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FrenchFriedFaith
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Joined: 2004/2/17
Posts: 3
Fredericktown, MO

 How far does your faith take you?

Question:

What does your faith prove to you?

Does it prove to you the existance of God? Does it prove to you that you are in fellowship with Him through Christ? Faith appears to be a bit of a miracle, in that it reveals to the heart the truth or reality or existance of something that the mind's eye does not see or cannot determine to be real or in existance.

So else does it prove? Does it prove... the infallibility of the bible? Has every facet of your faith proven the bible true? Put it another way, has everything in scripture proved applicable to your faith in a way that cannot be denied? For example: Are phrases like "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" validated by evidence in your daily walk? I'll bet. But, does historicity, geography, or chronology of the bible have an affect on your faith? Does the miracle of faith which tells you "God is real, and lives in and with me" have the same affect on your heart, when it comes to the infallibility of every point of scripture? i.e. Has your faith caused you to see some unseen vision of the literalness of the Genesis account of creation?

How can we really know that the bible, in it's entirity, is true? When a preacher stands in the pulpit and claims 100% infallibility of the book he waves in the air, does he do so because the miracle of faith has showed him some kind of vision that every word in these 66 books, compiled, isolated from a selection of hundreds or thousands, was selected by a council of believers during the early years of the church to be the only and perfect collection of inspired writings of God? Just how much does the faith of an individual or group have to do with the validity of scripture?

Sure, perhaps they look to be consistent with one another. But does one verse in one book saying that "all scripture is profitible for teaching, doctrine..." necessarily apply to all 65 other books that were arbitrarily put beside that one? I say "arbitrarily", not in the sense that the canon was made up of randomly chosen books, but, how was Peter to know that his letter was to be published write next to letters written by John the beloved, and expected to apply to those letters? Or, was it a miracle of faith in the heart of those who stood over the compiling of this holy canon that caused them to believe that Peter wrote God's infallible word, John wrote God's infallible word, and both were of the same nature in innerrancy. I believe that some books in the 20th century were truly inspired of God, but I wouldn't canonize those books as being inerrant. How does the miracle of faith, or any miracle of God, give us the knowledge of inerrancy in the bible?

Faith proves big things. It is the evidence of things hoped for and the substance of things unseen. It seems circular, as this is from the bible, but this is the kind of miracle that faith produces... faith in itself, and in the God who is the author of it. Ian Thomas said that "Truth produces faith", yet another miracle. But how many things in the bible have produced miraculous faith, and how many things have produced a superficial faith that simply adheres to what is said, merely to keep up with the status quo, what seems to be the natural flow of things?

These are kind of real questions. The kind of questions that agnostics and atheists get blasted for. I guess, all I am saying is, I just think that it is a little complicated and maybe frustrating to have to really question the validity of scripture without tripping over preachers who detest even alluding to such questions.

I am no theologian, nor a student of bible college or seminary. I just sometimes feel that there are so many confusions and questions out there that even the honest, God-seeking Christians struggle with, but they are forced to keep quiet about them, lest they be seen as backsliders or as falling from the faith. I grow truly weary of the constant attacks from atheists against the consistancy and oneness of scripture, with the reassurance that "criticism is expected, even predicted in the bible. let them rant.) But in all the listening, I grow faint of the vast little tidbits of information that atheists or agnostics use to chip away at the Christian faith, until I have to ask myself what my faith really hangs on, and what it has a right to hang on to.

I've always felt that God gave us a mind as a tool only, but a very significant one, labeled with a divine plan. Is it not important to understand - or at least seek - understanding of the nature of your very own faith? Why in the world do I believe? How far is my faith entitled - or compelled - to go? If my faith leads me to believe in Christ, the savior, why must it also believe in every other book in the bible? How can I put my faith in the canon which wasn't necessarily written in stone, but recorded with paper and ink, with the shaky hands of early Christians? We haven't even touched on the matters of "doing", but merely matters of "thinking" and "believing". The invisible stuff that should follow the visible, but seems to be neglected many times, leaving the visible stuff a little clouded and obscure.

You see how this all sounds? Sounds like I am an AA - an antagonizing agnostic. That's why Christians never ask these questions in the presence of other Christians, or Christian leaders at least. Wouldn't want to worry anyone. But the next thing you hear from the pastor is "Don't just take my word for it. Study it out for yourself." What's a boy to do? What am I allowed to think about?

- Daniel


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Jerrod Tune

 2004/2/17 21:26Profile
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: How far does your faith take you?

First off.
Welcome Daniel!

Don't know how much time you have spent here but I don't think you will find us shrinking back from any of the questions you have and you ask some great questions!

