I think it is safe to say that God believes scripture.
All of it.
It is God inspired, through men, as a great gift to us all.
And because scripture is inspired by God He watches over every part of it to ensure that it will be fully outworked, fully fulfilled.
God even believes the difficult, "doesn't stand up to natural reasoning" parts.
Jesus quoted from the story of Jonah and the great fish and He spoke of Noah and the great flood. The super-natural.
Yes. God believes His written word. All of it.
The angels, even the fallen ones, believe scripture. All of it.
Those of us who have been involved in deliverance ministry over many years can all recount the times when manifesting demonic would change from arrogance to trembling when scripture was read out loud in the ministry session, especially the scriptures that spoke of satan's eventual God written destiny. (Rev.20:10)
When satan was 'tempting' Jesus to obey him he quoted scripture knowing that they both knew it was God given and not open to debate.
The Old Testament Prophets and the New Testament Apostles believed God's Word. All of it. Much of scripture came through them.
Yes. God's Word is Truth.
We are not to just examine the Truth, or just theologise the Truth, or just learn the Truth. We are not even to just agree with the Truth. We are believe it and do it.
We are to eat it until it becomes part of us. Until the Word becomes flesh.
Jesus is the Word. (John 1:1) The Word became flesh (John 1:14) And His life was in His Blood (Leviticus 17:11)
When we take the bread in communion we acknowledge that we are eating The Word and we want The Word to become flesh in our lives. When we drink the wine we want the very Life of Jesus to flow through our lives. The Word of God (His Flesh) and the Life of Jesus (His Blood) are as inseparable as our flesh and blood is. One without the other cannot exist.
There may be many parts of the Bible we do not understand until we receive teaching clarification or parts that seem to conflict and need teaching clarification, but if there are parts of the Bible that we simply choose not to accept as truth because the world or our intellect has successfully persuaded us otherwise, then when we eat the bread we do not properly discern the Body of Christ. Our actions in the sacrament of communion outwardly proclaim that we eat the Word of God when in fact we do not.
Jesus spoke of 'every word' that proceeds from the mouth of God as being Bread.
If you don't eat the Word (every word) as Bread from the Hand of God, it might be wise to not eat the bread and drink the wine.
I recently bought a book in a Christian bookstore on how the Bible came to be translated. Within a few pages I was reading that the story of Moses getting the ten commandments on Sinai never really happened and was really a myth and developed from a Babylonian story.
A learned theologian preaching as a stand in minister some years ago told the congregation that I was then a member of, that the numbers given in the Bible of those who were led through the wilderness under Moses could not be accurate. He pointed out what he believed were inaccuracies in the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. In fact nearly every week in his teaching he undermined a part of God's Word. (When he finally left the church after his stand in duty was over I went to the pulpit when the church was empty and asked God's forgiveness for allowing such a man to speak from the pulpit and I declared from the pulpit that God's Word was Truth)
A ministry leader in conversation told me that the Genesis account of creation was simply a tale for uncivilised peoples in the world.
Various commentaries tell me that this creation is not the original but a re-creation. That there was another creation before ours that was destroyed by a flood. That what Jesus called 'the beginning' (Mark 10:6) was actually a new beginning.
A friend of mine and a well known international speaker was taken aside at the end of the first session in a full day conference and chastised by the Church pastors for speaking on creation since they had affirmed evolution to their flock and the speaker was undermining them.
On and on I could go with such stories. All from Christians. All drilling hole after hole in belief in the Word of God.
Jesus came that we might have abundant life but the 'god of this world' begins his work in our lives by stealing the Word from our hearts line by line. Did God really say...? If that is the word of God then how come..?
He thus kills our certainty about the inerrancy of God's Word and thus our wholehearted faith which destroys our inheritance of abundant spiritual life. Where we deny God's Word in one area we have no faith in that area. One area soon becomes two, and two three, as the 'rot' sets in. We become double minded, gaining nothing.
Either the word of God is a sturdy reliable lamp (full of oil) unto our feet and a bright light on to our path or it is merely a flickering candle in strong wind and in real danger of going out and leaving us in darkness.
