John Bradshaw: Hello friend, and welcome to Bible talk, where we talk about the Bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw, with me is Gary Gibbs. Hi Gary.
Gary Gibbs: Hi John. Last time we were together, we talked about truth. That's an issue that divides a lot of Christians. Everybody says, "There is no absolutely truth. I've got my understanding of the Bible, you've got yours." We talked about how that's not really what the Bible says, is it?
John: The Bible says God's word is truth. It says God's law is truth. It says God's commandments are truth. Jesus said, "I am the truth." According to the Bible, truth is very important. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians and said if you don't love the truth, you're going to believe a lie, because the truth is instead of love righteousness.
Gary: The Bible also says in John 16, that the Holy Spirit is there to guide us into all truth.
John: In fact, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit in this title. He called it the spirit of truth.
Gary: If there's no definite destination to which the Holy Spirit can guide us, if the truth is a multiplicity of options out there, then how's He ever going to get us there?
John: I would say too if you say the Word of God is not absolute, then it's hard to believe in an absolute God. You reduce God down to some small, small thing, somebody who can't make up his mind and wasn't able to tell us the way things really are.
Gary: Then you have to question why did God inspire these writers of the Bible? Is it just the random ramblings of a crazy lunatic? No. God has something he wants to communicate to us, He wants to change our lives, and that's what truth is all about.
John: There's some debate, implicit or explicit, in Christianity about this today. That debate that sounds sort of like you believe that, and I believe this, and that's OK. All rivers run to the sea, not really that important what you believe. You believe your thing, I'll believe mine. It has seeped into the church from secular society. We hear about relativism and secular humanism. Relativism that says it's all relative. What's true to you, that's great, it might not be true to me, and vice versa. Secular humanism, which says it's not about what God has absolutely said, it's more about the way I, rather, with my own human wisdom, sum things up. That has really affected Christianity.
Gary: It has, and John, I think the reason we have come to this place where we just accept everybody as following whatever truth they want to follow and that's OK, I think we're trying to live in a pluralistic society at peace with one another. Of course, that's a worthy goal.
John: Sure, that's noble enough.
Gary: On the other hand, we have to say not only do we need to get along here on this earth, we need to get into the new earth, we need to get to heaven. There's a God up above who is trying to guide His people to understand Him and to know him. Here in the church today, as you said, we've got this idea that one truth is on an equal plane with another. That really does come out of secular humanism.
John: Let's look at some ideas, some biblical teachings, and see how this affects or is affected by this idea. The Bible says the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. In other words, there's a right way to treat your body and a wrong way to treat your body. You ask the Christians for the most part about it, the body is nothing more than a garbage can on two legs.
Gary: We like to quote what Jesus said there in Mark and Matthew, it's not what you put into the body that defiles it, it's what goes out of the body, so I can put anything I want in my body. I can drink alcohol, I can smoke tobacco. I can eat poisonous things and it's not going to hurt me.
John: That wouldn't be quoting what Jesus said, that would be misquoting what Jesus said. That's something that...
Gary: But wait a minute, he did say that, and this is relevant to our pursuit of truth. He said that, he said, "It's not what goes into the body that defiles a man, it's what goes out of the body."
John: True enough, but he said that in the context of a discussion with some folks who came and said, "Your followers are transgressing the traditions of the elders by not washing their hands a certain way before they eat."
Gary: But isn't that just your opinion of what it says?
John: Guided by the Holy Spirit, as we study the Bible. Certainly it's my opinion, but there is no way you can read that passage and really come away seeing that another way when you consider context. It's so very clear.
Gary: This is important to our discussion in the pursuit of truth, because what we have to do is we have to read the context. There are certain ways to arrive at truth, aren't there?
Gary: You read the context around it, and you have to say what is Jesus really trying to say here?
John: Look at the intent of the writer, look at the parameters that frame what's being said. You can pick that one line, Jesus said it's not what goes in, it's what comes out, and if that is absolutely true, then we can eat rat poison and roaches and slug bait and anything else.
Gary: I was watering the flowers yesterday, John, the day before yesterday, and this four inch slug just comes crawling out of the flowers.
John: Just add a little soy sauce and olive oil and you're away, you're in business.
Gary: I'd have a hard time slurping that down, but I'm sure some people somewhere eat that type of stuff.
John: I can't imagine too many people eating that with relish. Maybe enough relish that it would taste OK.
Gary: This thing isthe fact isthere is a truth. Jesus said, "I am the way, I am the truth." Relativism says, "No, there isn't." I'll tell you where this started coming into society in a big way. It was back in the French Revolution, late 1700s. For the first time in history, you had a government, an Assemblythe Legislative Assemblypronounce that there was no God.
John: The French government said that, didn't they? There was no God.
Gary: That's right, and people in Paris danced and sang in accepting this announcement.
John: How did they arrive at that? Where in the world, what did they base that upon?
Gary: They got tired of being under the iron thumb of a church that was legislating every aspect of their life. It was basically raping their country of their finances, their wealth, and their education. It was just ruining their country, and so they said that if that's what God's all about, we don't want anything to do with Him, and we'll just legislate that he doesn't exist. With that proclamation came a number of things. They started looking at society and said if there's no God, why do we have to be married to one person, and why do we have to stay married to any one person?
