No fake news here

The internet is awash with talk of fake news. It almost seems like those who talk most about it are most guilty of it. It wouldn’t be the first time for something like that to happen.

The whole fake-news brouhaha appears to be politically motivated. Media groups pledge to root it out. They’re the same ones who were in the bag for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Something’s rotten in Denmark.

But we can expect such things from the world. Corruption and dishonesty are to be found at every turn.

In matters of the Spirit, however, we look for truth. We spurn human theologies and traditions in order to discover the right path of God. That search must turn to the Bible, where it will find its goal.

Either the Way of Christ is the best-planned hoax of all time, involving hundreds of people over centuries, with nary a crack in their consistency of deceipt, or it is the beautiful result of the eternal plan of God coming to fruition for the permanent benefit of all humanity. It is either one big joke with no reason or advantage, or a divine project of immense proportions and of such intricacy and reach as to leave one breathless.

Do not insult intelligence by considering the Bible as a book of myths but containing some nice principles and positive guidelines for life. It must be accepted as the written word of God, inspired in its wording by the Holy Spirit, obligatory in its claims upon mankind, or a fake not even worthy for use as a doorstop.

There is no halfway position with God nor with his Scriptures. Peter sees it as a priority what we think about it.

Above all, you do well if you recognize this: No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination, for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 2 Pet 1.20-21

The phrase, “Above all,” comes from the Greek word proton, first. It’s often translated as the NET Bible does above or as “first of all.” Peter’s encouragement to “do well to recognize this” is an understatement. He’s facing false teachers, as chapter 2 makes plain. He insists the apostles did not follow “cleverly concocted fables” 1.16. Scripture, which appears to refer to the OT here, did not have human origin. Neither can anyone force it to say something foreign to its meaning. When the apostles interpreted Scripture and taught about future judgment (see chapter 3), they did it by the Holy Spirit as the divine interpretation of prophecy. Theirs was not human opinion. (See S.J. Kraftchick’s discussion in the Abingdon NT Commentaries series.)

So the Bible is not just another book. It is unique. It comes from God. The Way depends totally upon its divine origin. Remember what Paul said about the resurrection? “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins” 1 Cor 15.17. Something similar can be said about the inspiration of the Bible: If the Bible is not the inspired word of God, then our faith is based upon a lie.

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” Rom 10.17 ESV. Faith has to have a reliable and true source. Otherwise, it is fake news. We can trust the Bible as God’s word. It has all the marks of authenticity. It can be trusted. Unlike some news websites or newspapers that claim to be accurate.

¶ Peter had much to say about God’s revelation and the inspiration of Scripture. In his first letter, he mentioned the OT prophets who searched to discover clues as to what their own writings meant in relation to the Messiah, 1 Pet 1.12-12. Like the other NT writers, he often quotes or appeals to previous Scriptures. He puts Paul’s writings on the same level as “the rest of the scriptures” 2 Pet 3.16. His personal experience with Jesus doesn’t supplant his need for the written word. On the contrary, one leads to the other.

¶ Ah, and what did the apostle Paul write about “in all his letters”? 2 Pet 3.14-16. Salvation. Waiting for the end. Holiness in the presence of God. Nothing about environmentalism, economics (other than personal responsibility), social justice, or politics. He sang a single tune. “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” 1 Cor 2.2. That was settled before he set out on a journey. He didn’t have to decide what to preach about as he approached each new city, as he entered each new synagogue or city square. Makes things easier, does it not?

¶ Back to Peter: Remember he called the devil “a roaring lion”? 1 Pet 5.8. All the more reason to “be sober and alert.” Some see an allusion in his comparison to Psalm 22.13. That’s the psalm that Jesus quoted on the cross, Psa 22.1. Is Peter hinting that the same enemy responsible, on the human and devilish side, for the death of Christ is also seeking to nail us and devour us spiritually? It is true, you know that. In so many ways, the Lord involves us in his experience. And he passes to us his victory.