Welcome to our broadcast.
We are sending out a series of discussions on the subject of how Christians are supposed to live. Our subject today is the Christian standard or rule for faith and practice.
Moderator - With me in the studio is Dr. Michael Ford, Dean of the Buchanan Extension Center of Covington Theological Seminary and founder of Jonsquill Ministries, a publishing and resource ministry serving Christians in the United States and abroad.
Dr. Ford - We see a lot of people who say they are Christians doing a lot of different things in the world. Often you see them on both sides of issues that come up.
Moderator - Is there a source or standard for what Christians are supposed to believe and be doing?
Answer - Yes there is Brother Boling. The standard for all faith and practice by true believers is God's Holy Word, the Bible.
Moderator - If this is so, why do you see Christians on both sides of so many issues?
Answer - I will give you four reasons for this.
First of all, not everybody that says they are Christians really are.
A great many people think they are a Christian because their name is on a church roll somewhere or because they have been baptized at some point in time. Some people think they are Christians because they were born in the United States and have not gone to any other religion. Some people are just self deceived about their Christian experience. Being religious is not the same as being a Christian.
The second reason is, not everyone who says they are a Christian follows the standard of God's Holy Word for their actions. Most of these people just rely on their own reasoning, what they think about things. If they think it is right then they do it without seeking to find out what God has said in His Word.
The third reason is that some people are following creedal statements or the teaching of some religious leader instead of following the Word of God. When the blind lead the blind they both fall in the ditch.
And the fourth reason is, that on some issues there is room for differences of opinion on both sides of an issue within the framework of what composes a Christian response. Perhaps the Bible did not speak to the issue, so people are left to decide what is right in a particular circumstance. I will give you an example of that. Recently we had a vote on whether to continue a sales tax or not. Christians were free to vote on both sides of the issue because the Bible addresses paying taxes but does not go further than that.
Moderator - It seems from what you are saying then is people ought to follow the standard or rule of what the Bible says and no other?
Answer - Yes. That is right. I am not saying that statements of Credos or what we call Confessions, papers which make statements about what Christians believe are not useful. They are just not Scripture. The best value of those things is to give a believer a line of statements with Scripture to enable that believer to systematically study God's Word, but they are no substitute for the real thing. The same thing is true about preaching and preachers. Godly preachers can be of great benefit to the believer, but what they say has no authority, unless it can be backed up by the Word of God.
Moderator - Okay, so you have said the Bible is the way Christians are supposed to figure out where they stand on issues. I take it you are also saying that the Bible is supposed to tell us how we are supposed to conduct ourselves concerning those issues?
Answer - That is right, the Bible determines our conduct. Not only in the confrontation of where you stand on issues, but also in all our relationships. The Bible tells us how to relate to everyone whether they are a Christian or not. It tells us how to live in the most intimate of relationships, like with the person we are married to. It tells us how to deal with our boss and those who work for us. It even tells us how to respond to people who are really not very nice.
Moderator - What you are saying then is that in these broadcasts about how Christians are supposed to live, we are going to be talking about the Bible a lot, is that true?
Answer - Yes, you are right. We cannot talk about how Christians are supposed to live without consulting the Word of God on the matter. If we tried to do it any other way, we would just be stating our opinion. Our opinion apart from the Word of God is no better than anybody else's. But when we can show that this is what the Bible says on the matter, what we have to say is no longer our opinion but God's opinion. You just cannot argue with "thus saith the Lord."
Moderator - But what about these arguments people come up with against the Bible?
Answer - You mean like when people come up and say that the Bible is full of myths and fairy tales?
Moderator - Yes, that is one of the things they say. What about that?
Answer - I remember when I was taking a course in computers at a University of Maryland school in Europe. I had a guy come up and make just such a claim. I asked him if he had ever read the Bible. Not just read about it, but actually read it. After hitting him with that one, I went on to take his arguments apart. Let me get serious for a moment about why this is possible to address the arguments of people who criticize the Bible.
You see the Bible has been challenged down through the years by all kinds of unbelievers, some of whom even wore clerical garb. That kind of thing is still going on today. But it doesn't matter. Every time one of these people comes up with an argument against the Bible it is finally disproved by the evidence of archaeology or some other finding. The Bible has been attacked from many points but it had always stood the test. The people who dispute the Bible have come and gone but the Bible has endured them all.
The Bible is not a lot of things:
· For instance the Bible is not a book of history, but its historical statements are accurate.
