Monthly Archives: October 2015

Hawker Hunter

This entry is part 4 of 22 in the series Beautiful Destroyers

The Hawker Hunter is a British jet fighter designed in the 1950’s. It is just about capable of supersonic flight (in a dive) and is apparently a delight to fly. It’s certainly a delight to look at, both in the single-seat and two-seat versions. With its clean lines and lovely wing shape, swept curved tail fin and sleek fuselage, it’s simply gorgeous.

JPGS_Hawker Hunter FR Mk 10_rraf hunter





The Hunter was also flown by the Black Arrows, the forerunners of the famous Red Arrows:

RAF Aerobatic Display Teams

The Hunter is one of those aeroplanes with a characteristic sound – the Vulcan has its ‘howl’, and so does the Hunter. Here’s a short video of Hunters making their characteristic ‘blue note’ howl:

A lovely sound, for those with ears to hear…..although I appreciate that not everyone likes jet noise!


So there she is – the Hunter. Another Beautiful Destroyer!

Graven Image

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (Ex 20:4 KJV)

In this, the second of the ‘Ten Commandments’ given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, God forbade the Israelites to make for themselves any idols, or ‘false gods’, or indeed even an image (statue or whatever) of God Himself. Unlike the other nations in the area at that time, they were not to use idols to worship, but instead they had to worship the One God Himself.

It’s easy to see why. If you think about it, if the people gave any worship – or ‘worth-ship’ – or value – to what was essentially just a wooden, metal or stone statue, before long they would believe that the statue itself was God and that God is like the statue.  Apart from giving the statue the worship and attention that is God’s alone by right, they would also create in their minds and hearts and expectations a completely unrealistic picture of what God is really like. Clearly, you can’t represent God in all His love, power, majesty and splendour in a 30ft tall ‘graven image’, no matter how well decorated it is! There are many other reasons too, but this is the main one for the purposes of this post.

Fast-forward many centuries from Mt. Sinai to the time of Jesus. The religious authorities followed a strict system of rules, regulations and observances that not only they, but everyone else, had to follow. For various complex reasons, which I will go into in a later post, God was seen as a harsh, vengeful and implacable autocrat, and people were only acceptable to God by a) following an increasingly rigid and detailed set of rules and b) participating in blood sacrifices (involving the killing of animals). Departure from these rules would result, not in the threat of ‘hell’ as our religious people threaten with these days, but in a system of various punishments ranging from exclusion from the assembly (like being excommunicated) right up to the death penalty which would be administered by the barbaric practice of stoning. And, remember, all this would be done ‘in the name of’ the god they worshipped.

So effectively the religious authorities of the time had made a ‘graven image’. They had built themselves an image of God in their minds and in their writings, and they thought that God was like that image. This image of God they had made was of course, like all graven images, completely incorrect; even in the Old Testament, God describes Himself as a God of Love, which their graven image did not reflect. They had set up, in the place of the Loving Father, a man-made, stone-faced image of a ‘nasty god’ which bore no resemblance to the loving Creator of the Universe. Ask any person even nowadays what they think of God, and the chances are that they think of him as an angry old man up in Heaven just looking for people to get radgy with. This is the legacy of the graven image that these people worshipped – and, sadly, that many people still worship today.

But then Jesus came onto the scene. Jesus, the Man Who is God. Jesus, the Man Who came to show us what God is really like. Showing right from the start how much He wanted people to enjoy life – His first miracle was the one where He turned water into wine; and not just any old wine, but strong wine! – and how much He wanted people to be free of the horrible things that happen like sickness and death, by performing His healing miracles. The significance of Jesus’s miracles was not simply to show us who He is, nor just to help those whom He healed (although these were of course important in themselves), but to show us the nature of God’s Kingdom, and thereby the nature of the King Himself.

If you like, Jesus was – and is – God’s ‘graven image’ of Himself, made by Him and honoured by Him. Here at last is the Image of God, not made of wood, stone or metal, but as a Man, as a human. Col 1:15 says, “He is the image of the unseen God, the firstborn of all creation”. Here is the Absolute, the Ultimate. Here is Jesus. He’s the One Who shatters the graven image made so popular by religious people, the image of the ‘nasty god’, and replaces it with the Real Thing. And, guess what? He still does the same today.

This, then,  is why the ‘graven image’ was forbidden. Because anything less than the Real Thing – Jesus – falls woefully short of the mark!

