Monthly Archives: May 2010

Left on the Dock, how NOT to interpret the Bible

So most people know about the Left Behind Series by Tim LaHaye. Even my dad was a big fan. It’s just disappointing that such a non-biblically backed idea, like the rapture, would become so popular and mainstream. There is so little biblical evidence for the rapture, and the “evidence” that is often used is based on taking things out of context and giving them a new interpretation(though I won’t go into that in this post, but hopefully another one soon),which is ALWAYS wrong.

This leads me into the topic of this post, reading the Bible.

I enjoy some of Greg Koukl’s work, and recently his essay on never reading a Bible verse. The title is catchy. It seems un-Christian-like. But he goes on to explain that both critics and proponents of certain views take verses by themselves, which leads to them being taken out of context, and getting wrong ideas. A new idea in the evangelical sphere is to read the Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to call up a personal interpretation for what you are reading. And this is where I am left on the dock. They have set sail into this dangerous, misguided style of interpretation that leads only to confusion and ruin, while I am left standing on the dock trying to tie up as many ships as I can, trying to keep people from making this grave mistake.

The authors of the Bible had a specific purpose for writing what they wrote. It is supposed to be personal, and affect your personally, but while the effect may be different from person to person, the meaning NEVER changes. There was an original intent, and it needs to be preserved. This destructive path that these ships are sailing towards is often liberalism. This is where doctrine becomes wishy-washy, loses the Christian essentials, and allows for personal interpretation of sacred texts. Now this is a fine line in a way. In no way do I espouse, nor should you, the idea that lay people should not be able to read the Bible and ponder on it themselves, for, when done correctly, this is extremely fruitful. This is the route that some have gone, saying that only priests or ministers or those who are “qualified” can interpret scripture. This leads to grave results as well, like people being prohibited from rational thought, and basically being brainwashed (how about some of them JW’s).

So what can we learn from this? Read a passage in its entirety. No one would start right in the middle of a page in the 10th chapter of a 30 chapter book and expect to have an idea about what is going on. And we should not approach the Bible in this manner either. If Jesus is talking in some end times language, what prompted this talk? Was there a question, or two, that he is answering? When Paul is speaking of the dead rising, why is he addressing this issue, since he is writing letters to a church, and he is addressing worries and issues that church has. How should a prophecy be interpreted? What is the context? Context is oh so important, and losing it causes everything else to become worthless.

I think that if Christians all approached the Bible in this manner, there would be far less disagreements, far less controversy, and a lot more love and encouragement in the Church. So the next time you see/hear someone taking a verse by itself, ask them how it is being used and what point it was meant to address, and you could have a very fruitful discussion on your hands.


What will the end of the world look like?

No clue,
But this is an overview of some of the main views that Christians hold to the Second Coming and associated events. I am sympathetic towards amillennialism since it seems like some of what the Olivet Discourse speaks of seems to have happened, like the temple’s destruction, major wars, etc. But I don’t like how that view really ignores the place of the nation of Israel, which seems to play a prominent role somehow according to Paul in Romans 11. Having said that, maybe some sort of historic premillennial, with no rapture, but the “millennium” not necessarily a literal 1000 years. Though I am not sure what happens at the end of this period, other than the Final Judgment. I have no clue when the New Heaven and New Jerusalem begin (whether Christians are taken before the millennium to this place, or if they are simply in some “holding” area until this period ends). So I am definitely open to anything, that can be supported biblically at least.

So here it is in the Papers and other Documents page.

Can you be a Christian and Gay?

This is a hot topic in today’s Church. Some churches have accepted openly homosexual members, others have tried to change them, and others have rejected them. But is any one of them right? Let’s take a look.

The Bible seems to speak against homosexuality. We look at the Old Testament and see in Leviticus that a man lying with another man as he would a woman is a sin. We also see homosexuality condemned in Romans and in 1 Corinthians. But what does this mean? And how does it apply today?

Obviously, there is no way getting around the fact that the Bible seems to have condemned at least some aspect of homosexuality at the time it was written. It was applicable to the Jews, as well as to the first Christians. Given this, I think that whatever was meant by these verses holds true today, as it lasted from the Old Covenant into the New Covenant. So I am not one who says that this can be regarded as a cultural taboo, but is now acceptable. It seems pretty straight forward that this was considered sin and always would be. Especially in the Corinthians passage, where it places homosexuality in the category of stealing,coveting, idolatry, adultery, etc. These are all considered wrong to this day, so why would Paul have included this with these if it did not have this in common? It seems like he wouldn’t have.

So if this still holds true today, what does it mean? I actually agree with some of the homosexual community that the Bible does not really reference homosexual orientation. Rather, it refers to the action. And the action, being sexual, is condemned on merit not only of its homosexual nature, but the fact that it is sexual relations outside of the marriage relationship. The Bible is pretty clear that marriage is between a man and a woman, and if I, not being married, participate in sexual relations, this is sin. I am held to the same standard that a homosexual is! This is not hypocrisy, as some have claimed. It does indeed go both ways. However, I, a male, can marry a female, and have sexual relations without sin. But I cannot marry a fellow male and do the same, as this is not the marriage relationship that the Bible speaks of.

So where does this leave us? There is some evidence that some homosexuals are such not so much due to choice, but to genetics and/or experience. They can’t control this, and should not be expected to change. Having said this, I am not an advocate of trying to force a homosexual to become heterosexual. If they want to try, by all means they can. But failing to change should not be held against them. But if they wish to practice their homosexuality, this should not be permitted. That would be sin, and sin needs to be dealt with if possible. This would be an unrepented sin. So I do think one can have a homosexual orientation and be a Christian. The Bible does not condemn the mentally handicap for not being able to learn like others. And in a way, a homosexual is “handicapped” in a at least somewhat similar way, in that they are different, and should not be condemned for merely being so. But this is not to say that their are not responsible for their actions. Sex outside of marriage is sin, whether heterosexual or not. And this is the aspect of homosexuality that is condemned and is in fact sinful. And this needs to be known to all, so that morality does not slowly deteriorate as some continue to give in to being “politically correct” and “today” rather than focusing on the unchanging and immutable.

New document

Did Jesus ever claim to be God? Did Paul preach this? Did the disciples believe it? What about the early church? Or was deity ascribed to Him long afterwards, possibly as late as the Council of Nicea? Check out Jesus as God in Papers and other documents on the right of the screen for evidence that this really was early and something that Paul thought and even Jesus thought Himself.