HELP! Need suggestions for resources for a new Christian

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Cindy, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. Cindy

    Cindy
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    A listener to our radio station who is a new believer, former Catholic, called us with some questions today. His main concerns are:

    1) How can we as Christians today relate to a Bible that seems to be written mostly to and about Jews? (that was his perception, obviously wrong)

    2) How can we know the Bible is inerrant when versions and Bible passages seem to sometimes contradict one another?

    I told him I would find some books that would help him answer his questions, but I'm really not sure what to suggest. Any help would be appreciated!

    By the way, the phone call came when we had been talking about how some mainline churches will be celebrating Darwin Sunday this weekend in honor of Charles Darwin's birthday.(!!!) I said that when you don't believe in the inspiried, infallible Bible, it's easy to believe in anything.
     
  2. Helen

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    Tell your listener that no matter which Bible translation she uses, she will find that God has preserved His message despite human translators' possible errors. The 'errors' are almost always in numbers (not the book, the numerals themselves) and names, not in God's message to us. So her first and always best resource is simply a good modern translation -- one that is easy to understand. Despite all the hoopla, I do like the NIV myself. But the New American Standard is just as good, as are several others. The differences in the KJV and some of the modern translations are NOT because anyone 'dropped' anything out, but that they were translated from different early texts. If that worries her, tell her to get a good parallel Bible and several of the translations will be there side by side.

    For a brand new Christian, I strongly, STRONGLY recommend Philip Keller's "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23". The love and care of God for us comes through in that book like no other I have ever read and it warms the heart and reassures the soul of the reality of a one-on-one personal relationship with Christ. An ex-Catholic needs to know that.

    After that, recommend Christian autobiographies. She does not need to be steeped in doctrine right now as much as in the Bible itself and how God works in the 'real world' with His people. Autobiographies of missionaries are generally better than those of the 'self-help' or 'modern living' genre, which tend to focus on the author more than on God.

    Remind her that the Jews are the people created by God to show Himself to us. What is written to them is exceedingly important to us, therefore, and is then truly to all of us. The exception to that would be the law of Moses after Exodus 20 (the Ten Commandments), as that was for the theocracy of Israel for their governing. That is not to us today, although there are some very good guidelines in it for our own lives.
     
  3. jw

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    #1 - I'm not sure of many books that address this issue specifically. This may just be something you will have to explain to him. He may be primarily reading the Old Testament or something.

    #2 - Volume 1 of Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0764225510/sr=8-4/qid=1139587729/ref=pd_bbs_4/103-5628003-5262226?%5Fencoding=UTF8 )
    It's pretty good about explaining what inerrancy, inspiration, and infallibilty mean (and don't mean) - and isn't super dry like many systematic theologies.
     
  4. jw

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    Oy vey! Tell me you didn't just say that. The reason this person has questions and doubts is because he doesn't understand doctrine. The reason people get sucked in by cults and doubt orthodox teachings is because they don't understand doctrine.

    I'm all for Christian biographies, they can be very uplifting reading, but not at the cost of doctrine. Doctrine *must* proceed application to daily life. Otherwise you have *nothing* to base that application on other than another man's opinion, which will more often than not leave you in worse condition than you started.
     
  5. Helen

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    If you will note, I recommended the Bible first, which presents its own doctrine quite clearly.

    If you want to see the results of doctrinal arguments and men's interpretations of this and that, just keep reading Baptist Board! Let her go straight to the Bible and to the lives of those who have lived by it.
     
  6. Cindy

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    Actually, it's a guy, but that's neither here nor there. [​IMG]

    Thanks so much for the suggestions. I am going to pass them along to the listener in an e-mail later today, so if anyone has more suggestions, keep 'em coming.

    What about the Lee Strobel books? "A Case for..." I've never read them...do you think any of them would help this guy?
     
  7. jw

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    They are pretty good apologetics books, I don't know how well they would help with his current questions. I'd recommend anyone reading them though, it's good stuff.

    The reliability of the Bible is what he is questioning though. The Bible is not written out in a systematic fashion. There is no book in the Bible entitled, "Why you should trust this book: The doctrines of inspiration, preservation, and inerrancy". He obviously needs something else, and Christian biographies won't answer those question.
     
  8. Cindy

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    I did find online a book called "We Can Trust the Bible," by Lehman Strauss. It looked pretty good to me. Anyone familiar with that one?
     
