Sábado, 23 de Setembro de 2017
   
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Too High a Price

How much does it cost to deny biblical inerrancy? Once, talking about biblical texts that seem to indicate that God was excessively unfair or cruel, I was surprised by an opinion I did not expect to come from an Orthodox leader. He said texts that attribute such actions to God are not true, but only the humanly understanding of writers, manly Old Testament ones. According to him, since revelation of God was progressive, older writers did not have a clear conception of the person of Satan and therefore attributed to God even the cruel and unjust acts that the devil depicted. The minister said the writers committed a mistake by doing that, but the New Testament later provided the right way for us to see things.

That way, according to that colleague, the Old Testament holds serious theological mistakes once their writers biased the sacred text with personal notions, bringing to light ideas that Christians with a wider doctrinal view cannot accept today.

There are several issues surrounding this teaching. First of all, it mistakes “incomplete revelation” for “incorrect revelation”. It is true that the Lord has given us his Word gradually (progressive revelation). That does not mean however that the holy text contains untruths in its early stages of development. Think of a baby. No baby comes into the world fully developed. It evolves within time. However, it is not reasonable to say that the baby is defective. The same is true regarding the Bible. Its first books did not bring full revelation of what God had to convey. But what they brought was and still is “true”. Once again, “incomplete revelation” is not “incorrect revelation”.

Secondly, my colleagues’ idea directly collides with that which the New Testament says. In this sense, I have 2 Peter 1:20-21 in mind. This text says “no prophecy of Scriptures is a matter of one’s own interpretation”. Before moving forward a little word of enlightenment is proper. Some people understand this sentence by Peter as if we should not accept only one particular interpretation of a biblical text, once there are several to be accepted. This conception understands Peter, who lived in the first century, to be teaching a post-modern hermeneutic by saying the biblical text has various meanings all equally valid. And that is obviously an absurd anachronism. Moreover, it is crucial to note that Peter refers to the writer’s action rather than the reader’s in this passage. He actually teaches that no Bible prophecy resulted from the author’s particular impression or perception. Thus moving forward with his reasoning, Peter says from where prophecies come after all, “but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God”. This way, 2 Peter 1:20-21 shows us how prophecy was risen rather than how we should interpret it.

And this brings us back to the main topic. Take notice: contrary to my colleagues’ proposal, Peter says biblical authors never implemented their personal insights to a biblical text. They did not have misconceptions about God nor inserted them in their books. No! They “spoke from God, moved by the Holy Spirit” so that everything written by then is absolutely true. So when they say God made something horrible (such as commanding to kill babies, i.e., 1Sam 15:3), even if it sounds cruel and unfair, we must accept it was really the Lord who did it, not Satan or any other person.

Thirdly, if my colleagues design is accepted, a harmful “domino effect” starts. Let me explain: if we accept Old Testament authors wrote according to their personal mistaken perceptions, we then must accept that Peter was wrong too for he said they would not produce anything based on particular ideas. That’s it! Accepting what my friend said, we no longer have a Bible mistaken only in the Old Testament. We have a Bible also mistaken in Peter’s teachings. Add to that the fact that Paul said the whole Scripture is “theópnestos” (inspired by God – 2 Tim 3:16) – it means, coming from God – and now we have a mistake in Paul’s epistles as well. And it does not stop there. Matthew also said the biblical prophets spoke “from the Lord” (Mt 1:22). You see, now we have errors in the Old Testament, in the writings of Peter, in Paul’s letters and in the Gospel of Matthew! According to that pastor’s theory, it seems Peter, Paul and Matthew also implemented their wrong notions to the writings produced!

Where will it stop? Well, it won’t! Remember Jesus also said David spoke by the Holy Ghost, not based on particular ideas (Mt 22:43), and that “Scriptures cannot be broken”, meaning it cannot be dismembered, once it is an unified body in which truth and only truth is portrayed. Now there are errors not only in the New and Old Testaments, but also in the words of Jesus himself! Once again, where will it stop? And once again I answer:  it won’t! If our Lord was mistaken, therefore he is not divine and his sacrifice for us was worth nothing! And if his sacrifice was worth nothing… Oops! Do you think I am going too far?

No! I am simply pointing out logical consequences succeeding a “little” doctrinal mistake.  The fact is no playing with the Word of God is allowed! A slight drift now implies a great wreck far ahead, destroying the entire basis to our faith and turning Christianity into a lifeless and worthless philosophy. For that reason, do never trade the Word’s inerrancy in any portion. The price is too high!

Pr. Marcos Granconato

Strength and faith

Soli Deo gloria

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