No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

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A detective who ignores evidence…is not much of a detective


So I have been studying the wonderful topic of hermeneutics.  If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry, I am sure you are not alone.  If you have been reading our blog for a while, we have talked briefly about hermeneutics.  Stated simply hermeneutics is the study of the Bible.  Sure a textbook definition would be much lengthier, but this will work for now.  So I came across a topic while reading that I thought was interesting. You see, there are several wrongs ways of studying the Bible.  One of the more common wrong  ways  of interpreting the bible is called the selective evidence fallacy.  This fallacy occurs when we cite just the evidence that supports our favored interpretation or when we dismiss evidence that seems to argue against our view.  An analogy, imagine a detective going into a crime scene.  He dismisses the finger prints that clearly point to the person that did it, because he decided as he approached the scene that someone else did it.

The above example is something we hear of on several occasions.  Each time we hear about we are outraged that someone would do that.  The odd thing is that most people offer no outrage when people use this same approach when interpreting the Bible.

Take the book of Job for example.  Let me know show you selective evidence in practice from Kenneth Copeland.  This can be found at the following link:  http://www.kcm.org/real-help/article/acting-fear-look-jobs-life

We all know the Copeland has a favored interpretation that the book of Job has to fit into.  This would be an interpretation that would have to include the use of faith in some fashion.

The first point that Copeland makes:  The sacrifices that Job made were supposed to have only been once.  Since he did it multiple times, Job sacrificed in unbelief.  As a result, the thing he feared came upon him.

Here Copeland needs to find a way to blame Job for his misfortune.  The fundamental premise here is the Job no longer walked in faith, and as a result of this HE brought down this judgement on himself.  The reality is that there was nothing wrong with what Job was doing.  In fact the Bible mentions nothing about Jobs unbelief, rather we see God commending Job at the beginning.  As for the sacrifices… The author specifically mentions that this was his custom.  Another thing the Bible says is the Job was BLAMELESS, and UPRIGHT.  Initial Evidence here indicates that if Job was upright and blameless, and his sacrificing, must have been as well.  Remember it was his custom, something he regulary did.  If what Job was doing was wrong, would he be upright and blameless?  Probably not.  In order for Copelands theology to hold he must insert or read into some of the things in the Bible.  There is nothing in the beginning of Job which indicates that Job’s sacrifice is wrong.  Further more there is nothing to indicate that Job’s sacrifice was due to unbelief or a lack of faith.

The second point Copeland makes:  Job was not aware of a personal Devil.  Instead, Job believed that God was the reason for what happens to him.

Here Copeland again must fit the book of Job into his theology.  His theology regarding this is that God has no authority on Earth.  Here Copeland has to look for evidence to support his theology in order for his theology to hold true.  The book of Job however tells a different story.  Again, we see at the beginning of Job where God allows Satan to do things to Job to test his faith.  Copeland ignores key evidence at the beginning of the book where God grants authority for Satan to hurt Job in a test of his faith (Job 1:6 – 12 and Job 2:1 – 6), and where God explains how he is the Creator of everything (Job 38 – 42).  This evidence in the Book of Job is contrary to the evidence that Copeland submits (or lack of evidence).

The book of Job is an illustration of God’s authority on Earth.  This very point is contrary to Copelands theology which denies God’s authority on earth.  This is a perfect example of the selective evidence fallacy.

Can 2+2 = 4 and 5?


Is this really possible?

Really, we all know this is a rhetorical question.  We all know that 2+2 cannot equal 4 and 5.  It has to be one or the other, it cannot be both.  This principle can be found all over and really should be considered as solid as the law of gravity.  What I am talking about is the law of non-contradiction.  Simply stated an answer can be one thing and not another.  An apple cannot be an apple and an orange.  An oreo cookie cannot be a oreo, and a chips ahoy.  This is something that very few would take the time to argue.  However, when it comes to the Bible many people willingly accept the premise that it can be interpreted in a number of different ways.  Furthermore they accept that it is okay, and that those different interpretations should be acceptable…the phrase “we are all Christians” comes to mind.   However, this simply cannot be the case as it would break the law of non-contradiction.

A couple of points from the Bible.

Mark 11:23 has only one meaning.  Either Jesus is saying that we literally have the power and authority to make a physical mountain actually change locations, or Jesus was proving a point in a non-literal way.

Jesus is either God (part of the trinity), or He is not.

God is either King and Lord of this world, or He is not.

There is no middle ground. The point that I am trying to make is this, there are a number of church’s and religions that preach a different gospel, a different Jesus, and a different God from the one held to  in orthodoxy.  One of us is wrong, and the other is right.  The differences are so
vast, that there is no middle ground.

Trying to discern which is true can be a daunting task.  However, we have all been given the Holy Word, and have been given the singular truth.
What I am talking about is a little known word called hermeneutics.  Never heard of it?  Simply put hermeneutics is the study of
interpretation.  It is understanding the context of what you read in the Bible.  By context I mean using knowledge of the following items to determine what God is actually trying to say: who did God use to write it, who did they write it to, why did they write, what is the historical perspective and what light does other scripture (especially the surrounding scripture) shed on the passage.

The first thing you have to remember is that the Bible (though inspired by the Holy Spirit) was written down by men.  This is important to know as you read the Bible.  It helps to understand that Romans, was recorded by a real man named Paul…who had some of the same frustrations that you and I have, who got sick, experienced pain, and disappointment very much like we do. These things are reflected in his letters.  It is also important to remember that the letters of the New Testament were directed to a specific audience.  Very much in the same way that you would
write an e-mail to a dear friend, Paul wrote 1 Timothy to Timothy. Much like we’d write a memo or letter to a church, he penned Romans to a group of people in a church in Rome.

As you listen to sermons your radar should always be up to examine what your pastor is saying (cf. Acts 17:11).  Always compare what they are saying about a verse in the Bible with its context.  A good rule of thumb is: if a pastor pulls one line out of a Bible verse to illustrate a point, without adding context, there is a good chance that it has been taken out of context.  This is not 100% guaranteed, but it happens more often than you think (Especially with word of faith preachers).

Be sure that you are examining Scripture for yourself.  First and foremost I highly recommend gaining a better understanding of hermeneutics.
I would recommend a book called “how to read the Bible for all its worth” by Gordon D Fee and Douglas K Stuart.  This is the book I read when I began my journey.

2011 Challenge


Another new year is here.  And like every New Year I began thinking about goals for the upcoming year.  Most call this New Year’s resolutions.  Some would balk at the idea of using that phrase because of the lackadaisical approach that it might apply.  I however look at it as simply goals for next year.  2010 will be the year of incredible spiritual growth for me.   I want this process to continue. This challenge will be a stretch for Christian’s of all ages and growth levels.  Without furtherer due…

1.       Read a non-fiction Christian book(s)

It can only help to get another view.  When I read books like this, I immediately think of the movie Dead Poet’s Society – Specifically the scene where Robin Williams tells his students to stand on their desks to get a different perspective on things.  The room just looks different when you see it from a different angle.  Another person’s perspective may help change yours.  A quick word of caution, be careful of the book you choose.  For obvious reasons, we would not recommend books written by certain pastors that may have been mentioned previously in the “Are you a God” series.  We would, however, recommend any of the following books:

  1. Servant Leadership
  2. More than a Carpenter
  3. Victory over the Darkness
  4. Families Where Grace is in Place
  5. The Unexpected Journey
  6. Dare2Share

We’d be happy to recommend other books/authors… just drop us a line!

2.       Deeply study three books of the Bible.

Have you ever read something in the Bible, looked over at someone and said…”HAVE YOU READ THIS!  IT IS INCREADIBLE!”, only to have them say “I have read the whole Bible”.  There is a huge difference between reading, and digesting the Word of God.  I would suggest that of the group of people that have read the Bible, that probably only 25% – 50% of the Bible was actually digested.  By digested I mean, knowing the context of the books, why they were written, historicity behind them, spiritual impact of certain passages, etc…  The point here is to understand and internalize these books. 

3.       Have a 90% attendance rate at church.

This should be probably number 1.  If you are of the thought that you can have an effective relationship with God without attending a church you are wrong.  The truth of the matter is that the church is critical for your personal development.  Imagine learning how to become a computer programmer without going to school or doing programming work.  The exact same thing applies here.  You limit your growth potential in the body of Christ, by not attending church.

4.       Volunteer for an event/function/job at church.

Now that you are attending church on a regular basis, it is time to volunteer.  Serving is critical to our spiritual growth as well.  Remember James 2:14-26.  Faith without works is dead.  This is the works part of the challenge. 

5.       Invite at least 12 people to your church.

Inviting people to church can open the door to being able to share your testimony.  Your invite can include other functions such as church picnic’s, or small group.  See number 3.

6.       Have spiritual conversations that lead to you sharing your testimony and/or the Gospel with at least 6 people

Evangelism is a central part to being a Christian.  There are a number of biblical passages that demonstrate that evangelism is asked but is required of all Christians…REQUIRED.  That doesn’t mean maybe, or I’ll get to it later or it’s not my temperament.  REQUIRED.

7.       Sacrificially give to your local church.

We know that the economy is tough – it has been for your church too!  Needless to say there is a biblical foundation for tithing (giving at least 10% of your gross income).  God’s got a plan for your church that takes money to implement, and you should be a part of it.  If you’ve never tithed before start small and grow throughout the year – Dave Ramsey calls it a giving snowball.

8.       Pray for at least 2 minutes a day.

What do you do when you have problems?  Pray.  Anxiety? Pray. Need Help? Pray.  Need guidance, wisdom, truth, or WHATEVER?  PRAY!  2 minutes a day seems small in the amount of time you should devote to speaking with the Lord.  I make it a point to talk to him as I would my father or wife.  While he is God, he is still my Father.  If you think that you shouldn’t talk to him in a normal way…read Psalms.  That was the point of that book.

This is a yearlong challenge.  And it should be just that…a challenge.  No Apologizing will have your back though with posts about various biblical books, commentary on the books we have read, commentary on the spiritual conversations we’ve had, etc.  If you have feedback that you want to share regarding the challenge you will be able to.  A new page will be created on the blog specifically for this challenge.  In the mean time, get those books ready.  Have a great year.  Be focused.  Make no excuses!  Remember only one person is in charge of their relationship with God…YOU!  No one else can do it for you.

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