Posted in Uncategorized

‘Socialism for Thee but not for Me’

The following article, ‘Socialism for Thee but not for Me’, was first published on Gary DeMar. Socialism doesn’t work, so it’s surprising that some …

‘Socialism for Thee but not for Me’

We live in an age of virtue signaling. I’m pretty sure that has always been a norm for a large sector of society in every age. Being sinners we like to dictate what others do, how they think and speak. And as sinners we hate the wealth of others, not because we really hate wealth, but because others have acquired more than we.

Socialism and it’s beautiful twins communism and totalitarianism eagerly embrace controlling others, stealing wealth (and distributing it to others), and censoring all forms of dissent. Like a peacock it puffs up its illustrious tail feathers (a mirage) in order to entice others. Oddly the three types of people that it entwines with its dogmatic ideology are the ignorant (historically speaking), the power hungry (tyrants, despots and the like), and the emotionally driven (pride, envy, guilt stricken over their own status in life, fearful, etc.).

Gary DeMar normally offers insightful observations taken from our culture in comparison with our history/heritage of a nation founded on biblical roots. In this excellent post he puts a flashlight on the types of people that embrace the foolish governmental power grab prevalent in our current culture. Take note of who these people are and where they come from (I.e., position in life), pay attention to the presuppositions that’s drive them. And then weigh the wisdom of their words in light of biblical revelation and a biblical worldview.

Are these the sort of people we want to listen to?

Posted in Uncategorized

The Underlying Source of Our Confusion

According to Scripture, man was created in the image of God, good, and with an originally righteous moral consciousness. This original perfection of man was not metaphysical but ethical, not infinite but finite…Because man has rebelled against God, he has blinded his intellect and his will by sin. Having established his own will as determinative of right and wrong as a consequence of succumbing to the temptation to be God, man can no longer do God’s will. Instead, he seeks to establish his own will and his own concept of good in terms of his own will and autonomous consciousness, his claim to be God” (R. J. Rushdoony, By What Standard, 84)

Posted in Beliefs

An Evil World Ruled by Satan? A Critique of a Popularly Held Myth in Christian Thought

Today I wanted to take a look at a concept that is popularly held by many Evangelical Christians today. It is the dual interrelated belief that Christians should not love this world, and that the devil is actually the god of this world. These beliefs are drawn from two key texts: 1 John 2:15-16 and 2 Corinthians 4:4.

What I’ll do is present to you the reader those two texts and then offer some probing questions to help us get to the bottom of this issue. Let’s get started:

1 John 2:15-16 reads,

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”[1]

Initial probing questions:

Does this text teach Christians to hate the world as in creation or the world as something else? Is the world evil or is it really good? What is meant by the phrases “lust of the flesh,” lust of the eyes” and “boastful pride of life?” Does this mean that all lusting (desires) of the flesh are wrong? Suppose I’m hungry and I lust after a decent meal, perhaps with various treats on the side? Is that “lust of the flesh” bad? In a similar fashion is it wrong to lust after beautiful things, to long to look at the beauty in this world such as a scenic drive through the countryside on a warm summer morn? Or to take in the beauty of my wife from head to toe? Is that sort of “lust of the eyes” evil? What about taking pride in my labors, or in the success of my children, are these the sorts of “pride of life” that the apostle John is warning Christians to steer clear from?

Before we begin to answer those questions, let’s look at the second text.

2 Corinthians 4:4 reads,

“…in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Initial probing questions:

Is the text before us calling the devil god in the same way that God is referred to as God in Scripture? What significance does the “mind of the unbelieving” play in understanding this statement by the apostle Paul? How has the “god of this world… blinded” the minds of such people? How does a proper understanding of Scripture—particularly that which is in the Old Testament—help us in comprehending Paul’s meaning?

Considering Similarities…

At first glance it may appear that these two texts, which do have different contextual concerns in that they are written by different men, for different purposes, to different people, with different immediate needs/concerns, but the two share an underlying theme found in a way of life. John is warning those Christians he is writing to, to stay away from the type of living that dominates the lives of unbelievers. The desires (lusts) that are in the heart of believers vs. non-believers are radically different (cf. Eph 4.17-24). Paul is explaining to Christians why unbeliever’s fail to see the gospel in its proper light—they are blinded? What blinds them? The reign of sin in their hearts. He identifies this reign with a person. The “god of this world” is really an idiom speaking of a particular individual; whom the Scriptures reveal as the devil.

