Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Infallible Interpretations

Why do so many people have different interpretations of the Bible? Does this mean that "Sola Scriptura" is a false, and misleading position for Christians to embrace? Do we need to allow an infallible man or an infallible authority to proclaim the final interpretation and official teaching of God's Word?

When Christ preaching the Gospel of the kingdom to Israel, He faced numerous factions within the Judaism of his day. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and others held to different views about different things. No doubt they must have believed that they were interpreting the Word of God soundly, and that others were less reliable. Yet Jesus rejected their teachings as the "traditions of men". It seems there is a difficulty in holding to the highest view of the Word, and yet truly submitting to it's teaching. Human tradition gets in the way.

For those Roman Catholics, and especially for those evangelicals who are considering Catholicism as being biblical, some things need to be remembered. First, the authority is God Himself-period. All authority comes from Him. Second, his Scriptures are God-breathed. The Words of the Bible originate with God with the end result that they are "inspired" Words. Being so, that makes their authority "self-imposing" on the people of God.

The apostles recognized Paul's writings as "wisdom from God" and Scriptures, because they knew that Paul alone could not conceive of the things which he wrote to the churches. The Words of God, not the apostles are inspired. Such spiritual wisdom and power demanded submission and recognition of the inherent authority of God's Word.

This is why no Pope, no Bishop or "Magisterium", no scholar, etc., can be trusted to infallibly interpret the Bible. There is no "infallible" man, but there is an infallible Word of God.

So how then can we know what the Bible says? The one thing to remember is that God is not the author of confusion, and that we must allow the Word to speak for itself. That is, to interpret by context and proper exegesis what God has said. We know what God has said. There are some hard things. However, we should not go beyond Scripture in trying to explain the hard truths.

Nor does Sola Scriptura preclude the use of histories, language references and other sources of knowledge. In the end, we must work by the grace of the Lord, to put to death those sinful human tendencies to insert our pet human traditions into the Word, and to naively assume that we are teaching God's Word.

And to this, I am reminded of those "noble Bereans" who searched their own Scriptures diligently to test what they were being taught. It seems that Paul did not have infallibilty to speak of as an apostle of Christ. Nor did Peter, who we are told was the first Pope. It seems the first "Pope" found some of Paul's writings hard to understand, and that he erred more than once.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Bloodline Myth...Again

Bloodline, follows the elaborate story of legendary relics buried by the medieval Templar Knights, near the end of the Crusades. Allegedly, these include a mummified body, a cup, and an anointing jar, among other things, which supposedly date to the first century Jerusalem.

Spinning a web of intrigue, the story sets out to discover if this is all evidence fits into an alleged marital relationship between Jesus of Nazareth and Mary Magdalene. Utilizing DNA evidence, radiometric dating, and other scientific evidence, supposedly the filmmakers make some controversial discoveries.

How are Christians to respond to these things? It can seem overwhelming to encounter the many theories, legends, and lines of evidence offered as "proof" that Jesus never rose from the dead, that he and Mary were married, and may have had children, etc. Such blasphemies are most plausible for a generation of agnostics and liberals who see no problem disregarding truth, for whatever may support their foregone conclusions about Jesus.

At the root of these theories is a worldview, that allows for a historical revision of the New Testament. Liberal theories work on the premise of an anti-supernatural bias, and man-centered view of history. The Christian worldview operates on Truth,the objective truth of God, eternal and absolute.

Going back to the apostles who knew Jesus, we have eyewitness accounts of Jesus of Nazareth. Unlike the producers of Bloodline, the apostles did not follow clever myths and legends. It is certain that Jesus was crucified, as the Gospels attest, and that he was buried and resurrected bodily from the tomb. There is no "DNA" evidence of Jesus around because he never married, and he certainly never remained in the tomb as a corpse.

A denial of the Person and work of Jesus, is always at the heart of false views of Christ, and it is the final authority, the irrefutable truth of the Word that stands fast and endures after all the ridiculous theories have passed on, only to make way for the next fad in the lucrative anti-Christian entertainment market.