Archive for the ‘Biblical inerrancy’ Category

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 19]:

Greetings Soldier,

I am very pleased to hear about your face-to-face witnessing encounter with Mr. Reardon, the Jehovah’s Witness who came to your door today. As you have rightly guessed, this type of opportunity is never an accident, but is ordained and overseen directly by God the Father. No doubt you knew that something was amiss with Mr. Reardon’s point of view when your casual discussion about God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ became a means for him to insert strange ideas about Jesus being Michael the Archangel, the Bible being unreliable, and there being no such thing as eternal punishment, etc. As you know by now, these heresies are but a few of those taught by the Jehovah’s Witnesses–a counterfeit Christian cult very much like the Mormons.

You did the right thing by clearly stating and defending the Christian doctrine that Jesus Christ is, in fact, God (the Son) and showing him where this is plainly stated in John 1:1. Of course, the JW organization has altered this Scripture in their New World Translation (NWT) version of the Bible to read ‘the Word was a God’ instead of ‘the Word was God’ as plainly stated in the Biblical text (as confirmed by the thousands upon thousands of early New Testament manuscripts still in existence today). You also did the right thing in asking for his manuscript evidence for the changes made in the NWT and the many discrepancies between it and the early Biblical manuscripts. Of course, this is devastating to the JW position and teaching, since they have no manuscript evidence for their alterations of the orginal Biblical texts (demonstrating that these changes were made arbitrarily in order to support the corrupt teachings of the JW organization). The fact that the discussion ended in a friendly, amicable way is definitely a positive, as is the fact that you two have exchanged phone numbers.  This will keep the door open for future conversations and will hopefully provide the means for Mr. Reardon to at least be exposed to Biblical truth, which will challenge his current beliefs and, as a result, will hopefully bring him to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Indeed, there is much at stake here since the difference between the JW position and the Christian position is more than just a trifle, since this fundamental flaw in their view of who Jesus Christ is actually results in them preaching ‘another Jesus’ than the one revealed in the Bible and, subsequently, ‘another gospel‘. Needless to say, both of these heresies are expressly forbidden in Scripture and carry the severest penalty of rendering those who engage in them ‘accursed’ from God the Father. In light of the fact that Mr. Reardon has already texted you some Scriptures which he erroneously believes supports the JW doctrine that  Jesus is Michael the Archangel, here is my suggestion for a response to him:

~Mr. Reardon,

I reviewed the Scriptures you texted to me and they definitely confirm the existence of angels and even the archangel Michael, but none of them even so much as hints that Jesus Christ and Michael the archangel are one and the same. In fact, almost all of Hebrews Chapter 1 is devoted to making a clear, unmistakable distinction between Christ and the angels, telling us in v. 4 that He is ‘better’ than them and then in v. 5-6 it is revealed that He is far superior to them since none of the angels are the Son and ALL of them worship Him (this would necessarily include worship from the archangels, such as Michael, as well). Other Scriptures such as Isaiah 44:6 and Revelation 1:17-19 provide us with crystal clear instances of both God the Father (Jehovah) and Jesus Christ describing themselves as ‘the first and the last’ (a title that is only ascribed to God and no one else), clearly demonstrating that Christ is indeed God the Son and one person in the Holy Trinity.

The one Scripture that keeps coming to mind, though, is John 1:1. If that verse is not altered to include the indefinite article ‘a’ before the word ‘God’, then none of the doctrine of Jesus being Michael can be true (since that verse would be plainly stating that He is God as also confirmed in Isaiah 9:6, 1 John 5:7, Hebrews 1:3, John 10:30, John 20:28, Matthew 2:11, and Matthew 28:9). Therefore, my question to you, again, would be simply to ask what the manuscript evidence is for the inserstion of the indefinite article ‘a’ into John 1:1, as well as the other textual alterations made in the NWT? I know you would agree that folks should not arbitrarily alter God’s divinely revealed Truth–however, as it stands, one can make a rock-solid case against the NWT and the JW’s that these changes were made for the sole purpose of attempting to make the Bible support the specific theology of the JW organization rather than relying on the Biblical text alone as the basis for arriving at correct theology (via a natural, straightforward reading and understanding of it). Also, given that the NWT is a subsequent work produced by adding new information to the Bible (much the same as the Book of Mormon and the Muslim Koran), how does a JW explain the discrepencies between the Bible and the NWT given the presence of over 40,000 pre-NWT manuscripts of the Bible in existence today which do not contain the alterations found in the NWT? Thank you in advance for your consideration of these very important questions.

