The Apple Of God's Eye

October 1, 2009

Why The Religions Of This World Do Not Understand God!

1Well, I have an interesting title, yet the subject is absolutely true, though most will not believe it and may even violently argue it. There is a reason though why I make such a statement, and it does not stem from my own opinion, but from the word of God.

God says the heart is deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9. It is desperately wicked. This includes the mind of ALL men – even great leaders, statesmen and religious heads such as the Pope, Dalai Lama, Mohammed and so on. It does not matter what we are involved in, our mind is at war with God (Rom. 8:7). The mind of the flesh is enmity towards God; and it is not subject to the Law of God. Little wonder then that modern Christianity is throwing the law of God out the window in favour of grace. Who wants to listen to that outdated talk, right? So half the Bible is now invalid because we decide we want a religion of convenience, rather than necessity.

It’s not merely in religious circles that we display the dangerous trait of following other men. God says cursed is the man that trusts in man (Lev. 17:5). That’s right, because men lead us astray. They propagate their own set of beliefs, values and judgments on others, usually formulated in a lukewarm way to be pleasing and easy to follow. That, as God says, they walk after own lusts (Jude 16); their own ways.

Why so much confusion today?

The religions of this world can be defined very broadly as “any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, and a philosophy of life.” They include the great monotheistic religions, Eastern religions; and Neopagan religions; a wide range of other faith groups, spiritual paths, and ethical systems. There are also sub-Christian, quasi-Christian and anti-Christian groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, cults and sects.

Then there is Christianity which many define in a much more exclusive manner. This term can be defined as: “An individual or group who sincerely, thoughtfully and devoutly believes that they are Christian.”

Not one of these thousands of bickering experiences with so many various doctrinal differences are from God. Sure, members of all different religions can appeal to religious experiences as validating their beliefs. Christians may claim to have had experiences of the triune God, or of Jesus; Hindus may claim to have had experiences of Vishnu, or Ganesha; Buddhists may claim to have experienced transcendence, or unity with the universe. Each of these claims to have experienced religious truth, but they cannot all be valid, for these various religions are mutually inconsistent, and so cannot all be true.

If not all of these claims are valid, then it must be exactly as Christ said – there is only ONE true Church (Matt. 16:18), and the rest are deceived.

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

The word “church” literally means “those called out,” and often means an assembly or congregation, NOT a building. It is applied to Christians as being “called out” from the world — the whole body of believers. But it also implies a singular Church. The word “my”Church is # 3450 in the Greek, which means “me, or mine (own). It does not mean all combined religions.

However, men want do what is right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25), even though religion means we follow God and do as He wants, not as we want (Deut. 13:18). It is the mind of God which must be in us (Phil. 2:5), led by the Spirit of God. It cannot be our own convictions, feelings or moral beliefs. And this can only be achieved if it is God who calls us (John 6:44). We ourselves can’t just decide to become a Christian – that is NOT what your Bible says. Neither are WE to convert others. Go back to John 6:44 and see that it is GOD who calls us – into His one true Church. It is not my place to tell anyone where to go or what to believe, but only to point out the truth.

What is truth? God’s word is truth (John 17:17) and this truth sets us free (John 8:32). It allows us to repent and be baptized to receive the Holy Spirit of God, after being called out of this world (Acts 3). ALL will eventually receive this calling, but most after the resurrection to life.

We will continue to have suppression of truth because the Bible says it is so (Rom. 1:18). Such do not seek first the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33).

Why is the Bible correct?

The Bible is radically different than all other so-called sacred literature. It asserts that it is the divinely inspired writings of a supreme Deity. No other sacred literature makes such a claim. It is full of personal quotes from a very active, living God. Here is an example:

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

The God of the Bible declares the supremacy of His own power. There is none like Him. He is capable of initiating and carrying out a purpose on Earth. A real understanding of God’s purpose shows that there are stupendous and wonderful things ahead for all mankind.

The Bible asserts that it alone contains the divine revelation of that plan—that the Almighty God directed all the writing. Here are some examples:

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel” (Exodus 34:27). God told Isaiah, “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever” (Isaiah 30:8).

The expression “time to come for ever and ever” is best translated latter days—or our time right now! The entire Bible carries essential knowledge that only God can make known to mankind. This sole piece of sacred literature contains the historical record and prophecies about how God is working out His plans.

The literature of other religions is not subject to scholarly scrutiny simply because the Bible claims to be the express Word of God. No other religions make such a claim for their literature. The Bible speaks out with God’s authority because it is the literal Word of God. Critics may deny this fact, but it is the truth.

April 18, 2009

Textual Criticism: The Folly Of Biblical Scholars

God Breathed?  

God Breathed?

The Bible—more than any other religious writings of similar age—has drawn intense examination. Critics write off this text as the uninspired writings of an unlearned people. They claim the Bible is full of contradiction and historical inaccuracies. Some go so far as to say that this book is a carefully contrived sham to keep tight-fisted control over mindless people. Others say the Bible is a work of fiction. What is truly appalling is that many theologians agree. Understand that there is nothing new here. The scriptures have been under violent attack for centuries—by scholars, philosophers, cynics and the religious.

