“IS THE BIBLE INERRANT? | IS GOD VIOLENT?”
*Is it OK to question?*
-Is the Bible the “Word of God” and free from error? If so, how does one come to that conclusion?
-What role do assumptions and presuppositions have in our belief system?
-How does one reconcile the violent and retributive God of the Old Testament with the life and teachings of Jesus?
Whenever a “new” idea is proposed to a community, the questions one can ask are:
“IS IT POSSIBLE?”
Listen in as Joshua Tongol shares his heart and answers questions on this very subject. It might give you a different perspective on things.
I have checked out the video by Joshua Tongol. It is good to see that he is advocating open discussion and questioning about God and the Bible in small group gatherings. It is certainly a much needed refreshing change from the usual kind of cell group meetings arranged by institutional churches that do not usually encourage much open questioning but rather attempt to reinforce the church’s version of the “gospel”, in my opinion.
Joshua’s message is similar to the blog I posted yesterday about the unfortunate/unintended side effects of the doctrine of inspiration which also addresses the issues of mistaken “bible inerrancy” and “all verses are equal”. As he said, the bible has been used to justify heinous crimes such as genocide, murder, rape, etc, which are the side effects of believing that the bible is inerrant and all the verses apply today.
Studies have shown that the original manuscripts are not inerrant and there are contradictions abound. I agree that the bible can be seen as man’s inspired word about God (instead of God’s word), and there is an ongoing progressive revelation of God – not that God has changed, but man’s perception of God has changed over time. When Jesus said “you have heard it said…, but I tell you…” to the Jews, he was showing them there was a new way to look at what God was really like. So even until today, we all haven’t figured it out completely, and we are still learning about the mystery of God/the mystery of Christ in us the hope of glory. I also agree that we need to read the book through the eyes of Christ.
It is interesting to note his sharing regarding how Paul almost reinterpreted the old testament, as shown in Romans 12 and 14. According to him, in Romans 12:19-21, a verse had been removed from the violent context in Deuteronomy and placed in the grace context in Romans, so instead of vengeance, it is about showing mercy to the enemy. So it can be said that there is a redemptive meaning in the verses written by the people in that culture who subscribed to the notion of a violent God. As Joshua also pointed out, Paul used to interpret the old testament in such a way that he thought God was violent, hence he was persecuting christians in the early church days before he met Jesus. Since then, he had been telling people God is not like that, as God is God of mercy.
So, overall I find it a thought-provoking message, which may be particularly useful for those who are open to questioning the fear-based doctrines in evangelical christian circles.