goes about her appointed tasks”
Now, if that is not enough to make you want to host your own hive of bees in your living room, then consider this: ‘Appointed tasks–appointed by whom? In olden days, it was accepted that the queen, or the king as she was then called, directed all the activity of the colony, issued orders, apportioned work, functioned in the manner of a general deploying an army. This, of course, has been proved a fallacy. The queen has her appointed tasks just as the workers do. She, too, is but the servant to the spirit of the colony” (148).
I don’t really feel like commenting too much on this. Bees have a lot to teach us if we are inquisitive enough to sit silently, if not bravely, outside their world and watch. Nothing has to tell bees that there is work to be done and that certain bees should do the work that they were specifically designed for doing. There is no fighting. There is no pawning off work to other bees. There is no squabbling about who did it last time or who has already done it and is tired of doing it. It just gets done.
I’ll close with Teale’s thoughts:
Scientists who study the bee–chemists who analyze the content of the royal jelly, microscopists who attempt to count the sperm cells in the pouch of the fertilized queen, physicists who measure the stresses of the honeycomb, all reveal the physical characteristics of the bee and its surroundings. But beyond this lies that intangible, mystical force, the spirit of the hive, running through all the activity of the golden throng; ordering the lives of the insects; molding them into the compact, unified, efficient commonwealth we know” (153-54).
If one were unaware of the title of the book or its particular subject matter, one might almost be convinced that Teale had spent some time in a church that truly knows God.
Always for God’s Glory!
Carson is one of my favorite authors and I read as much of his stuff as I can find. I happened to come across this in his commentary on Matthew in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p 520 commenting on Matthew 25:
The fate of the nations will be determined by how they respond to Jesus’ followers, who, ‘missionaries’ or not, are charged with spreading the gospel and do so in the face of hunger, thirst, illness, and imprisonment. Good deeds done to Jesus’ followers, even the least of them, are not only works of compassion and morality but reflect where people stand in relation to the kingdom and to Jesus himself. Jesus identifies himself with the fate of his followers and makes compassion for them equivalent to compassion for himself.”
I really appreciate these words.
Soli Deo Gloria!
I have been hearing this story about the ESPN personality who evidently forgot her lines. I read this at Christian Post:
Christian groups protested ESPN last week when they felt it was slow to take disciplinary action against Jacobson for her anti-Christian tirade on Jan. 11 at a roast in Atlantic City, N.J. There, Jacobson, who was reportedly intoxicated during the event, made such remarks as “F*** Notre Dame,” “F***Touchdown Jesus,” “F***Jesus.”
Both ESPN and Jacobson have called the behavior inappropriate and inexcusable and apologized for the incident. The anchorwoman was suspended for one week.
But some Christian groups say the temporary suspension was not enough and have asked for her to be fired or suspended for one year.
The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission was working to hold a meeting of pro-family leaders and ESPN’s executive leadership. Mike Soltys, executive vice president of Communications for ESPN, however, said no more meetings will be held and no more disciplinary actions will be taken against Jacobson.
“We are very disappointed with ESPN’s response to our legitimate concerns,” said Dr. Gary L. Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission in a released statement Tuesday. “Christians must respond or expect more of this kind of blasphemy in public in the future.”
Cass was also not moved by Jacobson’s on-air apology.
“Only three of the 13 sentences were in any way even slightly apologetic,” said Cass.
In her apology before co-hosting the “First Take” program, Jacobson said she has learned from her mistakes and asked the public to forgive her.
So….there are some of ‘us’ who have time to protest? This is like that Kathy Griffen thing: Why do people care? Seriously, if the Son of God stood by, silent as a lamb before its shearers, what right do Christians have to protest when people say things like this? Did anyone from Notre Dame show up to protest?
