Biblical Reliability

The audience that I have in mind while writing this post might be anyone who saw the video from Business Insider produced by Joe Avella regarding the reliability of the Bible. So, he or she might believe that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired and infallible Word of God, disagree that it is the Word of God, or just wants to stay neutral as regards to it. Thus, my purpose in writing this blog is to address the cause that triggered it. My goal in mind is to try to clearly present to you why the Holy Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God. And if you are an atheist or agnostic, my goal is ofr you to be convinced that the Bible should be diligently studied because of its unsurpassed historical reliability. God’s divine revelation matters to Him that’s why it should matter to us. I’d also like to state ahead of time that the succeeding paragraphs do not present all of the relevant arguments for biblical reliability but rather its what I thought would address the video produced by Joe Avella.

I just like to clearly state that I don’t mean no harm to Joe Avella. I just disagree with video that he produced in Business Insider. I hope that he will consider this blog post if he’ll read it or if not consider what other scholars has to say about it like the ones whom I’ve mentioned in the paragraph below because Dr. Ehrman already debated some of them. I want you to be the judge. I’ll just lay out what the truth is because it makes me angry when other people malign the objective truth that I believe in.

NO OFFENSE to the PRODUCER of the VIDEO shared by Business Insider BUT I think he is just BIASED against the Biblical worldview because he cited a LIBERAL New Testament scholar named Dr. Bart D. Ehrman. (No offense also to Dr. Ehrman) It is true that I don’t have a doctorate degree in Systematic Theology or other branches of Divinity but there are brilliant minds who have their doctorates (E.g. Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, Dr. Greg Boyd, Dr. Craig Blomberg, Dr. Bruce Metzger, Dr. John MacArthur, Dr. Steven Lawson, Dr. William Lane Craig, Dr. Michael Brown, Dr. James White and the names go on and on) who have an opposing and more reasonable position regarding this matter. I agree that the Bible contains minimal ERRORS but generally it is a very accurate and a highly reliable historical book IF we are to believe that it is not the Word of God. It is also true that the original manuscripts are not available but we have copies of copies of copies. TONS OF IT. Also, the early church fathers cited the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. As J. Warner Wallace stated in his blog, “the Early Church Fathers did confirm enough of the New Testament claims to validate and authenticate the writings of the apostles.” (1)

Also, biblical transmission is reasonable if we consider it in light of its cultural and theological context. The producer misrepresents biblical transmission. He commits Straw-Man fallacy and fallacy of composition. There might be less important truths that could be forgotten but IMPORTANT AND FOUNDATIONAL TRUTHS that would lead us to salvation? I DOUBT IT. Kindly read “Four Reasons the New Testament Gospels Are Reliable” by J. Warner Wallace for a more detailed explanation. (2)

Going back to my point, “The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by about 40 authors, in three different languages, on three different continents, and over approximately 1600 years.” (3) Isn’t it amazing? Even though, the Bible is written by 40 different authors there is still one Voice that resounds in the Bible. And that is the voice of the Trinitarian God. Furthermore, there are archaeological, geographical, historical, scientific, biblical evidences, extra-biblical (writings of Josephus and other non- Christian historians) and other reasonable bases that corroborate the truth claims found in Scripture. For example, the places asserted in the Bible can be verified geographically. In addition, Messianic prophesies written about Jesus Christ that are written hundreds of years before the Lord Jesus Christ came into the earth were fulfilled. (E.g. Isaiah 53) Do you know the mathematically improbability One can satisfy all the Messianic prophesies that are found in the Bible? As Dr. William Lane Craig puts it, “It’s like shooting an alive fly with a gun” (blogger’s rendition). (4) Our finite minds cannot just grasp the impossibility of it happening.

