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wayneman
Member



Joined: 2009/1/24
Posts: 454
Michigan

 THE WORD OF GOD

Since I have long suspected that, judging by the fruits (Matt. 7:16-20), there must be some fundamental flaw in modern evangelical theology, I am always open to new heresies. So I listened intently as a friend explained how everything we had been taught about sanctification was wrong, and that he had discovered the key to the victorious Christian life. But when I cited several scriptures that contradicted his new doctrine, he simply explained them away or turned them around to mean the exact opposite of what they said. When I quoted a verse that flatly refuted his theology, he explained that the inspired writer was employing sarcasm. Wow, I thought, what a neat trick! Sarcasm: saying the opposite of what you mean. If a shortstop overthrows first base, a heckler says, "Nice toss dude!" And that's sarcasm. So if the Bible says the opposite of what you want it to say, you just assume the writer is being sarcastic!

I was seized with a sense of panic, suddenly realizing that the Bible has no authority! It is a helpless book, completely at the mercy of its interpreters. Every cultist, false teacher and charlatan can make it say whatever they want it to say, and if sinful man can twist the Bible any which way to suit his purposes, even evil purposes, how can the Bible be the Word of God? How could God lose sovereignty over his own Word? These questions threw me into a crisis of faith. After a brief excursion through the field of Christian apologetics--which begins with the proposition that there is a rational basis for faith and ends in an abyss of lunatic logic--a learned friend recommended the works of Karl Barth, in which I found a satisfactory explanation of the Bible's self-evident authority for all who believe, despite the fact that it is so easily misused and abused. It makes more sense than anything I've heard in orthodox circles, so I'll submit it for your consideration. Barth's interpretation of the Word of God is so abstruse it requires interpretation itself, so here is mine:

The Bible is not synonymous with the Word of God; the Bible contains the Word of God in the same way that the body contains the spirit. And just like a body without a spirit is a dead corpse, so the Bible apart from the quickening of the Holy Spirit is the dead letter. The Bible only becomes the Word of God when the Spirit illuminates it to our understanding. The Word of God is not a static deposit of truth that Deity has handed over in the form of a book which man can manipulate and control; the Word of God is an ongoing event, the event of God speaking to us through the Bible. "The Word of God is not an object we can control, it is a Subject which acts upon and controls us."

But does this not leave us adrift on a sea of subjectivism? No, because theology has always been adrift on a sea of subjectivism. Even bibliolatry is a form of subjectivism, as evidenced by the endless warfare between rival sects of bibliolaters, all using the Bible as their weapon.

Even Calvin, the farthest thing from a mystic, believed it is foolish to try and establish the authority of Scripture by logical argumentation, since divine truth can only be apprehended by direct revelation. "The same Spirit, therefore, who spoke by the mouth of the prophets, must penetrate our hearts, in order to convince us that they faithfully delivered the message with which they were divinely entrusted... Scripture, carrying its own evidence along with it, deigns not to submit to proofs and arguments, but owes the full conviction with which we ought to receive it to the testimony of the Spirit."

Is this not confirmed in your own experience? When you were unregenerate, the Bible was a closed book, largely incomprehensible. Once you believed unto salvation and became a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), you discovered a new Bible: alive, quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. Heb. 4:12

"But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away." 2 Cor. 3:14-16

The Sadducees knew their Scriptures, but Jesus said, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God." Matt. 12:29

To the Pharisees: "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me that ye may have life." John 5:39-40

To the disciples: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things." John 14:26 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." John 16:13

"But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." I John 2:27


_________________
Wayne Kraus

 2009/3/21 13:57Profile









 Re: "THE WORD OF GOD"

Good thoughts Brother Wayne.

This is just one of my favorite messages on The WORD of GOD - http://www.bibleviews.com/savior-scripture.html


About a year ago or more - the Emergent crowd threw out the necessity of Sola Scriptura.

At the same time - I noticed most especially last year and even the more this year - that a new "movement" has come upon us that uses literally tons of Scripture, but they are out of context - to where they are making these heresies so believable, that if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived.
They teach that Jesus was created when creation was.
They teach the "man-child" doctrine - of the manchild not being Christ but some elite group of Christians.
They make "dreams, visions, and prophecies" equivalent to GOD'S WORD and open the door to every manifestation being from GOD without being tested by His Word or The Spirit.
It's a literal free-for-all out there now - with use of phenomena and with the use of the Scriptures in a way I've never seen in my life.
I was critiquing one of these fellows and the amount of Scripture he uses is over-whelming - I can see where or why Jesus gave so many warnings.

This is an important topic Bro Wayne and I'm thankful you've raised it.

GOD help us to stay as little children in our dependency on HIM - until He comes.