Understanding the Fundamental Presuppositions of the Apostolic Faith

Both Paul and John were Jews. Being Hebrews, their worldview was governed by the Tanakh. This means that they had a particular lens through which they viewed the world around them; including the seen (physical) and unseen (spiritual or immaterial). Both knew that the entire created order was brought into being by God:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…and it was very good….” (Gen 1.1, 31).

Knowing God as Creator other truths fell in line. God is King, Sovereign over His creation:

“For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth…For God is king of all the earth…God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne” (Psa 47.2, 7-8; ESV).

And they knew well the declaration that God alone is God, there is no other who is like Him:

“Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me” (Isa 43.10b).

So then, if God alone is God with their being no other, and that He alone is King over the whole earth reigning over all people throughout history, how is it that Paul speaks of another “god of this world” and what of John’s commanding Christians to not love this world’s lusts?

The Diamond Standard

As I have said in the past, words have various shades of meaning. Contextual considerations are what helps us see the proper way in which a word or even a concept is being used by a biblical writer. Errors occur when we import ideas foreign to the text of Scripture and the overriding theology of Scripture. I realize that Christians come from a wide variety of theological convictions. That is not what I’m talking about when I speak of the “overriding theology of Scripture.” The Bible teaches a proper way to view God and His creation. Variances occur in the creatures understanding due to our limited abilities. Scripture teaches one theology; we tend to muck up the pure waters of the Word when our own traditions, biases, assumptions get in the way.

I have come to see biblical truth in the symbolic representation of a diamond. Diamonds are precious stones of much value.[2] A diamond is a solid rock that is strong enough to crush all others.[3] A diamond is also a thing of intense beauty.[4] One of the ways that a diamond’s beauty really resonates with us and catches our attention is when it is shifted ever so slightly in the light.[5] The light makes the diamond sparkle, bring out greater depth and beauty than if we looked at it from only one angle; which, in a sense makes our hearts leap with joy at what we’ve witnessed.[6]

In a similar way, but in a fashion that goes far beyond that of the diamond (a created thing), the truth of God’s Word is of infinite value.[7] It as a vestige of truth that as a solid rock makes the one who builds on it very wise.[8] When viewed properly through the light of the Holy Spirit we see the greater depths and beauty within, our attention is gripped[9], our hearts burn[10], and our minds are changed.[11] While a correct interpretation of Scripture reveals one truth, when we turn that perspective truth over and over, looking at it from a variety of angles, we notice wider applications than previously were noticed.

Shades of meaning

I say all of that to prepare you for something that you may or may not know. The term translated in English as God—(Elohim in Hebrew) and (Theos in Greek)—has a deeper/wider application that we often apply to it. For example, we see the term Elohim being applied to various individuals in the Old Testament (Tanakh), just as we see the term Theos being used similarly.

John 10…

When the Jews of Jesus’ day picked up stones to stone Him, they were about to do so for what they viewed as a clear violation of the Law of God; blasphemy (cf. Lev 24.16). It was not for good works that they wanted to kill Jesus it was because He made Himself equal with God (John 10.33). Jesus rebukes them by pointing out that they are being very inconsistent, since it is “written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’” (John 10.35a). He continues, “If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’” (John 10.35b-36).

References…

Now many Bibles will reference Jesus’ words here back to Psalm 82. I agree that this is probably the chief text in consideration, but it is not the only one where we see God calling those He has established for a specific purpose; god/gods. One other example is found in Exodus where the Lord God labels Moses in a similar fashion. Here are the texts of which I am speaking:

  • “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment…I said, ‘You are gods, sons of the most high, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince (Psa 82.6-7)
  • “He [Aaron, your brother] shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him” (Exod 4.16)
  • “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet’” (Exod 7.1).

So, what do we do with those texts? Well, would could say that they are proof positive that the Scriptures are in contradiction with one another. A skeptic would prefer that position. We could say that we must take them in a wooden literal fashion and say they are “little gods,” but not thee God. Various aberrations of the orthodox Christian faith would prefer that position (e.g., Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons). There is another option, we could define the term “god/gods” within their given context. This would be the wise response.

