Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Must I Do to Be Saved?

I’m probably going to be considered heretical by some with this post.

I went to a funeral for the relative of a friend yesterday. It was held at a large, fundamental Independent Baptist Church - one where the women are not allowed to wear pants.

There was something the preacher said that reinforced what I have been thinking lately. He said that (paraphrasing) one cannot be saved unless one is shown from the Bible HOW to be saved. (my mother said she knew people who taught that one had to have a salvation VERSE in order to be saved). He gave the testimony of the woman being eulogized that she believed she was saved as a young child, but since no one had taken her through the Word of God, she was never sure she was saved. She later got it “settled” from the Bible.

My former pastor has said recently that the Bible is the only Jesus we now have.

He used tell the story (to illustrate how wrongheaded people can be (!)) about how a visiting Korean pastor was told by the hosting pastor that since he didn’t get saved out of the King James Bible that He couldn’t be saved!

After reading Bruchko, it struck me how the Moltilone didn’t HAVE a Bible to get saved from – much less the KJV!

What arrogance of some people!

Here is the heresy….I believe that some are worshipping the Book more than the Person – Jesus Christ! Where is the belief formulated that the Bible is the only Jesus that we now have? Hasn’t He told us that He is in us and us in Him? That we are hidden with Christ in God?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe the Bible IS the Word of God, but maybe that’s why we think that God is far away – because we believe the only part we have of Him is a book….

11 comments:

Joel B. said...

John,

All of this resonates with me because for years I've pretty much been saying the same thing.

Jesus is a Person, not a book. Yep indeed, we read about Him in a Bible that is made up of various books and epistles, but it's not faith in the book that saves, it's faith in the Person.

I've said in the past that I believe that most people who have ever lived have not had access to the scriptures. I could be wrong - I have no "research" on that. :) But in the past the Jewish scriptures that we call the Old Testament were generally not available to the Gentiles, and were available only in limited supply to the Jews - mainly the Scribes and priests.

Then, even after the Cross and Resurrection, there were still no New Testament scriptures, but yet people still got saved, in great numbers. And even after Paul's epistles, and Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and others wrote their various accounts and epistles, it still wasn't all available in the way that it is today.

Like you say, don't get me wrong, I love having easy access to the scriptures! But you're right - the true Jesus that we have isn't the Bible, it's the Spirit that resides in us.

Gary Sparrow said...

John,

Interesting topic. Here is my take. I too have heard people say if your not saved using the KJV your not really saved. I do not agree with that sentiment, It is Jesus that saves and as long as someone comes to trust Him however they get there they are saved. I also believe that when God's word is not available He will manifest Himself however He chooses.

That being said I do believe the KJV is the Word of God ( I'll save my reasoning for another post). The Holy Spirit lives in us and will lead and guide us in our lives but the Bible also tells us Jesus is the Word. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. I believe anything the Holy Spirit teaches us is already in God's word it just hasn't been revealed to us. Therefore if we have God's word available to us we should use it when witnessing to people.

The example you said the preacher used is interesting. Just from what you mentioned, and not knowing the situation fully, I would thimk the woman was saved when she was young and just got the assurance she needed later from the Word. We deal with alot of kids at our Church and many times they do need that assurance.

I'll end with this. I don't believe God (Holy Spirit) will give anyone a revelation that is contrary to His Word. We shouldn't worship the Bible more than the Person but the Word should be a big part of our Worship.

Alison Fincher said...

Joel, I think you're entirely write about access to the Scriptures as they are written in the Bible. I might add that the content of the Bible was available to them by different means. Medieval artwork, which most people think had a purpose in teaching the laity, requires an extraordinary body of scriptural lore to decode. Medieval vernacular, secular texts include a really large number of Biblical allusions which readers could presumably have understood.

But more importantly medieval mystical women--most of whom can't read Latin and therefore the Bible--write in really amazing and poignant ways about their relationship with God. They clearly have an idea of a relationship with God separate from their relationship with Holy Writ.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I agree with you. Scripture is something living that affects our daily lives--Jesus is the Word of God, after all.

