So Embarrassing, pt. 2

Andy Stanley builds his Christian apologetic on the grounds of the amazing evidence of the resurrection of the Son of God. He takes it so far as to tell his audience to “unhitch” themselves from the Old Testament, that the value systems of the Old and New Testaments differ, and that the virgin birth of Jesus Christ is a superfluous matter. One tact he took in defending these positions in his “Seekers and Speakers” interview was by pointing out that educated, modern folks have a hard time accepting some of the more far-out testimonies of Scripture. Given that, Christians should not over-burden unbelievers with this sort of stuff and instead just focus on Jesus and the resurrection.

If one reads through Acts, one can readily see that indeed the early church did focus on the resurrection in their evangelism. What they didn’t do, however, was discredit or undermine the testimony of Scripture, which was the Old Testament at that time. Christianity is built on the foundation of the Old Testament. This does not mean one must hash out every detail of the Old Testament record in one’s Gospel preaching; however, if it comes up, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ (the same Lord who says He is truth, the same Lord who says God’s word is truth, and the same Lord who says that all Scripture is God-breathed) should not shy away from defending the testimony of his own Savior.

Stanley made a couple of references to how folks now have the ability to look things up on the internet. It seems that he was saying there is so much stuff out on the internet that seeks to undermine or disprove the Bible that for a believer to insist something is true when there are so many sources that say it isn’t true is to seem to defend the ridiculous. To provide a hyperbolic response, it would be like living in Nazi Germany and trying to defend Jewish people when there was so much state-sponsored evidence against such people!

It doesn’t take much effort to find a website like this one, which has a compilation of  many of the apparent inconsistencies in the Bible. I am not here going to attempt to answer these though some are easily refuted while others take serious study and still others could just be a matter of disagreeing with what one thinks the Bible is. I say it’s the Word of God, the same God Who sent His Son to die for my sins, the same God Who by His very nature cannot lie, so I’m willing to give the Bible the benefit of the doubt. In fact I would think that for a Christian like Stanley who even suggests that he might believe most of the Old Testament record it would be easy to take the same approach. “I’m about Jesus and the resurrection as the way in which I want to present the Gospel message. Some people get bogged down in details of the Old Testament and I’m not here to debate that, I just want to focus on Christ.” That is a far different tact than saying there is a different value system presented in the Old Testament and that sources that seek to undermine the Scripture have any validity.

When one comes to the Old Testament as divinely given (with, of course, that divine source being the Trinitarian Creator God who is our salvation), one’s approach should be entirely different than approaches that seeks to discredit it. The Bible is the standard, not archaeology, not science, not philosophy, the Bible! This means that archaeology, science, philosophy and the rest cannot “prove” the Bible. If one were to find something in the Bible that seems to be missing from the historical record (like the famous example of the Hittites) all that tells us is that something is wrong with the record. If one found something in the Bible that contradicts scientific understanding of the world, one must first accept that the Bible is not a science book but it is a book that provides the first principles one must start with before one begins to study God’s created order. We could continue this line of thinking to include psychology, economics, environmentalism, et al. The Bible says about itself that it has everything we need to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work.” What we do begins with how we think and it seems that if the Bible gives us false information about how to think about certain areas of life, it really fails as a trustworthy source to equip us for good works as well. So, instead of fearing that we might be embarrassed when we discover that God’s word contradicts pagan worldviews, we should be embarrassed when we don’t judge everything first through the grid of Scripture. And if the world laughs because we accept these ancient words ever true, the only embarrassment we should have is for them.

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