Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Does Christianity Need the Bible?
Doug Beaumont.org ^ | 12/8/11 | Doug Beaumont

Posted on 12/08/2011 2:01:52 PM PST by OneVike



Biblical Apologetics

Atheistic attacks on Christianity typically focus on philosophical issues concerning theism, or evidential attacks on the Bible. It occurred to me the other day that the latter plays upon a certain view of Christian theological methodology and ecclesiology that is flawed.

The issue, as I see it, is that these attacks are relying on an unspoken assumption that Christianity is relying on the Bible for its existence. This assumption is certainly fair, as it seems that many Christians think along the same lines. Even if Christians of this persuasion are not in the majority, it is without doubt that this is the case with popular Christian apologists. It is not much of an oversimplification to say that the two most popular approaches for defending the faith either begin by defending the Bible (Evidentialism), or conclude with its defense (Classical). The biblical text is then used to support Jesus’ claims / the gospel / the resurrection etc.

But what if the Bible could not be demonstrated to be trustworthy? I do not think that this is the case, but it is worth thinking about for at least these two reasons: (1) most skeptics think the Bible has not been defended sufficiently, and (2) even if it has been or can be, the case for Christianity will be even stronger if it can survive the failure of these biblical defenses.

Theological Responses

When a skeptic argues against the Bible it is not usually the book(s) that are being attacked per se. Rather it is the ideas communicated by the book(s). Skeptics do not, for example, typically attack the wisdom sayings in the book of Proverbs or the basic morality of Jesus’ sermons. And I don’t think many skeptics really are concerned over how many generations there are between Adam and Jesus, or how many angels were at his tomb. What skeptics want to call into question is Christianity itself. Since the Bible is assumed to be the foundation of Christianity, calling its historicity, manuscript transmission, scientific awareness, etc. into question is seen as tantamount to calling Christianity into question. Two popular responses have been made by modern Christians.

Inerrancy

The first is to dig in and affirm the absolute inerrancy of the Bible and fight tooth and nail for every biblical affirmation no matter its nature (e.g., historical, scientific, moral), sometimes even down to use of correct grammar. This is necessarily joined by an equally fervent defense of a trustworthy manuscript tradition – for as all (except perhaps some confused folks in the KJV-Only crowd) acknowledge, inerrancy only applies to the original manuscripts (which we do not have). The copies of those inerrant original that we do have do not agree perfectly with each other, however. Thus, even inerrantists must concede the fact of transmission distortion. Their apologetic strategy, therefore, usually concerns limiting the significance of these distortions (e.g., that the quantitative and/or qualitative aspects of these distortions are inconsequential). This approach can be appreciated for its theological respect for, and upholding of, God’s word – but it also paints a large target on the Bible for skeptics fire upon.

Infallibility

The second approach is to trade in the doctrine of inerrancy for its softer cousin, infallibility. Affirming the doctrine of infallibility only commits one to holding that the Bible is successful in communicating truth in matters of faith and practice, regardless of the accuracy of its delivery system (like an imperfect map that nonetheless will always get you where you need to go). Thus, textual errors are only considered significantly problematic if they touch on theology or morals. This approach has the benefit of making the target a lot smaller, but it suffers from its inability to provide an objective means of determining how the theology of the text can still be trusted when the text itself is at issue.

What both of the above approaches assume, however, is that Christianity suffers corresponding effects of biblical attacks. Thus, for the inerrantist if even one biblical statement can be decisively shown to be false, Christianity loses its foundation (I am not suggesting that no mediating positions are available, or that there is no way out for an inerrantist – indeed there is always the easy claim that the error was not in the originals. But this assumption seems to drive the apologetic effort at least at the front end). For the infallibilist the effects of error discovery are not nearly as dramatic, but (as stated above) the position suffers from its own questionable principles. If nothing else, it becomes a practical issue: in the real world the trustworthiness of Christianity and that of the Bible is often seen as equivalent by skeptics. Thus the infallibilist position will often come across as ad hoc.

The good news for the Christian apologist is that if Christianity is not coextensive with the Bible, then attacks on the one are not necessarily attacks on the other.

Christianity Without the Bible?

What if the text critics like Bart Ehrman, or Islamic / Mormon / Secular apologists were proven right in their claims that the Gospels were not written by the traditional authors, that many of the NT books are spurious, or that significant error is present in the Bible? What actual purchase would be lost by Christians? Given the above apologetic strategies and theological positions shared by most Christian apologists, one might well conclude that it would be “game over” for Christian believers.

I suggest that this is not the case. I will argue that even if we lost the Bible completely, Christianity would remain undefeated. That is a bold claim, but I think it can be demonstrated rather easily.

Basically the argument goes like this:

  1. Only if the Bible is necessary for Christianity would its defeat necessarily entail the defeat of Christianity.
  2. The Bible is not necessary for Christianity.
  3. Therefore the defeat of the Bible would not entail the defeat of Christianity.

The form is valid (per Modus Tollens), and the first premise seems self-evident, thus I need only support the second for the argument to be proven sound. There are facts both historical and speculative that show the second premise to be true.

First, it is entirely possible that Christianity’s message could have been communicated verbally – and only verbally – forever. There is nothing inherently problematic with such a thing occurring. In fact a simple thought experiment will show that this is the case: suppose some atheistic world dictator succeeded in destroying every copy of the Bible in existence, and then somehow made it impossible to create additional texts of any kind. Would Christianity disappear from the earth? Would humans no longer have access to the saving gospel? Of course not. So, at least in theory, there is no problem with these two propositions being true at the same time: (1) Christianity exists, and (2) no Bible exists.

Second, the above theory has been shown to be true in reality. Receiving the gospel message is the requirement for becoming saved (1 Cor. 15:1-5), and this message was not initially communicated in written form (1 Cor. 15:1), yet those who heard it believed and became saved (becoming part of the Christian church – 1 Cor. 1:2). Thus, Christianity preceded the written message.

Third, it is an historical fact that Christianity preceded the writing of the NT. The earliest NT writings are typically considered to have been written in the mid-to-late 40’s (whether the first book is the Gospel of Matthew, the Book of James, or Paul’s Letter to the Galatians is debated). This means that even with a late date of Christ’s death / Pentecost (of A.D. 33), there is at LEAST a decade gap between the beginning of the Church and the VERY first NT writing. The point is even more strongly made when we consider that Paul’s writings (which are, at minimum, among the earliest NT writings) were letters addressed to already-existing churches. Add to this decade more time for delivery and distribution, and I think it is easy to see that the Church had to go for quite some time with no (NT) Scriptures of its own.

Fourth, Christians existed and continue to exist without possessing the NT. Even when the NT started to be written, its contents were not in the possession of the average believer. Besides the above mentioned delivery and distribution time lags, people simply did not have easy access to copies. Further, the NT was written in a time when most of the population was illiterate. Finally, it would be another 1,500 years or so before the invention of the printing press made Bible’s widely accessible even to literate people. (Thus, this is not just an Ancient, Medieval, or Reformation age issue). Even in our own time, people from many parts of the world become Christians when the Bible is forbidden or inaccessible in their own language. This certainly represents a hindrance to Christianity, but it is hardly destructive.

So even if the skeptic were successful in showing the Bible to be untrustworthy, he has not really gained much ground – at least if he is using that untrustworthiness as an attack on Christianity itself. For even if we give up the entire Bible, Christianity remains.

The “Zero Facts” Approach

The Christian apologist Gary Habermas has an interesting method that he uses when defending the historicity of Christ’s resurrection – he calls it the “Minimal Facts Approach.” What Habermas does is agree to use only the most academically respected sources (both Christian and secular) in support of his contention that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. In doing so, he avoids the Gospels, many of Paul’s letters, and several other NT books that do not enjoy nearly universal “authentic status” among professional historians. Using only the minimal facts that can be gleaned from whatever historical documents are left, Habermas proceeds to argue that the resurrection remains the best explanation of the data. It’s a great approach, and his protégé’, Michael Licona, has been very successful with his version of it as well.

As I considered the implications of the typical skeptical attacks on the NT, and the results they hoped to achieve, I wondered whether I needed to keep ANYTHING from the NT in order to defend Christianity. If it is the case that, logically, the Bible is not necessary for Christianity, then I wondered what could been done apologetically with the Bible entirely absent. If we took the minimal facts approach to what is certainly an absurd extreme – without reliance on anything in the Bible (“Zero Facts” approach?), what would we have left over from Christianity?

As it turns out, pretty much everything.

Ecclesiological Apologetics

The arguments for the reliability of the Bible include an impressive array of evidence that, by a rather shockingly large margin, prove the Bible to be the most trustworthy of all ancient writings. Part of that evidence is the fact that even if we had no ancient manuscripts from which to derive our current Bible translations, we could reconstruct all but 11 verses of the NT just by reading the Church Fathers (some of which overlapped the writing of the NT).

Until recently I simply relegated this impressive fact to just another reason to think we know what the original manuscripts said. Now I have come to realize how much more significant this fact is. This is because it is not simply the case that the early Church Fathers quoted a bunch of Scripture – they quoted it while discussing theology. Theology they already knew. They quoted it while writing letters back and forth between churches. Churches that already existed. And they were able to quote Christian Scriptures and discuss Christian theology in Christian churches because Christianity already existed.

But guess what did not exist back then? The New Testament! (Well, sort of.)

I have written on the issue of NT canon formation elsewhere on this site, but in a nutshell: the actual collection of books that make up the NT were not even listed in their present form until the 4th Century, and even long after that several books remained in question. So, technically, what we call the NT is a collection that was not recognized as such for hundreds of years. But this is a minor issue considering the implications of all the above issues concerning availability and literacy rates. The significant point is that what kept the Church going during this time was its own teaching – teaching that can be found in the writings of the Church Fathers.

In other words, before the NT was canonized, Christianity already existed. Before the NT was completed, Christianity already existed. Before the NT was even begun, Christianity already existed. Thus, most of the issues skeptics have with Christianity remain even if the Bible is taken out of the equation. At minimum it is clear that the message that brought people into Christianity was from the very beginning that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that he died, was buried, and rose again ( a.k.a., the Gospel! See (Acts 2 and all Acts sermons cf. 1 Cor. 15).

This was the message the apostles died (often horribly) for.
This was the message the early Church suffered persecution for.

And it was this message, promoted by 12 simple men from the insignificant and faraway land of Israel, and believed by social outcasts who worshiped in catacombs, that two centuries later brought the greatest empire on earth to its knees.

The Miracle of Christianity

As Habermas and others have shown, even if skeptics were successful in calling most of the Bible into question, the historical facts surrounding the miracle of the resurrection would remain. But even if we gave in to the skeptics arguments concerning the resurrection, they would then have to deal with historical facts that would now be even more difficult to explain. The very existence of the Church seems miraculous – especially if the resurrection did not occur!

Thomas Aquinas argues that God has indeed proven His word via miracles, and yet the existence of the Church itself is an even greater miracle:

“Without violence of arms, without promise of pleasures, and, most wonderful thing of all, in the midst of the violence of persecutors, a countless multitude, not only of the uneducated but of the wisest men, flocked to the Christian faith, wherein doctrines are preached that transcend all human understanding, pleasures of sense are restrained, and a contempt is taught of all worldly possessions. That mortal minds should assent to such teaching is the greatest of miracles.” (SCG 1.6)

Why should the existence of the Church be considered so miraculous? Are there not thousands of competing religions in existence that could claim the same thing? The reason for this is that it is how the Church came into being that must be explained. Anyone can make up some attractive lies and gain followers for gain. But the opposite is not the case. Lies for gain are one thing, lies for loss are quite another.

Perhaps the skeptic will argue that this is a case of begging the question – arguing in a circle that the Church proves the Church? Not at all. The argument is not that the Church says she is true, therefore she is true. Rather, it is the nature of the facts surrounding her birth – so unusual that they beg for a miraculous explanation. To quote Aquinas again:

“This so wonderful conversion of the world to the Christian faith is so certain a sign of past miracles, that they need no further reiteration, since they appear evidently in their effects. It would be more wonderful than all other miracles, if without miraculous signs the world had been induced by simple and low-born men to believe truths so arduous, to do works so difficult, to hope for reward so high.” (SCG 1.6)

Other Explanations

Far from merely providing additional credibility to the reliability of a book, the history of the Church might itself be considered miraculous. How else can such a bizarre turn of events be explained? In John Henry Newman’s Grammar of Assent, he considers Gibbon’s alternate explanations for the rise of Christianity. Gibbon considers five: “the zeal of Christians, inherited from the Jews, their doctrine of a future state, their claim to miraculous power, their virtues, and their ecclesiastical organization.”

Newman responds:

“1. As to zeal, . . . how did party spirit tend to transplant Jew or Gentile out of his own place into a new society, and that a society which as yet scarcely was formed in a society? . . . Christians had zeal for Christianity after they were converted, not before.

2. Next, as to the doctrine of a future state (i.e., the fear of hell) . . . now certainly in this day there are persons converted from sin to a religious life, by vivid descriptions of the future punishment of the wicked; but then it must be recollected that such persons already believe in the doctrine thus urged upon them. . . . give some Tract upon hell-fire to one of the wild boys in a large town, who has had no education, who has no faith; and instead of being startled by it, he will laugh at it as something frightfully ridiculous. The belief in Styx and Tartarus was dying out of the world at the time that Christianity came in, . . . the thought of eternal glory does not keep bad men from a bad life now, and why should it convert them then from their pleasant sins, to a heavy, mortified, joyless existence, to a life of ill-usage, fright, contempt, and desolation.

3. As to the claim to miracles . . . heathen populations, who had plenty of portents of their own, [and] Christian miracles are not recited or appealed to, by early Christian writers themselves, so fully or so frequently as might have been expected. . . . A claim to miraculous power on the part of Christians, which was so unfrequent . . . can hardly have been a principal cause of their success.

4. The “sober and domestic virtues” of Christians, their “aversion to the luxury of the age,” their “chastity, temperance, and economy,” [are simply too dull] to win and melt the hard heathen heart, in spite too of the dreary prospect of the barathrum, the amphitheatre, and the stake? Did the Christian morality by its severe beauty make a convert of Gibbon himself? On the contrary, . . . How then were those heathen overcome by the amiableness of that which they viewed with such disgust? We have here plain proof that the Christian character repelled the heathen; where is the evidence that it converted them?

5. Lastly, as to the ecclesiastical organization, . . . how could it directly contribute to its extension? Of course it gave it strength, but it did not give it life. . . . It was before Constantine that Christians made their great conquests.”