In addition, the disciples and early followers of Jesus Christ willingly died for their faith. It wouldn’t make sense if they’d lie for a lie. Right? Also, they did not gain any monetary benefit or a rise in social status in advocating the teachings of Jesus. They just suffered and died because of it. What would then be the plausible explanation for the this? That Jesus Christ is who He claims to be – the Son of God. That being said, it’s still highly reasonable to believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of the Christian God INSPITE of the minimal errors and first-glanced discrepancies for the reason that there’s no foundational doctrines that are affected. We may also resolve these alleged discrepancies by interpreting the implicit verses by the explicit verses. In contrast, the maker of this video is MORE CONCERNED to the minimal, non-doctrinal and non-foundational errors found in the Bible rather than the voluminous divine truths that are found in it. I think he’s tacitly suggesting that we should interpret the explicit verses with the implicit verses. This line of thinking is UNREASONABLE. By just merely asserting that the Bible has some scribal errors found in it does not conclusively falsify that ALMOST ALL of the texts that are found in the Scripture are FALSE. It’s like you got one mistake out of a hundred in your exam. Does it make your score zero? Of course not. This is just common sense. The MAKER OF THIS VIDEO COMMITS THE FALLACY OF COMPOSITION – the parts do not conclusively determine the whole. He’s like saying, “I’ve found these variations or  scribal errors that’s why all the passages in the Bible are also erroneous.” I hope that it’s clear to you how unreasonable his line of thinking is. If this mindset is applied to all of us, then all of us are deemed to be untrustworthy because we all lied or spoke falsehood even just once in our lifetime. Have we not? To conclude, the Bible is a very reliable and a highly accurate historical book IF WE DON”T BELIEVE THAT IT IS THE WORD OF GOD. As Matt Slick aptly writes it, “The copies are so accurate that all of the Biblical documents are 98.5% textually pure. The 1.5% that is in question is mainly nothing more than spelling errors and occasional word omissions like the words “the,” “but,” etc. This reduces any serious textual issues to a fraction of the 1.5%. Nevertheless, no thing affects doctrinal truths. In fact, nothing in ancient history even comes close to the accuracy of the New Testament documents.” (5) Also, reading the Case for Christ authored by Lee Strobel is of big help if you are really serious in knowing whether the claims of the video are ridiculously biased or not. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t claim that I’m unbiased of my worldview, All of us have biases but the question is, “Are our biases reasonable or unreasonable? It is reasonable if it’s based on facts and evidences that conform to absolute reality. The things mentioned by Joe Avella are also discussed by Lee Strobel in his book: the Case of Christ. Also, Dr. Ehrman is also mentioned in it. Thus, it would really be a big help for you if you’re interested to study further biblical reliability. You may also watch the Inerrancy Summit that is spearheaded by Dr. John MacArthur. I really hope that you’d grab a copy of the book or watch the conference if you’re really serious in knowing the truth. The conference could just be easily accessed in you tube. (6) It’s also for free. I’M DEAD SERIOUS ABOUT THIS THAT’S WHY I’M STAKING MY REPUTATION FOR THIS BLOG POST. Feel free to respond on this post, I’d really be glad to read your comments and respond to it.

In the succeeding paragraphs, I’d like to cite some of the Scriptural verses that support that the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God. Kindly also note that all verses are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Just to remind you, these are not all of the verses that support that the Bible is the Word of God. I firmly believe that all the words that are found in the Bible are divinely inspired  even though there are alleged discrepancies found in it. There are reasonable inductive bible study tools that could be used to arrive at the original meaning of the Scripture in spite of it. Maybe, just maybe, the producer of the video is just too lazy to do it and trusts himself more rather than God. Furthermore, as a Christian, I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit Who indwells within me teaches me and gives me understanding to know the Word of God. (Jn. 14:15 – 17) It is true that there are copyists’ errors but it could still be resolved using the voluminous verses in the Bible that lack error. Also, the Bible provides footnotes regarding variations in the early manuscripts or other words used by other manuscripts. That being said, I’d now proceed to the verses that support that the Word of God is what it claims to be. Please be reminded that the Bible is written by (40) authors who are divinely inspired by God through the Holy Spirit. That being said, I’d now proceed to cite Bible verses. Kindly thoroughly read the verses (7 & 8) below.

“All Scripture is INSPIRED by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17

“and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the WISDOM given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the REST of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

2 Peter 3:15 – 16

“For the word of God is LIVING and ACTIVE and sharper than any two-edged sword, and PIERCING as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to JUDGE the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12

“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:8

For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

– Matthew 5:18

“But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.” – Peter 1:25

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” – Numbers 23:19

“They are upheld forever and ever; They are performed in truth and uprightness.” – Psalm 111:8

“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” – Psalm 119:89

“Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;” – Isaiah 46:10

“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11

“As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from now and forever.” – Isaiah 59:21

This will be the sign to you,’ declares the Lord, ‘that I am going to punish you in this place, so that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for harm.’ – Jeremiah 44:29

I firmly believe that we can use this overwhelming piece of argument with other arguments to make a powerful case for Christianity. Biblical reliability, coupled with Kalam Cosmological Argument, complexity of DNA (one example of Teleological Argument), Fine-Tuning of the Universe, deity of Christ through His resurrection, and the experiential argument would make a powerful case for Christianity.

Soli Deo Gloria.

