RE: Jonah et al

From: Joel Z Bandstra (
Date: Tue Aug 14 2001 - 15:24:00 EDT

  • Next message: Lucy Masters: "Jonah et al"


    You've offered a post (copied below) whose sentiment I think I understand
    and agree with but I want to make two cautionary points and offer a
    question for consideration (ok, more like a series of ill-formed
    questions). I don't think you are saying the things I caution against but
    I want to avoid heading in that direction with out making the boundary
    quite clear.

    1. Faith in Christ is not from within. It is, rather, a gracious gift from
    2. The bible is more than a collection of nice ideas and good stories. It
    is that but it is also the inspired word of God. To reduce it from the
    Good Book to a good book is to undermine the Christian faith.

     My question: Too what extent do we instruct our youth, in a firm manner,
    as to what is right and too what extent do we express uncertainty? Some
    articles are, of course, essential to the faith. These, such as the deity
    of Christ, we must teach firmly. Some articles we see as true but
    non-essential. With regard to the truth of other articles we are, perhaps,
    unsure. With regard to some articles we affirm the truth but are somewhat
    unsure of the particulars. (I'm thinking here of Sabbath observance, we
    affirm this to be important but I, at least, am unsure about the details of
    said observance. Should we not play cards on Sunday or maybe not on
    Saturday...Should we not buy gasoline on Sunday...Should we not read
    journal articles that relate to work...and so on.) On these various
    issues, how do we best approach our youth (if, for example, one is teaching
    high school suday school)?

    For that matter, how do approach each other. If a brother with whom I have
    a good relationship is doing something which I view as inappropriate do I
    not have a responsibility to bring it up with him (in humility, of course)?
     What if we disagree? How do we avoid judging while standing firm?

    In Christ,

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Lucy Masters []
    Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2001 11:26 AM
    Subject: Jonah et al

    Was it John who wrote...?

    "Suppose you teach it as such to a young person, who later realizes
    that it is simply a story. Because of this, that person may decide to
    reject Christ, thinking that to accept him necessarily means one has to
    accept Jonah as history also."

    For me, the above exemplifies precisely why we should not count as
    relevant to our faith whether or not the Bible is objective truth,
    subjective truth, or myth. In other words, I believe we should teach
    our young people that belief in God is much more internal and much less
    external causation - such as the Bible. I had very little Christian
    experience or education as a young person, yet I have always had a deep
    faith in God. It's just "there." Teaching young people to reach inside
    THEMSELVES to maintain their faith in God seems a much more meaningful
    lesson than teaching them to believe in a book.

    So what good, then, is the Bible? It is a book of instruction about how
    to live our lives. As such, it is irrelevant whether the stories
    "really" happened, or only "appeared" to have happened to the writers
    (who may not have understood scientifically that which they observed).
    Like all morality tales, the instructions remain valid.

    Lucy Masters

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