· The Bible is not a book of geography but the geographical statements have been proven over and over.
· The Bible is not a book of science but its scientific statements have been proven true.
· The Bible is not a book of poetry but it contains the finest poetry ever put into a book.\par The Bible is not a book of counseling but it gives you every legitimate counseling model that it is appropriate for a counselor to use.
· The Bible is not a book of adventure or drama, but it contains the writing that forms the basis for most of the plots written by man as well as the grand saga of the universe.
· The Bible is different from other ancient literature and most modern literature because it is painfully honest, even about its heroes. I am talking about men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses; David, Solomon, Peter, Paul and so on. They are on display in the Bible with their attributes and failings alike shown for all to see. Simply put there is no book like the Bible.
Moderator - Most of the statements about the Bible being a fable attack the first twelve chapters of the Bible. How do you deal with people that say the Creation story or the story of Adam and Eve cannot possibly be true?
Answer - You are talking about people who refuse to believe and obey the Bible because they believe in evolution. If evolution were true the Bible could not possibly be true. I have heard of people who believe in something they call theistic evolution. These folks are people that the evolutionists have made monkeys out of if you will excuse the pun. The problem for people who believe in evolution is that evolution is not true, and could not possibly be true. I heard about one school teacher who taught her class that if your car broke down and you lifted the hood and began throwing a wrench at the engine you would eventually fix the engine. That is what evolution teaches. Well, she had the theory of evolution right, but I am not going to let her work on my car. The truth is all the models of evolution are based on assumptions. The evolutionists have to keep changing their theories because the ideas they come up with keep collapsing. An evolutionist once admitted that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it takes to believe in the Bible. Even the evolutionists have to admit that the entire human race came from one woman. Because of the study of DNA they had to agree that what the Bible said about that was true. I could have told them that all along, I didn't need DNA to figure it out. I even know her name. I know what her name was before she sinned and I know what her name was after she sinned. That is more than the evolutionists know. Just think about this.
The Bible tells us a lot of things that men have no answer for without the Scripture. For instance it tells us why people die. It tells us why there is suffering in the world. It tells us about not only the first murder, but gives us information about every kind of murderer you could ever dream up, even somebody like Hitler or Idi Amin. It tells us why people act evilly. It talks about things like adultery and fornication and where guilt falls when such things occur. I could go on and on about the things the Bible tells us about. It addresses the issues of life. It not only addresses the issues of life but tell us where those issues reside within us.
Moderator - Wow, the Bible is quite a book alright, but how do you figure out where to look to find out what you need to know to get the answers to questions you have?
Answer - The truth is that if you wait till you have a question about how to live as a Christian before you look in the Bible you are already behind the power curve. People who have not consulted the Bible till they have a problem or situation come up have been going along living life and doing things wrong because they have not known what God has to say to them about the things they have been doing. The Lord Jesus Christ intended that His people be a people of the Book. That means they are supposed to be reading and studying it all the time. The issue of how to study the Bible is so important that I have written a booklet on the subject. It is freely downloaded from my Internet web site. Just go to http://www.jonsquillministries.org and select the booklets section and you will find it there waiting for you. If a person does not have Internet access they can contact my church, Tallapoosa East at 770-646-3230. Tell the secretary that you want a copy of the booklet and we will send it out to you. Or you can write to Jonsquill Ministries, P.O. Box 752, Buchanan, Georgia and request a copy.
Moderator - Do you need something like your booklet to figure out what the Bible has to say about how to live?
Answer - No you don't. The Bible tells you that you need to rightly divide the Word of Truth. What a help does is cut down on some of the time it takes to learn how to do that. Any help that you use is only as good as the man or men who wrote it though. So you need to exercise some judgment about the helps that you use, no matter where they come from. Remember the authority is always the Word of God, not men.
Moderator - Well let me ask you this one last question. There are a lot of Bibles out there today. Surely one is better than the others. What Bible do you recommend?
Answer - I recommend and use the King James Bible. The reason is that it is the only literal translation from the original tongues available in the English language today. There is a Bible out called the New King James Bible, but it has a lot of problems and the title is misleading. The King James Bible is not only a literal translation, but it is translated in sixth grade English, so it is really easier to understand than other Bibles contrary to what you might have heard. I want to know what God really said or had His servants to say, not what some persons opinion is about what He said. That is a big reason why I want a literal translation.
P. O. Box 752
Buchanan, Georgia 30113