John: Now, doesn't that sound a lot like what we hear in society today? Who are you to tell me who I can love? Who are you to tell me who I can marry? Who are you to tell me who can and cannot raise children? Before you go any further, I'm going to take the opportunity to mention we have a free offer, at the end of this program. Stay by, we'll give you a phone number to call and an email address to contact us, you want to get our Bible study, our notes, called Written in Stone. You want that, and you'll get that at the end of the program, that information on how you can contact us and get that. Back there in France, you're saying, same as we saw today.
Gary: They abolished the institution of marriage. They abolished the seven day weekly cycle. They said why does it have to be seven days? That's only based on the Bible, why shouldn't we have 10 days?
John: And they went to 10.
Gary: Yeah, and what happened in that society was it actually imploded, turned into utter chaos. Covenants didn't mean anything. A covenant is a contract you make with someone. If there's no God, you don't have to answer to him, that doesn't matter if you lie, doesn't matter if you keep contracts or break contracts.
John: That's true, there's no ultimate standard, then what does it really matter what you do? If God isn't the ultimate standard, then you're going to have your version of the ultimate standard, I'll have mine, and who's to say yours is any better than mine?
Gary: That's right, you can actually trace this growth of secular humanism and relativism down to our day, and it got into our educational system in the '60s. We had deconstructionism, and that teaches that words only have the meaning that you ascribe to them. You can read something, and you ascribe certain meanings to it. I can read the very same words and get a totally different meaning. And both of our viewpoints are equally true, even though they may be contradictory.
John: Surely, when a person writes what they write, they have an agenda or an idea in mind. It's not up to us to interpret this just any old way, not if we're being really sincere or serious about it, which is why so much legalese is written in this convoluted language, because they want to pass things in such a way that you can only really get one meaning out of it. The Bible is the sort of book that God wrote in clear terms. He wants us, for the most part, to get just one meaning out of something, and that's the meaning that he intended. When you say well, it doesn't really matter, I'll just believe what I want to believe, and you believe what you believe, then you've got people deciding you think that there's a purgatory, and I think that the dead sleep, and someone else thinks that the dead float around out there. That opens up a Pandora's Box of things you can believe.
Gary: It does, and I want to challenge our listeners. The next time somebody in your church says, "That's just the way you look at it, or we can both be right," even though you're both disagreeing on a key topic in the Bible. I'd like to challenge you to turn the conversation, and instead of saying yes to win the peace, say, "No, we can't both be right, not if we're contradicting each other. Let's go back to the Bible and let's study it out." I think that would be a good solution to nip in the bud this secular humanism that has invaded the walls of the church.
John: I have a friend who was speaking to a guy who invited him to come to a Bible study. He said different people from different churches are going to be there, and just share their points of view, and we're going to learn what they all believe. Eventually, my friend was asked if he would lead that study and be the facilitator of that thing. My friend says, "Don't you think it would be kind of exciting if instead of just hearing what everybody thinks, we talked about a subject and then went into the Bible to find out what the Bible says?" Man, I was thinking I don't know if we could do that, because people would be wrong. My friend says, "It wouldn't be a matter of being wrong, it would be a matter of finding out what the Bible says and just agreeing with the Bible." That's really the way to go for the Christian today isn't it?
Gary: It is, but unfortunately John, I don't think we know how to sit down with the Bible, and take a Bible text, and disagree without being disagreeable, and then keep talking it through, keep talking it through and keep studying the Bible, and then pray when we come to an impasse, and say, "Lord, here we are. We both disagree on this, we both want your light, we want you to guide us. Please guide us." How can we find what the Bible says on a given topic? Let's get real practical here, John. Share with our listeners, how can they find truth on a given topic? Let's use for example death, what happens when you die. There's a lot of different beliefs on it. How can we come to an understanding of what the Bible really teaches on that?
John: For one thing, it takes a certain openness, a certain maturity that says I'm willing to suspend my own preconceived ideas on my own pet thoughts, so that I can come in line with God.
Gary: OK, we're there. We're going to say we're open. You've got a different view than I, what do we do now?
John: You go the Bible and find out what the Bible says on a given subject. Not just in one verse or one passage, but as much of the Bible as you can find. You're going to say what are the key passages in the Bible that deal with death? Well, you'd say maybe I would have a look at all those people Jesus raised from the dead, and find out what was going on with them. We'll read about Lazarus, we'll get some information there. We'll read about the widow of Nain, whose child was raised from the dead. We'll read about these people.
We'll read about all of the different passages, and find out what the Bible is clearly saying. We'll put that information together, and we'll find a stream of thought that clearly guides us in a given direction.
You also want to go with the overwhelming weight of evidence. I've spoken to people and we've looked at 50 different instances in the Bible that talks about death, and death being a sleep. Rest until the resurrection. Let me challenge you now, if you're listening and you think, "I don't agree with that," go to the Bible, find a truth.
Someone says, "I'm going to run off and find where Jesus said, 'Today you'll be with me in paradise.'" That sounds different than the other 50 mentions, so we'll go with the one and not the 50. You go with the overwhelming weight of evidence.
Get into the Bible, find out what it says. Suspend your point of view. Get the clear meaning from a passage. Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, and that can only mean one thing, particularly when you find another dozen places in the Bible that says the same thing.
Gary: I think a concordance in very helpful in doing this. Concordance has every word in the Bible on it. You look up every word that deals with death, every text, and you can write out the meaning you get on it. When you do that after you read it, it's very clear what the Bible teaches.
John: Or Hell or heaven or salvation, any subject. Friend, if you haven't started, start now. Get your Bible, your concordance, and search for the truth. Jesus said, "The truth will make you free." We'll look for you again next time, on Bible talk. [music]
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