Is the Holy Spirit a Liar? (Part 2)

Yesterday, I posted a debate I had on Facebook with those who claim that their personal “revelation” and “inspiration” can trump scripture, and that scripture is not the Word of God.

Existentialism

Existentialism or Scripture?

In that debate, Christopher Kirk, a longtime “organic” voice and blogger, finally made clear what he and many of the “old guard” in the organic/simple church community believe: “The bible is NOT the Word of God” and “God can tell you to go directly against scripture“.

The fellowships I’m part of are organic/simple churches. We are not big or flashy, but daily we see the transforming power of God as He works through everyone in dynamic functional community and open, participatory meetings.

Unlike the organic church “old guard”, we are growing, multiplying, and seeing folks move forth in authentic spiritual power. Many are coming to Christ, and their lives and whole communities are being transformed.

Why? Because we fully embrace a vibrant relationship with the Living Word, while submitting to the discipline and authority of His written Word.

Please, re-read that last sentence. Let it soak in. It is key to what God wants to do among His people today.

Vibrant Life and Authority

We have found a simply truth: By embracing both His life and His authority, we are able to reproduce life through the authority He then gives us.

With that authority, we are able to minister in ways that routinely break strongholds that otherwise keep individuals and communities in bondage.

It is a basic spiritual principle: Those seeking to exercise authority must be under authority.

To the Christian existentialists and postmodern apologists of our age, however, “authority” is a dirty word. Instead, they demand autonomy over God Himself by rejecting the authority and discipline of His written Word – while claiming the “Holy Spirit” told them so!

Really? Is the Holy Spirit a liar? Are they so special that He tells them some new, “deeper life” truth which is at odds with what He told Peter, John, James and Paul?

Do their self-proclaimed revelations trump what Jesus’ hand-picked Apostles wrote down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to create what we now call the New Testament?

Disastrous Fruit

By rejecting God’s authority as expressed in His written Word, is it any wonder that churches which embrace the existential autonomy of the “old guard” have been so stymied, anemic and insular? When you reserve the right to elevate your own opinions, perceptions, “deeper life” revelation and weird doctrines over scripture, you inevitably will bear bad fruit.

They lack authority to have real impact, because they have rejected God’s authority and borne false witness against the Holy Spirit Himself – by claiming He told them to do so.

Our churches, thank God, have rejected the existentialism that’s laid waste to vast segments of the organic church community, with its insular and anemic fellowships and stymied believers who remain trapped in their own sensibilities.

Open Debate

To insure an open debate on these critical issues, I respond below to Christopher Kirk’s blogs – which he posted after I debunked on Facebook his existential rejection of scripture as the word of God and his existential assertion that he has the right to claim personal revelation from the Holy Spirit which contradicts scripture. See Is the Holy Spirit a Liar? (Part 1).

A you will see, I refute his misuse of John 16, where Jesus told His twelve apostles that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth.

I think the Holy Spirit still speaks to us today, so I am not claiming that He only spoke to the twelve!

Regardless of how anyone thinks John 16 might apply today, my point is this: Takes great hubris to use that passage to now claim the authority to reject or contradict what the Holy Spirit said to Jesus’ hand-picked Apostles – whom Jesus specifically spoke to and commissioned in John 16 – and their resulting writings which became the New Testament.

To do so also is to call the Holy Spirit a liar.

Because Chris refused to post my responses to his blogs (he has the right – I’m not objecting to that), I am doing so here.

A Continuing Dialog

So here’s the dialog…

Christopher Kirk (I’m only quoting the relevant parts of his blog, but not the whole thing, with emphasis added):

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.”  John 16: 12-13

There we have it!  The definitive word, right from the mouth of Jesus Himself…. It is The Spirit that guides and leads us into all truth.  This is why I say that we must be Spirit led and NOT bible led.  Taking these words of Jesus into full account how can anyone say any different?

The Spirit is above the bible there is just no other way around that truth….

[T]he bible does not always lead us back to the truth of The Spirit….

So I choose to yield and submit to The Spirit’s leading in all things, biblical and not….

I refuse to follow or bow down to anything or anyone less than God Himself.  I choose direct revelation from The Spirit over and above secondary revelation from a book about Him on any day.

Me (my blocked response, with some minor additions and edits):

Let me be sure to understand this.

Those words you quoted from John 16 were spoken by Jesus to his hand picked apostles as he specifically commanded them to spread his message throughout the world – while also assured them that the Holy Spirit would help guide them into all truth.

They then went forth, proclaiming all that the Holy Spirit gave them to teach. They even put what the Holy Spirit told them into gospels, letters and epistles, which became the New Testament.

But you take that verse out of context, and perversely use it it to claim that what the Holy Spirit now tells you is superior to what He then told them.

In doing so, you reserve the right to claim higher, personal revelation that can contradict the specific apostolic fulfillment of those very specific verses, which resulted in the very specific gospels, letters and epistles of the New Testament, following a very specific commission to very specific men from Jesus Himself.

Do I have that right?

Furthermore, you say your new revelation is “direct” and superior to the revelation they received, recorded and handed down to us under under the authority they received from Jesus Himself – and what the Holy Spirit told them is now “secondary” to your own revelation.

Correct?

Sorry, Chris, but I think I’ll stick with what the Holy Spirit told Peter, John, James and Paul (as validated by Peter in 2 Pet. 3:16-17), rather any new “revelation” and “inspiration” you or your other existential buddies may claim to have received.

Finally, I want to be clear. The Holy Spirit still speaks to us today. Where I part from you is with your claim that what He says to you is superior to, and can be at odds with, what He’s already authoritatively revealed in scripture – in fulfillment of the very verses you now cite out of context.

Of course the Holy Spirit speaks to us personally and says many things even today, but He is NOT a liar: What He says today will never contradict what He has said in scripture – and all claims to the contrary must be submitted to and judged according to His external Word of scripture.

Kirk (posted after I unsuccessfully tried to post a response to his blog):

Jim Wright, why do you have to be so condescending? You come across as arrogant and smug. That does not help the conversation at all.

Me (my verbatim response, which was blocked):

I just saw this by someone else on Facebook, and had to laugh:

“Why is it that when I disagree with you, I am arrogant, stubborn, and full of pride, but when you disagree with me, you have revelation and have been taught by God?”

Postscript

The existential voices who have dominated the organic/simple church community in the West over the last ten years have derailed what should have been a mighty, transformative move of God.

It is time to reclaim what is authentic and Biblical, and reject the rest.

It is time to move forward with a full embrace of the Living Word, and the authority of His written Word.

It is time to repent, and turn away from the existential voices that have misled and ensnared us.

It is time to truly hear what the Holy Spirit has to say, and has said, and to stop calling Him a liar.

It is time to submit our sensibilities to scripture and become the people, and the Church, He wants.

Finally, it is time once again to come under God’s authority, including scripture, and thereby regain the authority and dynamic spiritual power needed to transform lives and whole communities.

Let it begin now. Let it start here.

~ Jim

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22 responses

  1. Pingback: Is the Holy Spirit a Liar? (Part 1) « Crossroad Junction

  2. Being trying to reach you through your cell just to find out how you are doing. I believe by the grace of God all is well.
    My regards
    Raydak.

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    • Raymond! Sorry I couldn’t take your calls. I was doing counseling or teaching each of the times you tried to reach me. I’ll try getting back to you. However, I’ve been doing much better. I’ll tell you more when I call.

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  3. Thinking in writing a bit, it may be helpful to discuss the subjective and objective processes by which we approach truth.

    In other words, I can arrive at subjective opinions about what the Bible says, but my thoughts can then be subjected to open criticism, refinement, and reformation as I dialog with other believers using Scripture as a basis.

    Whereas my subjective opinion about what the Spirit is directly telling me requires the same discerning process, but without Scripture lack a solid basis for such discernment.

    I could agree that I don’t understand Scripture perfectly. However unlike my thoughts or the whispers of Spirits Holy or otherwise the Bible is always there for further exploration and study.

    The Bible is God’s way of practicing transparency in government.

    Respecting the plenary authority of Scripture is an act of worship not of Scripture but of the Holy Spirit who wrote it and who chose that means of coming along side us to help us hear His voice.

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  4. I am not sure I agree with you that what Jesus said in John 16 is only for the 12 apostles. You can wipe away a lot of the bible’s teaching with this type of thinking. Would you also say the great commission was only for the 12 as well?

