Who Gets to Say What the Bible Says?

Who Gets to Say What the Bible Says?

Alex Crain

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When asked about the way popular periodicals portray Christianity, Pastor Rick Warren once observed: “I think it’s disingenuous that magazines like ‘Newsweek’ know that their circulation goes up at Christmas and Easter if they put a spiritual issue on the cover, but it’s always bait and switch.”

Newsweek magazine cover, 19 April 1982. HMS He...

Newsweek magazine cover, 19 April 1982. HMS Hermes pictured. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, this week’s cover of Newsweek is no exception. It bears the appropriate title The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin by Kurt Eichenwald. In the article, Eichenwald highlights the problem of biblical illiteracy but then proceeds to make a stunning display of his own selectively presented and—there’s no better wording I can think of—downright ignorant attacks on Christianity. Among Eichenwald’s more obvious errors are (1) overstating Bible manuscript discrepancies (which do exist, but are minor… for more detail on that begin here and here), and (2) completely ignoring the credible historical testimony of Apostles and martyrs who were killed for refusing to deny Christ‘s teachings, deity, and claims. (C.S. Lewis’ apt phrase “chronological snobbery” comes to mind here.)

Eichenwald’s attacks have been responded to time and again throughout the centuries along with every other charge levelled against Christianity. They keep getting recycled because of two perennial facts: #1 they appeal to natural human doubt and #2 they make lots of money. It’s no secret that publishers know controversy sells. In his own words, Newsweek editor-in-chief James Impoco states: “In case you haven’t noticed, The Bible is news.”

Well, of course it is, Mr. Impoco… the way you tell it. Of course, this begs the question: “Who gets to say what the Bible says anyway?”

Having a Megaphone Isn’t the Same as Having Authority

Certainly, many who self-identify as “Christian” in the broadest sense are disqualified, as Eichenwald rightly points out. Many of the world’s worst examples of professing Christians are lampooned in the Newsweek article, as well they should be. They don’t speak for Christianity. Faithful Christians recognize them as frauds. That’s half of the solution. The other half is working with and supporting credible ministries that care about the truth. How do we recognize the good ones? Fortunately, the Bible spells that out. There are certain kinds of leaders to follow, and they are the ones who get to say with authority what the Bible says. All other voices—including Kurt Eichenwald’s and even that of the mighty Newsweek magazine—are mere passing novelties.

Those who use the Bible to persuade others actually put themselves in a very dangerous place. They presume to speak for God as one of His spokespeople. (And, yes, I include myself here.) According to James 3:1, such people are considered “teachers.” Teachers are subject to strict judgment both for their character and for how well they handle Scripture. Because biblical literacy is at an all-time low, the naïve give equal weight to every opinion about the Bible. Many are unable to spot illegitimate teachers who sow confusion. A true teacher of the Bible, however, has certain observable character qualities. Titus and 1Timothy tell us they are…

“…above reproach, the husband of one wife… He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:5-9

And

“…above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:1-5).

In other words, those who declare “This is what the Bible says…” without meeting the above qualifications—be they writer, farmer, judge, professor, or president—put themselves under God’s condemnation as false teachers. Wielding a big megaphone like Newsweek isn’t the same as having true authority. The Christian faith is not a stand-alone artifact that’s subject to being picked apart by skeptics with an axe to grind. It’s a body of truth that is guarded and maintained by a community of the faithful who are led and taught by faithful men of God. Such qualified elders stand in an unbroken chain extending from the present day all the way back to Christ and the Apostles (2 Tim. 2:2). They may be hard to find, but they do exist and are far more worthy of attention than the cacophony of false teachers that are found in such abundance today.

Your turn: Are you often stumped by doubts or unable to respond to charges levelled at the Christian faith? Ask yourself this: Are you under the sound teaching of God’s Word by qualified elders? Could that be one of the reasons you are so easily tossed about with every wind of doctrine? (Eph. 4:14) What’s keeping you from seeking out and submitting to biblical pastoral leadership?
Alex Crain is the editor of Christianity.com. You can read more posts by Alex at his blog and follow him on Twitter @alex_crain.

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Naturally the Bible says nowhere that Jesus is God but in it, the Maker of all things and Only One true God says clearly that Jesus is His only begotten beloved son. Jesus himself also very well knew his position which at first was lower than angels and that God is, was and always shall be, the Most High.
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Do You Expect God’s Answer

Though Rick Warren is a Trinitarian we may assume and do hope, he talks in his article about the Only One God, who is the Father of Jesus and of us.

It is in the name of Christ we can ask lots of things but we do have to be willing to believe in Jesus, being the son of God (and not god the son, like many made him), and in his Father Who also is our Father, in Him we should trust.

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Gods ultim will become like Jesus cover

In this article:

  • Wanting to know what God really wants you to do
  • When you don’t ask in faith
  • Expectancy for a solid answer
  • God wanting to direct you in life
  • Things need to line up
  1. Asking the right person, God
  2. Asking with the right attitude — in faith, expecting an answer.
  • Why you didn’t get what you asked for
  • We having to start to work.
  • God His promises and wisdom
  • Ability to make decisions the way God makes decisions.
  • God never making a bad decision or a mistake.

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  1. Only One God
  2. God is One
  3. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  4. God of gods
  5. Attributes to God, titles ascribed to Him or Names given to JHWH, the God of gods.
  6. Full authority belongs to God
  7. God Helper and Deliverer
  8. Praise the God with His Name
  9. The Divine name of the Creator
  10. Hashem השם, Hebrew for “the Name”
  11. I Will Cause Your Name To Be Remembered
  12. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  13. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  14. Fearing the right person
  15. Jesus Messiah
  16. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  17. Jesus spitting image of his father
  18. The Trinity – the Truth
  19. The wrong hero
  20. Promise of Comforter
  21. God’s promises
  22. God’s promises to us in suffering
  23. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  24. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  25. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  26. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #7 Prayer #5 Listening Ear
  27. Try driving forward instead of backwards
  28. Preventing us from going window-shopping in prayer
  29. He who kneels before God can stand before anyone!
  30. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  31. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  32. Testify of the things heard
  33. Get up in the morning and pray for the Lord’s blessings

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  • Strengthen Yourself In Your God (shawnethomas.com)
    As Isaiah 40:31 says, “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.” Because he strengthened himself in God, David was able to rally himself and his men to go and recover their families and their possessions.
  • Why Jesus Being the ‘Son of God’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think it Means (bensmart92.wordpress.com)
    Since we’re in the season of Advent, now is a great time to be thinking about Jesus – who he is, why he came, and all that good stuff. So for this post I want to think about a term that seems to be the source of a lot of confusion for us as we think about Jesus – “son of God.”
  • The Will of God for Your Life (counselofafriend.wordpress.com)
    How many of us have heard about the importance of finding the will of God?  God is not playing hide-and-go-seek with His will.
    +God did not save you just to give you a ticket to Heaven.  He wants you to serve Him.  It is just like when the children of Israel were set free from Egyptian bondage; the LORD said, “Let my people go that they may serve me in the wilderness.”

    You should be in a good, Bible-preaching, Bible-preaching church.  In that church serve the Lord.  Do not just be ministered to; seek to minister!

  • When the answer is harder than the question (staceyweeks.wordpress.com)
    What happens when God fails to live up to my expectations or when He says no? It’s a heavy thought. Why doesn’t God fix things?
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    Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego declared before entering the furnace that even if God didn’t save their physical lives they would obey Him. God’s possible inaction in no way implied He was unable. They understood what many of us potentially miss, just because God doesn’t answer the way we expect, doesn’t mean He is not acting.
  • Was It Lack of Faith That Caused Him to Die? (lordiofferyoumylife.wordpress.com)We yearn so desperately for answers to why the horrible things happen, but God doesn’t come down and explain. Could it be sin standing in the way of our prayers? Could it be a lack of faith? Or could it just be God’s will, which we often don’t fully comprehend? We simply won’t always know why certain things have to happen in our life – until the end of time when God wipes the tears from every eye and makes all things new. Then and only then will we know the answers, and fairness will reign.

    Until that day we must trust in God that He knows best. Have faith that God can heal, and does heal. But trust Him when He doesn’t answer your prayers the way you prayed.

  • Free Gift (thehillbillygranny.wordpress.com)
    God has offered each one of us the free gift of Salvation. It is our choice whether we accept or reject this gift.
    +
    it is God’s will that all come to repentance
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    The Bible states that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom. 3:9-10). This shows God knows our sinful nature and wants to give us a righteous gift. It doesn’t matter how nice, smart, popular, the Bible states Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not of works, so that no one can boast. God wants to save us to give us eternal life.
  • William Taylor moves from ‘Trinitarianism’ to the truth of the One God and His Son, Jesus the Messiah (agetocome.wordpress.com)
    Is Jesus God ? The Bible Says, ” No “
    Part 2) God is not a Trinity
    Truly The Son Of God

    The Trinity – The Great Christian Idol

  • Joseph Priestley To the Point (mindingthetruth.com)
    Below is an excerpt from Joseph Priestley’s (1733 – 1804) pamphlet “A General View of the Arguments for the Unity of God,” published in 1794. The excerpt comes from the pamphlet’s third section which enumerates arguments from the Scriptures against the trinitarian doctrine.

Aid to Hearing

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“If you want to know what God really wants you to do, ask him … but if you don’t ask in faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer.” (James 1:5-6 TLB)

God wants to direct you in life, but two things need to line up: You have to ask the right person, God, and you have to ask with the right attitude — in faith, expecting an answer.

Have you ever asked God for something and didn’t expect to get it? That’s why you didn’t get it. God works in our lives according to faith. So many times we say, “God, please guide me!” and we walk away not even waiting for guidance. We just immediately start to work. We say, “God, I want you to give me wisdom; help me make the right decision.” But we don’t really expect him to do that. We think…

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