Thinking through Exodus 4:16 and 7:1…

Since Moses came first, we shall deal with him, and then allow this understanding (the simpler one) to guide our thoughts as we progress through biblical revelation (to some the more difficult passages). When God called Moses god, was He using the term Elohim in the same sense? In other words, was Moses identical to God? No. Moses was not the Creator, but a creature and so this is not the sense in which God is using the term to identify Moses.

Another key are the words “like” and “as” which offers the reader insight into the figurative way in which the Lord is speaking. Moses was made like God. In what way? He was in a position of authority over Aaron, for Aaron only spoke what Moses commanded. He was also in a position of authority over Pharaoh, although the king of Egypt sought to deny it. But every time he did deny Moses rained down plagues of judgment on his head (cf. Exod 4-12). Moses received this position of supremacy from the Lord God. It was given to him; he did not possess it of his own accord. Moses authority was delegated authority to rule in God’s stead, but he was to do it in God’s way.

According to a Hebrew lexicon “Elohim” has several shades of meaning.[12] The sense that it is being used in this passage, and as I will show in a moment the passage in the 82nd Psalm, is that of a supreme ruler and/or magistrate. As I said earlier, the position that Moses finds himself is one of delegated authority. God gave Moses the right to rule in His stead, before the people.

Considering Psalm 82…

Look back at the 82nd Psalm. Read through it. What do you see? Did you notice that the subjects in question fit within the context of human rulers/judges/magistrates? You ask, “How do you know that?” Look at verses 2-4. God says to these “gods,”

“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?” (Psa 82.2).

    • Rather than vindicating “the weak and the fatherless” (v. 3a);
    • rather than giving “justice to the afflicted and destitute” (v. 3b);
    • rather than rescuing “the weak and the needy” (v. 4a);
    • rather than delivering “them out of the hand the wicked” (v.4b), these “gods” (supreme rulers/magistrates/judges) refused to do what was right in God’s sight.

God put them in positions of authority to uphold His Law-Word and they refused. And so, God (identified as “judge of the earth”) was arising to judge them, for he alone is God—sovereign over “all the nations” (Psa 82.8).  The declaration by the Lord that they would die “like men” could also be translated “like Adam” since the term is singular and is the same from where we derive the translation of Adam (see Gen 2.20; 3.17). The point is that they would be struck down from their station, because like Adam before them they chose their own standard of righteousness and ruled the people wickedly.

Looking back at 1 John 2.15-16…

The problem that John identifies with the world is not the world in and of itself (i.e., the created order). The problem with the world is the attitude of sin that dominates it. The lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life are deviations from God’s holy purpose. They refer to man’s sinful pursuits. Rather than follow the lead of God they follow another. Rather than submit to the rule of God, they bow before another.

We should love the world and the things in it (i.e., God’s creation, His creatures). We should have a proper form of desire, one that desires not the natural man’s perversion of goodness, but one that reflects the Creators heart. If you are not convinced, I only remind you that the Savior sacrificed Himself because He loved the world (John 3.16). Not just His people whom He been sent to redeem, but also the very creation itself that travails in distress under the corruption of sin (Rom 8.19-21).

Looking back at 2 Corinthians 4:4…

When Paul says that the gospel of Jesus is veiled (hidden due to blindness) to those who are perishing and then he points to the “god of this world,” he is not saying that Satan/the Devil is actually a god in the same sense that God is God. He is speaking of the ruler of natural men’s hearts (cf. Eph 2.2). He is referring to the one who rules this world through sin. Not the entirety of creation, but fallen mankind (male and female).

Don’t believe me? Think I’m wrong? Then weigh my words in light of Christ Jesus’ own testimony as recorded in John’s gospel:

  • “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12.31)
  • “I [Jesus] will not speak much more with you [My disciples], for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in me” (John 14.30).
  • “And He [the Holy Spirit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged” (John 16.8, 11).[13]

The devil is nothing more than a despot. A tyrant that deceives sinners into believing that they are free, all the while they are in chains. However, the purpose of Christ Jesus’ coming into the world was to destroy the devil’s works, to break his grip, to bring him low in destruction (cf. 1 John 3.8). Satan has no power over the elect of God, for in resisting him he flees (James 4.7). His authority has been usurped and this is evidenced in the world under the dominion of Christ’s disciples (Luke 10.18). For Jesus has given His people power over serpents and scorpions—i.e., the curse and the cursor (Luke 10.19). And as the gospel of Jesus advances, God gives His people victory in the world—because it is His world and no others—to smite the devil (Rom 16.20; cf. 1 John 4.4).