John Fincher said...

Joel,
I think we are traveling, somewhat, the same path. Father has really challenged some of my conventions.

I hadn't thought about it, but I believe you are right - that most people have NOT had access to the Scriptures.

Might I go a little further? Maybe we have too much of the WRITTEN Word and not enough of the living Word?

I was telling my wife that since we "see through a glass darkly", that I believe Father MAYBE cuts us some slack? Maybe? I don't know. Just asking.

Alison,
I ALWAYS love your perspective.

Gary,
I hope I am not offending you. I've always been suspect of and to people who believe that the KJV is the ONLY Bible. (Yes, I've heard that taught)

Good comments all.

Joel B. said...

Hey all,

It's interesting (and normal) that we easily get our views of the availability of the scriptures over the years from our current experience of having scripture so readily available to us. It's hard to place ourselves in the shoes of those billions of people who have never had access to them, and yet I imagine we'll be in the company of many of them in eternity. Somehow Christ's church has survived over the past two millennia without easy access to the Bible!

I want to reaffirm that I'm sooo very glad that we have the Bible. We can refute such ideas as alms and indulgences, etc. And we can understand and preach the gospel much more clearly from the words of Paul. Things like that are good reasons to be thankful for the Bible as it is presented to us today.

But I fully agree with you John, that I think there is too much of the written word and all too little of the Living Word. What Bible did Abraham have? What Bible did Moses have? What Bible did so and so have, who lived apart from the scriptures? They had the Word of God - the Living Word. We have the same Living Word, not only speaking to us today, but dwelling in us, as we've died with Him and have been made alive together with Him!

Joel B. said...

As for the KJV, I also don't mean to insult anyone, but I've personally found a few errors in it. What got me started on this was a group of dogmatic KJV'ers, who were very adamant that all other versions are wrong, and the KJV is completely infallible. They have a website, av1611.org, and I briefly browsed their website. (I came across them years ago when I used to post in a Christian music forum. They are dead set against "Christian music").

Anyway, as one example of several, I came across this article on their site: Are You Washed in the Blood? The article says that "washed" is the correct translation of a certain word in Rev 1:5, and that none of the other translations have it correct. The article goes to great lengths to prove that everyone else is wrong... but it begins with the wrong premise: that the KJV is RIGHT by default. ;)

NOT that I'm an expert in Greek, but I looked up the Greek word in various sources, and the word is more correctly translated "loosed," which is what many of the other translations say!

So again, not to put down the KJV, but according to my amateur studies, there are several errors in it. At the time, I sent an email to the people who run the site, and never heard back.

Alison Fincher said...

Isn't the biggest logistical problem with the "KJV-only" argument that most people can't speak English?

Joel B. said...

True, Alison. I wonder if there's such thing as an LVLQ (La Version Louis Quatorze) in France, that certain French people claim as the only authorized version... ;)

Gary Sparrow said...

Not to be too long (or boring) on this subject but my conviction is based on the manuscripts used (Mesoretic Text for the Old Testement and Textus Receptus for the New Testement). Also the form of translation, formal equivalency as opposed to dynamic equivalency used in the newer translations.

I'm not trying to change anybodies mind, the version of the Bible you use is between you and God, that is just my conviction. There are differences in the versions however and it makes for an interesting study.

As far as the languages go the KJV is for English speaking people. There are many ministries that are translating Bibles into other languages using the KJV and some that are going back to the 2 manuscripts I mentioned to translate into other languages.

I have seen Bible version discussions get contentious but that really just makes Christians look bad and I don't think it changes anybodies mind. Just something we all have to decide for ourselves.

Joel B. said...

I just wanted to add that my 'beef' isn't with whether or not the KJV is the best version, but rather is with the 'KJV only' crowd. That is, the ones who say it is fully authoritative and without error and that it's essentially the only version that's authorized by God Himself.

Bino M. said...

I found some excerpts on 'biblicism' and it's dangers at the below link:

(Hope you don't mind posting this)

www.christinyou.net

Life is not in the book, as the Pharisees supposed, but only in the Man of the book (John 5:39)