Further, Newman notes that Gibbon “has not thought of accounting for their combination. If they are ever so available for his purpose, still that availableness arises out of their coincidence, and out of what does that coincidence arise? Until this is explained, nothing is explained, and the question had better have been let alone. These presumed causes are quite distinct from each other, and, I say, the wonder is, what made them come together.”

Finally Newman states,

“The real question is this,—are these historical characteristics of Christianity, also in matter of fact, historical causes of Christianity? Has Gibbon given proof that they are? Has he brought evidence of their operation, or does he simply conjecture in his private judgment that they operated? . . . Christianity made its way, not by individual, but by broad, wholesale conversions, and the question is, how they originated? . . . It is very remarkable that it should not have occurred to a man of Gibbon’s sagacity to inquire, what account the Christians themselves gave of the matter.”

Newman then goes on for several pages noting the incredible stories of the martyrs who died for “the idea of Christ” – and not simply dying, but going to their deaths in such a way that that the historians of the time cannot but marvel. SO amazing was the testimony of the martyrs that sometimes their very captors and torturers converted (only to be killed along with them).

“Thus was the Roman power overcome.”

Thus it is not enough to admit that history lends evidential support to Christianity. Rather, history cannot be easily explained without Christianity. Whatever gain may be found in attacking the written record of the Christian religion, even a wholesale skeptical victory would not overturn the fact of the birth of the Church based in its belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without this event, Christianity is false (1 Cor. 15:12-19) – and history becomes explainable only by absurdity.

The present, also, remains difficult to explain:

“Here, then, is One who is not a mere name, who is not a mere fiction, who is a reality. He is dead and gone, but still He lives,—lives as a living, energetic thought of successive generations, as the awful motive-power of a thousand great events. He has done without effort what others with life-long struggles have not done. Can He be less than Divine?”

Conclusion

None of the above should be taken to suggest that we abandon defense of the Bible. This approach is not a reductionist attempt to shield the Bible from legitimate criticism. There is no need – for the evidential arguments for the reliability of the Bible are extremely strong (so much so that if they are thought to fail the Bible then, to be consistent, all of ancient history goes with it). If nothing else, it is difficult to imagine that God would bother inspiring hundreds of pages of communication only to have it lost before it could be disseminated!

Rather, what I am suggesting is that we apologists can benefit from a shift in our focus. Instead of moving from defending Realism (that truth and reality exist and are knowable), then Theism (that a personal, creator God exists), and then the Bible, perhaps it would be better to defend the movement that produced it. This approach opens the door to even more clear, available, and accepted evidences. If needed, it can also be used to neatly sidestep issues of biblical transmission, inspiration, inerrancy, or infallibility (these textual issues can be dealt with scientifically, philosophically, or theologically, instead of apologetically). Given this approach the skeptic’s target becomes both smaller and more difficult to hit – all without threat to Christianity’s teachings (which, after all, are the skeptic’s real prey).


TOPICS: Apologetics; General Discusssion; History
KEYWORDS: bible; christ; christianity; god
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-173 next last
Good question from my friend Doug. He is considering writing a book on this subject, and he would like some feedback before he decides whether or not to write it. If you could leave a comment on his site with your opinion it would be much appreciated.
Here is the link to his site. DougBeaumont.org

As for my thoughts on this. I would say that off the top of my head, I would answer the question as a NO. Christianity does not need the Bible to be successful at winning souls. Nor does it need the Bible to survive, and my biggest defense it this belief would be what God told Jeremiah,

"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (Jeremiah 31:33)

All we need is for Him to be in our hearts and we can and will win souls. The life of those who were locked up without bibles in concentration camps under the Nazis, and the Soviet Union, and East Germans, reached non Christians with their logical explanation of God and Christ. The original Christians had no Scriptures to read and share. Inevitably the letters they could share became our new testament, but man were saved and brought to Christ who could not read, by other Christians who could not read. Jesus told his followers that he would bring to remembrance the things he taught them when they needed Him to. When it comes time to testify, we are told not to worry about what to say, because the Spirit will speak for us.

The Bible at times I fear, becomes a hindrance for many. I mean so in the case that they fail to put things to memory, and so when they attempt to remember scripture they fail. If we put more faith in Christ to help us share the word, then we will be able to reach the people we need to reach in ways we never would have thought possible. Yes, especially if we do not have a bible handy to point to. The Bible is needed for Christians to study and learn. We are supposed to read it, and each and every Christian is told to study to be approved, but it is not needed to grow the Church.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2Timothy 2:15

1 posted on 12/08/2011 2:01:55 PM PST by OneVike
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: JesusBmyGod; buffyt; Whenifhow; rom; persistence48; Hanna548; DvdMom; leftyontheright; FrdmLvr; ...

My friend Doug would appreciate some feedback on this before he decides whether or not to sit down and write a book, or teach a class on this subject in his class. It is a long read, but a good thought provoking one.


