Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Comment Response II

Brother Gee was kind enough to write back. (His first comment is in the post below this one.) His words are in italics. Mine are in plain print. His complete comment without my response can be found by clicking on the "comments" link here: "Follow On".

Thank you for taking the time to categorically respond to my recent comment. In the interest of maintaining a spirit of friendship and togetherness, i will refrain from responding, as to do so might result in this discourse degenerating to the level of argument.

This much i will put forth:

There are a couple of things that you misconstrued in my comment. For example, i never said that Jesus' life "did not matter". However, the fault is mine, for not being completely clear in my statements, as i was endeavoring to be brief.

I do sincerely apologize for misunderstanding what you meant. However, I didn’t say that you said Jesus’ life did not matter. My statement was that what you were basically saying was that Jesus’ life from conception to baptism had no salvific import. In other words, His life during that particular time period had no bearing or influence on our salvation. Again, if I misunderstood what you were saying, I apologize.

Secondly, after the death of Jesus the Christ, His inner teachings, the 'meat for the strong' were entrusted to His apostles and passed on to certain ones who came after. The early Church spent much time and spilled much blood endeavoring to eradicate these true teachings from the face of the earth. "Heresy" is the flag they waved as they swung the sword. What was left is the eviscerated shell teachings that billions follow as doctrine today - the 'milk for the babes'.

I’m not sure exactly which events you’re referring to with regard to “spilling blood” and “swinging the sword” when it came to the canonization of the New Testament. I can tell you, though, that if you’re referring to pseudoepigraphical writings such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Epistle of Barnabas, etc., being excluded from the canon of the New Testament, these books were never taken out of the New Testament because the were never considered Scripture in the first place. Christians at the time were aware of these writings and did not consider them to be the inspired, authoritative word of God because they either did not have apostolic authorship, or they did not claim to be the word of God, or they contained teachings which stood in direct contrast to divinely established teachings in other parts of the Bible, or some combination of these factors.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with a council canonizing the New Testament. (Every religion gets to decide for itself which writings will or will not be included in the book(s) it follows, and Christianity is no different.) In fact, there was everything right about it. It was necessary to keeping false teaching out of the church and to having a reliable document which contained only God’s word.

Matthew 7:7 states that one should seek until one finds. It does not state that one should follow blindly and without question.

Indeed it does. And what makes you think I or any other Christian you don’t know hasn’t done that? Just because I have come to the same conclusion that millions of others have come to about Jesus and the Bible doesn’t mean I reached that conclusion by following someone else’s teaching blindly and without question. I have spent decades searching the Scriptures and researching Christian teaching
for myself.

I have also come to the conclusion that 2 + 2 = 4. So have billions of other people. That doesn’t mean we’re all blindly following mathematics without question. We believe it because it is true.

Could it be that the reason so many people from so many different walks of life across thousands of years have all come to the same conclusion about Jesus is that that conclusion is true?

The Bible has been edited and re-edited countless times. I respectfully ask all to consider what exactly was it that was being edited out, and why?

The Bible has been edited, not redacted or changed. I have a book coming out in 2012. I know a little bit about editing. I know my editor will catch any misspelled words or punctuation errors and fix them. Although she may suggest I re-write something, I know she will not re-write it herself or take out chunks of text that will change the tone or intent of my book.

The Bible is textually 99.5% pure. Since the original manuscripts were written, nothing affecting the essential doctrines of the faith has been altered. Author Matt Slick from the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry explains it this way:

“The fact is that the Bible has not been rewritten. Take the New Testament, for example. The disciples of Jesus wrote the New Testament in Greek and though we do not have the original documents, we do have around 6,000 copies of the Greek manuscripts that were made very close to the time of the originals. These various manuscripts, or copies, agree with each other to almost 100 percent accuracy. Statistically, the New Testament is 99.5% textually pure. That means that there is only 1/2 of 1% of of all the copies that do not agree with each other perfectly. But, if you take that 1/2 of 1% and examine it, you find that the majority of the "problems" are nothing more than spelling errors and very minor word alterations.”

Click here for the rest of his excellent article.

In addition, it would go against the very nature and character of God not to protect His word and preserve the truth about Himself in it so that we could know Him.

What kind of God would say: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart,” (Colossians 3:21) and then turn around and present to us a Bible we can’t trust, exasperating us in our quest to know the truth about Him?

Why would Jesus say, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free," (John 8:32) and then not make sure we had that truth in the Bible?

How can He expect us to “worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23) if we don’t have the truth about Him?

There is no desire on my part to convert or convince anyone of anything. Each Soul's journey is their own. All choices made, or not made, are ultimately our personal responsibility. Please accept my apologies for appearing on your blog out-of-the-blue with concepts that are so obviously and diametrically opposed to what you have been taught to believe.

No need to apologize. I appreciate that you stopped by and expressed your thoughts and welcome you to do so again in the future if you’d like.

I do want to apologize if my “tone of voice” came across as derisive. I am obviously very passionate about this subject, and sometimes passion can have an unintended effect on the reader when it has to be crammed into the confines of the written word.

While it is not within my power to convert you or convince you of anything either, I would just ask you to consider, before dismissing the Bible and what it says about Jesus out of hand, whether or not it might be true. You seem to have studied the evidence for its not being true. Have you given the other side a fair shake? There are many good books on the subject, including:

Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell
Finding the Real Jesus, The Case for Christ, and The Case for Faith, by Lee Strobel
The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry

Josh was a lawyer who set out to prove the Bible and Christianity false, and in the process was overwhelmed by the evidence of its truth. Lee’s story is very similar, but he was a journalist rather than a lawyer.

Please also accept my thanks for your being gracious enough to respond to my comment. I wish you well upon your Journey.

And please accept my thanks for your kind words, your respectful tone, and for taking the time to read and comment on my blog. I wish you well also.

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