I think this adequately sums up the main objections to the JW viewpoint and also demonstrates that it is ultimately founded upon a non-Biblical foundation. As such, the JW’s are not relying upon God and His Word as their Ultimate Authority but, rather, they are holding their own ideas and reasoning above that of God and the Bible. In the end, this worldview has the same rational defects (and the same eternal consequences) as all other non-Christian ones. Pray earnestly for Mr. Reardon to come to his senses and repent before it is too late. Here to serve,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

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(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 20]:

Greetings Soldier,

I am sorry to see that Mr. Reardon did not attempt a reasoned response to the challenges you put forth to his position but, rather, has chosen to ignore the questions and respond with an argument against the Trinity. As a positive, this is confirmation that he has no good reasons or answers for the inconsistencies and discrepancies that have been brought to his attention regarding the Jehovah’s Witness organization/cult. Despite his unwillingness to respond to you, it is important for you as a Christian to exercise a higher standard and make every attempt to provide a reasoned response to intellectually honest inquiries and objections with meekness and fear, per the admonition of 1 Peter 3:15. Therefore, here is my recommended response to his arguments provided in a point-by-point fashion for clarity:

~Mr. Reardon,

Thank you for your comments. Though you have not yet addressed my previous challenges to your position, as a born again Christian who holds to the doctrine of the Trinity as an essential part of true theology, I am commanded to provide a reasoned defense of the Faith whenever possible. With that said, I would like to address some of the fundamental problems in the arguments that you have presented against the doctrine of the Trinity and why they are based upon flawed premises. If I may elaborate:

1st) You said:  “I am a father, a son and a husband. But, none of these TITLES is my name, and I am NOT three different people! These are separate and distinct positions, roles or offices that I occupy and function in, as ONE PERSON! At times I speak and function as a father. At times I speak and function as a son. And at times I speak and function as a husband.”

Your analogy here is a false one, though, as at no time are you your OWN father, son, or husband. Jesus claimed that God was HIS father many times while on earth and even AFTER He was glorified in heaven (which means He was no longer in the flesh–Rev. 3:5, 12). Likewise, God Himself announced openly that Jesus Christ was HIS son numerous times, and this is confirmed over and over again in the Scriptures . Unless you are arguing that Jesus was His own father and God was his own son (which is absurd and un-Biblical), this argument has no merit. Besides, Jesus Himself stated that if you are married, then you and your wife are ‘one flesh’. Surely, you don’t take that to mean that you and her are the same person do you? Rather, you understand Jesus to mean simply that the both of you are ‘one’ in unity. The same type of consistency must be applied to our understanding of the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (the term ‘Trinity’ literally means Tri-unity or ‘Three in unity’).

2nd) You said:  “Many Christians are always bringing up ‘the Trinity this’ or ‘the Trinity that’. I defy you to show me where the word ‘Trinity’ is found anywhere in the Bible. Here’s a hint for you:  It isn’t there!!”

With respect, you seem to be arguing that since the word ‘Trinity’ is not found in the Bible, then it therefore does not/cannot exist. Using that same logic, one could argue that automobiles, cell phones, grandfathers, and even the Bible itself cannot exist either, since none of those words is found in the Bible. Surely, you would agree that such a conclusion is absurd, no? Likewise, hopefully you can clearly see the problem with your own argument as well. Although the word ‘Trinity’ is not mentioned in the Bible, the concept of ‘three in one’ is (1 John 5:7; Eph. 4:4-6; ). Not to mention the litany of times that Jesus used the terms ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘our’ to describe Himself in relation to the Father along with the crystal clear instances at Jesus’ baptism and Stephen’s martyrdom/stoning where all 3 members of the Godhead are present and are individually recognized and described.