Got a feeling that some of our more road traveled members will jump in here to tackle these.

Quote:
I am no theologian, nor a student of bible college or seminary. I just sometimes feel that there are so many confusions and questions out there that even the honest, God-seeking Christians struggle with, but they are forced to keep quiet about them, lest they be seen as backsliders or as falling from the faith.



Me neither, just a stupid fisherman..."[i] but they are forced to keep quiet about them, lest they be seen as backsliders...[/i]" Well, somebody isn't reading their bible in that case. To many scriptures to refute that kind of logic. [i]'Come, let us reason together'[/i]

Quote:
But in all the listening, I grow faint of the vast little tidbits of information that atheists or agnostics use to chip away at the Christian faith, until I have to ask myself what my faith really hangs on, and what it has a right to hang on to.


Not much of one for scriptural band-aids and I will be blunt and honest here.
I don't like 'Faith'.
By that I mean as to God's means of operation.
It kind of takes the wind out of our sails doesn't it? It really strips us down to the core.
It makes our self-reliance a total contradiction in terms.

For a long time I used to take the example of Thomas (thank God for that man) who wanted that proof, to touch and feel that reality of Jesus, physically. Knowing that the Lord replied "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" I would often pray that I would give up all the blessings for just a moment of His physical presence, where I could touch the wounds in His hands. Then I would have my 'proof'.
Problem is with these human tendencies it would probably end up being my undoing as much as I hate to admit it. Still long for it. To see Him.

To the atheist and the agnostic and the intellectual philosophers and all the rest I have but one question. What are you going to do with death? Your death. You don't know? You don't care?
Really? Liar's. You wouldn't be spinning all these concepts around in your finite minds to prove nothing would you? You know that there is something inherent within you that tells you that this is not all there is. You can stuff it, twist it, rationalize it away or give it a comfy name tag of 'it's what I believe'. But will that save you? Save you from the 'nowhere' or the 'maybe' that you are going to?
There is a 'last call' and a last breath and you better find a satisfactory answer before it comes.
There are a lot of things you can 'control', but this ain't one of them.

The foolishness of God!
Isn't it absurd?!
These mere creatures dictating how things 'are', how things '[i]should[/i] work.
Like I said, I don't 'like' faith.
But it wasn't my idea.
So I will go along with God, got a feeling He knows what He is doing.
And I will put all my 'chips' (faith) on and in Jesus since I am powerless to save my self.
Because He lived and walked on this planet, something not even the most diluted atheist could deny. Because we have the words that He spoke and [b]no one[/b] ever spoke the way He did. Strangely, we don't have any records of anyone proving Him wrong, proving that He sinned or denying the miracles, questioning His 'source's maybe, but no proof. Must be a conspiracy.

So it comes down to the old "Liar, Lunatic, or Truth", can't have it any other way.

So where is my 'proof' that all this is true?
I can only say that I am to stupid to fully grasp exactly what is going on inside of me. Most of it goes on unbeknownst to my 'intellect. I didn't 'cause' all this longing for God. I got to a point in my depravity where I had to give in to this unseen 'force' that was hunting me down, relentlessly pursuing me, this incredible love that was drawing me that could only make me say "what do I have to do with Thee? Holy one of God?" And at some point I gave up. I think the clever Christian word for it is "repent".

Since that time I have struggled to give expression to this 'inner working',this
'wordless' daily experience. I know this much for a fact. It is not anything I did. Too weak to cause these kind of changes to take place. Changes in behavior. Changes in priorities. Changes in how I now perceive the world.
It's funny, now I am in the same camp as Jesus was. I am either a liar or The Truth lives in me or I am just a lunatic (actually I am pretty 'loony', but it's a lot more interesting this way!).

So in a real long about way that's what 'faith' is to me.
Quote:
What's a boy to do? What am I allowed to think about?

You get that one figured out, you let me know. :-)

Actually, when it comes down to it that's what we do around here, trying to grasp just what it is we should be thinking about. I think you came to the right place Brother. Hope you can join us in helping us to find out.

Mike


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Mike Balog

 2004/2/18 5:52Profile
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

Online!
 Re:

Quote:
So else does it prove? Does it prove... the infallibility of the bible? Has every facet of your faith proven the bible true? Put it another way, has everything in scripture proved applicable to your faith in a way that cannot be denied? For example: Are phrases like "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" validated by evidence in your daily walk? I'll bet. But, does historicity, geography, or chronology of the bible have an affect on your faith? Does the miracle of faith which tells you "God is real, and lives in and with me" have the same affect on your heart, when it comes to the infallibility of every point of scripture? i.e. Has your faith caused you to see some unseen vision of the literalness of the Genesis account of creation?


