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 (polite) 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 the post below, Pastor Bill responds to questions posed to him by my on-line friend, fellow skeptic and blogger, Nate. You can see Nate’s original comments here.
I will intersperse my comments in red.
10 June 2015
What are you trusting for eternity? What does the future hold for you? What do you think about eternity and how to overcome?
Nate, I’m holding a copy of your reply to my June 6 blog and you mentioned, “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 all its prophecies are true, stop assuming that its completely inerrant, and stop assuming that its claims about sin and our relationship with God are true… …”
Nate, I would not for one minute agree that my Bible is not true. I would not agree for one minute that my Bible is not inerrant. I would not agree for a moment that the claims the Bible makes about sin and our relationship to God are untrue or the least bit inaccurate.
Every person in the world has a final authority. Every person in the world has something that they go to as their final authority and last instruction. In the German language is called the “Duden”. The Duden is a dictionary, I believe authored by a man named Duden. It is, for most Germans, the final authority on all things having to do with grammar, spelling, language questions etc.. etc.. What most don’t realize is that the written German language is based on Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible. My “Duden” in spiritual matters is the King James Bible. Some people for their “Duden” will use tradition, for some people it’s parent or family belief. For some people it’s something a professor said at school or what was read in some textbook. For some poor, deluded people it is their own intelligence…..or supposed intelligence. But every person in the world has a final authority to go to on every issue. My “Duden”, my final authority, actually my only authority, for faith and practice is my King James Bible. I’m not walking any short part of a mile pretending or agreeing that I don’t believe the Bible to be God’s final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
Since I started writing on the blog, and following it some, I’ve been told, and I’ve seen, that “Bible believers just look at the Bible and accept what it says”. I’m guilty of that. I have never pretended to be anything different than that. The people who went out of their way to reach me with the “Good News” of Jesus Christ did a great job of teaching me to “stay with the Bible”. I have searched the Bible, I’ve studied the Word of God, I’ve made application of it in my life, and I find it to be a trustworthy thing. On the other hand there are those the Lord describes in;
Romans 1:21‑23 (KJV)
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
So, Nate, what are you using for your final authority? While some would say that we are simply following something we were taught or something we learned……isn’t that what everyone does? We may choose to begin in a different place but we all begin somewhere with some belief system and go and hopefully grow from there.
The Bible tells us about a hell to shun, and a heaven to gain. (Some would tell us that HELL is a relatively new subject, taught to the Jews by the Greeks or some such nonsense… Time and later, death will show the reality of this awful place…The difference between heaven and hell is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ based upon the Bible. That personal relationship begins when we confess to God that we don’t have all the answers, (we stop professing ourselves to be wise) that we need something we don’t have, that we find ourselves short of the glory of God. When we’re convinced in our heart that we have offended a holy God, and that we are in great straits, and in a real need for something more, our hearts are drawn by the word of God to Jesus Christ, Who is the Sum and the Substance of all wisdom, with Whom we can go to heaven without Whom we must go to hell. Denying hell will never change the temperature or the duration.
Romans 10:1‑3 (KJV)
1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
The Jewish people were not the last people to think they were OK the way they were. They tried to make their own way to heaven. The Babylonians thought they could build a way to heaven and Paul found the people of Athens were worshiping incorrectly also;
Acts 17:22 (KJV) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
I would very much like to do the same thing and the “Him” Paul spoke of that day was Jesus Christ and His death burial and resurrection for the sins of the world…..for your sins and mine.
In Christ and Happy,
Gary: Pastor Bill says that his ultimate authority is the (King James) Bible, but is it? Does a particular Bible, a book with typed print, either sitting on Pastor Bill’s night stand or on his church pulpit, take physical possession of Pastor Bill, forcing him to follow its commands and teachings? Does Pastor Bill’s god, Yahweh/Jesus, physically force Pastor Bill to follow the commands in the Bible?
Pastor Bill chooses, by his own free will, to follow the commands and teachings of the Bible. Therefore, Pastor Bill’s ultimate source of authority and knowledge about the world is…himself.
Pastor Bill is a very intelligent man, but he is not a scientist, geologist, archeologist, medical researcher, or professional historian. Yet Pastor Bill places his opinion above the opinions of all these very educated, highly trained experts regarding the veracity and accuracy of the scientific, geological, archeological, medical, and historical claims of an ancient, middle-eastern holy book.
Pastor Bill has yet to provide good evidence for why he is correct to select, of his own free will, an ancient middle-eastern text as his final source of knowledge, and, evidence to support the rationality of telling the rest of us that if we do not choose to follow the often contradictory, scientifically and medically ignorant teachings of his ancient text, we will suffer horrendous consequences.
For Pastor Bill to tell us that the Bible is the inerrant, supreme authority for all mankind…just because the Bible says so…is no different than a Muslim cleric telling us that the Koran is the inerrant, supreme authority for all mankind…just because the Koran says so!
Where is the evidence, Pastor Bill?
Where’s the beef???