by: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
—– Original Message —–
To: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 12:21 AM
Subject: Re: Spiritual Authority of the Bible
(Steven) I spent some time on your website. You have obviously put a great deal of time and energy into assembling all the information found there including your own writing. I applaud your passion.
I found your essay on “Legislating in a Christian Nation” interesting. While reading that, I became curious about something. I began to wonder what Christ said about scripture. The only passage I am aware of is where He says, “the scripture says so-and-so, but I say thus-and-so.”
During the time of his ministry, religious people had their holy writings, their holy scripture. Did he teach that people ought to regard scripture as the final word on spiritual matters? What did he actually say about this? Do you know?
All the best,
Thanks for looking at my site. Yes, I’ve spent a lot of time and expressed much passion in pursuing the expression of the ideas. Deeply confronting the issues of politics, society, economy, science, defense, education, and religion has had a deep effect on my perception of life. After this long analysis of many points along the spectrum of life, I am much more comfortable with my belief structure, having closed many of the open questions about life. This does not mean that I have answered all of life’s questions; rather, I have seen the limits of man’s knowledge and reason and seen the points beyond which faith must extend.
(Steven) “I began to wonder what Christ said about scripture. The only passage I am aware of is where He says, “the scripture says so-and-so, but I say thus-and-so.”
During the time of his ministry, religious people had their holy writings, their holy scripture. Did he teach that people ought to regard scripture as the final word on spiritual matters? What did he actually say about this? Do you know?”
All the references to Scripture that Jesus gave were worded in a different way than you have phrased it, but I believe the intent of His stand on following the precepts of the Old Testament, and His words can be deduced from scriptural cues. Paul said the following:
Romans 3:4 Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That you may be justified in your words, and may overcome when you are judged.”
This statement refers to using scripture as our defense. The underlying thesis of the Bible is that God’s standard is final, exalted, true, just, and right. He designed the universe and it functions according to the Law He embedded within every particle of matter and soul substance. Thus, because of God’s imposition of Law on the creation, Truth exists. The way the universe is built and its response is Truth. We may not be able to identify or predict the active rules operating in God’s World at any given time… Whether we can find an exact answer that applies to our concern in 21st Century life that is addressed specifically in Scripture is not the issue. Ultimately, we must attempt to know the mind of God by study, prayer, meditation, and counsel and then act on our conviction of Truth. Ultimately the Holy Spirit is the leader of our hearts and minds in giving us that leading in the truth.
Regarding the issue of whether Jesus said that scripture is the final word on spiritual matters: I think the words of Jesus were more declarative than meta-comment about their truth. He simply said what was true and false; he gave analogies and parables about the Kingdom of Heaven, he instructed in proper speech, thought and action, and warned of the consequences of various actions. He gave a brief sketch of the afterlife, He did miracles, and He spoke with authority. His life was the fulfillment of 100’s of Old Testament prophecies. His birth was foreshadowed by the birth of John the Baptist who made clear the way for His teaching. The metaphor of Jesus’ life spoke to the issue of the validity of His teaching and His declarations about spiritual life, both here and hereafter.
I look at the Bible as a hologram. Each portion of the scripture really does reflect the whole of scripture, but the larger the piece you look at, the more clearly you see the details in the picture. There are scriptures that if taken out of context, and placed side by side, would look contradictory. But, when placed in the larger context, or the way God has created the creation and used the historical unfolding, the revelations, and the inspiration of men, He was able to create a mosaic that reflected His larger plan. The scriptures truly are a masterpiece of guidance and revelation about the face and nature of God. And, to the person who wishes to see them as foolish, they will be.
1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God; and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”
Jesus never disagreed with scripture, i.e. the Old Testament. He said many times, “It is written” and used that as an example of principles. There were times when he clarified the meaning and true original intent of the scripture. He was qualified to do this because He was there, He was/is the God of the universe, so he could say with authority what was meant, intended, actually happened.
Jesus said in, Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus talked about being angry and lusting.
Matthew 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Jesus talked about lust saying:
Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
The Pharisees said they could write a bill of divorce for any reason, and Jesus said from the beginning it was not so.
Mark 10:2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Jesus said, I came not to overturn the Law but to fulfill the law.
Your question brings up the question of whether scripture has enough authority, clarity, and consistency to be the basis of legislation.
The answer is yes. As I defend in the various pieces, I do not think we should have/be a theocracy. A governmental priest class that judges orthodoxy is a sure path to tyranny. Rather, our nation should be based on an unspoken, generally accepted, implicit moral foundation based on the Biblical scripture. We should be a nation of people who are dedicated to reading scripture, interpreting it as we believe best, and we should vote as our heart leads from a place of wisdom, experience, and knowledge.
In such a State, the scripture becomes a bias toward the choice of the laws, leaders, limitations/requirement of behavior, and types of systems that we impose upon ourselves. Without such a governing principle biasing our decisions, we are subject to the morality of a people who have simply followed their own flesh. Various pressures move men to believe and act and regulate their behavior. No society will be homogeneous in its belief structure or philosophy. As a result, there will always be sincere and sinister attacks on the status quo paradigm and ruling class. Such a society with its multiplicity of influences and perspectives will necessarily challenge the purity and validity of the moral paradigm, expose its hypocrisy, and confront the impracticality of limitations imposed by a belief structure that was more of man’s making than God’s.
Sadly, in our current society, we see an erosion of the open system of choice. We could at one time as a society choose to pray in school, to legislate against certain behaviors that were clearly unBiblical. But in recent years the courts have told us that such legislation is unconstitutional, i.e. against the intended conception of the Founders. As a result, a new Constitution has been put in place where only Secular Humanist moral standards may be legislated.
Personally, I evaluate these developments as an attempt to forcibly and intentionally remove Christianity and the Scripture as the backbone and moral standard of the society. I see a cabal purposefully prohibiting the use of scripture as the standard of any law. This has been done even though the people have chosen to be subject to the constraints and requirement of the Biblical scripture since its inception. I believe we will suffer as a nation as we depart from the Biblical standards.
The courts have become the agents for the legislation of the edict to cleanse the public square of Christianity. This is a government of the people, and their original practice included using scripture as the moral foundation for legislation. The people of our democracy have not spoken to remove Scripture as the moral basis for education or law. Rather, an oligarchy of men in black has imposed a new rule upon us, and I believe the outcome will not be good.
So, there’s my insight on the subject. What is your perspective?
Great hearing from you, thanks for the question. I love a good interaction.