Hi Daniel, welcome to the site, and thank you for your honest questions. I see where you got at in the end of your post but I would like to touch on the first few points. Yes the scripture says that if you are a Christian that God lives inside of you. That we are born again, or regenerated and have become a new creation, a spiritual being in Christ. It's real to me brother, I live each day experiencing these truths in the bible. Me and others on this site can say to you 'look and see what the Lord has done for me.' So how do I know that Jesus Christ is true, because by faith I am able to communion with him, talk with him and recieve 'times of refreshing' from His presence. A wonderful exhoration in the bible is 'taste and see that the Lord is good' well what are you waiting for?

Quote:
These are kind of real questions. The kind of questions that agnostics and atheists get blasted for. I guess, all I am saying is, I just think that it is a little complicated and maybe frustrating to have to really question the validity of scripture without tripping over preachers who detest even alluding to such questions.


Ok your whole argument over the inspiration of the bible is valid. But as I said above.. the main prove that it is real is because it has [b]become[/b] real to me. I don't like arguing the fact if the bible is 100% correct word for word.. its quite obvious there are many greek manuscripts with variations in the text. But one thing is certain that every main truth in the bible is not put into disrespute over these manuscript differences, the main message is stil there loud and clear!

God in times past has spoken to use through the prophets (men willing to communion with the divine) but in these last days he has spoken to use through His Son. Are you coming to the Son so you can have life?


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/2/18 6:29Profile
FrenchFriedFaith
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Joined: 2004/2/17
Posts: 3
Fredericktown, MO

 Re:

Thanks for the replies. No, I have not surfed these forums very extensively. I'm glad to see it is such a welcoming place.

I see pretty clearly your points, concerning faith. I can personally appreciate the brother who talked about the difficulty of the faith.

Still not quite dug into this discussion, yet. I can agree that much of the bible, with concerns to matters of the philosophy of faith, those things can prove themselves today, immediately. But other matters, like the mechanical things about the bible, the history, the accounts (such as creation, Jonah, and other stories that appear to a secularist to be myths and stories) those are the kind of things that I don't see faith as necessarily validating.

If there are any other thoughts to be thunk, please voice them, if you can. Thanks!

Danielwe


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Jerrod Tune

 2004/2/18 8:03Profile









 Re: How far does your faith take you?

Daniel wrote:

"How can we really know that the bible, in it's entirity, is true? When a preacher stands in the pulpit and claims 100% infallibility of the book he waves in the air, does he do so because the miracle of faith has showed him some kind of vision that every word in these 66 books, compiled, isolated from a selection of hundreds or thousands, was selected by a council of believers during the early years of the church to be the only and perfect collection of inspired writings of God?"

Daniel, I am with you on this. I have long found the infallibility of the bible to be a troublesome concept and find my faith in the mutually collaborating Gospels (among other reasons). If you peruse the scriptural debates you will find some of my posts on this. Genesis, I believe, is not intended to be a literal story. (But, you won't find many others on this site with this opinion.) For me it explains the why, not the how.

Keep asking the hard questions. Somebody has to.

Jake

 2004/2/18 9:32
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Hi Daniel

Jake says Keep asking the hard questions. Somebody has to.

by all means, but do try to listen to some of the answers...


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Ron Bailey

 2004/2/18 12:10Profile
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Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2768
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re:

Quote:
But other matters, like the mechanical things about the bible, the history, the accounts (such as creation, Jonah, and other stories that appear to a secularist to be myths and stories) those are the kind of things that I don't see faith as necessarily validating.



What, if anything, do you see as validating historical accounts of the Bible?

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2004/2/18 13:05Profile
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

But other matters, like the mechanical things about the bible, the history, the accounts (such as creation, Jonah, and other stories that appear to a secularist to be myths and stories) those are the kind of things that I don't see faith as necessarily validating.

Ultimately genuine faith is in a person. For the Christian that person is Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Testament. If Jesus Christ is not revealed in the New Testament we are at the mercy of personal impression and speculation.

Let me sketch a little history.

The earliest records of the gospel are from about 15-30 years after the events that they cover. A time when many eye-witnesses were still around and a time when Christians increasingly were being called upon to risk their lives for their faith. The records were received by the Christian community of the day. (John's gospel is a little later).

The phenomena of the Christian church with its sacred writing is quite amazing. To have source documents within a few decades of the events is a historians dream-come-true. The living witnesses would not have accepted the records if they were untrue; there would have been so many objections that their credibility would have been undermined and the accounts 'binned'. These eye-witness Christians frequently gave up their lives for what they believed. Is it likely that a faith which makes 'truth' an ultimate virtue would have created its own legends? Would they have sacrificed their lives for what they knew to be a fiction?

