December 7, 2005

A Different Plot Line for the End-Times

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 5:12 am

I do not believe that the Old Testament prophets and the Book of Revelation predict events in our time. Prophets have always spoken to their contemporaries about their actions and their consequences in their own time: because you are doing x, y is going to happen. The Book of Revelation isn’t about fortune telling, it’s about hope and faith and the glory of the Lamb. So I believe John the Revelator was speaking of figures in his own time when he spoke of the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet. I am sure that his intended readers understood perfectly his imagery, not only as a rich and wonderful depiction of the Kingdom of Heaven, but as code words alluding to events in the Roman Empire of his day.

And let’s be clear: I have not read any of the Left Behind books, and God willing I never will find myself having to sit through any of the Left Behind movies.

I have stated this all up front so that you will know that I do not think that George Bush is the Anti-Christ.

But let’s just look at the Anti-Christ/False Prophet imagery for a second. The Anti-Christ is supposed to be a leader that deludes us into thinking that bad is good and good is bad. He would charm us into following him into doing unspeakable acts, say, torture, kidnapping, false imprisonment, ghost detainees, or murder. The Anti-Christ would be supported by the False Prophet, who would create a false religion to pervert God’s will. This false religion would make us hate instead of love, applaud war instead of peace. It would paint its enemies, say, homosexuals, Muslims and liberals, as undeserving of God’s love, nor ours. This religion would wreak death (the death penalty, war, poverty, disease) instead of life (peace, compassion for the imprisoned, food for the hungry, health care for the sick).

The religion of the False Prophet would become intertwined with the governmental power of the Anti-Christ, quite the opposite of the historic separation of Church and State in the U.S. Government leaders would be qualified for their roles by virtue of their religion (Harriet Myers anyone?). The false religion would defend the immoral actions of the government, while the government would enforce the false morality of the false religion.

We would be blinded by our unquestioning belief that God is on our side. The Anti-Christ would never display any uncertainty and never admit any mistakes, but would assure us that we must “stay the course”. The False Prophet would tell us that it is our divine destiny, as prophesied by the Word of God, to engage in a cleansing war that will bring God’s Kingdom to us on earth. Not only must we fight this war, we must provoke it. Achieving peace in, say, the Middle East, would be to oppose God’s will. War is good and peace is bad.

I don’t believe in the millennial eschatology of the likes of LaHaye, but if I did, I would be expecting the rapture any day now.

81 Comments

  1. On a more serious note, wildwest, it might behoove each of us to consider whether we are chasing after spiritual truth or whether we are seeking spiritual arguments which would support a political agenda. Are facts facts? Is truth relative to what you want to believe or is there really such a thing as a Truth which supercedes man’s understanding of truth? Do any of us know the mind of God? Is the mind of God accessible through the Bible, or is the Bible an imperfect love letter, tainted by the hand of man, and if so, is it more or less tainted than other spiritual literature which might, or might not, be “inspired” by God, Himself, as the Bible professes to be? This, in my opinion, is where faith comes in. If one believes the Bible inerrant, does that of necessity mean that that person “worships” the Bible, a claim I have seen some “Progressive” Christians make, or does it mean that they view the Bible as our most credible tool for understanding the mind of God? Deep questions we all should ponder, I wish I knew all the answers, but I’m just one of those imperfect people like the rest of mankind, dependent upon God to reveal His Truth to me. Who do we trust, the Word which claims to be God’s or the voice of some men who claim to know better than that Word? We all must put our faith in something. I’m terribly interested in politics, that much is true, first and foremost, however, I SHOULD be *more* terribly interested in God’s will and that is something I feel the need to try to keep foremost in my mind. Peace to you, my friend.

    Comment by Jacke — December 17, 2005 @ 4:46 am

  2. I know I’ve been AWOL from blogging lately…I’ll get something posted soon. In the meantime, Jacke, I just have to respond to a wonderful turn of phrase you used:

    Who do we trust, the Word which claims to be God’s or the voice of some men who claim to know better than that Word? We all must put our faith in something.

    I agree completely. But what is “the Word”? For me, the Word is Christ, the divine Logos. He is what I put my faith in. The Bible reveals Christ to us, but not because it’s inerrant, which it’s not. It was written by those who witnessed his life, or those who talked to those who witnessed his life. Their understanding wasn’t perfect, but in their written accounts we see Christ. And it’s Christ that I put my faith in.

    It seems to me that you put the Bible in Christ’s place.

    Comment by Bob — December 17, 2005 @ 9:53 am

  3. How about this, Bob, “the Bible leads us to belief, but what is revealed in the Bible (God)leads us to faith.” All too often Christians are beguiled into knowing all about the Bible without coming to faith in the God the Bible reveals to us. I attended a revival once led by a couple known as the “Happy Hunters”. For three hours they paraded up and down the stage holding a floppy Bible over their heads. When they wanted to stress a point, they would say, “You know the Bible says…” and then give a one or two sentence quote taken totally out of context. They were right, the Bible did say exactly what they quoted, however, Isaiah, Paul, or Jesus meant something very different from what was quoted. I think this is an example of someone who knows the Bible and believes in the Bible but does not have faith in God.

    I think one comes to faith when one allows the written text to speak freely (exegesis). Too often we approach God’s Word as if we already know the answer and we merely want affirmation for the conclusions we’ve already drawn (isogesis).

    Comment by Tony — December 17, 2005 @ 3:06 pm

  4. After I read my post I realized some may not know the difference between “belief” and “faith”. Let me tell a story. The crowd marveled at the acrobat as he walked on a wire high above Niagara Falls. Not only was he walking the wire but he was also pushing a wheelbarrow filled with 150 pounds of bricks. When he reached the other side, he was greeted by a female reporter who asked how he would top that feat.
    “Tell me”, he said, “Do you believe I could do it again with a person in the wheelbarrow?”
    “Yes”, she said, “Since you did it with 150 pounds, I believe you could do it with a 150 pound person.”
    “Get in! Let’s try it.”
    “No way…!!!”
    The reporter believed he could do it but didn’t have faith in his ability to do it. Likewise one can believe in God without having faith in God.

    Comment by Tony — December 17, 2005 @ 3:25 pm

  5. This is where you err, Bob. You assume that because I believe the Bible is inerrant that I put my faith in it INSTEAD of in Christ. Not so. I do have faith that the Word is inerrant, because if I believe otherwise then I believe that God did not inspire those who wrote it to write it and I must also believe that God is not powerful enough to have inspired these men to say what He wanted to say, or to keep those words pure, but that does not mean it replaces my faith in Christ, were it not for my faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, due to that faith in Christ. I could not understand the Bible, it would be mere words on a page instead of the living and active word it claims to be, the word which divides and judges the motivations of the heart. While I might “get it” to a certain degree there is no way I could understand it with the depth I am able to because the Holy Spirit reveals its truth to me. It is not an either, or proposition. People have faith in all kinds of things, but that doesn’t mean that you have replaced Christ with the object of your faith. Every time to get in your car to drive to the market, you have faith that your car will get you there, that’s not to say that you might not utter a word of prayer for the trip, but after that prayer, you trust that your car will get you where you are planning to go. That does not mean that you no longer have faith in Christ. I have faith that the green sweatshirt I might have bought yesterday will not be blue when I wake up tomorrow morning, does that mean I have replaced my faith in Christ with a green sweatshirt? My argument doesn’t change. Would you care to answer these questions which Tony has avoided?:

    Do you deny that the Disciples were all “hand-picked” by Christ? Do you believe there are now situations in the world that were not discussed, or some very similar situation not addressed in the Bible and therefore there is NOT a lesson regarding everything of this world in the Bible? Do you believe that there is other literature written by men which is deserving of HIGHER regard and full of MORE profound wisdom than the Bible?

    You had to have had enough faith in the Bible to believe that its account of Jesus was real, otherwise you would not have believed on Him, right? So, you can believe that part and that part is inerrant but other parts of it are not? This opens a can of worms, Bob, a can of worms that you cannot put the cover back on for now you have placed yourself in the position of making YOURSELF the authority in your own life, of deciding which “truth” is true and which “truth” is to be ignored. Now you are letting your conscience guide you, your *feelings* guide you, or perhaps you are letting some other man’s conscience or feelings guide you instead of the Word which David told us were the precepts, were the very laws which he loved and David was known as the man after God’s own heart. Yes, Bob, I will tell you this, if it comes down to a choice of having faith in the Bible or having faith in what YOU believe, there is simply NO contest. God bless.

    Comment by Jacke — December 17, 2005 @ 8:01 pm

  6. J. said:

    1. “Do you deny that the Disciples were all “hand-picked” by Christ? Do you believe there are now situations in the world that were not discussed, or some very similar situation not addressed in the Bible and therefore there is NOT a lesson regarding everything of this world in the Bible? Do you believe that there is other literature written by men which is deserving of HIGHER regard and full of MORE profound wisdom than the Bible?”

    J. and others see the Bible as a list of rules; a collection of “Thou shalts” and “Thou shalt nots.” And that every moral issue for all time was taught by Jesus to his disciples. One then studies the Bible to decipher appropriate human behavior. “Faithfulness” would then be equated with how closely one followed the letter of the law. A person can choose to follow the rules or not. Interesting… that’s the same position the Pharisees and Sadducees, the Scribes and the Lawyers took.

    Martin Luther wrote: “The Bible is the manger in which we find the Christ child.” An alternative way of seeing the Bible is that it is not about us but about God. The purpose of the Bible is to reveal God: who is God, what is God, where does God come from and what does he have to do with us? Who is Jesus and what is the Holy Spirit? No other book in the history of the written word can do that. (Unless you are Mormon or Muslim.)
    The Bible reveals God so that humans might fall in love with God. One does not decide to fall in love… love happens. Faith is what happens when the lover is embraced by the beloved. I am the lover and God is the beloved.

    Why didn’t the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, or the Acts of Peter make it into the New Testament canon? Because of what they said about laws and morals? No… it is because of what they said about Jesus. Humans, after the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, made choices regarding what books would be canon and what books would not. And the litmus test was what the hundreds of gospels and epistles said (revealed) concerning the nature of Jesus Christ.

    Maybe the conservative argument explains why they want to connect the Constitution to the Bible. Because they regard them both as rules for living.

    Comment by Tony — December 17, 2005 @ 11:11 pm

  7. You know, this is funny in a way … though not funny in a haha kind of way. I believe the Bible is inerrant but not because I see it as a book of rules. I see it as a gift from God so that we might know God and love God. A gift that shows us the way to salvation. I believe the Bible is inerrant because of God. God does not lie. God would not give us a book that is part true and part not true. God is much more powerful than that and I have faith in God and his power.

    Comment by Angel — December 18, 2005 @ 5:41 am

  8. Me too, Angel. Not only does the Bible lead us to Jesus but it is also a wonderful instruction book on how we should live our lives, where wisdom lies. No one wants to answer my very specific questions, all I get is words walking all around them. Is there a book that is filled with more profound wisdom than the Bible, a book which gives us better instruction for the best way to live our lives in all and every instance which comes up? I love the Book of Ecclesiates, it is a wonderful book. One summer I was questioning my existence, questioning why I spent so much time working in my flower garden, why was I doing it, did it glorify God? Did anyone reap benefit from it other than me? And I sat in that flower garden and read the Book of Ecclesiastes. There is nothing new under the sun. I don’t wear the same clothes that they wore in Biblical times, I don’t speak the same way they spoke, etc., but the human condition is the very same today that it was 2000 years ago. The Bible, in my opinion, cannot be overidden by the words of man today, anymore than it could be overidden 2000 years ago. Men get the idea that yeah, but, it didn’t speak about this or that…it speaks about every human condition!!! There is nothing that can happen in the heart of man that the Bible does not address and instruct us upon. No, for me it isn’t about the set of rules in the Bible, none of us can live up to those rules and laws, if we could there would have been no need for God to send us His Son, that has ALWAYS been the case, since the time of Adam and Eve and the fall! But because we have accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord does not mean that the Bible now has less value, less wisdom and less wonderful instruction for our lives! Tony, what book is filled with more profound wisdom that the Bible? What scholar or theologian is more brilliant that God? Who knows better than God? Did C.S. Lewis know better than God, did Luther know better? Martin Luther King? Jimmy Carter? Jim Wallis? Do these men know better than God? Are their books or doctrine full of more profound wisdom than the Bible? Why will you not answer?

