“Jesus said to them, my wife…” the rest of the sentence found written on the ancient papyrus fragment is missing. The discovery of this scrap of Sixth Century text—which was eagerly validated by Harvard Divinity School a few days ago—set off a flurry of speculation as to the marital status of Jesus Christ.
It should go without saying that if Jesus was married, everything Scripture teaches about Him must be called into question. And isn’t the point of highlighting a discovery like this—to discredit the trustworthiness of the Bible?
Of course, when I read such things, I immediately dismiss them as the theoretic nonsense they are. Why would anyone be surprised to hear that some fool living in the Dark Ages would attempt to twist the Truth of Scripture? False teachers have been plying their trade since biblical times.
I’m sure your faith is also hardy enough to handle such blatant assaults on Truth. Nevertheless, this sort of thing is a good reminder that attacks upon our faith will only intensify in the days ahead. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to mention a few of what I will call “Anchors of My Faith:” trustworthy reminders of why we believe what the Bible says about God.
My Testimony: The first place I turn when considering the veracity of my faith is what God has done in my life. Thirty-two years ago I was so miserable and hopeless that I put my off-duty revolver to my head, ready to end it all. Today my inner life is one of peace and joy. The secular world has no psychotherapeutic program or scientific formula that can produce such a radical change in a human being. Yet, this is exactly what Scripture promises to the believer who will obey the Lord.
Answers to Prayer: I have enjoyed a long history of clear-cut answers to prayer. True, most have been unspectacular in their impact, and yet their consistent existence has been an ongoing reminder of God’s involvement in my life. While I could mention many phenomenal examples of answered prayer, I will offer one that just occurred yesterday. I was experiencing a moment of doubt about the current course of my life when I blurted out to the Lord, “I wish you would give me a clear cut word that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.” Later in the morning, I received a brief email from a Pure Life board member thanking me for one of my sermons he listened to on the EW website. But it was his second sentence that caught my attention: “I hope you and Kathy are feeling increasingly affirmed that, at least for the time being, you’re in the right place.” Clearly, there is Someone up there who is listening to me!
Creation: If it wasn’t so sad, the level of confidence that evolutionary scientists have in their suppositions would be amusing to me. When I look at Creation, I see the Lord’s fingerprints everywhere. It is clear that the rationale of these scientists goes something like this: “Since we know that there is no God, evolution must be true.” Yet, when I look upon the vast realm of Nature through eyes of faith, I am continually amazed at the Lord’s imagination and brilliance. All of it points to a Designer and only a hardened, deceived person could actually believe the preposterous conclusions of evolution.
The Truth of Scripture: Everywhere I look in the Bible, I find evidence of its veracity. Not even the “school of higher criticism” has shaken my faith in the inerrancy of Scripture. However, it is amazing how many times these God-slanderers have triumphantly announced some “proof” that Scripture is errant, only to be disproved later by some new piece of evidence. More importantly, anyone reading the Bible with an open and humble heart instinctively knows that every word of it is true.
Fulfilled Prophecies: There is much that could be said on this subject but I will limit it to one item: Israel. Over 2,500 years ago the Bible predicted that Israel would play an important role in end time events. What is fascinating to me is to read commentators who wrote in the 19th Century about the day that the Jewish people would return to their homeland. How could they have envisioned the Holocaust, the formation of the modern state of Israel and the subsequent Israeli victory over five standing Arab armies? It was an incredible series of events supporting the credibility of biblical prophecy.
God’s Character: I have known the Lord (including a dark, backslidden decade) for 44 years now. All of His dealings with me have only strengthened my belief in Him. He has loved me, disciplined me, blessed me and covered me with such incredible expertise and care that I will forever love Him. No one could ever make me doubt His existence or the goodness of His character.
My Heart: Perhaps the most important anchor can be found in my heart—not in my mind, not in my emotions—but in the deepest part of my being. I know that God exists, that what He says is true, that what Scripture says about Him is true and that what He has promised is true. The other six anchors are helpful, but it is the inward certainty of God’s existence, the veracity of His claims and the reality of His involvement in my life that anchors my faith more than anything else.
We can be sure that the future will produce many more assaults on the veracity of Scripture. Mockers will continue to do their utmost to discredit Christianity. The tenets of the faith will be twisted and perverted to add to the confusion. Spiritual deception will increase to inconceivable heights. And yet God will have a people who will maintain their faith through it all.
Did Jesus have a wife? You will have to come to your own conclusions about that notion. For myself, all such questions have long since been settled. But should the enemy catch me in a moment of weakness, I can always bolster my sagging faith by reminding myself that locked in my innermost being are some pretty impressive “Anchors of My Faith.”
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon