The Bible Story is OUR Story

A Latin American theologian has said that the important thing for the student of the Bible is not to understand the text but to understand the world through the text. Of course the second is not possible without the first. In this respect the Bible functions in the life of the Church like the language we use. Of course we have to learn the meaning of words and the rules of grammar and syntax. But when we are actually speaking, writing or reading, we do not attend to these things. We attend through them to the meaning, through which we deal with the situation ‘out there’. All knowing, and all human dealing with the world is conducted by means of a language. We do not think about the language so much as live in it. It is part of ourselves. In an analogous fashion we need to live in the Bible so that its language, its images, its histories, its prayers, its songs become our way of understanding and dealing with the world.

There is obviously no short cut to the recovery of the Bible as ‘Holy Scripture’ for modern secularised Europeans. Much will depend upon faithful biblical preaching by our pastors. And this must encourage the daily reading of the Bible in our homes. When you read a good novel you come to know the hero of the, story as if you had actually met him. No description of him, for example in an obituary notice, can be a substitute for this. It is as you watch him dealing with actual situations and people that you come to know him. So it is, I think, in reading the Bible. As you read and re-read and go on reading, you come to know God. He is the one whose nature the Bible discloses. You come to know him personally. And because this is the whole story from the beginning of the world to its end, I who am now part of this story, feel that I know the one who is the author of the story and that I can trust him. I do not find infallible answers to be questions or solutions for my dilemmas. But I can go ahead, take risks, with the sort of confidence that is expressed in the apostle’s word: “I know whom I have believed”. It is when there are congregations of men and women and children who are living the story now, here, that the Bible will become good news for secularised people.

Quoted from Leslie Newbigin, “The Bible: Good News for Secularised People”

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Irreconcilable Paradoxes

So in this clip, at 1:00, Pastor Mark Kielar stresses that Pastors and Teachers who claim that in Scripture there are Paradoxes that are not reconcilable “even by the human regenerate mind!”, are just tip toeing around the blatantly obvious conundrum that they want to so desperately avoid, and that is saying the Bible has Contradictions. According to Pastor Mark Kielar, if you make the claim that the Bible teaches two different things that the human mind cannot seem to reconcile, like that of Predestination and Human Responsibility, and claim these are not just paradoxes (an appearent contradiction that can be reconciled) but an Irreconcilable Paradox (an appearant contradiction that cannot be reconciled by the human mand, but can be by God), then, well you must be advocating Contradiction. Why is that Pastor Kielar? Oh yeah, that’s right, because any one who makes the claim that the Bible teaches (6:20) “two opposite truths which are both taught in Scripture, without error in the Infallible word of God, and are yet unable to be reconciled by the bar of human reason until we get to Heaven, is a contradiction itself.” So if my finite, and sin affected mind, despite being regenerate, cannot reconcile how God can be both 1 and 3, I MUST be advocating a contradiction, because the bar by which one is to determine the truthfulness of a doctrine in Scripture is not at all by the Infinite Wisdom of the Triune God, but, as Pastor Kielar says, by the bar of human reason. And if you cannot measure up to that bar, that infinitly high bar of human reason that God Almighty must ascend to in order to make sure that His creatures perfectly know and understand all that there is to know about Him, then you must be one of those stupid Van Tillians. God forgive me for thinking that the bar of reason which I was to appeal to was not my own fallen, finite, and time bound reason, but yours, the Infinite, and Eternal Wisdom of Yahweh. Please forgive me Lord for advocating that non-sense that the Apostle Paul muddered in that silly letter to the Romans:

Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom, and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,                                                    or who has been His Counselor?”

Perhaps Pastor Mark Kielar is up for the position of being God’s Counselor, or maybe an even better candidate would be John Robbins, or better yet, Gordon Clark! Oh, that’s right, Clark is in Heaven right now as we speak setting God straight, letting Him know how He has fallen short of the bar of Human Reason. Oooohhh God, you’re in trouble!!!!

Always Learning and Never Able to Arrive at a Knowledge of the Truth

Some people claim, mostly Deists, that we just simply cannot know the Truth about God because of who He is. He is Infinite, and we are finite; He is Pure, and we are sinful. Our fallen sinful human minds cannot understand the truth about God, and even if we could, even to the smallest degree, we are so corrupt that the message of who God is would get twisted by sinful man and then be used in such a way as to exploit people and make them slaves. These kind of people often have a very anti-government sentiment about them, not trusting any authority figures or powers, seeing them as the  manifestation of Big Brother, The Man, The System, The Beast, whatever they might label government, their attitude is self evident. Government cannot be trusted. Be Aware!

I have a friend who is very much like this, and I write this post in light of some of things that him and I have been discussing. Now what is so ironic about this is, that in rejecting the authority of the Bible, for it has been corrupted by man, and therefore is not trustworthy, authoritative, or a reliable source of divine Wisdom, he has set himself up as that very same authority that he so despises. He has now claimed for himself an attribute that he downright denies the possibility of existing anywhere else, especially in the Bible.

Allow me to demonstrate: He says that God, and Absolute Truth cannot be known because we are too sinful. But is he not making a claim concerning the Absolute Truth that he has already dismissed in his foundational presupposition? Has he not already said that mankind cannot know Absolute Truth? If that is the case, is it possible that we can actually know anything at all? If we can’t know the Truth, then what can we know? And how can we know that we can’t know the Truth? Does this not require an absolute knowledge concerning God’s revelation, a knowledge that is actually impossible to know according to his own presupposition?

