We believe the Bible to be the word of God we are comfortable with

“Give me that old time religion,” sung generations of southern and rural Christians in America.  It has a good sound to it—no need to get all modern and fancified.  No need to change it or modernize it.  It was good enough for those before me, so it is good enough for me. And it is just a great song to sing.  The leader shouts out a verse and the congregation repeats it followed by the chorus, as follows:

Leader: Makes me love everybody

Congregation:

Makes me love everybody

Makes me love everybody

Makes me love everybody

It’s good enough for me

Chorus:

Give me that old time religion

Give me that old time religion

Give me that old time religion

It’s good enough for me

Anything can comprise the verse, if it can be sung with the tune.

In Sgt. York, they sang a verse “It was good for the prophet Daniel.” This struck me as odd because whatever religion Daniel had, it sure wasn’t Christianity. So, I looked up the lyric of the original and it had this: “It was good for Hebrew children.” Same issue.

But, we sing it and singing affects belief: why change what has been forever, what God has ordained?

I then thought about the Bible—those who tend to sing this song tend to believe the Bible was written by God, that every word in it is true (Sgt. York said so also) and we challenge this belief at the risk of hellfire and damnation.

But which Bible? Not such a ridiculous question given that the most basic of accepted things, The Lord’s Prayer, is not consistent, and by this, I do not mean translation or word choices such as sin vs. debt vs. transgression (even though these differences are significant and meaningful), but in the nature of the words, the addition made to them in the Protestant Bible:

The English translation of the Latin Vulgate:

Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil

Protestants added the doxology: for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen.

Which is correct?

The Catholic has the so-called Apocrypha, the intertestimental books such as Maccabees, but the Protestant Bible excludes them.  About 2/3 of all Christians are Catholic—so is God misleading 2/3 of Christians? Are the God’s words or not?

How do we handle the infamous ending of Mark?  The original seems to have been before any mention of Jesus’ resurrection, at verse 8:

And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

The remainder is thought to have been added later, after doctrines requiring the resurrection were established.  Remember, Mark appears to have been the first Gospel written, and in addition to having no resurrection, there is no birth narrative.

Begs the question: How did these things we call scripture come to be bound in the collection we call a Bible?

The first rule for the New Testament was Apostolic Authority. So, why were the two Gospels of Thomas excluded, as well as Judas, Philip, Mary” Why are the acts of Paul included but the acts of Andrew excluded?

Must be more, and there is.

Next there is the odd concept that the book was used in churches. Sufficient evidence exists that Thomas’ Gospels were used in churches.

Next up is reference to them by Bishops. This is getting closer to the real answer, which is:

Doctrinal Orthodoxy

Yes, the primary issue was not who may or may not have written the book. Very few believe the actual followers of Jesus wrote anything we have in the Bible. Well, there are the writings of Paul, but during Jesus life, Paul was not a follower.

The primary issue was orthodoxy, gathering together of those in agreement and exclusion of the heretics, or creating a strong and unified doctrine and church.  Politics, pure and simple.

The personal doctrines of translators had to have had an effect: should “almah” be a young girl or a virgin?  Better check with developing doctrines.

What we believe today is what we believe today.  The past has some bearing, but thankfully, not a lot. Women are not generally thought to have to be subservient, slavery is no longer a God-Inspired institution, and so on.

We discard whole chapters of the Old Testament as irrelevant and try to ignore the uncomfortable sayings of Jesus, like when he condemns the wealthy and religious, when he consorts with prostitutes and criminals.

Sure, we say we love the sinner while hating the sin, but how many churches would welcome an openly practicing prostitute, in full battle gear—makeup, short skirt, high heels, transparent top—in their 8:00 AM service? If this long-haired unkempt guy wearing sandals and a robe walked in with her on his arm, would he be welcome? Would we take him and her to the church gathering at the local park with us or would we prefer they pretended and dressed the part?  Appearances, don’t you know.

 

 

Is this woman welcome?

 

 

We believe the Bible to be the word of God we are comfortable with.

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