How much “unbelief” is acceptable

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by stilllearning, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. stilllearning

    stilllearning
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    As we encounter “professing Christians”, that are showing “signs” of unbelief; How can we determine “how much unbelief is acceptable”? What I mean is, at what point should our ministry to them, switch from dealing with a “backslidden or baby Christian”, to dealing with “an unbeliever"?

    Well, praise the Lord, He knew that we would be facing this question and “He gave us the answer”.....
    In John 5:46-47
    V.46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
    V.47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?


    Here, Jesus says that “believing” what Moses wrote, is the same kind of faith, that enables a person to “believe” Jesus, when He tells us who He is! And that not being able to believe Moses, would also indicate that a person was not able to believe Jesus!
    ------------------------
    In other words, the Lord clearly draws a line for us to use: A line that if it is crossed, identifies the way an individual is to be ministered to.

    For instance, if someone who says that they are saved, yet does not believe that “a worldwide flood, killed everyone that wasn’t in the Ark”; Or that “an example of every kind of animal was saved in the Ark”: This person isn’t truly saved.

    Or if this same person, does not have “the faith” to believe that Moses led the Children of Israel, across the “Red Sea” on "dry ground”: Than God has not given them “the faith” to trust Jesus for salvation.
     
  2. Deacon

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    You've started the list of things we must believe and do to be saved.

    Shall we add to it? Maybe only read the KJV?

    Christ simply asked us to turn from our darkness and follow him.
    He covets broken people.

    Rob
     
  3. Baptist Believer

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    What would a "sign of unbelief" look like? In a former church of which I was a member, disagreeing with something the pastor said was a sign that one denied the clear teachings of Jesus. Asking certain biblical questions of interpretation was a sign of backsliding. Not holding to a premileenial dispensational model of interpretation was seen as a rejection of the scriptures.

    Your interpretation of that passage doesn't seem that clear to me.

    Wait, you've jumped from believing the validity of the books ascribed to Moses to a very specific interpretation of the writing - claiming there is only one way to look at it and you happen to know the exact interpretation. That is similar to the foolishness that was going on in my former church family.

    Yeah, more of that interpretation business. What about those who believe that the Hebrew name "yam suph" refers to the "Sea of Reeds," not the "Red Sea?" Does that mean that they should be treated as a non-believer, hostile to the message of Jesus?
     
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  4. Baptist Believer

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    I just want to point out that claims to believe Moses do not necessarily lead to believing in Jesus. Jesus dealt all the time with people who claimed to believe Moses, yet they violently rejected Him:

    John 9:28-29 They heaped insults on him, saying, “You are his disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God has spoken to Moses! We do not know where this man (Jesus) comes from!”


    Moreover, it is quite likely that the Pharisees believed in a universal flood and the crossing of the Red Sea. If so, then why didn't they believe Jesus?
     
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  5. Internet Theologian

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    Hi stilllearning,

    First off, interesting topic. Now, where does Jesus say that believing Moses is the same kind of faith that enables a person to believe in Jesus? It's just not in the text at all, you're simply reading your beliefs into the text, unbeknownst to you, and believing it says this, or more importantly, you're saying Jesus said this. But He has not stated this at all.

    Your theory places eternal destiny upon a person according to whether or not they are able to believe. That is an unfortunate misnomer. So people are headed to hell simply because they just weren't able to believe?

    If the persons already possessed the same faith that caused them to believe in Moses then they already possessed faith, and should then by rule believe in Jesus as well. But they do not because faith is not merely a mental assent to Biblical facts.

    Then there is the redundancy 'faith enables faith'. This is virtually what you are saying.

    Biblically speaking faith is the gift of God; Romans 12:3; Philippians 1:29. Christ must do a work in a person for them to believe in Himself, note Matthew 11:25ff; Acts 16:14; Ephesians 2:1. This faith is the same power that raised the Christ of God from the dead, Ephesians 1:19, and no man has this faith inherently. Note also Romans 10:17, that is, that faith is external, coming from the Word of Christ, as all things good come from His Word, the creation of the worlds, man, creatures, so too does faith.
     
