This is part five of a multi-part series on “He Has Spoken,” a study published by the Colson Center. This post discusses the forth presentation and discussion in the five lesson DVD curriculum. The forth lecture and discussion are entitled “Not Ashamed: Trusting in the Power of Scripture.”
John Stonestreet opens this lecture with a discussion of Paul’s advice to Timothy to hold on to the Word of God. The Bible, as God’s Word, is trustworthy, stable and sure. It is the one thing we can hold on to in our turbulent times.
The Bible identifies not just the way our needs are met, but also the very needs we have. We do not go to ourselves and our “felt needs,’ but to the Word to identify our actual needs.
The Bible is true, and hence worthy of value. It is the “true story of the world.” It does not need to be made relevant, because it is supremely relevant.
I am reminded of John Piper. His ministry often reveals a lack of awareness of current societal trends, icons, books and music, but, he is single-mindedly focused on the Word of God. Far from making his many books and sermons irrelevant, this focus makes his ministry supremely relevant. His ministry has more impact because it is Scripture-saturated than it would ever have by being filled with cultural references.
Back to Stonestreet. The Bible does not avoid the evident reality of the human condition. We are not basically ok. We are not good. But God loves us so much that he “became one of us to bring us and the whole world to himself.” We would never know that we are loved by God without His revelation in the Bible.
We are called to be biblical. The Bible works because it always focuses our attention on something outside of us that is unchanging: a fixed point to which we can orient ourselves.
Stonestreet and T. M. Moore are involved in the discussion segment that accompanies this lecture. The topic is how to live in a culture that does not grant the authority of the Bible. We are challenged by a society that ignores us when we simply spout, “The Bible says…”
Moore relates an incident in which he was witnessing to a postmodern person and he drove home the point that there are moral absolutes by stealing the person’s pin and watching the reaction. He recommends finding ways to help unbelievers see problems their view of the world has by “drawing out the implications of it” with clear illustrations.
This is what Francis Schaeffer once called “taking the roof off.” Letting people see through illustration and experience that their views are flawed because we are unable to live with the implications of those views.
Back to Moore and Stonestreet. We must develop confidence in the Bible, and one of the best ways to generate this confidence is to share what the Bible says often. We have to practice talking to people until we get confident. We also gain confidence by seeing the Bible’s advice solve other people’s problems as well as our own.
The discussion turns to apologetics. Some are not comfortable with apologetics, giving a rational defense of the Christian faith, because it has a bad name. This bad name comes from apologetic’s reliance on human reason instead of directly relying on the Scriptures.
Moore points out that the Bible is easy to understand and very reasonable. After all, Jesus used logic and reason to engage His intellectual opponents. So did the Apostles. We can share what the Bible says and be confident that the Holy Spirit will use the message to change hearts.
Moore wants us to avoid and us and them mentality that says there is nothing in the world that is good. We can use the good things in the world, for example, laws against stealing, to illustrate the truth of Scripture. After all, why should we have laws on the books against stealing if the reality is that we all make our own values and morality? Laws against stealing do make sense in a biblical view, however.
We are all involved in culture, and we should all engage our culture with what the Bible teaches. This can be a family activity.
This lecture and discussion can be a valuable conversation starter for groups of Christians who want to make a difference in the world. It is not a full-blown apologetic, you can’t do that in ten minutes or so, but it does point someone in the right direction.