  9. Helen

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    MacDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict is worth it. He was dishonest in pretending he wrote all of it himself, which he didn't. But nevertheless the material is good and the book is divided so that specific questions can be answered specifically.
     
  10. Benjamin

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    I think the Bible speaks for its own truth and that truth-faith comes as a gift from God to those that seek Him from a pure heart. When I first read the Bible I was feeling rather left out myself, thinking of the Jews, although I somehow knew that God was speaking to me also. Once I got into the NT it all started to come together in the beauty of God’s wisdom for “all men” “whosoever believes” from the letter He (the God of Love) wrote to us all. 2nd Timothy comes to mind about instructions in the last days and evangelism:

    (2Ti 2:22) Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart .

    (2Ti 2:23) But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do engender strifes.

    (2Ti 2:24) And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men , apt to teach, patient,

    (2Ti 2:25) In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves ; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

    (2Ti 2:26) And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

    (2Ti 3:12) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

    (2Ti 3:13) But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived .

    (2Ti 3:14) But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them ;

    (2Ti 3:15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

    (2Ti 3:16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    (2Ti 3:17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    (2Ti 4:8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.


    (2Ti 4:17) Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear : and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
     
  11. Scott J

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    Ryrie's Basic Theology is pretty good too. It can be found here:

    www.scripturetruth.com

    at a very reasonable $17.98.

    I have also heard good things about "Basics for Believers" by Stephen Olford. It can also be found on this website for $16.95.

    Another:

    Unleashing God’s Word in Your Life
    How to Understand, Study and Apply God’s Word
    Author John MacArthur $7.79

    Beyond that there are numerous books and websites that deal specifically with the Bible's reliability and translation issues. You'll have to guide them though. They can get some bad info off the net... in particular on Bible versions. There are several KJVO sites with largely unreliable info.
     
  12. Plain Old Bill

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    Your caller may not want any real heavy reading.If that is the case have him try:
    Know why you believe
    Know What You Beleive both by Paul E. Little. They can be found or ordered at or through any christian book store.
    Next I would go to Evidence that Demmands a Verdict the information is very good.
    After that "The Great Doctrines of the Bible" by Evans would be a good basic doctrinal book.I would certainly go that route before tackling any books on theolgy proper.
     
  13. exscentric

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    Not to draw away from the tread, but do you have a source for reading on the following: "He was dishonest in pretending he wrote all of it himself, which he didn't."
     
  14. Deacon

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    DARWIN SUNDAY [LINK]

    Rob
     
  15. Helen

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    I am friends with a couple of the other authors who were not credited. They have preferred to not to raise a stink about it because it is more worth it for the book to be read than to be fought about. I guess I thought that it was common knowledge about the various different authorships, though. I apologize for bringing it up.
     
  16. genesis12

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    This has been a pretty good thread. I'd like to underline everything Helen has said. Now... for a recommendation:

    http://www.thebereancall.org/

    Check it out, maybe subscribe to the monthly newsletter, or read it online. Above all, don't overload him, or get in a hurry. A journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step (I wish I had said that!) [​IMG]
     
  17. exscentric

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    Thanks Helen, sounds like a thread of its own sometime [​IMG]
     
  18. Craigbythesea

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    I recommend, What the Bible is All About by Henrietta C. Mears. This is a superb, beautifully written book for a new Christian because it gloriously takes them through the Bible book by book sidestepping controversial and divisive issues while making it expressly clear and obvious that the Bible is the word of God. It was first written in 1953 and revised and updated in 1983. It is written from an ultra-conservative theological point of view and its value is attested by the fact that over 3,000,000 copies of the book have been sold.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Craigbythesea

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    This is a good book for someone with limited intelligence and a meager education, but for the brighter man with a better education it raises more questions than it answers and it brings into question such important issues as the resurrection of Christ from the dead by failing to mention the most important evidence and giving too much importance to highly questionable evidence. I read this book several years after I had been saved and grounded in the Christian faith and it made me stop for a moment and seriously question the validity of the Christian faith. :eek:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Plain Old Bill

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    That's strange it helped firm things up for me."What The Bible is All About",is a very good book but it is a survey not an apologetic.One should keep in mind that "Evidence that Demmands a Verdict" was written for the everyday person and is not a technical apologetic for a seminary student.Paul little also wrote two books"Know Why You Believe and Know What you Believe", both for lay people.Dr. D James Kennedy also did one along those lines but I can't remember the title so if someone here remembers it please help.These are all meant for lay people and are not technical theological apologetics.
     

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