 2009/3/21 16:14
run2win
Member



Joined: 2009/2/1
Posts: 164
USA

 Re: THE WORD OF GOD

Dear Wayneman,

This is a great topic, and your points were well expressed as you attempted to simplify the writing of Karl Barth. Now I'm not one who likes to jump in and stir the pot. However, I'm not certain that I understand what Barth is saying in the excerpt below. I've never read Barth myself, and know nothing of him, but this seems to contradict what I know of what scripture says about the Word of God:

Quote:

"The Bible is not synonymous with the Word of God; the Bible contains the Word of God in the same way that the body contains the spirit. And just like a body without a spirit is a dead corpse, so the Bible apart from the quickening of the Holy Spirit is the dead letter."

First of all, how can Barth state that the Bible and the Word of God are not synonymous? What are they if they are not synonymous? I believe Barth is out of bounds on this one.

Secondly, this likens the Bible to a casket full of dead words that are raised to life in the same way that the sinner is raised to walk in newness of life when he is born of God. This concept is strange to me. I cannot accept it.

I have to go by what the Word speaks of itself in Heb4:12. The Word of God does not come to life from a state of deadness--it IS living and active, and powerful--although it might appear to suddenly spring to life to those who are born of the Spirit as they come out of darkness into light. It's just that such a person could not see it or perceive it, because they were spiritually blind: dead in their trespasses and sins.

Just as the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, this is merely a matter of their perception--the message and reality of the cross never changes.

What do you think?

Grace and peace,
R2W

 2009/3/23 1:49Profile
wayneman
Member



Joined: 2009/1/24
Posts: 454
Michigan

 Re:

Quote:

run2win wrote:

I have to go by what the Word speaks of itself in Heb4:12. The Word of God does not come to life from a state of deadness--it IS living and active, and powerful--although it might appear to suddenly spring to life to those who are born of the Spirit as they come out of darkness into light. It's just that such a person could not see it or perceive it, because they were spiritually blind: dead in their trespasses and sins.

Just as the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, this is merely a matter of their perception--the message and reality of the cross never changes.

What do you think?



I think Barth himself would say Amen to this. He was sometimes called the Apostle of Paradox because he was a Reformationist hardliner but he wrote to an audience for whom existentialism was all the rage, so he violently yanks the reader back and forth between the human viewpoint and the Divine viewpoint. (His commentary on Romans is a wild ride!) My summary took only one side of the issue: from the standpoint of human experience, the Bible is a valley of dry bones until the Spirit breathes life into it. On the Divine side--which should also be the believer's perspective--the written Word and the eternal Word are the same.

Anyway, I'm not trying to market Barth. His theology is really just a reiteration of Luther's, and Luther is easier to read. But I owe him a debt of gratitude for answering the question that came over me as I listened to a false teacher spin the Holy Scriptures into self-serving lies: How could God lose sovereignty over His own Word? Answer: The Word of God is not a static deposit of Truth, an object we can control; it is an ongoing Event, the Event of God speaking to us. Thus God remains sovereign over His Word even while man mangles the written Word.

Or maybe I just overthink things.

I went to a seminar of the Karl Barth Society in '98. It was forty prestigious scholars, some of whom had studied under Barth at Basel--and me, a warehouse clerk. One lady addressed the question, "Was Christ in His human incarnation an extracalvincom (sp?) hypostasis?" And I'm thinking, "Don't bother with the answer, sister, I can't even understand the question!" At the banquet we took turns introducing ourselves. They all started with "I'm a Barthian Lutheran from...", "I'm a Barthian Anglican from..." and rattled off their prodigious theological resumes. When it was my turn, I told them I was a Barthian Hare Krishna. They got a kick out of that.

Jesus-is-God,

I used to be a part of the movement you're referring to, and it was there I encountered the Bible-bender referred to in my initial post. I think Holy Laughter is, in fact, the appropriate response to the Manifest Sons of God doctrine. Manifest Cuckoo Birds, more like...


_________________
Wayne Kraus

 2009/3/23 19:28Profile









 Re:


Quote:
"The Bible is not synonymous with the Word of God; the Bible contains the Word of God in the same way that the body contains the spirit. And just like a body without a spirit is a dead corpse, so the Bible apart from the quickening of the Holy Spirit is the dead letter."



I never read Barth - have only heard Art Katz quote him now and then - but my impression of this statement was that he meant something akin to this verse -


1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, [b]because they are spiritually discerned. [/b]


His Word does not go out Void - but there are still the majority that do not "understand" the Bible and others still "wrest the Scriptures" - nor do they seek The Author to have The Word opened up to them by The Spirit of Truth and unfortunately lose any chance for Salvation for those reasons and the reasons under the parable of the sower of the Word upon the differing soil/heart types and conditions.

Just my thought of what he may have meant.

 2009/3/23 19:51
Christinyou
Member



Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3707
Ca.