Here’s the question: Why do Christians expect people who are not Christians to act as if they were? I really don’t understand the shock, the outrage, and the protests. I don’t understand the demands for satisfaction. My goodness, people say all sorts of things when they are drunk! I’m more offended when the president, who claims to be a Christian, declares, without any Biblical sanction or justification, that Jews, Muslims, and Christians all worship the same God than I am when an ESPN personality or Kathy Griffen, neither of whom are Christians, say things about Jesus.
I expect people like Dana Jacobson and Kathy Griffen to blaspheme. Cass said: “Christians must respond…” Uh, why? I guess we must respond because he feels we don’t have better things to be doing with our time, our resources, and our energy.
We can expect more of such blasphemy whether we respond or not. Does this man not understand the nature of the world in which we live? Does he not understand the nature of the Beast? Does he not understand the nature of sin? Really? Are Christians called to sit around with radar-like ears picking up on every single utterance of offense that anti-Christs can muster within themselves? Seriously?
“You will be my protest leaders, blasphemy detectors, and caller-outers in the US, at ESPN, at the Emmies, and yes to the ends of Hollywood and Vine.” Somehow that just doesn’t seem quite right to me.
“Several people told me last week mistakes do not define us. It is how we respond to those mistakes that does. I believe that,” she continued. “I hope you can forgive me and allow my future to define me.”
In earlier apologies, the “First Take” co-host said she respects all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by her “poorly chosen words.” ESPN affirmed that the comments were delivered in the context of Notre Dame football and its “Touchdown Jesus” icon.
While Jacobson thanked ESPN for giving her the opportunity to return to the job, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission is calling people of faith to contact ESPN and “register their disgust.”
You know, I had never even heard of this woman until Christians started raising a stink about it and…WE INTERRUPT THIS REGULARLY SCHEDULED BLOG POST TO BRING YOU THIS SPECIAL BULLETIN: THIS JUST IN: CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ AND IRAN AND INDIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA AND KOREA AND CHINA HAVE BEEN KILLED FOR THEIR FAITH AND THEIR CONFESSION OF JESUS CHRIST AS LORD.
Meanwhile, back in the the Land of God’s Chosen People there was a protest at the funeral of Heath Ledger and at the studios of ESPN.
I think I will call the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission and register my disgust with them: They are the ones irritating me. I would think Notre Dame who be a little disgusted too, but then again, the way they have played football lately I suppose they are trying to keep a low profile. (PS–Ty Willlingham got a raw deal!)
Well, Ms Jacobson, I forgive you. If that is what you want, fine. It’s yours. After all, it wasn’t my Name you blasphemed. (There might be Someone else you need to take this up with before long.) Here’s to your future, which I am certain will define you as one of the great Sports Commentators of all time (or whatever you do at ESPN). Good Luck, and godspeed!
I’m NOT saying that what she did was right, but she is free to say it. I’m not saying she should have said it, or that anyone should have listened. I am saying that all this nonsense about Christians being treated fairly, about Christians protesting anything, or crying about blasphemers’ choice of words is, in my estimation, a wee bit juvenile and beside the point.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven for in the same way they treated the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
“When they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)
Don’t you think we should too?
Consider this report from World Net Daily:
Rampaging Muslims have killed 10 Christians, injured 61 others, destroyed nine churches and displaced more than 500 people in northern Nigeria, according to eyewitnesses – all because Muslim high school students claimed a Christian student had drawn a cartoon of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, on the wall of the school’s mosque.
According to Compass Direct News,which specializes in reporting on Christian persecution worldwide, there are 1,500 students at the high school, called Government College-Tudun Wada Dankadai, of which only 14 are Christians, and only seven of those actually live on campus. The Christian students at the school insist no one ever saw the alleged cartoon, and furthermore that no one in the tiny minority group of Christians would have dared such a feat, especially during Ramadan.
