Thursday, November 29, 2007

Jesus vs. Giuliani

During last nights CNN/YouTube Republican debate in St. Petersburg, Florida, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was asked, regarding the Bible, “Do you believe every word of this Book?” Giuliani’s reply was as follows:

"The reality is, I believe it, but I don't believe it necessarily literally true in every single respect," said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is Catholic. "I think there are parts of the Bible that are interpretive; I think there are parts of the Bible that are allegorical; I think there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be interpreted in a modern context. I don't believe every single thing in the literal sense of Jonah being in the belly of the whale," he added. [1]

Interestingly enough, Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Mormon, when asked the same question answered:

"Yeah, I believe it's the Word of God," Romney said. "I might interpret the Word differently than you interpret the Word, but I read the Bible and I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I don't disagree with the Bible. I try and live by it." [2]

Giuliani and Romney are certainly correct when they quip that “the Bible is interpretive” or “I might interpret the Word differently than you interpret the Word,” however, I want to know what the RIGHT interpretation is!

The danger of Giuliani and Romney’s comments is that they can imply, to the honest seeker of truth, that God has not made things clear or that truth is what you want it to be.

If the God of the Bible does indeed exist (and we have good reason to believe He does), then it’s completely rational to believe that He is able to preserve and provide us with a trustworthy account of His plan for mankind and redemption.

It is a common misconception that the Bible we have today is a translation of a translation (on and on) and as a result, inaccurate. However, when on considers the findings of archeology, this misconception crumbles. Year after year we find more copies of original manuscripts from earlier dates. There are even fragments that date to the time of the apostles’ death, long before there were “translations.” The modern translations we have today can be compared and confirmed with the early Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. [3]

Jesus authenticated the Old Testament (OT) accounts time after time. He referred to Adam, Jonah, Moses, etc. as historical figures and not imaginary friends. Jesus was telling the truth or lying. He believed it or He had no clue what He was talking about. As C.S. Lewis said, “He was Lord, a Liar, or a Lunatic.” Jesus’ view of the OT was total trust. Jesus was a “Biblical literalist.” Perhaps it would be a more logical decision to trust the words of Jesus.

It is often said that “the Bible can be interpreted so many different ways and everyone reads it differently.” There are certainly issues in the Bible that are difficult to study without considering culture, context, and the what, why, who, when, and how questions that you would use while studying any other historical text, however, the main issue has been made VERY clear: “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; But the wrath of God abides on him”
(John 3:36, NKJV).

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, when asked the same questioned regarding the Bible, answered much the same way as I firmly believe Jesus would:

"It's the Word of revelation to us from God Himself," Huckabee said. "The fact is when people ask if you believe all of it, you either believe it or you don't believe it." [5]

With Jesus, there is no middle ground:

“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 'I know your deeds that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:14-16, NASB).

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad A. Gross

Resources:

1) Joe Kovacs, Giuliani: Jonah of the Bible not Really Swallowed, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=58938, Nov. 2007.
2) Ibid., Nov. 2007.
3) Glenn Miller, http://www.christianthinktank.com/thumbs.html, thumbs #5. For further study, see Lee Strobel’s The Case For Christ.
4) Josh McDowell and Don Steward, “How did Jesus view the Old Testament,” Reasons Skeptics should consider Christianity.
5) Ibid., Nov. 2007.

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