 Re:

Another point of view, with the same results, same Spirit and same conclusion.

Gaebelein's Annoted Bible;

Among them that are perfect he spoke wisdom. The perfect are those who have believed the Gospel, experienced its power and are in Christ, accepted in the perfect One; they know the truth as it is in Christ. But the wisdom Paul spoke was not the wisdom of the world (literally: age), but God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom ordained by God before the world unto our glory. And what is this hidden wisdom, God's wisdom in a mystery which Paul preached to those who had accepted Christ? It is more than Christ crucified. It is Christ glorified, seated at the right hand of God, given as head over all things to the church which is His body. This wisdom of God in a mystery (but now made known) is fully revealed in the Epistle to the Ephesians. It was unrevealed in the Old Testament. The rulers of this age did not know it, for had they known the wonderful wisdom of God they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. But the very deed they committed (ignorantly as Peter declared, Ac 3:17) fulfilled the Scriptures, and the Lord of Glory whom they crucified is now the glorified Man filling the throne of God, and believers are one with Him. This is the manifold wisdom of God which is made known by the church (Christ as glorified head and the church His body) to the principalities and powers in heavenly places (Eph 3:10).

Interesting is the quotation from Isa 64:4. The prophet speaks of the inability of man to know what God hath prepared in His infinite grace and love for them that love Him. It was hidden from the Prophet. None of them beheld the great truths of the Church as the body of Christ nor the glory connected with it. But now this is changed. God hath revealed it through His Spirit. The Spirit has come and He has made known the hidden wisdom of God. Through Him and His blessed testimony in the Word we know "the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." And these things are in Christ. The church is going to share with Him the glory which He has received. And the Spirit in the believer is searching all things, yea, the deep things of God. So the Spirit of God Himself leads the child of God deeper and deeper into this wisdom of God. The more we learn of it, the more we enter into the deep things in blessed fellowship with the Father and the Son, the more we desire to know. This should be for the child of God, the greatest thing--the Spirit in him searching out the deep things of God. The excuse some Christians make of their inability to grasp certain truths, when they say "it is too deep for me," dishonors the indwelling Spirit. For our poor, little minds all is "too deep;" but not for the Spirit of God.

The things of God cannot be known, save by the Spirit of God. This blessed gift is bestowed upon the believer, so that he can know the things which are freely given to him of God. And these deep and spiritual revelations were transmitted by chosen instruments. "Which things also we speak, not in the words which mans wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth, comparing (or communicating) spiritual things with spiritual" (Verse 13). Here is a definition of verbal inspiration. The thoughts and revelations of God have been given to us through human instruments, in the words which the Spirit teacheth. We have therefore an inerrant Bible.

A contrast between the natural (psychical) man and the spiritual man concludes this chapter. The natural man, no matter what his mental attainments are, cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God. He must be born again and receive the Spirit before he can discern spiritual things. Why do men criticize the Bible, reject its great Truths, ignorant in spiritual things, though learned in the wisdom of the world? They are natural men, not having the Spirit (Jude verse 19).

In Christ: Phillip


_________________
Phillip

 2009/3/23 21:31Profile
run2win
Member



Joined: 2009/2/1
Posts: 164
USA

 Re:

Thanks, Wayneman, and others, for expounding.

This matter of apologetics should be a serious area of study for all of us; your post is a powerful reminder. Mostly, when we are confronted with hard questions, we must remember that what we have in Christ is based upon faith and a living and growing relationship with Him, which comes through the hearing and reading of His Word and our prayer life, and these are not intellectually discerned nor understood by the natural man. We can, however, reason with people using the Scriptures, as Paul did. We should never be concerned with a person's response, only in doing our part to speak forth the truth of God's Word, and that in a loving manner. It is for God to cause the growth, and that in His perfect timing.

I try to remember that all souls are God's. I am called to go and preach the gospel to every creature. It is not for me to determine which eyes and ears will be opened, nor the timing of the germination of any seeds planted. His word is powerful, and the more I can share it, the more the potential for His life to spring forth in another person.

I am a Christ-follower, and I must take care to only consider writings and thoughts that can be proven by Scripture; my ultimate preference for commentary is Scripture commenting on Scripture. Just reading about your experience at the seminar of the K.B. Society, I see how Christ keeps falling somewhere behind men and denominational identities with many people, ("I am a Barthian Lutheran," "I'm a Barthian Anglican") Your answer, "I am a Barthian Hare Krishna," put in perspective just what I am saying; I appreciate the way you use your sense of humor.

This is a great reminder to be prepared in season and out of season. This should be a prayer in our daily quiet time. God knows who and what situations we will encounter in the hours ahead of us each day. We should remember to pray that He will prepare us.

Blessings to you.

 2009/3/25 10:48Profile





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