Closing Remarks…

These words were meant to be a corrective to those who are fearful that the devil has power where he does not. That he rules over this entire planet when he does not. He is a creature and like all creatures He is subservient to the God of Glory.

This teaching is also meant to be an encouragement. We are living in some difficult times when despots and tyrants are unashamedly showing their faces. Panic and fear are driving the hearts of many, but in Christ Jesus there is nothing to fear. We have nothing to panic over, for all that comes to pass comes to pass under His watch. He is not weak and His strength is given to those who trust in Him.

Therefore, don’t let news and events break your resolve. Nor would I waste a moment’s breath giving glory to Satan as if he is really more than what he is…a vagabond living on borrowed time with a mortal injury. His days are numbered. He knows it, and so should we as we rejoice in his inevitable demise.

Godspeed!


ENDNOTES:

[1] All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the New American Standard 95’ Update (NASB).

[2] See Isa 28:16; also 1Pet 2:4.

[3] See Matt 21:44; also Dan 2:34-35, 44-45; Psa 110:5-6.

[4] See Psa 27:4; also Isa 28:5

[5] “For with you [O Lord] is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (Psa 36.9). Also see: John 8:12; 2 Cor 4:6; James 1:17.

[6] See Mal 4:2

[7] Prov 2:1-6; also see: Matt 13:44.

[8] Ff. Matt 7:24; also see: 1 Cor 3:11.

[9] Psa 1:2.

[10] Luke 24:32.

[11] Rom 12:2.

[12] “rulers, judges, either as divine representatives at sacred places or as reflecting divine majesty and power.” Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, The Brown-Drivers-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon: Coded with Strong’s Concordance Numbers, Reprint 1906 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2010), 43. S.v. Elohim, 1a.

[13] Italics added for emphasis and brackets added for clarity.

Posted in Apologetics

Verification Needed: The Question of Certainty

My Niche…

Like most people I have my particular areas of interest (my little niches), but I try to stretch myself beyond my passions from time-to-time. If you will, I try to be a connoisseur of various subjects. One area that tends to hold my attention is Christian apologetics. There is a plethora of subdivisions under the heading “Christian Apologetics.” Some examples would be Classical/Thomist Apologetics, Evidential Apologetics, Historical Apologetics, and my personal favorite Van Tilian Presuppositional-Reformed Apologetics.

One area of disagreement that I have with those forms of Christian apologetics that use a methodology not founded on biblical presuppositions is that they differ very little from the skeptic. How so? They share a false sense of neutrality when looking at facts and evidences. That is to say, there is a pretended form of neutrality that says we can look objectively at “A,” and “B,” and “C” in order to come to a correct conclusion. Tied with this, both the skeptic and the non-Reformed, non-Presuppositional Apologist deny that a person can really be certain about anything.

Lite Listening…

Historical Apologetics is one such field. It focuses on the authenticity and reliability of the biblical text (Holy Bible/Holy Scripture). The problem with “historicity” is the inability to verify every fact recorded as a definite fact recorded. As I was striking some items off of my wife’s “Honey Do List” I had YouTube on playing in the background. I had stumbled upon an interview with Laura Robinson, a PhD candidate at Duke who was identified in the heading as a New Testament scholar.[1] She was offering a critique of historical apologetics and used Lee Strobel’s book The Case For Christ as an example of an error not to mimic.

In the book Strobel uses his former experience as an atheist that was eventually converted to the Christian faith as a platform. He lays out the work as an investigative reporter interviewing various expert witnesses to come a conclusion. The person interviewing Robinson admitted that he’d not read the book, but was somewhat troubled by the problems she’d highlighted in Strobel’s writing. She used this as a stepping stone of sorts to show the limitations of the historical apologetic approach.

The Subject of Certainty

What caught my attention in the dialogue with her interviewer was her comments regarding the level of certainty we have in investigating historical events. She was concerned that many of the historical events recorded in the Bible sometimes become a stumbling block of sorts to individuals that learn that the percentage of certainty from a historical standpoint is only about 30-60% certainty (perhaps in some cases 80-90%). Which she notes is troubling to some, evidenced by their leaving their profession of faith.

