Wednesday, November 30, 2005

War in Iraq

The United States is obviously a polarized nation when it comes to the issue of whether or not we should be fighting a war in Iraq. From a biblical perspective, one can argue that liberating people from a murderous dictatorship is the right thing to do, or one could argue that to send people to die in a 'pre-emptive' war is the wrong thing to do. As Christians however, all analysis must be based on how best can Christ be glorified in the current situation? The Bible teaches that all Governments are established by God. As such, regardless of your position on the war, it was ordered by our Government. Our responsibility as Christians is to pray for our leaders. Here's a thought: if you agree with the war, pray for wisdom for our leaders to prosecute the war wisely. If you disagree with the war, pray for wisdom for our leaders to prosecute the war wisely. What a novel idea! As Christians, we can pray in agreement!

Land For Peace

Have you ever wondered how come such a small country (about the size of Rhode Island) can continue to be the target of all things violent and hate filled? Everyday, the news headlines are filled with attention (mostly negative) on this nation. The UN hates them, the Europeans loathe them, the Arabs want to destroy them and the Americans are schizophrenic about them. Of course I am referring to the State of Israel. If nothing else, it does prove the point that when God says something, all should listen.

In the Old Testament, God stated that Jerusalem will be a "burdensome stone" (Isaiah 8:14), and that "He will defend her against her enemies" (Zechariah 9:8). The irony is that most of the adversaries mentioned in the first paragraph claim officially or by behavior not to believe in the all-powerful God of Abraham, Isasac and Jacob. So in their blind zeal, they continue an all out assault on the nation of Israel, yet to no avail. The Americans (as most lukewarm believers tend to be), try to walk the middle: on the one hand they consider Israel an ally, while on the other hand they are continually asking Israel to negotiaite with their enemies and give up land for 'peace'.

Throughout the Bible, the Lord is very clear that the 'promised' land belongs to Israel. He is not in the habit of changing His mind. The 'kings of the world' (America included) can fight and argue and negotiate all they want, but Israel and Jerusalem in particular will never be occupied peacefully by anyone else but the chosen people of God. So as you see and hear the politicians negotiating for peace, don't believe for a minute that it will actually happen. The Word of God is clear about this sliver of land, and He never changes His mind (except maybe for that one time with Moses - but that's another story).

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Biblical Errors?

Do 'Biblical Errors' make the Bible Unreliable?

The widely accepted and used modern translations of the Bible (i.e. KJV, NIV, NASB etc.) were not the original writings of the prophets through whom God recorded His Word. However these have been the materials that God has permitted to be universally used throughout the recent centuries to bring millions of people back to Him via His message of salvation through Christ for the atonement of our sins. I doubt that when these millions get to heaven they will be concerned that they may not have been taught from Moses or Isaiah’s direct writings on parchment. This point is simply to refute the notion that a) there is only one translation of the Bible that is authentic and b) that the Bible contains errors therefore rendering it largely uncredible.

The Holy Sprit (God in Spirit form) was sent to every believer after Pentecost (Acts 2) to reveal God’s truth. I believe that the contributors of the various modern Bible translations were largely operating under the errorless guidance of the Holy Spirit to contribute to these texts which subsequently have caused millions to come to an understanding and acceptance of salvation through Jesus Christ through the reading and life practice of His instructions from these translations.

Are there things in the Bible that at times may appear contradictory to our very limited human minds? Absolutely. But that in no way renders the Bible any less effective in it’s guidance for us back to Christ. All it underscores is the very likelihood that weak and sinful man in his very brief time on earth was not designed to understand all that there is to know about a perfect God. If we are to know everything, He will make it so in due time…I suspect though not here on earth.

Consider the following “contradiction”: In Leviticus Chapter 19 Verse 11 – God’s Bible says "Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another…”; but Exodus 1:15-21 tells a story of how the Hebrew midwives lied to their Egyptian masters and were rewarded by God for doing so. Does this apparent “contradiction” allow us now to lie ‘comfortably’ to each other? No, absolutely not…everything in context. The supreme command of the New Testament…second to the fact that salvation comes through Christ alone is this:

John 15:9-14 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.” (NIV)

We must try to lay our lives down for each other. For most modern Christians, this will not mean to take a bullet and literally die in place of another, but it most likely will mean that we ‘subvert’ (or lay down) our wants, desires, lusts, or love for things, and give our lives over to those whom God has given into our lives (typically our spouses and children). And it is right ONLY if we do it because it is done unto the Lord. Not out of drudgery or mechanical human duty. I suspect that those who obey this command with a right spirit will find that God will begin to change their circumstances. For most of us however, we never discover this because we are unwilling to trust and put into practice God’s word above our own flesh and desires.

A God who sends people to Hell?