    #5 Internet Theologian, Apr 24, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
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  6. stilllearning

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    Hello Internet Theologian, and thanks for the response.

    You and I are closer(on this subject), than you may realize.

    First you asked......
    “Now, where does Jesus say that believing Moses is the same kind of faith that enables a person to believe in Jesus? It's just not in the text at all, you're simply reading your beliefs into the text, unbeknownst to you, and believing it says this, or more importantly, you're saying Jesus said this. But He has not stated this at all.”
    Where does Jesus say that believing Moses is the same kind of faith that enables a person to believe in Jesus?”


    Your right, He doesn’t say that. But He is dealing with some people who “think they are right with God”, because they “follow Moses”(when in fact they don’t). And in His great wisdom Jesus points out their unbelief, by highlighting the fact that they are also rejecting the writings of Moses.
    As for “reading my own beliefs into the text”, this is something that I take very seriously and would “much appreciate” you helping me to see this. Take all the time and space you need to explain how I am doing that, to this passage.
    ------------------------
    Next you said.....
    “Your theory places eternal destiny upon a person according to whether or not they are able to believe. That is an unfortunate misnomer. So people are headed to hell simply because they just weren't able to believe?”

    This is indeed unfortunate(from our point of view), but none the less, it is a fact....
    V.8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: V.9 Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

    I am reading this to say, that “faith”(the faith to get saved), is “not of ourselves”!
    Therefore this means that, “some people are headed to hell simply because they just weren't able to believe”. Sometimes I wish that people could “work up” the faith to believe(or I could work it up in them); Or even that salvation was possible by “simply giving people the right information”, but no one can be saved by “knowledge”!

    If you see this some other way, PLEASE let me know!
    ------------------------
    Then you said........
    “If the persons already possessed the same faith that caused them to believe in Moses then they already possessed faith, and should then by rule believe in Jesus as well. But they do not because faith is not merely a mental assent to Biblical facts.
    Then there is the redundancy 'faith enables faith'. This is virtually what you are saying.”


    Here you misunderstand my OP. I am not advocating(or setting apart), the facts stated by Moses, are any more special than what the rest of the Bible says. These are just some examples, of “events” that are recorded in God’s Word. And just like everything else in the Bible, they should be believed by Christians.

    Actually being “born again”(therefore receiving the Holy Spirit), is what opens up the Word of God to us and enables us to believe it. Not the other way around. It’s not that “faith enables faith”, but that being saved, makes you a believer!
    And the question being discussed, “is how much unbelief”, crosses the line and reveals that a person is actually rejecting Christ, like the Jews, Jesus was ministering to.
    ------------------------

    I anxiously await your responses.

    Have a great day!
     
  7. stilllearning

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    Hi Baptist Believer

    You asked......
    What would a "sign of unbelief" look like?

    This is a valid question. I would say that it would be “doubting” the validity, of Scripture.
    In your first paragraph, you bring up the subject of eschatology; This “might” not be a part of Scripture, that this question should be applied to. “Future things” seem to be fairly clear to me, but I am “still learning”.
    But, most of God’s Word is not like this; For example, the “account” of Jonah being swallowed by a big fish and living in it for 72 hours, before being spit out on the shore. This was an actual event that no true believer should doubt.(And yes I know that Moses didn’t write about it, but the writings of Moses was just an example, in my OP.)
    ------------------------
    Next you said........
    “Wait, you've jumped from believing the validity of the books ascribed to Moses to a very specific interpretation of the writing - claiming there is only one way to look at it and you happen to know the exact interpretation. That is similar to the foolishness that was going on in my former church family.”

    The “exact interpretation” of this event, seems crystal clear to me.
    What other “Biblical” interpretation, could their be of it?
    ------------------------
    You also said........
    “What about those who believe that the Hebrew name "yam suph" refers to the "Sea of Reeds," not the "Red Sea?" Does that mean that they should be treated as a non-believer, hostile to the message of Jesus?”

