I might as well spell out my views on the Bible early in the game here. Since the Bible is the basis of my Christianity, and my Christianity is the basis for my entire worldview, it would be helpful to explain exactly what I mean by that. My basic beliefs about the Bible are simple, but it would also be easy for others to draw some hasty conclusions about the way I apply the Bible.
The second question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism sums up the bottom line for me concerning the Bible:
Q2: What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him?
A2: The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.
Now, this might look like blind slavery to a three-hundred-and-sixty year old rule that was written by a bunch of stuffy white guys. Well, I’m certain that some people have that kind of blind obedience to ‘old school’. I’ve met some of them. Remember, though, I was not raised in the church, and my Christian background is of the sort that tends to scoff at anything between about the year 100 and the Azusa Street revival of 1906. In my studies of the Bible and Christian history over the last fifteen years in particular, in examining evidence and arguments both pro and con, I’ve come to the conclusion that those “stuffy white guys” were pretty smart.
So what does this mean for me in the real world?
(OK…I’ve had to back up and edit this a couple of times, because as soon as I got something written, I realized that there was a necessary prior step.)
First: there is a God. Again, the Westminster Shorter Catechism helps me to succinctly describe this God I believe in: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. That is my starting point. I’ve always believed in a God of some sort. I think that God exists. If anybody wants to challenge discuss the existence of God…well, that could be a future blog entry series. For now, let’s just use this as my starting point.
This God I believe in created the universe and everything in it, including us. Humans. This God who created us actually communicated with people, and people wrote down God’s words. The Scriptures, as originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, are reliably the words that God wanted us to know concerning God, humans, and how we relate to each other. We no longer have these original writings, but we do have reliable copies of them, and we have them reliably translated into most of the common languages on earth. None of these copies are perfect, but they are close enough that we can know with reasonable certainty what God wants us to know about God, humans, and how we relate to each other.