This is in response to Dr. Steve McSwain’s Huffington Post article entitled “6 Things Christians Should Stop Saying”. The following are six things that liberals should stop saying especially if they claim to be Christians.
The Bible Is Not the Inspired, Inerrant, and Authoritative Word of God
Liberals keep saying that the Bible isn’t the inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word of God. First of all, the claim of inspiration, inerrancy, and authority doesn’t come from a conservative Christian’s personal opinion, but comes from the Word of God:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” (2 Tim. 3:16)
“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Pet. 1: 19-21)
“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19: 7-8)
Now if you don’t believe what Paul, Peter, or a psalmist says about the Word of God, how about Jesus who you claim to follow:
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5: 17-19)
Now what I expect liberals, especially those of the “Jesus Seminar” persuasion, to say is that Jesus never said such a thing (especially v. 19) because it is unloving and judgmental. Liberals tend to ignore or redact Jesus statements that He made in the New Testament which they feel seem to be harsh and unloving (eg. Jesus statements about hell, exclusivity of salvation, etc.). This is the liberal’s conception of Jesus not the Jesus of the Bible. However, it would be wise to pay attention to verse 19, since it is a warning by Jesus that judgment will come to those who pervert our Lord’s teaching by subtraction which is something liberals have a habit of doing.
In addition, I find it fascinating that liberals continue to make the same arguments that the Bible is full of mistakes despite the fact that those claims have been refuted many times by such distinguished Christian scholars as B.B. Warfield, Lorraine Boettner, and John Murray.
Moreover, if we look at the manuscript evidence for both the Old and New Testaments, it has been proven many times over that there are more manuscript copies of the Bible than any other ancient work. It’s not even close. Dr. McSwain claims that the Bible is unreliable because there are no original manuscripts. My question to Dr. McSwain is to please name me an ancient work that has the original manuscripts? You will have a hard time finding them because there are none. If we used the same standard as Dr. McSwain’s in judging the Bible’s reliability in comparison to other ancient works, none of those works would be found acceptable.
We Believe in the Bible
Believe it or not, Dr. McSwain, your belief in the Bible is based on your own interpretation too. The problem is that it’s the wrong interpretation. That interpretation which you use is based on your liberal secular humanistic worldview of the Bible. If you were really a Christian, as you claim to be, you would believe in the Bible in its entirety, and not pick and choose what to believe in the Bible based on your false worldview. Here is what a true follower of Jesus believes:
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (John 14:21)
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love ; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:10 -11)
John, Jesus’ beloved Apostle, confirms His Lord’s statements in his epistle:
“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:” (1 John 2: 3-5)
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.” (1 John 5:2)
Therefore, Dr. McSwain, based on what Jesus and His disciples say in the Bible, you and other liberals don’t believe in the Bible and are not true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Once again, if you are truly a disciple and loved Christ, you would follow all the commandments in the Bible, and not pick and choose what you want to believe.
There Is More Than One Way to Get to Heaven
The following is the first of four things that Dr. McSwain mentions in his article that you will believe if you have a false view of the Bible. First of all, Dr. McSwain if you don’t believe in the Bible, then obviously your view of salvation will be false.
It seems that Dr. McSwain has his own personal interpretation of John 14:6 where Jesus is claiming that He is the only way to salvation. Dr. McSwain claims that Jesus was making this exclusive claim to Thomas and the rest of the disciples because this was a time when they were fragile in their faith. Jesus only made this statement of exclusivity to assure them that He would never leave them or forsake them. Yeah right! Jesus basically lied about salvation to His disciples so they can feel better about themselves. If you believe that Jesus was a sinner and a pathological liar then maybe that would be true, but this is not the case. Jesus is the God-man who was sinless and would not lie or deceive His disciples just to make them feel better or restore their confidence. If you really believe what Dr. McSwain is saying, what do you do about other statements which Jesus and His disciples made about salvation being exclusively through Him?
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7: 13-14)
“So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7)
“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:23)
These statements, including John 14:6, are all exclusive claims of salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone and not based on any works (Eph. 2:8-10, Gal. 2:16). It is impossible for anyone to work his way to heaven because God’s standard for salvation is absolute perfection (Matt. 5:48). If a person commits a sin, that one sin will cause that person to go to hell (Rom. 6:23). All other religions with the exception of Christianity believe in some type of works based salvation which is contrary to what the Scriptures teach. Salvation is through Christ alone because that is the Bible’s claim. It is not based on anyone’s personal opinion.
Next time we will deal with the last three of Dr. McSwain’s claims.
(Tony Zabala is currently the Evangelism Coordinator for the Santa Monica Church)