    Comment by Jacke — December 18, 2005 @ 11:21 am

  9. I have answered. I feel like we are in parallel universes where you haven’t the faintest idea what I am saying. No book reveals God to us as richly and fully as the Bible. Did you hear that?

    Now, would you give me the book, chapter, and verse that reveals God’s attitude toward cloning? And what about colonization of the moon? Does Bible say if God is for it or against it? And what does the Bible say about
    George Bush using torture? Just give me the book, chapter, and verse. And stem cell research? Or abortion? Can you
    refer me to a “thou shalt not abort text… and don’t throw the commandments at me or some other general response. You’re the one who claimed the Bible was specific and answers every question that confronts humans. Oh, and just for fun… what does the Bible say about the immoral salaries professional athletes get? And what about depression, schizophrenia, or bi-polar disorder? Chapter and verse please.

    Comment by Tony — December 18, 2005 @ 6:19 pm

  10. Oh, how I love sarcasm! I just didn’t know you were so good at it, Tony!

    Tony’s *version* of what I said:

    “YOU’RE THE ONE WHO CLAIMED THE BIBLE *WAS SPECIFIC* and answers every question that confronts humans.” (emphasis mine)

    The QUESTIONS I actually ASKED, I put the pertinent part in all caps, with other emphasis included:

    “As far as I am concerned, I do not see where you have countered, in your reply, anything I said in my very brief comment. Are we not, through the scripture, privy to more information surrounding what Christ sought to communicate than the people of His time learned or did not learn through parables? Do you deny that the Disciples were all “hand-picked” by Christ? DO YOU BELIEVE THERE ARE NOW SITUATIONS IN THE WORLD THAT WERE NOT DISCUSSED, ***OR SOME VERY SIMILAR SITUATION,*** NOT ADDRESSED IN THE BIBLE AND THEREFORE ***THERE IS NOT A LESSON REGARDING EVERYTHING OF THIS WORLD IN THE BIBLE?*** Do you believe that there is other literature written by men which is deserving of HIGHER regard and full of MORE profound wisdom than the Bible?…

    …I would still like to know why, when describing mankind and the human condition and how we need to be “defending the last, the lost and the least,” that homosexuals are somehow in a separate category from the rest of mankind, further, how do you “defend” them? That was also an interesting choice of words. I think I might have said, “show compassion to,” “aid,” “help,” “reach out to,” tell me, why did you choose “defend?”” See comment #29

    Tony writes:

    ” I have answered. I feel like we are in parallel universes where you haven’t the faintest idea what I am saying. No book reveals God to us as richly and fully as the Bible. Did you hear that?”

    Yes, I heard your further non reply, before that what I heard was this:

    “I’m at a loss for words….” Comment #34

    A very long silence, then some comments to Bob. Then *as if* an answer to ONE of my questions you went into a long winded account of why some people believe the Bible is inerrant, as if you know why everyone on the face of the earth who believes in an inerrant Bible does so, to which I replied and FURTHER clarified my point in a comment to Angel under #58:

    “The Bible, in my opinion, cannot be overidden by the words of man today, anymore than it could be overidden 2000 years ago. Men get the idea that yeah, but, it didn’t speak about this or that…it speaks about every human condition!!! THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN HAPPEN IN THE HEART OF MAN THAT THE BIBLE DOES NOT ADDRESS AND INSTRUCT US UPON. No, for me it isn’t about the set of rules in the Bible, none of us can live up to those rules and laws, if we could there would have been no need for God to send us His Son, that has ALWAYS been the case, since the time of Adam and Eve and the fall! But because we have accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord does not mean that the Bible now has less value, less wisdom and less wonderful instruction for our lives!”