3rd) You said:  “Unauthorized changes were made in 325 A.D. when Emperor Constantine and his “scholars” introduced the doctrine of the “trinity” to the world, and established it as the official doctrine of the church of Rome … with the emperor being its head.”

I would say that this is the most troubling argument of all. Here, you are asserting that, at some point in time, the Bible was changed and is therefore not accurate in its description of the Triune nature of God. If that’s the case, how do you know that ANY of what the Bible says is reliable? How do you know that Jesus really was the Son of God who was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead on the third day if the Bible isn’t reliable and doesn’t really mean what it says? Frankly, Mr. Reardon, it seems all too easy for those who disagree with what the Bible says to somehow try to undermine its authority in order to validate their own doctrines and beliefs. This is but one of the distinguishing marks of a Christian counterfeit and/or cult.

As a born again Christian, I hold the Bible to be the infallible, inspired Word of God. It is my ultimate authority and the foundation of my reasoning. The Bible is the lens through which every Christian should interpret the world around us, and not vice versa. I’m sure you would agree that, never should we try to make the Bible ‘fit’ our individual beliefs, but rather we should adjust our beliefs to fit the truth of the Bible. I do not deny that there are some difficult doctrines in Christianity, but the doctrine of the Trinity is undeniable IF we study Bible in a consistent, straightforward manner and interpret Scripture in light of other Scripture. One God existing in 3 persons is not in any way unfathomable, as even water exists in 3 totally distinct, different forms at certain temperatures, yet it still remains H2O at all times and one egg can be separated into three distinct parts, yet it remains ‘one egg’.  I hope that this has provided you with some more food for thought (pardon the pun) and some items to consider with regards to this crucial topic. Consider the very sobering forewarnings penned by the Apostle Paul regarding the satanic deception of the times in which we live:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;    ~1 Timothy 4: 1-2

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
~2 Timothy 4: 2-4

I pray that you will give this some serious thought and am here to help you think through these issues should you need me. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Hopefully this will aid in helping him come to see the error of what he is doing and repent of it. Here to serve,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly Helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 21]:

Greetings Soldier,

Yes, your suspicions are well founded! We angels do find it very strange, indeed, that anyone would ever willfully deny the existence of God. Remember, we behold His very face in heaven, and there is no shortage of glorious revelation of Himself for those living upon the earth. As one of your great preachers of the past, C.H. Spurgeon, so eloquently stated:

“Atheism is a strange thing. Even the devils never fell into that vice, for the devils believe and tremble.”

Here to serve,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

I was recently engaged in a very lively debate, regarding the validity of the Christian worldview vs. non-Christian worldviews, over at Debate.org.  Believe it or not, a very simple challenge, put forth to those who hold to worldviews which deny the God of the Bible, turned into a discussion thread of over 800 comments (well above the norm)!  I have included the link to the discussion for anyone who is interested in seeing how non-Christians fared when asked to account for the most basic, fundamental concepts (i.e. logic, truth, knowledge, the foundation of the scientific method, etc.), required for making sense of the world around us, in their worldview.  Warning: it ain’t pretty!

http://www.debate.org/forums/Religion/topic/55783/

NOTE: What you’ll notice in these types of discussions is that those who deny God and the truth of the Bible will always ultimately be reduced to ‘vain and foolish’ reasoning, just like Scripture states (Romans 1:18-22, I Corinthians 1:19-20).  In particular, notice how the unbelievers’ positions are always shown to be based upon nothing more than blind-faith and mere opinion, having no logical foundation whatsoever upon which to rest.  As I always enjoy pointing out, that is the very definition of an irrational (and, therefore, untrue) position.  The more familiar Christians become with these arguments, the easier it is to then (hopefully gently) expose the errors in the unbeliever’s reasoning and to pull down the ‘intellectual strongholds’ that prevent them from considering and, subsequently, receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Remember, no one will receive with their heart what their mind rejects as false, making the mandate of 2 Corinthians 10:5 especially relevant to us today:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

I welcome your thoughts.

It is truly astounding to know that the God of heaven and earth has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind such that we can know for certain who He is.  One of the ways that He has done this is through the special revelation of His inspired Word–the Bible.  Without a doubt, the Bible is unlike any other book ever written and it is important for us to not only understand THAT it is different, but also WHY it is different.  First of all, the Bible is unique among other so-called ‘holy books’, as it alone meets the criteria of a true objective Revelation in that it can be freely examined by all, corresponds with reality, makes sense of the necessary preconditions of human intelligibility (such as knowledge, truth, logic, morality, and the uniformity of nature), and is internally consistent (i.e. doesn’t contradict itself).  The very fact that God used fallible people to produce an infallible work is, itself, a feat worthy of awe, especially when we consider the fact that the Bible was written over a period of about 1,500 years, by approximately 40 different authors, yet their writings agree in perfect harmony!  To put into perspective just how miraculous this is, consider the following story:

One Friday night, four teenagers went out for a ride around their town.  They had so much fun that they lost track of time and accidentally kept one of the teens out past his curfew.  Afraid that he would get in trouble, they decided that they would simply tell the boy’s dad that they had had a flat tire and that was the reason why they were late getting him home; problem solved!  Thick as thieves, they all went in to face the boy’s father together as the teen meticulously recited the concocted story to his dad.  When asked if it was true, the other three enthusiastically affirmed that it was.  “Well,” said the dad, “I guess that settles it, then.”  The boys all breathed a sigh of relief.  “One more thing, though,” they heard the dad say as he handed each of them a pen and a scrap of paper, “I want each of you to write down WHICH tire was flat.”

Now, what do you suppose the odds are that all four boys will write down the exact same thing, on the very first try (without any prior discussion of this detail)?  Yet, that’s exactly what we find with the Bible:  God got it right the first time!  He has delivered His message completely intact via those forty or so inspired individuals (many of whom never met or spoke to one another) who lived at different times in history, resided in different geographical regions, and were from varying social and economic backgrounds.  In fact, from Genesis to Revelation, it’s as if this entire book was written by the hand of the same author; because ultimately it was—God’s!

In addition, we find that the Bible is also historically, scientifically, and prophetically accurate, which is exactly what one would expect from an omniscient, omnipotent God.  Let’s elaborate:

Historically Accurate:  The Bible provides factual, verifiable historical records of real people, places, and events.  Because of its precise and detailed accounts, it is relied upon more than any other book in antiquity to aid in locating artifacts and relics from ancient civilizations.  Even among secular archeologists, the general consensus is that if the Bible says something is at a particular location, it’s there.  This is something that time has only served to confirm again and again as new archeological finds constantly serve to validate the truth of the Bible.

Scientifically Accurate:  As we would expect, the Bible is not only scientifically accurate, it also contains many scientific facts that were revealed by God long before they were ever discovered by man.  Here are a few:

  • At a time when most people (including the scientific community of the day) were convinced that the earth was flat, the Bible declares, in Isaiah 40:22, that God sits upon the ‘circle (sphere) of the earth’ about 3,000 years BEFORE Columbus made his famous voyage around the world.
  • Thousands of years before NASA successfully sent man into orbit around our planet, the Bible alludes to the earth’s free float in outer space, with no visible means of support.  In Job  26:7 we are told that God hangs the earth on NOTHING.
  • Long before the modern telescope gave man true insight to the vastness of the universe, the Bible reveals in Genesis 15:5 and Hebrews 11:12 that the stars of the heavens are innumerable, at a time when only about 1,100 stars could be seen with the naked eye.
  • Inspired by the phrase ‘paths of the seas’ in Psalms 8:8,  famous oceanographer, Matthew Maury, began to study old ships’ logs.  From his studies, he compiled data of ocean-wind and sea currents and was later able to develop this data into charts of the ocean currents—the ‘paths’ of the seas—which greatly aided the science of marine navigation.
  • Only in recent times has washing one’s hands in running water and the quarantine of the sick become a standard practice for those in the medical profession.  Untold lives could have been saved over the years had people only read their Bibles, as these practices are specifically advocated all the way back in Leviticus.

Prophetically Accurate:  Not surprisingly, one of the ways in which God demonstrates the authenticity of His Word is through the accurate foretelling of future events.  Since only God knows the future, fulfilled prophecy is powerful proof of Divine Inspiration.  However, we should also remember God’s standard of accuracy for prophecy is 100%.  Anything less and we can be assured that what was spoken did not come from God, and that the person who made the prediction is a false prophet.   The Bible contains some 2,500 prophecies, about 2000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter with no errors, while  the remaining 500 or so reach into the future and may be seen unfolding as days go by.  Here are but a few of the fulfilled prophecies we find in the Bible:

  • Some time before 500 B.C. the prophet Daniel proclaimed that Israel’s long-awaited Messiah would begin his public ministry 483 years after the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25-26). He further predicted that the Messiah would be “cut off,” killed, and that this event would take place prior to a second destruction of Jerusalem. Abundant documentation shows that these prophecies were perfectly fulfilled in the life (and crucifixion) of Jesus Christ
  • In approximately 700 B.C. the prophet Micah named the tiny village of Bethlehem as the birthplace of Israel’s Messiah (Micah 5:2). The fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth of Christ is one of the most widely known and widely celebrated facts in history.
  • In the fifth century B.C. a prophet named Zechariah declared that the Messiah would be betrayed for the price of a slave—thirty pieces of silver, according to Jewish law-and also that this money would be used to buy a burial ground for Jerusalem’s poor foreigners (Zechariah 11:12-13). Bible writers and secular historians both record thirty pieces of silver as the sum paid to Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus, and they indicate that the money went to purchase a “potter’s field,” used—just as predicted—for the burial of poor aliens (Matthew 27:3-10).
  • Some 400 years before crucifixion was invented, both Israel’s King David and the prophet Zechariah described the Messiah’s death in words that perfectly depict that mode of execution. Further, they said that the body would be pierced and that none of the bones would be broken, contrary to customary procedure in cases of crucifixion (Psalm 22 and 34:20; Zechariah 12:10).

Countless other examples of detailed, fulfilled Biblical prophecies could be provided here, including those pertaining to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, his predicted lineage from the tribe of Judah as a descendant of David, and other specific details of the events surrounding His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead.  By contrast, the Muslim Koran contains NO fulfilled prophecies and the Book of Mormon even contains false prophecies (such as citing Jerusalem as the birth place of Jesus instead of Bethlehem, along with other contradictory claims and accounts).   As the Word of God, the Bible stands alone as the only source of Divinely revealed Truth in the universe.  It is, therefore, no surprise that it has been the object of ongoing satanic attack over the years to attempt to destroy and discredit it.  However, those who have voiced even the most vehement opposition to the Bible in ages past are now lying silent in their graves, while the irrefutable truth of God’s Word still speaks and its mighty power lives on.  John Clifford’s poem, ‘The Anvil of God’s Word’,  is a fitting tribute to that fact:

“Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith’s door, And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;

Then looking in, I saw upon the floor, Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.

“‘How many anvils have you had,’ said I, ‘To wear and batter all these hammers so?’

‘Just one,’ said he, and then with twinkling eye, ‘The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.’

“And so, I thought, the Anvil of God’s Word For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;

Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard, The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone.”

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever… 1 Peter 1:25