    Of course not: As long as the “Sea of Reeds” was deep enough to drowned the entire Egyptian army and that a path within it, was made “dry ground” for the million+ of God’s people to walk through it.

    Now I know, some people just can’t believe that this could happen! But it did.
    And the question of this thread, is can you “believe” that Jesus was born of a virgin and lived a perfect life and was killed on a cross and rose from the dead. Etc. Etc.
    And yet DOUBT, that God could accomplish the things the Bible records?
     
  8. Craigbythesea

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    The study, teaching, and application of the Scriptures as a pastor and as a teacher of the Scriptures has been my life’s work ever since my career change more than 20 years ago from being a research biologist. Nowhere in the Scriptures do we find any indication of any kind of the age of the earth. Moreover, nearly all Old Testament scholars researching and publishing today in peer-reviewed academic biblical journals on the Scriptures teach that Genesis 1-11 is a severely redacted collection of epic tales, sagas, myths, or legends. They teach this because the evidence supporting this view is so substantial that most of them would say that it is conclusive. Indeed, Genesis 1-11 is written in a genre of literature that is not found elsewhere in the Bible, a genre of literature markedly different from the historical narrative in which most of the rest of the Hextateuch is written.


    The fact that the flood did not occur proves that we have in Genesis an epic tale. The fact that the tower of Babble is a fictional story proves that we have in Genesis another epic tale. The fact that we have in Gen. 1-11 two differing creation stories proves that we have in Genesis two differing epic tales that have been edited into Genesis 1-11. What did the Book of Genesis read like before these stories were edited into it? We have no copies of Genesis that are early enough to answer that question.


    The Bible describes, in detail and in many places, the earth as being a disk covered by a dome. The Bible describes a world-wide flood through which eight humans and hundreds of thousands of land animals were kept alive by a big boat while pretending that hundreds of thousands of kinds of marine life survived without so much as a lifejacket! The Bible describes a world-wide flood through which eight humans and hundreds of thousands of land animals were kept alive by a big boat while pretending that the ecosystems necessary for the survival of the humans and animals after the flood remained in tact without so much as a single miracle. The Bible describes Nimrod and his people building a tower out of bricks held together by bitumen in the land of Shinar—a tower to be so tall that it would reach beyond the dome into heaven. God becomes so alarmed by this that He and unspecified other persons go down to the earth from heaven and make Nimrod’s people forget how to speak Hebrew but know how to speak languages that had hitherto not existed. The trouble was, of course, that each individual could now understand only one of these newly created languages. This was supposed to make building tall towers and doing grand things impossible when in fact it was not a significant hindrance. Why didn’t one of the persons that went down to the earth with God tell Him that the plan would not work and that in the future the tallest buildings would be built by men and women speaking a wide spectrum of languages but still finding ways to communicate with each other?

    Personally, I find it more than a little unsettling that some people believe that God was not allowed to communicate with us using epic tales, sagas, myths and/or legends. If God was not allowed to communicate in the manner that He chose to, was He really God?

    Isa. 40:22. It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
    who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
    and spreads them like a tent to live in; (NRSV)


    This verse does NOT say that the earth is a circle! It says that the LORD sits upon the circle of the earth—the dome over the flat earth that had, before the Genesis flood, separated the oceans from the mass of water above the dome:

    Gen. 6:6. And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
    7. So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so.
    8. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
    9. And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.
    10. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. (NRSV)


    Gen. 7:11. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.
    12. The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. (NRSV)

    Moreover, only a flat earth has four corners:


    Isa. 11:12. He will raise a signal for the nations,
    and will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
    and gather the dispersed of Judah
    from the four corners of the earth. (NRSV)


    Rev.7:1. After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree. (NRSV)

    The literal four corners of the earth in the Bible gave rise to today’s popular expression.

    Furthermore, Jesus was able to see all the kingdoms of the world from “a very high mountain.” This would have been impossible on a spherical earth:

    Matt. 4:8. Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; (NRSV)

    Notice that Matthew states that the mountain was “very high,” realizing that for Jesus to see over all of the mountains in the region, the mountain that Jesus was on would have to be very high! Obviously, Matthew rejected proof from science that the earth was spherical, and was faithful to the word of God in the Old Testament which expressly teaches that the earth is flat and covered with a dome.

    In Daniel 4:11, we read of a tree so tall that it could be seen from all over the flat earth,

    11. The tree grew great and strong,
    its top reached to heaven,
    and it was visible to the ends of the whole earth.


    In Job 38:22-23 we read of the storehouses of the snow, and the storehouses of hail, which God has reserved “for the time of trouble,”

    22. “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
    or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
    23. which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
    for the day of battle and war?”


    In these verses, God Himself is speaking to Job in the context of Hebrew cosmology:

    http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/gre13.htm

    Centuries before Christ, Greek scholars taught that the earth was a sphere, but first century Christians still believed in the ancient Hebrew cosmology of the Old Testament—and the New Testament reflects that point of view in Matt. 4:8 and Revelation 7:1. Unfortunately, Christians, with reinforcement from the New Testament, continued to believe that the earth was flat until the Middle Ages when they began to realize that in matters of science, science must be allowed to prevail. Today, over 99.99% of all Christians accept the proof from science that the earth is not flat, but spherical. Moreover, the very large majority of Christians today accept the proof from science that Kangaroos did not hop from Australia to Noah’s Ark, and that penguins did not fly there from Antarctica!


    The Bible in the inspired word of God, but it must be taken into account that the Bible is not a college text book—and it was never intended to be one. It was given to us to serve a spiritual purpose, and not to contradict the fact that the earth is 4.54 billion years old. For an excellent article from a Christian perspective, please see the following:


    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html
     
  9. Craigbythesea

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    Genesis 1:6. And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
    7. So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. (NRSV)


    I am a rock-solid conservative evangelical Christian; however if Genesis 1-11 is an accurate account of historical events, the earth was a flat disc covered by a dome that separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome (Gen. 1:7). Furthermore, if Genesis 1-11 is an accurate account of historical events, nearly all of the water that brought about the Genesis flood came from above the dome. Moreover, if Genesis 1-11 is an accurate account of historical events, after the end of the hundred and fifty days the flood waters returned (שׁוּב) from off the earth; and if Genesis 1-11 is an accurate account of historical events, the only place the waters had to go was back above the dome! On the basis of these facts from the Bible, I choose to believe that what is described in Genesis 1-11 is not an accurate account of historical events.

    Editorial note:

    The NRSV correctly translates the Hebrew word רָקִיעַ (râqı̂ya‛) as “dome.” The evidence for the correctness of this translation is found in the use of this word in ancient Hebrew literature. Based upon this usage, the Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament by Brown, Driver, and Briggs published by Oxford University gives us the following meaning of it in Gen. 1:7, “the vault of heaven, or ‘firmament,’ regarded by Hebrews as solid, and supporting ‘waters’ above it.” (p. 956)

    Moreover, John Skinner, the late Principal and Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature, Westminster College, Cambridge, writes on page 21 of his commentary on Genesis in the ICC series,

    6-8 Second Work: The Firmament.—The second fiat calls into existence a firmament, whose function is to divide the primeval waters into an upper and lower ocean, leaving a space between as the theater of further creative developments. The “firmament” is the dome of heaven, which to the ancients was no optical illusion, but a material structure, sometimes compared to an “upper chamber” (Ps. 104:12, Am 9:6) supported by “pillars” (Jb 26:11), and resembling in its surface a “molten mirror” (Jb 37:18). Above this are the heavenly waters, from which the rain descends through “windows” or “doors” (Gn 7:11, 8:2, 2 Ki 7:2, 19) opened and shut by God at His pleasure (Ps 78:23).
     
