I can’t help myself. Even though it is not really nice, once in a while I enjoy throwing a barb into the melee of ivory tower discussion among a bunch of Reformed Presbyterian pastors. I do love those guys and still have a few friends of that ‘persuasion,’ but as a recovering conservative Presbyterian minister, they don’t care so much for me…
I keep an eye on Lane Kiester’s blog, Green Baggins, because from time to time there is something of interest, and because we have been a target of theirs in the past. Well, a couple days ago he put up an interesting post asking ‘Is Theology a Science?‘ wherein he was exploring some of Berkhof’s thoughts on comparing physical science and theology.
Immediately, seeing a comparison Lane wouldn’t want made, I began to laugh and typed (comment #3),
Interestingly, both scientific and theological results can be skewed by the paradigm with which the student approaches. To wit, evolutionists ignoring evidence contrary to their paradigm.
The obvious barb: Theologians ignoring Scripture contrary to their paradigm.
Well, that wasn’t lost on Lane as he replied in #6,
Pete, yes, that is often the case. Of course, then the question arises as to whether the paradigm one has is the biblical paradigm or not. There is a biblical paradigm. There is a system (see, for instance, the “pattern of sound words” in 2 Timothy 1:13, or the “faith once for all delivered to the saints” in Jude 3). The big question is whether the paradigm arises out of Scripture or not. Everyone, of course, has a paradigm, ESPECIALLY those who claim not to have one. They have the most pernicious paradigms of all, but of course they cannot acknowledge that they have one. The human brain is hardwired to synthesize truth into a manageable core. And, of course, the nature of God also points in this direction. He is a God who cannot lie, which means that the Bible is wholly consistent.
Wow! There is so much fun in this little paragraph that I can hardly stand it! Central to it all is the reference to ‘the faith once delivered,’ but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Certainly, Lane is correct that there is a Biblical paradigm and the big question he intimates is whether ours/mine comes from Scripture or not. And, he is doubly correct that God cannot lie and the Bible is wholly consistent, so before talking about ‘the faith once delivered’, maybe we should identify some differences in praxis and see how he/Christendom lines up with God’s Word.
Christendom worships on Sunday. Scripture, however, clearly spells out seventh-day Sabbath in at least nine specific passages. Further, Isaiah 66:22-23, in a larger passage that nearly all Christian theologians agree is Millennial, the prophet tells us that all mankind (kol basar) will celebrate the new moons and worship on the Sabbath.
Be reminded, “God does not lie and the Bible is wholly consistent!” Therefore, we should expect to see the apostles keeping the Sabbath and teaching on the Sabbath, right? Well, that is EXACTLY what we see. In fact, there is not one single shred of evidence anywhere in all of Scripture that the Sabbath has changed or ceased to exist. (See also this and this.)
Christendom celebrates Christmas and Easter, traditional holidays (holy days?) with strong pagan influences and exceedingly weak Biblical connections. Neither is ever commanded or hinted at in Scripture. Rather, Scripture clearly defines what God’s Holy Days are. Leviticus 23 begins,
The Lord spoke again to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:…
And, at least four times in that chapter we are told,
It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.
Further, multiple yet unfulfilled prophetic passages clearly spell out all nations celebrating the feasts. Most especially is Zechariah 14:16-19!! And, as with the Sabbath, if “God does not lie and the Bible is wholly consistent,” then we should see the Apostles keeping the feasts, right? Well, no surprises here either. The Book of Acts, as well as multiple other Epistles, have clear references to feast-keeping and NO other holidays.
As I previously left unstated: Theologians must ignore Scripture contrary to their paradigm. [I.e., when I began to pay attention to previously ignored verses is when the Holy Spirit disassembled my Reformed Presbyterian paradigm. But, I digress.]
So what does this have to do with ‘the faith once delivered?’ Well, the answer should be blindingly obvious, but just to be sure we are on the same page, the practice of the Acts assemblies of believers, Jew and Gentile, was faith in God, through Messiah, worked out in and evidenced by the keeping of His commandments.
In fact, James, head of the Jerusalem Council, stated it in no uncertain terms: He expected the new Gentile believers coming into fellowship to,
- “learn Moses
- in the synagogue
- on the Sabbath.”
I’ve addressed Acts 15 multiple times on this blog, but for one general broad treatment taking on more of Acts and tackling parts of Dr. William Larkin’s IVP New Testament Commentary on Acts, see this series. Further, Acts 20 proves that those closest to Yeshua and knew Him and His teaching first hand were ‘zealous for the law’ as I explained here.
Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians speaks of being adopted into Israel, a concept that demonstrably dates all the way back to at least the Exodus. We’ve hit this from so many angles, particularly studying the ger, that any Christian idea that Jesus was doing something different or starting some new religion is demonstrably false. Yeshua, in Acts, clearly intimates that He will restore Kingdom Israel!
Continuing with Paul in Ephesians, he teaches ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism…’ In Romans he speaks of the faith of Abraham. Did Abraham have a different faith, or the ‘one faith?’ He had the ‘one faith,’ ‘the faith once delivered!’ And, that faith was evidenced by his obedience! Genesis 26:5! Countless times, from the Garden of Eden to Revelation, faith is connected with obedience.
Simply, ‘the faith once delivered’ is not Christianity’s ignoring of the covenant and its attendant commandments, rather, ‘the faith once delivered’ is that through the atoning death and resurrection of Messiah, all, Jew and Gentile, may be forgiven and re-enter the covenant with all blessings that come from obedience. The ‘new’ covenant really is very simple. It is theologians who complicate this thing!
There is so much more that can be written, but in this short span we have tipped over enough theological apple carts to reveal some of the unBiblical practices and beliefs of Christendom. I pray that they one day ‘walk as He walked;’ and actually teach disciples to ‘obey everything that I commanded!’
29 Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments ALWAYS, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!
Indeed, God cannot lie and the Bible is wholly consistent!! It is the blind guides who have muddied the waters because they willfully ignore the Scriptures contrary to their religious paradigm.