The picture of the Easter Island statues at the top of this post was not just to illustrate the idea of a stern, frowning ‘graven image’. I also wanted to poke some fun at the idea of a static, set-in-stone concept of God, with this cartoon.


(For those who don’t remember the Pez sweet dispenser, click the image below to be taken to the Wikipedia article on it):


“Convenient Legalism”

Here’s a great blog post about the hypocrisy of the legalistic mindset. I will let it speak for itself:

“…it is a mistake to reduce every decision about Christian living to a “Heaven-or-Hell issue.” David K. Bernard

The problem I have with legalism is the inherent hypocrisy. Generally speaking anyone who needs a book of rules to live by, who needs all answers in black and white, has either weak or lazy faith. Now before you jump to some awful conclusion or defense, let me explain. Often times legalism is ONLY applied to things which the individual is uncomfortable. If you are going to be a passenger on the legalism train then be bold enough to take it all the way into the station or jump off the train.

Example #1. If you are the type of person who is going to pull your support from World Vision (10,000 people did just that) and let 10,000 children lose sponsorship , food and material well-being because the organization thought about and then retracted their policy on hiring and/or not firing gays … then take that train all the way in to the station. Stop shopping at Amazon, Dell, Apple, Starbucks, eBay, Nike, Gap, Ben and Jerry’s, Banana Republic, Levis, Microsoft, Johnson and Johnson, Oreos, Orbitz, Cisco, Goldman Sachs, Marriot, Expedia, and countless others; stop using Google, Instagram, Facebook, MasterCard, Citicorp, AT&T and Jet Blue; and for gosh sakes do not ever buy a graham cracker from Honey Maid. You see it is easy to pull sponsorship which does not directly affect you and you feel all puffed up and self-righteous, but to do without something you use day in and day out is difficult. It is easy to sacrifice an unknown child, but not so easy to sacrifice your comfort and convenience. It is hypocritical to pull your financial support from World Vision and continue to shop at these other retailers. Not to mention in your effort to be “right” children are left starving in third world countries who know absolutely nothing about gays or straights and even if they did, could not care less because they can’t concentrate over their growling empty bellies. Righteous indignation that only comes to the surface when it is convenient is not righteous at all.

Example #2. If you are going to refuse to go to the wedding of a loved one because they are gay … then refuse to go the wedding of the person who is divorced, had pre-marital sex, is marrying an unbeliever, is marrying someone of a different religion, etc. It is hypocritical to single out one “sin” as a reason not to attend a wedding.

It is amazing to me how many will use the Bible and God as an excuse to be hurtful and non-supportive of loved ones, BUT only when it is convenient. The convenience of it all really does say much more about the person doing the rejection than the person being rejected. Until biblical literalism becomes a way of life for EVERY part of your life and you are willing to enforce it equally across the board, I respectfully ask you to keep your hate spewing, intolerant, non-supportive opinions to yourself. The double standard of you wanting to enforce your list of rules on everyone’s life BUT your own is outdated and puts your arrogance on stage front and center for everyone to see. Trust me it is not a flattering look.  If you do not believe enough to believe it 100% of the time, you belief is lukewarm. Your belief is a convenience. Your belief is shallow and your God is small.

What if we took the Bible and God at his Word? What if we got on our knees and let God talk to us individually? What if we dared to have a mature relationship with God? I realize that takes much more faith. I realize it is a scary proposition. But if God cannot lead us through the Holy Spirit which Jesus himself said would come to us, then perhaps he is not God at all. If we are relegated to a list of rules thousands of years old, we do not need Jesus Christ or his death on the cross. We might as well be followers of Moses and not Christ. Jesus death on the cross gave us a new covenant. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he left this earth to send us the Holy Spirit to guide us. It is your life. You can chose legalism if you want. But sadly those same rules you judge others by will eventually condemn you to hell as well. And that my friend is a very sad place to be. Very sad indeed.

Here’s the link to the original article

Eurofighter Typhoon

This entry is part 3 of 22 in the series Beautiful Destroyers

The Eurofighter Typhoon is the Royal Air Force’s newest front-line fighter aircraft. It’s a multi-role combat aircraft – as most combat aircraft have to be these days: they are so expensive that the same aircraft type has to be able to fulfil many roles!