  10. Martin Marprelate

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    I do not believe that those arriving at the gates of heaven are required to sit a three hour written exam on their beliefs in order to enter.

    The one question will, I believe, be this: have you been trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in Him alone, to save you from the punishment that your sins deserve? Those who answer "yes" to this question will have evidence in their lives (Matthew 25:34ff; Revelation 20:12-13) to corroborate their answer as true faith will always lead to action (Hebrews 11:8 etc.).
     
  11. stilllearning

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    Good morning Martin Marprelate

    I was surprised to read your view of heaven as having “gates” and a “test”; When I truly believe that we both know, that all we should be expecting from heaven is open arms.

    But I think you know, that my OP has nothing to do with litmus tests, to determine if someone will be allowed in heaven or not.
    It has to do with a heartfelt concern, for souls.

    Because the Bible does say........ Matthew 7:21-23
    V.21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    V.22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    V.23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    ------------------------
    Many are going to leave this life, fully expecting to open their eyes in heaven, when they will instead, open their eyes in hell. Then later on, receive this explanation from the Lord.

    You and I both know, that we can not see into people’s(Baptists) hearts, in order to warn them of the future that awaits them. All we can do, is carefully and respectfully describe the “view” of this life, that a “believing heart” has.

    Neither one of us, has all the answers; But I believe we both have one thing in common. We care about people’s souls!
     
  12. stilllearning

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    Hello Craigbythesea, and thank you for your response.

    Normally, I would construct my response to such a long statement, by tackling one chapter at a time. But after reading your statement, I see that we are talking about more than a disagreement about a “young earth” or an “old earth”.

    As you probably know, my hermeneutical approach to Scripture is literal; Therefore I was very excited about 20 years ago, when the Lord pointed out to me, “documented proof” that the Earth is only about 6000 years old. And it was right under my nose, in Luke 3:23-38(the Lord’s genealogy, going from Joseph all the way back to Adam).
     
  13. Martin Marprelate

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    The New Jerusalem has 12 gates guarded by angels (Revelation 21:12), but they are never shut (v.25).
    However, my post was supposed to be humorous.
    You do well to have such a concern. "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, because many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able to" (Luke 13:24). The narrow gate, I believe is the gate of Repentance and Faith. We cannot bring our sins in with us to the kingdom of God.

    What I was trying (obviously very badly Frown) to say in my previous post is that I do not believe salvation is contingent on a certain degree of theological knowledge. For example, I am happy to discuss eschatology, but I believe that anyone who believes in a future physical return of Christ (Acts 1:11) will be saved, no matter how faulty his (or my!) views. What does worry me on this forum is the idea of the 'carnal Christian;' that someone can live like the devil yet still enter heaven if he has made some sort of profession of faith.
     
  14. Craigbythesea

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    I respect everyone’s right to believe that the earth is flat and covered with a dome that separates the waters from the waters, but my approach to the Scriptures is to study it in the original languages in the light of the diverse cultures in which it was written to learn what God has to say to us. However, I do not believe that those persons who ignore the diverse cultures in which the Scriptures were written but rather put a modern western spin on them will be denied entrance into heaven as a consequence. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that such persons’ eternal destiny is in jeopardy because in my ministry to atheists I have learned that nearly all of them had been strong believers in Christ and His gospel and were very active in their local fundamentalist church but subsequently learned that the earth is not flat in spite of what they thought the Bible teaches and lost their confidence in the Bible and came to the conclusion that it is nothing but the writings of foolish, superstitious men.

    The bottom line: Faith that is based upon a solid, academically defensible interpretation of the Bible in the light of the diverse cultures in which it was written is a rock that cannot be easily shaken. Faith that is based upon an imaginary 6,000 year old flat earth is not only easily shaken—it is easily shattered into pieces!
     
  15. TCassidy

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    And what do we call a "faith" that maliciously misrepresents what the bible teaches and what others believe?
     