    I stand by all the questions and all the statements I have made. I am not required to stand by your *perceptions* of my statements and questions from an alternative universe, Tony. My actual question was regarding human nature and the human condition, which would include all human emotions, human feelings, human perversions, sin, guilt, depression, issues regarding wealth, issues regarding life questions of EVERY kind and is not SPECIFIC, as you say.

    You have still not answered a single question I posed to you, Tony. 🙂 You twisted the one question you claim to have answered to make the statement YOU wanted to make rather than answering any of MY questions. You might make a good politician, pretending to have answered questions after avoiding and skirting all around them, sadly, for you, I think people are tired of politicians who will not answer, directly, the American people, so you may have missed your chance.

    Comment by Jacke — December 19, 2005 @ 6:18 am

  11. “I do have faith that the Word is inerrant, because if I believe otherwise then I believe that God did not inspire those who wrote it to write it and I must also believe that God is not powerful enough to have inspired these men to say what He wanted to say, or to keep those words pure, but that does not mean it replaces my faith in Christ, were it not for my faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, due to that faith in Christ.”

    There’s a leap of logic in that statement.

    Comment by wildwest — December 19, 2005 @ 6:26 am

  12. I might add, Tony, you don’t HAVE to answer ANY of my questions. What I would appreciate, however, is that in the process of NOT answering, you would not pretend you HAVE answered them and imply that I’m just too stoopid to understand your answers. You have had every opportunity to answer them, instead you skirt them and then try to save face by trying to make me look stupid. Nice try.

    Comment by Jacke — December 19, 2005 @ 6:26 am

  13. Brutal honesty.

    Comment by Jacke — December 19, 2005 @ 6:33 am

  14. Christian love

    Comment by wildwest — December 19, 2005 @ 7:13 am

  15. Smoochies! 🙂

    Comment by Jacke — December 19, 2005 @ 7:19 am

  16. Ouch

    Comment by wildwest — December 19, 2005 @ 7:36 am

  17. So, if Tony implies that I am too stupid to understand his answer(s) that’s okay but if I call him on it I am brutal and not displaying Christian love? Is that how it works, wildwest?

    Comment by Jacke — December 19, 2005 @ 7:52 am

  18. I am still waiting for chapter and verse. Since you cannot supply them then let me make it easier for you. You are suffering from severe bi-polar disorder… will you find the healing you need in the Bible or from your psychiatrist? Who is the expert?

    Comment by Tony — December 19, 2005 @ 8:22 am

  19. Coming from you, Jacke, I would call it “Christian tough love.” 🙂

    Comment by wildwest — December 19, 2005 @ 8:34 am

  20. …and you are suffering from severe reading comprehension disorder…will you reread my last reply to you and understand it? :0

    Comment by Jacke — December 19, 2005 @ 9:07 am

  21. wildwest, that satisfies me. Thank you. 🙂

    Comment by Jacke — December 19, 2005 @ 9:08 am

  22. We aim to please. 🙂

    Comment by wildwest — December 19, 2005 @ 9:52 am

  23. Since you prefer to hide behind whimsy rather than address the issue should I assume reluctance or inability to answer?

    And now for the question of inerrancy. W., what I hear you say is that your faith in God is contingent on Biblical inerrancy. By implication that means that you do not have faith in God but in formation of the Bible. Because if the Bible as you understand it crumbles, then your God crumbles too. There is another way.

    Consider the fact that the Bible was not hand written by the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Bible. This removes the whole question of inerrancy. It becomes a moot point. Consider the four Gospels. Each Gospel has a different account of what happened on the morning of that first Easter. Matthew tells us that Mary Magdalene and “another Mary” went to the tomb. Mark tells us that it was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome who went to the tomb. Luke says it was the “women who came with him from Galilee” who went to the tomb, and John tells us it was Mary Magdalene who went to the tomb. In Matthew there is an earthquake and an angel descends from heaven to roll back the stone, in the other accounts the stone is already gone. The accounts differ on who greets the women at the tomb and what they are told. In Mark the response to the empty tomb is that the women say nothing to no one because they are afraid. In other accounts they go and tell the disciples. In John’s account it is Jesus himself who greets Mary. And the post resurrection appearances of Jesus are different in each of the Gospels. Now unless you read into the accounts a lot of running back and forth by various persons… which is not in the Bible… then you have to conclude that someone got the story wrong. How do you decide which is the right story?

    However, for persons like myself for whom Biblical inerrancy is not an issue, we look through the event to the central truth behind the event: The tomb is empty… Christ is risen! What is important is WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT GOD! My faith is in the God the text reveals not in the text.

    Compare the Decalogue in Exodus to the Decalogue in Deuteronomy. Why the difference? Compare the two creation accounts in Genesis. Why does Mark write at the beginning of his Gospel, “As it is recorded in Isaiah”, and then quote Micah? The Bible is full of inerrancies. But this is not an issue for those who believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. The Holy Spirit inspired persons to give account of the nature and deeds of God so that we might know God. People, the writers of the Bibles see some things differently… but God remains consistent.

    The truth of the Bible is not dependant on the issue of inerrancy but on who God is.

    Comment by Tony — December 19, 2005 @ 10:05 am

  24. Tony writes:

    “Since you prefer to hide behind whimsy rather than address the issue should I assume reluctance or inability to answer?”

    I am not “hiding behind whimsy” I am merely pointing out that what you claim I said was not at all what I said, Tony. I never said that the Bible SPECIFICALLY references any of the things you listed, I have pointed that out to you, you are asking me to support a statement that I never made in the first place, why should I? I will support any and every statement I make or I will admit when I am in error, but I did not state what you claim I have stated therefore there is ABSOLUTELY NO reason for me to qualify it. Get it?

    Further, your last statement that “the truth of the Bible is not dependant on the issue of inerrancy but on who God is?” How does this differ from what I have been saying all along!?

    Quote:

    “I do have faith that the Word is inerrant, because if I believe otherwise then I believe that God did not inspire those who wrote it to write it and I must also believe that God is not powerful enough to have inspired these men to say what He wanted to say, or to keep those words pure…” I believe in the issue of inerrancy BECAUSE of who God is, Tony! (See my comment #55)

    You are arguing with shadows, Tony.

    Comment by Jacke — December 19, 2005 @ 11:32 am

  25. So you simply choose not to acknowledge any conflicts in witness or errors like the Markan quote that exist in the Bible. And yet I have seen you berate others, Jason for example, on the grounds of Biblical consistancy. Show me the error of my argument (and Jason’s argument) with intellegent response rather than arrogant beratings.

    Comment by Tony — December 19, 2005 @ 12:03 pm

  26. “And now for the question of inerrancy. W.,”

    Sorry, I thought you were talking to Wildwest about that part, what was the “W” for? I don’t have time to address that question at the moment. Later.

    Comment by Jacke — December 19, 2005 @ 12:51 pm

  27. Tony, dear, I only wish you’d had a day like I had, then you’d realize the sacrifice I am making with my tired old brain to take the time to reply to you.

    First, for the record, Tony, I feel I am a fairly respectful person of others unless and until they abuse me by pretending that I’m too stupid to understand them, especially when in the meantime a particular person seems to be unable to even comprehend what I am saying, either that or the person chooses to ignore what I’m saying, the verdict is still out on that. Yes, I have been arrogant with you, you began with the arrogance, Tony, when you implied that “progressive” Christians hold an exclusive superior and enlightened state of being which affords them a deeper understanding than “Conservatives.” Later, you did your best to make me appear stupid, Tony. I seldom sit back and allow people to berate me without responding in such a manner as to expose them for what they are trying to imply about my own character, perhaps it would do you good to remember that in the future when you want to go all “pompous” on me again. I would be more than willing to call a truce if you are willing to show me the same respect that you would like to receive, does that sound fair to you?

