Fundamentalist Baptist Pastor Bill responds, Part 5

Pastor Bill, a fundamentalist Baptist pastor and childhood family friend, is corresponding with me regarding my loss of faith.  He has kindly agreed to allow me to post his correspondence here on my blog. 

I ask my readers to be polite to Pastor Bill.  Even though he has disagreed with my decision to become a Lutheran, and most recently, an agnostic, he has always been kind and polite.  You are welcome to post (respectful) comments below the post(s).  Whether Pastor Bill chooses to respond to readers’ comments is his choice as I know he is a very busy man.

In this post, Pastor Bill is responding to questions posed to him by one of my readers (and fellow blogger), Nate:

Pastor Bill:

02 June 2013

(It’s exciting to know that even the dates used on documents and calendars are based upon the life and death of my Saviour, Jesus Christ)

 
Gary, this is a copy of the main questions Nate delivered to me;
 
Nate’s Questions:  .. “.So perhaps we should back up just a bit? I think we should ask a couple of preliminary questions before we try to go any further in a discussion about Christianity:
 
1) How do you believe a person finds truth? Is it something they have to look for, by examining the truth of various claims? Or do you believe it’s something that is given to certain individuals? In other words, do you believe that God simply gives truth to people, or has he left it for us to find if we’re searching for it?
 
2) Can the Bible (and Christianity) be verified or falsified through examination? If we objectively study the evidence for and against it, can we come to the correct conclusion about it?
 
Pastor Bill’s Response:
 
Thanks, Nate.
 
I’d like to discuss it some.
 
The Bible is a matter of “FAITH”...that being said, I believe it offers many good reasons to believe it. It cannot be placed into a test tube although reason is enough for thinking people to consider it. When it is all said and done a person has to consider the claims of the Word of God and decide if he is going to believe it or not Romans 3: (KJV)
 
3 For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.  
 
I believe the Word of God has stood many tests over time. I believe it will stand any criticism given it, if the people giving the test are objective and honest. For example, recently I related that “die” in Genesis 2:17 referred to spiritual death and was told basically, “..that can’t be…” Seems like some want only one definition of that word…actually that is a bit unfair when there are many understandings of many words in many languages, for example; “set” has 464 different definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary and “run” 396 based upon the same dictionary. I could check that out but by “faith” I’m going to accept that. Why anyone would call God a liar without real study and consideration of what He has said and means is beyond me. 2 Timothy 2: (KJV)
 
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  

God said Adam would die, Adam died and all men have been born with a dead spirit since….can I prove that, NO but I accept that because of the evidence I see for the trustworthiness of the Bible. I believe that because of the changes I have seen and experienced in lives of people who have genuinely trusted Christ Jesus as their own personal Saviour..

2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 

I believe that because of the fulfilled prophecies of the Bible, (Which prophecies some have chosen to close their eyes to or believe someone else about). The mathematical probably of said prophecies being faithfully fulfilled is undeniable …. if one thinks, studies and DESIRES to know the truth.

John 7: (KJV)

17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.   

While the Lord advises us “to believe to see” the world cries, “Let me see and I will believe”. There is absolutely no faith involved in that scenario or philosophy and “…without faith it is impossible to please Him…

Here are some things to consider;

Where is truth found;

John 17: (KJV)

17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  
 

John 18: (KJV)

38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.  

 
James 1: (KJV)

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness (the opposite of arrogance and pride) the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.  

 
1 Peter 1: (KJV)

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  

 
In addition there are many Old Testament verses;

Psalm 19: (KJV)

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.  
Psalm 119: (KJV)

104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. 

 
So as we often say prior to preaching or following the reading of the Word of God; “May the Lord add His blessing to His Word at this time.”
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2 thoughts on “Fundamentalist Baptist Pastor Bill responds, Part 5

  1. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the reply and sorry it's taken me several days to get back to you. I've had a busy week.

    The Bible is a matter of “FAITH”…that being said, I believe it offers many good reasons to believe it. It cannot be placed into a test tube although reason is enough for thinking people to consider it. When it is all said and done a person has to consider the claims of the Word of God and decide if he is going to believe it or not Romans 3: (KJV)

    3 For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
    4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

    If I understand you correctly, you're saying that yes, the Bible can be verified through examination as long as we're being objective. There's a certain amount of faith involved, but a reasonable person should be convinced that it's true. Is that a fair summation of your view?

    Romans 3:3-4 is a great passage. It's basically saying that if a person doesn't believe God's word, that has no effect on whether or not God's word is true. And sure — that's a correct statement. It also says “let God be true, but every man a liar.” In other words, God is perfect. If there's a disagreement between God and men, God wins every time.

    But that brings up an important question about the Bible. After all, no one denies that it was written by various men (Paul, Luke, Ezra, etc). So when we examine the Bible's claims, are we examining the claims of men, or of God? If they're God's claims, then they should undeniably be true. If they're just man's claims, then undoubtedly there are some errors contained within.

    So to me, that's the litmus test about the Bible. It's not okay for us to just accept whatever the Bible claims, because it may just be the claims of men. To make sure they're from God, we need to investigate them in some way. And if they don't stand up to scrutiny, let's not blaspheme the idea of God by assigning his name to something beneath him.

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  2. So now, we've hopefully reached an agreement on how to move forward with this. We need to stop assuming that the Bible is true — we need to stop assuming that all its prophecies are true, stop assuming that it's completely inerrant, and even stop assuming that its claims about sin and our relationship with God are true. Mankind may not be in need of any kind of salvation at all. That's a Christian idea that simply isn't true if the Bible isn't true. So these are all presuppositions that we need to set aside for now. Instead, we need to look at the Bible as though we know very little about it. We need to take every claim of the Bible that we can investigate and determine whether or not it's true.

    So let's start with a simple one:

    Galatians 3:16-17 says this:

    The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.

    Here, Paul says that the law came 430 years after the promises were made to Abraham. But in Exodus 12:40-41, we see:

    ow the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt.

    If the Israelites were in Egypt 430 years, then there could not have been 430 years between Abraham’s promises and the law.

    God made his promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, and as we read on through Genesis, we see that Abraham had no children at this time. Later, he had a son named Isaac. When Isaac was 60 years old, he had Jacob (Gen 25:24-26), and Jacob had 12 sons that produced the 12 tribes of Israel. Already, we can see that some time has passed since Abraham received the promise. Once Jacob’s sons were all grown with families of their own, they finally settled in Egypt. Jacob was 130 years old at this time (Gen 47:9), and this marks the beginning of that 430 year period that the Israelites spent in Egypt.

    That means that the time between the promise to Abraham and the giving of the law was actually over 600 years. So why did Paul say 430 years? To me, this appears to be a simple mistake. He remembered the 430 year figure because that’s how much time the Israelites spent in Egypt, and so he simply misspoke. It’s not a big deal… people do it all the time. But if Paul were inspired by God (who is perfect), then it's harder to reconcile this issue.

    Thoughts? Even though we're trying to be objective and pretend as though we don't know much about the Bible, it's obviously going to be very hard for you to acknowledge that this passage might be wrong. So I don't expect you to necessarily weigh in on it, but try to at least keep it in the back of your mind as we go through this. After all, it's at least possible that you could be wrong about your belief in the Bible, right?

    Thanks again for your time. Hope you're having a great weekend. 🙂

    — Nate

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