    I think scripture is very clear in that we are to live by the Spirit. We are never told to live by the book. The Spirit leads us into all truth when we live under the Spirit’s authority. It is the Spirit that makes the written word revelation to us in the present, and leading us towards truth through other means as well. The written word can be very dangerous when not encased in the Spirit’s Love. Men have quoted it while killing those who disagreed with them. Men have searched scripture and have not found Christ. So yes my focus is on the Spirit. Paul says,”live by the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh and he also says,”if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. It is the Spirit that manifests the fruits. We need that internal revelation to guide us daily or we just interpret the scripture to our own whims. So yes the Spirit is greater than the Bible. For further reading I would suggest Jim Fowler’s writing on Christianity is Not a Book-religion at http://www.christinyou.net/pages/Xnotbrel.html

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    • I did not say that John 16 was limited to the twelve apostles, but stated that the Holy Spirit does still speak to us today. However, I see how you might have misunderstood me. I added a few sentences to the blog to clarify that.

      Regardless of how you think John 16 applies today, my point is this: Those who use that passage to now claim the authority to reject or contradict what the Holy Spirit told those who Jesus specifically spoke to in John 16, and their resulting writings which became the New Testament, are guilty of great hubris and of calling the Holy Spirit a liar.

      On your other point, the Holy Spirit brings life, but that is not a prerequisite or a condition for scripture to be “the Word of God”. To say so is to confuse the nature of scripture (as His written Word), the efficacy of scripture (it becomes alive as the Holy Spirit moves on us through it) and the truth of scripture (it remains true in and of itself – independent of our response to it).

      Thus, the propositional truths of scripture stand independently true, in part because because they themselves are an expression the Holy Spirit bringing life – as the very God-breathed Word He inspired men (like those who he specifically spoke to in John 16) to record.

      I therefore reject the argument that some make (although I don’t think you go this far) that the truth or authority of scripture is dependent on or determined by our separate, subjective feelings of “inspiration”.

      I often am amazed at how the Holy Spirit speaks life through scripture. But even when I don’t experience that (and let’s be honest, sometimes we go through dry spells), scripture yet remains true and accessible.

      Finally, regardless of one’s views on the ongoing applicability of John 16, the Great Commission by its own terms continues today. Jesus framed that command in the context of Him being with us, as we fulfill it, “to the end of the age.”

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    • I want to separately comment on your linked article by Jim Fowler. He makes the classical mistake of all who hold to a Barthian view of scripture. He says all scripture points to Christ – which is true. But then he limits Christ to his very existential perceptions.

      Christ is both relational (as Fowler emphasizes), and also propositional. In scripture, we see not simply the relational aspects of Jesus, but also revelation about what is ultimately true, real and right – as expressions of His own nature and Lordship.

      To use the verse which says that all scripture points to Jesus, to then limit Jesus to some existential ideology, is a great perversion of who Jesus is.

      I accept and seek to submit to all of who He is – relational and propositional – as revealed in scripture.

      Fowler totally misses that point.

      In practical terms, I have found in my own life, and in the lives of those in the fellowships I’m involved with, that the Holy Spirit seems to take greater liberty in speaking to us personally when He knows we are submitted to the authority of what He’s already said in scripture. With that context, He knows we are less likely to misunderstand or misuse His personal words to us.

      I think this accounts for why we are seeing more life and vibrancy in those fellowships which embrace all of Jesus – which includes submitting to all that He reveals in scripture about His person, truth as He sovereignly defines it, reality as He created it, and morality as an expression of His very nature.

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  5. tho he may have been writing specifically about gnostic heresies creeping into the church, I still think John’s statement to “test every spirit” in his first epistle is a good cautionary note – i’ve been a Jesus-follower for 33 yrs and a psychologist for a lot longer than that, and my existential experience is that the little voice in our (my) thoughts which many often believe is the Holy Spirit is in fact our own flesh, our own wishful thinking or perhaps even that of a demon, and like satan it is even capable of quoting scripture or directing us to verses taken out of context that support our notions – Jeremiah had many unflattering things to say about our tendency to self-deception, specifically: “the heart is deceitful in all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” – i’m especially skeptical of any loosey-goosey feel-good thoughts i have that tend to ignore or run contrary to some of scripture’s “hard” teachings.