2 posted on 12/08/2011 2:05:11 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

Before the Bible, you didn’t have Elton John communicating to the masses that Jesus Christ was a homosexual.


3 posted on 12/08/2011 2:06:28 PM PST by Berlin_Freeper (Happy Newt Year!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike
As for my thoughts on this. I would say that off the top of my head, I would answer the question as a NO. Christianity does not need the Bible to be successful at winning souls. Nor does it need the Bible to survive, and my biggest defense it this belief would be what God told Jeremiah [Jeremiah 31:33]....

....All we need is for Him to be in our hearts and we can and will win souls.

Ping for later

4 posted on 12/08/2011 2:06:28 PM PST by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike
As for my thoughts on this. I would say that off the top of my head, I would answer the question as a NO. Christianity does not need the Bible to be successful at winning souls. Nor does it need the Bible to survive, and my biggest defense it this belief would be what God told Jeremiah [Jeremiah 31:33]....

So you are using Scripture to depend abandoning Scripture?

No thanks.

5 posted on 12/08/2011 2:11:47 PM PST by Gamecock (I am so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it. JGM)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

Do you need matter to have a physical body?

Same answer to both questions.


6 posted on 12/08/2011 2:12:29 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Berlin_Freeper

Homosexuality was even more prevalent during the rule of the Roman Empire. Remember, Nero, the man to kill Paul and Peter, had his boyfriend castrated and married him. Homosexuality was looked upon as normal by everyone but the Jews at the time.

So while they may not have had Elton John, they did have advocates in Rome, the Emperors.


7 posted on 12/08/2011 2:12:50 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Secret Agent Man
No, and Christ is my proof.

Christ returned and interacted with His disciples like a normal man. he ate, talked, left foot prints, shook hands, and even ate with his disciples, yet he was able to go through material doors as if he were a ghost. They could even put their fingers through the holes in his hands made from the nails that held His body on the cross. Yet he was not as them no more.

He was, and is after all God and as such He can suspend the very laws of physics if He wants to. See, we live by the laws He put in place, and like the earth before and after the flood, He can change them anytime he so chooses.

Have you ever read my article on the existence of a spiritual world?

"Is There A Spirit World?"


8 posted on 12/08/2011 2:24:16 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: OneVike
All one needs to know if from the beginning. Satan was after God's Word. He deceived Adam/Eve with 'did God really say'. YES, Christians need God's Word. Satan has attacked His Word from the beginning of time - To either make it of no importance of cause doubt. What a victory for him for some to believe it's not necessary.

because the Spirit will speak for us.

We have to put the Word of God in us and cultivate it. ".. For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks". The Spirit brings it to remembrance for us. Remember the parable of the seed and sower. Before we can produce anything we need to plant His seed/The Word.

Christians need His Word daily - it is food for their soul and water for LIFE. We need to meditate on His Word - how can one do that w/o knowing it and being planted in our hearts. We can't grow without It. Some are more content to stay stagnate - and that produces rot. And Christians are the church - members of His Body. Any member without His Word would eventually die off - like any person without food to sustain them. We need MORE of God's Word - never ever less or God forbid - not at all.
9 posted on 12/08/2011 2:27:01 PM PST by presently no screen name (If it's not in God's Word, don't pass it off as truth! That's satan's job.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike
It is a long read

Yes it is and I'm not long on time. So I didn't read it - just the thought of saying His Word is not necessary for Christians was enough to provoke an answer.
10 posted on 12/08/2011 2:30:05 PM PST by presently no screen name (If it's not in God's Word, don't pass it off as truth! That's satan's job.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock

No, you reading comprehension needs some work.

I have the luxury of the Scriptures to make a point to prove the Scriptures are not needed to win souls. After all, whet did they win souls by for the first 300 years?

Even up till the mid 20th century the vast majority of humans could not read, so the bible was doing them no good. Yet many were saved by those who could not read the Scriptures. How? God wrote His commandment on our hearts. Love, the greatest commandment.

When you start with love in your heart, then I promise you that God is not far away, because He is love. Next thing is God sending a Christian your way to share the word.

However, you misunderstood the whole reason for this post. A friend of mine teaches at a Seminary school, and he wants some feedback on his thought about this. he is considering writing a book or teaching on this to his students, and he wants some opinions on it.

Obviously, you have no opinion other than empty criticism.


11 posted on 12/08/2011 2:33:30 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

Christianity without the Bible is mere paganism. Make God into anything and anything into a god.

The Bible is known to be more accurate today than at any time in the past.

Only those who have misguided faith in the pronouncements of philsophical naturalism (science) would even consider such a question.


12 posted on 12/08/2011 2:37:47 PM PST by GourmetDan (Eccl 10:2 - The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presently no screen name

If you would at least read his closing paragraph, you would see in his conclusion he agrees with you. His reason is more an apologetical question for those who continually get caught up in the many unnecessary debates about the way the bible came about, who wrote it, etc. etc. etc.

Sadly, so many Christians fail to get beyond those debates and thus they never get to actually share the Gospel because Satan has the other person locked on debating the Bible.

However, no one is advocating it’s end, or not studying it. I knew this would ignite some good debate, and this is a start, but what about the gist of the question?


13 posted on 12/08/2011 2:40:41 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

Don’t plan on meeting your friend in the hereafter.


14 posted on 12/08/2011 2:43:01 PM PST by editor-surveyor (No Federal Sales Tax - No Way!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

My response is we do need the Bible.We do need a written text
because it is the source for our faith. What we feel inside
is subjective and can be misleading .The written text gives us a record that can be tracked back to the eyewitness accounts.My girl has a boyfriend who has read the Bible and believes a lot of it but he also believes he has seen the devil while doing Meth and he still prefers how he “feels “ on drugs. My point being he is relying on what he feels in his heart And that cannot be reconciled favorably to Scripture.


15 posted on 12/08/2011 2:46:47 PM PST by StonyBurk (ring)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike
Satan has the other person locked on debating the Bible.

Exactly and usually they come from man made teachings and pride/satan keeps them from coming from an open heart to seek truth.

but what about the gist of the question

Does Christianity Need the Bible? YES! Without It, we are like heathens and the rest of the world.
16 posted on 12/08/2011 2:47:19 PM PST by presently no screen name (If it's not in God's Word, don't pass it off as truth! That's satan's job.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: GourmetDan

I must believe that you never even read the article, otherwise you would not have insulted me or my friend.

Believe me, neither I nor my friend Doug is misguided in our faith. Nor are we lost in the pronouncements of philsophical naturalism (science).

Many here know my credentials, so I will not repeat them, but as for Doug, he is a very well respected seminary scholar and a very devout Evangelical Christian.

As for Doug’s devotion to Christ, I wish I could match my faith against his. So, for you to even suggest that about either of us is very off the mark.

I will mark down your response as nothing more than a smarmy remark from someone who is unwilling to honestly contemplate the question at hand.


17 posted on 12/08/2011 2:50:15 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

The Bible is God...God is the Bible. YES, Christianity needs the Bible.


18 posted on 12/08/2011 3:00:38 PM PST by bimboeruption (Clinging to my Bible and my HK.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

The Bible is a Christian’s written authority, without written authority Christianity would be mere opinion, one man’s opinion is as good as another. No one could be proven right or wrong. It would be like Judaism without Moses’ law.


19 posted on 12/08/2011 3:03:38 PM PST by sasportas
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

Sounds like classic feminine logic. “If you understood, you would agree w/ me.”

Incapable of considering that someone could understand... and disagree.

Since you and Doug have ‘credentials’, then you’ll surely recognize, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” If you want to be offended, suit yourself. It’s just pride talking.

My comments must have hit too close to home...


20 posted on 12/08/2011 3:05:54 PM PST by GourmetDan (Eccl 10:2 - The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: OneVike
"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (Jeremiah 31:33) All we need is for Him to be in our hearts and we can and will win souls.

The problem with interpreting this without the bible is that God's "law"....the one that he puts into our hearts and minds....become entirely subjective without a basis in scripture.

In fact modern Christianity has already done this. They've decided to interpret God's law as basically whatever we want.

Scripture IS needed today because the world is under the sway of Satan. In the future, when Satan is put away and Christ rules physically all governments then scripture MIGHT not be needed but that's only because God himself will be there to teach.

21 posted on 12/08/2011 3:06:08 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

Since writing was the way Scripture were preserved for those not an eye witness to the events described and since its survival in the face the greatest campaigns against it, it would seem the Bible has the necessity for Christianity.

Perhaps another means of transmitting that Word of God would work but a written word is what was directed, Christianity and God’s Word are parts of a whole not just close friends.


22 posted on 12/08/2011 3:06:55 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike
Without a Bible, What would we talk about in church?

Without a Bible, would we be Christians?

23 posted on 12/08/2011 3:09:00 PM PST by TexasCajun (Fast & Furious , Solyndra & Light Squared would be enough to impeach any White President !!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

Holy Scripture is the divinely inspired word of God and is inseparable from Christianity.

Respectfully, Doug’s argument begins with a false premise and is therefore falsified.

Amadeo


24 posted on 12/08/2011 3:09:48 PM PST by Amadeo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

Holy Scripture is the divinely inspired word of God and is inseparable from Christianity.

Respectfully, Doug’s argument begins with a false premise and is therefore falsified.

Amadeo


25 posted on 12/08/2011 3:10:15 PM PST by Amadeo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: presently no screen name; StonyBurk; editor-surveyor; sasportas; bimboeruption

What would you do, if you had no Bible, and you met a stranger. You would use your memory of what you learned from reading the word, which is understandable.