Here’s a little more:
Among the churches burned were: St. Mary’s Catholic Church; St. George’s Anglican Church; Evangelical Church of West Africa; Assemblies of God Church; First Baptist Church; a Pentecostal church called the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church; an African independent church, the Cherubim and Seraphim Church; and two other Pentecostal churches, The Chosen Bible Church and Deeper Life Bible Church.
The 10 Christians murdered included: Augustine Odoh and his younger brother Cosmos Odoh, both members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Another Catholic, Joseph Eze, was also killed. When Compass filed its initial report, the corpses of the three Catholics were lying at the City Hospital in Kano city. Seven other Christians murdered were buried in a common grave Wednesday, but government workers did not allow relatives or church leaders to identify the corpses.
But really, we should believe the Islamists when they say they ‘want peace’ and they ‘don’t want to destroy Israel.’ Or, maybe we should believe them when they say ‘we want to destroy Israel.’
This is outrageous. I tell you that if Christians did something like this every time someone like Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris or Kathy Griffen said something about Jesus Christ the world would probably turn inside out with rage. Let the President quote Scripture in a speech or let a candidate say they pray to Jesus and the world is all in a rage about separation of Church and State. Let a school board say they want alternatives to Darwinism taught in their local schools and the ACLU is on it like stink on a monkey! There would be calls from the out reaches of the Outback for Christians to apologize!
Where is the outrage!?!
Father in Heaven, I pray in Jesus’ Name for these ones of yours who have lost their lives. I pray for these ones who are suffering the loss of their families, their property, their churches. Lord, have mercy on those who curse your people. We bless our enemies and pray for their forgiveness. Father, comfort your people who suffer for the Name of Christ. Anguish fills my heart, and I cannot contain my sorrow for these ones who belong to you. Lord hear our prayers. Consider the threats and violence against your people and strengthen them so they will be able to stand, give them courage to proclaim your truth, and stretch out your hand and enable them, Lord, to honor your Name among your enemies. We bless You Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Here’s some irony:
“Some of these people — especially Mr. Dawkins — spend a lot of time insulting the millions of folks who disagree with them, so you would think they would have a little tougher skin,” said Mark Mathis, one of the film’s producers. “The funny thing is they are whining about the fact that the film is going to allow them to insult people on a much larger stage.”
. . .
“I’ve never seen a bigger bunch of hypocrites in my life,” said Mathis, who set up the interviews for EXPELLED. “I went over all of the questions with these folks before the interviews and I e-mailed the questions to many of them days in advance. The lady (and gentleman) doth protest too much, methinks.”
You see what I mean? I’ll be anxious to see how many people who are opposed to religion decy these acts of Muslims as they decry the acts of Christians. What sad, sad hypocrisy! Would that the world could see the truth they claim to be looking for!
I’m trying to go to bed, but I keep coming across stuff that I want to blog about for a minute or two. Last week (Wed-Fri) I began my seminary classes. While there, I visited the school library and discovered a book sale was taking place. I rummaged around and eventually came across a small book book published 27 years ago by JI Packer titled, Beyond the Battle For the Bible. (Evidently, you can still pick it up at Amazon.) I’m going to put a couple of his quotes below.
Yesterday, I blogged a little about some comments made at another blog and to make a long story short, we ended up discussing the accuracy of the Bible. For one reason or another, this friend of mine is convinced that certain parts of the Bible are simply untrustworthy because they are somewhat inaccurate or contradictory.
This morning, in my Wo.R.D. class (Bible School) we were studying Genesis chapter 3, the chapter of the fall of man (and woman). Interestingly enough, the first words out of the serpent’s mouth were these: “Did God really say…?” Funny that when the devil made his appearance on earth the first thing he did was call God’s Word into question. Has he changed his approach?
Tonight, I was hopping around one last time before I shut down for the day when I came across this interview of Dr John MacArthur. In this interview he says, in part, concerning the ‘Emergent Church Movement’:
While those leading the movement say that the gospel can’t be clearly known, they presume to know one thing for certain: “The Bible doesn’t mean what traditional people think it means.”
