Archive for September, 2011
My response to this week’s challenge:
Starting TONIGHT (at 7 pm) I’ll be teaching a 6-week series dealing with common objections to Christianity. We’ll cover the following topics:
- Does God Really Exist?
- Why I’m Not An Evolutionist
- If God is Good, Why is There Evil & Suffering?
- What Do I Say to My Gay Friends?
- Hell Yes! The Terrifying Truth
- Why Should I Trust the Bible?
E.V. Free Church Diamond Bar will be hosting the Southern California events. There’s still room in the class, so come join me! Get more details HERE.
The challenge this week comes from a press release from Orange County’s Backyard Skeptics, who staged a demonstration where they tore pages out of the Bible to show that 1) nobody can live by certain laws, and 2) some of those laws are immoral:
Many Christians feel the Bible is inerrant and has no contradictions or immoral passages. Most Christians have not read the Bible or can even recite the Ten Commandments. A recent Pew poll indicated that atheists know more about the Bible than Christians do.
To demonstrate that, when given a immoral biblical law, nearly all Christians agree with atheists that the law should not be used in today’s society. A group of atheists from Backyard Skeptics will be tearing those verses from the Bible much like one of America’s founding fathers Thomas Jefferson did. He cut and pasted verses when he created the Jefferson Bible – at only 88 pages!
Backyard Skeptics, the largest group of non-theists in Orange County, agree as well – those immoral verses should not be used as a ruler of morality. Should a woman who was raped be forced to marry her rapist? Should children be stoned for insubordination? Should non-virgins be killed on their wedding night? Both the Old Testament and New Testament have laws that no good Christian would live by. Backyard Skeptics founder Bruce Gleason agrees that there are many parts of the bronzed-aged text that teach fairness and goodness, but those verses are good whether or not you believe in an omnipotent law-giver. He says we are not desecrating the entire Bible – just those verses that, if followed, would land one in jail very quickly.
So there’s plenty to work with there! Have you thought through your relationship to the Law as a Christian? What is the Law? What was it for? Why don’t we follow it today? Should we?
Tell us what you would say to these atheists, and then we’ll hear Brett’s response on Thursday.
(From Red Dwarf Episode 202, “Better than Life”)
Here’s my answer to this week’s challenge:
[In The Cross of Christ,] Stott looks at “five ways in which theologians have expressed their sense of what is necessary before God is able to forgive sinners. One speaks of the overthrow of the devil by ‘satisfying’ his demands, others of ‘satisfying’ God’s law, honor or justice, and the last of ‘satisfying the moral order of the world.’ In differing degrees all these formulations are true.” But there is something that we need to be careful to avoid.
The limitation they share is that, unless they are very carefully stated, they represent God as being subordinate to something outside and above himself which controls his actions, to which he is accountable, and from which he cannot free himself. Satisfaction is an appropriate word, providing we realize that it is he himself in his inner being who needs to be satisfied, and not something external to himself. Talk of law, honor, justice, and the moral order is true only in so far as these are seen as expressions of God’s own character. Atonement is a ‘necessity’ because it ‘arises from within God himself.’
He means to emphasize God’s self-consistency to show that there is nothing outside of God that demands satisfaction. It is not like the devil demanded of God a kind of satisfaction or that the moral order demanded a kind of satisfaction that God himself did not. Rather, God must judge sinners in order to remain true to himself.
Here’s a “One Question Challenge to Christians”: Why does blood sacrifice make anything better?
We should have more respect for God than to think that it requires a bloody, sadistic, human sacrifice just to be persuaded to forgive us.
What do you think? We’ll hear from Brett with his answer and response to your comments on Thursday.