What Are We To Do With Ants?

“If ants had a language they would, no doubt, call their anthill an artifact and describe the brick wall in its neighborhood as a natural object. Nature in fact would be for them all that was not ‘ant-made’.”

― C.S. Lewis, Studies in Words

The reason people cannot understand saving faith is because it is not man-made.  In their worldview faith has no proof (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faith) and belief in what cannot be proven cannot save precisely because their understanding is man-made (1 Corinthians 2:14) and they think the cross of Jesus Christ is man-made foolishness (Matthew 27:38-45). Like the ant and the brick wall, they think the unbelief is natural.  It takes the supernatural Builder to tear down the unbelief that they may believe the gospel (Mark 16:16), be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8) and have assurance there is a Creator of all things (Hebrews 11:1-3).

‘But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (Jude 1:17-23 ESV)

Inductive or Deductive Bible Study

It would seem to me that once an understanding of scripture is clear it becomes dogma.  At what point does the inductive approach cease to be valuable?

The test of the inductive spirit is whether one’s approach is characterized by radical openness to any conclusion required by the biblical evidence. This attitude is the inner dimension of the inductive approach, while any specific process that might be considered inductive is its outer expression and implementation.
The deductive spirit and the inductive spirit are mutually exclusive. The deductive spirit is dogmatic and authoritarian, absolute and categorical, characterized by a closed mind. It amounts to hermeneutical absolutism. It does not entertain the possibility of being in error and therefore is unwilling to change. It is not open to challenge or dissent. It is resistant to the discussion of differing views. It is often concerned with seeking supportive proof texts for a position already held. This dogmatic mentality is well expressed in the saying “My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.”

Bauer, D. R., & Traina, R. A. (2011). Inductive Bible Study: A Comprehensive Guide to the Practice of Hermeneutics (p. 18). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Is sex outside of marriage always sin?

Hi – this is my first post and I thought I’d post a thorny one straight up. Hope I don’t offend anyone unnecessarily but I think it’s important to be forthright sometimes.

It’s been on my mind recently that Jesus said to the Pharisees that they should ‘judge for yourself’. It seems to me part of growing up in Christ is – as Hebrews 5 says – wrestling with issues of right and wrong and developing the ‘sense’ of these things. Not everything can be reduced to a blanket rule.

The other side of these things is what is marriage? Does cohabitation along with commitment fulfill Genesis 1 where it says that ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.. ‘.

How does the fact that in many countries of the world people of the same sex can be ‘married’ affect things? Is it the case that John and Jim (gay couple) are not living in sin because they are married in the UK in 2014 but Derek and Samantha are (who are cohabiting)?

Washed and Rearranged

There are many Christians whose hearts have been washed by the blood of Christ but whose minds have not been rearranged by the truth of Christ.” – Dr. Sinclair Ferguson

Three questions:

  1. Is there any truth to this statement?  If yes, then…
  2. What is the rearranging?
  3. How does the rearranging occur?

Was Salvation My Choice?

… though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ro 9:11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

The scripture suggests that my acceptance of God’s promise of salvation was not my choice but God’s plan.  Did you chose to be saved?  Can anyone chose to be saved?  What causes someone to chose salvation?

Inspiration and Authority of Scripture

I’m reading “The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Volume1: Revelation and Inspiration” published in 1932. Dr Warfield wrote:

“In the whole history of the church there have been but two movements of thought, tending to a lower conception of the inspiration and authority of Scripture, which have attained sufficient proportions to bring them into view in an historical sketch.

(1) The first of these may be called the Rationalistic view. Its characteristic feature is an effort to distinguish between inspired and uninspired elements within the Scriptures… only the mysteries of the faith are inspired, i. e. things undiscoverable by unaided reason,—that the Bible is inspired only in matters of faith and practice,—and that the Bible is inspired only in its thoughts or concepts, not in its words.”…

“(2) The second of the lowered views of inspiration may be called the Mystical view. Its characteristic conception is that the Christian man has something within himself,—call it enlightened reason, spiritual insight, the Christian consciousness, the witness of the Spirit, or call it what you will,—to the test of which every “external revelation” is to be subjected, and according to the decision of which are the contents of the Bible to be valued.”

Why do you agree or disagree with Dr. Warfield’s assertion?  Which view, rational or mystical or both, do you subscribe to today and why?  Is there another view and what unique characteristics does it have?

The Bible: Inerrant, Infallible, or Something Else?

Addressing the issue of biblical inerrancy, John Goldingay in his book, Models for Interpretation of Scripture, writes this:

A stress on inerrancy cannot safeguard people from a slippery slope that carries them from abandoning inerrancy to an eventual reneging on all other Christian doctrines. Indeed, it more likely impels them toward such a slope. The claim that scripture is factually inerrant sets up misleading expectations regarding the precision of narratives and then requires such far-fetched defenses . . . that it presses people toward rejecting it.

Like me, I’m sure you’ve seen teenagers and young adults, raised in a biblicist evangelical home, leave the faith when their view of (among other things) the Bible is challenged.  If we hold that the Bible is inerrant, and then that is shown to be false, it can lead us to “renege” on other doctrines and perhaps the faith altogether — this is what I think Goldingay is suggesting.

Recently, I’ve become more and more uncomfortable with the word inerrant (and infallible) as a description for the Bible.  I don’t think this is because I’ve adopted a “lower” view of scripture, but feel free to suggest otherwise!

If you’re cool with “inerrant” as descriptive of the Bible, please discuss why in the comments.  If not, where can we go?  If we are to leave behind this central tenet of fundamental evangelicalism, where can we turn?  What is the Bible?  How do you describe it?

Were Adam and Eve literal?

Seems pretty questionable to me. After all, Adam, in Hebrew, simply means ‘mankind’, or, to be politically correct, ‘humankind’. Eve? Well, the septuigent renders her ‘name’ as Zoe which, in Greek, means ‘life’. Plus, we see that death was everywhere prior to the appearance of humankind in the archeaological record.

Maybe there is a higher spiritual truth being taught?

Certainly Paul believed in a literal Adam and Eve. Are we free to disagree with Paul?