The Emerging Church is just one of the latest assaults on the truth and certainty of God’s Word.
“They are saying, in effect, that God may have spoken, but He mumbled, and we’re not really sure what He said. Saying that Scripture is not clear is just another way to undermine biblical authority,” MacArthur explains.
“This is not an intellectual movement. This is not a movement that has discovered evidence that overturns inspiration, evidence that overturns inerrancy or authority. This is a movement born of people who do not want to accept the clarity of Scripture,” says MacArthur.
“It allows them not to take a position on homosexuality, premarital sex, or anything, besides ‘Let’s light some candles and incense, think good thoughts about Jesus, and give to the poor,’” he observes.
As you can see, the assault hasn’t abated, nor have the tactics changed. The serpent is still about the business of asking people, “Did God really say…?”
Yesterday, as I wrote, I quoted some from Packer’s book. You should read the entire post and dialogue I had with ‘Brian’ to get the full flavor of my thoughts. But here’s the bulk of the last post I made:
JI Packer wrote, “You know that for more than three hundred years God-shrinkers have been at work in the churches of the Reformation, scaling down our Maker to the measure of man’s mind and dissolving the Bible view of him as the Lord who reigns and speaks” (Beyond the Battle for the Bible, 11). This is precisely the problem that exists in the church today: Too many ‘Christians’ have asserted that we cannot trust the Bible and thus we must re-write what the Bible says. …
As to your last question, Do I really believe these discussions are a waste of time (although you stated a fact, and did not necessarily ask a question)? Here again is Packer: “I, however, am one of those who think this battle very important, and this is why. Biblical inerrancy and biblical authority are bound up together. Only truth can have final authority to determine belief and behavior, and Scripture cannot have such authority further than it is true. A factually and theologically untrustworthy Bible could still impress us as a presentation of religious experience and expertise, but clearly we cannot claim that it is all God’s testimony and teaching, given to control our convictions and conduct, if we are not prepared to affirm its total truthfulness.” (Beyond the Battle for the Bible, 17)
Furthermore, Jesus himself had no problem accepting that the Scripture was factually accurate. I’ll close with one last thought, because, I hope you will change your mind:
“So the decision facing Christians today [Packer was writing in 1980] is simply: will we take our lead at this point from Jesus and the apostles or not? Will we let ourselves be guided by a Bible received as inspired and therefore wholly true (for God is not the author of untruths), or will we strike out, against our Lord and his most authoritative representatives, on a line of our own? If we do, we have already resolved in principle to be led not by the Bible as given, but by the Bible as we edit and reduce it, and we are likely to be found before long scaling down its mysteries (eg., incarnation and atonement) and relativizing its absolutes (eg., in sexual ethics) in the light of our own divergent ideas.” (Beyond the Battle for the Bible, 19)
I hope this helps you understand why the conversation is not a waste of time and why I am persisting despite your announcement that you will not change your mind. It does matter what we think of the Bible and I think we can see the results in the church of what happens when we reduce the trustworthiness of the Scripture.
To you who read this: The Bible does matter and what we think of it matters too. My contention is that if the Bible is not true from the first verse to the last, then the Bible cannot be trusted at all. If God, for example, did not create, then what is sin? And if there is no sin, then what is redemption in Christ? Or, what matters the cross? Or what of our hope?
It’s sort of strange how I bought this $3 book on Thursday and have benefited from it all weekend long. God certainly does work in strange ways. My hope is that you who read will be encouraged to trust the Word of God in its entirety because you can trust it. Don’t by into all those doubters who keep repeating the devil’s mantra, “Did God really say…?” The Word of God will accomplish the purpose for which God sends it forth. It will not return to Him void. I’ll write to you again tomorrow.
Soli Deo Gloria!
PS-I am also having an interesting conversation with Jeff over at atheocracy concerning the nature of Scripture and its authority over us and the Church. You should visit Jeff.