Limitations of historical analysis…

The problem when looking at historical documents she noted was that we are unable to get the source of the information. We cannot meet the eyewitnesses. We weren’t there, and so we cannot verify with absolute certainty the claims of Scripture on every given point.[2]

And so, for her the method that she identifies as the best method is not in trying to reconstruct historical occurrences in the past recorded for us in (or even outside of) Scripture, but in recognizing the Living Savior—Jesus.

Tickling our hearts…

I will admit that on the surface such statements seem profound. The truth of Christ Jesus resonates in us. We know Him, we cannot deny Him, and so this type of declaration is often met with an “amen” from many professing believers. Robinson goes on to say in her interview that she does not need historical evidences that her husband is real. She doesn’t look at his birth certificate to know he’s her husband, she says. This analogy of sorts is then applied to the Christian’s knowledge of the Living Savior. He, being the premiere revelation of God, knowing the resurrected Jesus and His followers (He lives through us) is all the certainty that Christians need. In fact, she seems to lean in the direction that this is really the only certainty that we will get.

Trouble stirs beneath the Surface…

So, if I understand the argument presented (and its not the first time I’ve heard it offered up as a silver bullet of sorts) we cannot be certain about the biblical text, but we can be certain about the risen, crucified Jesus. We don’t need to overly stress the reconstruction of various historical details recorded for us in the Bible, but we ought to put overarching stress on Jesus as our personal savior. This is popular in “red-letter” Christian camps. It may in fact be the reason that men like Andy Stanley don’t want to worry about the Old Testament, prefer to focus on the New Testament writings, and lean heavily on just one aspect of the Christian faith—the Resurrection—in their witness to others.

Analogous Thinking

As human beings we think analogously. This is why we preachers (**not limited to preachers) like to use illustrations when we communicate. Sometimes an analogy helps illustrate a truth that we might be slow in getting. Knowing this I don’t want to be overly harsh in my treatment of Robinson’s analogy of her husband and his birth certificate. But I do want to probe the analogy a bit.

Tentatively Scrutinizing the Claim…

Robinson claims she is absolutely certain that he is her husband because she is able to come into personal contact with him. Okay, that is true in so far as it goes, as long as her husband is not a doppelganger. But in order to marry him he needed to verify who he is to the proper authorities. How does he do this without the proper papers? Moreover, before he became her husband, he had to introduce himself to her (and she to him). There was a point in their past when the two did not know each other. Suppose he lied about his identity; how would she know if not for those documents that she so blithely dismisses in an effort to diminish the importance of the biblical record. (Perhaps “diminish” is too harsh of a word, maybe “skate” is a better one? You know, like skating around the issue, in preference for another.)

All Share a Personal Status…

There is no question that Jesus is personal to us. Either we see Him in a good light or one where we view Him with disdain, but in either case Jesus is personal to all people. All people have a relationship with Jesus, but not all who have a relationship with Him are on good terms. But how do we know who Jesus is?

We Need Something to Verify (give Certainty) to the Identity of Jesus

This is something that I encounter more often than you would think. A form of reasoning about Christ as Lord and Savior that is very inconsistent with reality. Unfortunately, there are Christians blissfully ignorant of the fact that you cannot know Jesus the person, unless you know Jesus in Scripture.

Are we to believe that we cannot be certain what the Bible says about this or that historic event, but we can be certain of the historic Jesus because He is personally alive today at the Father’s right hand? That I may have uncertainty with who and what is revealed to me in Scripture because I cannot verify it, but I can have absolute certainty with Him who I cannot observe with any of my five senses?

“But you have all these other Christians that may be used as verification for the living Jesus,” the observation comes. How can this help me in verifying who Jesus really is apart from Scripture? How am I able to recognize what Christianity (those that bear the name of Jesus) is without first referring to the standards provided in God’s Word? It is not possible.

But what about…

Now I know that Jesus told Thomas the following truth:

“Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20.29b).[3]

And yet we are told that those things which are written down for us—the very historic events that skeptics and nominal Christians wring their hands and scratch their heads over:

“Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1Cor 10.11)

Things that cannot be verified by human means (historicity) with absolute certainty, and yet these things (such as the crossing of the Red Sea, the eating of manna, water coming from a rock struck by the staff of Moses, and the golden calf incident, being killed by fiery serpents; see 1Cor 10.1-10) are given for our benefit.