No the Bible does not make it Christianity, Christ does, and without Him it would be Judaism. The Bible is not God, the Bible tells His story. John said that there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

So does the fact that all of the things Christ did was not all written down make God incomplete if the Bible is God? No, because the Bible is not God. I agree it is the best tool we have available to us, but there could come a time when we as Christians do not have it. If so then how miserable we would be if we cannot reach the lost without it?

Think of a scenario that would put you in a place without the Bible, and you could not give it or read from it to reach others.

Are you saying you could not save that individual? God is the one who said, “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts”, not me.

Either he can reach the lost without the Bible, or he cannot, and we all know the truth. God does not need the Bible to reach us. We need it to understand Him. remember, He can and did grow the church without the Bible.

But I do understand you take, and that was my first take until i thought it through.

Hey editor, my friend is a good Christian. However, as a professor of apologetics, he finds himself doing these sort of mental gymnastics to sharpen his ability to fight the good fight and to reach the Dawkins of the world. Plus he is thinking of writing another book.


26 posted on 12/08/2011 3:11:05 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: OneVike
No, you reading comprehension needs some work.

No you need to read some history.

I have the luxury of the Scriptures to make a point to prove the Scriptures are not needed to win souls. After all, whet did they win souls by for the first 300 years?

The first 300 years had the books of the NT already in place. Your are dating them far too late.

27 posted on 12/08/2011 3:16:10 PM PST by Gamecock (I am so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it. JGM)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

In short, you need the Bible.

Take the Bible out, and the theology will start falling apart. Look at history, and what happens when a church or denomination leaves the Bible. It will (not may) start embracing all sorts of things, and very quickly leave God.

It is a Rule and curb for the Faith.


28 posted on 12/08/2011 3:16:47 PM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

A very thought provoking question! It is too hard for to conceive not having a Bible in our lfe time. I have been a Christian since May 1953 (about 58 years).

In my younger years I did not avail myself in a consistant study and memory of God’s word.

My wife and children have always had access to the Bible, so I think it hard to visualize living the Christian life, having never had access to the word of God.

My knowledge of God, and His soverngity,teach me He lead Holy men to write and publish His word, and we are blessed in our time to have it available.

Jesus taught: “To whom little is given little is required, and to whom much is given, much is required,”

I’m now nearing 78 years, and I just shut down my TV cable, and had my computer off. This gave me time to refresh my Bible memory work.

I do not want to boast, but I have 30+ plus random verses rememberized. How refreshing,its restoring, how cleansing and how restoring it is of the Spirit.

I started with Psalm 119:9,10&11, then Psalm 150:6; Proverbs 16:6, 16:25; Then Isaiah 1:18, and Isaiah 53:6,then Proverbs 16:6 and 15:25(just to give you an idea of such memory work).

Let me recommend every believer do the same!


29 posted on 12/08/2011 3:23:59 PM PST by LetMarch (If a man knows the right way to live, and does not live it, there is no greater coward. (Anonymous)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: GourmetDan

Not at all. You failed to give a reasonable answer for your disagreement, and then you added an insult to one’s intelligence and faith.


30 posted on 12/08/2011 3:24:55 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock

My point was they were not agreed upon as to what the canon would be as to which letters were divine and which were not.

I know history, but you need to use proper reading comprehension because I never said they were written in 300.

However, the vast majority of Christians never read, nor had them read to them by the time they were gathered together for the canon.

98% of the Roman Empires population could not even read in the year 300.


31 posted on 12/08/2011 3:32:06 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

It sounds like your friend Doug thinks he can be a Christian without the Bible. Yes?


32 posted on 12/08/2011 3:37:16 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

Perhaps it is your reading comprehension that is the problem.

They were circulated and read to the early churches far earlier than 300 AD.


33 posted on 12/08/2011 3:38:55 PM PST by Gamecock (I am so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it. JGM)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: LetMarch

I agree with you. We should all avail ourselves to putting the Scriptures to memory as much as we can.

Also, again you make a good point about to whom much is given, much is expected.

We are given His word in a language we can understand. We live in a time when we have archeology proving the existence of times and people of the Scriptures. Oh how much more we will answer for our inability to share what we do know to be true.

My point of all this is exactly what you say. We need to put the bible in our minds and make sure it is part of our daily life. I say so because one day we may not have it so available. One day soon, it could become hate speech and become as detested by the masses of secularists as Mein Kampf is to Jews, and Germans.

So the question is a relevant one, and I must ad, that I am not all shocked at the reaction to the very thought.


34 posted on 12/08/2011 3:40:19 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock
Again, I will tell you that I understand that the letters were all written before 100 AD, most probably before 60 AD, depending upon your take on Johns letters to the 7 churches and Christs Revelation.

However, the vast majority of the Christians of the day never had the privilege of hearing them read. The letters were sacred, and very important. The Christian leaders kept them secret, and the Roman's wanted them destroyed.

If you were caught with one it was a death sentence for you. So it is not like there were millions of copies floating around the Empire. The ones that existed were mostly copies because the originals were destroyed or just withered away in time due to the way the parchments were made.

