Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Bible Tells Me So

There has to be a reason for the things we believe. We don't just pluck an idea out of the air and then proclaim it -- but if we do this, if we err thus, then we only have force of personality to spread the idea because we are obliged to do so without a sure foundation. The most persuasive among us may succeed. Some may gather a following. And some of the followers may repeat the findings of their progenitor, even though unbeknownst to them, they are standing in the swamp.

The remedy given to us by the Father is clear. A sure foundation is only to be found in the Word of God, the Bible. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" is an airtight absolute dogmatic for the Christian. There are no variations, or shades of meaning, no subtle nuances or culturally defined adjustments that may be permitted to disturb the rock solid nature of the foundation of Scripture.

It seems that reverence for the Word of God -- the Word He has delivered to the Church -- the Word Who was made flesh and dwelt among us -- has diminished because of the weight of antagonistic opinion. The Christian has been accused of obscurantism and as a result, instead of standing his ground and holding fast to the truth as he knows it, he has begun to look for ways in which his beliefs may be compromised, or at least ameliorated. Then he does not appear quite so old-fashioned and he may convince the atheist that he has a brain!

How sad this is. When the Christian community eagerly looks to its gifted teachers to faithfully break the bread of life to us, and feed us with the resources we need for spiritual strength and growth, and when we seek the enrichment of the Word of God to direct us into the world to be light and salt in our communities, as we have been commanded, we find those very teachers embroiled in speculative postulation regarding the Word of God they have been charged to proclaim.

It appears that some of our brothers, called to the ministry of the Word and Sacraments, would rather spend their time playing theological ping-pong with one another than addressing the flock of God committed to their charge. It's a hair-splitting game!  And yes, some of them will teach in seminary, inviting their students to question their foundations as they are doing. So we now face the prospect of a generation of new teacher-preachers being launched upon the Church who do not hold fast to the clear teaching of Scripture, and pepper their "ministry" with doubt and speculation as to what is true.

So, a question. Is it better to ride the uncertain bandwagon of speculation, debating the foundations on which the historic Church has been built, or to hold fast to those foundations which are rooted in the Word of God, trusting that therein lies the truth of God Himself, Who has never spoken in doubt or uncertainty and Whose Word is His bond?

And then I hear the children in the room next to mine: "... this I know, for the Bible tells me so"
and I take heart. For they hold the key to faith and trust, they have discovered the foundation on which to stand. We pray that they will continue to do so without distraction.

-Wilfred A. Bellamy, Ph.D.

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