In the process of writing.
Sadly, the book needs to start off with the argument for Biblical relevance. In other words, can we trust the Word of God in plain text over what the culture tells us?
I’m trying to keep it very brief since there does not need to be a long discourse over this. Either people will accept it or they won’t. They key is to get them to at least question and/or throw into doubt the cultural beliefs they’ve held.
What I have so far is a rough re-write that could use some additional feedback and/or arguments.
Is the Bible relevant?
For any Christian, this is one of the first questions you will have to wrestle with when taking your faith seriously.
As Christians, we live our life with a 4,000-year-old book as our guide. Some people would (and do) call that crazy. They say the Bible was written for a different people in a different time. They say it’s been translated so many times that nobody knows for sure what it really even says. They say the entire thing is open to individual interpretation and so it means something different to everybody.
There are several simple arguments that strike this down if we believe the Bible to be God’s Word.
- God is eternal. His character and nature does not change. Therefore, what He has told us does not change as well. His Word is trustworthy for all peoples and all times.
- If we cannot trust that the Word God sent to us to tell us about Him is Truth, then why would we live according to what God says? Why shouldn’t we just live according to how we want?
- If we believe that the Bible is only culturally relevant, then any part of the Bible can be rationalized as only a “part of the culture” of the time. This is no different than moral relativism.
All of these questions allude to what is known as what is “Buffet Christianity.” A Christian can go down the buffet line and pick and choose – from the Bible – what they want to eat. Don’t like that particular food? You can just ignore it. Like that particular food? Pile it up on your plate. Living according to such a moral relativistic lifestyle is no different than declaring yourself your own god instead of believing in God and following after the example of Jesus Christ.
According to a Gallup polls in 2008 and 2014, 80% and 75% of those in the US consider themselves Christian.(1). However, as any Christian in that is living in the US can tell you, the vast majority of people do not live like they are Christians.
This is no mistake. Even the early Christian Church struggled with this. That’s why the New Testament books were written. The new Christian converts in Judea, Asia Minor and the rest of the world were blending their culture with their new found faith in Christ. The gospels were written so that the new believers would know the message and acts of Jesus. Paul, Peter, James, and other disciples wrote letters to the various Churches in order to persuade them to eschew the culture around them and strive for purity and sanctification in both word and deed in Christ.
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
– Luke 14:25-33 (ESV) – The Cost of Discipleship
This is the Cost of Discipleship. We lay down all that we are for the sake of Christ. We lay down our desires to follow Jesus. We lay down our families and those we may be close to knowing that we may need to choose Christ over them. We even lay down what the culture tells us. We take up our cross and follow Jesus.
This concept is the crux of understanding the rest of this book. If you believe that the God’s Word is not relevant for all time – only culturally relevant – then you will not be able to understand how the wool has been pulled over many Christian’s eyes by cultural indoctrination.
Our Creator, God, knows a thing or two about men and women. He made us. He created human nature, and He saw it go haywire when Adam and Eve sinned. He also gave us the Bible as a guide to understand His plan and how our human nature goes haywire. He knows what works and what doesn’t. And He’s given us some pretty clear instructions, if only we would take them seriously.
Therefore, we will be approaching Scripture with the assumption that it says what it means and means what it says. That may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people will try to wiggle out of certain passages or simply ignore them altogether.
We live in a time in which the highest good is equality and non-discrimination and being non-offensive. The Scriptures highlighted in the rest of this book will offend some people – possibly you. We only ask that you judge the message on its own merits. Don’t focus on whether or not it’s offensive to modern sensibilities. Rather, ask yourself if it might actually be true.