But I am finished with going back and forth with you over this.

Why cannot more of you give an answer to the question like LetMarch did, instead of taking me or the author to task for daring to ask such a question?
35 posted on 12/08/2011 3:51:57 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change

No, you are another one who failed to read the whole article. Otherwise you would not say that.

I know it is long, but you can at least read the last paragraph which is his conclusion. Read it then get back to me and say that again.


36 posted on 12/08/2011 3:54:30 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

“However, the vast majority of Christians never read, nor had them read to them by the time they were gathered together for the canon”

And you know this how?

The canon for the most part was well known and accepted by the end of the second century. One need only look at what was quoted and collected as Scripture.


37 posted on 12/08/2011 3:56:44 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

The last part of the conclusion is a wordy way of saying what was said earlier:

“For even if we give up the entire Bible, Christianity remains.”

This is typical of the pseudo-intellectual clap-trap that says the Word of God is subservient to a hierarchy instead of the reverse.


38 posted on 12/08/2011 4:15:12 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change

No it isn’t. He is saying that Christianity survives because Christ survives. He is also stating that if you have trouble defending the Bible against those with minds like Dawkins, then maybe you should try defending the movement that produced the Bible as proof of Christ instead.

You probably also have a problem with the statement that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. After all there is more credit given to the blood of the Saints for building the church than the word of God.


39 posted on 12/08/2011 4:29:01 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: OneVike

What does he say about Holy Tradition?


40 posted on 12/08/2011 4:44:35 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: OneVike
You belive in Scripture, correct?
 
Then why don't you believe this?
 

John 21: (We'll be using the KJV today to keep things on even footing): "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."

 

The Bible Itself declares that it doesn't contain everything.


41 posted on 12/08/2011 4:47:21 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: OneVike
Christianity is shaped and instructed by the Word of God, the Bible, and it existed before Christianity, Jesus saying, “It is written”.

It wasn't a “movement” that produced the Scriptures but the operation of God's spirit. It is the instruction and teaching book for Christians, as Paul called it, “Sharper than any two edged sword”.

Of course some may not like the idea that the “sword of the spirit”, God's Word, is alive and so want a view of the Bible as unnecessary or even a hindrance to their brand of Christianity.

42 posted on 12/08/2011 4:50:45 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: OneVike; presently no screen name; StonyBurk; sasportas; bimboeruption; GourmetDan

>> “No the Bible does not make it Christianity, Christ does, and without Him it would be Judaism.” <<

.
No, it certainly wouldn’t be Judaism.

Judaism is completely about Christ; perhaps it would be Islam?

To fight the good fight and to reach the Dawkins of the world requires the word of God; that is what it is for. Our own wisdom is foolishness, so let’s sharpen our knowledge of the word of God, and then we will be able to reach them.

Without the Bible we would be lost in nonsensical “traditions” like the catholics.


43 posted on 12/08/2011 4:55:58 PM PST by editor-surveyor (No Federal Sales Tax - No Way!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

HUH???> what does that have to do with this?


44 posted on 12/08/2011 4:57:07 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: editor-surveyor

OK, try this, without Christ, it would be Judaism still looking forward to it’s Messiah.

However, Christianity became Christianity because of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, not the Bible.


45 posted on 12/08/2011 5:01:56 PM PST by OneVike (Just a Christian waiting to go home)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: OneVike
What it has to do with this, is that you're posing a question as to whether Christianity can exist without the Bible. That has drawn the attention of a Catholic who fancies your question a favorable thing toward an infallible Magisterium, which carries more weight with Catholics than does the Bible alone.

The Bible alone, Sola Scriptura, is a tenet of Protestantism. All is to be tested by scripture. If a doctrine or belief does not find support in scripture, then it is not an acceptable doctrine or belief. This means that any number of Catholic traditions are unacceptable to Protestants, because these traditions fail when being tested by scripture.

46 posted on 12/08/2011 5:09:07 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: Salvation; OneVike

>> “The Bible Itself declares that it doesn’t contain everything.” <<

.
It does no such thing!

You have completely twisted the meaning of the verse.

The verse says that John’s account doesn’t describe each and every adventure of the Lord’s life on Earth, but the Bible as a whole states in many places that it does contain everything that we need to find eternal life in the presence of God through belief in his Son.
.


47 posted on 12/08/2011 5:14:10 PM PST by editor-surveyor (No Federal Sales Tax - No Way!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: editor-surveyor

Well, if John’s account doesn’t include everything, then parallelling that, the bible does not contain everything.


48 posted on 12/08/2011 5:20:14 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: editor-surveyor

Are you saying that the Apostle John, who wrote his Gospel after all the other Gospels is lying?


49 posted on 12/08/2011 5:21:11 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: editor-surveyor

Or are you saying that you do not believe the Gospel of John and therefore do not believe the entire Bible?

ALL the books, not just the Protestant Bible.


50 posted on 12/08/2011 5:22:16 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-173 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson