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Preaching Articles



You probably have noticed that preachers come in all shapes and sizes. There are big, gregarious, sweaty-foreheaded preachers. There are short, slim, soft-spoken preachers. There are creative preachers who always have a slick gadget or a clever object of illustration. There are King James preachers who love Thees and the Thous of Thy Holy Word.

So what makes for a faithful preacher? Because God has called preachers to be faithful rather than successful, how can we be sure we are staying true to the call? Here are a few biblical criteria to keep us on track:

The preacher should give people a bigger picture of God.

"For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord"  (2 Cor. 4:5).

Ultimately, people need to be told repeatedly that the God of Scripture is bigger than all of our earthly problems. While preachers are wise to speak about complex issues of the culture, the need for people on Sunday morning is actually quite simple: Their minds need to be re-programmed to the idea that God is in control, that He loves them immensely, and that nothing is impossible for Him. How quickly we forget these truths!

With the constant barrage of media messages, the average person struggles to maintain a biblical perspective about life. Our world drifts off kilter fast, but the preacher has a powerful role in bringing the listener back to the center while proclaiming the unchanging gospel.

The preacher should train people to turn to the Bible when problems arise.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

The question I must answer as a pastor every Monday morning is, "Are people being pointed to the Word when work dries up, the child is diagnosed, or when in-laws sabotage a vacation?" The Bible is able to meet all of their needs; a pastor is not. As the preacher brings forth the Word week after week, people increasingly should be convinced that "all Scripture is God-breathed" and that His Word is able to equip them for every good work. 

The preacher should show people how to read, study, and handle the Bible for themselves.

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).

The Bible is a very difficult book to read. Let's face it, we find it easier to read a New York Times' bestseller than Leviticus or Amos. A keen understanding of Scripture requires a certain level of skill and a special illumination of the Spirit. In corporate worship, the preacher should challenge people to cry out to God for the wisdom that flows from Isaiah, Deuteronomy, and Revelation.

In addition, the preacher should demonstrate how God has penetrated his own heart with the truths he presents. His interpretation not only has been defended in the sermon, but it has been digested. The congregation sees this Word after it has been made flesh, and this heightens their interest, as well as his credibility. He handles the Word with precision.

The preacher should teach all parts of the Bible and show how unique and wonderful each section truly is.

"For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God" (Acts 20:20, 27).

Personally, I could camp out in James for a decade. I love that book. It is short, fast-paced, and practical for everyday life. However, the Book of Malachi was inspired by God, too, and was placed in the Bible because it contains essential truth for spiritual growth.

The preacher should deliver a well-rounded meal throughout the calendar year and proclaim all parts of the Bible, not just his or her particular bread-and-butter passages. The best preachers make themselves servants of the Word and handle it all with reverence.

The preacher should challenge people to own the truth by responding to the message.

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (James 1:22-27).

What good is knowledge if it does not lead to life change? Every person who went to school can recall a particular math or science lecture that left students wondering, "What good will that do me?" Unlike that moment, church attendees should leave on Sunday knowing the message they just heard demands a real and practical response. That reaction will vary from person to person and might include an inward decision to trust God with this week's electric bill; it might be an act of humility demonstrated through a heartfelt apology; or it might be an act of generosity as one writes a check to a specific ministry. There must be some reaction when the Word is preached. Faithful preachers do not hesitate to bring the challenge.

The preacher should prove that the Bible is ancient yet it speaks to us today.

"Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day…They are not just idle words for you—they are your life" (Deut. 32:46-47).

Flip through the Bible for five minutes, and you will find this book contains all kinds of bizarre history. There are golden cows, weird temple furnishings, and visions of wheels in the sky. The preacher must do more than prove he or she has studied all week. The preacher must show how this study of history impacts the present and the future.

It was Harry Emerson Fosdick who declared, "Only the preacher proceeds still upon the idea that folks come to church desperately anxious to discover what happened to the Jebusites." That is so true! Pastors must work hard at the task of application and contextualization. What does this passage have to do with his or her life on Monday? Effective preachers answer that question carefully. The bottom line is that just because you appear on television or have your face pasted on a billboard does not mean you are an effective, faithful preacher of the Word. Pastor, be true to your call and be sure you are fulfilling your God-given role as proclaimer of the Word.

Ben Mandrell is the pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, TN.  A father of four and husband to Lynley, Ben’s passion is to see the local church become the saltiest salt and the brightest light she can be. 

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Talk about it...

John E Miller

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Amen, brother! "God has called preachers to be faithful...". Faithfulness to God's word is the hallmark of a true servant of the Lord. The natural desire is to crave success, adulation and popularity. The spiritual requirement of the true servant is the power of the Holy Spirit giving the servant of God the consciousness of personal communion with Christ and his own guidance by the written word of God.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 23, 2012

What about a Jesus faithful preacher? How would that be different? I'm not knocking your article, I think it is great but I'm starting to think that we're moving into a time if we aren't careful where we are directing people too much toward the Book (Bible) and not enough toward the very Spirit of God that indwells them. The New Covenant involves the Spirit of God indwelling us, He indwells us to speak to us and He has written the law on our hearts. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." here's another passage that helps "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." Again, love the article... just wondering if we're in danger of saying like the Children of Israel did when they sent Moses up to talk to God for the... "God we're not really interested in talking to you personally, we'll let Moses talk to you for us"(or in this case, we'll let the Bible talk to us for You."

Doug Conley

commented on Apr 23, 2012

The most important part was left out: Preach the word as God intends it, not how people (or you) prefer it. To be biblically faithful, we cannot add or take away. To do that would be preaching a god of our own creation. If God's word says to do this to be saved and don't do that to be saved, we must give heed! All too often, people are led astray by the teachings of man. So to teach a doctrine or creed that is non-biblical is to teach one which is unbiblical. How can one who does this claim to be a faithful preacher? Ask yourself, "If someone studies on there own and draws a different conclusion than I teach and proves me wrong in doing so, how will I react"? Are you faithful to God and His word, or are you faithful to men's creeds?

Keith B

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Good article.

Derek Combs

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Hey Josh McDowell...did you notice how you had to refer to the BIBLE to make your argument? The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to lead/guide us - ALWAYS. And you just proved the author's point with your argument. Just saying.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Derek Combs... I wasn't making an argument. If you read my comment you read "Again, love the article.." I'm just beginning to hear the Father say to me, be careful not to make my Spirit merely an interpreter of text... teach people to listen to My voice, both with and without the Bible. Your word "always" may mean that you think that the Holy Spirit always speaks to us through passages of scripture, but I hope you didn't mean that the Holy Spirit speaks to us exclusively through passages of scripture. That would be very limiting.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Great article. Good points Doug and Derek. Josh, you said "I'm starting to think that we're moving into a time if we aren't careful where we are directing people too much toward the Book (Bible) and not enough toward the very Spirit of God that indwells them." Can we ever direct someone too much toward God's Word? If I understand that comment correctly, it is one of the most alarming comments I've seen in a while. If you have not noticed, we are in an unparalleled time of mass information and, therefore, deception. We, as leaders, must, MUST be "directing people" MORE "toward the Book (Bible)" not less! One thing I would add to this article is teaching others how to defend the faith [which is under an evil and subtle attack, mainly through mystical approaches like you seem to be suggesting] and teaching how to discern the errant teaching in the church and schemes of Satan (2 Cor 2:11) and false teachers. What good is it if we direct people to a relationship with God, yet it is not based on the truth? This is the popular (broad) path of the emerging/emergent church that is being taught today. Their premise is along the same lines as yours "we're moving into a time of post modern thinking where people don't like truth (or absolute truth) or being taught, they want to experience God (through their feelings; 2 TIm 4:3-4; Is 30:9-11) so lets emphasize the Bible less and emphasize Jesus more (through mystical practices like "silence," "Solitude," contemplative prayer, Lectio Divina," etc.) Of course we want to be faithful to direct people to Jesus, but it has to be according to an objective Standard (God's "Word of truth") and not to the subjective (feelings or experience) or the errant standard of New Age techniques and Eastern Religious methods of meditation that Richard Foster and other popular mystics are promoting to the church. It seems like YOU might be a proponent of this, but I could be wrong and I would love for you to correct me where I am wrong. Also, another popular emergent teaching is universalism or a more subtle quasi-universalism where God's Spirit "indwells" everyone (everyone is saved, all roads lead to God, we are all children of God). Please tell me this is not what you believe and are espousing here. So, all this to say, I appreciate wanting to move people more toward Jesus but it disturbs me to here anyone say we might be moving people too much toward the Bible. That has never happened, nor are we close to a problem in this area. It is a demonstrable and sad fact that we are moving people away from Scripture, yet you are seemingly encouraging us to move others away from Scripture?

Darrell Tucker

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Amen Ben! God's word is INSPIRED... I want people to hear GOD'S word, not "My words." I fully embrace the fact that His Holy Spirit indwells me - that does not make me inspired - it makes me responsive to Him and responsible to others to preach truth and not my opinions. Well done, brother.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 23, 2012

AND don't forget , the Apostle Peter wrote , 'We have a more sure word of prophecy ...' which we do well to take heed . The Apostle Paul said , ' Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly ...... Both refer to the scriptures .

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Ben, I'm sorry if the comments are not exactly related to what you wrote. Again, it was a great article and if more pastors followed this traits the church would be far better. Because of your biblical emphasis I thought you would like to know a little more about the person you quoted (Fosdick). He believed in a "different gospel" (Gal 1:6-9). He, like much of the emerging church today, rejected the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. He called it "precivilized barbarity." [By the way, he is LOVED by the EC leaders.] The following is a long quote from the book "Faith Undone" about Fosdick: In his book, The Modern Use of the Bible, Fosdick says that Jesus? going to the Cross should be seen as an example of a life of service and sacrifice and not compared with ?old animal sacrifices? and ?made ?a pious fraud? played by God upon the devil.?3 In Fosdick?s book Dear Mr. Brown, he states: Too many theories of the atonement assume that by one single high priestly act of self-sacrifice Christ saved the world.4 Fosdick ends that statement with a pronounced??No!? He insists, ?These legalistic theories of the atonement are in my judgment a theological disgrace.?5 Fosdick considered the idea that God would actually send His Son to die on a Cross to take our place to be the basis for a violent and bloody religion. He rejected the biblical message of an atonement and substitutionary sacrifice.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Three questions about this thread of comments: 1) Do the majority here believe that God's holiness and wrath had to be poured out on someone because of our sin and that Jesus took God's angry rage in our place? 2) Do the majority here believe that the Holy Spirit's primary role is the interpretation of scripture? 3) Do the majority here believe that it is wise to refer to the bible as "God's Word" a phrase the bible and bible writers used when referring to Jesus? The first question is one I've pondered since I was a child, the second is one that I've just begun to ponder of the last 2 - 3 years, and the last question is one I've been wrestling with for 10 years. I certainly wasn't attempting to change the subject, these questions appear to me to be the same subject. I love the Bible, but I don't want to accidentally allow it to interpret my relationship with the Spirit of God. I'd rather listen to God and allow that relationship to interpret the Bible, wouldn't you? Or do you just not believe God really speaks anymore?

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Just a thought; Why does Josh take a portion of the word of God , the scriptures and apply something to himself which concerns what God will do for the House of Israel and the House of Judah .?. Jer 31:31 that is write His Law in their hearts and minds . The purpose is so that Israel and Judah will no longer break God's covenant with them as they did the old >? So all Israel will be saved .

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Ben, I'm sorry if the comments are not exactly related to what you wrote. Again, it was a great article and if more pastors followed this traits the church would be far better. Because of your biblical emphasis I thought you would like to know a little more about the person you quoted (Fosdick). He believed in a "different gospel" (Gal 1:6-9). He, like much of the emerging church today, rejected the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. He called it "precivilized barbarity." [By the way, he is LOVED by the EC leaders.] The following is a long quote from the book "Faith Undone" about Fosdick: In his book, The Modern Use of the Bible, Fosdick says that Jesus? going to the Cross should be seen as an example of a life of service and sacrifice and not compared with ?old animal sacrifices? and ?made ?a pious fraud? played by God upon the devil.?3 In Fosdick?s book Dear Mr. Brown, he states: Too many theories of the atonement assume that by one single high priestly act of self-sacrifice Christ saved the world.4 Fosdick ends that statement with a pronounced??No!? He insists, ?These legalistic theories of the atonement are in my judgment a theological disgrace.?5 Fosdick considered the idea that God would actually send His Son to die on a Cross to take our place to be the basis for a violent and bloody religion. He rejected the biblical message of an atonement and substitutionary sacrifice.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 23, 2012

WOW! I hope you are not THE Josh McDowell; either way I am deeply, DEEPLY concerned. (And, by the way, you did not, it seems, address what I wrote...not that you have to.) To your first point, are you denying or doubting or rejecting the heart of the gospel (the substitutionary sacrifice and atonement)? This, fellow Believers, is the wave of the future (through the emerging church, mystical (New Age/Eastern Religious) practices, compromising with other ideologies, and liberal theology). This deadly error is precisely what happens when we ?direct people away from the Book (Bible)?!!! How timely is this article? Your second point, well, and your third point, I do not get what your point is or exactly what is your are asking (e.g. is it wise to refer to God?s Word as God?s Word). You seem sincere in your questioning, and I am not questioning your sincerity, but it seems your view of God?s Word has declined (Ps 138:2; 19:7-11; Is 8:19-20; 66:2) and possibly you are, perhaps, casting doubt on it (let alone rejecting the gospel). Please clarify for me/us. Please show me where I am wrong. By the way, I?m not sure how it matters a whole lot what the majority thinks (this is an emergent idea... ?the consensus of the culture? has authority concerning truth), instead, let?s ask, ?What has God already said?? ?What is true and what is false?? ?How does this measure up with God?s Word?? (Acts 17:11) ?What falsehoods are creeping into the church?? All of these questions are encouraged by Scripture (Acts 20:28-32; Titus 1:9-13; Jas 5:19-20; 1 Pet 2:1-2). I always cringe when I hear ?I love the Bible, but...? I have never heard this and it turned out good. For example, what does it mean that you ?do not want to accidentally allow? our Standard for life, godliness, truth, love, and our relationship with God ?to interpret my relationship with the Spirit of God?? I truly cannot make heads or tails of this statement. Perhaps if your phrased or asked it differently I could better understand it. Nevertheless, if I think I am right in guessing what you are saying then I am even more concerned. Josh said, ?I'd rather listen to God and allow that relationship to interpret the Bible, wouldn't you? Or do you just not believe God really speaks anymore?? First, no I would not. Second, of course God can speak, but how do we know if it is Him or some other ?voice? (2 Cor 11:13-15)? This is the pattern of seeking ?the knowledge of the tree of good and evil.? Yes, it was ?good for food,? ?pleasing to the eye,? and ?desirable for attaining wisdom.? But at what cost? How many cults, false religions, and individuals have been deceived and destroyed by hearing a ?voice? they thought was from God? Don?t we need an objective, superlative, divine, eternal, unchanging, outside of ourselves Standard by which to distinguish God?s voice from other voices? Let me ask, where are people infinitely more likely to be deceived, from an objective, absolute, unchanging, God-inspired Standard, or from a subjective, feelings-based, nebulous source? Please, PLEASE just overtly tell us if you are now an ?emerging? or ?emergent? believer? This might cut through all of this for us.

Sean Van Zant

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Hey Josh...I liked what you said about our relationship with God be the interpreter of Scripture. I do think that we need to use the word as a mirror and a tester to make sure that our interpretations are objective. Thus, the backup, or our relationship with God should be grounded in the Word of God. I know that God speaks. I was just journaling, using techniques found in one of Mark Vickler's books 'How to Hear God's Voice.'

Kevin Wenker

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Or do you just not believe God really speaks anymore?? Actually, God never did speak to us. He spoke to His Son and through His Son. I do not want God to speak to me...how could I be sure it was Him? Further, my relationship with Him does not interpret Scripture. Scripture is an objective truth that interprets itself. I do not know who Josh McDowell is, but I can't buy what he wrote.

Sean Van Zant

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Josh McDowell is an author (authored or co-authored 77 books), an evangelist, an apologeticist, and a public speaker. Maybe you don't want God to speak to you, but I sure do. He could save us from a multitude of problems. If you believed that God still spoke, then you could test what He says with His Word.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 23, 2012

If this is correct God did not speak to Israel for 400 years . Before that when He did speak it was through the Prophets and occasionaly that is rarely , through people who were not prophets . He spoke through a child , a woman and even an ass . Then for 400 years untill |John the Baptist Silence . 'They have Moses and the Prophets ,Jesus said . If they don't believe them , neither will they believe though one rise from the dead . Then , in Hebrews we are told that in these Last Days , God has spoken through His Son. . And thus we now have a complete Bible. Sir Robert Anderson and others believe that God speaks through His word and is witnessed and verified to us through the Holy Spirit . Mysticism may in fact be imagination where voices and impressions may be 'heard' ?. And it is/has become fashionable in some quarters of Christendom as imports much from eastern mystics and buddhism - so im told ?. The Bible is not so well known as it ought to be and if it was , it might take us off these mystic novelties ? do you think ?. Ignatious ?.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 23, 2012

I'm beginning to connect some of the dots... It appears this confusion and errant ideology is coming from the aforementioned book on mysticism "How to Hear God's Voice Guaranteed." In the book the author makes the flagrantly erroneous assertion that the Israelites did not want a personal relationship with God, quoting from the book: "They didn?t expect that the voice of God would come with the fire of God, and they decided they would rather not have a relationship with Him if He was going to be that way!" This is a gross brutalization of what the Word says "The LORD heard you when you spoke to me and the LORD said to me, ?I have heard what this people said to you. EVERYTHING THEY SAID WAS GOOD." (Duet 5:28) and again "The LORD said to me: ?What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account." If Mirkler is correct, then God said it was "good" that they rejected a relationship with Him and did not want to hear directly from Him. Did the author (or the readers) not read this Scripture and discern for themselves? (Acts 17:11) If we use Scripture then the whole premise of Josh's (and Mirkler's and others) is egregiously false. How can you call something bad that God has called good? "Woe to you..." (is 5:20) If, however, we allow a "voice" to interpret Scripture then anything is fair game. If we go on this premise then what if I believe God is telling me that parts of the Bible are not true, or that what use to be called a sin (the sin of _______) is now not a sin, or.... I hope you see where this leads. Just because someone has written a hundred best sellers does not make them right or biblical. In fact, the truth has never been popular. If this is truly you Josh then you have broken my heart. Is this King Solomon all over again?

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Again, Ben, I am sorry where this has gone, but you started it ;) Actually, it was a wonderful--and apparently very much needed--article. Keep up the good work.

Sean Van Zant

commented on Apr 23, 2012

I hope the book I was referring to 'How to Hear God's Voice' wasn't misrepresented, not to be confused with it's counterfeit 'How to Hear God's Voice Guaranteed.' I am definitely not referring to the latter book. Charles Stanley is the one who proposes that God still speaks in his book 'How to Listen to God.' Heaven forbid if anyone calls him indirectly a heretic. Maybe I misunderstood those comments. I think it's pretty cut and dry whether one has heard from God. Does it line up with God's Word? Do the ways that God has spoke in Biblical times the same way that God is speaking to you? Does it line up with God's character?

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 23, 2012

The New Covenant is for all. Jesus is the Word of God, the Bible never speaks of a cannon, so according much of the logic here, the cannon was a mistake. My name is Josh McDowell, but I'm not the author some are referring to. I know the other Josh McDowell we are different people. Penal Substitutionary Atonement is a pretty new theology relative to history. The early church father's didn't teach it. There are multiple views of the atonement and the better ones don't make God the author of murdering the Son of God or essentially comic suicide of cosmic child abuse. When we (mankind) crucify the Son of God and call it an act of God... we miss the message of the gospel. Jesus' death on the cross was an horrendous evil act of man against God, not a act of evil by God. Sometimes our words turn God against God instead of seeing the truth... Calling the Christus Victor Theory of the Atonement a new age theology is like calling calling FORD a new car company.

Brady Hill

commented on Apr 23, 2012

God is not the AUTHOR of confusion....

Jason Cardwell

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Michael James Monaghan. Neither the 2 Peter passage nor the Colossians 3 passage you quoted are necessarily about the written Scripture primarily. In the OT, the "Word of God" and the "Word of the Lord" are almost NEVER about written Scripture, but about a direct word from God (which may later be written down, it is true). We would do well to look at the NT passages about the "Word" with fresh eyes. Many (if not most) of them will carry even more power when we realize they are talking about direct communion with God.

Moises Ramirez

commented on Apr 23, 2012

JESUS is LORD. He has always been, is, and always will be (Hebrews 13:8) Our Savior Jesus Christ is not just the son of God but is God. John (1:1) He has calls his visible image his son but that doesn't mean he is a seprate person or deity of a trinity that doesn't exist . (Col 1:15). There has never been another God besides him and Jesus is His Name (Duet 6:4) even the demons know it (James 2:19). Father, Spirit, and Son are just titles. (Isaiah 6:9) God bless you my brethren.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Thanks Jason Cardwell... your words are helpful and true, This is a simple enough truth that it shouldn't be confusing to anyone. Jesus is the Word of God, the Bible is great, but Jesus is the Word of God.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 24, 2012

Jason says some the passages are not necessarily the written word , BUT , there again they may be - well I do believe they are :) . In 2ndCor 4 it is written ' not handling the 'word of God' deceitfully '.... and in Thes ' 'Ye received it not as the word of men; but as it is , the word of God ' . ' That the word of the Lord was at first Spoken is not in dispute by the recent contenders , But , we ,who believe God's word is written , are contending for that faith ONCE delivered to the saints '. In John it says , ' These are written that you might know that Jesus is that Messiah and Son of God .....' I have no problem , in fact it with delight that I receive accept and believe that the Bible as we have today , conveys God;s words and message to mankind faithfully and is as it says n many places if you could see it , the very word of God written .

John E Miller

commented on Apr 24, 2012

If we give careful consideration to the theories of Josh McDowell we can see in them the seeds of apostasy. Am I being too strong? Am I being too harsh? Look at what is being proposed and compare it with the writer's opening remarks in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Josh McDowell clearly infers that there is the possibility of the Holy Spirit of God making fresh revelations of God's truth that are additional to those that are found in His word. In contrast the writer to the Hebrews in agreement with all the other New Testament writers asserts with scriptural, God-breathed, eternally binding authority that God's final speaking is to be found in His revelation of Himself in Christ. Where is this to be found? It is to be found solely in His word. All departure in the church down through the centuries is departure from the written, Spirit-inspired word of God. Its truth is as eternal as God Himself. Fools and impostors have tried to add to it, subtract from it and modify its purity of heavenly truth. They are still trying to do this and will continue to do so up to and after the rapture of the church. Our salvation is to cling resolutely to its truth and disabuse ourselves of any foolish notions that the Holy Spirit of God will reveal anything to us that is not based entirely in the revealed truth of God's word.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 24, 2012

John E Miller, thank you for your words I'm very sorry to the original author of this article if he is upset about this conversation. I certainly didn't mean to hurt him. But I think I'd be very happy if I were him. Whatever we believe we should be glad to have our ideas stretched and challenged. I think that is a good thing. If the Bible was intended to be the end all be all that it has become, why didn't Jesus (as you've said - the final authority and revelation) speak of a future cannon. Why didn't He say, wait and I'll send the comforter and He'll lead you into all truth for 360 or so more years, then He'll stop speaking to you and guiding you, because the magical, powerful, book will be done. From 397AD and on He become a personal spirit that only interprets the magical book. I love and believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents written down by men who claim that their writings are divine rather than human in origin, but I don't worship the Bible. I'm sure no one here does either, but it seems that you are close to worshiping a book and ignoring God Himself, the Holy Spirit. I grew up Baptist and we gave lip service to the Holy Spirit but we really didn't believe He was active on earth today. I'm beginning to believe that He will guide me daily. I think we are still in danger of using the Bible as a controlling tool like the Catholic church did when they tried to keep it from the people.

Robert Sickler

commented on Apr 24, 2012

Josh, This much I know for certain. If you view the bible as God's written word you have missed the power of the bible. The message lies deeper than the ink. The ink is good and it gives great advice but you cannot feed your spirit on the ink. The message of God lies embedded in the spiritual backing of the written word. Read the bible with your mind and you will worship Jesus in your mind. Read the bible with your spirit and you will worship Jesus in your spirit. This does not mean that the spirit of God negates the ink nor does it go beyond the ink ... it empowers the ink. If you read the bible in your spirit the words remain true and they also have a far greater impact on your life. Only a foolish man would think that the spirit of God goes beyond the written word ... he may even be listening to demons.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 24, 2012

I wonder if you miss the forest for the trees Robert, wow, wow, wow, Robert Sickler those are some harsh words...Robert Sickler said: "Only a foolish man would think that the spirit of God goes beyond the written word ... he may even be listening to demons." I'm sorry that you feel that way. Jesus once said... 38 There is nothing left in your memory of his Message because you do not take his Messenger seriously. 39 "You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you'll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! 40 And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren't willing to receive from me the life you say you want. 41 "I'm not interested in crowd approval. 42 And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God's love, is not on your working agenda. 43 I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. 44 How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God? 45 "But don't think I'm going to accuse you before my Father. Moses, in whom you put so much stock, is your accuser. 46 If you believed, really believed, what Moses said, you would believe me. He wrote of me. 47 If you won't take seriously what he wrote, how can I expect you to take seriously what I speak?"

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 24, 2012

I'm only quoting Jesus there... certainly not claiming to speak for Him. I'm just a guy trying to follow Jesus, and hoping to help people see and believe that He is still alive and at work on earth today and still speaking to those who listen to Him. I love the Bible, just don't see it as the final message from God to man, I see real communion with God as He came, died, and rose again, but also returned to stay in the person of His Holy Spirit. Because He as always wanted to include humanity in relationship with Him.

Robert Sickler

commented on Apr 24, 2012

Josh, If my words are harsh and you find them offensive I am sorry. I sincerely do not want to offend. But if I listen to your suggestion that you can receive a new gospel from Jesus I am foolish. I might just as well listen to Joseph Smith or Jim Jones. You can preach to me from the written word but don't try and tell me that you have a new revelation from God ... I will not put my faith in the mind of man

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 24, 2012

John E Miller, thank you for your words I'm very sorry to the original author of this article if he is upset about this conversation. I certainly didn't mean to hurt him. But I think I'd be very happy if I were him. Whatever we believe we should be glad to have our ideas stretched and challenged. I think that is a good thing. If the Bible was intended to be the end all be all that it has become, why didn't Jesus (as you've said - the final authority and revelation) speak of a future cannon. Why didn't He say, wait and I'll send the comforter and He'll lead you into all truth for 360 or so more years, then He'll stop speaking to you and guiding you, because the magical, powerful, book will be done. From 397AD and on He become a personal spirit that only interprets the magical book. I love and believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents written down by men who claim that their writings are divine rather than human in origin, but I don't worship the Bible. I'm sure no one here does either, but it seems that you are close to worshiping a book and ignoring God Himself, the Holy Spirit. I grew up Baptist and we gave lip service to the Holy Spirit but we really didn't believe He was active on earth today. I'm beginning to believe that He will guide me daily. I think we are still in danger of using the Bible as a controlling tool like the Catholic church did when they tried to keep it from the people.

Juanita Gilbo=ricard

commented on Apr 24, 2012

Although Jesus truly is The Word, the Holy Bible still is the inspired Word of God. The Bible itself tells us so. It is infallible and enduring. Since God's Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead, He is ever present with us to guide and direct us and give us understanding in God's Holy Word. God speaks through His Written Word, His spoken Word through others and sometimes He sends angels even today. He uses that still small voice of His and as an obedient Christian you Will recognize His voice. He often just puts His arms around us and you can feel them when He does. He uses methods we do not even think about. There is no limit to how and when and in what method God will make His Word known. Sometimes it is through a small child. Just always stay attuned to Him so you can hear Him when He speaks. Quit trying to put a limit on God.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 24, 2012

Juanita Gilbo=Ricard said: "Quit trying to put a limit on God." Good word.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 24, 2012

Josh (and others) I am glad it is not THE JM, but having said that... you, Josh McDowell, are just as important as the "other" JM. You clearly believe and are teaching the "emergent"/ "Postmodern" ideology. I would caution you and warn others about this notion. Few, if anything, is more deceitful. A few of the main doctrines of Postmodernism (PM) are that there are absolutely no absolutes... we certainly cannot be certain of truth... we must cast doubt on everything. .... Now, who would want us to do that? Notice how this mirrors "Did God really say..." Notice how many here are casting doubt on God's Word (subtly, of course). Notice how Satan, after he doubted and diminished God's Word and the sufficiency of God (which is perhaps the main truth under assault here), he lures them in with an extra-biblical, extra-special knowledge, and extra-special way to obtain this better-than-what-you-have "wisdom" and status. Many of the patterns of deception and the schemes of deceivers were established in Genesis 3. Take the time to research them for yourselves. It will actually save you time and great heartache. Josh..... part of the problem is relying on "The Message." If I relied on that "paraphrase" then I would be severely confused about God's Word and what it teaches. Again, research the problems in this for yourselves. There are many things written that expose the disturbing distortions therein. You said Jesus said these words "There is nothing left in your memory of his Message because you do not take his Messenger seriously." That is what one (New Age proponent) man decided, on his own, what Jesus said. It actually says, "nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent." World of difference. I could go on and on, but if anyone chooses to believe that "casting doubt" on truth is noble and humble and good (i.e. what the emerging/emergent/postmoderns believe) and then do not see how this is the EXACT parallel to Satan's first and primary and superlative scheme (subtly doubt and diminish God's Word of truth and introduce some "other" extra "wisdom") then what hope is left? If any of you is such a eager proponent of mysticism, then in what ways are you concerned that you (and others) can easily be deceived? What SPECIFIC ways? We all know from history that millions and billions of people have be deceived and destroyed through others hearing some "voice" from God, so why do you seem so unconcerned? ......... "Quit trying to put a limit on God"? Quite an accusation. Or could it be that we are not limiting God? Could it be that we believe He--and His Word--are more than sufficient? Could it be that we are trying--out of love for God, others, and His truth--to save people (Jas 5:19-20; Acts 20:28-32) from being deceived by adding some "knowledge from the tree of good and evil." Could it be that you have entered (or are about to enter) a broad, deceitful, deadly path that leads to destruction and that we are merely warning you about these dangers? Could it be that most deception comes from nebulous "voices" or "hearing from God" as opposed to objective, never changing, always true Scripture? Could it be that it is unwise and asking to be deceived if we seek and rely on feelings-based, experiential based "knowledge" that we have no way of verifying? (e.g. God told me_________... well did He not already tell you this in His Word... but now He told you outside of His Word so that you have to go back to His Word to verify it?) Josh, I hope you are "stretched" and sharpened and know the truth. But also I would ask that you openly tell people here your views of the emerging church and postmodernism.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 24, 2012

Thanks for your kind works Mark Baker, but while they were kind they were also off base. I'm neither postmodern nor emergent. That movement is reminding us of some important truths, but it isn't the answer. Jesus is the answer. The scriptures speak of Him, Jesus. We won't find God in a book, and this generation of American Christians may be dying in a book because they are searching them and nearly worshiping them instead of looking to the Spirit of God. I don't even know how to talk to you Mark Baker about the things you said about Genesis because you so twist the scripture to try and imply that Adam and Eve were ignoring a "book". I know your intentions are good, but I think you are deceived. If you and I both want to help and come to truth... let's talk about this honestly. What happened in Genesis wasn't Adam and Eve ignoring the Bible, it was them ignoring God. Today, there is a danger of ignoring God, because many are nearly worshiping a book. Wouldn't it be wiser to love the book and listen to and obey the Spirit of God that indwells the believer. You also implied that there is danger in listening to feelings and non-objective voices or something to that effect, but aren't you essential denying the power of God? Aren't you saying that God can't be trusted to teach truth and speak truth to His followers? I know about Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc who claim extra revelation, but isn't it those who hold closely to just the book who have been carrying out the worst killing evils? Shoot America has been pretty guilty of claiming "just wars" when truth is we've broken our own laws to go to war.... Has congress declared war. But we are killing today. You are accusing me of new revelation but this thread mentions theology that didn't come around until the 16th or 17th century. The older theories of the atonement never had God as the author of Jesus death. As for The Message, I don't study from The Message but it is very well translated, I'd put Eugene Peterson's understanding of the original language up against anyone alive today. I usually study with the NASV, and I do my best to research the original languages. Show me once where Jesus said, I'm sending the Holy Spirit but I really want you to ignore Him and follow closely a book.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Apr 25, 2012

I've been keeping track of this conversation the last couple of days, although I haven't commented yet because it has appeared pretty balanced and I haven't felt that I've had anything significant to contribute that hasn't already been brought up. But I would like to say to Mark Baker that even though my views on this issue are probably closer to yours than to Josh McDowell's, I think you've been unfair to him. Why are you so obsessed with trying to get him inside some pre-determined category you have of "emergent-church/postmodernism/whatever"? Why not simply listen to what he's actually saying and engage with his actual arguments? And if that's too difficult for you, then why not just let him comment and then leave it at that? By prejudging him based on some category you think he fits in, you've read more into his comments than is actually there. John E Miller did the same thing to me last year, and I would hate for Josh to go through what I've had to go through. This board can be quite unforgiving and downright mean to those of us who dare to express a point of view that is "different" from what most people believe. It shouldn't be that way. I appeal to all of us to stop putting each other in our own little "boxes" and to start listening to each other and showing love and grace to each other. That certainly seems like something a group of Christian pastors and leaders should be able to do!

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 25, 2012

Fernando Villegas... thanks for the kind words. I posted here not to start a fight or discussion, but simply to express a thought or concern. Sometimes we are afraid of anything we can't label so I understand the temptation to label and dismiss. Thanks again

John E Miller

commented on Apr 26, 2012

Satan's initial attack was, "Has God said..."? God has spoken to us in the Person of His Son. The full counsel of God has been revealed to us and the Holy Spirit of God has recorded it by the writings of chosen servants of God whom He has inspired to write it. The Holy Spirit of God and the word of God that He inspired will never differ. To suggest otherwise is blasphemous. There is no revealed truth of God outside of scripture available to man. The Holy Spirit takes that truth and opens up to us the meaning of God's word, but He does not reveal anything in addition to what He has already inspired in it. False teachers have always sought to do this down through the ages and in doing so have condemned themselves. To say that Adam and Eve were not ignoring the Bible is just foolish obfuscation. Not a word of the Bible had been written. The only way a man or woman can ignore God today is to disbelieve the word of God or ignore teaching that is based exclusively upon it. Any other teaching or instruction is not God speaking. The Holy Spirit of God cannot be the author or power behind any teaching or ministry that is not absolutely founded on the word of God. To suggest otherwise is to accuse Him of failing in the service that was entrusted to Him and commenced at Pentecost. His service is to guide us into all the truth (John 16:13). He cannot speak of Himself or on His own initiative (John 16:13). His service is to glorify Christ (John 16:14). That service also glorifies the Father (John 16:15). All sects and cults that claim new revealed truth or doctrine not already included in the written, inerrant word of God have succumbed to that evil suggestion, "Has God said..."? The Message is not the word of God.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 26, 2012

A good word, John.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 26, 2012

pardon the pun...

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 26, 2012

John E Miller - You are blatantly ignoring truth that I'm quite sure you've been exposed to. I grieve for you. Jesus is the Word of God, when you keep using that phrase to refer to the library of books that were compiled in the 4th century I hurt for you. But let's pretend that you are exactly right and the Holy Spirit's only role is to interpret the scriptures. What was His role from Pentecost until 397ish AD? Was His role then simply to assist in the finding of scriptures? or was His role to assist the scribes? Was His role then to protect the original manuscripts? The Bible is a beautiful collection of wonderful reliable historical documents, and God has protected it quite well. It is amazing the old copies that have been preserved and I do believe that God protected those copies, but He didn't protect them for men to worship. Jesus is the Word of God, the Bible is not the Truth, the Bible is truth about the Truth, but Jesus is the Truth. If the Holy Spirit's only job on earth today is to translate and interpret the Bible... He's doing a poor job because many Bible believing people disagree about what it means and says. Truth is, that's not His role at all. The Spirit of God will guide you daily, speak to you directly, and change your heart to be molded into a heart that is much like the heart of Jesus Himself. Don't be afraid anymore, trust Jesus to guide and speak to you. He will. Once you start listening to His voice and His Spirit you'll realize that the Bible is still there and still inspired and accurate, and those words do agree with the direction of love that He is leading you in, but it won't read the way it did when you were reading it as a law book. The Bible isn't a law book, it is a story. A collection of journals more than law books... You and I get read about the stories of past believers through a collection of writings that are inspired by God. What does inspiration really, exactly mean... we don't know, that original word isn't used anywhere in scripture except the one spot in 2 Timothy 3:16... so how we get to Infallible, Inerrant, and Verbally Inspired is putting a bit more to the text than is actually there.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 26, 2012

Using words like blasphemous, and comparisons to cults, sects, etc is probably not directed by God but instead directed by unresolved anger and frustration. You are probably frustrated with trying to protect a book that doesn't need to be protect, and angry (maybe subconsciously) because there are passages that are so hard to reconcile with other passages. You like other pastors try to avoid them, or preach them quickly or whatever else you can do when you can't understand them. When you realize that they are human written, but God inspired you'll relax when they don't easily reconcile in every line. I'm not mad, and you've not hurt my feelings with the angry words, but someday you will get questions like mine from someone who is really young and trying to learn to hear from God. If you use angry language with that genuine young person, you may very well push him toward atheism instead of pushing him toward the Savior. I'm not trying to scare you, God's love is stronger than your anger, but you'll enjoy walking that young man honestly through and into truth if you don't run him off with anger or squelch his questions and turn him into another protector of the book, but to walk him honestly through and into truth you'll have to consider it yourself first. Remember as you consider my words, that the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. I went KJV for you there, but the Message gets it pretty close to. I'm thankful for your comments John E Miller! They are helping me as I try to point people toward Jesus and away from the religion of book worship that seems prominent here in our country. Please forgive me if I sound condescending, arrogant, or like a smartypants... I promise, that is not at all my goal. It is just really unusual for someone to totally disagree with another and still care for and respect the person to whom they disagree. If sounds a bit arrogant, and over confident, please know that is certainly not my heart. If there were any advice that may help me not sound like that, yet still be respectful and loving I'd love any advice anyone would like to offer. Some here have done a beautiful job, rebuking in love, disagreeing without being hateful or ugly. I keep thinking I shouldn't have said anything here at all, but the kindness from many has caused me to really enjoy this chat. Thanks again. This thread, I think is my first time posting on this site... I somehow got on the email list and this article caught my attention. I don't plan to drop bombs like I seem to have on other articles... this one just got my attention.

Hope Yoloye

commented on Apr 26, 2012

I don't see any issue to argue about in this article. Sometimes, we allow self to get in the way of truth even when we are saying the same things in different ways! I actually have been really blessed by the content of the article, and I pray that the Lord God bless the writer in Jesus' name. Amen.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 26, 2012

John E Miller : I enjoy and concur with what you say and your aproach to the Bible which is the word of God . Very few deny that Christ Jesus is the Word made flesh and we can thank God for both :) . We can also thank God for the Holy Spirit who brought both into the world and helps us understand His word . I should give scripture references , but I think you and others on this forum are capable as the Psalmist says , Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and light to my path. It is my meditation all the day . ?.

John E Miller

commented on Apr 27, 2012

The essence of Josh McDowell's argument is that our belief in what we perceive to be some personal spiritual experience must take precedence over the written word of God. He also relegates the holy scriptures to the level of of something akin to man's imagination. Such reasoning is apostate in its character. The personal charges against me are of no importance whatsoever and I take no offence.

John E Miller

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Michael Monaghan, thank you for your reference to Psalm 109. The whole Psalm is a reminder of the primacy of God's word and its vital importance to us in our life here. It is noteworthy that it focusses in its early verses on the urgent need of the young to take note of this truth. Josh McDowell's error is the classic wrong doctrinal path taken by the cults that have veered away from the purity of Christian teaching in the Bible. Examples are Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, S.D.A's and Exclusive Brethren who followed James Taylor Jr. in the late sixties and early seventies. I know, because I have been there! The latest aberration of this nature is Rick Warren's Chrislam.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

I have tried many times for several days to comment...with no success. Let's hope I can overcome my tech deficiencies... (why can't I cut and paste?) Anyway, I think this is a "chicken and egg" dilemma, which comes first: embracing mysticism or a declining view of God's Word? Here are just a few of the schemes of Satan (2 Cor 2:11) and patterns of false teachers that reveal how we are deceived: If deceivers (and the deceived) are to succeed they MUST ALWAYS doubt and diminish (and ultimately destroy) God's Word (they often move us from objective truth to subjective "fine-sounding arguments"; Col 2:4). Of course they will not come right out (at least at first) and overtly bash God's Word ("the Serpent was more subtle..."). Subtle undermining, combined with an allure of extra-special knowledge and standing (e.g. the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; "your eyes will be opened") are the key. Of course, especially with mysticism, the proponent or false teacher denies or minimizes consequences ("you will not surely die"). They then go on to blame someone else (e.g. God, "Christians," conservatives, "fundies," and those who warn about this false teaching and deadly path; "is that you, you troubler of Israel?") as wanting to keep you from this extra-special knowledge that you cannot get in God's Word, or keep you from utopian experience, or keep you from a deeper knowledge of God. I hope we can all see these patterns today, and in history, and IN THE CHURCH.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

RA Torrey wrote concerning the insulting "you're worshiping the Bible" ... The Bible is immeasurably superior to all other books in its marvelous power, a power that is unmistakably divine. Those theological neophytes who seek to disparage and discredit the Bible love to speak of us who seek to give the Bible the place which is its just due as ?bibliolaters?; that is, worshippers of the Bible. No, we are not bibliolaters; we do not worship the Bible. But we do admit that the facts in the case force us to acknowledge, if we are to be fair and really scientific, that the Bible has a certain quality of omnipotence derived from its Author. The power of deity surges through the words of deity, the words of the only true God.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

The attack of "you're worshiping the Bible" is an old one. Even the slander of "you're a 'bibliolater'' is centuries old. Spurgeon wrote: Let me call your attention to the fact that when Jesus had risen from the dead, He was just as tender of Scripture as He was before His decease. He told them that ?all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me. Then He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and this it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead? (Luke 24:44-46, KJV)...Find Jesus where you may, He is the antagonist of those who would lessen the authority of Holy Scripture. ?It is written? is His weapon against Satan, His argument against wicked men. The learned of this hour scoff at the Book and accuse of Bibliolatry those of us who reverence the Divine Word; but in this they derive no assistance from the teaching or example of Jesus...Not a word derogatory of Scripture ever fell from the lips of Jesus Christ; but evermore He manifested the most reverent regard for every jot and tittle of the inspired Volume. Since our Savior, not only before His death, but after it, took care to commend the Scriptures to us, let us avoid with all our hearts all teaching in which Holy Scripture is put into the background...

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Josh, I am glad we are talking (well, okay, we?re writing) but we seem to be on different wavelengths. I am trying to grasp where, exactly, you are coming from, but I still do not get it.... You said: ... ?What happened in Genesis wasn't Adam and Eve ignoring the Bible, it was them ignoring God.? ... I?m guessing your wrote this to my statement: ?Notice how this mirrors "Did God really say..." Notice how many here are casting doubt on God's Word (subtly, of course). Notice how Satan, after he doubted and diminished God's Word? ... Are God and God?s Word not essentially the same? Does one conflict with the other? Does God?s Word not represent God, His Will, and, well, His Word? Is Jesus (i.e. God) not THE Word? Is His name not the ? THE WORD OF GOD?? (Rev 19:13) ... Adam and Eve did not ?ignore? God, or God?s Word. That makes them seem innocent or misguided. They doubted Him and His Word (because someone undermined and doubted God?s Word/character), they doubted and rejected the sufficiency of God and His Word, the REBELLED against God and His Word. He said (i.e. His Words): ?you must not eat of the tree... or you will surely did.? These were His Words, His will, His command; these Words clearly represented God Himself. When they rebelled against His Word they rebelled against God. David did the same thing in 2 Samuel 11 and 12. In verse 9 of chapter 12 Nathan says, ?Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes?? All this to say, Josh, I don't get your point(s). It seems you are, somewhat ambiguously in your statements, trying to lessen the power, sufficiency, truth, etc of Scripture. And yet no matter what anyone says here to prove you wrong, or prove the sufficiency and inspiration of Scripture, or prove the danger of mysticism ... none of this seems to make a dent in what you have bought into. I more than appreciate wanting a closer walk with God through the Holy Spirit. No one is arguing that. No one is arguing that God cannot speak to us directly. Yet it seems you are not acknowledging all the errors, danger, and destruction that comes from mysticism and reliance upon subjective, unverifiable "God told me..." ideology.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Josh, many problems arise with a ?world view? or ?view of the Bible? that you describe. The logical conclusion and the repeated historical and deadly pattern is that a person with this view now gets to decide what parts of the Bible are true and which parts, well, don?t fit with what ?the spirit? is saying. It seems in your view (or views similar) that the Bible is not THE authority and Standard. If, however, we say, ?Well, that part was not exactly ?inspired? or authoritative...that was just Paul going off on his own...? now anything goes, literally. If one part of Scripture is questionable or discounted or rejected then ALL of it is now dubious. WE get to judge, for ourselves, what is ?biblical? or ?unbiblical.? Does ?everybody did as they saw fit? ring a bell? An OT professor (from a ?conservative? seminary)--who allowed his relationship with the spirit interpret the Bible--told our class at a ?conservative? school that ?I don?t believe that part of the Bible... MY God would not do those things... My God is a God of love, not a God of wrath.? Perhaps many of us have had many examples of this in our lives, our training, and our ministry. Now, as a result of God?s Word successfully doubted, diminished, and undermined in the hearts of many Believers and in most seminaries, we are back to the day of Judges where we ?get to? do what we see as best. ?We will not put God in a box.? (because, ?God is too big for one book.?) So, without this outside objective Standard that is needed to discern and verify any teachings or ?voices, we are now free to believe in whatever we want? Why? Because we are now the arbiters of what is true. We can say it is the ?Holy Spirit? that told us to ______, or that ?all the other churches are wrong,? or .... But when it comes right down to it, we are--without having and using THE objective Standard--relying on our sinful and deceitful hearts (or those of other deceitful hearts) AND our own authority. This is nothing new and has always led to death and destruction: ?A horrible and shocking thing?has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way." (Jer 5:30-31) Notice that the people "love it this way."

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Josh said, ?You also implied that there is danger in listening to feelings and non-objective voices or something to that effect, but aren't you essential denying the power of God? Aren't you saying that God can't be trusted to teach truth and speak truth to His followers?? ... Well, I think I more than implied a danger in relying on feelings, subjectivity, and nebulousness when it comes to truth, God, doctrine on how to live and not live, the gospel, how to be forgiven, etc. Who can disagree with that? Do we ask our pilots, doctors, pharmacists, to ?just follow your feelings or whatever voices you hear?? I hope you are not saying that? Please explain how this common-sense, biblical approach to life, truth, and God is denying the power of God? Clearly, Josh, I am saying AND HAVE SAID--and God/God?s Word has said--that WE cannot be trusted with subjective, feelings-based ?voices? presumed to be from God. What would you estimate the number of people throughout history that have been duped, misled, or destroyed by following what they thought was from God? A hundred, a million, billions? Even if it were just one then this would prove my point, but clearly we talking hundreds of millions, if not billions of deceived people through errant ?voices? or feelings.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Josh said, ?Jesus is the Word of God, the Bible is not the Truth, the Bible is truth about the Truth, but Jesus is the Truth.? Really? ?The Bible is not the Truth??!?!?!? Jesus Himself states, ?Sanctify them by the truth, YOUR WORD IS TRUTH.? What part of the Bible, Josh, is not ?truth?? Please point to one thing, just one thing, in the Bible--God?s Word--that is not true or ?truth.?

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Josh said, ?Don't be afraid anymore, trust Jesus to guide and speak to you. He will.? But what if--okay, not ?if? but WHEN--some FALSE Jesus or other voice or guide (2 Cor 11:13-15) comes to speak to us, guide us, etc as has happened continuously (billions and billions of times) through out all history? What about all those who have been led astray, deceived, and destroyed by false ?Christs?? What about Jesus? warnings that their WILL BE many deceivers in the church and many will appear as Christ? What you say might sound great (Col 2:4), and might work IF we our hearts were different, IF we did not live in a sinful and fallen world, IF this world was not ruled by the deceiver, IF there were not untold numbers of deceivers in the church, IF there were not untold numbers of deceiving spirits that appear as angels of light, IF God did not warn us about all these deceptive schemes that WILL HAPPEN... I cannot see anywhere here that you specifically addressed my concerns with mysticism, mystical communication, subjective and feelings-based (proposed) ?truth?... Please lessen my concerns for profound and probable deception in this arena. Far more people are deceived and destroyed in subjective and experiential ?communication? and notions than through objective and absolute truth.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Josh said, ?Show me once where Jesus said, I'm sending the Holy Spirit but I really want you to ignore Him and follow closely a book.? Really, Josh? Really?

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Josh said, ?I know about Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc who claim extra revelation, but isn't it those who hold closely to just the book who have been carrying out the worst killing evils? Shoot America has been pretty guilty of claiming "just wars" when truth is we've broken our own laws to go to war.... Has congress declared war. But we are killing today.? That is a horrific, overgeneralized, egregiously false accusation. Who, Josh, specifically are you accusing here? You just made a false judgement that... the closer one holds to the Bible the ?worst killing evils? will come from them. Really? I had a whole lot more respect for you until this. This is wrong on so many different levels, but it does reveal quite a bit of where you are coming from. Are you talking about the Catholic Church? (who are, and have been, in many ways at war with the Word and have claimed supremacy over the Word.) Are you talking about communists who have killed somewhere between 100 and 200 million in the last 100 years? Are you talking about those evil pilgrims? Who? Did you just equate the government of America with those who hold close to the Bible? And, are you saying there is no such thing as a ?just war?? [No, I?m not talking specifically about America.] Then what do we say about God? Was my professor right? Should we cut out those parts of the Bible?

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Josh said, ?You are accusing me of new revelation but this thread mentions theology that didn't come around until the 16th or 17th century. The older theories of the atonement never had God as the author of Jesus death.? I don?t remember accusing YOU of new revelation. I don?t know how you get the ?new theory of atonement.? There any older ?theories? that attempt to usurp the truth and THE gospel, what is surprising about that? It is from Scripture we get the atonement. And, by the way, Paul says several times ?according to the Scriptures? in 1 Cor 15 when teaching the gospel. What I mean is that he is referring to the truth and authority of God?s Word. You falsely assume and teach that ?God as the author of Jesus death.? The point is that Jesus laid down His own life in place of ours. The concept and reality of sacrifice or one person dying for another is not new. The verses that teach this are not new. They are not ambiguous.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Josh, I am trying to respond to all that you wrote or ask. I would love to hear from you as well. You said, ?As for The Message, I don't study from The Message but it is very well translated, I'd put Eugene Peterson's understanding of the original language up against anyone alive today. I usually study with the NASV, and I do my best to research the original languages.? I?m glad you do not study from the message, but it is NOT a translation. I?m not sure why you would refer to it as such. Even Peterson admits that (as well as his fear about ?The Message?; research articles or interviews with him after it first came out.) Also, I don?t know how you are so confident of his ?understanding of the original languages...? (not to mention, he isn?t so confident in his own abilities). Just do a little research to find out how many flagrant errors and changes (which God Himself warned about) there are in ?The Message.? In researching another book (that relied on The Message for its errant message) I came across one blatant violation and attempt to reverse Scripture and the whole concept of faith. He ?ADDS? in John 3:15 that we need see in order to believe. Check all the other translations, the original text, and the context of all of Scripture to see if this is accurate. ?Faith comes by seeing...?? ?Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what see?? What do we do with ?So we live be faith and not by sight?? or ?Even though you do not see him you love him and even though you do not see him now you believe in him and are...? Or ?Fix your not on what is seen but on what is unseen...?? This is not quibbling over if drinking a beer is a sin. What ?faith? is and how we get it is the essential to life! Are you still backing ?The Message??

Dennis Cocks

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Very good answers Mark Baker. I would add Hebrews 4:12 "For the Word of God is QUICK (living) and powerful and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Our feelings and emotions are always predicated by the truth of God's Word. As far as "The Message" that is NOT the Word of God by ANY stretch of the imagination. Eugene Peterson will stand before God one day and answer for that perversion. God takes His Word VERY seriously. Deuteronomy 4:2. Reverlation 22:19.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Mark Baker and Dennis Cocks... Hebrews 4 isn't speaking of the bible, I love the bible but Hebrews 4:13 says... No creature is hidden from His sight. His there is Jesus, or God. Taking a verse out of context and not allowing scripture to interpret scripture isn't good exegesis, if you are going to call the Bible the equivalent of God at least be fair and respectful in its translation. I shouldn't respond to all you said Mark, I think it is too much to handle all at once. If you want to think and talk let's do it piece by piece but you seem pretty content to stick with your dogma regardless of truth. I'm open to truth, if you are whether you have to change or not let's continue otherwise I'll bow out of a chat that is likely to continue to be name calling etc.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 27, 2012

Mark Baker and Dennis Cocks... Hebrews 4 isn't speaking of the bible, I love the bible but Hebrews 4:13 says... No creature is hidden from His sight. His there is Jesus, or God. Taking a verse out of context and not allowing scripture to interpret scripture isn't good exegesis, if you are going to call the Bible the equivalent of God at least be fair and respectful in its translation. I shouldn't respond to all you said Mark, I think it is too much to handle all at once. If you want to think and talk let's do it piece by piece but you seem pretty content to stick with your dogma regardless of truth. I'm open to truth, if you are whether you have to change or not let's continue otherwise I'll bow out of a chat that is likely to continue to be name calling etc.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 28, 2012

If Josh Mcd' is 'open to the truth' maybe he could prove it by 'taking heed to God's word ' what is written , for by them 'your servant is warned and in keeping them their is great reward '. Josh if he would realise it , and we, have been priveleged to read the writings of Mark Baker and Dennis Cocks pointing us to the word of God and the word of Christ and the word inspired by the Holy Spirit . ie The Bible and the truth therein .To God be the glory . Thank Him for His printed word and for all those who sacrificially gave their lives to ensure it was published . 'For all things were written before for our learning , that we might have hope '...... Here are a few quotes found on the 'Truth to spirituality 'website . You are god in a physical body- you are creator'. 'There will emerge the one church, doctrines and dogma wont be necessary. Faith will be based on experience (s). The New Group: is a group without a bible or creed '. the church... those who discover the mystical christ in their hearts ' etc etc . These people may not be so much open to truth as open to disception ?.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 28, 2012

I know The Message isn't a translation, sorry for using the word translation Mark. However the 'translations' have problems too... I was studing 1 John 5 the other day and came upon verse 7 I think... Try 6-8 and compare the KJV and a few others... Most biblical schalors will agree that there's some problems there. Maybe an entire verse that was added! I think it is silly to fight about translations, because I recognize that they are humanly translated just like the humans who wrote them... true, yes... inspired, yes... perfect, of course not. When did the fit tree wither immediately or the next day - the gospels don't agree, but who cares? Jesus is alive that's what matters. When was Jesus crucified - the gospels don't agree on the day or date but who cares, He was crucified and He arose they agree in principle. When did the livestock die in the Egyptian plagues, multiple times according to the scriptures, but the story is still true in history. The Bible is a collection of very reliable journals kept by followers of Christ we can understand God better by reading them but we are missing the Groom by worshipping his love letters if we don't relax about the bible...

Dennis Cocks

commented on Apr 28, 2012

Josh, you talk about the Bible contradicting itself, yet you are the one who contradicts himself. I love the Bible even though it contradicts itself and can't be trusted, is basically what you are saying. You say the Bible is true and inspired, then say it isn't perfect. If you really believe this then how can you trust John 3:16, Romans 10:9, John 3:3, and all the other verse that tell us how we can be saved and have eternal life? How can you be sure that when you die you will go to heaven if you can't really trust the Word of God? The Bible does not contradict itself. Your example of the fig tree isn't a contradiction at all. Mark says it was the next morning, Matthew says presently the fig tree withered. Presently can simply mean soon. To see the tree withered away by the next day would be amazing and show that the tree withered very quickly, but it doesn't say it happened right before their eyes. So I would assume that you don't believe Psalm 12:6-7 "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt PRESERVE them from the generation FOR EVER." As far as Hebrews 4:12 not talking about the Word, you are wrong. You say that the word "word" is talking about Jesus and not the Bible. You say Scripture interprets Scripture and I agree. When the word "word" is talking about Jesus it is capitalized. John 1:1-14. In Romans 10:17 we read, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Do you believe it is the Bible that brings saving faith or do you believe that we have to hear the actual voice of Jesus to be saved? Sorry Josh, but the Word of God IS alive no matter what you say.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 28, 2012

I never said (well if I used that terminology please ignore it) I certainly didn't mean to say it contradicts itself. Paul on the other had sometimes seems to contradict Peter and James seems to contradict Paul but that isn't my point. I love all three of them and their writings but I also recognize that they are writing their understanding of God, the same God that I worship, their writings or their words bare witness with my thoughts and my understanding of the same God who reveals Himself in the Spirit today to me and revealed Himself in the Son. I'm not trying to be rude or mean but surely we're not going to use capital letters as a way to try and prove a point are we? I'm pretty sure that manuscripts we have discovered didn't contain bicameral ScRIPtS... did they?

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 28, 2012

I think this conversation will have more value if we'll consider the possibility that we operate under many assumptions and years of indoctrination. I believed like most of you before I began seeking to truly know Jesus. Now my relationship with Him is alive, real, and active, very different from defending a bunch of traditions and old beliefs that needed to be defended. God can defend truth.. His words are true... But we don't have to make the Bible more than what it is.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Apr 28, 2012

Josh, you wrote "I certainly didn't mean to say it contradicts itself. Paul on the other had sometimes seems to contradict Peter and James seems to contradict Paul but that isn't my point. I love all three of them and their writings but I also recognize that they are writing their understanding of God..." That is your problem. The Bible is not the writings of Paul, Peter, James, David, Moses, or any human being. The Author of the Bible is God. It is His Word, not man's. 2 Timothy 3:16 ALL Scripture is is given by inspiration of GOD..." Inspiration literally means God-breathed. In 2 Peter 1:21 we see that the means of this breath which inspired the Word is the Holy Spirit Himself. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Here Scripture clearly says that human initiative DID NOT play a part in the inspiration of the Scriptures as far as original ideas and original words are concerned. They were but the agents or channels; they were not the creator of the Word of God, but were the instruments. Holy men of God "spake" - not thought - "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. We see a great example of this in Acts 1:16. Peter (under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost) says "Men and breathren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the MOUTH of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus." This is saying that the mouth of David was used as the instrument of the Holy Spirit to declare the truth of God. ALL Scripture is God breathed, God-inspired, God-empowered, and God-activated. Literally it is "God in-breathed. Just as God breathed the breath of life into Adam's body, He breathed His own divine life into the very words of Scripture - not just some Scripture but ALL Scripture. Every word - every jot and tittle and capital (Matt. 5:18) - is inspired. That is what is meant by the plenary, verbal inspiration of Scripture. It is ALL verbally inspired; it is ALL divinely inspired. You then said, "His words are true... But we don't have to make the Bible more than what it is." I am not trying to make the Bible more than it is, it is the VERY Word of God. You are trying to make the Bible LESS than it is.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 28, 2012

Michael and Dennis, I like and appreciate what you wrote. I liked what you pointed out, Michael, about those being persecuted because of the Word--they had BIBLES, and were printing and distributing BIBLES. "The Church" was even burning them at the stake. Today our freedom of using the Bible is quickly fading. Why? Why this animosity toward "a book" (as Josh would say)? I tried to look up the 'truth to spirituality' but could not find it. Yet I agree that your quotes are exactly where mysticism leads. A few months ago I wrote on this very thing--how practicing counterfeit meditation leads to panentheism, pantheism, believing we are all "god" or "gods," all is god and god is all, and (false) "unity" among religions, etc. These delusions cannot take place (for Christians) until the Word, the objective eternal Standard, is minimized and removed. The truths and principles in the Word will not allow the unity of all religions. Yet the Word tells us that this universal "unity" will happen in the end. I know I sound conspiratorial to some, but the things that will unify all beliefs are good works ("deeds, not creeds;" social justice), mysticism (all belief systems have mystics, including atheists), and feel-good, feeling and experiential based "beliefs" that unify us all. Where do these ideas come from? From our feelings and some mystical spirit. [NOTE: I am in NO WAY saying that this is what Josh believes or wants to happen (or any other self proclaiming Believer), but this IS where lessening God's Word and reliance upon subjectivity leads.] If we acknowledged 2 Timothy 3:1-4:5 and if we faithfully fulfilled 2 Timothy 3:15-4:5 then perhaps we could prevent or delay the inevitable...

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 28, 2012

Josh, I don't know you, but I do love you AND, because of this, I am trying (feebly, perhaps) to "speak the truth in love" to you. You mentioned "name calling." I assume you are referring to me (if not, I will disregard). If so, then how, when, or where? ... Do I think you are deceived? Yes, just as you said I was "deceived." Are you teaching falsehood? Well, if you are teaching what you espouse here, then yes, but I realize that I would fall into the same category in your mind as teaching falsehood. Fair enough. Is that name calling? You said I am twisting the Scriptures, is that name calling? I don't know if it is, and I don't care. I'll let my writings speak for themselves and I let anyone judge me based on that. If I am in error then I truly want correction because I do not want to be in error. You insinuated that I merely want to cling to "dogma" rather than want the truth. Really? Did I write all that I did merely in the pursuit of dogma and in rejecting truth? I wrote many, many things that addressed your many points. If you do not want to address them I understand. I think this forum is actually a good one (except for my maddening experience posting things). I like other people reading it and commenting and, as I have said before, iron sharpening iron. If you are truly open to the truth then I believe I have done my best to present the truth ("according to the Scriptures"), yet you have not really addressed them, especially--as I said before--the obvious inherent dangers and essentially assured deception that comes through mysticism and subjectivity. Liberalism claims to be the ideology open to the truth. I find, however, few liberals truly open to the truth in practice (?always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth?). If they, or anyone else, were truly open to and seeking truth then they would find it, would they not? Yet whenever something clashes with their utopian view of things they tend to shut down reasoning and attack or discount those who bring in the truth. I am not trying to categories you as a liberal (yet you have espoused liberal ideas and tendencies), I?ll let you categorize yourself. The point is that you have accused me of not seeking or wanting the truth, but, ironically, I believe that assessment is much more of a description of what you are doing.... Hebrews 4:12 talks about the Word, and then in 4:13 it talks about God. That is the context. What is the problem? "For the Word of God is..." you make it sound like Dennis was some out of control heretic. He merely quoted 4:12 and yet you made him out to be a deceiver because he did not refer to the next verse? It changes nothing about the verse he quoted. So, again, you accuse others of what you seem to be doing. I don't get it. Please explain.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 28, 2012

Josh, I?m glad you wrote some more. Josh said, ?I think this conversation will have more value if we'll consider the possibility that we operate under many assumptions and years of indoctrination. I believed like most of you before I began seeking to truly know Jesus. Now my relationship with Him is alive, real, and active, very different from defending a bunch of traditions and old beliefs that needed to be defended.? Josh, I sincerely hope you re-read this to see how it sounds. Perhaps you did not mean it to say this in the way it comes across. You come across as insinuating I/others have been ?indoctrinated? and that you are the one, unlike us, who has been enlightened (?I believed like most of you before I began seeking to truly know Jesus.?) Do you not realize how this sounds? How elitist it is? You are basically saying, ?I was once one of you poor, indoctrinated deceived, but, unlike you, I began seeking the truth and now I, unlike you, truly know Jesus.? ?Now my relationship with God is alive (unlike yours), real (unlike yours) ... and you are just wasting everyone?s time by defending traditions and old, out of date beliefs... I am way past all that...? I am in no way stretching how your words sound. And yet somehow I think that I will be accused of wrong doing here. I don?t know what is more troubling, if you meant to say what you said, or if you did not and do not realize how this sounds. You capped it all of with, ?But we don?t have to make the Bible more than what it is.? I don?t think it is possible to make ?God?s word of life? and ?God?s word of truth? more than it is. Jesus is the Word. The Bible is His Word. Jesus? name is ?The Word of God.? ?for you have exalted above all things?your name and your word.? ?In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise? in God I trust? ... ?as you hold out the word of life? Did Jesus think too highly of His Word? Why is His name ?the Word of God?? What was the superlative challenge for Timothy and for us? ?In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word?!!! Perhaps the greater concern here is not your view of Scripture, it is that your supreme Standard is, presumably, the Holy Spirit, but what this ends up being in reality and practice is what we think is the Holy Spirit. This, as I have discussed, is the main problem with mystical approach to God and truth (that, and it breeds elitism ... ?I talk directly to God and He does with me, I don?t have to get caught up in what a ?book? says. What? You?re still stuck way back there defending a book??). [Speaking for myself, I use caps because I know of no other way to emphasize something in this forum. Sorry for how it comes across.]

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 28, 2012

Boy Mark I did re-read my last post and you are exactly right... I hate that I sounded like that. I worked on remodeling a house all day and stopped to respond quickly... Shoot it is 1:38am and I just laid down for bed... I've been at it since 9 this morning. I stated this all wrong, horribly wrong. It was the brevity that makes it sound so bad, but telling my whole story would take so much time... Short story is I served a large church staff, where i was part of mistreating people, using the Bible as a controlling tool, we twisted and manipulated scripture to make it agree with our plans for the moment. I think we had good intentions but when people asked real questions that may challenge the status quo they were pushed away. I started to discover that the church's I could associate with we're the same, but I knew Jesus was real... I started asking questions and researching the doctrines I had been fed since my childhood... I discovered lie after lie but the people who taught me the lies, didn't know they were lying they like me had been lied to all their lives. Funny thing is.. People will defend a lie if they've held to it for long enough that they are committed to it... Shoot people will fight and argue to defend their known lie sometimes. I'm continuing this conversation because feel certain there are people reading who are relieved to hear someone voicing the things they've struggled with for a while. I started becoming more and more honest and more and more willing to expose the lies when I took some personal hits. When I asked too many questions and started being totally honest, I was labeled as a threat and fired. That was nearly a decade ago so I'm not bitter or upset in the slightest...

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 28, 2012

Over the days following my leaving the traditional church God started speaking to me more clearly and direct than ever. The examples are too strange to tell, no audible voices, no angels, no out of body stuff, just clear knowledge of little things before they would happen that could only be explained by communication with someone with information beyond human possibilities. You may believe i'm hearing from demons but I know that I'm more in love with Jesus Christ than I've ever been, I know that He is the only way to the Father and I know that everything I'm writing about here is varifable by scripture. See I love the Bible, but I trying to help u guys see that when you read the Word of God it is talking about Jesus. Sometimes the word "word" is speaking of things God said or man wrote down but the Bible never refers to itself... Because the collection (66 book library) didn't exist. Jesus told his disciples about the coming of the Holy Spirit but He never told them about in 40 days (40 right? It's late) but he didn't mention 390 years later and that something would come that would make the Holy Spirit a mere Bible interpreter. Think, believe. He wants to talk to you a real relationship and you are all agruing that talking to God can't be trusted.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 28, 2012

Mark please do me one favor, look up mysticism in a dictionary find a generic definition and post it here. About a year ago I was studying scripture and the writings of the early church fathers about some scriptures. I was preparing for a normal Sunday morning talk when I said to God in prayer "God if I teach this I'll get accused of being a mystic." then I asked God, "What should I do about that?" now I hate to put words in God's mouth so I'm not to say He answered but I will say that in my spirit I heard "Look up the definition of mysticism and read it to them." I read some to the effect of: believing in and practicing communication with God. I'm sleepy and away from the office so I can't look at my journals and find my notes so I don't remember exactly where I read the definition or exactly what it said but I know... As soon as I read it I knew - If that is mysticism... I want it. Thank you Jesus.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 28, 2012

Good night... I pray you all hear from God tomorrow. Thanks Mark for your words and I'm so sorry for sounding like such a jerk earlier. You were right and I ask your forgiveness... That is certainly not my heart. I hope I make clear my love for people here. Daily amazed at God's love for us, Josh

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 28, 2012

Have a good 1st day of the week . We should remember the purpose of this thread was the exhortation given by Ben Mandrell ' For we preach not ourselves , but Jesus Christ as Lord ....' Josh appears to have a lot to say though I'd rather Josh referred to the scriptures to verify what he has to say . 1 Tim 3:16/17 so we, like the Bereans could search the scriptures to see if those things are so ' though personally , I think Josh has said enough about Josh . :O

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 29, 2012

Good night... I pray you all hear from God tomorrow. Thanks Mark for your words and I'm so sorry for sounding like such a jerk earlier. You were right and I ask your forgiveness... That is certainly not my heart. I hope I make clear my love for people here. Daily amazed at God's love for us, Josh

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 29, 2012

Let's talk about the 1 Timothy 3:16 verse for a bit. What did all mean when Paul wrote it? Was there just 66 books, letters being circulated then? What did "all" mean then? What about "scripture" what does that mean? It could translate writing. What about "inspiration" what does that word mean? How many times did Paul use it? Try once! Well let's compare that word's context to times other bible authors used it, oops they never used it. This word we've translated as inspired doesn't exist anywhere else. But we're arguing about what it means as if we KNOW. All writings are God breathed... No one here would believe that. Okay let's try context, that's important. Paul is speaking to Timothy about the sacred writings that he has learned from his youth... I believe Paul is saying those writings have God's breath or Spirit's influence. Someone earlier said that the human authors had no influence on the Scriptures, the others here surely don't believe that. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John told very unique not overall contradictory but very unique stories. To say they weren't at all involved is ludicrous and ultimately a very bad idea. There are many today who have rejected God because of modern day Christian's bible worship. Worship Jesus today!

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 29, 2012

Of course Josh is not alone in 'hearing voices' which say they are Jesus or some other .Take the being called 'the sacred heart of Jesus ' who prescribes certain obligations and gives certain guarantees if they are faithfully followed as that nun relayed . Of course , though they may have promised the same end as the biblical gospel , they were in effect a false gospel and 'another gospel'. Those who had not the written word , that more sure word of prophecy , could not compare . Then you have the 'Marian' messages , that if you say so many rosaries , wear a scapular and carry out certain devotions and attend masses etc , 'she' would give guarantees of after you die security . But of course , neither of these two or the many other mystical messages , uphold or obey the scriptures but purport to supply an alternative . :) .

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 29, 2012

Of course Josh is not alone in 'hearing voices' which say they are Jesus or some other .Take the being called 'the sacred heart of Jesus ' who prescribes certain obligations and gives certain guarantees if they are faithfully followed as that nun relayed . Of course , though they may have promised the same end as the biblical gospel , they were in effect a false gospel and 'another gospel'. Those who had not the written word , that more sure word of prophecy , could not compare . Then you have the 'Marian' messages , that if you say so many rosaries , wear a scapular and carry out certain devotions and attend masses etc , 'she' would give guarantees of after you die security . But of course , neither of these two or the many other mystical messages , uphold or obey the scriptures but purport to supply an alternative . :) and are in competition to the pure word of God !. Here is a sample from the 'vision' at Fatima ' Jesus wishes to (?) to establish devotion to My Immaculate Heart .. I promise salvation to whoever will embrace it '.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 29, 2012

Now those who love to read the scriptures know that that Fatima phantom cannot save . The scriptures point us to Christ Jesus the Son of God and our only Saviour saying , 'neither is there salvation in any other: for there ids no other name under heaven given unto men whereby we must be saved ' Acts 4 And also , ' to him give all the prophets witness that through his name whosoevr believes in him ,shall receive remission of sins . For by grace are you saved through faith and not of yourselves , it is a gift of God not of works ..... Jesus also said , he is the way ,the truth and the life and that no man comes unto the Father except by him. Thank God we have the Bible as God did not speak through all and sundry , But holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit . God gave the word and great was the number who published it . :) Even God WROTE the commandments ?????

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 29, 2012

Ok Michael Jesus came to earth and basically our ability to communicate with God got worse. Before Jesus came God spoke to people like David, Moses, Abraham, the prophets, etc. after He came God spoke to Paul through mysticism, and Luke through research, and even John through visions... He spoke to them so clearly that they wrote letters or book with perfect words from God. Later the Holy Spirit came and 360 or so years later we compiled the Bible so according to you either mysticism was cool then but not now or never. If never ... For a season 33ad - 397ad many or most had nearly no way to communicate with God.... So today we have the Spirit but He only interprets one small liabrary... Essentially God spoke better in every point in history except today. Sad

Dennis Cocks

commented on Apr 29, 2012

Josh you are hopless. You contradict yourself so often I can't understand anything you are trying to say. You really believe most pastors here agree with what you believe? God directed EVERY word, jot and tittle. And just because the word inspiration is only used once in Scripture, it can be ignored? I for one am done with answering you. You "love the Bible" but you discredit it. And of course you do not answer ANY questions I or others ask you with the Word of God. Why would you when you don't even believe it. All you do is say that I am right and others are wrong, again because YOU say so, not because the Bible says so.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 29, 2012

Josh, I am relieved to hear that you re-read your writings. I will say that I have written many points and questions that you have not yet address. So, before I decided to address any more of your points I will await your responses.

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 29, 2012

Josh, what your wrote about your past and why you changed helps us make sense of where you are today. It is not uncommon for people to become disillusioned (right or wrong) and then swing the other way. Yes, there are many who abuse the Word for their gain ("Word of Faith;" cults; controlling churches; controlling individuals in leadership; legalistic people; etc). What a tremendous tragedy. I am so sorry you went through what you did. I hate this...HATE this type of thing. Those who are abused tend to swing to the other end of the spectrum. That accounts for many who fall for the emergent church stuff. My wife and I know many people who were in under a controlling cult-like situation years ago. Almost all--after it fell apart--have bounced around from one belief to another. Only a handful (of about 80 to 100) are Believers today. Some are atheists, most, however, are some variation of New Agers. They turned to mysticism and meditation (not on Scripture) and, years later, they are essentially New Agers. This blurring of the lines is where mysticism leads. You may not be there now, and neither where they and millions of others who start this way, but practicing eastern meditation techniques (that have been "christianized" with a veneer of biblical jargon...like "Lectio Divina," "Contemplative Prayer," etc) will most likely (over time) lead anyone (including you) away from the truth and toward "oneness" with falsehood and false religions. Dare I think that you are on your way. Remember that the most effective deceptions are subtle, not obvious. And of course they include something that is alluring and promises extra-special knowledge and experiences. The "con" in "con-man" stands for confidence. A deceiver has to instill confidence by presenting something that is truly good to the deceivee (e.g. the fruit was "good for food," "pleasant to the eye," and "desirable for gaining wisdom"). Ponzie schemes are notorious for this. Yet the potential deceivee says "Yeah, but I have already received a great return...so how can this be a scam?" You have shifted, or are in a gradual shift, from an objective supreme Standard to a subjective standard. You may like how it has paid off so far, but the truth lies both now and in the end. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but IN THE END it leads to death."

Mark Baker

commented on Apr 29, 2012

Josh, I looked up the definition of mysticism on my Mac. Here it is: 1 belief that union with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender. 2 belief characterized by self-delusion or dreamy confusion of thought, esp. when based on the assumption of occult qualities or mysterious agencies. ... Quite a contrast from yours. Your definition could not be more inaccurate. Using your definition would be like defining "demons" as "loving, wise, and helpful spirit guides that gently lead us to the truth." What follows in a definition that I wrote elsewhere: What is ?mysticism?? It is the pursuit of a subjective spiritual experience with God that is based in mystery and on ?mysterious? methods that supposedly guide us in the spiritual realm--a domain that admittedly contains darkness and evil spirits. Since these methods are secretive--not to mention, lacking in Scripture--we become dependent upon and must entrust ourselves and spiritual lives to self-proclaimed experts in mystical practices (e.g. ?Spiritual Directors,? those who have--through much trial and error--developed these extra-biblical techniques that will make up for the lack in Scripture and the Holy Spirit). ... I think it was Richard Foster or Eugene Peterson who instructed his followers that they needed to pray something along the lines of "All evil spirits must leave now" before entering into mystical "contemplative prayer" or whatever name he was giving his technique. Really? We need to pray for protection against evil spirits when meditating on God's Word? Where is that in God's Word?

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 30, 2012

Mark ..... the website on 'the new spirituality ' is http://www.crossroads. 'the new spirituality' it is a Bible friendly bible believing site and draws references from what is happening and being said in those N.P places . ie the shack etc . I hope you and others find it useful. :)

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Apr 30, 2012

Of course the 'new spirituality ' may not be new at all . It may be as old as the deception in the Garden of Eden . The thing is the Voice of God was not present when the serpent spoke to Eve . But God had entrusted Adam with His word . God did speak directly to Adam so Adam had the word of God the word God spoke and the word He should have believed and obeyed . Eve apparently knew what God had told Adam , but she was enticed and 'conned' into believing another voice another message which may be just what is happening in the 'new spirituality' and other older ' messages' like the Fatima ones for example , which are not based on the word of God and His instructions given for time and eternity . ' The more sure word....' .

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 30, 2012

Dennis Cocks said... "Josh you are hopeless." Sorry you feel that way Dennis, but my hope isn't in you. I believe my what I am saying best aligns with the whole of scripture. I believe the Word of God is Jesus and therefore my beliefs aren't at all subjective, but are based on the only Truth. However; I am very fallible and some of my beliefs are very likely wrong as is your quote above. Your belief that I am hopeless is wrong, I certainly hope it is wrong! :)

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 30, 2012

Mark Baker, I printed your words and I'm going to answer some of your questions as I can throughout the week. If you would like to talk by phone I'm certainly willing. I'm not assuming you are asking questions because you want to learn from me, I'm assuming you are trying to correct and direct me and that's ok. I want to get clear and straight truth both here, in my personal life, and to the world. Your first question is my next post.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 30, 2012

You asked if I am denying or doubting or rejecting the heart of the gospel (the substitutionary sacrifice and atonement)? To your question I answer no, I am not doubting nor rejecting the heart of the gospel. To your parenthetical I say... let's be careful to be clear. I don't believe God was so angry that He needed to crush us, wanted to crush us, and Jesus took the Father's crushing for us. Someone called that cosmic child abuse, and even as a kid that was the one thing that bothered me most about the presentation of the gospel I was given in church. The Father didn't hold the cat of nine tails, the Father didn't nail Jesus to the cross, the Romans did. Sinful humanity crucified Jesus, and Jesus willingly took by the hands of sinful man the consequences of sin. God's wrath was involved, but directed toward sin, not toward Jesus. Jesus felt the force of the Father's wrath, because He became sin, to destroy sin's power once and for all. Jesus' words on the cross "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" have long confused those who read the words. I believe Jesus was quoting Psalms 22 with the full intent of the hearers, thinking through the entire passage. With the entire passage in mind, we know that the Father didn't forsake, and didn't turn His back and that was precisely what Jesus was saying. Psalms 22:24 (this is found in the Bible, again a library I love) "For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard." 2 Corinthians 5:19 also makes it clear to me that the entirety of the trinity was on the cross. I'm not a Ransom Theory guy, I believe there is some truth in the moral influence theory, the governmental theory, and the example theory, but to see the full scope of the work of the cross you have to include the idea that Jesus took my sin the cross, thereby He substituted the negative impact of my sin onto Himself instead of onto me. This plan was fully in place from a human prospective in Genesis 15 when God passed through the covenant blood path with Abraham twice, once for God and once for Abraham, essentially saying if you sin Abraham, I'll let you kill me. That covenant was full-filled with the cross. God died for us, not Jesus died at the hands of an angry God for me so that God the Father didn't do to me what He really wanted to because His Son got in the way and stopped it... the terminology here is what I'm complaining about and this BAD TERMINOLOGY is what I believe causes many atheists to reject God. They come the conclusion that if God is so evil that He kills His Son in a rage about our sin, what kind of a God is that, they reject that God. If any of this is new to you Mark, that's a ton to talk about. Can we deal with this, your first question before I try to answer your others? I don't want to get this wrong, so I'm open to your pointing out my poor thinking or misinformation. Thanks

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 30, 2012

By the way, Mark... the definition of mysticism I read the day I felt like God told me to relax if people called me mystic isn't popping up online. I reject mysticism based on the definitions you provided. Based on this definition I accept and embrace mysticism: the pursuit of communication with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimately reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on Apr 30, 2012

Dennis Cocks: I was just working on other things when it hit me that you, the one that called me hopeless are the same one that argued that every dot, tittle, and capital are inspired... what are you thinking with the capital thing? Do you also think the numbering the the verses and the dividing of the chapters is inspired as well, are you one of those guys who says the maps are inspired? Do you believe the KJV is the version the Apostle Paul carried around in his back pocket? I don't think you are hopeless, by the way. I believe you are loved by God and therefore have more hope than you can imagine. Please address the capital thing for me... oh and by the way, I am fully aware that the majority if not all of those commenting here disagree with me. I believe there is value in listening to and discussing things with people of varying beliefs and information, that is how we learn. If you only talk to people who know and believe exactly like you, you'd never learn to brush your teeth... we learn from people with differing opinions and different knowledge or information. Consider Luke's "investigating everything carefully", in Luke 1:3.

Dennis Cocks

commented on May 1, 2012

Josh, 2 Corinthians 4:4 "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Notice the difference in the two uses of "God"? One is small case g denoting the god of this world, Satan. The other is capitalized, denoting the true God Almighty. Do you not think the two different uses are inspired by God? In Numbers 24:17 we read, "I shall see him, but not now: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel,..." Notice the word Star is capitalized? Why do you think that is? It is because this is speaking of the Person of Jesus Christ. What is a star? It is a ball of fire, a sun. Psalm 84:11 "For the LORD God is a sun and sheild:..." 1 John 1:5 "...God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." In John 1:7 we read that John, "came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light..." Verse 8 "He was not that Light..." Verse 9 "That was the true Light..." Light is capitalized for a reason, it is because this is speaking of the Person of Jesus Christ. In the same way the word "Word" in verses 1, and 14 are capitalized signifying the same, which is that it is speaking of the Person of Jesus Christ. The Sceptre in Numbers 24:17 also speaks of the coming of the Person of Christ as King, thus it is capitalized. In Jeremiah 23:5 we read, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." Again we see Branch, and King are capitalized for a reason, to denote that this is speaking of the Person of Jesus Christ. Again, I believe Psalm 12:6-7 "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of the earth, purified seven time. Thou shaly keep them, O LORD, thout shalt PRESERVE them from this generation FOR EVER." But again, you do not believe the Bible was written by God, you believe it was written by Paul, Peter Luke, Moses, David, etc. And you do not believe the Bible is inspired by God because "inspired" is only mentioned once in Scripture. As far as your comments on my believing the apostles walked around with the KJV in their pockets and believing the maps are inspired, that doesn't even warrant a response.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 1, 2012

Dennis Cocks: I have no doubt that translations use capitals to differentiate for various reasons, that wasn't my point. You used a capital to argue a point, I'll pass on this fight there is no point. Second, you are trying to say that I don't believe in inspiration, that is untrue too... I'm simply saying that it is worth our study to realize that 2 Timothy 3:16 says something more like "All writing is God impacted." but there are two things that are key there... at the time Paul penned those words 8 or 9 of our current NT books weren't written and in context we see that Paul wasn't talking about all writing but rather all the sacred texts that Timothy had been taught from, from his youth. I tried to ignore your post here but I decided to try and post, attempting to say something brilliant because I'm hoping I will eventually earn your approval so that there will once again be hope for me. I'm actually a bit surprised that you made a statement like you did, saying that there is no hope for someone and you haven't recanted it. I don't think atheists would say things like that to one another and they have no reason for hope. There is certainly hope for you yet, Dennis Cocks! You Dennis Cocks are loved with an everlasting LOVE! That is good news!

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 1, 2012

Dennis Cocks, are you aware that in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages in which the Bible was originally written, there is no distinction between capital and lowercase letters? You can't use that argument in support of your points from posts #67 and 96.

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 1, 2012

I doesn't appear that John E Miller is still following this conversation, but in case he is: This is the second time you attack my denomination with no Scriptural warrant. You brought this up, so I'm going to ask you a direct question. In what specific way has the Seventh-day Adventist Church "veered away from the purity of Christian teaching in the Bible"? If you are a man of integrity, I hope to hear a response.

Keith B

commented on May 1, 2012

Fernando...I'll bite. Is the Sabbath mandatory? What happens if you don't worship on Saturday? Is it wrong to worship on Sunday?

Sean Van Zant

commented on May 1, 2012

Know that there are famous Christians in the past that were considered mystics, but we hold them in high regard as Christians. There is also a mysticism that is considered Christian. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mysticism I'm not saying that it is "Christian", but just putting it out there for thought.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 1, 2012

Sean Van Zant... I see you are Calvary Chapel guy. Have you seen Frisbee? Good movie, it tells the Calvary Chapel Story well.

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 1, 2012

k b, I'm not trying to get anyone to "bite". John E Miller specifically pointed out the denomination I belong to as veering away from the teachings of the Bible. He knows I am a Seventh-day Adventist because he googled my name, and then asked me in a post last fall to confirm. At that point, he had me placed in his little box for me, he had me all figured out (just like they all have Josh McDowell all figured out) and so he no longer felt obligated to take anything I said seriously. Furthermore, he made several attacks on my beliefs with absolutely no Scriptural warrant for any of them; and which I answered, basing my answers on Scripture. But instead of responding, he simply dropped out of the conversation, as if his attacks against me were so self-evidently true that they needed no defense. So now, this is the second time he attacks the Seventh-day Adventist church, and again he does it without any Scriptural proof. So, I am not trying bait anyone. All I ask of him is that if he is intent on continuing to attack my beliefs, at least have the integrity to back it up from the Bible. One more thing: please forgive me if I have come across as angry. I am frustrated by John E Miller's actions, but I have nothing against you. We've had some differences, but those differences (at least from my perspective) have never been over any issues of salvation. I have no reason not to accept you as anything other than a brother in Christ. You asked me about the seventh-day Sabbath. If you are simply looking for a fight, I apologize in advance, but I frankly don't have time for that. But if you are sincere in wanting to know what I, as a Seventh-day Adventist, believe about it, then please do let me know. I would be more than happy to share my thoughts on that with you. I won't try to "convert" you or change your mind or tell you that you are wrong. I'll simply share what I see from Scripture. I really do hope you are sincere.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 1, 2012

Sean Van Zant... I see you are Calvary Chapel guy. Have you seen Frisbee? Good movie, it tells the Calvary Chapel Story well.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 1, 2012

I'm not a Calvary Chapel guy, but my reference to Frisbee isn't a knock, I thought his story was interesting... it was one of the first real pictures I saw of God act work in recent history. You might say it helped me realize that God still works and that He doesn't require perfect people for His use.

Dennis Cocks

commented on May 1, 2012

Josh and Fernado, I stand corrected on the use of capital letters in the original manuscripts. But that does not change the the use of the word "word" in Hebrews 4:12. It is not speaking of the Person of Jesus Christ as Josh believes but the word of God. The Word of God is alive and ALL of it inspired, God-breathed. The Word explores all motives. God's Word cuts right through all professions of faith. It reveals what is carnal and what is spiritual. As we read the Word of God, it probes into our inner being and explores all our motives. When I get up to preach it is the written Word that I preach, about the Word that became flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ found in John 1:1, 14. In John 5:24 Jesus says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my WORD, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Romans 10:17 "So then faith cometh by HEARING, and HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD." 2 Timothy 4:2-4 "PREACH THE WORD; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and DOCTRINE. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." (Capitalization is mine). No excuse for the ignorance of capitalization. I had studied that before a long time ago. I never took Hebrew and only had a semester of Greek. I use the Strong's Concordance of the Bible and my Greek Lexicon for the study of the Greek and Hebrew words in the Bible. And even though there is no capitalization in the original the context in each example I gave no doubt points to the Person of Christ.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on May 2, 2012

Readers and believers of the Bible know that Jesus the Christ is the Way ,the truth and the Life firstly because He says so in His word . And all that He said and was written for us today , is the truth too . Jesus prayed for the disciples , ' sanctify them through your truth; Thy word is truth ' and ,'I pray for all who should believe on Me through their word '. Oh let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom , teaching and admonishing one another with psalms , hyms and spiritual songs , singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord '. And as Dennis has reminded , Jesus said , 'they that hear My word and believes on Him who sent Me , has everlasting life '.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 2, 2012

Dennis Cocks: I feel we are making progress, I'm glad to see that you see the capital thing. I'll give you that every pastor I've ever heard speak on Hebrews 4:12 has used that passage to speak about the importance of Bible reading. I give you that. I'm proposing that they may be missing the point. I know I'm bucking years of tradition here, but I don't think I'm being a heretic as you accuse, nor is this idea hopeless. Let me just ask you one question about Hebrews 4:13, since you are confident about verse 12. In verse 13 there is a pronoun, and the pronoun is "His", the translators of the NASV capitalized his in that verse, but the translators of the KJV didn't capitalize it. I think capitalizing that pronoun is appropriate, but the question I have for you is this... What is the antecedent of that pronoun? This is key in your argument... By the way the NASV and the KJV are consistent in their upper v/s lower case in verse 13, as I believe the pronoun Him in the same verse has the same antecedent as the pronoun His. It has taken 107 comments to get to this point, but I believe we are at the heart of this issue and the reason I'm careful to refer to the bible as the "bible," "sacred writings," or "scriptures" and only to refer to Jesus as "the Word of God" and the actually spoken words of God as the wordS from or of God. I know this is semantics, but semantics are important, because they lead to misreading texts if we aren't extremely careful.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on May 2, 2012

One of the ways 'texts' can be misread is to read it ourt of context . Then it may become a pretext . It may be best to read the Bible -God's word to us - in the context where the verse is situated and then the flow of the particular book - and then if we are able the overall doctrine of scripture ?. Of course I do believe that scripture interprets scripture and , though we have the Holy Spirit to help us , it does not mean we do not have to work hard andd be dilegent students of His word ?. Even Timothy who knew O.T scriptures since he was a boy , was told , 'study to show thyself aproved unto God , a workman rightly dividing the word of truth' of course this included the teachings of Paul and the New Testament . :) Miles Coversale an early compiler of the scriptures in English advised ; It would greatly help you to understand scripture if you mark not only what is spoken and written but to WHOM and of whom with WHAT words , at What time , with WHAT intent , in WHAT circumstances considering what went before and what comes after . To God be the glory . Great things He has done.......

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 2, 2012

Josh McDowell, I just want to make sure I understand what you are trying to say: are you suggesting that the the antecedent of the personal pronouns in Heb 4:13 should be "the word of God"--which would be referring to Jesus--rather than simply "God"? I've been reading through Heb 4, and I'm not sure I'm seeing what you are seeing. But I do agree that we need to be very careful, especially with pronouns; so I'm certainly open to entertaining other possibilities. I'd appreciate it if you could elaborate some more on what you see in Heb 4:12-13. Thanks!

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 2, 2012

I believe that Jesus is the exact representation of God, so whether the pronouns are referring to Jesus or God the Father isn't a big difference to me... the key here that I am trying to help Dennis see is that the verse he was quoting about sharper than any two edged sword dividing between the joints and marrow, soul and spirit, etc.... isn't the bible. That passage is speaking of the Spirit of God at work in a person's heart. The bible isn't the Word of God, Jesus is the Word of God and I'm not going to fight about whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, or the Son, or the Father and the Son... the key to me is that we see that the one doing the work here is God not a book. I'm trying to say, if we think the phrase "Word of God" refers to a leather bound library, we may miss the forest (Jesus) for the trees (books, letters, journals, etc)! We can love the bible, but we've got to be careful to stop placing it on a platform for worship where God alone should be. Sorry, I'm in a hurry so this may need editing..

Michael James Monaghan

commented on May 2, 2012

Time and again people have pointed out that the scriptures - the Bible - says and shows it is the word of God . But Josh ignores it .Maybe he is stuck in his own whatever it is ??? . Or he just wont listen ?. But then Josh insinuates that people who hold to the scriptures as being the very words God wishes us to hear , are worshipping the Book.But that is Josh's perception not ours.Josh makes something good, sound evil because Josh says so ,not because it is . Josh may reason from a false premise !. The fact that the written word of God is bound in a leather cover is no big deal. Before printing it was in scrolls . Luke 8 Jesus says , ' The seed is the word of God ' ..... .

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 2, 2012

Josh McDowell, I apologize, my intention was not to distinguish between God and Jesus, but to distinguish between God and the word of God. That's why I asked if you thought the antecedents of the pronouns in Heb 4:13 was God or the word of God. Regardless, I think I get where you're coming from. I do agree with you that it is certainly possible to idolize the Bible, it is possible to know the Bible real well and yet miss Jesus, which was Jesus' point in the text from Jn 5 that has been quoted. Whether that is the case among any who have posted on here, I can't say. All I can do is make sure it is not the case in my own life. I also agree with you that God, through the Holy Spirit, continues to speak to us today. But I don't believe that he does so primarily apart from the Bible, and certainly not in contradiction to its clear teachings. Yes, God spoke directly through the prophets, and God spoke directly through Jesus. But those words he spoke were written down in the Bible, and although they may not exactly be authoritative in and of themselves, they are authoritative in terms of helping us discern God's direction for our lives. When asked what one needed to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus appeals to Scripture: "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" (Lk 10:26). When the man responds by quoting Dt 6 and Lev 19, Jesus replies, "Do this and you will live" (v.28). I often tell my church members when talking about God's will for our lives that most of God's will is already revealed to us in the Bible, so we may as well start there! What is God's will for me? Well, his will is for me to love my neighbor, bless those who curse me, turn the other cheek, rejoice in the Lord always, and so forth. This is hard stuff to do--impossible, in fact! And this is where the Holy Spirit comes in, because now, the Holy Spirit is no longer simply an interpreter of Scripture. I also agree with you on that: if the Holy Spirit is merely an interpreter of Scripture, we are missing out on a lot! More than that (not less, but certainly more!), the Holy Spirit is the one who empowers us actually to live according to God's will. Now, of course, there may be times in my life when God has instructions specifically for me and my context. But if I have learned through the ministry of the Holy Spirit how to live according to God's will as revealed in Scripture, I will be better equipped to recognize God's voice among all the other voices out there clamoring for my attention. There's so much more I wish I could add, but this is such a broad topic, and time is so short! Suffice it to say, I appreciate you taking the time to share your point of view, as it has helped me to clarify my own thinking. We may see things from different points of view, but I trust that if we are both sincere in seeking after God, he will guide us in the way we should go.

Robert Sickler

commented on May 2, 2012

The real danger I see in this prolonged and very intellectual dissuasion is two camps of arrogance. It would appear that we have some who believe that they are spiritual so God speaks directly to them, and some who believe they are so smart they obtain what God wants them to know only from the Holy Bible. In my humble opinion, God primarily communicates to us through the Holy Bible, as we are empowered to discern by the Holy Spirit. Now, there is the possibility that we could receive communication directly from the Holy Spirit or from a ministering spirit; but, this communication will never contradict scripture. IF the word we receive is to be shared, then it would appear that we have been given a prophet?s mission. I for one would never deny the existence of a prophet. If someone were to tell me that God told them to proclaim a message I would listen, and then I would ask them if they were willing to be put to the prophet?s test. So far I have never met a so-called prophet, who was willing to be put to the prophet?s test. In my own arrogance, I would proclaim: If God has told you something, beyond the written word, keep it to yourself, unless you are truly a prophet ? willing to be put to the prophet?s test.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 2, 2012

Fernando Villegas I hate to lump you in with me because some here seem to think I am hopeless and a cult leader, heretic, etc but I've enjoyed chatting with you and I agree with most of what you say. I'm probably being too harsh, your last post is basically what I was trying to help people see on this entire thread. I talked to a friend about these conversations and as he heard what people here were saying, he asked me if they were atheists. You said that you think God speaks primarily through the bible today and I think you are right about that. For me He seemed to only speak through the bible until I started to believe that He wanted to speak to me all the time. I was just like the people here before... I have Hmong friends who deal with spiritual things that I've never had to deal with... I wonder if God speaks to us as much as we are willing to listen? What did the people miss by telling Moses to go to the Mt on their behalf. It is vital that I point out that I don't believe that God would ever give me authority over others, that is probably good news to some here, but I also believe that God wouldn't give others authority either. Jesus is our authority, he is the leader, teacher, Father... Matthew 23:8-10... I've said it over and over, and people here keep saying differently, but I do love the bible, and I don't deny God's Word (Jesus) nor do I deny God's words... Calling every jot and tittle from the bible library "God's Word" is a mistake in my opinion. My opinion isn't authority, my opinion is totally fallible, but I hope people will consider the possibility that they've been tricked by history. I've been a student of scripture for over 30 years so I've heard plenty of arguments about the bible, but I've never found a single record of God the Father or Jesus telling anyone that they were to gather and group 66 books and set them up as special. I'm not saying that was a mistake, but if it becomes an idol it then becomes a mistake. It seems that it has become an idol... Salvation involves faith in Jesus, but today religious people are saying that anyone who doesn't believe in the authority of scripture can't be saved... others say that if you don't believe in a literal eternal conscious torment you can't be saved... that would leave John Stott out.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 2, 2012

Michael James you've just thrown stones without saying anything... In Paul's writings he even says sometimes that what he is writing is his words - not God's.

Mark Baker

commented on May 2, 2012

Hey Josh (and all), sorry for the delay (you know, life and all those kinds of things happen)... You wrote: ?I don't believe God was so angry that He needed to crush us, wanted to crush us, and Jesus took the Father's crushing for us. Someone called that cosmic child abuse...? and your original quote was ?Do the majority here believe that God's holiness and wrath had to be poured out on someone because of our sin and that Jesus took God's angry rage in our place?? It seems you are phrasing things (e.g. ?crushing?) in a slightly different way (intentionally or not) that changes the meaning. As we know, God is loving, gracious, forgiving, slow to anger, etc. And yes, He is a holy and just God. When He said, ?you will surely die,? He meant it. There will be a judgement and eternal consequences for sin. There will, however, be grace and a pardon for these consequences ... for those, through faith alone and grace alone, are forgiven and pardoned though the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. By the way you phrase it, or believe others might believe, you make God sound like (or that we think God is like) some hot tempered, vengeful God that was just looking for a way to vent His wrath. Could it be that it is love, not ?cosmic child abuse?? He is a just, holy, and loving God who ?laid down his life? for us...out of love (John 15:13), He died for us ...out of love (Rom 5:8), He sacrificed Himself...out of love (1 Jn 3:16), ?God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished?he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.? (Rom 3:25-26) I noticed that the trend today is that God is NOT so much a ?God of justice? for eternal matters (e.g. Rob Bell; social justice; emerging church) but more of a ?God of justice? here on earth... AND, THEREFORE, WE DO NOT REALLY NEED TO SHARE THE GOSPEL (i.e. the gospel of the need to ?repent and believe? the good news of Jesus paying the price for our sins on the cross so that, through faith in Him, we will live with Him forever). The gospel, to them, is that we just need to change society (and ?hell? is more of a place on earth or a condition in a person?s life). I?m not saying you believe this, Josh, but that is where people tend to go when they toy with, change, or blur God?s character, especially the attributes of justice, love, etc. Is it difficult to grasp the reality of God (or anyone) sacrificing His own Son for others? Yes. Is it hard--as sinful, finite humans--to comprehend a required death (or sacrifice) and ?blood? in order that others may live? Yes. But this is what the Word teaches over and over and over: ?For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one?s life.? (Lev 17:11) ?In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God?s grace.? (Eph 1:7) ?God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.? (2 Cor 5:21) ?...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness....But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.? (Heb 9:22, 26) ?This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.? (1 Jn 4:10) If we don?t fully understand or appreciate this biblical reality doesn?t mean that we should come up with another theory or gospel.

Mark Baker

commented on May 2, 2012

Josh, you also stated: ?God's wrath was involved, but directed toward sin, not toward Jesus.? Well, then, with this assumption the question becomes, in hell (or the lake of fire) will the wrath of God be directed toward sin or sinner? Are we not (or, were we not) ?objects of wrath,? the wrath of a holy and just God? Did Jesus die for sin, or for sinners (i.e. people)? Josh also said, ?....the terminology here is what I'm complaining about and this BAD TERMINOLOGY is what I believe causes many atheists to reject God. They come the conclusion that if God is so evil that He kills His Son in a rage about our sin, what kind of a God is that, they reject that God.? I believe I understand what you are saying, but atheists do not reject God because of bad terminology (although this may play a part in confusing anyone). Ultimately, (at the risk of coming across ?legalistic?) they reject God because ... ?The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ? ... and ?Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.? ... and because ?they refuse to love the truth and so be saved.? Yes, we want clear terminology. I don?t know of anyone, other than someone who has dabbled in or heard liberal theology who conceives of an ?evil God? in the gospel. [On a somewhat humorous side note Josh: I?m not one to correct another?s writing, punctuation, etc (because I am the chief of sinners in this area) but I had to point out that at least twice you wrote the word ?shoot? at the beginning of a sentence without a comma that separated the next word. Once the next word was ?people.? Now, I obviously know what you meant. But it is read ?shoot people? instead of what you meant ?shoot, people...? I point it out because you did it more than once.]

Mark Baker

commented on May 2, 2012

Notice how Marcus Borg had his own personal revelation (taught to him in seminary) about God?s special revelation in the Bible: ?I let go of the notion that the Bible is a divine product. I learned that it is a human cultural product, the product of two ancient communities, biblical Israel and early Christianity. As such, it contained their understandings and affirmations, not statements coming directly or somewhat directly from God.? I realized that whatever ?divine revelation? and the ?inspiration of the Bible? meant (if they meant anything), they did not mean that the Bible was a divine product with divine authority.? Which, of course, lead him to conclude this about the gospel: ?Jesus almost certainly was not born of a virgin, did not think of himself as the Son of God, and did not see his purpose as dying for the sins of the world.? AND ?To think that the central meaning of Easter [resurrection] depends upon something spectacular happening to Jesus? corpse misses the point of the Easter message and risks trivializing the story. To link Easter primarily to our hope for an afterlife, as if our post-death existence depends upon God having transformed the corpse of Jesus, is to reduce the story to a politically-domesticated yearning for our survival beyond death.? Josh, you may not be ?Borg-like? yet (but resistance is futile... sorry, could not help it). But doubting the Word, however subtle or small it seems, is the path to greater separation and doubting of God?s Word. You, sir, are on that path. Your view of the Bible (a library of good books) is deeply concerning. So, Josh, the problem is not so much where your view lies today, it is the path you are on and where it will inevitably leads that has me grieving for you (and your ?hearers?)

Mark Baker

commented on May 2, 2012

These are all important topics, to be sure, Josh, but I think what might cut to the heart of our disagreement(s) is our views of mysticism. Let me start off by asking, Is God?s Word sufficient, or not? When people believe that God?s Word is not sufficient (i.e. for everything we need for life and godliness) then, understandably, they go looking elsewhere to make up for God?s failure to give us what we need in His Word (Ps 1:1-3; Jer 2:13). Many have turned to psychological theorists to make up for the perceived insufficiency of Scripture (i.e. all theorists [e.g. Freud, Maslow, etc] have overtly rejected Christ and most, if not all, assertively HATE Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible). Jesus said, ?Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.? and Jeremiah says, ?Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?? Others run to other forms of ?man?s wisdom? (the world, other religions, other ?sacred? writings, etc). And, of course, many turn to ?the mystics,? mysticism, and mystical practices. (I?m really interested which, if any, mystical techniques you practice and/or approve of). Of course, I am not saying we cannot or should not read other books, but we all have to decide if the Bible is sufficient or not. [Notice that this, too, was a pattern of deception established in the Garden. Satan got Adam and Eve to doubt the sufficiency of God (that had all they ever needed) by presenting a new ?need? that was not a need. How many people today are deceived, dominated, and destroyed by false needs? (e.g. alcohol, being liked, wealth, drugs, being perfect, needing works to be saved, needing extra-special knowledge, etc.) How many people today are running after ?needed? knowledge that has its ORIGINAL source of information that is outside of God? (and is usually from other religions or or non-believers.) I have already discussed the eerie pattern between rejecting the sufficiency of God (and His Word) and then going after extra-biblical knowledge... or the source outside of God which presents itself to be god-like (i.e. the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.)] So please, Josh, please address this topic.

Mark Baker

commented on May 2, 2012

Robert, (assuming you are talking about me) I rarely, if ever, get referred to as intellectual, let alone ?very intellectual? ... and not even arrogant (at least openly and directly to my face). While the ?arrogance? may or may not be an accurate judgment and condemnation, I must protest, at least slightly, against the judgment that I think I am ?so smart...? Quite an assumption... or judgment. Also, while I appreciated your later point(s), I hope your proclamation of ?two camps of arrogance? followed by your ?In my humble opinion...? was an attempt at humor. If not, you lost me.

Dennis Cocks

commented on May 2, 2012

Robert Sickler, I also wonder if you are talking about me when you call someone arrogant. If defending the Word of God (not that it needs my defending, but you know what I mean) is considered arrogant, then I guess we should just accept what anyone says when it is CLEARLY WRONG and never despute it. I believe the Word of God, not the word of Josh. Not sure why that is considered arrogant? Is it arrogant to believe Psalm 12:6-7 "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt PRESERVE them from the generation FOR EVER."? Is it arrogant to believe 2 Timothy 3:16 ALL Scripture is is given by inspiration of GOD..."? If you do not include me in your statement then please forgive me. I know you are not talking about me when you said it was an intelligent discussion because I blew that with the capital letters statement! BTW that reminds me, all caps in the post are my doing.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on May 3, 2012

Well in a way Josh has admitted what he seems to have denied all along for Josh says ... ' Paul even says sometimes that what he is writing is his words - not God's '. But only SOMETIMES :) The Lord has given man His word , His will He has made known ; Let men not try to change His words , For words that are his own . Dr Dehaan .

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

I keep addressing the questions y'all ask but no one has attempted even halfway to address mine. Instead you keep quoting places where authors referred to the word or the Word and you pretend that those statements are referring to a future compilation of books, letters, poems, etc. Every verse quoted in this entire thread I'd agree with, but those verses don't refer to a a that time FUTURE compilation, bible. The words of God are true - I don't deny a single one. I'm just saying we must look to and worship Jesus first and learn to listen to his voice or we'll miss knowing Him on earth as He wants us too. Those here who are arguing that the Holy Spirit is only a bible interpreter are essentially denying His all-powerfulness.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

test, can we still post here?

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

Mark, have you ever really studied the various views of the atonement? Good people disagree about the correct reading of the atonement. This is a big deal. If you have, sorry I'm not trying to be arrogant, if you have, we just disagree. It seems though that many here are hearing some of this for the first time. If you haven't studied the various views of the atonement, I'd start by studying the view you seem to be most likely to accept - The Penal Substitution View, it is also called the Penal Satisfaction View of the atonement (I'm really not making a joke there - not a perverse joke, the actual theological term for the view). Anyway, that view only dates back to the 13-15th century, it wasn't the view of the early church fathers. I'd start by asking where did that theory come from and what was the view before that? What did the early church fathers believe about the atonement... If you want some hints about how to get started ask... I'll gladly recommend books, articles, podcasts, and websites that give a very balanced view of this subject.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

Michael James... should we also be careful not to attribute to God the words of man? Shoot I don't think there is a word in the Bible that I disagree with, in the correct context - well of course I disagree with some of Job's accusers and some of Solomon's "man-wisdom" from Ecclesiastes, etc. but most here would disagree with those things too.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

Mysticism - My last post for a few hours... I've got to get to work. - I said mysticism at the beginning of this post because I can't remember who asked me about my "mystic" practices... but I want to address that question. What mystic practices have I participated in... One time while I was working on a church staff at a staff retreat the "senior pastor" of a very conservative church that most of you would accept as orthodox and not at all emergent or whatever other negative label you want to throw.. we were encouraged to go somewhere in on the big hunting lodge that we were staying at and sit alone and pray, as we prayed we were to imagine Jesus being there with us... we could talk out loud to Him or silently, but it was key to pray and then to listen to see if he spoke to us. That's the most mystic thing I've ever been exposed to. Now I'm going out to paint a bit, then I'll go to the office and work a bit, while painting and on the ride I'll pray, reflect on what I know of God, and I'll commune with the Spirit of God who indwells me. I believe He is remaining in me and I am remaining in Him through that direct communication. For those of you who are calling direct communication with God mysticism... I'm wondering how much different is that from atheism? Either He is real and dwells in us completely, fully or... I don't think I can think of a single thing that God has asked me to do that didn't line up with other things that have happened in scriptural record... but that doesn't make the bible the end all be all. One time I felt like God was directing me to go to a local strip club and talk to the owner and some other employees there. I thought I was crazy, and I told my wife about it. She agreed to go with me. I was horrified... what if someone sees me, what if I see nudity and lust... I don't want to do this God, I argued. We went, early in the afternoon - the parking lot was empty we waited and the manager arrived. I talked to him about what I needed to, I had to go back once more, I entered but sat out in the foyer area we talked I said what I needed to say, it was very friendly I got out of there without seeing anything more than legs walking by the door. The following Sunday a stripper from that club came to our fellowship, she asked me for prayer... we talked and I was able to tell her that I had been in her club a few days prior. We continued to talk for a few weeks, she didn't believe that God could love her or forgive her but I was able to tell her that God loved her so much that He sent me to her club as a messenger of the good news of His love for her. She was so broken, so shocked by His love, she talked of never having a believer care about her, she talked of never having anyone care for her. I was a part of something God planned and amazing. But if I had believed that God only spoke through the bible... I would have never found a verse that said: "Josh, go to Thee Dollhouse." If what I'm telling here is mysticism... label me a mystic. If it is Christianity, label me a Christian.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on May 3, 2012

Josh seems to accuse those who hold the Bible in high regard as, worshipping the Bible . Then he appears to accuse those who accept and believe that the Bible is the spoken and written word of God as in a way denying that Jesus is the unique Word of God made flesh . Josh seems to impute what his mind surmises of others, to them, when the difficulty might just be in Josh's possibly mistaken thinking and possibly josh's addiction to mysticism rather than the word of God as given to us in the scriptures ?. For me , whatever Josh claims in his experience , it will be as a sound that disapears as quickly as it is made because josh seems to want to denigrate , demote and dissipate the Bible as the sure word of God . In fact , at the beginning of josh's postings, he seemed to major in that intent .?. I don't think anyone has said 'God only speaks through His word ' But Josh seems to deny the scriptures are His word anyway . So what is Josh saying ? ugh ?

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

michael james I'm really trying to understand what you are saying, but I don't get it. Isn't the law of non-contradiction a valid premise? I'm confused Michael James are you saying that Jesus is the Word made flesh, or the bible is the Word made flesh, they can't both be can they? I believe Jesus is the Word made Flesh, but I don't believe the bible is the Word made flesh. Richard Wurmbrand wrote, "The Bible is a wonderful book. It is the truth about the Truth. It is not the Truth. A sermon taken from the Bible can be a wonderful thing to hear. It is the truth about the truth about the truth. But it is not the truth. There have been many books written about the things contained in the Bible. I have written some myself. They can be quite wonderful to read. They are the truth about the truth about truth about the Truth. But they are NOT the Truth. Only Jesus Christ is the Truth. Sometimes the Truth can be drowned in a multitude of words."

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

By the way, I wasn't making fun of God or King James English when I spelled Thee... that is actually the name and spelling of the place I was referring to. Hope no one took me as meaning something else by that.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on May 3, 2012

I ,we or they have tried to show Josh sooooo many times it isn't a mistake to say that the Bible is the word of God . Look , the first time we have a record that God speaks personally , and that He speaks through chosen men too is in Genesis . God personally wrote the ten commandments on stone tablets . If God wrote it then it collectively is God's word or The word of God. And then God spoke to Moses and gave Moses His word to publish among the Israelites . It was still God's word even though it came by Moses . Do you not remember Paul commended the Thessalonians for not just taking his words as the word of men ; 'but as it is , the word of God '. No, Josh , it is not a mistake to accept the Bible as the word of God. But it may be a mistake not to . Lay off the mystic perhaps and enjoy the mystery the open secret of the word of God ? There is plenty of the 'mystic' in the Bible to keep us occupied , and instructed in the Bible don't you think ?. Charles Spurgeon is reported as giving this advice : Don't use arguments over the doctrines of the word of God - the Bible- like a football to be kicked about !!!

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

michael james I just noticed your post and tried to find your reference but I didn't find it quickly. Could you give me the chapter please? As I was looking I read 1 Thess 5:19-27, but I don't think that was the passage to which you were referring. Verse 27 there says read this letter to the brethren... I wish for your sake, to make your argument easier he would've said "Read this to the brethren because this is the very word of God" but he didn't because he didn't believe that God had overtaken him in the writing that letter in such a way that he wasn't in control. I bet you've given inspired sermons, but if you are any man at all you wouldn't tell anyone to print that sermon and tell the world to read it because it is the word of God. I simple don't think Paul did either. Nor James or Luke (who wrote the majority of the New Testament - over 25) and he, Luke, admits in his first book that he researched his work! "having investigated everything carefully" Do you realize that you are fighting to defend a book? Not the God written about in the book, but the book itself. Maybe the point is you think there is a difference.. do you think the bible is the word made flesh?

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

michael James do you disagree with Richard Wurmbrand's quote too?

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

michael James do you disagree with Richard Wurmbrand's quote too?

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 3, 2012

Josh McDowell, John Stott and I have that in common, actually, so I guess we'd both be left out! It's funny how even someone with first-class evangelical credentials like Stott disagreed with a doctrine that some would consider a "litmus test" for orthodoxy! I, too, have enjoyed our conversation. I'm glad we've been able to show that two people can disagree, even on a question as important as "What does the 'Word of God' mean?", and yet still respect each other and make the effort to listen to each other and try to understand the other and realize that we may not be as far apart as we may seem to be at first. I feel a bit bad for those who never really took the time actually to hear what you were saying because they categorized you too quickly and thus were no longer responding to YOU, but to some abstract idea of what they thought you believed. I think they missed out on a great opportunity to clarify their own convictions in their mind. Maybe they didn't need that clarity; for me, though, it has been helpful. I will continue to pray for you as you continue to seek after God. I covet your prayers for me, as well.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on May 3, 2012

Having a saying attributed to me by Josh , that is do I believe in the incarnation of the printed word - do I believe the (written)word is made flesh ?. I have heard this way of thinking preached ; but I think it detracts from the truth of the scriptures and what it says about Jesus the word made flesh and the spiritual word of God . ' My words are spirit and they are life ' ?. 'And when they had prayed... they spoke the word of God with boldness ' acts 4 ... the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God ....' Luke5 ... and called for Barnabus and Saul and desired to hear the word of God ... Acts 13:7 Then I remembered the word of the Lord..... acts 12 .

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

Same here Fernando Villegas... I do pray that you continue to walk with Jesus. God bless you. Where are you from?

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 3, 2012

michael James Monaghan - I'm sorry but I sometimes don't understand what you are saying, it isn't the words but the sentence structure I think. Are you speaking on a phone, or writing another language and having it translated by a computer? It reminds me of text messages when I get auto-corrected. I just don't know what your last post was saying. Sorry again.... it could just be above my understanding. Have a good night,

Michael James Monaghan

commented on May 4, 2012

of course Josh . Whilst I must give you the benefit of any doubt that you'don't understand' its a well practised ploy like some people to plead they cannot hear when they don't want to .... :) But one more thought that you may or may not get through . When Jesus prayed for t he disciples He said on more th an once ' I have given them thy word ' and , the words I speak are not mine ...... John 17 The words were His Fathers ; they were God's words - the word of God . Though Jesus the Christ was 'the Word who became flesh' , all that He spoke was the word of God and all that the Prophets and Apostles spoke and wrote was the word of God , and God caused it all to become the Bible we have today . Isn't it wonderful that God has given us His word !!!! You mentioned Luke having to do a lot of research ; and if you consider the extant the early scribes went to ensure accuracy . But , they all were impelled by the Holy Spirit to do this and to get it right . Serving God energetically doeasn;t mean a lot of human effort and energy hasn't to be put in . But may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with the aid of the Holy Spirit help you to enjoy His word even more in the coming days .

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Michael James that post was totally coherent, but the previous was not. You accuse with nearly every post. To imply that I'm using a ploy when your previous post isn't clear is ridiculous. In this post I agreed with you until you went off track, Jesus' words were the words of God because He is the exact representation of the Father. However to say that the additional words from the other authors were as well is wrong. To say that the bible cannonization was God's plan is assumption, how did the people in 397 ad know to do that? Did God tell them? According to you they would've had to practice mysticism because the bible never says gather the 66 most respected books... Jesus is the Word of God, what He spoke were the words of God, God also spoke from time to time and those were the words of God sometime regular joes recorded the words of God but additional words they wrote while maybe inspired (some sermons today are inspired, some posts here are inspired) they are not to be called the words of God. The problem is everyone here practices what y'all are calling mysticism. None of you still own slaves, right? Well God has revealed additional revelation - even though the bible doesn't condemn slavery God does. We know through revelation that slavery is wrong. The bible say women should not speak in church but we know today that Paul was a male chauvinist, he knew God but his culture had taught him wrong about how to treat women and we know better today. Jesus said there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greem in his kingdom. If all of Paul's word are the words of God and Jesus is God you have to believe one - you can't believe both. I pick Jesus. I'm thankful for Paul's words, I love Romans and his letter to Corinth and Timothy but I read them with my brain, knowing that God has inspired Paul but He didn't dictate the words.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on May 4, 2012

Even Peter said that the revelation that Paul had from the risen ascended Christ , was 'hard to be understood which the unlearned and the unstable wrest to their own destruction ' 2petr. You could and should believe both the Lord Jesus Christ's words and the words of the Apostle Paul. Why Paul's words ?. Because Paul was conveying what the risen Christ taught . Have a prayerful look at Eph ch 3 ?. Things had moved on . Circumstances had changed .Paul was the chosen Apostle to the Gentiles to make known the update of God's word Josh !

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Michael James I just read Eph 3, but I'm not going to keep responding to your points when your responses don't address my points at all. Talk to me about your idea around slaves and women, and how you came to those conclusions with the bible alone... my point is even those of you who claim that there is no new revelation (as I did for years as a "pastor") practice beliefs based on new revelation. We would condemn slavery and no rights for women... Speak to that Michael James the we'll discuss Eph 3.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

I think the fear of mysticism is consciously based in the fear of cult leaders who have claimed to have special revelation from God, and I believe there is some legitimacy in that concern. On the other hand, I think (especially for religious leaders) that the fear is sub-consciously based on the loss of control that is inherent in the idea that everyone can hear from God on their own. If you are familiar with the stories of Moses you know the Children of Israel asked Moses to speak to God on their behalf because they were afraid. God wanted them all to come up on the mountain to hear from Him directly. Like scared animals God allowed Moses to speak to Him on their behalf, and He waited patiently until mankind was ready to speak to Him directly. I got the idea growing up that God fled from man when man sinned, but upon closer examination of scripture and history, I realize that Adam and Eve hid from Him, and God has been inching back toward mankind every since. It almost seems to me that He knows that He can't arrive on the scene too quickly because like a scared animal we will run if we haven't first learned to trust Him. Wayne Jacobsen makes a great example of this when he talks about his wife loving and caring for stray dogs. 1 Corinthians 2:10-15 is pretty powerful, "10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. 14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. There's not much I can say to make 1 Corinthians 2:10-15 more clear, Paul here in the bible is clearly teaching a Christian form of mysticism.

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 4, 2012

Josh McDowell, I'm currently living in Midland, TX. Originally, I'm from El Paso, about 300 miles west (but still in Texas!)

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 4, 2012

michael James Monaghan, it's not just Josh...I've had a hard time following some of your posts as well. Don't be too quick to judge, you may not always be writing as clearly as you think you are.

Mark Baker

commented on May 4, 2012

There are several pivotal decisions we must make as Believers (or, I guess, non-believers ... who decide not to believe). A few of the most important decisions are at play here. So... We all must decide what we believe about the Bible. For example, ?Is it God?s Word?? ?Is the Bible sufficient, or insufficient?? ?Is the Bible the superlative Standard?? (for life, faith, and truth) ?Is the Bible THE superlative Authority?? ?Is the Bible (the 66 books contained therein) all EQUALLY and 100 authoritative, true, and inspired by God Himself (i.e. the Word of God)?? Let?s take them one by one: Is it God?s Word? [I?m assuming, Josh, you would say, ?yes,? although with a different understanding from me that changes everything.] Is the Bible sufficient? (i.e. we don?t ?need? or require extra-biblical sources for ?life and godliness?; that we have ?everything we need? for these in Scripture alone) If it is not, then where is it deficient? This insufficient/deficient view not only opens a barrel of worms, it effectively minimizes, undermines, and weakens the rest of Scripture. This one fork in the road is a biggie, and many people (and pastors) don?t even consider this reality one way or another, yet SO much depends on our functional belief (not our stated belief) in this area. What is worse (to me) is that more and more people are subtly (not to mention overtly) rejecting and undermining this supreme reality. Because, as I mentioned before, when we see God?s Word (the Bible) lacking then we, understandably, will seek other sources to make up for the (perceived) deficiencies in Scripture. These sources are replete with problems, impurity, dangers, and deception (e.g. man?s wisdom; psychology; mysticism; ?church growth principles?). After studying and investing so much in these admittedly errant sources many ?well intended? people ?mix? or blend or ?integrate? the pure source with polluted source. Not only that, they assume and teach that there new contaminated and errant ideas are now better than God?s Word (where have we seen that before?) Is the Bible the superlative Standard? (for life, faith, and truth) Is the Bible THE superlative Authority? It is God?s authority given to us, and is clear and objective and unchanging. It is His rules, principles, commands, truth, will and, therefore, authority that we are to FULLY submit to and that all notions are to be judged by His Word (?Is this notion about God, truth, love, etc ... true or false??). If we decide that it is NOT the supreme standard and authority then we have chosen some other standard and authority (competing counsel or authority), which, when you get right down to it, it is ?me? and my feelings and intuition or what I choose to be true or best (?I feel like God is saying _____? or ?I have decided that Buddha or Freud or _____ is right? or ?In my heart I believe so and so is right? as opposed to saying ?So and so says ______ and I filtered it through and tested it by God?s Word...?)

Mark Baker

commented on May 4, 2012

Also, Josh, it seems a pattern for you of ?straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel.? I appreciate wanting to understand the finer points, etc, but you seem to quibble over a minor point while not addressing many, many major points that I have made (how an inaccurate or low view of Scripture leads to heresy, a ?different gospel? ... like Marcus Borg). I?m not saying that we cannot ask questions concerning smaller issues, but you easily get sidetracked from THE issues (and get us sidetracked as well). All that to say I?d appreciate it if you clearly and fully addressed the many main points that I have brought up.

Mark Baker

commented on May 4, 2012

Josh, you have called me deceived and a deceiver (I ?twist? God?s Word). I would (respectfully, if that is possible?) say the same of you due to what you have written here (I am not saying you are intentionally doing so). I do not take offense at your accusation; it is a somewhat logical conclusion of how your beliefs differ from mine. That is why I believe the same of you (mainly that you are deceived). There are many ?fine-sounding arguments? (Col 2:4) (FSA?s) that deceive many people. For example, ?All truth is God?s truth? or ?if it works it must be true? (i.e. pragmatism) or ?You have to love yourself before you can love others? or ?God is too big for one book? or ?You are trying to limit God? or ?God?s truth does not have to be defended? (Jude 3; Eph 6; 2 Cor 10:3-5; Phil 1:27-28). I say this, Josh, because I believe you have fallen for many of FSA?s--and, therefore, are deceived (it can be argued that we are all deceived on some level). For example, your example or proof for God speaking the truth to you was deceiving (not that it was not a true event in and of itself). It was an experience you had that seemed to ?work.? (Another person?s experience is difficult, if not impossible, to prove or disprove some biblical or proposed idea). I don?t doubt your story, I?m sure it is true if you say it is (although I have some problems with it). I also believe that God can do, and has done, things like this (but I still have doubts of the long-term efficacy of this or wisdom in your example and I think it unwise and wrong to rely on mystical ?knowledge?). Nevertheless, even if it were true and efficacious it does not prove mystical communication with God is right, true, or biblical; yet you seem to be using this as proof. Would Satan not perform miraculous ?signs and wonders? in order to deceive? Would a deceiver not build confidence in their ?deceivee? by giving them something good to believe in? (e.g. Ponzie schemes) Will there not be many people who--through many things that were SEEMINGLY of God--will be deceived, told to depart from Jesus, and called ?evil doers?? (Matt 7:21-23; 2 Cor 11:13-15) I would suggest that we all become more ?aware? (2 Cor 2:11) of Satan?s schemes of deception. I hope this young lady comes to know and love God, but it does not prove anything (except, possibly, that mysticism is not good). You are ignoring the herd of elephants in the ?comment room.? Mysticism always starts off good (and, no, mysticism is not what Paul was writing about), but always ends up in deception and destruction (Prov 14:12). Please, don?t rely, Josh, on what seems to work, or FSA?S, or if something feels like it is from God. Deceivers and deception does not come to your door and announce ?I am here to deceive you, so be prepared and do you best to not fall for my subtle schemes.? Deceivers always add something ?good? in order to entice or seduce us, yet we tend to argue based on the ?good? parts. ?When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was GOOD FOR FOOD and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.? You still have not addressed the admitted evil and dangers that chief mystic in the church Richard Foster warns us against. Why teach and urge people to go into a ?dark? spiritual realm that has evil spirits? Why should we have to pray against evil spirits before we practice some New Age/Hindu technique?

Mark Baker

commented on May 4, 2012

Josh, you have called me deceived and a deceiver (I ?twist? God?s Word). I would (respectfully, if that is possible?) say the same of you due to what you have written here (I am not saying you are intentionally doing so). I do not take offense at your accusation; it is a somewhat logical conclusion of how your beliefs differ from mine. That is why I believe the same of you (mainly that you are deceived). There are many ?fine-sounding arguments? (Col 2:4) (FSA?s) that deceive many people. For example, ?All truth is God?s truth? or ?if it works it must be true? (i.e. pragmatism) or ?You have to love yourself before you can love others? or ?God is too big for one book? or ?You are trying to limit God? or ?God?s truth does not have to be defended? (Jude 3; Eph 6; 2 Cor 10:3-5; Phil 1:27-28). I say this, Josh, because I believe you have fallen for many of FSA?s--and, therefore, are deceived (it can be argued that we are all deceived on some level). For example, your example or proof for God speaking the truth to you was deceiving (not that it was not a true event in and of itself). It was an experience you had that seemed to ?work.? (Another person?s experience is difficult, if not impossible, to prove or disprove some biblical or proposed idea). I don?t doubt your story, I?m sure it is true if you say it is (although I have some problems with it). I also believe that God can do, and has done, things like this (but I still have doubts of the long-term efficacy of this or wisdom in your example and I think it unwise and wrong to rely on mystical ?knowledge?). Nevertheless, even if it were true and efficacious it does not prove mystical communication with God is right, true, or biblical; yet you seem to be using this as proof. Would Satan not perform miraculous ?signs and wonders? in order to deceive? Would a deceiver not build confidence in their ?deceivee? by giving them something good to believe in? (e.g. Ponzie schemes) Will there not be many people who--through many things that were SEEMINGLY of God--will be deceived, told to depart from Jesus, and called ?evil doers?? (Matt 7:21-23; 2 Cor 11:13-15) I would suggest that we all become more ?aware? (2 Cor 2:11) of Satan?s schemes of deception. I hope this young lady comes to know and love God, but it does not prove anything (except, possibly, that mysticism is not good). You are ignoring the herd of elephants in the ?comment room.? Mysticism always starts off good (and, no, mysticism is not what Paul was writing about), but always ends up in deception and destruction (Prov 14:12). Please, don?t rely, Josh, on what seems to work, or FSA?S, or if something feels like it is from God. Deceivers and deception does not come to your door and announce ?I am here to deceive you, so be prepared and do you best to not fall for my subtle schemes.? Deceivers always add something ?good? in order to entice or seduce us, yet we tend to argue based on the ?good? parts. ?When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was GOOD FOR FOOD and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.? You still have not addressed the admitted evil and dangers that chief mystic in the church Richard Foster warns us against. Why teach and urge people to go into a ?dark? spiritual realm that has evil spirits? Why should we have to pray against evil spirits before we practice some New Age/Hindu technique?

Mark Baker

commented on May 4, 2012

Mr. Villegas, I wrote to you days ago but--due to my ongoing incompetence and maddening interaction with the technology of this website--I have not been able to post it. After many tries I just let it go... but I decided, after your later posts, to attempt to re-post it. Here it goes (but I?ll have to try it spurts): Fernando, thanks for your observations and concern about this forum. You wrote: ?...I think you've been unfair to him (Josh). Why are you so obsessed with trying to get him inside some pre-determined category you have of "emergent-church/postmodernism/whatever"? Why not simply listen to what he's actually saying and engage with his actual arguments? And if that's too difficult for you, then why not just let him comment and then leave it at that? By prejudging him based on some category you think he fits in, you've read more into his comments than is actually there.?... I am sorry to hear that you went thru a troubling time (apparently with what John M wrote). I appreciate your concern and desire for it to be a place of grace. I agree with that sentiment, but I don?t exactly see that going on here, at least in a significant way. But if I am wrong somewhere then please show me what I have done. I would suggest that perhaps you (or others) have read too much into what is said.

Mark Baker

commented on May 4, 2012

I must say, Fernando, one could easily argue that you have judged and condemned me (inaccurately and ironically). You asserted that ... I have not been fair, or given grace, or have not listen, or have been ?obsessed,? or that I did not ?engage with his actual arguments.? I would (again, ironically) state that he has not fully engaged in my responses, questions, or ?arguments? (especially the mystical parts). Nevertheless, when a generalized judgment and false condemnation and demand was thrown out (and confirmed, which seems clearly toward me) that I ?quit trying to put a limit God,? I did not hear any protests to that false judgment (Note: I did not take great offense to it). Did I not answer and clarify that false assertion? Did I do with a lack of grace? Did I not give several clear explanations and show what my motives and thoughts were? Which of these were wrong? You asked ... ?Why are you so obsessed with trying to get him inside some pre-determined category you have of "emergent-church/postmodernism/whatever"?? ... I stated ... ?You clearly believe and are teaching the "emergent"/ "Postmodern" ideology.? ... This is true. It is a fact. What he is espousing and wrote of his beliefs fit in with PM, EC, etc (rejecting or undermining the atonement of Jesus, diminished view of God?s Word, etc). He may not believe in all of it (few people believe ALL of certain ideologies.) If he or you wrote that my beliefs clearly fit into _____, and it does, then that is a fact.

Mark Baker

commented on May 4, 2012

But notice that I repeatedly asked him to clarify this for himself. I asked this question ... ?But also I would ask that you openly tell people here your views of the emerging church and postmodernism?... and, to his credit, he did! (and confirmed he believes parts of them.) I also asked (when I was not sure who he was) ?Please, PLEASE just overtly tell us if you are now an ?emerging? or ?emergent? believer? This might cut through all of this for us.? .... Fernando, I am deeply concerned about him, you, me, others, ?our flock,? the church, being deceived, led astray, ?devoured,? and destroyed by false teachings (Jude 3; Phil 1:27; Acts 20:28-32). What, specifically, is wrong with that? Is that not a supremely high responsibility for us? (Ti 1:9-13) (Which, by the way, I am grieved that more have not spoken out.) Have I not gone to great lengths (yes, probably too long) to give reasoned responses backed with many references to Scripture? ... False teachings do fit into categories. I asked him to clarify for us what his views were on these categories of heresy in the church. Can you tell me what, exactly, I did wrong? I would not be offended if anyone asked me if I was a Baptist, Mormon, mystic, Muslim, etc; I guess I?m just not seeing the problem with that. If he is, or I am, a ?Calvinist? (or ________) then this fact may (but not always) help our dialogue. (If there is no category that fits you, then say that!) I?m glad he expressed his views.

Mark Baker

commented on May 4, 2012

We have engaged in a dialogue about ideas where we strongly disagree. But he did not shy away! Good for him (and others). I hope it is iron sharpening iron and that all of us will be corrected toward the truth (?Sanctify them by the truth, your Word is truth?). I am also glad you expressed your concern for this forum. Good! Please keep doing so. I, too, am concerned that whenever a couple of people dialogue then another person (or persons) seem to come in toward the end and judges and condemns any real or perceived judging ... and yet they seem not to realize how they defeated their own argument (e.g. by prejudging someone as prejudging someone else). I am not merely pointing a finger at you. I see this frequently whenever there is a disagreement, as if Christians or Christian leaders cannot (however imperfectly) argue, disagree, correct each other, etc.

Mark Baker

commented on May 4, 2012

Sean VZ, I am curious what you know about or think of the Lonnie Frisbee thing. I am curious how many CC pastors have heard his name at all.

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 4, 2012

Mark Baker, (1) You wrote: "as if Christians or Christian leaders cannot (however imperfectly) argue, disagree, correct each other, etc." Obviously, I do not believe that; but the WAY we argue, disagree, correct each other, etc., is important. In the end, Josh McDowell and I may not agree on the issue of the inspiration of the Bible. But I feel Josh understood my point of view, and I hope that he feels I understood his point of view. And in fact, we discovered that there were areas where we did agree. Now, Josh can speak for himself as to who here has yet really understood what he has been trying to say. (2) My initial comment was #39. As of right now there have been 155 comments. I would hardly call that coming in toward the end to judge and condemn any real or perceived judging. (3) Speaking of that, I was not judging you. This is what I wrote: "I THINK you've been unfair to him." That was not a statement of judgement. It was my perception of how the conversation between you and Josh had gone up to that point. If you felt judged or condemned by my perception, I'm sorry, but I can't do anything about that. Oh, and by the way, when you wrote: "yet they seem not to realize how they defeated their own argument (e.g. by prejudging someone as prejudging someone else)," I didn't feel judged or condemned, so let's put that cycle to rest."

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 4, 2012

(4) I wrote: "Why are you so obsessed with trying to get him inside some pre-determined category you have of 'emergent-church/postmodernism/whatever'?" And there was a reason for why I made that observation. In your very first response to Josh, you brought up the "emergent church", although Josh never said anything about that. Then you kept asking him in post # 14, and again in #39 to be open about his views on postmodernism and the emergent church. That was the basis for my observation that you were being obsessive. Dude, the guy didn't want to answer that question. Get over it! Not to mention that you took a book that someone else mentioned (not Josh)--which may not have even been the book that the other person was thinking about--and used it to "connect some dots" concerning what Josh believed, equating Josh's premise with some author's, who may or may not have been the author referred to, who was not even referred to by Josh at all!!! And the only time Josh mentioned postmodernism or the emergent church was in the post right after you asserted that "You clearly believe and are teaching the 'emergent'/ 'Postmodern' ideology," where he wrote: "I'm neither postmodern nor emergent." That's when I realized about you, that you were so busy responding to who you THOUGHT Josh was, that you never took the time actually to listen to what he was saying! This was the reason for my observation that you were unfair and obsessed with categorizing him rather than listening to him. And hence, #39 was my comment. I appreciate your concern for what I wrote, and I hope this has helped you understand where I was coming from when I wrote what I did. (5) By the way, the reason for why Josh may not have addressed adequately some of your questions or concerns is because a lot of what you have said (at least from my point of view) has had very little to do with what he's been trying to say. You've been talking AT him, you've been talking TO him, but I don't get the impression that you've been talking WITH him. In my experience, this "iron sharpening iron" that you've mentioned happens much more easily when you talk WITH someone, rather than TO or AT someone. (5) One more thought: #39 was the only comment I directed to you. Since then, you have posted about 30 or so additional comments. So I don't think my words in #39 did much to inhibit the conversation between you and Josh. Also, of course you are free to disagree, correct others, argue, whatever. By all means, continue to do so, as you have obviously been doing so since I wrote to you last week. You're even free to be unfair and obsessive, if you want! All I'm saying is, the quality of our conversations here will depend on our willingness to hear each other out and to agree or disagree based on what the other person is actually saying, not what we think they're saying. How edifying this conversation becomes is totally up to us.

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 4, 2012

Corrections: the posts where you insisted that Josh be open about his views were #14 and #37(not 39). Also, there's not supposed to be a closed quote after "rest" at the end of #156.

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 4, 2012

One more correction :( The second point #5 is supposed to be point #6.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Mark Baker: I don't know where to respond. If I called you a deceiver I'm sorry, I've obviously offended you and we'll not get anywhere if you are defensive. Please forgive me. Some of the authors you've quoted... I've never heard of, so I don't really know what you are talking about there. I'm not emergent, I don't know what postmodern means really. So I can't say if I fit well in any of those boxes. You've mentioned the atonement a couple of times, are we defining the word atonement the same? Was it you I asked about the Penal substitutionary / satisfaction view of the atonement, or was that someone else. I'm assuming that you've been taught that view all your life too and maybe you aren't aware of the origin of that view of the atonement. If you are implying that I'm espousing a new doctrine, and you really need to study Anselm and church history, because I'm willing to view the atonement and consider the views the earliest church fathers had of the atonement and you aren't willing to think about anything except or even discuss anything except the view that originated late in the 11th century and grew into a horrible mess in the reformation days.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Fernando Villegas: your name made me wonder about where you are from. I'm from North Carolina, I'm about an hour from Charlotte... home of the worst NBA record in history! LOL

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Mark Baker: You seem to want me to answer something that I haven't... but I don't see any questions that I've failed to answer. Give me a question... one at a time, and without a ton of commentary and I'll give you as straight of an answer as I can. My head is spinning as I try to think what you've asked that I haven't answered.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Mark, I'm not big on proof texting... so when you say something and put a book, chapter, and verse after it, I'm not going to look up all those references and I've not memorized them. I don't see the bible as a law book, that say something and add a reference is a legal writing style. I've stopped working that way. Try just talking and if you have a verse of scripture that you want to talk about or a passage, just quote one at a time so we don't get lost in words.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Mark what are FSA's?

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Is the Bible THE superlative Authority?? ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is this type of ridiculous talk that make atheist and agnostics laugh at bible thumping religious folks, no one here lives by the book. Do you live in a "all things in common" lifestyle? Do you allow women to speak in church? I hope so. Do you own a few slaves? Surely not. Do you say that if a man rapes a women he should stay married to her? I hope not. Do you argue that if she didn't scream out... oh I'll stop, surely you get the point.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Is it God's Word? It contains God's words, it is about the Word of God, Jesus, and it is written by man. Sometimes those men put their names in the letters or books. Other times they (like the lady who wrote Hebrews, who didn't use their names because they wouldn't be well received if they did) sorry I'm not sure a woman wrote Hebrews and I don't guess that's worth mentioning, but I'm assuming there are some misogynistic jerks here who need to hear that possibility. The bible is a reliable collection of documents! I love my bible, I don't worship it.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

THE superlative Authority is GOD! Wake up, Mark.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Mark asked, Is the Bible sufficient, or insufficient? Mark if the bible were sufficient we wouldn't need the Spirit. But more importantly, God wants to interact with man. You are afraid to have a relationship with God because of your belief in the devil, demons and evil spirits. Is is possible that you have faith in a book and faith in demons, and faith in evil spirits but you are lacking in faith in God. Can't He, GOD, protect us from evil spirits if He wants to have a relationship with us?

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Mark Baker said: "Is the Bible sufficient? (i.e. we don?t ?need? or require extra-biblical sources for ?life and godliness?; that we have ?everything we need? for these in Scripture alone) If it is not, then where is it deficient?" Let's think this through a bit, God wants us to know Him, life and godliness aren't the point they are the by-product of KNOWING GOD! Jesus didn't come so that we could live better lives, Jesus came so that we could be free from the power of sin, and free from the problem of shame so that we could KNOW HIM!!! The natural by-product of knowing Him - is LIFE AI?NIOS ZOE LIFE... godliness is the natural by-product of AIONIOS ZOE life, when I know Him and know that I am infinitely loved, I lean into relationship with Him and in that process I become more godly by accident. His yoke (Jesus' teaching as a Rabbi) is easy, His burden is LIGHT!

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Mark Baker said: "Because, as I mentioned before, when we see God?s Word (the Bible) lacking then we, understandably, will seek other sources to make up for the (perceived) deficiencies in Scripture. These sources are replete with problems, impurity, dangers, and deception (e.g. man?s wisdom; psychology; mysticism; ?church growth principles?)." Notice specifically your words Mark where you said, "These sources are replete with problems..." now tell me what the problem is with this plan: "But we have the mind of Christ." ? That seems to me to be a pretty full-proof plan, God lives in us. Here's what I think, Mark... I think you have the mind of Christ, but you are ignoring that because you've been taught to ignore His voice and focus more on what you can prove with a "proof text." Let's relax for one second about what we might be teaching, Jesus was pretty clear when He said don't call anyone on earth your teacher... and consider what we might be missing by not wanting to talk to and relate to GOD! If we talk to Him, we'll know better how to meet needs in a world where people need to know God.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Mark Baker said: "If we decide that it is NOT the supreme standard and authority then we have chosen some other standard and authority (competing counsel or authority), which, when you get right down to it, it is ?me? and my feelings and intuition or what I choose to be true or best (?I feel like God is saying _____? or ?I have decided that Buddha or Freud or _____ is right? or ?In my heart I believe so and so is right? as opposed to saying ?So and so says ______ and I filtered it through and tested it by God?s Word...?)" I filter everything through my understanding of scripture, but I don't have to believe that scripture is God to do so. I filter what I hear from God through my understanding of what other believers I know say, I filter what I hear from God through what I know of past believers, I filter what I hear from God through many filters, if what I believe I hear from God doesn't line up with something I've been taught I pray more, I ask more, I listen more, if what I believe God is saying isn't illegal or immoral, I try to obey. If what I believe God is saying is immoral or illegal, I think I would be so shocked that I would freeze and be unable to do much of anything for a moment or a season. I've not experienced that.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Now Mark Baker, I feel like a jerk who has just posted 12 times in a row. I did this so that you would see that I am not trying to ignore your questions... I'm trying to be honest and fair with you. I really believe you know Christ and He loves you and you have His mind, but you are avoiding Him by only focusing on the letters and books you have about Him. Imagine sitting in the room with your new bride on your honeymoon and she wants to talk to you, and hold your hand and look into your eyes, but you ask her to please be quite because talking is the way whores and prostitutes seduce men. You say, now that we are married honey, I'm only going to read your love letters and your journal and the words others have written about you! God loves you and sent His Spirit to earth so that you could commune with Him! Don't close yourself off in the bathroom to read the Bible on your honeymoon!

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 4, 2012

Mark Baker, This is my last post for the night, I'll try to come back asap for your response. Would you since, I've done my best to be honest and answer your questions.. answer one for me? Here is that question... Is it possible that you are a victim of time? Could it be that your only understanding of the atonement is based in the teaching of Anselm, Calvin, Luther, etc? Would you consider the possibility that you aren't aware that your theology of the atonement is the new teaching that was "emergent" in the 11th - 16th centuries? Would you consider the other views of the atonement, like the Christus Victor view, the Ransom view, the moral influence view, the mirror view, etc. and how those compare to the view you as a protestant view the atonement? I'm not a Catholic, and I'm thankful for the protestant reformation, but I don't think we would be wise to "institutionalize" all the beliefs of the reformers. Please, as I've attempted... answer what I've asked you. I personally subscribe to the belief that the atonement was so great and so wonderful that we can't totally describe it, because it was bigger and better than we can comprehend.. it doesn't fit totally into any single explanation, but I know this... God isn't defined by feudalism and the feudal system... He is bigger than that!

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 4, 2012

Josh McDowell, well, it was a shortened season...maybe you can find some solace in that! :D

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 4, 2012

By the way, I was born in Texas, but my parents are from Mexico. Hence the name! :)

Mark Baker

commented on May 7, 2012

Fernando, WOW! I don't know how we can be so far apart from our understanding of what has transpired. You seem to have an entirely different version of events as I do. Be that as it may, I'm still not sure how or why you cannot see how you judged and condemned me (i.e. "prejudged" me), and did so inaccurately as I showed, and yet you continue to do so. I'm all for people making (wise) judgements (i.e. discernment... "Krino") so I'm not necessarily upset with your judgments of me (apart from the inaccuracy of them). Yet, again, you prejudged me for prejudging and condemned me for what you accused me of ... AND yet you still see no problem with that. Also, you claimed you did not judge me because you said "I THINK you are ___" That is like me saying "Fernando, I THINK you are a idiot!" (I don't, for the record) and then saying, "What's the problem? I said I 'think,' not that you are an idiot." Really? Again, I appreciate you attempting to help here and putting your thoughts here. I even appreciate your judgements, but please don't judge and condemn others and (seemingly) judging others. That's all I'm asking.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 7, 2012

Mark, I guess it is easier to fight with Fernando than to actually consider his advice or to actually answer a question from me. Who complained and complained that I wouldn't give you a straight answer, but I think I've attempted to answer your questions, but you've not done the same. Oh well, have a good week. I pray that you are filled with grace and able to easily display it for others this week.

Mark Baker

commented on May 7, 2012

Josh, I'm a little surprised by your remarks... "Mark, I guess it is easier to fight with Fernando than to actually consider his advice or to actually answer a question from me. Who complained and complained that I wouldn't give you a straight answer, but I think I've attempted to answer your questions, but you've not done the same." I hope you can see how you proved my points (at least regarding Fernando). Who is fighting? That is quite a judgement (inaccurately, I might add). With this forum of communicating it is easy to read into, or misread someone's communication. Yet, it seems, you have jumped to a worse case judgment of me and my intent. I don't know what to say. ... Also, you (MIS)judged me again regarding me writing back to you. I have been trying for a while to write but am running into my usual "You comments cannot be deleted" message. Therefore, I am delayed in my response to you (as I was, earlier, to Fernando). Yet you have "prejudged" me in this regard. Hopefully I will post it. I have tried in several ways and several times to no avail.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 7, 2012

Sorry, Mark... but I didn't think I was jumping to conclusions since you were able to respond but still not with an answer, or even with an IDK. I had the same problem posting in the past - I think the key is... multiple shorter posts, not real long ones. Also, you almost have to only type here... cutting and pasting sometimes causes the problem.

Mark Baker

commented on May 7, 2012

I guess, Josh, to write in spurts (like I had to before): .... Josh, you are a MACHINE. I don?t know how you can write so much so fast. I tip my hat to you. Boy, in someways it seems we are not that far apart, but ultimately and in reality I think our beliefs are polar opposites. To top it off, we seem to be struggling to effectively communicate (I fully confess my many weaknesses in this area). I thought I was clear that I was not offended (yet you believe I am). It is a logical conclusion that you believe I am deceived (or deceivING if I am teaching the wrong beliefs). At least one of us is deceived and, if we are teaching, we are deceiving. I?m confident in the accuracy of my beliefs just as you seem to be in yours. Great! I may not come across this way, but I write what I do out of love... a concern for you, the truth, and how accurately we know God and the truth. I appreciate your answering my questions, but I did not expect you to (you went above and beyond the call).

Mark Baker

commented on May 7, 2012

I merely posed those as benchmark questions, or the more powerful and pivotal questions we all need to decide on (hopefully accurately). I hope you (or anyone else STILL reading) realize that if a person decides that just one part is errant, man-made, etc then ALL of Scripture is now in doubt (see ?Did God really say...?). That is why false teachings are preceded by doubt and minimization of Scripture! (Subtly, of course). To me, Josh, this is what I see you doing. As I often pose to people, ?Which one--if forced--would you rather have teach your church, a Satanist or a Mormon?? The point is that far fewer solid Christians will fall for the more obvious contrast of something like Satanism (or atheism) as opposed to something more subtle and that sounds like and is ?closer? to biblical Christianity (emerging church). You, sir, as I have mentioned before, are on the more subtle path (the way that ?seems right?) and, therefore, I am deeply concerned for you and your loved ones. I see many of the same problems in your approach as in Genesis 3.

Mark Baker

commented on May 7, 2012

As mentioned before, there are many patterns of deception (particularly in Gen 3), and they ALWAYS MUST DOUBT, MINIMIZE, OR REMOVE God?s Word (at least in the hearts of the potential deceivee). This is THE number one ploy of deceivers and the deceived. It is still possible to deceive, but it is much more difficult with a 100 objective, authoritative Standard to judge our assertions and beliefs. You believe I am wrong with my view of Scripture (e.g. that I worship it, etc). Yet I believe that the pattern for deceived and deceiver is to not only undermine or cast doubt on Scripture (i.e. The Bible), but to do so SUBTLY (the serpent was more ?subtle...? or ?cunning?) Satan did not say something as overt like, ?Don?t believe God. He is lying. His word is wrong. YOU have the wrong understanding of his word....? But notice that he did actually say precisely this, but it was very, very, cunning and subtle! We tend to spot the obvious errors and pat ourselves on the back... and then miss the wolves in sheep?s clothing.

Mark Baker

commented on May 7, 2012

Josh, the way you talk about the Bible grieves me. It is a very effective way to subtly, not overtly or all at once, to gradually lessen and eventually destroy a person?s view and belief concerning the truth of Scripture. You see me as deceived and/or deceiving (a logical conclusion), fair enough, but I see eerie parallels in your words and approach with the patterns in the Fall. You are subtly, not so much overtly, DOUBTING THE BIBLE (?I love the bible, but...? ?it is good library of books...?). You are lessening the Word (in your heart and the hearts of your ?hearers) when it is always exalted in Scripture (Ps 138:2).

Mark Baker

commented on May 7, 2012

You also, as is the pattern of deception, minimize or ignore the consequences of forsaking the sufficiency and partaking in mystical ?knowledge? of good and evil (?you will not surely die?). I could go on, but if you (or others) have not realized all this by now then no more words will help. I leave you with an illustration I gave another pastor (in a different context, but he finally relented). Imagine you are going to have a picnic for your church and you have a choice between two parks. One is 100 safe. It is full of blessings and (essentially) everything you need. The other park has some ?good? stuff, but there are line mines through out. It is common knowledge that there is ?good and evil? there and that many people have been blown up while seeking the ?good.? Which one would you choose? It seems clear that, wittingly or not, you are asking all of us to leave the safe and abundant park and go over to the ?park of good and evil.? With this, I will read what you write but I cannot see me replying as perhaps both of us have spent FAR more time on this than we should have.

Mark Baker

commented on May 7, 2012

You deem it insufficient and, therefore, we NEED (just like Satan got Adam and Eve to believe they NEEDED) the mysterious ?tree of the knowledge of good and evil.? [Notice that ALL false teachers present a false NEED (i.e. that God, His Word, His death and resurrection, His grace is NOT sufficient. NEED implies insufficiency. You imply, at the very least, that we NEED to mystically (i.e. subjectively, intuitively) hear from God today or else we will be (severely) limited in our relationship with Him. I would say, if God does speak to us, then great, but it is NOT NEEDED for love, joy, peace, freedom, grace, blessings,...to know Him personally or intimately or to know His truth for life and godliness.] As a result, you then argue for the ?good? in the ?good and evil? and ignore or minimize the evil. How wise (or loving or biblical) is it to seek ?good? where you know there is evil and deception and destruction? Yet you are asking us to do precisely this!

Mark Baker

commented on May 7, 2012

You deem it insufficient and, therefore, we NEED (just like Satan got Adam and Eve to believe they NEEDED) the mysterious ?tree of the knowledge of good and evil.? [Notice that ALL false teachers present a false NEED (i.e. that God, His Word, His death and resurrection, His grace is NOT sufficient. NEED implies insufficiency. You imply, at the very least, that we NEED to mystically (i.e. subjectively, intuitively) hear from God today or else we will be (severely) limited in our relationship with Him. I would say, if God does speak to us, then great, but it is NOT NEEDED for love, joy, peace, freedom, grace, blessings,...to know Him personally or intimately or to know His truth for life and godliness.] As a result, you then argue for the ?good? in the ?good and evil? and ignore or minimize the evil. How wise (or loving or biblical) is it to seek ?good? where you know there is evil and deception and destruction? Yet you are asking us to do precisely this!

Mark Baker

commented on May 7, 2012

Sorry for the truncated responses... I don't know how many times I have sworn off writing here. Perhaps this has put me over the threshold.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 7, 2012

Mark, comparing what you think I am wrong about to Genesis 3 is an error in logic. The serpent was arguing about God's words, and the serpent was misquoting God. In this case, Genesis 3 would be a better point for me than you. I'm arguing - listen to God, Himself. The whole reason Jesus went away was so that you could talk to God yourself, remember the whole Pentecost thing? You are arguing that we don't need to hear from God we just need to read a book. You are then taking the words recorded in individual books and letters within the bigger library (it is a library whether compiling the books was God's idea or man's idea) and applying them to a library that didn't exist at the time. It is just like believe the wise men came in a Honda Accord because the bible says they came in one accord.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 7, 2012

My question was real, I'd love you to answer it if you would. Is it possible that you are a victim of time? Could it be that your only understanding of the atonement is based in the teaching of Anselm, Calvin, Luther, etc? Would you consider the possibility that you aren't aware that your theology of the atonement is the new teaching that was "emergent" in the 11th - 16th centuries? Would you consider the other views of the atonement, like the Christus Victor view, the Ransom view, the moral influence view, the mirror view, etc. and how those compare to the way you as a protestant view the atonement? I'm not a Catholic, and I'm thankful for the protestant reformation, but I don't think we would be wise to "institutionalize" all the beliefs of the reformers. Please, as I've attempted... answer what I've asked you. I personally subscribe to the belief that the atonement was so great and so wonderful that we can't totally describe it, because it was bigger and better than we can comprehend.. it doesn't fit totally into any single explanation, but I know this... God isn't defined by feudalism and the feudal system... He is bigger than that! I know this seems like two topics, but they are hinges of the same... you'll see I think if you consider my question.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 7, 2012

Mark, wow you are stubborn. You ignore logic and don't even pretend to think about obvious error in your points. Good night, I see you are done here. I'll say it one more time, I love the bible and I believe it is a reliable collection of historical documents. I believe it is what it says it is... not what man has decided to call it. I believe every word God says, and I will never discount what God says. I don't believe every written word is God's. You shouldn't either. You should really consider the possibility that you believe tradition and the beliefs of the reformers more than you believe the actual message of Jesus! He came so that we could have life and have it more abundantly not so that we could have a great love letter / law book. You actually wrote that hearing from God is not needed for love, joy, grace, freedom, etc.... I stand in total shock that you are worried about me and you say that you don't need to hear from God. I need to hear from God everyday! You do too, I pray that you will someday choose to listen to His voice and see where that takes you. If you are afraid that you'll be led off into some cult behavior then that is simply a lack of faith... God can protect you and He (like always) wants to speak directly to us... Don't be like the people who told Moses to talk to God on their behalf... talk to Him yourself. Good night, God bless you.

Fernando Villegas

commented on May 7, 2012

Mark Baker, you wrote: "That is like me saying 'Fernando, I THINK you are a idiot!' (I don't, for the record) and then saying, 'What's the problem? I said I 'think,' not that you are an idiot." No, that is not the same. Saying that I think you were unfair to someone, and presenting you with the reasons for why I made that observation, is absolutely not the same as saying you think I'm an idiot (spare me that whole "I don't, for the record" excuse--if you didn't think it, you wouldn't have written it). That was uncalled for, and unChristlike. I see there is no use in us discussing anything further.

Josh Mcdowell

commented on May 8, 2012

Here's another thought for anyone reading... In Matthew 5 Jesus mentions fulfilling the law, and then He goes on to make it clear what He was talking about... Anyway, now we know what law Jesus was coming to fulfill, but He also hints to what laws He wasn't coming to fulfill. Look at verse 38, notice that Jesus says, "You've heard it said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." Then Jesus turns that logic around totally, instead of treating that law like the others He basically changes the rules there completely and says, "don't hit back, give them more than they covet of you, if they try to steal from you give them a gift to go along with their booty." Understand that the idea "eye for eye, tooth for a tooth" was and still is Old Testament scripture. Look up Exodus 21, Leviticus 24, and Deuteronomy 19 if you doubt. As I read Jesus' words I thought to myself maybe even here Jesus wasn't changing the law, but making it more clear. Maybe the eye for an eye thing in the Old Testament was limiting the amount of punishment a person could get, instead of directing that amount of punishment. Maybe the Old Testament eye for an eye, was really meant to say, you can't use the death sentence for a cut off hand, limit the punishment to an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth. But when I read Deuteronomy 19:21 I see that it isn't that, "Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." So Jesus seems to me, to be saying... obey the commandments, but some of the added laws were misunderstood and we applied them wrong... He also says that not all oral tradition is accurate either when He mentions the unwritten hate your enemy talk...

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