    Now, you are throwing some questions out to me about the Gospel accounts of the New Testament. You say:

    “Consider the fact that the Bible was not hand written by the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Bible. This removes the whole question of inerrancy. It becomes a moot point.”

    I have never claimed that the ghostly hand of the Holy Spirit wrote the scripture. I have always made the statement that the writers of scripture were inspired by the Holy Spirit. That does not mean that the Holy Spirit takes complete control and forces His own words to come out on a page, I believe it means that the Holy Spirit guided the writers of the scripture, and I believe that the writers of the scripture had a heavy burden to do so, to record the steps of Jesus and that in their inspired state, they also used the language and vocabulary that they knew and that some things stood out to this Apostle more than it did to that Apostle. Now, in the part of the scripture you have referenced, these men were all reliant upon the women who attended the tomb that first Easter, with the exception of Mark, who was reliant on the preachings of Peter. Each of these disciples, other than Mark, heard the account of the women, each of them were striken by different aspects of the “story” much as you and I would be stricken by different aspects of a movie. When you relate to a friend about the movie we saw last night your perspective and accounting of that movie will be different than mine. You might not even mention my favorite scene which didn’t particularly strike you and vice versa. See what I mean? Neither of us would be getting the story WRONG, our accounting of the story would just be different.

    Regarding the book of Mark, I learned that Mark was a close associate of Peter, Mark acted as a translator and scribe for Peter. Indications are that Mark recorded the preachings of Peter and that Mark’s writings are a reflection of Peter’s view of Christ.

    My faith is in the God the Bible reflects, also, Tony, but I cannot agree with you that there are contradictions in the Bible, I believe that if one studies and reads the Bible that all the scriptures compliment each other. Now, you have every right to disagree with me, I can’t make you agree with me on the inerrancy of the Bible, I just know that in all of my study of the Bible, whenever I have found something which I thought was inconsistent with some other scripture I have read, rather than believing it was inconsistent it would puzzle me enough to look into it until I could understand the full meaning and see how it fit in with what I had at first viewed as an inconsistency. Sometimes that means I have to rely on a scholar who understands languages which I don’t understand, sometimes it means that I must carefully read the footnotes in my Bible or pull my Vine’s Expository off the shelf, but I can tell you that, in my personal experience, I have always been able to come to an understanding, at some point, and that the Bible compliments itself rather than contradicts itself. I cannot do that study and work for you, Tony, I don’t have the time, but if you are really interested in those answers it is ultimately your responsibility to study to show yourself approved. No matter what I say it really wouldn’t teach you anything anyway, these are discoveries that each of us must make on our own with God’s help.

    Comment by Jacke — December 20, 2005 @ 12:13 am

  28. That Mark was a close associate of Peter’s is only theory. The only source we have for this is from the “testimony of Papias” who was Bishop of Hieropolis in Asia Minor, who had a personal reason for authenticating Mark’s authority. Another theory is that this was the John Mark refereed to in Acts and close friend of Barnabas. The only problem is the Greek of the gospel is too good for someone whose first language would have been Aramaic (I read Greek). I go with the theory that Mark was a Greek convert to Christianity (perhaps converted by Peter, but more likely Paul) and the reason he mis-quotes the Old Testament is because he wasn’t that familiar with it.

    J., you gave a very nice personal testimony but didn’t shed any new light on the subject at hand; Biblical inerrancy. The resurrection accounts cannot simply be dismissed as different views of the same story. In Mark, Jesus is waiting for the disciples in Galilee. In John, Jesus appears to the disciples on the day of his resurrection in Jerusalem. The accounts are vastly different. It is not the same story. The truth lies in the fact that the one thing they all have in common is the testimony that Jesus rose. Which is enough for me.