Or allow me to say it like this: “Man cannot know God.” In order for this statement to be considered as true, my friend would have to possess all knowledge, or simply have access to all knowledge, i.e., God would have to reveal that truth to him. But since he already said that man cannot know God, he cannot know for sure that man cannot know God. He has shot himself in the intellectual foot, so to say.

All we can know, according to him, is our own experiences. But our own individual experiences cannot dictate to us the Truth, because so many people have so many different experiences. That would mean there could be more than one Truth. If there is more than one Truth, then wouldn’t my friend be a hypocrite for opposing the government who exploits and enslaves and manipulates people? I mean, he is trying to hold them to a standard that “he feels” is right and wrong according to his experience. But if the government is doing what they believe is right, according to their experience, then why is that wrong? If my friend seeks to hold the government accountable for their crimes, doesn’t he have to hold them to a standard of right and wrong that transcends all and that all men are accountable to? And where does he get that standard? From his own experience? Then we are back in the same boat again, for they could arrest him and say that he is an enemy of the State because he is opposing what they feel is the best for them and is most conducive to the benefit  of their experience, which dictates to them the truth.

Since my friend has a gripe against government for their “sins”, and believes that they should be held accountable to that very standard of right and wrong that he employs, he obviously does have a standard of right and wrong that does not generate from within himself and from his own experience, but from outside of himself, and is transcendent. This is his experience, is it not? Now if the truth is known by experience, then his experience now dictates to him that there is a transcendant standard or morality that is binding upon all men. Now the question is, what is that standard, and where does it come from? Historically people have claimed “Natural Law” as their basis for knowing right and wrong. That God created the universe to act in such a way, as well as mankind, that all men know instinctively what is right and wrong. This  is self evident. All we have to do is apply some reason, and we can know what the right and the wrong is.

But not all men reason the same. Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, they all “reasoned” their way to killing hundreds of millions of people. So then, if their reasoning is flawed, doesn’t that also then mean that there are transcendent Laws of Logic as well? And to what do they comport with? How do we know them?  Well these questions are getting a little further away from the topic than I intended. Suffice it to say that all these answers can be absolutely found in the Ontologial Trinity (see Ralph Allen Smith’s book, Trinity and Reality: An Introduction to the Christian Faith. Canon Press: Moscow, 2004).

So what is my point? That my friend does not have all his ducks in a row, to say the least. He has denied the possibility that men can know God, and yet his very experience, which he prizes and esteems so highly, necessitates that God has indeed revealed something about Himself, namely His Righteous Character and Nature, for that is the very thing that mankind sins against. To sin is to fall short of the Perfect Character and Nature of God Himself. And since my friend believes that sin is the reason we can’t know God and the Truth about God, we have another internal contradiction in his thinking, because sin, as I just said, is man’s deviation from God’s self revelation of His own Righteous Character and Nature to mankind. He has at the same time, rejected the possibility of God revealing Himself to man, because of the self revelation of God to man.

This is why the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is so important. Jesus Christ, accurately, truly, clearly, reveals to mankind the Truth about God. Jesus Christ, unlike sinful man, is sinless, and is not from below, not bound to the finite understandings and knowledge of mankind, but He is from above, and possesses Infinite knowledge of all things, especially who His Father is (John 8:12-20). Since He is God, He cannot lie. So whatever Jesus Christ testifies to concerning whatever, it is True. And as such, His testimony is binding upon all men. All men are required to heed the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, for He speaks with Absolute Authority over the whole creation, and that includes individuals, families, companies, schools and universities, and civil government, etc. He has laid down His perfectly righteous laws that all men are required to obey. His laws are Just, and His rule is just, and righteous, and good. He is the Good Shepherd, the Prince of Peace, it is a good and gracious thing to be under His authority and to be led into the ways of truth, which are like rivers of pure water that refresh the soul. It is a glorious thing to have the mind of Christ and to be able to think God’s thoughts after Him, and to see the world for what it is, and to know that there are true God given answers to the worlds problems. I thank God that this is so.

Now my friend, on the other hand, he yearns for this, and wishes this were true. His passions and desires are to see men come to a knowledge of the truth, and to see the wicked punished, and the righteous prosper. He yearns for beauty to flourish in all areas of life, and to see humanity be united. But the sad fact is, he has rejected the only standard of truth, beauty, and goodness that Truly exists, and rejected the very possibility that there could ever be true unity (which is found ultimately in the Trinity, and is manifested in the Church, which isthe Body of Christ). He is always learning, and nevr able to come to a knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 3:7), because He has rejected the source of all knowledge, which is the fear of the LORD (Prov. 1:7). And he will never be able to come to the beginning of knowledge or wisdom, because he rejects the idea that man can know God (which is also to reject the ability of God to reveal Himself to man). To know God is to fear Him. And since he says He cannot know God, he cannot fear God, and therefore, he cannot know anything Truly. A sad state to be in, especially for one who is seeking to become a teacher. What good is a teacher who cannot even account for how he knows anything to be true at all, since his whole presupposition excludes the possibility of knowing the only One who knows The Truth about everything.

What do you think of this?

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But the Holy Spirit has been working constantly through out the history of the Church since Pentecost, and the fact that His work looks “messy” to us is actually an indictment of us. God is perfect, but a glance at the universe shows us He is no perfectionist.        ~Doug Wilson, Reformed is Not Enough, pg. 55

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