MOSC (Man of Strange Church): You can’t rely on the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount. That happened before the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection changed everything.
Billy: What about the book of Acts? Can we trust it?
MOSC: No, because that was an account of the apostles. They are all dead now.
Billy: So we can’t go to the Old Testament. We can’t use the gospels or the book of Acts. What are we left with that is reliable?
MOSC: We must get our teaching from the letters that the apostles wrote. That is where we get instructions for Christian life.
The above exchange is a paraphrased condensation from several actual discussions my friend Billy had with a man from a strange church. He would then come to me for advice on how best to answer the arguments brought up by the man, After several encounters, I advised Billy to stop meeting with the man since he was doing too great of violence to the scriptures to be taken seriously.
How do we decide what we should take from the Bible that is to be applied to us in the New Testament age? My mother had a saying that the best commentary on scripture is scripture itself. We can surely gain good instruction on how to use the Bible from the Bible.
First, we gain truth from all of the Bible, contrary to what the man from the strange church told Billy. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (1 Tim. 3:16).
When the Apostle Paul wrote this he was speaking primarily of the Old Testament. These scriptures were what he called “the oracles of God.”
Though all scripture is profitable, it is important to correctly understand its context and application in New Testament times since Jesus has fulfilled the requirements of the Old Testament law. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). The apostles in the early church gathered together to deal with the claim of some who were insisting on keeping Old Testament law. “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). Chapter 15 is important in understanding how this was debated and resolved.
Obviously, much of Old Testament law is no longer practiced by Christians. However, there is much to be gained from those scriptures which contain the history and the dealings of God with His people. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Cor. 10:11). We learn “ensamples” or “types” of how God deals with His people. What He did with them in various circumstances gives us a pattern of how He’ll deal with us in similar conditions.
We gain hope by seeing the Hand of God in the life of Israel. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). Of course the greatest hope is the promise and coming of the Messiah who came as promised, lived a sinless life, suffered on the cross, was buried, and rose again on the third day. The great hope revealed in Christ is that He died for our sins giving us promise of eternal life.
But there are strange teachings afoot about Jesus other than those put forth from the strange church Billy’s friend is from. Biologos, an organization dedicated to promoting evolution among believers, suggests that Jesus and the apostles were mistaken in their beliefs about creation and the flood. William Lane Craig, an apologist supposedly trying to hold people to belief in the deity of Christ said this: “Did God stoop so low in condescending to become a man that he took on such cognitive limitations that Jesus shared false beliefs typically held by other ordinary first century Jews?” These false beliefs being that the earth was created in six days and there was a literal worldwide flood in Noah’s day.
Craig would have us believe that Jesus so abandoned His deity that He had a kind of amnesia when it came to how He created the worlds! And yet it is Jesus who said “the scripture cannot be broken” and in his John 17 prayer asked that the glory He shared with the Father would be restored to Him. Jesus remembered the glory of creation “when all the sons of God shouted for joy.” What a strange thing to delete that from the mind of Him who knew all things!
Stranger still is the idea that Jesus was teaching false things concerning Noah and the beginning when He Himself declared that the reason He came was to bear witness of the truth. “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37).
What strange times we live in. Those in the world have abandoned any truth other than what they invent for themselves. They can invent their own gender and preference regardless of biology. And now the Christians are following suit, inventing falsehood as somehow a defense for the greater truth. There is no difference in the mind games that are played except the subjects under discussion. The person becomes the inventor and purveyor of his “truth” and it need not have any rational basis other than the wishes in the mind of the inventor.
One liberal commentator, in a moment of candor, said that if we can’t take the early chapters of Genesis at face value, then any rational biblical hermeneutic is hopeless. With these strange concepts being put forth about Christ and the Bible, we have come to the place where there is little rationality in the hermeneutics of many who claim to be teachers of the truth.
When Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me” He was telling the truth. He was not mistaken about any part of it. He was reliable then. He is reliable now. He will always and forever be reliable. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.”