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  6. Well put… the “all truth” included the revelation to the disciples as well as revelation to those of later days, but, as you say, He doesn’t contradict Himself. I apply that same principle to understanding of Old Testament revelation as well… what God said to people in their day in context and in the context of their culture should mean the same thing to us in our culture today. I reject the interpretation method that believes hidden truths are embedded in verses waiting to be mined by those of us with special knowledge (gnostics)! Yes, the Holy Spirit may use a verse out of context to speak a rhema word into an individual’s life, for that individual, for that moment, but that special word is not to re-define the meaning of the passage any more than Gideon’s fleece was meant to define how God reveals His will!

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  7. Just observing….
    If the Bible is indeed “the final authority” on all things God, then why is it that:

    Jesus never held a single “bible study”? That He himself never once directly admonished His disciples to “study the scriptures”? That He actually upbraided the Scribes and Pharisees for looking for the “Messiah” they claimed to desire IN THEIR SCRIPTURES?

    That Jesus never once told his disciples to carry a copy of the scriptures around, or carefully copy them down to share with others?

    That there is no direct, clear, plain reference or prophecy that fortells the writing of “another, (better?) book” by which we are supposed to live, move and have our being?

    Why is it, if the bible is a living, breathing thing, that we have over 22,000 different denominations claiming that this book “says” this, or “means” that, and all of them contradict each other in some point, (many of them not just slightly in matters of small importance, but some downright in full contradiction of each other)?

    That we have more “schools of interpretation” with logical and analytical “methods” and “rules” (hermeneutics, exegesis, etc.) for “properly interpreting” this book. Even more, that methods and systems and schools of thought are never mentioned as the means by which we would be “guided” into all truth?

    Why is it, that despite the many and numerous ERRORS found in the translations and transliterations, that people keep insisting that the book is “without error, infallible, and complete”?

    Why does the “King James Version only” crowd claim it is the ONLY bible that God “authorized”, when it has only been around for a few hundred years?

    Why in the last couple of hundred years does the (newer) KJV NOT contain the apocryphal books that it ORIGINALLY contained?

    Why is it that during the canonization process of the bible, if all of the men involved in that process were truly “led by the Spirit”, that they fought almost to the death over what was inspired scripture/books, and what was not? Even then, the “vote” wasn’t unanimous, or even close, but just barely “approved” by a slim majority?
    Why is it that the scriptures which PROVE that Jesus INTENTIONALLY did NOT reveal the meaning of His parables to those masses that followed him, and then proceeded to expound to ONLY His closest disciples the TRUE MEANING of His sayings, IN PRIVATE, are dismissed and ignored by today’s theologians? (These men say that if you learn the rules of interpretation, then you will know what the scriptures “mean” by what they say).

    I’ll tell you why. Because if you can put fear and dependence on other men into the hearts of men, you can create just enough doubt in their ability to HEAR GOD FOR THEMSELVES, and THIS you can use as a tool to LORD OVER THEM. This creates perpetually faithless, fearful, unbelieving “converts” without turning them in to mature DISCIPLES who will go out and “father” families of their own, instead of adding to your own little kingdom.

    The popish “system” is alive and well in protestant Christianity which elevates a book ABOUT the man over the Man of the book, the same way that Catholicism elevates one human man to the status of “Christ on earth” in direct opposition to Christ IN and THROUGH his (corporate) body in the earth.

    But the bible is actually prophesied about all through the bible itself….but not in the way anyone expects.
    If one can answer the question of why Christians will be willingly worshipping “idols” made of “wood and stone”, that are said to “speak” but not be able to hear, they will know the truth.

    Hint….here is a question to ask yourself.

    What is paper made out of?

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    • Debi, I see you posted a link to this comment on Christopher Kirk’s blog, where he says I’m a liar – after telling me I can not post any response.

      Here’s the response I was denied, dealing with Honesty: http://crossroadjunction.com/2013/04/12/honesty/.

      As to your points, Debi, Peter also confronted the fact that some abuse scripture. Yet he did not react by discounting or dismissing scripture, but affirmed all scripture by saying “there are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” 2 Pet. 3:16.

      I stand with Peter, and not the voices of existential angst over the idea of submitting to the external authority of God’s written Word.

      Sorry, but the issues you raise are not new. They existed even in the New Testament, and we are given wise guidance on how to approach them.

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    • debi elmore fields: yes!!!! been sayin th same thang fa years bc this is what th Lord revealed to me too…but it will always fall on deaf ears until the Lord open those deaf ears and it will always be refuted bc the harlot church cant exist without slaves, slave labor and financing…and adam will go to many lengths, even ridiculous ones, to continue the begets that we see in the OT, where the cities and inventions and skills exalt flesh and not Christ and be makin a name fa theyself same wit babylon…adam reproduces after his kind just like tha animals and plants…and not after Christ…only God reproduces Christ…

      i dont see it as shameful that ppl continue to worship the bible and judge all thangs by their puny (mis)understanding of Scripture (which testifies of Christ, according to Christ)…i see it as th difference between sheep and goats, living and dead, saved and unsaved, clean and leprous…those who refuse to hear the Lord as they did when they came out wit moses (at the foot of the mountain…in meribah?) are already condemned and they dont have the words of life…

      the Lord Himself takes me thru scripture and reveals Himself IN me, as He do wit all of His, and without His leading im not tryna read it fa myself…all the false doctrines come from ppl who understand english read english parse sentences and string stuff together by th adamic mind and its amazing to me that in all that God say about flesh not glorying in His presence, that they dont see how strong and reprobate th natural mind is…

      only th Lord can heal the blind to make witnesses and open deaf ears to hear Him…everyone else gonna do what is common to man…make it up as they go along…and use someone else’s revelation (what th bible actually is) to make into stone what actually is th Word of Life…and LIFE is not stone…i mean…even the word bible actually means book…not holy, not God…and only God is holy…not any book…

      -g-

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    • Hi Debi:

      I am going to all this trouble to respond to your very many questions and statements because I liked your reasoning mind and also so that others who have similar thoughts to yours can have a response to consider.

      Debi Elmore Fields says:
      April 12, 2013 at 8:18 am

      Debi: If the Bible is indeed “the final authority” on all things God, then why is it that: Jesus never held a single “bible study”? That He himself never once directly admonished His disciples to “study the scriptures”? That He actually upbraided the Scribes and Pharisees for looking for the “Messiah” they claimed to desire IN THEIR SCRIPTURES?

      ROB: The Jews all knew the Scriptures to some or other degree. The average man had a reasonable grasp of them and Jesus clearly knew them enough as He often referred to them without carrying the texts around. In Luke 24:32 we have an example of a Jesus Bible study: “Then they said to each other, “Our hearts kept burning within us as he was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us, didn’t they?”

      The passage that I think you are referring to is in John 5:39-40. Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” Here Jesus is not speaking against the use of Scripture, but against the misuse of it. He is speaking against their idea of thinking that it was in the reading and keeping of the Scriptures that they had eternal life. They missed that the Scriptures were pointing to their need for a Savior and salvation by grace in order to gain eternal life.

      In Mark 7:13, Jesus speaks of the Scriptures as the word of God when He says, “You are destroying the word of God through your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other things like that.”

      Also, Jesus implied by the following that He read the Scriptures and that understanding the Scriptures was important:

      - Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:…” Mat 21:42.

      - And, “But Jesus answered them, ‘You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God’” Mat 22:29.

      Debi: That Jesus never once told his disciples to carry a copy of the scriptures around, or carefully copy them down to share with others?

      ROB: They were read and were taught the scriptures as part of their culture as the Scriptures above show. Jesus referred to the Scriptures as though they had authority. Consider, Luke 24:44, for example: “Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

      The Apostles teaching that the early church followed has essentially continued on to us because God had them write the Gospels and letters.

      Debi: That there is no direct, clear, plain reference or prophecy that fortells the writing of “another, (better?) book” by which we are supposed to live, move and have our being?

      ROB: The books in Old Testament Scriptures were selected and added to over time. The first books were written some 1400 years before Christ and the last book was written approx. 400 years before Christ. Similarly, the books of the New Testament were written over time, although a much shorter period of less than 70 years. It then took then a much longer time to have agreement on which they recognized as inspired. During the wait the books that were omitted or disputed were available to be read so it was hardly a train smash that the process took time. The requirements for inclusion as Scripture were on the basis of “if in doubt throw it out”.

      Peter refers to Paul’s writing as Scripture on the same level as the Old Testament scripture when he says, “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2Pe 3:15 -16). It was not another book, but rather a case of the Scriptures were not yet complete.

      The Old Testament library of books increased over time to the library Jesus had, but clearly God wasn’t finished with the library of Scripture. We are blessed to have the Apostles teaching, to which the early church devoted themselves, passed down to us as a result. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Act 2:42). The New Testament books were each written with a purpose to communicate about Jesus and the kingdom of God (Gospels, Acts, The Revelation), to deal with issues, including false teaching, with corrective teaching (the letters, The Revelation). Most were written by the Apostles themselves, while others were written by their personal co-workers.

      Debi: Why is it, if the bible is a living, breathing thing, that we have over 22,000 different denominations claiming that this book “says” this, or “means” that, and all of them contradict each other in some point, (many of them not just slightly in matters of small importance, but some downright in full contradiction of each other)?

      ROB: I also get frustrated by this, but we cannot let man’s misuse of Scripture make us decide about its value and nature. Jesus divided people’s opinions too, but this does not make us reject Him. Think of the consensus that we do have because of the Bible. Imagine how much worse of we would be without the Scriptures.

      Debi: That we have more “schools of interpretation” with logical and analytical “methods” and “rules” (hermeneutics, exegesis, etc.) for “properly interpreting” this book. Even more, that methods and systems and schools of thought are never mentioned as the means by which we would be “guided” into all truth

      ROB: Perhaps you should do one of these schools. I recommend finding one that teaches you how to study the Scripture for yourself.

      Debi: Why is it, that despite the many and numerous ERRORS found in the translations and transliterations, that people keep insisting that the book is “without error, infallible, and complete”?

      ROB: It’s the original writings, often called autographs, which are said to be infallible (without error). While we don’t have these, the copies and translations of the Bible tell us of this infallibility:

      - “All scripture is inspired by God (God-breathed’” (2 Tim 3:16).

      - “Men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21).

      - “First of all, you must understand this: No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation”( 2 Peter 1:20).

      - “…because no prophecy ever originated through a human decision. Instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

      Good translations have very minor variances, although cultural tampering has occurred, including the King James Version. But, it’s precisely because of the neglect of studying God’s word that some of these crept in.

      Debi: Why does the “King James Version only” crowd claim it is the ONLY bible that God “authorized”, when it has only been around for a few hundred years?

      ROB: Good question!

      Debi: Why in the last couple of hundred years does the (newer) KJV NOT contain the apocryphal books that it ORIGINALLY contained?

      ROB: If a Protestant publication includes the apocryphal books they are for supplementary reading. They were not considered to be part of the Hebrew Canon.

      Debi: Why is it that during the canonization process of the bible, if all of the men involved in that process were truly “led by the Spirit”, that they fought almost to the death over what was inspired scripture/books, and what was not? Even then, the “vote” wasn’t unanimous, or even close, but just barely “approved” by a slim majority?

      ROB: Paul and Barnabus were both Spirit filled men who had a huge argument with each other at one time. Similarly, those who were involved with the process were still humans who only saw in part. It makes sense that such a process took time. It obviously meant a lot to people that they got it right. I cannot defend how they might have acted though.

      Debi: Why is it that the scriptures which PROVE that Jesus INTENTIONALLY did NOT reveal the meaning of His parables to those masses that followed him, and then proceeded to expound to ONLY His closest disciples the TRUE MEANING of His sayings, IN PRIVATE, are dismissed and ignored by today’s theologians? (These men say that if you learn the rules of interpretation, then you will know what the scriptures “mean” by what they say).

      ROB: From Jesus’ comment in Mark 4:10-12 people have assumed that parables are difficult to understand. However, when Jesus told his parables, it is evident that in most cases the listeners understood them due to their reaction to the parable and its obvious intent. For example in Luke 10:25-27, the Good Samaritan was addressed to a Lawyer in response to his specific question.

      Perhaps Jesus’ statement in Mark 4:10-12 can be seen as a statement concerning peoples’ hearts, for the same passage, from Isaiah 6:9, is also quoted elsewhere and seem to illustrate a person’s consistent hard heart rather than the fact that God does not want them to see. In other words Jesus is saying to his disciples, that they understand the mystery of the secret of the Kingdom, but to those who will not receive it; it remains a riddle to them.

      Debi: I’ll tell you why. Because if you can put fear and dependence on other men into the hearts of men, you can create just enough doubt in their ability to HEAR GOD FOR THEMSELVES, and THIS you can use as a tool to LORD OVER THEM. This creates perpetually faithless, fearful, unbelieving “converts” without turning them in to mature DISCIPLES who will go out and “father” families of their own, instead of adding to your own little kingdom.

      The popish “system” is alive and well in protestant Christianity which elevates a book ABOUT the man over the Man of the book, the same way that Catholicism elevates one human man to the status of “Christ on earth” in direct opposition to Christ IN and THROUGH his (corporate) body in the earth.

      But the bible is actually prophesied about all through the bible itself….but not in the way anyone expects.
      If one can answer the question of why Christians will be willingly worshipping “idols” made of “wood and stone”, that are said to “speak” but not be able to hear, they will know the truth.

      ROB: We do have problems with the abuse Scripture, but that doesn’t make the Scriptures any less than the word of God, “ …breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2Ti 3:16).

      Debi: Hint….here is a question to ask yourself.

      What is paper made out of?

      ROB: We do not worship the material that the words of God are written down on any more than we do not worship Mary who carried Jesus, or the donkey that carried Him or the sound waves that carried His words or the Apostles who memorized them. However, we are in awe of the words in the Bible, recognizing that God is speaking to us through them.

      Why, because it is written down, do you doubt the Bible to be God’s words? Paper is simply the medium that has been exchanged instead of scrolls which were exchanged instead of human memory.

      The Jews, including Jesus had the Old Testament that they recognized as Divine without any prophecy speaking beforehand of its existence. And we have some additional books that were recognized as Scripture by the same method without being forewarned of there existence. The test of time and the much debate over only few of the books, allowed those that we have to stand.

      It’s important to note that the church didn’t create the canon (officially accepted list of books). Instead, the church recognized or discovered which books had been inspired from their inception. That is, God gives the book its divine authority, not the people of God, they merely recognize the divine authority which God gives to it.

      Here are 5 principles that appear to have helped the church determine which books are to be included as Scripture.

      1. Was the book written by a prophet of God?
      2. Was the writer confirmed by acts of God?
      3. Did the message tell the truth about God?
      4. Does it come with the power of God?
      5. Was it accepted by the people of God? (As Peter accepted Paul’s writing as Scripture.)

      (Not all were necessary for each book.)

      Each book needs to be personally recognized as God’s word to have value to the reader. And, if you read them prayerfully, they might just be revealed to you too as God’s word.

      Rob

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    • “Why does the “King James Version only” crowd claim it is the ONLY bible that God “authorized”, when it has only been around for a few hundred years?”

      Propaganda on their part, as well as ignorance of history. It wasn’t God who “authorized” the KJV, it was the Church of England that authorized it to be the official Bible of the state church.

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      • No one here – least of all me – has ever promoted “King James Version only” or made any such claims about that translation. In fact, I seldom use that translation any more. Please, let’s stay on topic.

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  8. Hi Jim,

    It is a real concern how we as God’s people are all over the place with this topic and I’m glad that you are getting us to engage with it.

    Concerning The Bible, “All scripture is God-breathed” (2Ti 3:16) and as you mentioned, Peter refers to Paul’s writing as Scripture. So, clearly, both before and after Jesus and the coming of The Holy Spirit, God intentionally put together a portion of His communication to us as a written revelation to exist alongside His other forms of communication to us. Being written doesn’t make it lose life; it simply puts certain essential communication in a more secure format to be a safeguard for our faith against subjective or external interferences.

    In Act 17:11, we have an example of how this worked: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so”. Examining the Scriptures was a way of testing things said against what was considered the secure written revelation from God.

    Rob

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  9. Pingback: Honesty « Crossroad Junction

  10. Hi Jim,

    Please can you edit the top of my response to Debi to be more clearly a reponse to her comment with something like “Hi Debi”

    Also, I hope you don’t mind my long response to her. I wanted to give input to the debate as Debi’s thoughts resonated with similar thoughts that I had previously held.

    Rob

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    • I added your edit, and it’s not a problem with the long response. I very much appreciate it. Frankly, I sometimes just get weary responding to the same stuff over and over, and it’s great to have some fresh input. Thanks for taking the time to write that.

      It might be worth turning that into a blog for your own site.

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  11. Pingback: Is the Holy Spirit a Liar? (Part 3) « Crossroad Junction

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