Christians have contradictory beliefs everywhere they have substituted tradition in place of the Word of God.
For the last fourteen years, I have actively looked for contradictions in my belief system and the belief system of others. Whenever a contradiction was identified, I would look for and/or ask for Bible verses supporting the contradiction. I found that the contradiction was removed every time by one of three ways:
1. The verses weren't in the Bible.
People projected circumstances and/or events that are not recorded in the Bible.
2. The verses were misquoted.
The actual verse said something different than what was believed.
3. The verse meant something else. This is the tricky case...
The overwhelming majority of the contradictions were removed with the first two ways. It is amazing how many times the issue went away when the verse couldn't be found...either because it didn't exist or it was misquoted. The first way (verse doesn't exist) deals with perspective (projection). The second way (verse misquoted) deals with interpretation...are the words accurately represented?
The third way deals with understanding. When a verse is quoted correctly, we are dealing with meaning. This is the case where I say: We all agree with what the Bible says, yet we disagree...we disagree on what the Bible means. This overall ability to interpret text is known as "hermeneutics".
Hang on...don't let a big word put you to sleep. Notice that the first two aspects of "hermeneutics" are simple: 1) make sure the verse exists and 2) make sure it is quoted accurately. All of the complicated stuff occurs with the third way: understanding/meaning.
It is at this point where people can attempt to make the Bible mean whatever they want it to mean. These contradictions (caused by tradition) are the source of the differences between the denominations. Shouldn't there be a way to make sure we get God's truth and not man's interpretation? There is! It involves using four God-given principles together. These four principles are: contrastive thinking, non-contradiction, causality, and growth.
If these four principles are used together, you will always end up with non-contradictory truth. If even one of these principles is ignored, you may end up with man's contradictory interpretation. I believe these four principles are the key to helping us understand God (and the Bible) better. This is the reason I published "Modeling God" last year.
This follow up to “Modeling God” will look at how we hold to tradition in place of the Word of God in our most public doctrine…and how this is making the Will and Word of God of none effect for us today.
“Modeling God” was the first book in a series that presents the non-contradictory worldview. Over the past year, I learned first-hand how unique people really are and how books are rigid and limiting by their very nature.
This presentation of the worldview builds on itself. It is important to understand all the preceding concepts in order to understand a more complicated concept. However, there are people who have a burning desire to understand the greater concept. This will be especially true with this work because the greater concepts are the most important and most misunderstood doctrines. I have no doubt people will rush to the end of this work and project faulty intents on me because they didn’t read the foundation (Part I).
There are others who want all the background behind the concept including quotes and references. However, presenting all the background on a concept interrupts the flow for most people, especially to those of us raised on the writings of CS Lewis. Given the importance and the amount of research put into this work, I had to find another more flexible way to present the material.
This material is being presented on three separate, yet interconnecting blogs. The first blog contains only short summaries for of each chapter (“Summary Blog”). The second blog gives the typical “book level” presentation of each chapter (“Book Blog”). The third level gives an in-depth and more exhaustive presentation for each chapter (“Research Blog”).
A “typical” reader would read straight through the “Book blog”. If the reader has a disagreement with the material or wants more proof, they can link to the more exhaustive presentation of that section (“Research Blog”). If they still have a disagreement or know of additional verses that deal with that chapter’s topic and want to bless others, they can post a comment. The Summary and Book Blogs do not allow for comments to be posted.
If a person wants to quickly get to the more pressing chapters, they ought to read the summaries of the preceding chapters in order to understand the foundation that has been laid for their chapter of interest. Again, if they read a summary and disagree with the conclusions, they ought to go to the “Book Blog” and get a more complete explanation. You may also want to go to the “Summary Blog” after you read a chapter to see if you got the key points.
If you haven’t read “Modeling God”, I suggest you read that book before you continue reading. If you have read “Modeling God” and experienced growth, this book will continue to challenge you to become more who God meant for you to be.
Finally, this work will prove to you that we currently embrace tradition in place of the Word of God in our most public doctrines. This is not something to be taken lightly. Realizing we are not following God’s Word in the most important doctrines and then seeing proof of it everyday may cause some people to question what they have done with their life.
The real question for us is “What are we going to do with the rest of our life?”
(This work is in two parts. Part I deals with God’s Will and serves as foundation for Part II. Part II deals with four public doctrine and solutions for how to embrace God’s Word over tradition in these and other areas. This week I want to post all of Part I. When the links are available they will be at the end of this post and I will update this section.)
(Additionally, I’ve been advised to make this work more conversational in order to help the reader understand more about me, both personally and professionally. To that end, the eight chapters in Part I each begin with a vignette from my professional background. I’m still waiting for permission to share the specifics in some of the vignettes. Until SC Johnson Wax gives me permission, the names have been changed (for both people and products) and specific incidents for the most sensitive stories have been described in an abstract manner.)
Part I is up (eight chapters) on both the Book Blog and Summary Blog. One more thing...
To those who are regulars readers of this blog, some of these sections will look familiar. I posted portions of many of these topics on this blog in order to help me and others. The information has helped people and the discussion has helped me refine the explanation. Please don’t skip these sections because you think you already know it…
Here is the link to the Table of Contents:
Table of Contents
If there are any comments (either constructive or not), please e-mail me. All comments about the sequel will have a place on the Research Level Blog...which I hope to have available this weekend.