References:

(1) http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/can-we-construct-the-entire-new-testament-from-the-writings-of-the-church-fathers/

(2) http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/four-reasons-the-new-testament-gospels-are-reliable/

(3) https://carm.org/dictionary-bible

(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLIpO3BUiq2IFX1uVZud4G5D5LD2jW0TZ-&v=KjLOB7QiBTk

(5) https://carm.org/inerrancy-and-inspiration-bible

(6) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKuqHx1rf7U&list=PLDDt4jvDpjath3OM4rkYyfZAvefVjk4x5

(7) http://biblehub.com/isaiah/40-8.htm (most of the verses quoted are obtained here in the cross-references section)

(8) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+44%3A29&version=NASB

 

 
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People Change. Ideas don’t.

The audience that I have in mind while writing this post could just be anyone who might be interested in reading this. So, he or she might advocate the Islamic worldview, disagree with it, or is just neutral about it. I also felt the need to qualify that I do not have Muslims in mind while writing this post. My purpose in this blog post is to somehow straighten the fallacious thinking of people who condemns all Muslims because of the acts done by ISIS. I’ll just lay out my view with regard to the ISIS attacks. I also felt the need to qualify that I am not advocating the Islamic worldview in this post but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love, respect and in my case defend them . They’re also human beings like any one of us. AND they are also created in the image and likeness of God.

No offense but I personally think that the acts done by ISIS do not immediately discredit the Islamic worldview. This line of thinking commits Ad Hominem Attack – the person is attacked instead of the ideas of the person. We also try to equate that all Muslims are terrorists and that in itself is another logical fallacy – fallacy of composition (the parts do not conclusively make up the whole). Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to defend the Islamic worldview. I just want us to examine the Islamic worldview without any biases. We are quick to judge because our JUDGMENTS come BEFORE our EXAMINATIONS. Examine the worldview first before casting judgments. AND let us try to separate the beliefs of the person with the person who holds it. All of us should still be treated with equal respect, love, and dignity regardless of our beliefs.

If we are to discredit Islam because of the ISIS attacks then we should also discredit Christianity because of the atrocious and sinful acts that were done by “professing” Christians throughout church history. All have sinned and has fallen short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23) We are all imperfect and we can never achieve perfection in this earth. It is also possible for US to profess a belief yet mistakenly possess it. PROFESSION OF FAITH IS NOT SYNONYMOUS TO POSSESSION OF FAITH. Thus, the most reasonable way in evaluating our beliefs is to view these in light of absolute reality.

We might ask questions like these.

Does Islam teach violence in light of the Qur,an? Since, there are events stated in the Qur’an, we might ask this questions like this. Are the events verifiable with historical evidences? Do the principles stated in the Qur’an reflect God’s character? (e.g. Love, Holy, Grace, Justice, Righteous, Immutable, Almighty, All-Knowing, Sovereign) Is the Qur’an reliable? How did it originate? How can one be saved in the Islamic worldview? What are the means for a Muslim to be saved? Yes, I know that these are hard questions but I think that it would somehow shed light in these devastating events that are happening in the world.

There’s no victor in war and violence just death, suffering and devastating consequences. Apparently, ideas have consequences. Godly ideas should result to godly consequences. Conversely, ungodly ideas result to ungodly consequences. That doesn’t mean that if we have the wrong ideas then we are now hopeless. We can always change our view over something. Can we not? That being said, before we try to change the world, let us try first ti change our fallacious ideas over something and then inevitably change the consequences that those ideas bring.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Marriage – A Picture of Christ and the Church

The audience that I have in mind while writing this post is anyone who might be interested in reading this. So, he or she might advocate same-sex marriage, disagree with it, or is just neutral about it. I also felt the need to qualify that I do not have homosexuals in mind while writing this blog post. I think it’s legit to ask me what triggered me to write this post. The cause was the news that said that Ireland has now legalized same-sex marriage. Thus, my purpose in writing this blog is to address the cause that triggered it. My goal in mind is to try to clearly present to you God’s definition and His design for marriage because it matters to Him. Thus, it should also matter to us.

Let me first lay out what I think readers might think of me in writing this blog post. The reader might think that I’m a bigot for the reason that he or she might think that I don’t advocate human rights or gender equality in this post. You might think that I am intolerant, unloving, disrespectful, fanatical, prideful, close-minded, arrogant, crazy, foolish, and anything you want to think of me BUT I DON’T CARE. I should speak out the truth in the most loving way as I can even though others might say that I’m still unloving. I hope you’ll just ascribe it to my love to you.