    This is not a nagging point. I think anyone who is engaged in a debate needs to be consistent in their argument. You can not be a selective literalist when it serves your point and a generalist when you have a new point to make. Like people of any faith, a Christian’s view of the world is shaped by their understanding of God. Not only for faith issues but political and social issues as well. Nothing is more infuriating for this progressive Christian, than an inconsistent argument and a selective use of the Bible when addressing political or social issues.

    Comment by Tony — December 20, 2005 @ 10:41 am

  29. Tony, I have never claimed to be a Biblical scholar or theologian. I rely more on the gifts that God has given me to understand His Word. It is interesting that you mention that you know Greek, that is wonderful, but, you see, from things I have read you say in the past, I do not consider your interpretations of what the scripture says to be in line with my own experience and understanding that, through the grace of God, has been revealed to me in scripture and about scripture. You occasionally make a point with which I agree, yet you seem to be more interested in proving me wrong than coming to any understanding of truth or finding any common ground.

    Maybe I’m wrong, maybe you’re right, I don’t believe that I have all of the answers to the Universe.

    I am more interested in discussion than argument. Some who comment on Bob’s Blog seem to think that the Bible is not inerrant and that because it is not inerrant they rely more upon what the Holy Spirit speaks to their hearts than what the Word of God speaks to them, or what the scripture literally says. I have no problem with that, per se, where I have a problem is when there is scripture wherein there can be no identifiable contradiction and the meaning is clear that some do not accept that very clear and consistent message of the Bible, instead seemingly picking and choosing what they will accept and what they will not accept. You say nothing infuriates you more than inconsistency, well, it doesn’t “infuriate” me but this seems like an inconsistent position to me. It is inconsistent to accept as true and right certain portions of the scripture because you happen to like the underlying concept while ignoring the underlying concept of other portions of the scripture.

    Now, I told you that you do not have to agree with my belief that the Bible is inerrant, Tony. You seem to be unwilling to give me the same respect that I have offered to you by allowing me my own belief and conviction that the Bible IS inerrant, why, I don’t know for sure, only you would be able to answer that question.

    I have learned a lot by visiting Progressive blogs, it has caused me to rethink some of my positions and strengthened my beliefs on other positions. Insulting my intelligence by claiming that you have a more profound and deep understanding than me teaches me nothing, Tony. You want to ask me a barrage of questions about very specific scriptures which you view as inconsistent. I QUESTION THE MOTIVES OF YOUR HEART for engaging me in this fashion. Further, I think you misunderstand my understanding of Biblical inerrancy. I am also talking about underlying truth which is revealed in the Bible. You seem to be trying to pin me down to restrict my views of that underlying truth. Yes, I believe in an inerrant Bible. The underlying truth of the ENTIRE Bible IS all consistent, throughout the Bible! This is why I have, in the past, often referred to the flavor of the Bible and discussed how important it is to take it as a whole and not as little out of context scripture recitations intended to support a political or social view! You just do not understand me and I have no hope that you will because, frankly, Tony, I don’t believe you WANT to understand me.

    Tony, I KNOW IN WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED. At the same time, I do make every effort to have a humble heart, to be willing to listen to others, to dialog with others, to answer questions as honestly as possible when they are asked, but Tony, I don’t believe you are really interested in what I think about anything, I get the feeling, to you, this is all about finding a winner and a loser.

    Comment by Jacke — December 21, 2005 @ 9:49 am

  30. Speaking of winning and losing…where IS my tiara!?

    Comment by Jacke — December 21, 2005 @ 4:24 pm

  31. Wow! We go from talking against W and Mr. LaHaye’s end times views, to flat out questioning each other’s faith!
    Whew!
    God bless you all!
    Keep your eyes on the Cross!
    Remember:
    Whatever your personal inclinations- political and all that- YOU ARE SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB!
    PERIOD!
    HALLELUJAH!

    Comment by Mikey — January 10, 2006 @ 9:06 am

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