  16. OnlyaSinner

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    Rev. 7:1 seems (to me) to be a euphemism for the full expanse of the earth, just as "four corners" is used today, especially since the "four winds" seem clearly to represent winds from the four cardinal directions. Citing the tree from Daniel 4 detracts from post #8's credibility for me. Why not add the silliness of 7 scrawny cows devouring 7 fat ones? Both represent the accurate (IMO) recounting of another person's dreams, not statements of fact.
     
  17. Baptist Believer

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    Thank you for that answer, but what does it mean?

    I appreciate that you are "still learning." I am too. Regarding eschatology, it seems simply enough to me too. Unfortunately, my simple eschatology is quite different than most other people's eschatology. :) The issue is not sincerity or depth of belief, but it is interpretation.

    It's interesting that you bring up this book of scripture...

    I don't get to preach that often since I am not in a pastorate and am heavily involved in the teaching ministry of my church, so when I get the privilege to do so, I carefully prepare and apply knowledge and skills that I did not have when I preached two to three times a week as a young man. Since my core preaching days, I have undertaken a career in writing (magazines and books) as well as communication and marketing. I make my professional career doing those things and study communication methods that are not necessarily in line with a typical Baptist sermon tradition. One of the things that comes up over and over in the non-religious communication texts is the power of stories. If you have a story to tell, it is much more compelling than a series of propositional truths or a logical argument. So when I look to the scriptures and the Spirit lays on my heart a story that is told in scripture, I want to present it as a story to the hearers first, before making any explicit application or propositions based on it.

    A few years ago, I had the opportunity to preach at a church about 40 miles to the west of my home and God had had me meditating on the truths in the Book of Jonah. When I was asked to be a replacement preacher for the pastor who had to be out for illness, it seemed right and proper to preach the Book of Jonah - the whole book. The night before I worked through the story as a writer/reader, practiced reading the story aloud and noting how to vocally punch important words, as well as smoothing out some rough edges on the translation so that it would sound right to the ear. I had spent so much time in the book over the previous weeks, I was able to tell the story with minimal notes, keeping quite a bit of eye contact with the hearers so that they could be connected to me. At several points, the hearers laughed at the humor in the story (Jonah being vomited out into the surf, the animals wearing sackcloth and ashes in repentance, "...and God provided a worm...", etc.), and I realized while I was telling it that I had never heard the story from a storyteller, and I was missing the humor of it with my dry reading. The power of the story was in the hearing and the humor, for it carried the truths of the story directly into the soul of the hearers.

    Looking back on that experience, I have begun to think that the Book of Jonah was not meant to be literal history based on clues in the story - the humorous elements and the animals dressed in sackcloth and ashes. That doesn't mean I "doubt" the story, any more than I "doubt" the parables of Jesus. If the story was literally true or just morally/spiritually true, it doesn't matter that much to me. Either way it is from God and I will still preach it the same way.

    Therefore, I don't think your example holds true.

    I think you have confused the belief in the ability for God to do things with a specific interpretation of certain passages.

    For the record, I do believe that Jesus was literally born of a virgin (in the sense that she had no sexual experience, not just the Old Testament meaning of "virgin"), that Jesus lived a sinless life (which is different from our modern conceptions of perfect), He was murdered by the Romans on a cross and was literally and bodily raised from the death into life again.

    But there are obviously many places where you and I will disagree and we can't use simple interpretations as a means of separating the sheep from the goats or the wheat from the tares.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    I think you will find that the reverse is true.
    It is those churches that teach the truths of Scripture clearly and confidently, including the historical parts, that are growing, while the liberal churches are haemorrhaging members at a prodigious rate.

    If I may add two brief personal reflections; I was raised in a non-Christian family in the 1960s and believed evolution and long ages without question. It was when I was reading to my two young daughters a book on dinosaurs which had a picture of a primeval fish walking out of the sea, that I suddenly realised the ridiculousness of evolution. I began to study the question and read about the Coelacanth, and learned that just about everything I had been told that 'proved' the age of the earth was wrong. That was a major part (humanly speaking) of my becoming a Christian.