One of the main characteristics of Typhoon is its agility. While, given the capabilities of modern air-to-air missiles, opposing aircraft might never actually see each other during a fight (because they can shoot down the enemy from beyond visual range), there is still the chance that fighters could close to within ‘knife range’, where agility becomes all-important. Of course, from the point of view of the aviation enthusiast and airshow-goer, this also means that watching one of these aircraft display is a feast of noise, power, speed and seemingly impossible high-energy maneuvers. Sometimes the aircraft changes direction so quickly that condensation – clouds – form in the low-air-pressure areas above the wings and fuselage, like this:


RIAT 2012

Note: If you click on some of the images in this post, you may well find that you get a very large version of the picture to look at, in all its detail. Give it a go!

The next couple of photos of this remarkable aircraft appear to have been taken in the area known as the ‘Mach Loop, a low-flying practice range in north-western Wales. Whereas the normal lowest allowed limit is 500ft, here in the Mach Loop many different military aircraft types fly as low as 250ft above the terrain. Typhoon, of course, is no exception:



typhoon at mach loop


That last photo also clearly shows the bright orange plume from the afterburner, or ‘reheat’ – a system whereby raw fuel is sprayed into the hot jet exhaust where it ignites to produce extra thrust. It’s a great way of gaining more power but at a tremendous cost in fuel. And it makes one heck of a racket – we were once camping in our caravan and I heard this deep rumbling noise; I recognised it as the engine sound of a Typhoon using reheat. Apparently there was a Typhoon displaying at Plymouth Navy Day – thirty miles away from where we were camping. Wow.


Those orange diamonds/discs in the afterburner plumes are what is known as ‘shock diamonds‘ – the visible part of the standing-wave patterns in the supersonic jet exhaust stream. When you are close enough to an aeroplane with its afterburners lit, you will be subjected to intense shock waves and you feel everything inside you shaking – it’s quite a feeling!

So, there you go. Typhoon – a ‘Beautiful Destroyer’ – but wow, what an aeroplane!

Beware the Yeast of the Pharisees!

In a past post, I have described in some depth my ideas about the Yeast of the Pharisees.

The Yeast of the Pharisees is the natural tendency of religious people* to slowly infiltrate churches with their message of legalism and rules, and thus to slowly erode away and  destroy the freedom and spontaneity that Jesus brings. It happens time and time again, when new churches are formed, after a revival, and in fact whenever a new move of God brings freedom. We simply don’t seem to learn the lessons of history!

So, this is what’s known as the Yeast of the Pharisees, and we need to be, as Jesus put it in Mt 16:6, on our guard against it. In other words, to make sure that it doesn’t get a look-in!

So, let’s look at someone else’s perspective on this too, rather than reading my rants on the subject! In the fairly old article I have copied into my blog below, the writer describes the Yeast of the Pharisees and also that of the Sadducees, another religious group of Jesus’s time. Clearly, my ideas are not new; others have also remarked on this phenomenon.

Beware the Yeast of the Pharisees.
by John Hemer MHM

In Matthew 16:6 Jesus says to the disciples: “Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.Many of us are at a loss as to what Jesus meant. Don’t worry so were the disciples. Mark then tells us: And they said among themselves, ‘It is because we have not brought any bread.Jesus seems to be frustrated with their lack of understanding so he says: You have so little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand?

It is rather important for us to understand what Jesus was getting at. Any baker will tell you that a little yeast is enough to make a whole batch of dough rise. Just a little of it affects everything. To understand what Jesus means you could translate ‘yeast’ as ‘attitude’ Just a little of the attitude of those people affects everything, corrupts everything. In the New Testament world, yeast was often used as a symbol for corruption. Jesus cites two different indeed opposite religious attitudes and says that both of them, even in a small dose can effectively corrupt one’s whole Christian life.

The problem with the Pharisees was not that they were big sinners, they were the best of people, but they tended to think only those like them had any value in the sight of God. The yeast of the Pharisees is narrow-minded religious exclusivism, it is sectarianism. It is the attitude that says only those who believe and behave like us are saved, everyone else is damned or at least of no consequence. (Of course it’s not only religious people who have those sorts of attitudes; the secular equivalent would be extreme tribalism or nationalism.) The yeast of the Pharisees makes people more concerned about who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’ that just trying to get on and do the will of God. It makes people continually define themselves over against others: it makes them assume for instance that the main thing about being Catholic is not being Protestant – or vice versa.

The yeast of the Sadducees is precisely the opposite tendency. The Sadducees were the ruling elite, the equivalent of the ‘Tory party at prayer’ if you like. They were big friend with the Romans since the Romans kept them in power. For them the important thing was to keep the status quo as it was – because of course it favoured them. In order to do this they were prepared to make any number of accommodations, they were prepared to water down their Jewish faith. For instance they allowed the pagan Romans to appoint the High Priest. (A possible 20th century equivalent of that would perhaps be the Roman Curia letting the Soviet Russians appoint the Pope in order to maintain their own power.) They were not committed to God so much as to their own position, but they did have considerable religious power and used that to maintain things the way they liked them. They were prepared to go along with more or less anything so long as their world didn’t change.

Both these attitudes are constant temptations for Christians. One sometimes meets Christian fundamentalists who are quite sure that all those who are not like them, who don’t belong to their sect, who haven’t been ‘born again’ are going straight to Hell for all eternity. The problem here is what such attitudes do to the individual’s personality and how they misrepresent the true spirit and intention of Christ’s teaching. The desire to exclude others has continually bedevilled the human race, but when it masquerades as religion, indeed as the only true religion, it becomes deadly, and we hear too much about religious intolerance to be in any doubt about that.

Probably for most western Catholics, the bigger temptation is to be leavened by the yeast of the Sadducees. While some Christians make themselves clearly, aggressively different to everyone else, many of us live and think in a way that is scarcely distinguishable from our unbelieving neighbours. We practise our religion quietly and discretely, but we don’t let it frighten the horses, don’t let it in any way make us seem strange or out of step with the rest of the world. All too easily, Christianity becomes something tacked on to the end of our lives, rather than the organising principle, the driving force of our lives. The Sadducees were in one sense the most Jewish of people, they could trace their ancestry back to the time of Solomon, but their religion was comfortable and static, in no way a force for transformation. If we adopt their attitude, our faith does nothing to change us or make us grow in the likeness of Christ, which is its real purpose. In fact, unlike the yeast of the Pharisees, the yeast of the Sadducees is not something people consciously adopt; it’s something they just slip into, it’s the obvious way to be, just to go along with the way things are.

The Christian is called to be passionately committed to Christ while remaining open to others, and to be open to others without simply accepting anything and everything.

Click the image below to go to the original article:


If you are a new believer, the best way to avoid the Yeast is to avoid allowing rules and expectations of others to influence you. You are accepted and loved by God; do not feel you have to conform to what others believe.

If you are a seasoned believer, please take the time to examine yourself and see if you actually have the freedom that you believe should be yours in Christ. Are you feeling like there should be more to your faith? Are you feeling perpetually constrained within the boundaries that perhaps God has not laid down for you? Do you feel like perhaps you would feel insecure if you stepped beyond these boundaries? Do you constantly wonder whether or not something you enjoy, that you feel is legitimate, is considered ‘sin’ by others? Are you noticing what look like contradictions in the Bible and you wonder if perhaps your teachers haven’t been entirely honest in not facing up to those contradictions?

If any of the above describes you, then perhaps read the articles linked to above, and please also let me quote for you from the blog ‘Jesus without Baggage’ where the author, Tim Chastain, explains very clearly how you can obtain the freedom that is rightfully yours:

We are not to Follow Burdensome Religious Rules

When I joined an evangelical denomination in 1970, they read me the teachings of the church. I agreed to abide by prohibitions such as drinking alcohol or using tobacco, swearing oaths, wearing jewelry, and belonging to lodges. There were also many such prohibitions not on the official list, but they were VERY serious about all these ‘sins’.

When a person begins to follow Jesus, their natural inclination is to want to live as he wants us to, but there are two ways believers go about doing this. The first is to discover the religious rules God wants us to follow, as my church did. The measure of success is how effectively we avoid ‘sins’.

This is called legalism, on which I have written a number of posts.

Jesus Teaches Us a Different Way

A second approach is to discover Jesus’ principles which give direction but not rules. These principles become our guide, and the measure of our success is how well we effectively treat people with their best interest in mind. There are no ‘sins’ to avoid; it is all in how we relate to people. I firmly believe this option expresses Jesus’ desire of us, based on his words and actions in the Gospels.

Following religious rules is actually the very opposite what Jesus teaches. Religious rules create a tremendous burden for the believer, while Jesus wishes to relieve our burdens; and they also prevent us from growing as healthy believers. Knowing that we should live by Jesus’ principles and not by burdensome religious rules is Good News!

On the other hand, legalism is Bad News. I don’t think those who teach and live by religious rules are bad; they sincerely think they are doing what Jesus asks. But they are misguided and heavily burdened down. Jesus wishes them better than that.

Image credit: Naked

What does it Mean to Love People?

