September 9

Mark 5-6, Psalm 97

The Bible is comprised of 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over a period of 1600 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents, yet no contradictions. Yet skeptics like to claim the Bible is both irrelevant and out of touch with our current state and full of contradictions. A number of years ago in a popular TV series, called the West Wing, which I never watched, there was a scene which attacked the credibility of the Bible. In it President Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, launches into Dr. Laura Schlesinger, conservative, right-wing religious radio talk show host for her calling homosexuality an abomination. He goes on to ask how much he can get by selling his daughter into slavery, quoting Exodus 21:7. Then asked if he should kill his chief of staff for insisting on working on the Sabbath, quoting Exodus 35:2. Then asks if all football should be banned since no one is allowed to touch a dead pig, quoting Leviticus 11:7. Then asks if he should stone his brother for planting different crops side by side or burn his mother for wearing a garment made from two different threads, also quoting the Bible. In the show the talk show host was beaten into silence by the clever Biblical presentation by the president. Television viewers, who for the most part are Biblically illiterate, were left believing the Bible is no longer relevant.

In Mark 5:2, we meet a demon possessed man who was unable to be bound. In Matthew 8:28, same encounter but different author, we read it was 2 demon-possessed men. In Luke 8:26-29, the same encounter now has one demon possessed man who was kept under guard. Placing the resurrection account side by side also gives different emphasis over the events surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. Skeptics like to point this out as contradictions, but all of these differences are not difficult to account for. Bill O'Reilly shortly before he was taken off of Fox made a similar comment about all of the contradictions in the Bible. If 3 different eye witnesses saw the same accident from 3 different vantage points they would give 3 slightly different accounts. This actually screams of authenticity and not corroboration. In our recent election, every morning every politician and news anchor made the exact same comments using the exact same phrases. These talking points which obviously originated from one central source screams of a lack of authenticity. In the story above with the man from the Gadarenes, there were obviously 2 men, under guard of which one did all the talking. No contradiction, just different emphasis.

There is a theological term called Hypostatic union which explains how Jesus was both 100% God and 100% man. We could state that the Bible is 100% man and 100% Holy Spirit. This is so important because God desires unity, not uniformity in believers. We, his church, come from different backgrounds, have had different life experiences and therefore may apply Scripture slightly differently. Even in the same person at different stages of their life, they may apply or emphasize certain parts of Scripture differently. The important thing is to study the entirety of Scripture. In the West Wing encounter above, the woman was rendered speechless. The argument used by the president was contorted and taken out of context and would be easy to refute if we are knowledgeable about the whole Bible. May we all continue through the One Year Bible Challenge and apply His Word to our lives continually.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster