Re: The Whole Bible Revealed in Zechariah (was Re: NT truth (formerly inerrancy?))

From: <richard@biblewheel.com>
Date: Sun Jan 11 2004 - 12:12:07 EST

Hi Don,

Thanks for the additional clarification. Most of your post concerned the
fact that the phrase "Word of God" often means *more* than just Scripture. I
don't know why you bothered writing all that, because I said exactly the
same thing in my last post! Let me repeat. There seems to be three
fundamental referents to the phrase "Word of God" in Scripture, which are
often conflated:

1) The Eternal Living Word: the Lord Jesus Christ
2) The Power of God manifest physically
3) The Written Word: sometimes individual Scriptures, sometimes the whole
Bible.

The sticking point is not that the phrase "word of God" often means *more*
than just Scripture. I asserted that myself when I wrote the list above. The
sticking point is your assertion that it never means Scriptures at all. You
flatly deny Point 3, saying that the Scriptures are never called the Word of
God in the Bible. This is the primary sticking point.

So lets look at your answers to my arguments:

I quoted Luke 4.3f:And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written
[SCRIPTURE], That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every WORD OF
GOD.

I received no response.

I gave a detailed analysis of the hermeneutic presuppostions that prohibit
you from receiving the Bible as the Word of God.

I received no resonse.

I quoted John 10.35: If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came,
and the scripture cannot be broken;

You gave this response: "Yes, the Word of God came to them, and Scriptures
described (witnessed to) that coming."

Agreed. But how does that support your argument that Scriptures are NEVER
refered to as the Word of God? Does not the natural reading of the verse
equate the WORD OF GOD with the SCRIPTURE? If not, why not?

I quoted the first occurrence of the Word of God in Acts 4.31: And when they
had prayed [from the SCRIPTURES], the place was shaken where they were
assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they
spake the WORD OF GOD with boldness.

I got no resonse to this one, which surprised me since I thought you would
try to drive a wedge between the the Scriptures that were prayed and the
Word of God that was mentioned after the fact. Of course, that would not be
a good argument, since the Word of God can naturally be taken as refering to
what they were doing both before and after the Holy Ghost came. This would
be an example of your point that they were not *merely* quoting the Old
Testament. I agree. But that was before the Bible was completed. Yet even
today many Christians believe they get "special" words from God when they
preach Jesus. But none of this has any bearing on the question of the nature
of the Bible as the Word of God. You can assert your point over and over,
but I have yet to see any evidence supporting your primary assertion that
the Scripture should not be called the Word of God.

Finally, your assertion that Acts 17 contrasts the Word of God with the
Scritures. Lets look yet again:

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received THE
WORD with all readiness of mind, and searched the SCRIPTURES daily, whether
those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable
women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of
Thessalonica had knowledge that THE WORD OF GOD was preached of Paul at
Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.

You replied:

==Quote==
If only you'd read this passage with an open mind you'd have seen how it
actually _contrasts_ the Word of God with Scriptures!
==End Quote==

The "Word" here clearly refers to both the OT Scriptures that were searched
and the spoken Word that enlightened them with the Gospel. Since the NT was
not yet completed, the only witness to the Gospel was the OT Scritures and
the words of Christ's followers. I see no "contrast" between the OT
Scriptures and the Gospel Word preached. I see exactly the opposite. The OT
Scriptures were used as the standard Word of God by which to judge the new
Word of God being preached. This demonstrates idenitity, not distinction.
The distinction you suggest between Paul's preaching and the OT is extremely
enlightening. Have you never read his writings? He directly quotes the OT 57
times in the Book of Romans alone, and alludes to other passages many times
more. How in the world can you suggest that

Finally, I am compelled to answer your question:

==Quote==
Do you actually believe that Paul quoted OT Scriptures at the people when he
had the much more important news of Jesus Christ to tell them about??
==End Quote==

YES! YES! YES! I do not merely believe, I KNOW that "Paul quoted OT
Scriptures at the people." Have you never read ANY of his writings? He
directly *quotes* the OT Scriptures 57 times in the Book of Romans alone,
and alludes to many others. In Galatians he says that the OT Scriptures
"preached the Gospel to Abraham." Here's a link to the evidence, that
happens to be published on my site because it reveals the divine integration
of Genesis, Isaiah, and Romans on Spoke 1 of the Wheel:

http://www.BibleWheel.com/Wheel/CitationsInRomans.asp

I'm sorry Don, but the disjunction between your opinions and the teaching of
the Bible seems complete. But then, what else could we expect when the
written Word of God is flatly denied?

Richard
Discover the sevenfold symmetric perfection of the Holy Bible at
http://www.BibleWheel.com

----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Winterstein" <dfwinterstein@msn.com>
To: "Gary Collins" <gwcollins@algol.co.uk>; <asa@lists.calvin.edu>;
<richard@biblewheel.com>
Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2004 1:26 AM
Subject: Re: The Whole Bible Revealed in Zechariah (was Re: NT truth
(formerly inerrancy?))

Richard wrote:

>If I interpret your assertions using the rules of plain English, I am
forced
>to conclude that your faith, though richly informed by Scripture, has
become
>completely unanchored from it. As far as I can tell, God could make the
>Sunday Comics as much the Word of God for you as the Bible with which you
>prop your door, depending merely on where He chooses to manifest His Power.

>While I appreciate this view of the Power of God (for indeed He can
manifest
>where, when, and how He will), I must object on biblical and theological
>grounds to your complete disjunction of the Written Word from the Living
>Word of God.

If you'd just asked for clarification of this one "disjunction" issue,
Richard, I think you could have saved yourself a lot of effort, as that
seems to be the main sticking point.

While my faith may be less well-anchored to the Bible than the average
Christian claims his or her faith is (I say "claims" because the average
Christian doesn't really have much knowledge of the Bible to speak of), I
hardly subscribe to the view that the Bible has no connection to the Word of
God. The Bible witnesses of the Word of God as it (he?) has acted down
through history. Christianity is very strongly historical. The activity of
the Word of God in the past is very relevant to Christians today. The Word
of God today often comes through the written testimony to the Word of God in
the past--in other words, through the Bible. However, the Word of God is
not constrained to come only through the Bible. It can and does come in
many ways. For example, it can come through a personal witness to Jesus.
It can come through a drink of water for the thirsty, or a piece of bread
for the hungry.

I see most or all such usages of the term "Word of God" in the Acts to be of
these non-Scriptural kinds. After all, "Scripture" refers only to writing,
and "Bible" also refers only to writing. Hence if someone orally states
teachings from Scriptures, his statements already via the act of oral
expression have become something other than Scriptures. It should come as
no surprise to any Christian that Christian witnessing often makes reference
to the Word of God as it came in the past, because Christianity is very
strongly historical. But surely you don't suppose that what the Acts calls
the Word of God consisted simply of Scriptural quotations that people threw
back and forth at one another! That would be bizarre, especially as they
had the good news of Jesus Christ to talk about. I believe, in fact, that
"Word of God" in the Acts refers mostly if not exclusively to spoken words
about the ministry and teachings of Jesus. These might well have
incorporated scriptural references.

Scriptures per se _are not_ the Word of God. As I said before, they may and
often have become the Word of God for some people at various times. But is
a Scripture reading in a Sunday service the Word of God to someone sitting
in the pew and letting the words drift in one ear and out the other? No
way. Is the Bible the Word of God for someone who never reads it? No way.

Scriptures witness to past words of God. Many of those words to people and
nations in the past are not the Word of God to people today, as they are
irrelevant. By studying and contemplating such words people may be able to
find some relevance to themselves, and hence God may speak through those
words after contemplation; but for large parts of the Bible and for a great
many individual Christians this never happens. So those parts of the Bible
never become the Word of God to those Christians. For those Christians it
is as if those parts of the Bible did not exist or, at best, are simply
meaningless.

"If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture
cannot be broken;...." Yes, the Word of God came to them, and Scriptures
described (witnessed to) that coming.

So the Word of God is the power of God acting on the lives of real people in
real time via some physical means. It is not a collection of written
statements that may simply be gathering dust. The Word of God is never
simply an object that a person can hold in his hands and say, "I've got the
Word of God here." If it is not the living and active power of God, it is
not the Word of God.

>These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received THE
>WORD with all readiness of mind, and searched the SCRIPTURES daily, whether
>those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable
>women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of
>Thessalonica had knowledge that THE WORD OF GOD was preached of Paul at
>Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.

>Here we see a complete conflation of the WORD OF GOD with SCRIPTURE.

If only you'd read this passage with an open mind you'd have seen how it
actually _contrasts_ the Word of God with Scriptures! Do you actually
believe that Paul quoted OT Scriptures at the people when he had the much
more important news of Jesus Christ to tell them about?? That would have
been bizarre. And if Paul had preached only Scriptures, why would the Jews
have taken offense?

Don
Received on Sun Jan 11 12:11:17 2004

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