100807Notes to Contemporaries
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I have been carefully reading the denials frequently expressed in the culture concerning the reliability of the biblical record. I must start by indicating that, mostly, they are quite familiar to me since I shared those same perceptions before I came to the knowledge and the acceptance of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ into my life.
In this direction, I have to affirm that the root of much of the denial taking place has to do with the scant acquaintance with Scripture exhibited in the points advanced by the deniers. Almost invariably, a rejection of biblical truth is simply expressed without providing sources or, when done, taking an incidental, almost anecdotal, view of Scripture. I confess to having done the same in the past and the explanation is quite simple: the lack of a comprehensive view of Scripture. I'm going to briefly illustrate this with an example taken from an observed debate on hell. Usually,, non Christians base their position on the belief that a good God can't possibly "decree" such a punishment. On doing so, they are ignoring the basic point of the Christian message: that Jesus precisely came to rescue us from such a terrible destiny. This is said here not in connection with the "validity" of hell but to stress that without a full understanding of the role of Jesus the issue of eternal damnation cannot properly be discussed. This is why a comprehensive view of Scripture is totally decisive on biblical discussion. The incidental approach of just taking a verse, or even a chapter, in alienation from the rest of the text, as often practiced by some in our media, is simply not serious.
Then, there is the fact that much of what is expressed as biblical denial in the culture has to do not so much with the rejection of the text itself but with the rejection of the supernatural, period. The widespread presence of postmodernism in Europe like in here today, tends to perceive as suspect, when not biased, all supernatural reference. Today, Christians find themselves with the burden of proof on their shoulders as the Bible, in a curious reversal of basic legal principles, is now deemed guilty until proven innocent.
To be sure, the roots of the current assault on Christianity can be clearly traced to the work of the German liberal theologians and agnostic thinkers of the nineteenth century who trapped in the restrictive view of reality of rationalism and positivism literally made mashed potatoes out of Scripture. Fortunately, Christians have now available a formidable arsenal of facts to repel the attack and totally prevail over their prejudiced biblical misconceptions. For, as the roots of the prevalent secularism of the day were being sowed in Europe, groups of quite peculiar people were with increasing aggressiveness digging holes all throughout the Middle East. As a result, we find that today the reading of archaeological journals is often recommended- if not required- reading in Christian seminaries. In complete assurance, it can be stated that Archaeology has knocked out the deniers as it strongly supports the biblical record. The abundance of findings confirming names and dates in the Bible, or simply providing parallel evidence( from the flood to the reality of the Hittites or of King Sargon (whose existence skeptic researchers had previously denied) and its corresponding literature constitute a powerful external evidence of the Scripture. On this regard, it is proper to indicate that the culture at large has not even began to register the durable impact that Archaeology is to have on contemporary thought. But a group of outstanding international archaeologists gathered at the Madison Biblical Archaeology Society of the University of Wisconsin has proven to be quite aware of its potential as shown by its scholarly work(1)
Yet, as powerful as external evidence is, the internal evidence of Scripture is even more powerful.
For how can it be explained that 66 books, written over a period of 1500 years in three different languages by at least 36 writers can possibly equate with each other as evidenced by our carefully researched reference bibles?
But,even more, what explains the ongoing transformation all over the world of shattered lives, relationships, or health conditions on those who receive Him?
(1) For the sincere seeker, I am going to list just two items from a growing volume of literature:a) The bible and recent archaeology.Kathlene Kenyon Journal of New Eastern Studies. Vol.39, no.4. Oct.1980.b) Archaeological confirmation of the Old Testament Donald Wiseman in CFHenry, Revelation and the Bible.
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