This is all well and good, but how do we even begin loving people if there are no ‘rules’ on how to do it? It helps to consider how we would like people to treat us. How are some ways you prefer to be treated? Why don’t you write them down?

I think an important aspect is that our love and concern be genuine—not just a forced, legalistic duty we must perform. We can start by considering how much the Father loves us and is concerned with our good. As we get a glimpse of his love for us, we begin to feel more lovable and think better about ourselves in response. We can then consider how the Father loves everyone else in the same way, and as we come to see people as the Father sees them we can begin to love them as he does.

This leads to practical behaviors in our interaction with people, some of which might be:

  • Respecting them
  • Empathizing with them
  • Accepting them
  • Being kind and compassionate
  • Caring about them
  • Considering their feelings
  • Making them feel significant
  • Having concern for their well-being
  • Helping those who need it

Why don’t you think for a moment and add your own thoughts to this list? Then, if you wish, share your thoughts in comments below so we can all benefit from them.

We will never be perfect in these behaviors, but we can commit to improve our interactions with others by remembering the Father’s love for us and for them.

What Things Should We Avoid in Relating to People?

If we love people, some behaviors are inconsistent with such love. They might include:

  • Hurting people or taking revenge
  • Judging or excluding people
  • Gossiping, or slandering people
  • Expressing disapproval, disgust, disdain, hostility, or hatred
  • Taking advantage
  • Dominating people
  • Demeaning, insulting, berating, intimidating, or manipulating people

Here are a few behaviors legalists often use in their understanding of the ‘rule’ to love people:

  • “Loving the sinner; hating the sin”
  • “Confronting them with love”
  • “Loving” them in a shallow, meaningless way

These behaviors do not represent genuine love toward others. Why don’t you take a moment and jot down some other things that are inconsistent with genuinely loving people—then mention them in comments if you wish.

If we have no genuine love for people, then we have no message for them either. If we do not love and care for people then all our judging them, telling them how sinful they are, and badgering them to accept Jesus will be ineffective. We might succeed in having them ‘pray the sinner’s prayer’, commit to our doctrinal beliefs, and follow us in taking up legalistic burdens, but their spiritual lives will be terribly flawed and stunted.

Growing in Love and Practical Application of Love

We will never become perfect in loving people appropriately, but we can grow at it. Here are some steps that should help in that growth.

Read about Jesus in the Gospels

First of all, read the words and stories of Jesus and notice how he consistently treats people—even those that many others thought not worth bothering about. The more you read about Jesus, the more you will understand how he demonstrated love and concern for others.

You will also notice that he was often short with one particular group of people—the Pharisees. This is because they were legalists who despised the common people who needed love the most. Jesus said in Matthew 23:

They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

Choose Mentors who Understand Jesus’ Teaching on Love

Find people well along the way in loving people as Jesus taught. Talk with them about it and learn what helps them grow in love of others. These mentors might be authors of good books instead of someone you know, but in any case find people who evidence love and learn from them.

Create Some Guidelines for Yourself

Guidelines are not ‘rules’, and they do not replace good judgment in specific situations, but they can help prepare us for personal problem areas in interacting with people. An important one for me was ‘Don’t yell at people.’ Yelling at people is meant to be intimidating and dominating, and it leads to alienation rather than reconciliation. Often I was sorry once I cooled off, but the damage was done. Over time I was able to avoid yelling.

Guidelines need not necessarily be written so long as we are prepared to use them as situations require. It is important to remember that guidelines are only for us; we cannot impose our guidelines on someone else, and no one can place them on us—that is legalism.

I hope this post has been useful, and it leads into our next Good News topic: it is exciting Good News to learn that when we follow Jesus we become agents for expanding God’s kingdom on earth. And we have already taken an important step! Spreading love and reconciliation is an important part of the kingdom work.

Click the image below to go to the original post:

*In this article, my use of the words ‘religious people’ means those for whom following the Rules are – consciously or unconsciously – felt to be the chief way in which they please God. These people usually have a generally unwritten formula or set of rules for their faith – and it can be any faith: Christian, Muslim, whatever – which they personally follow, and they expect others to follow it too; indeed, anyone who does not follow their way 100% is ‘lost’, or some variation on that.

Great article on Biblical Inerrancy

Biblical Inerrancy is the belief that the Bible is never wrong – and, as a corollary, is always right. Interestingly, the concept is used by both atheists and inerrantists (people who believe that the Bible is inerrant) to prove their own – diametrically opposed – points.

