Brandon E’s Objections: #8 – He Wants Me to Be Selectively Unsure About What I Write

For an explanation of this series, of which this post is a part, see Brandon E’s Objections:  #1.

Brandon doesn’t mind my being sure about some things I write, but he doesn’t want me to be sure about all the things I write.  For example, here’s a comment from him (and here’s the context from which it is taken):

Mike, that’s not all you proclaim as the word of God, and you should present it this way here, rather than make it try to appear that you are only following the apostles’ pattern in proclaiming the above matters. You know very well that if that’s all you “boldly proclaimed” we wouldn’t be having our present conversation.

Brandon, I only write about topics which I have confirmed from the Scriptures.  I know that Jesus is Lord and that the Bible is the word of God from the same source and by the same means that I know these other things.  If I can’t be sure that the other things are true, how can I be sure that Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God?

10 Replies to “Brandon E’s Objections: #8 – He Wants Me to Be Selectively Unsure About What I Write”

  1. In short, Mike, because it is obvious that the Bible proclaims that Jesus is Lord, and that it reveals Christ who is the living Word of God. This is a common thing among faithful believers in Christ.

    In contrast, your set of interpretations are so unobvious and (I would say) depend so heavily on speculative reasonings and analogies, that you are the only person we are aware of who has arrived at your set of interpretations.

    So, in contrast to simply affirming that Jesus is Lord or that the Bible is the word of God, to put your “other things” on the same plane of absolute confidence and truthfulness, you would have to trust that your interpretations are right over and against everybody else whose views you contradict and antagonize on your blogs. But what good and solid reasons do you have for thinking this? You claim “Brandon, I only write about topics which I have confirmed from the Scriptures,” but are you a more reasonable, reliable or spiritually-attuned interpreter of Scripture than anyone whose views you contradict and would not accept your interpretations as if they were the very word of God in Scripture?

    1. Well, I believe that the kingdom is already here in the sense that Jesus never left us after His resurrection (Matt. 28:20). This was true even in the first century church, before you say that an invisible second coming and resurrection of the dead took place in the first century. They lived in His reigning presence even then and so can we.

      So, that the kingdom of God has come in all the senses you mean is “obvious” to you as the Bible being the word of God (as, apparently, all of your other interpretations of Scripture that make it so that you are the only one we are aware of who has arrived at your set of interpretations). But if what you claim is actually in the Scriptures, why is it not so obvious to others who confess Jesus as Lord, are interpreting the same body of completed Scriptures, and have evidence of being at least as spiritual as you?

    2. So Mike, in the event that your doctrinal particulars were mistaken, would Jesus still be Lord and the Bible still the word of God? Or not?

      1. As I’ve said elsewhere, those things might still be true but I’d have no way of knowing it.

        One of the reasons that I believe Jesus is that I deem Him trustworthy based on the testimony of those who wrote the New Testament documents. If He did not keep His word about coming when He said He would, He would not even be meeting the test of Deuteronomy 18:15-22.

        1. But, of course, that presupposes a literal rather than poetic, moral, or thematic understanding of “generation” (Prov. 30:11-14; cf. Matt. 11:16; 12:39, 41-42, 45, 17:17; Acts 2:40; Phil. 2:15), and a chronological or calendar understanding rather than divine/eternal perspective of “quickly” or “soon,” then insists upon an invisible return of the Lord from heaven and a resurrection of the dead, etc. I don’t think that these interpretations are as certain as the truth that Jesus is Lord or that the Bible is the word of God, such that if alternative interpretations happen to be mistaken, Jesus being Lord and the Bible being the word of God will all come toppling down. Everyone else who strongly affirms these two truths but not your views somehow seems to manage. The Lord and His word is greater than our fallible interpretations and mental constructs that we build about Him.

  2. Anyone who will sit down and read the New Testament straight through with an open mind will come away with the belief that those folks expected the coming of the Lord in their generation. Such a belief does not hang on stretching the definition of a single word, such as “generation.”

    As for the divine perspective of time, it certainly does differ from ours. And if every time the New Testament spoke of the Lord’s coming it had done so giving that divine perspective instead of the human perspective no one would have thought of the 1st Century as an eschatologically-minded age. However, the Lord spoke through His apostles using various words and phrases in order to draw our attention to that age. “Soon” can’t mean “indeterminate.”

    The Lord is certainly greater than all our mental constructs, but He gives us His word that we might understand Him.

    1. It’s also clear in from both Scripture and history that their eschatologically-minded hopes concerning His second coming and the resurrection of the dead included an evident, visible change in the order of things on earth that would be evident to all, as was true of the second temple Jews. Expecting or hoping for the Lord’s return in their lifetime is not the same thing as it being absolutely certain (many generations of believers who have loved His presence have hoped for the same thing); hence the word in 2 Peter 3 concerning a day being like a thousand years to the Lord and “slowness” in our time-bound understanding being not slowness but His long-suffering, the Old Testament Scriptures using “soon” metaphorically refer to prophecies that were sure to come to pass, even if they were not fully fulfilled until later centuries. As for our mental constructs, if I found out that my views were mistaken on any point, I would still fully believe that Jesus is Lord and that the Bible is the word of God. Although we have our convictions, it is logically possible that we can misunderstand His word, and my faith in Him–the living Person, not the sum total of my mental constructs about Him or interpretations of His word–doesn’t all depend upon me not being mistaken on any of these points.

  3. If the Lord’s coming were only sure to come to pass and not soon to come to pass I don’t think the New Testament would have told us that it was sure and soon to come to pass.

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