Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Factuality of Scripture: Part 1

I recently received a comment from a gentleman named Phineas on my post It Really Happened, which I found interesting and which provided the spark for this series of posts. The factuality of Scripture is an important topic and one that, I fear, Christians consider far too seldom. Here's an excerpt from my post:
We tend to be shortsighted toward the future and toward the past, living in the moment, allowing our sense of identity and place to slip away unchecked. Let’s take some time to consider where we fall in God’s redemptive history. Consider the reality of what He did through Christ’s incarnation — what that event meant for the human race. I must admit that, oftentimes, I take Scripture as a strictly theological resource (it certainly is that!) and forget that it is also intensely historical.

These things actually happened in time and space. Christ was born of Mary, lived a perfect life, suffered, died, and rose again that I might be reconciled with God; what a glorious reality!
In order to give you some additional context for this discussion, here is Phineas' comment:
Do you really expect anyone to take your blog seriously? Okay, except for the band of fundamentalists, who'll likely agree with your every word and take it, pardon the expression, 'as gospel.'

You cite theology as a personal interest. Perhaps so. But that is certainly not what you're doing here. No discerning theologian — and I have known plenty — would ever unequivocally state the contents of the Bible as fact, historic or otherwise. Any reasonable theologian, and even many believers, are wise enough to understand and accept the undercurrents of belief. To wit, belief and fact, and indeed reality, are not synonymous.

I'm not writing to be critical of your belief system. I'm suggesting that you temper your language to reflect actual facts, where they occur. Believe it or not, it will make you a stronger advocate. And it will show wisdom. People respect that, even when they may disagree.

A couple years ago, a friend asked me what time of day Jesus was crucified. After some initial embarrassment that I didn't already know, I did a little research. I answered thusly:

"According to Bible,..."

That's quite a bit different than simply saying: "3 pm. That's a fact."

As hard as it may be to do, you have got to rid yourself of the notion that the Bible 'proves' itself. That is not, by any measure, among the methods we use to constitute proof.

If His indeed is the glory, He won't mind you having enough doubt to make journey to him an authentic one.

Best of luck in that journey.
Come back soon as I begin to deal with his arguments and take a closer look at the factuality of God's Word. We'll be taking a look at the following topics (though not necessarily in this order):
  • Whose Word is it?
  • What is theology?
  • What is belief?
  • What is fact?
  • What is reality?
  • Does the Bible prove itself?
  • What is proof? How can we prove things?
  • Faith and doubt

1 comment:

Holly Willliams said...

Benjamin, I want to let you know that I appreciate your steadfastness in supporting the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture.

You were absolutely correct to parallel Satan's words to Eve with modern mankind's disbelief of God's written Word. That one little lie at the beginning of man's existence has been the source of all the pain and misery that now exists in the world, both general and personal.

God bless you and keep you as you seek to give an answer for the hope that is in you.