In what way? That we may know with certainty that these events did occur and God did judge between the faithful and unfaithful, blessing the obedient and cursing the disobedient. These things the Israelites were commanded to teach their children as a witness to them for their good. Did they have a way to verify them other than by God’s Word being shared through the mouth of His servants? No.

The Old Standard Stands…

The standard that Jesus gives is merely a repeating of the standard of old:

“If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets [idiom for God’s Word], they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16.31).

I realize the weight of those words might not have the impact I’m looking for. You may be unfamiliar with why this truth is important, let alone applicable. Some may try to dismiss it altogether saying, “that’s just a parabolic teaching.”

Who were Moses and the Prophets? They were God’s mouthpieces. They said what God told them to say. They confronted the people with what had been recorded as things God said and did. Starting with Moses we find that he is called to represent God—to testify on His behalf—to Pharaoh, the Egyptian people, and the Israelites (Exod 3.9-11). In response Moses says to the Lord God:

“Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” (Exod 3.13)

God answers Moses with the following statement:

“I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you” (Exod 3.14).

“What sort of certainty Moses are you providing for us? You say that God sent you. That He is the God of our fathers—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—but how can we be certain?” Supposing that this is what Moses was anticipating would happen when he showed up back in Egypt forty years after he’d left. The answer is the same here, as it is in Jesus’ teaching about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Either you will take God at His Word, what He has spoken, or you will not.

Point being you cannot know for certain God exists if you fail to take Him at His Word. You cannot know for certain who the living Jesus is, without the documents that identify Him to you. While I agree with Robinson that historical apologetics is limited in its ability to provide absolute certainty of all elements of the Christian faith, I disagree that the way we come to certainty is bypassing or passing over the historical elements of the Bible in light of a mystical experience with Jesus.

The Biblical Testimony is necessary for Certainty on Both Counts

For only those who “…receive the kingdom of God like a child…” will enter in (Luke 18.17). Thus, Jesus’ prayer for His people is that they would be set-apart by the truth, which is the Word of God (John 17.17) in order to know truth from error. How can you worship Christ, how can you be for certain who He is, if you do not first see or hear Him as declared in Scripture (cf. Rom 10.13-17)? How are we to know who the Christ is, if we first do not “examine everything carefully” (1Thess 5.21), and second, do not test the spirit of every teaching (1John 4.1)?

In short, we better know who it is we Love as God in the flesh, lest we love one who is not God. We need to check the Lord and Savior’s “birth certificate” (identification papers) we claim lest we passionately serve one who is not:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord…And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from me, you who practices lawlessness” (Matt 7.21-22a, 23).

While this particular concept (certainty vs. uncertainty) is often proliferated and is not unique among various biblical scholars, Christian philosophers and apologists, it is nonetheless false. If you cannot be certain of what the biblical record provides, then to be consistent you cannot be certain of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Nor is it right to assume that you can logically separate the Living Christ from His Living Word. The Christ of Scripture is one and the same as the Christ who is Lord and Savior. We must have an objective standard to appeal to, unless we desire to hold our subjective opinion up as the true litmus test.

 


ENDNOTES:

[1] Laura Robinson, “Laura Robinson: A New Testament Scholar Critiques Apologetics,” interviewed by Haden Clark, Help Me Believe, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hpdUsUpEoR8

[2] It should be noted that she does divide into two categories (1) historical evidence from those that would fall under the category of (2) miracles, signs, etc. as these would be only “spiritually” understood and accepted (ref to 1Cor 2.14). This is a helpful admission, but I would argue that you cannot truly separate category (1) apart from category (2) for even those elements of Scripture that we define as historical narratives, events, need to be spiritually discerned. For apart from this they are just foolish stumbling blocks to the unbelieving (1Cor 1.18, 23). Meaning that the teachings of Scripture (both categories) are only accepted as absolute facts pertinent to the historic record and not wild-eyed embellishments by religious zealots, by the household of faith. Regardless of the literary style (e.g., signs vs. genealogies), only those who have the Spirit will truly respect them as genuine truth: see 1Cor 2.)

[3] All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the New American Standard Bible 95’ (NASB).