“So we must stop looking for some objective Truth that is available when we delve into the text of the Bible.” –Tony Jones (Postmodern Youth Ministry, p. 201)
“Let me offer 10 suggestions for reclaiming the Bible for contemporary readers…Drop Any Affair You May Have with Certainty” –Brian McLaren (Adventures in Missing the Point, p. 8184)
(if it is true we cannot know anything with certaintiy), then we cannot know anything for sure, which is self defeating… if all truth is relavtive, then the statement ‘All truth is relative’ would be absoultely true. If it is absolutely true, then not all things are relative, and the statement ‘all truth is relative’ would be false. (Matt Slick)
There’s an entire page where Matt Slick proceeded to take all possible permutations of the “truth is unknowable” argument, and defeats it in every case by applying the arguments to themselves. It’s great. I loved it.
At this point, I think I’ve run the Relativism main argument into the ground and buried it. Let’s turn to the next statement of the Emergent, “how do you know who’s doctrine is correct?”
THe Emergent likes to use the word “dogma” when referring to doctrine. Something to watch for, because in common usage dogma has a negative connotation. When Brian Mclaren speaks of the beliefs of Fundamentalists, he uses “dogma”. but when he wants to suggest he can re-interpret the Bible for you, he uses the less difficult “doctrine”. Which is silly, because both mean the same thing – “Doctrine” means “teachings”. To say, “I don’t like doctrine, but I like Bible teachings” is nonsense.
So, let me answer the question – we let the Bible intrepret itself. I just got done with a brief series on how to interpet the Bible, showing it step by step. Now, I know that asking an emergent to do something like go to the left hand side of the page and click on a category is waaaay too much. So I’ll explain it.
The Bible is not self-contradicting. It is self affirming. Any study of church and Bible history leaves you with an unmistakeable conclusion, that the Bible has survived every attempt to destroy it. The Bible has survived many, many attempts to wipe it out. And that leaves you with the conclusion – God is prottecting it.
That’s a doctrine called “Preservation”. Any doctrine of “inspiration” and “Inerrancy” must also be accompanied by a doctrine of preservation. LIterally, Jesus Christ declared that the Bible was not only inspired, but preserved.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35 (KJV)
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18 (KJV)
If the smallest parts of the letters are preserved, then the very letters themselves are inspired.
See, here’s how you determine what is doctrine – let the Bible interpret itself.
“Well, the Bible was written by men, and men can be in error…”
THat’s not what the Bible just said. Can I prove the Bible is inspired?
Absolutely. I’ve listed over 150 prophecies of Jesus Christ that date back to as far before Jesus Christ as 4,000 years before He was born. Now, those prophecies fall into two categories…
- those which can be arranged (getting arrested, speaking in parables, visiting the Temple)
- Those which cannot be arranged (the method of your death, resurrection, where you were born, the manner in which you were born, other people’s statements and actions about you, who your parents would be, where they came from, who would choose to follow you, where you would be buried, the activities of those around you as you were being executed)
As you can see, the VAST majority of the prophecies about Jesus Christ belong to category two. Being “The seed of a woman” right away rules out anyone not virgin born.
Yet it was fulfilled. Something like the Roman Legionnaires gambling over your clothing as you are struggling to survive on a cross is something you cannot arrange. Yet it was fulfilled. Jesus Christ was buried in a rich man’s tomb. Let’s see you arrange that after you’ve been killed. You can make deals, but hey… I’ve seen someone’s death bed wishes conveniently ignored after they had passed on to Glory. Joseph of Aramathea had intended that tomb for himself and his family. Those kind of tombs cost a lot of money. You can make whatever deal you like while you’re alive, but the record shows the apostles fled after Jesus died. Joseph of Arimathea could very well, if you were making all this up, look at your dead body, and sigh, and have you buried in a pauper’s grave. After all, Christ had no money. That tomb cost a lot. And we’ve got to keep in mind that wealth in those days in Israel is about the equivalent of today’s lower middle class in America.
So, okay, let’s try an experiment. Let’s see if you can fulfill just TWO prophecies by yourself. Here’s what you have to do.
- be crucified
- rise from the dead.
Hm. Did it work?
The ressurection of Jesus Christ is one of the greatest historically verifiable facts in existence. It’s far easier for me to prove the ressurection of Jesus Christ than it is to prove the existence of some historical personages, like Homer.
How can we know truth? OPen your Bible and start reading it.
How do we know whose doctrine is correct? Try this. Assume nobody has correct doctrine. Get yourself Nave’s Topical Bible, Torrey’s Topical Bible, a King James Bible, the Treasury of Scriptural knowledge, Strong’s concordance, and a notebook.
Write the name of a different subject on every page of the notebook, and start reading the bible. As you’re reading it, list EVERY VERSE you encounter as belonging to one or more subjects. It’ll take a good long while. You’ll be amazed.
Because you’re going to find that just about everything that classical Christianity has taught for 2,000 years is, well… true!
How to do this in Wordsearch? Wordsearch BAsic is free. And it comes with all those tools… free.
Create a user book (alphabetical). Call it whatever you want, you have to save it. Now, go through it and enter in as many subjects as you can think of (Trinity, Creation, Sin, Jesus Christ, Jesus (prophecies of), Messiah, Israel, The Law… everything.)
Now, as you read, enter the address (Gen. 1:1) of the verse you read under the subject heading (example, “Creation”, “Evolution???” “God”, “Trinity”). . You can type it in under the first subject, and THEN… highlight it, CTRL+C, then go to the next subject it concerns, and CTRL+V to paste it. That saves you a lot of typing.
Ten minues of that a day, and within one year, you should be (well, by then, more used to it and you should be up to 20 minutes to 30 mintues a day…) completed.
And your user book will probably be highly sought after, because it’ll be essentially, a very thorough topical Bible.
You will have allowed the Bible to interpret itself, and you will KNOW sound doctrine. Essentially, that’s what happens in Bible colleges and Seminaries. You’re going through the Bible over and over again, but in the context of different subjects, and you’ll know a LOT about doctrine. If you go back to the first posts of this blog, you’ll notice that the tenor of my knowledge of the Bible increased rapidly, because I began writing consistently from when I was about in the fifth semester. now I’m graduated. And still putting off writing my Master’s Thesises, because, oh my goodness, my brain just absolutely hates the format you have to write in. If I could write them up as 300 page books, yes, easily could do that. But APA Master’s THesis guidelines AAAAAAAUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! (bangs forehead on table).
How to know doctrine? bottom line – ask God. Read His word Understand that the Bible is inspired, preserved, inerrant. Not in the original manuscripts only! THat’s a copout. Timothy was told he had the Scriptures as a child, and… I really doubr he possessed the originals written by Moses. Timothy had copies. “ALL SCRIPTURE” is how 2 Tim. 3:15
There’s your answer, kids!
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 (KJV)
God considers you, at your age, to be capable of knowing the Bible. Brian McLaren doesn’t think you can know anything. What do you think???