I have made my choice.
Whatever we truly believe will become flesh and then be naturally out-worked by our doing, or our not doing.
Mere lip service belief in scripture without the transforming evidence of that belief at work is of little value.
The Apostle James wrote a lengthy portion of scripture to emphasise this.
What James was saying was this..
Truth that does not transform.. is truth that is not believed.
And that brings us to the clash of what is called 'worldviews'
What is a 'world view'? James Sire in his book ‘The Universe next door’ said a world view is..
In my words I would say that a worldview is a mind set. It's what we really think, not what we say we think.
Everyone of us, quite naturally 'do works' according to our worldview.
A very obvious example is how Muslim fundamentalists do 'works' according to their worldview. Part of their worldview is that “America is the great satan and Britain is the little satan” and thus they serve 'god' accordingly by attacking 'satan'. Thus 9/11 in America and 7/7 in England. Part of their worldview is that Israel is an anathema to their 'god' and thus they 'work' towards seeing Israel being wiped from the face of this world along with all Hebrews.
Thus a worldview, bears its own fruit. It out 'works'
Let's look briefly at two worldviews which are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Animism is the belief that spirit power and spirit beings play a role in everything that happens. This world view is most common among indigenous peoples around the world. Their world view is made up of ancestral spirits, nature spirits and good and evil spirits. Usually there is a belief in a supreme spirit being, but he would be seen to be far away and impersonal so that everyday matters were always in the domain of any number of spirit beings with varying degrees of influence, temperament and power. All these spirit beings may at various times apply themselves to exert their influence for good or evil in a person’s life. The shaman or witchdoctor is the tribal person who - it is believed - can appease or manipulate these spirit beings in order to bring about certain events in the lives of individuals or tribes. Therefore with faith in this worldview when someone becomes sick it is immediately seen as a spiritual matter. Either someone has manipulated the spirits to bring a curse upon that person, or the person has upset one of the spirits and therefore that spirit must be appeased by ritual or / and sacrificial offerings. If an enemy becomes stronger it is believed that they have become more successful in manipulating the spirit realm.
The western worldview could not be more opposite.
The western worldview is that, while their may or may not be a ‘Deity’ out there and up there’ He and his angels play very little part - if any - in day to day events on the ground. Occasionally there may be a miracle which might imply a momentary involvement in earthly matters, but in general all events are explainable through purely scientific, medical or psychological knowledge
In other words if there is a spiritual realm it is far removed from the comings and goings of everyday life. Natural logic and reason rule leaving little or no room for the super – natural.
Scriptural accounts of God's super natural - such as Noah's flood, Jonah and the great fish, the parting of the Red Sea, the fall of Jericho's walls are politely dismissed as extracts from pagan myth. Jesus' miracles are reasoned away. Demons are something that only uneducated superstitious peoples believed in. Angels are cute, but not reality. Etc
Living in the wonderful freedom of democracy we get used to having our rights and voting for who we would have rule over us at any time. Humanism rules. Unlike, say Muslim countries, everyman is free to set his own moral plum line as long as the out-working of that personal morality does not adversely effect his neighbour.
We are offended at being told how to live, yet like blotting paper, we are incredibly open to having a lifestyle and worldview modelled for us on television or cinema. Like the pied piper, where the media takes us, we go. We like the tune they play. Nudity, sex, sexual perversion, extreme violence, witchcraft and swearing no longer offend us since these things, once repugnant to our society, have been normalised by years of media soaking. Pornography has now become main stream as available options on our television and computer screens.
We worship celebrity status and great wealth, irrespective of how that status and wealth was gained. As the host of celebrity magazines prove, we have an insatiable appetite to see how the rich and famous live, what they wear, what they believe in. What Madonna believes will effect millions.
Despite being carnal we have become very open to spirituality, as long as we are in control of that spirituality. New age philosophies that emphasise our 'god nature', crystals, mantras or furniture arrangements that promise us greater control over events in our lives. Buddha’s abound as a design accessory.. Witchcraft spells that may bring us a lover and Voodoo kits to get even with are on sale in some craft shops. Yes, spirituality is currently in.
Harry Potter arrived on the scene with perfect timing
As a left over from earlier days when we still call our society 'Christian'.
This worldview is the one which we in the western world get 'saved' out of.
The Biblical worldview is at absolute odds with this western worldview.
The Biblical worldview is that in this God created, God sustained world that we live in, God is Sovereign, God is all powerful, and God is everywhere, with us, interacting with us.
The Biblical worldview is that while man has freewill choice of who to submit his heart and will to, God has final and sovereign authority over all matter. For example..
The Biblical worldview is that satan, as the 'god of this age', has every layer of fallen society fully under his sway.
The Biblical worldview is that we are always wrestling against the influences of high spiritual powers of darkness working through or manifesting their 'works' through flesh and blood
The Biblical worldview is one of blessings and curses, depending on whom and whose words one chooses to live, or abide in.
Upon salvation (being 'born again') the 'old things' - the western worldview - must pass away and make way for the new Kingdom worldview.
However a recent study by the Barna Group showed that only 9% of born-again Christians now have a Biblical worldview. The same research showed that only 51% of Pastors had a Biblical worldview.
(A random survey of 200 Anglican ministers by the Sunday Times in January1997 showed somewhat similar figures. 31% did not believe in the virgin birth. 21% did not believe there was 'a devil'. 33% said that sexual intercourse before marriage was not sinful. 33% said the same about homosexuality. Some did not believe in the miracles of Jesus or the second coming. Four did not believe there was a place called Heaven)
If those Barna Group figures do represent the Body of Christ throughout the western world - which I have no doubt that they do - then that means that just over 90% of born again Christians and about half of all Pastors have a dual world view. A mixture.
Part Biblical worldview / part secular worldview.
And there lies the terrible problem. God will only bless what He can bless.
God hates mixtures.
Jesus likened God's Word to seed, telling His listeners that when it took root it would produce a harvest in due time. Only Kingdom seed should be allowed to take root within the field of our hearts. A mixture of Kingdom seed and world's seed is utterly unblessable.
God's Kingdom worldview is like a hot tap and the world's world view is like a cold tap. Mixing the two to produce a lukewarm worldview with accompanying works will cause Jesus to vomit us out of His mouth. Very strong words. Very strong warning.
God asks that His children believe Him and desire to live out of a 100% Biblical worldview. Not a 60% Biblical worldview, or a 75% Biblical worldview.
In other words 'Our Father who art in Heaven' asks us to see the world around us and events that we encounter through new Kingdom eyes of faith. For without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
God states with a clear note and a clear warning that anyone who makes friends with the world (and thus its worldview) makes an enemy of Him.
The god of this world - the prince of the air - has rulership over the minds - and thus the mindsets - of unredeemed men and women, and of course over the secular media.
The Bible tells us that while Jesus 'the Truth' came to bring us life abundantly, the thief - the devil - comes only to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10)
Why that order? To steal.. to kill.. to destroy.
If the Truth sets us free, if the Truth brings us into God's abundant life, then the first thing the thief must do is to steal the Word from us. That in turn kills the life of God within us, and that leads on to our destruction.
While we cannot escape being bombarded with our societies 'truths' the good news is that as Christians we can - indeed we are expected to - choose what to allow in and what we keep out. If Jesus cannot agree with our thinking, we are to cast our thinking down. As Carl Tuttle said "their is nothing wrong with your culture until it conflicts with the culture of the Kingdom of God"
In Romans 12:2 Paul tells us
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)
If the world sways our outlook on life - our worldview - then we have been cheated of the truth that sets us free. (John 8:32)
In other words the world's views are not to judge scripture, but rather scripture is to judge the world's views.
That bears repeating. 'the world's views are not to judge scripture, but rather scripture is to judge the world's views'
Will the world mock you? Yes Will God care? No.
Canadian philosopher Darrell Furgason in an article written for Creation magazine (Sept 2006), addressing the issue of worldviews, said "western missionaries generally brought the gospel in the way they learned it, as a purely soul saving faith, with no real bearing on anything else - religion was mostly a personal matter, nothing to do with things like politics, science, law, economics... we taught them what to believe but not what to do about it"
This is indeed an accurate picture of how we as western Christians have (in general) been taught to develop our worldview. We have two separate compartments for life. One for private spiritual matters of faith which may include a manicured behaviour pattern for church, prayer meetings etc and the other a 'natural' behaviour pattern for every day matters in home, business and recreation. With very little overlap between the two compartments.
We see our Christianity as something to save our souls but not as something that naturally outworks in everything that we do twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
We may read the Psalm which says "this is the day the Lord has made we will rejoice in it and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24) but never think for a moment that we were actually expected to rejoice and be glad in each new day.
We may read that scripture tells us not to grumble (1 Peter 4:9), but never think for a moment that we were 'not to grumble'
We may read that we are to 'have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them' (Eph 5:11) but never translate that into not taking the kids off to see the latest Harry Potter film promoting the idea of good witchcraft versus bad witchcraft.
Perhaps biggest of all, we are commanded to forgive as we have forgiven. We can quote the Lord's prayer religiously without it ever dawning on us that we are actually meant to forgive those who have trespassed against us. (Matt 6:12)
When I do a teaching on forgiveness and ask those who now understand that they are to forgive those who have trespassed against them, and now need to do so, to stand up, usually the majority stand up. They always knew the scriptures but had never thought of incorporating it into their daily outlook on life.
God doesn't just listen to the words (outward appearance only) he also looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
It is when words and heart are in agreement that the Kingdom of God activates. It begins with salvation.
God rightly looks for those who worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23)
In other words we mean what we sing, and we sing what we mean. We pray what we mean, and we mean what we pray. We speak what we mean, and we mean what we speak.
He looks for truth in the 'inward parts'
When lips agree with the Biblical worldview but the heart really is in agreement with much of societies world view then God is greatly displeased. He calls us hypocrites (people acting out a part)
Was there ever a day when these words rang truer?
In scripture Egypt stands for 'the world' and Pharaoh stands for satan the ruler of this world.
Getting us out of Egypt is God's work. Getting Egypt out of us is our work. Hence the epistles on how to develop a proper Kingdom worldview. We have choices. Whose voice to we listen to? To whom do we give authority to speak into our lives? The world or Jesus?
When we choose right the power of Heaven is ours within and without to help us to succeed. The God of peace will be with us. The truth transforms. Our Kingdom worldview then becomes a powerful witness to a dying world.
We hold so easily to a 'form of godliness' but deny its divine power to transform our lives.
We look at the food, study the food, discuss the food, argue over the food, teach about the food, but never actually consider eating it. Thus the Word never becomes flesh.
Thus we are weak and beggarly Christians. Thus our churches have no spiritual power. Thus we are vulnerable to ever increasing levels of deception.
We are commanded not to take the Name of the Lord in vain, and we presume that this means we do not use His Name carelessly, or worse, as a swear word.
However Timothy Warner and Neil Anderson in their book ‘the Beginners Guide to Spiritual warfare’ give another very challenging view. A view I find myself in agreement with. They write ..
In other words if I call myself a 'Christian' - a term which was given to the first disciples (Acts 11:26)- then I am taking the honour God's Name upon my life.
If I call myself a child of God (John 1:12) or a son of God (Romans 8:14) or a man of God ( 2 Timothy 3:17) then I am taking God's Holy Name upon my self.
But dare I take that Name in vain.
Dare I profess to belong to God and live a life that identifies with the god of this world.
As mentioned in 'the curse of evolution' an ordained minister, from Lancaster, England, writing to the Times said,
"..Sometimes creationism is smuggled into state schools, often through visiting speakers. That is a great concern as creationism, whether as young earth creationism or intelligent design, can only be described as scientific nonsense.."
In other words he declares as a man who takes God's Name upon his life that the Bible is fallible while man's current scientific finding are infallible. He has a secular worldview mixed in with his Biblical worldview, and his 'works' are in accordance with his worldview.
Paul also earnestly tells us, as believers to
Let's check now and see whether we are in the faith by checking our Biblical worldview.
Here are two separate columns.
One has some aspects involved in the Biblical worldview, with the secular western world's counter view in the second column.
Imagine there is a moveable slider between the two columns and that the slider represents your current outlook on life.
As you go through the list where would you position the slider to show what you REALLY believe..
Firmly in the left column - the Biblical worldview, or wholly in the right column.
Or perhaps 'on the fence' somewhere in between the two. Holding to a mixture.
Secular opinion is a powerful pressure pad and it truly is a challenging and a daunting task in today's world to hold fast to a Biblical worldview.
There are issues I see being embraced by the church today that are being embraced, not because of scriptural revelation, but solely as the result of pressure from society.
Even as I write this the media are reporting that the Church of England have issued new guidelines, endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, wherein leaders must think twice before they refer to God as 'He' or 'Lord' because of the dangers that it will lead to domestic abuse.
The Daily Mail editorial (October 3rd 2006) responded with a short but cutting comment which read..
We first start bending under social pressure in order to be 'relevant', then we try and take a fresh look at scripture to make it 'bend' into and confirm our new and improved worldview.
Oh how we need men of God again.
Read these words by A. W. Tozer.
If you find yourself living in the left hand column - or are gently heading that way - then you are on solid ground. You're on the right track. Hold fast.
Grow there into a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, for the display of His glory.
If however, you claim to be a Christian, if you take God's Name upon your life, and you find yourself living substantially in the right hand column - or see that you have been heading in that direction little by little - then you are in, or are heading for, the spiritual state known as apostasy.
In other words you are moving further and further away from God as He reveals Himself through His word. The word of the world holds more authority in your life than the Word of God.
Sadly there are teachers who will allow you to feel comfortable living in that column - as they will slowly but surely bow the knee to the relentless pressures from the world - and teach a mixture from both columns according to what the world would applaud them for teaching.
For instance the Guardian Newspaper on 14th October 2006 carried an article by the vice dean of Chester Cathedral entitled 'Face to faith'. It was an edited version of an address to the Modern Church people's Union. The article was entitled 'Lesbians and gays are the Bible's greatest lovers'
He dismisses scripture's clear trumpet call on such issues with a sweep of his pen saying 'The Bible also celebrates same sex relationships, despite what those persuaded by a few verses in Leviticus and the epistles might believe'
Speaking of 'passionate romance' and not platonic relationships, he names David and Jonathan and Naomi and Ruth as examples of such non platonic relationships. (Such issues are dealt with in an on site study paper)
He also claimed that the song of songs celebrates the 'subversive, pre-marital sexual love of a pair of teenagers'
He also ridicules the Bible because of its continual teaching that the man is favoured with power and authority. He speaks of the brutality and the nonsense of patriarchy.
When a 'teacher' sows seeds of doubt about God's sure word into a believer's heart it inevitably makes way for a spirit of unbelief to begin whispering 'did God really say' to that believer. Safety comes from trusting God's Word to be both sure and pure.
Please, if you find yourself in a church which teaches mixed worldviews, pray and check that you are where God has placed you. He places us within the Body, and He places us safely.
But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. (1 Corinthians 12:18)
To Pastors and Teachers I would repeat what Moses received from the Lord.
To Pastors and leaders I would repeat what Jeremiah received from the Lord
We must never replace Biblical authority with secular authority. Or mix the two. When God has spoken and the world has spoken we must submit to God.
We must never forget that those of us who are entrusted as teachers within the Kingdom will be judged more strictly. The Bible will be the plum line against which we will be judged.
We always have choices.
Until we die we always have choices, and all choices have consequences.
This is surely one of life's most important choices.
Choose who you will give authority to speak into your life. The Spirit of God or the spirit of this age.
As for me and my house, with God's help we will seek with all our heart to serve the Lord.