Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Things that make sense from a Reformed Worldview Part #1

Every now and then I get reminded of things that I have always believed growing up in a Christian home but that did not really make sense to me until I came to see what the Bible says in regards to the doctrines of grace. The other morning, I let my fingers do the typing through cyberspace and headed over to I see that James White has posted a video of a lecture he did on the reliability of the New Testament Text (click the title to see his lecture). While watching the video I started to think of one of those things that clicked for me as a result of shifting over to a reformed worldview; that is the answer to why people insist there is no reason to believe the Bible is more than just the writings of men. I have always been impressed with the consistency of the Bible, and have always been amazed at the amount of people who do not -- cannot-- see the amazing cohesiveness of the Bible. People will often ask me how I can believe a book written by several different authors over thousands of years could be the word of God. My response is "exactly, thousands of years, several different authors, and yet it all clearly points to the man Christ Jesus." I always thought, and still think, that the fact that the Old Testament clearly looks forward to Christ and the New Testament clearly looks back to him is incontestable when the text is seriously looked at and considered. However, unbelievers find that notion ridiculous or as a person I work with put it "I think you are stretching it." What I saw as the refusal to see the obvious on the part of my co-worker (not out of ignorance either, for he spent 2 years in seminary) would have puzzled me five years ago, because I could not figure out why I and others saw what was clear and they did not. However, when I became reformed I understood that the reason unbelievers could not see this clear fact was because they were lovers of the dark rather than the light. I know to some of you it seems so obvious, as it does to me now, but it really is confusing coming from a non reformed perspective. I believed that everyone was on neutral ground and if people could somehow be given that one piece of information, or reason, or argument that they did not have before, then they would come to Jesus. A reformed worldview, however, makes complete sense of the fact that people refuse to believe and even go through great lengths to turn a blind eye to the miraculous consistency of the Bible. People are not neutral, they are either in Christ or in Adam, they are either lovers of God or enemies of God. The next thing that people will generally say to me after I express my belief that the Bible is miraculously consistent goes something like "but what about all the contradictions?" So then I would start to offer to examine any contradictions with them and see if they were truly contradictions. The last couple of days though I have been thinking about the claimed contradictions and the overall consistency of the Bible, and I do not think they are much of an argument against a deeper understanding of the Bible. In other words, I do not think that the perceived contradictions would completely destroy some connection of the Bible to a divine origin. Let me try to flesh this out a little. In the name of argument and reason I am willing to grant the unbeliever's contradictions. Supposing that all of these contradictions are indeed true, but then are compared to the remaining consistency of the Bible especially given the thousands of years time frame and the numerous different authors, the Bible would still present a more than formidable content that would need to be reckoned with. Sure, if there were truly contradictions the reformed view of inspiration could not be correct, but I think the evidence would still demand a more serious look at the source of the Bible. Still, there are no contradictions, and I have to go with Bahnsen that our very endeavors to reason and think consistently about reality would be fruitless if what the Bible reveals to us is incorrect -- so please no one accuse me of classical apologetics here :). I honestly pray for Bart Erdman, not because I believe his attacks on Christianity to be devastating, but because I really hope that he does not have to face Christ in the present state of his soul. I would hate to have to be the one to stand before Christ and hear: "Have you not read what God has said to you?"

I labeled this part 1 because, God willing, in my next posts I am going to have some Bible overviews that I think strongly show the consistency of the Bible, and -- as Dr. Baird used to say to his classes -- "the golden thread that runs from Genesis to Revelation."