Friday, December 12, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different...

A renowned philosopher was held in high regard by his driver, who listened in awe at every speech while his boss would easily answer questions about morality and ethics.

Then one day the driver approached the philosopher and asked if he was willing to switch roles for the evening's lecture. The philosopher agreed and, for a while, the driver handled himself remarkably well. When it came time for questions from the guests, a woman in the back asked, "Is the epistemological view of the universe still valid in an existentialist world?"

"That is an extremely simple question," he responded. "So simple, in fact, that even my driver could answer that, which is exactly what he will do."

Photo by Stephen Vandervort

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Confession of Faith

So, on Thursday I blogged about an open letter than had been written concerning the Nazarene Article of Faith on scripture. Apparently an anonymous (and presumably atheist) reader of my blog didn't appreciate this, saying that:

"The problem is, you still think that some guy died, and three days later hopped back-up like a guru, wall-walking zombie. Furthermore, you think that this zombie guy's take on life 2000 years ago, long before science was even dreamt of, should somehow be trusted today. 'Oh, he's God!' You'll still say, just like the fundamentalist you decry. But you only believe that because you read it in the magic book. So now who is using circular reasoning? Geesh--liberal Christians are still stupid, it's just their island of stupidity is a bit smaller than their fundamentalist cro-mag neighbors."

So, in the interest of not being a "
guy [who] believes religious fantasy for reasons he won't reveal ON HIS OWN BLOG", I will blog on the reasons why I am a confessing believer in the Christian faith.

There are several reasons I choose to believe the confessions of the Christian faith, such as that Jesus Christ was divine and that he died and was resurrected three days later. Honestly, the reasons I believe are not in any way driven by reason. They can be shown to be supportable by reason, but I didn't dispassionately assess criteria and then after weighing all the pros and cons of both sides of the argument come to the most reasonable and justifiable conclusion. The reasons I came to faith are emotive. I can offer defense against arguments against Christianity all day long, but they are not the reasons I believe. The reason I have faith is that I feel the weight of my sins, and I believe that Jesus Christ can forgive them and offer me a way of life that is better than what I could have without him.

Anonymous, if that isn't good enough for you, feel free to raise questions concerning the validity of Christian beliefs, and I'd be more than willing to answer them to the best of my ability.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Concerning Doctrine

In my wanderings across this vast wasteland known as the internet, I stumbled across something attacking not only my denomination's beliefs on Scripture, but personally naming my university as responsible for what he deemed to be a "seed of heresy". You can read this "Open Letter Concerning the Authority of Scriptures" in its entirety here, but the basis of his argument is a problem with the Nazarene Manual's doctrine on Scripture:

"We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith."

This basically means that while we believe that entirety of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired word of God, that inspiration was interpreted by human beings, and as such is possibly subject to some degree of fallibility, except in the matter of salvation. So, to make a long statement short: If it will save your soul, then it's infallible. Otherwise, it need not be necessarily 100% accurate.

Mr. McDonald (the writer of this letter) believes that this position on scripture is not strong enough, and that scripture (supported in his letter by quoting scripture) is entirely infallible. After all, "God is perfect in all His works, in regards to anything. He did not even allow a man's interpretation, will, or opinion to enter His Word."

As a solution to the problem of our scriptural heresy, MacDonald offers this as alternative to our current doctrine: "Scripture, being found as eternally inerrent and inspired of God, is veracious and authoritative concerning every aspect of physical and spiritual existence. The Bible has been provided as our only completely truthful standard of theology, ethics, science, history, and every other realm into which its limitless grasp extends."


"O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to ushe who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." (Psalm 137:8-9)

"When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it." (Joshua 8:24)

"While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, "The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp." So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses." (Numbers 15:32-36)


"He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." (Psalm 104:5)

"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle?" (Job 38:22-23)

"What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?" (Job 38:24)

"Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'?" (Job 38:35)

So, I leave the choice to you, dear reader, as to whether you want to be believe that scripture might be wrong in the areas of science, and that the bloodlust of the Israelites may have occasionally taken things too far, or whether you want to believe that God condones baby crushing, snow is kept in storehouses in the sky, the earth has a foundation, and God talks to lightning bolts. Your choice.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”