Before AD100 Christians were 'quoting' the New Testament to each other in letters (1 Clement). This shows that New Testament was accepted as authoratitive by the Christian community before the end of the 1st Century.

All this means that we have a starting point; the history of Jesus Christ as found in the gospel accounts. These accounts present virgin birth, miraculous ministry, profound teaching, crucifixion, physical resurrection, ascension and a number of unfulfilled promises. (We should really include Acts in these records as it is volume 2 of Luke's history)

What some people do is to concentrate on the teaching and ethic of Jesus Christ to make it their model for life. Some reject the miraculous which results in a disembodied religious teaching with no source and no destination. It is impossible to separate the person of Jesus Christ from His teaching, but if you leave them together you get the package deal of all the above. It remains impossible to separate the teaching of Christ from His life; only those who have His life will be able to fulfill His ethic. If Christ cannot make men new His teaching is a cruel mockery; just another impossible dream.

Jesus Christ believed in the Old Testament; he quoted it as His justification for the things He said and the way He behaved. He made reference to individuals eg Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Jonah, Isaiah, Ezekiel. He said that is was impossible for the scripture (He meant our Old Testament) to be 'broken'. The Old Testament has many genres within it; narrative, poetry, prophecy, apocalyptic, All these need to be recognised when we interpret the book. eg when the poet says 'I wandered lonely, as a cloud' we know it doesn't mean he is defying gravity.

If you want to see how strongly the gospel accounts are rooted in the Old Testament read Matthew and make a mental note of the way in which he embeds the Old Testament in his telling of the gospel.

Christ's explanations of the Old Testament are definitive for the Christian. If He believed it, I believe it. Jesus Christ believed that every 'jot' the smallest Hebrew letter, and every 'tittle' the smallest part of a Hebrew letter, were the word of God; so do I. He believed it was without error; so do I. My faith is in Him and in His judgments of such things.

Jesus Christ also personally trained 12 men to carry His work into the future beyond His return to heaven. He promised them the Holy Spirit to bring things to their remembrance and to lead them into further truth. These men included Peter who has two letters in the New Testament and John who has a gospel account, three letters and the book of the Revelation. These writings are the product of the Holy Spirit's fulfillment of Christ's promise. They were pre-autheticated by Christ Himself.

Peter, in turn, endorsed the letters of Paul, referring to them as scripture. All scripture, says Paul, is God-breathed. It has its origin in God. Peter says the scriptures are not personal interpretations but the testimony of Christ by His Spirit. The writings of Paul are not his own slant on things; they are the continuing revelation of the mind of God. Some like to separate Paul from Christ, but the testimony of Luke is that Paul was personally chosen and endorsed by the risen Christ.

That pretty much winds it up, except for Jude and Hebrews which were recognised by the early Christians as having the same authenticity as the gospel accounts, Acts, the letters of John, Peter and Paul, and the Revelation. In all we have the New Testament.

This really is all or nothing. That doesn't mean that you have to be able to understand it all, but it does mean that when you understand it you will have to believe it. This will include things unproveable to a scientific mind; the person of Adam, Red Sea crossings, virgin birth, miracles, physical resurrection, judgment. Heaven, hell.

for myself I do not understand in order to believe; that would not be faith. I believe and therefore I seek to understand; credo ergo cogito. I believe, therefore I think.

If you have the inclination there is an interesting book called "Christ and the Bible", written by John Wenham. Its sub-titles are "What was Jesus' view of scripture?" and "Should Christians regard His view as authoritative?". It begins with the irreducible minimum of Christ's life and teaching and shows how everything else flows inevitably from that fact. (I can't endorse all his teaching, but this is a valuable way of looking at things)

That's a long post, so I will stop and wait for any questions.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/2/18 23:17Profile
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 Re:

The idea of faith and faith itself are two different things. The idea of faith is something we imagine. The law of faith is something we experience.

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2004/2/19 6:56Profile









 Re:

Philologos wrote:

"This really is all or nothing. That doesn't mean that you have to be able to understand it all, but it does mean that when you understand it you will have to believe it. This will include things unproveable to a scientific mind; the person of Adam, Red Sea crossings, virgin birth, miracles, physical resurrection, judgment. Heaven, hell."

I was with you up to this point. But all or nothing is a false choice. One problem is that there are lots of skeletons of protohumans that are hundreds of thousands of years old. Another problem is that Abel, Cain and Seth would have had to mate with their unnamed sisters in order to preserve the human race. This practice is known to cause serious defects.

Have you considered that it is possible that Adam was the first man of God, but not the first human?

Jake

 2004/2/19 7:50





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