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All Scripture – The Foolishness of Picking and Choosing

May 17, 2012

Paul Jenkins

The meaning of the term ‘Evangelical Christian’ has no resemblance today compared to 50 years ago, that is for certain. Now, we have gay Christians, prosperity Christians, social gospel Christians, liberal Christians, republican Christians, extreme Christians, and many more. Underlying the idea of all of these labels is that as long as you ‘believe in Jesus’ you can use the name ‘Christian’. However, all of the other considerations necessary to form a worldview and Christian doctrine are subjective and formed by my own preference.

The fact of the matter is that there are many things in the Bible that offend people who call themselves Christians. These people don’t want to accept what a given text would say, and therefore immense grammatical gymnastics are performed to quell this response… to explain it away. But then there are people that just deny a certain thing that the Bible plainly teaches; pretending it isn’t there.

Many ‘Christians’ reject the bible’s teaching on issues such as: abortion, homosexuality, worldliness, lust, God’s justice and wrath, materialism, or even concepts such as election. This is nothing new, to be sure. But if the reader of this article takes issue with one of the aforementioned issues or other biblical teachings, I ask you the following question: how do you know what you know about God?

As we have written about previously on this site, the Bible itself identifies it as being ‘breathed out by God’ (2 Timothy 3:16). God inspired the writing of 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10…

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, not revilers, not swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

… Just as much as he inspired John 3:16 and any other Bible verse found on a coffee cup or read at a wedding.

Of course, the world does not have an understanding of what a true Christian is. If I called myself a basketball player and have the right shoes, clothes and I practice daily, I may seem like I know what I’m doing. But if after tip-off in a game, I start kicking the ball instead of dribbling it – am I a basketball player?

In the same way, people who wear the label Christian but believe little or (even more destructively) only what they want to in the Bible are, in no meaningful sense, Christians. The foolishness of the US president is just the latest example of how these personal confessions of people mean virtually nothing if you don’t care to submit to God’s word.

Consider this: If you cast doubt upon a plain teaching of the Bible, you by extension are casting doubt upon anything else you claim to know about God: His goodness, grace, forgiveness, love, and ultimately the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

I’m not saying that if you reject something the Bible teaches (like a literal Genesis for example), it is impossible for you to be saved – but what I am saying, is you are immensely inconsistent, and that is a problem. You’re standing on very shaky ground.

Recall what James wrote:

“You believe God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!”
(James 2:19)

You see, you claim to believe in Jesus. So do Satan and demons as indicated in multiple texts in the Gospels where a demon calls Jesus the Son of God (Mark 1:24). Believing in His existence is not enough. In order to be saved, you must repent from your sins and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Trust in His sacrifice made on the behalf of sinners – receive the gift of salvation.

When you submit yourself to Christ, you submit yourself to His word. This is something absolutely necessary in the life of a believer. A ‘gay Christian’ or a ‘liberal Christian’ (meaning one who re-interprets God’s word to suit his/her preferences) is a walking contradiction. The same reason a Bible-believing Christian rejects homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle is the same reason we trust in Christ for salvation – God revealed it to us to be true through the Holy Spirit, and His word is trustworthy.

For you, I would challenge you to examine what you believe, and why you believe it. Are you taking ‘every thought captive to obey Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5)?

Follow: @pjenkins70

  1. jeff permalink

    nice job Paul

  2. Paul Williams permalink

    I think the historical evidence suggests that Christians have always disagreed about fundamental maters such as salvation, God, the law and morality, from the first century (Paul’s letters bear witness to this) through to today. Even the gospels interpret Jesus’ teaching quite differently at times. Compare Matthew and Mark on the Law. The leader of the church in Jerusalem, James, was a torah observant Jew – compare Paul who said the Law had been “abolished” (Ephesians 2:15). Conflict (sometimes violent) and disagreement have been endemic from the very beginning.

  3. So can a Muslim believe that Muhammad is not Allah’s final prophet and still be a Muslim?

    • Paul Williams permalink

      your attempted analogy is flawed. ALL Muslims believe – and have always have believed without exception – that Muhammad is a prophet of God. Many – occasionally most? – Christians did not always believe Jesus was eternal God. And they did not agree with what Jesus (whoever he was) taught about God, the law and morality, from the first century (Paul’s letters bear witness to this) through to today. Even the gospels interpret Jesus’ teaching quite differently at times. Compare Matthew and Mark on the Law. The leader of the church in Jerusalem, James, was a torah observant Jew – compare Paul who said the Law had been “abolished” (Ephesians 2:15). Conflict (sometimes violent) and disagreement about fundamentals has been endemic from the very beginning.

      • So if I find someone who calls himself a Muslim, yet denies Muhammad’s authority as a prophet, is he a Muslim? No. So just because some people wear the label of ‘Christian’ but believe a heresy, describe to me how they can be called a Christian, according to the Bible? I know lots of people believe weird things. That literally doesn’t matter.

      • Paul Williams permalink

        but the people who you call ‘heretics’ call themselves Christian and view you as a heretic!

      • That’s a fallacy of irrelevant thesis. As Christians, the ultimate standard is Scripture. Jesus himself said ‘sanctify them in your truth. Your Word is truth.’ According to the apostle Paul, if Jesus did not die and be ressurected from the dead in according with the Scriptures, we are still in our sins. I know you don’t believe that, but don’t impose that upon biblical Christianity.

      • Paul Williams permalink

        ‘As Christians, the ultimate standard is Scripture.’ Protestants claim this, most Christians (ie Roman Catholics and Orthodox) would not agree…

      • If we’re still talking about the diety of Christ as taught in Scripture, then they aren’t in any meaningful sense a Christian. I could just as easily say for Muslims, the Qur’an and Hadith are authorities, so if you don’t believe it’s primary teachings, you aren’t a Muslim. The logic is not difficult. If you’re now talking about issues of innerancy and whatnot then we’ve changed topics, and you’re more than welcome to defend the beliefs of those groups if you want.

        The double standard here is staggering. Muslims can allow their holy text to define their faith, but Christianity can’t do the same thing apparently. Amazing.


      • Paul Williams permalink

        you make an invalid assumption here. It is not clear from the NT that Jesus claimed to be God Almighty. You just assume this is ‘orthodox teaching’ but I think the earliest followers of Jesus did not believe he was Yahweh. Your comparison with the Quran is facile. No Muslim has ever challenged or doubted that the Quran clearly teaches that God is One, that Muhammad is the final messenger of God, and that Jesus is not divine. But Christians have been arguing for centuries about who Jesus was and what the NT teaches, witness the bloody history of the early church.

        For committed Christian views on Jesus that differ from your own have a look here:

  4. Paul Williams permalink

    the whole bloody story is brilliantly told in,

    ‘When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome The life of Jesus’

    The persecution of Christians during the Roman Empire, have come to define what many of us know about early Christianity. The fervent debate, civil strife, and bloody riots within the Christian community as it was forming, however, is a story that is rarely told. Richard E. Rubenstein takes readers to the streets of the Roman Empire during the fourth century, where a divisive argument over the divinity of Jesus Christ was underway. Ruled by a Christian emperor, followers of Jesus no longer feared for the survival of their monotheistic faith, but they found themselves in different camps—led by two charismatic men—on the topic of Christian theology. Arius, an Alexandrian priest and poet, preached that Jesus, though holy, is less than God, while Athanasius, a brilliant and violent bishop, saw any diminution of Jesus’ godhead as the work of the devil. Between them stood Alexander, the powerful Bishop of Alexandria, in search of a solution that would keep the empire united and the Christian faith alive.

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  1. All Scripture – There is No Such Thing as a Red Letter Christian « Laodecia Press

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