    Two years ago I was on holiday in South Africa and visited a large cave which had loads of stalagmites and stalactites. The guide explained that the large ones were hundreds of millions of years old, and then he pointed to some tiny stalactites and said, "These babies are only 750 years old." A few days later I was in Capetown and went in a cable car up table Mountain. I happened to glance up, and there on the ceiling of the cable car were some tiny stalactites just the same size as the ones in the cave.

    The cable car was only five years old.
     
  19. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    The ancient Hebrew people believed that the earth was a flat disk covered by a dome that separated “the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome.” (Gen. 1:7). Today, however, the large majority of Christian evangelicals deny this fact because they do not like the implications of it. I have read and re-read their arguments, and their arguments manifest either an unfortunate ignorance of the facts, or a willful, deliberate rejection of the facts. Some of them go so far as to falsely claim that translation ‘dome’ in our Hebrew-English lexicons and commentaries on the Hebrew text of Genesis is based upon the translation of רָקִיעַ in the Latin Vulgate even though we have rock-solid proof that that is not the case. Moreover, their claim that the waters that were “above” the רָקִיעַ were the moisture in the earth’s atmosphere ignores the fact that the earth’s atmosphere, even at as high of a temperature of 150° F., could not hold even one millionth of the necessary water. Therefore, in order for the flood story to be true, the earth would necessarily have been flat and covered with a dome strong enough to hold the immense weight of the water.

    Furthermore, it is absurd (if not dishonest) for anyone to claim that they hold to a literal interpretation of the Bible while spiritualizing the “the windows of the heavens” (Genesis 7:11) and all of the many places in both the Old and New Testaments that describe the earth as flat rather than spherical.


    For the view of a conservative but learned evangelical Christian (he staunchly believes in the infallibility of Scripture) regarding the word רָקִיעַ as used in Genesis, please see the following,

    https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/te...s/text/articles-books/seely-firmament-wtj.htm

    I am not the one who is misrepresenting what the Bible teaches and what others believe!
     
    #19 Craigbythesea, Apr 26, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
  20. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    This is an undeniable fact. However, it is also an undeniable fact that Christian fundamentalists are very much more likely to abandon their faith altogether than are Christians who have been taught an academically defensible interpretation of the Bible. Indeed, I have personally encountered many of the former, but none of the latter!

    As a conservative, evangelical pastor and teacher who he staunchly believes in the infallibility of Scripture, I am frequently exposed to this kind of anecdotal evidence against the theory of evolution. However, before my career change, I was an evolutionary biologist and I am familiar with the massive evidence supporting the theory, and the so-called “evidence” against the theory. There are today over 3,000,000 scientists who have earned a Ph.D. (or an equivalent degree such as a Sc.D., D.Sc., S.D., D.S., or Dr.Sc.); and among these 3,000,000+ scientists, fewer than 30 have been identified by creationist organizations fighting against evolution as disbelieving in the theory of evolution, and even fewer have been identified by creationist organizations as believing that the earth is only about 10,000 years old—and everyone of these men and women is a fundamentalist Christian! Moreover, NONE of them has earned as much as a B.S. degree in evolutionary biology—or even taken a single college class in evolutionary biology (I have spent more that 20 years studying the backgrounds and education of these people). Furthermore, NONE of them wrote their doctoral dissertation on a subject relevant to the theory of evolution or the age of the earth! Therefore, NONE of them are competent to have an opinion on young earth creationism or the theory of evolution! What is more, NONE of them has earned so much as a B.A. degree in biblical studies or any other subject relevant to the Bible!

    However, among the scientists who believe in the theory of evolution and the fact that the earth is 4.54 billion years old, we find just the opposite! There is nothing, absolutely nothing, about the theory of evolution or the fact that the earth is 4.54 billion years old that in anyway whatsoever contradicts the Bible.
     

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