Recession-proof Christian Life
7/22/11 at 01:12 PM 4 Comments

Combating Atheism with Sola Scriptura

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How were atheists and other unbelievers converted in the Bible? Hardly are we told this was accomplished by argument or convincing debate.  Instead, we learn the Spirit of God came upon teachers and people heard the word of God, saw the wonders of God and His miracles and judgments and many were added. The Bible consistently points out that “people were added” suggesting it was the work of an external agent - the Holy Spirit as the word of God went forth. There are records of conversations in the New Testament Bible e.g. after a lengthy one-on-one between the King and the brilliant lawyer and Apostle Paul, Herod Agrippa declares in Acts 26[28]  ... “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

Sola scriptura is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. It demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid deductive reasoning from scripture.

A friend posted on his face book wall a scripture that came up at a time when I was reflecting on the value of blogging and what to say, not to say and how frequently to say it...

Proverbs 18:6 A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes (beatings).

Contention, even though one did not intend it as such, I observe, sends the popularity of your thoughts virally spreading into the blogosphere. Yet, the wise author of Proverbs says it is a fool’s lips that enter into contention or are drawn to speak too many words.  How would Christ and early Christians have handled issues and evangelised a strong opposing culture? I pondered a while and saw that success did not always come easy. For illustration, although the learned Apostle Paul spent two years with Porcius Felix, he made no progress to change him in the slightest even after several discussions.

Acts 24[25]  And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. [26]  He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. [27]  But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

I found instead that the prayers and meditations of Christ were long (sometimes all night) - but His conversations were almost always short ...even shorter when faced with daunting satanic opposition. In temptation it was always the word of God that He used in response and never an intellectual point of view or argument.  Do not argue with devils. Many like Pilate wanted Jesus to say more in self defence but His silence was even more deafening. Most of what needed to be said was already carried to God on His knees. Take more unbelievers to God in the place of prayer. It was the prayers of Christ that made all the difference in the true conversion of a fickle Peter from a zealous profiteering Judas who hung himself.

Matthew 27[13]  Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? [14]  And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.

So what happens to the person unable to say “it is written” because he does not know what is written and is lured into words in a world that loves discourse, chats, conversation and debate?  How can we engage the culture and cause it to marvel if we are illiterate of the word and ignorant of power in the gospel to change hearts? What happens when our prayers to God are shorter and our words and conversations with men become even longer – helped even more by 24 hr social media?

Matthew 22[15]  Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.

Christ told His disciples in Luke 21[14]  Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: [15]  For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

We need the help of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of wisdom and God has promised to send Him to us as helper.  We must still admit many times instead of irresistible wisdom that amazes questioners and causes them to leave us alone we are dumbfounded to respond to an unmatchable world view and the traps of the Pharisee pretending interest in things of God... and we can only blurt out rather rudely like Paul did  Galatians 6 [17]  From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

Getting into strife and intellectual wrangling with atheists may impress onlookers but it is what the Bible calls “entanglements”  Matthew 22 [15]  Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

2 Peter 2 [20]  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

How then do we reach to the atheist who has no interest to hear things of God? Know the word of God, fight to live the word of God that you know in your life for the world to see, present and depend on the word of God and let the Holy Spirit do the adding. Indeed the bane of today’s evangelism is not lack of brilliant minds or accoutrements for fishing for souls but dilution and dearth of the living word as well as grieving of the Holy Spirit.

Still there is no solution elsewhere but returning afresh to the word of God.  Attempting reformation for God without a knowledge of the Bible denies the very power required for it to succeed.  But worse the devil knows the word of God well enough even to challenge Christ with it, being a supernatural being also familiar with things of God. This creates an even greater challenge for the Christian armed with only superficial Bible knowledge dulled by revised texts, fables and fairy tales.  The amateur of the word is immediately vulnerable and cannot uncover the thinnest veils.

As you return to the Bible, do commit to study, memorise and meditate on the word day and night.  It will make you strong, clear minded and equipped to make the impact God desires from your life. It should not surprise you that many valid occupations make this resolution appear impossible. But be convinced that you cannot have the depth of word of God abiding in your heart with so many other cares.  Remember the “Parable of the Sower.” There is an organised effort of thorns, weeds and fowl birds committed to stopping the word of God from germinating and bearing fruit. Needless to say, the word of God will not bear fruit by default or because you merely wish it to be so... water it with prayer and receive grace from the Holy Spirit to engraft it in your heart.  Soon you will be saying “It is written ...”

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