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Does the Bible contain contradictions? October 6, 2012

Posted by Henry in Contending for the Faith.
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4 comments

Sometimes in spreading the Word of God it is necessary to ask some of the hard questions that many Christians might not want to touch. The title of this post is just one example which I felt moved to devote attention to given previous discussions on other topics here. The importance of the question resides in the fact that many people have rejected the Bible and consequently the gospel on the basis that the Bible contains contradictions. Some say 101 contradictions to be exact. I first encountered this supposed 101 contradictions in the Bible during a discussion with a Muslim colleague about faith some 10 years ago. How can you share your faith with someone who has already made up their mind as they are convinced that the Bible contains 101 contradictions? What is even more striking is that some Christians are prepared to accept that there are contradictions in the Bible? Does this position not undermine the faith and provides ammunition to those who seek to refute the Bible’s claims? So what do you think? Does the Bible really contain contradictions and if so what are the examples?

I thought I would freshen up this post by stating my personal view on the subject matter. Personally I do not believe that the scriptures are contradictory. However, people’s interpretation may very well render the scriptures contradictory but this is not a fault of the scriptures themselves but a fault with the interpreter. When we neglect to apply proper exegisis and discernment then this will very well lead to contradictions being reflected upon the text of scripture. The Bible says that every scripture is God breathed (2 Tim 3:16) and that God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33) so there can therefore be no contradictions in the scriptures. The unbelieving and those who have a vested interest in destroying Christianity will continue to argue however that the scriptures are contradictory even without substantiating their claim with any proof. If we are to proclaim the gospel effectively therefore then we must be prepared to challenge headon any arguments which seeks to pervert the Christian faith by declaring that the scriptures are contradictory. This is a very important area in contending for the Christain faith (Jud 1:3) though some may very well argue that this topic by it’s nature is divisive and should not be open to public discussion.

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Compromising the Gospel May 25, 2012

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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18 comments

Many Christians may get offended when I highlight the disparities between the church I see today and the church that was evident in scriptures. Personally I do not care if anyone gets offended but the truth of the Word should be proclaimed with all boldness and without fear or favour. Today we have too many watered down churches preaching a seeker sensitive, “cuddly feely” gospel instead of the unadulterated Gospel. Some will argue that I am dividing the church with such pronouncements but I have news for anyone who thinks that. The truth is that scripture declares that the wheat and the tares shall grow together until the time of the harvest so a division is already there. What we must never do is to compromise the gospel because we do not want to offend those sitting in the pews because they may leave. So what? Let them leave if they want for Jesus said wherever two or three are gathered in His name He will be there to bless. One wonders however if money is the driving force behind the “dumbing-down” of the gospel to ensure that church attendance is kept up which in turn will ensure that the finances are secure.

 

Today there are many people occupying our pulpits and profiteering from the gospel. They teach all manner of false doctrines just to get their congregation to part with their money. Such so-called ministers will often boast of their opulent wealth – with their mansions and private Lear Jets to boot – even to their very own undiscerning congregations who follow after these blind guides mainly because they tell them what they want to hear. This is not surprising however because the scriptures say that, “through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” (2 Pet 2:3). The sad truth about it however is that even when you show that such minister are in error their members will come out and defend them staunchly instead of doing the Berean thing and examine the scriptures to see if what these men and women proclaim is true.

 

There are various brands of Christianity, or “Churchianity” to put it more correctly, today with each declaring that they have the true gospel. The naïve and the simple-minded will however declare that all churches are the same despite not understanding that there is a gulf of difference between the various versions of what they claim is the truth. Perhaps the god of this world has blinded their eyes to the truth such that they are not able to glean the fact that there is only one truth and that two or more contrary positions cannot all be truth at the same time. It is not only the preachers therefore who are compromising the gospel but the hearers also when they neglect to “test every spirit” and study the scriptures as the Bereans did when they heard Paul’s message.

 

Many people in the churches are being destroyed through lack of knowledge of the Living God. In many cases a different Jesus is being preached to them and consequently they believe in a different god from the God of the Bible. But how can they believe the true gospel which they have not heard, or how can they believe in God whom they have not known? Consequently many are lost even though they are in church. In order to know God we need to first know who the true Jesus is for it is He who declares the Father. Encouraging or admonishing someone to believe God, and trust in His saving Grace is futile if they do not know the One True God. They need to know God for themselves first before they can trust in Him.

Bearing one another’s burdens May 21, 2012

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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6 comments

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2)

 

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy (Matt 5:7)

 

A number of years ago I was faced with a situation where a sister from another church, someone I worked with at the time, needed financial assistance. I asked the sister if she would not approach her church for assistance. She said that whilst there was a welfare office in the church she did not feel comfortable approaching it for assistance because of how she would appear to her fellow church members and she felt she would be stigmatised.  The question I would like to raise is why should church members that are in difficulty and in need feel uncomfortable to approach their church for help? Could it be because the church today, unlike the early church, does not foster a culture of sharing and caring for one another within their congregation?

 

The church today is not short of teachings and admonitions to “give generously” or “give sacrificially” but what exactly is the church being asked to give to? What I do not witness is admonitions to the church members to give to those around them who are in need. When was the last time you heard a sermon on giving to the poor and the needy? In fact when asked, some preachers tell their members that they cannot give their tithes to other causes aside from the church but that “the whole tithe” must be brought into the “storehouse” – the church building. Has the church stopped teaching the law and commandments of Jesus Christ? It is a mistake to think that we are fulfilling the law of Christ in giving to the church (the administrative structure), which will in turn give some of the takings to a charity. Jesus said in Luke 6:30 “give to everyone who ask you” and He is speaking to individuals here. But what the church mainly teach today is to give to “the work of the church” whether it be the local church or ones in distant lands appealing for funds on TV. They encourage you to “prayerfully consider partnering” with them but never do they teach the church to fulfil the law of Christ in bearing each other’s burdens. How can we declare then that we are the called of Christ yet we do not fulfil His law by helping one another? Does this not undermine our credibility? The problem with giving to the church in tithes and offerings is that one may easily get into a mindset where they feel that they have done their duty already (in “giving to God”) and therefore the portion of their income which remains is theirs and they can’t afford to give away anymore. Many may therefore be ignoring Christ’s commands to give to everyone who asks of them, because in line with what they have been taught it is up to the church to distribute to those in need. Sometimes I do wonder however if it is the case that people do not really believe we need to observe Christ’s teachings to the full. Did Christ not say that we should not only be hearers of the word but doers of the word? Have we become like the Pharisees who, instead of honouring their fathers and mothers instead say that whatever help they would otherwise give them is a gift devoted to God (Matt 15:4-5)? Perhaps it should be said that we cannot be doers of the word if it is not being preached to us and we are not hearing it.

 

Many people today pay their tithes not necessarily because they believe they are fulfilling God’s will but because they have been led to believe that this is the way to access the blessings of God. But Christ says, blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. We need to show mercy to our brothers and sisters in Christ but not only they for we are also called to love our neighbour as ourselves. Paul in Gal 6:10 also encourage us to do good unto ALL men. What surprises me therefore is how little emphasis is placed on such teachings today and even the world is showing us a better example today. To cite an example, the Evening Standard newspaper ran a campaign over the last few years to highlight the extent of poverty that many people are faced with here in Britain but more in London. They found that more than half of children in London lived below the poverty line. Despite the fact that Britainis a very rich developed country there are still a lot of people in abject poverty but it is usually not visible to most of us. I am sure that a lot of these poor people do go to church too. What are our churches doing to alleviate the plight of these poor? One church body in the UK reported total income from parishes to over £800 million in 2009. This church’s expenditure however amounted to almost the figure that was raised with only £50 million going to charitable causes. There are established churches in the UK that own and control vast wealth, namely in property and other assets yet people are still suffering in poverty. To cite another example from Greece, the Telegraph newspaper reported that the church have amassed wealth of over £700 billion Euros and this amounts to twice the national debt (1).

 

How can the church retain such vast wealth whilst people the world over are living in extreme poverty? Surely the church should be doing more in terms of giving away most of what they collect to those in need instead of hoarding it. The church members themselves are also guilty of helping to maintain this status quo by mindlessly giving their money to churches that hoard it, instead of heeding the scriptures in bearing each other’s burdens. What will the church do with such wealth on judgement day when Jesus Christ shall put in His appearance? This is the question that every church body that stores wealth should be considering very seriously.

 

(1) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8790126/Wealth-of-churches-vs-the-wealth-of-people.html

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