In this blog entry, Tim Chastain, writer of the blog Jesus Without Baggage, introduces us to the middle ground of ‘David Schell’s Syllogism’, where the concept of inerrancy is discussed in some detail.

This is an excellent article for those of my readers who have been perceptive and honest enough to notice that the Bible does appear to contain contradictions, but who would like some help in reconciling this observation with the reality of their faith and their relationship with Jesus. How can the Bible appear to be, in places, ‘wrong’, yet still I have found what it contains to be true? How come God speaks so clearly to my soul through it, when what I am reading could be partially ‘wrong’?

Wrestling with these questions is exactly what God intended us to do with His Bible. Reading that blog post will go some way towards helping you to do this.

Over to Tim:

How Atheists and Inerrantists Agree on the Bible

You have probably noticed this as well.

I have long observed that certain non-Christians, or former Christians, reject the Bible as though it was written as a consistent document to be interpreted literally. As I have encountered and engaged these critics of the Bible on various blogs over the past year, the realization is even stronger—many of them treat the Bible as though it claims inerrancy. They agree with Christian inerrantists in this approach.

In my interactions with these biblical critics, I am often accused of cherry-picking the Bible, choosing the parts I like, or making it up as I go. They don’t seem to grasp that there is a legitimate, informed,  and consistent way to read the Bible without assuming inerrancy.

David Schell’s Syllogism

Today I discovered an excellent resource to understanding this point better. It fits in perfectly with our discussion on biblical context, so I am going to break from my planned post to bring it to you attention.

This resource is posted by blogger David M. Schell. I encourage you to read his entire post at Why Young Earth Creationism & Biblical Literalism Aren’t Going Away, but right now I am going to interact with his excellent syllogism.

Schell states:

Most fundamentalists were taught that if there are any contradictions in the Bible, then it is untrustworthy. And many atheists became so after discovering that those contradictions did in fact exist. Both start with the same problematic premise:

(1) If there are contradictions in the Bible, then the Bible is false.

  1. Fundamentalists follow (a) with
  2. (2a) The Bible is not false, therefore
  3. (3a) there are no contradictions in the Bible.
  1. Some streams of atheists accept (a), then follow (a) with
  2. (2b) There are contradictions in the Bible, therefore
  3. (3b) The Bible is false.

David Schell’s point is already clear to those of us who do not subscribe to biblical inerrancy, but for some reason it does not seem clear to inerrancy-oriented critics. What I find so exceptional is that David expresses it in terms that anyone should be able to grasp.

He suggests that those questioning inerrancy should begin by rejecting (1) ‘If there are contradictions in the Bible, then the Bible is false’ rather than accepting (1) and rejecting (2).

The Unfortunate Result of this Major Premise

Many fundamentalists, evangelicals, and other inerrantists come to a place where they have doubts about whether inerrancy is true. They might see problems with inconsistencies and ‘contradictions’ or begin to realize that there is, in fact, a strong case for evolution. Some begin to wonder whether the angry, violent, vindictive God depicted in the Old Testament is a true characterization of God or wonder how a loving God can punish people with eternal torment.

These are difficult issues for maturing inerrantists, and it is good for them to work through these doubts on inerrancy. But their quest is in grave danger if they begin with the major premise that ‘If there are contradictions in the Bible, then the Bible is false’.

Let’s change the premise slightly to read: ‘If the Bible is not inerrant, then the Bible is false’. Accepting this premise, and then becoming convinced that the Bible is not inerrant, leads to the conclusion that the Bible is false. The Bible is then rejected. Some lose their way and some become atheists who criticize the Bible as misleading and worthless.

The Alternative of Understanding Biblical Context

There is a valid approach to appreciating the Bible as a valuable book, filled with truth about Jesus and the Father, without assuming or demanding inerrancy: the Bible was written by people who felt they had a strong connection with God. This was true in the Old Testament, but it was particularly so with those who met Jesus, were transformed, and wrote about their understanding of him.

In their writing, these people wrote about their experiences and how they felt about them. However, they used their own words and ideas. They also used literary genre that cannot be read literally because it was not meant to be read literally; this includes apocalyptic, midrash, proverbs, poetry, letters and many other forms of expression.

When coming to grips with the fact that the Bible is not an inerrant book, there is no need to throw out the baby with the bath water of inerrancy. On the contrary, a better understanding of the biblical context makes the Bible an even richer document. So outgrow inerrancy and see the Bible anew!

Click the picture below to go to the original article: