In 2006 Davis Guggenheim produced a documentary film of former vice-president Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about global warming (more recently referred to as climate change). The title of the documentary was “An Inconvenient Truth.” Regardless of one’s view about the subject matter of that documentary, it is a fact that the Bible sets forth truth that many find inconvenient and which they wish to evade or “explain away.”
In his “gracEmail” of November 11, 2015, Edward Fudge, a well-known teacher in some of the more liberal/progressive churches of Christ, set forth a list of books that he thought his recipients should consider reading. One of these carried the rather cumbersome title Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, And Why We All Need To Learn To Read The Bible Like Jesus Did, by Derek Flood. Edward’s email carried a brief review of the book by David Matthew, a British Bible teacher described by Edward as one “with whom I frequently share identical theological perspectives and a common approach to reading, interpreting, and applying the Bible.”
According to Matthew’s review of Flood’s book, “It looks at the way Jesus approached the OT writings and how selective he was in deliberately turning away from those parts that deal with God’s violencelike the ‘vengeance’ passages in the Prophets. Hence the word ‘disarming’ in the title. The author suggests that we should take the same approach ourselveswhich will have profound effects on the ‘mix’ of our overall message and the gospel we preach.” Matthew went on to say, “I personally found his (Flood’s, hf) approach deeply challenging as it furthered the hermeneutic-assessment process that I’ve been involved in for some time,” i.e., the way Matthew reads scripture. (For Matthew’s complete review of this book go here.)
What all of the above is saying is that when one encounters something in scripture that he finds repulsive, he should simply ignore it! According to those who take this approach to scripture, all such material falls into the category of fable, myth, or legend, and is not worthy of being attributed to God and those holy men of God who spoke and wrote by the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit (see II Peter 1:21).
The fact is, that many who profess faith in God and in the Bible as the word of God, nevertheless take an approach to scripture by which they eliminate (or explain away) everything that they find offensive or with which they disagree. Consider a few examples of such.
There are those (brother Fudge himself being one of them) who deny the Bible doctrine of conscious eternal punishment. According to them, what the Bible says about hell is an inconvenient truth that must be explained away.
The affirmation of Christ that only through Him is salvation possible is an inconvenient truth to Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and postmodernists who subscribe to “The Gospel According to Oprah.”
The New Testament truth that baptism is for (“eis” “in order to”) the remission of sins is an inconvenient truth for those who contend that one is saved from sin before and without baptism.
The New Testament teaching of immersion as the only acceptable way for baptism to occur is an inconvenient truth for those who defend and practice sprinkling and/or pouring as baptism, often on the grounds that their devout parents (or grandparents) were never immersed and “there is no way they could possibly be lost”!
Our Lord’s teaching that divorce and remarriage is permissible only on the grounds of the sexual unfaithfulness (fornication) of one’s husband or wife is an inconvenient truth for those who wish to divorce and remarry for whatever reason(s) they might choose.
The New Testament restriction on the role of women in the work and worship of the church is an inconvenient truth for those who are obsessed with political correctness, and they summarily dismiss the restriction on the grounds that it does not apply today.
The Bible doctrine of the singularity of the church and its undenominational nature is an inconvenient truth for those who think that all churches are approved of God, as well as for those whose children have left the Lord’s church to become members of a man-made denomination arising this side of the New Testament.
Ah, yes there are many inconvenient truths found in the word of God, but they are still truth, and denying them or attributing them to some source other than God will in no wise change their truthfulness.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). “Thy word is truth is truth” (John 17:17).
December 8, 2015