Like any one of us, I also deeply desire that all people be loved, respected and treated with equal dignity BUT equality doesn’t give us the right to do the things that we do not have the right to do. I know that there are readers who might be offended because of this blog post but it just really breaks my heart when we think that we have the right to re-define and re-design God’s definition and design for marriage. I’m compelled to let this out. God is eternal. Thus, it follows that His definition and design for marriage is also eternal. How can something eternal change within time? Kindly explain to me how it is possible. What I’m trying to say is, since, God had already defined marriage before the creation of the world, how then can it change within the space-time continuum? Changing the definition of marriage is a gross insult to the immutability of God. God does not change because He is timeless. His will and divine purpose are not constrained by time. It never changes simply because it reflects His unchanging character. In His perfect wisdom, God predetermined things according to the eternal purpose of His divine plan for His good pleasure. The end of which is for God to be glorified. Let us always remember that God is a jealous God. He doesn’t share His glory to others. In the next paragraph, I’ll try to briefly state why believing in a Creator is reasonable because of the overwhelming evidences that point to it. A life-time of study would never be enough to comprehend God because He’s infinite and our minds are finite.

Can you imagine great works of art that do not have its own respective artists? Can you imagine Mona Lisa without Leonardo Da Vinci? Apparently, there should be an artist for every art work, an architect for every blueprint, and an engineer for every building. Common sense dictates that creation infers a Creator. Who then has the solitary right to give meaning to the art work? The observer? or the Artist? It’s the Artist of course. This is just too obvious to overlook. Is it not? Furthermore, theological, historical, moral, and scientific evidences also point that there is a Creator – Kalam cosmological argument, Teleological argument, Fine-tuning of physical constants, objective moral laws point to an objective Lawgiver, conscience, Bible, deity of Christ, experiential argument, and many more. I’d really be glad to expound on the arguments that I’ve cited but due to time constraint, kindly allow me to defer it in my succeeding blog posts. If the arguments that I’ve cited caused you to be interested regarding the arguments for God’s existence then I’d be glad to suggest to you to watch at least five debates of Dr. William Lane Craig with notable atheists (E.g. Christopher Hitchens). Fortunately, these debates are available in you tube. I personally think that he’s the leading Christian apologist for the existence of God. I want you to be the judge. Try to listen to his debates.

That being said, I DISAGREE with SAME SEX MARRIAGE because OBJECTIVE EVIDENCES are against it not just because I FEEL LIKE IT. If all claims are equally true. Why then are you not accepting my claim? Or even just considering it? See how self-refuting relativism is. We live in a relativistic culture where all truth claims are accepted as equally valid EXCEPT the absolute truths of Christianity. There’s an absolute standard of right and wrong because God exist and that standard is a reflection of His eternal and holy character. Whether you agree with me or not, there’s still an absolute reality. Like the fact that you are reading my post. It’s funny but it’s true.

I felt the need to let this out because it just grieves my soul. It just really saddens me when we use the mind that God has given us to mock Him and insult Him. When we think that we are wiser than Him. How dare us think that we’re better gods than the eternal, holy, and living God? I beg you. Let us not think highly of ourselves. We’re just mere humans. And God created us for His own sole purpose not ours. I hope that its crystal clear to you.

In the succeeding paragraphs, I’ll just lay out one argument against same-sex marriage. Needless to say, the best argument against same-sex marriage is Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. Why did I say that?  As I’ve stated earlier, God designed marriage for His eternal purpose. What is that purpose? The purpose of marriage is for it to be a picture of Christ’s love for His bride – the church. Marriage is the majestic symbol of the abounding love of what Christ has done to redeem His bride at the cross because of sin. Needless to say, the root cause of all evil in this world is SIN. No matter how hard we try, we wouldn’t be able to get rid of all the  of the evil in this world (e.g. murder, immorality, and the like).

I hope you’re still with me.

We wouldn’t understand Christ’s love for us if we wouldn’t delve into the issue of sin. We inherited the fallen nature of our forefather Adam because he sinned against God by not doing what God commanded him to do. Kindly view this in light of the doctrine of Federal Headship – because you might think that it was Eve who was tempted by the serpent. Having this in mind, you might ask me then I said that Adam is the one who sinned when it was Eve who was tempted. Going back to my point, THAT’S HOW HOLY GOD IS. He couldn’t tolerate sin EVEN IF IT’S JUST A SINGLE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. Because of sin, we are now dead with respect to spiritual things. (Eph 2:1) It just prompts me to ask my favorite question. What can a dead man do? Try to pause and remember the sins that you’ve done in your life and realize that we are utterly sinful. Are we not?

A dead man cannot hear, think, understand, and desire for God. Sin permeates our whole being. It has corrupted our mind, will, soul, and body (Rom 8:5 – 8). Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that we are not able to do good. What I’m trying to say is WE ARE UNABLE TO PLEASE GOD. And that’s how utterly depraved we are and that’s how holy God is.

These then are the biggest questions regarding salvation. How is it possible for unrighteous men to be reconciled to a righteous God? How can God be just and at the same be a justifier of wicked men? You might say that God is loving. You might think that He will pardon me when I ask for forgiveness for my sins because He loves me. Try that to court. A just judge will punish you unless he’s corrupt. God is not corrupt. Is He? Of course not. I hope that you see our need for redemption from our sins.

It is only then through the God-man Jesus Christ in His redemptive work at the cross that might be reconciled to God. At the cross, Christ reconciled His unholy bride with the Holy God. He’s 100% God and He’s 100% man. That’s why He’s like the bridge between man and God. A Savior who is not fully God couldn’t save us.

Can you imagine the love of Christ for His church? He is God but He became a mere man (but He did not cease to be God – I know this infinite truth boggles your finite mind) to suffer and die at the cross to redeem His bride with His blood. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to say that we cannot know God. God has revealed Himself through His Word and He wouldn’t reveal Himself when we cannot know Him. It’s like saying God made an incorrect decision to reveal Himself because men cannot know Him because He is God. I just meant that we cannot fully grasp a Being who is greater than us.

CHRIST WAS BUTCHERED AT THE CROSS. He was mocked, spat upon, pierced, flogged by Roman centurions, crucified and rejected. God the Father poured out His righteous anger against sin to His Son at the cross. Christ tasted hell in behalf of us. At the cross, Christ bore our sins. An innocent man TOOK our punishment. HE DIED THE DEATH THAT WE SHOULD HAVE DIED AND LIVED THE LIFE THAT WE SHOULD HAVE LIVED. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21) The worst of us was laid on Him and the best of Him was laid to His bride – the church. This is the great exchange that is done at the cross. In the third day, Christ rose again proving that He’s the Son of God. The resurrection of Christ is really significant because if Christ did not resurrect we’re still dead in our sins – past, present and future. (1 Cor 15:17) Conversely, since Christ resurrected, those who come to Him by faith are not dead anymore with respect to their sins. They’re now spiritually alive in union with Christ. In the eyes of God, we are holy and blameless because of the holy and blameless sacrifice of God the Son – Jesus Christ. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that Christians cannot sin but rather Christians wouldn’t be controlled by sin. Christians should also manifest the fruits (Gal. 5:22 – 23) of the Spirit. You also might wonder why Christians confidently claim that they are SAVED. You might think that they’re arrogant or even self-righteous in these kind of assertions. That’s also the very thoughts that I had toward Christians before I became like them. The reason for this is God the Holy Spirit is the One who works within us to assure us of our salvation. Don’t get me wrong. There are also Christians who profess Christ but do not possess Christ. Ergo, discernment is a must in this regard.

Do you understand how great Christ’s love for His bride? Because of that love, the perfect union and fellowship of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit was severed within time because Christ bore our sins in His body at the cross. This was done because of His abounding love for us.  HE ENDURED ALL KINDS OF SUFFERING TO SAVE HIS BRIDE FROM THE PITS OF HELL. God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:21)

AND His love for me is what fuels me to write this post because it just breaks my heart to see people distort God’s design for marriage. The reason why we re-define marriage is because we never truly understood the love of Christ for sinners, the problem of sin, the need of reconciliation with God and the redemptive work of Christ at the cross.

The greatest gift that God has given us is the gift of eternal life which is freely given to those who come to Christ by faith alone. We should repent and believe in Christ. We should turn away from vanity, self-righteousness, pride, arrogance, lust, immorality, anger, idolatry, blasphemy, licentiousness, dishonoring our parents, lying, stealing, greed, slander, drunkenness, covetousness, adultery, promiscuity, hypocrisy and religion and throw ourselves to Christ. Ask God. Seek Him with as if your life depends on it. BECAUSE it really is. Say, “I’m a great sinner. You are a great Savior. I’m a hell-bound sinner. Have mercy on me. Save me Jesus from the pits of hell. Give me eyes to see You as you really are, heart that desires for You, ears that listen to Your voice and a mind that understand You for I am unable to do it. I want to commit my life to You. Have mercy on me a sinner.”

Soli Deo Gloria.