A particularly noteworthy passage is the long ending of Mark 16:9-20, among many others which are attacked. Skeptics and critics alike have found grist for their mill in the assertion that Mark presents an inconsistency, and poses a problem in not properly fitting in after the eighth verse. However, leaving out the last verses poses the significant problemof the book not coming to an orderly conclusion, as does EVERY other book in the Bible. Human writings are filled with error, but the Bible is COMPLETE, INSPIRED and WHOLLY PRESERVED through the power of God. These verses are an INSPIRED PART of the Word of God. 

Proof of legitimacy

The longer ending to Mark’s gospel is quoted extremely early in church history. Mark 16:19 is quoted as part of Mark’s account by Irenaeus in “Against Heresies” (Bk. iii, 10, 6) between A.D. 182 and 188. It says:

“Also, towards the conclusion of his gospel, Mark says, ‘So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven and sits on the right hand of God.”

Not only did Irenaeus accept it as a part of Mark’s gospel when arguing with “heretics,” but, says Hastings: “No writer before Eusebius is known to have rejected them, and their presence in all later MSS [manuscripts] shows that the successors of Eusebius, in spite of his great authority, did not follow his judgment in the matter.” (Eusebius was the court favorite and the church historian in the days of Emperor Constantine.) These facts point plainly to the great antiquity of the longer ending as preserved in the common English versions. 

There are allusions to these disputed  verses in even earlier writings, although not as true quotations. Some have traced various versions of Mark’s ending back to the earliest extant manuscripts. 

The rise of textual criticism

Hostility toward the Bible has a cause. It begins with modern Bible criticism, referred to as biblical scholarship. This sounds harmless enough, because it makes their occupation appear more acceptable.Yet it is noteworthy that the literature of other religions is not subject to scholarly scrutiny. Now why would that be? The answer is simple. The Bible claims to be the express Word of God, a claim no other religion makes. So if one could prove that the Bible is not the Word of God, then there would be no need to read or follow it. Isn’t that the real reason Bible scholars have worked so hard at uncovering any flaw which could be proof that it is not the literal Word of God? Critics will deny this assertion, but it’s the truth. (Philadelphia Trumpet, June 2005)

“The decline of reformed scholarship started with  B. B. Warfield’s adoption of the Westcott and Hort textual critical theory and his redefinition of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy to make it apply only to autographs. Warfield’s concept of Sola Autographa unfortunately caught on, and became the new paradigm in the textual critical exercise of reconstructing (or rather deconstructing) the inspired text. 

A textual critic engaged upon his business is like a dog hunting for fleas. That’s because determining authenticity on the basis of style omits the fact that at least a 10,000 word sample is required to make stylistic determinations. Verses 9-20 of Mark 16 fall about 9900 words short of this, making the argument an exercise in despair.

Still, this does nothing to prevent critics from concluding that textual variations call the Christian traditions of inspiration and inerrancy into serious question. Their expectation is that God would prevent such variations as the scriptures are reproduced. And since variations do, in fact, occur they say, we must be mistaken about the meaning of the scriptures and ultimately the very character of God. 

Such misguided statements should be laughed off. As editors of current critical texts — textual critics are simply modernists who couldn’t make spirit-guided decisions if their life depended on it. They are no better than their texts — carnal men producing a non-spiritual text. They forget the admonition that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). To affirm the inspiration and inerrancy of the original writings while casting doubt on the authority of the Bible is just plain silly”  (fepbc.edu.sg).

A unique book

The Bible is radically different than all other so-called sacred literature. This book of books asserts that it is the divinely inspired writings of a supreme Deity. No other sacred literature makes such a claim. The Bible is a book full of personal quotes from a very active, living God:

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

The God of the Bible declares the supremacy of His own power. There is none like Him. He is capable of initiating and carrying out a purpose on Earth. A real understanding of God’s purpose shows that there are stupendous and wonderful things ahead for all mankind. (Philadelphia Trumpet, June 2005)

Look at the issue in context. “Of the 20,000 lines of Scripture in the New Testament only about 40 lines read differently between the accepted manuscripts. That means that only 0.2% of the New Testament is disputed. None of these affect any major doctrines and most are stylistic or spelling differences. Translation of the Bible also takes into account quotations from early church fathers who were close to the original manuscripts. There are around 86,489 New Testament citations by church fathers in the 2nd and 3rd century. These quotes cover the entire New Testament except for about 11 verses (churchhopping.com).

And given the absurdly small amount of text not quoted, does it seem believable that ALL scripture must be quoted to be counted trustworthy? Is there not enough information in a New Testament which far surpasses any other ancient document when it comes to consistency and accuracy of translation?

Yes the Bible comprises the full, word-for-word, truthful, inspired, inerrant Word of God, which is the supreme and final authority in doctrine and life. It is God-breathed, factual, free from error, pure, uncorrupted, eternal, and powerful. It stands out from all other books as THE preeminent book. It is not simply about God … but is FROM God; it is His message to us. We can trust that message because Jesus prayed:

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:17. That is why Jesus spoke of the jot-and-tittle infallibility (or verbal inerrancy) of the Scriptures in Matthew 5:18.

The Apostle Paul also spoke of the divinely inspired Scriptures in saying they were “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim 3:16-17). In other words, they were to be trusted in all things because they are for all true Christians, of all ages.

If we do not have an infallible and an inerrant Scripture, then our supreme and final authority of faith and practice is all a myth. It then also makes God out to be a liar. I for one will trust in the one who makes the grand claim of inerrancy, as both I and the critics face this mighty Being one day at the judgment. We don’t want to find out we’re wrong at that time, do we?

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