Read, re-read, and pray through “What Non-Christians Want Christians to Know.” “Always [be] prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15.
The following is the monologue from a radio show I hosted on June 17, 2017.
Thank you for joining us today. I’m Pastor Jon Shishko.
Today we are discussing the uncomfortable topic of abortion. Google for a definition and you’ll get, “abortion – the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy…” Just the word “abortion” and that simple definition of it begin to evoke feelings. As you listen, notice how your emotions start to rise to the surface. Think of a child you love, one of your own or a beloved niece or nephew, grandson or granddaughter. See that boy or girl and their vibrant beautiful personality, full of potential, a unique expression of the miracle of life, a person and a personality more valuable than any opportunity, any amount of money. A person and personality that began before even being born.
And take your thoughts to that point prior to birth. Modern science helps us imagine more of what it’s like. Warmth. Shelter. Sustenance. Safety. Mom isn’t just carrying future life; Mom is caring for life itself. By God’s design, mom is security for her child – a life-giving safe-haven for the first nine months of life. Life within life – safety for the most innocent, helpless, and needy.
Consider now that in the United States, 1 out every 5 little unborn personalities – who know nothing but their mother’s constant nurture & provision – are suddenly killed by abortion, a “deliberate termination.” Consider that the termination is often done by vacuuming the child out of their safe-haven or by the use of narrow forceps which break and pry the child out. As grizzly as these options are, even worse options are available. In Sweden, 80% of 2nd Trimester abortions are “labor induced” abortions in which labor is induced, and the baby is prematurely born – and terminated. The termination of the children is performed through tactics reminiscent of the holocaust: a pre-abortion injection of potassium chloride into the unborn baby softens the baby’s bones – which enables “decompression” – a slightly nicer way to say the crushing of the child’s skull and other bones that get in the way of extraction.
Consider how frequently these abortions happen. Not occasionally. Hundreds of thousands a year in the United States. Millions world-wide. 60 Million reported abortions in the United States since its legalization in 1973. Innocent life, terminated. A decades-long holocaust of the most undeserving & the most innocent.
Finally, consider how plainly Scripture speaks of life before birth. Thousands of years ago, King David the Psalmist wrote, “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works…My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven….Your eyes saw my unformed substance…” [Psalm 139:13-16]. These many years later, all our technology and science continues to reveal the mystery and miracle of life in the womb….and some of that same technology and science is used to destroy it.
And it’s right here that we need to stop to remember something absolutely critical. Most, if not all of us, hear these things and are filled with some combination of horror, grief, and rage. But, then we often take a wrong step. Our next step often reflects nothing but our rage. We denounce in the loudest terms abortion, because its murder. We march, we picket, we protest, – and too often – without even realizing it – us sinners who have been saved by grace have become graceless towards those who most need the grace by which we have been saved. We cease seeing ourselves as sinners and we do it by pointing at those we think have sinned in ways worse than we have. Churches become places where those most in need of forgiveness are ostracized and shamed.
I still haven’t mentioned the most stunning statistic about abortion. The most stunning statistic about abortion is that one quarter of them are had by people that go to church. You see, when churches shame and guilt instead of offering grace and forgiveness –though they denounce, picket, and protest, though they speak ever so loudly, they end up contributing to the atrocity right alongside the rest of the world.
We need to remember that the glory of Jesus Christ is that he was “full of grace and truth” [John 1:14]. Not truth & rage – but truth and grace. We read “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” [John 3:16-17]. We sinners are often quicker to condemn other sinners than the holy God is to do so! Jesus Christ demonstrates this throughout His life. He is the friend of thieves and prostitutes. He speaks with immoral woman and men. He offers eternal life and forgiveness to the worst of sinners. He never compromises the truth, He never alters the law of God – but He comes not in rage and truth but in grace and truth. He doesn’t waste his life otherizing and ostracizing. He denounces sin while loving the sinner. He is known to all as the friend of sinners. And that’s good news because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Listen to find out how you can help! Follow me on twitter at @jon_shishko. Message me there if you want the recording for this show.
The following is the monologue from a radio show I hosted on June 3, 2017.
Thank you for joining us today. I’m Pastor Jon Shishko. This radio show is entitled Public School? Private School? Home School? And we’ll consider the different options available to us for the education of our children.
But, before diving into all the education options and difficulties that typically come to mind, I want all of you to stop and think. I want to turn your attention to something that may surprise you — something so obvious that it usually hides in plain sight. And that is this: Everyone, all of you listening, each of you…..home school. We’re all home-schoolers….of one variety or another. In fact, you may be home-schooling right now.
Let me explain. A perfectly good definition of the word “school” is “a place where people are instructed in certain disciplines.” And the home is certainly “a place where people are instructed in certain disciplines.” That is inevitable! That is why “home life” and “family values” and “sociology” are always important and often talked about topics. Much of life comes back to home-schooling.
Every time you sit on your bed Googling something on your tablet or smart phone – you are self-educating at home – or home schooling. Every time you sip coffee while reading a book in your living room, you’re home schooling. Every time you follow a recipe, plant a garden, fix something in the house, or have company over – you’re home schooling. And when children enter the picture – well… Before children can even speak they are already in advanced stages of homeschooling! Homeschooling is, after all, how children learn to speak! Watching, listening, learning, instructed by the example set by mom and dad, instructed by each brother and sister, instructed through everything that’s going on in the home. Coloring, playing with blocks, reading, and being read to, drawing, writing – it’s all “homework” it’s all “homeschool.” Children are learners and their first school is the home school.
And, as followers of Jesus Christ, one thing we must always be thankful for is how very practical His Word, the scriptures, the Bible, really is. This reality – that we all home school all the time – is something the Bible understands better than we tend to. In one of the most well-known passages of the Old Testament, we read, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deu 6:4-7 ESV).
In the New Testament, writing to the fathers of homes, the Apostle Paul insists, “Bring [your children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” God made us male and female in his own image. God designed us to live in and be part of families. God intends for the home to be a school. And the home is always a school whether we think of it that way or not. “How we were raised” shapes and defines us at every point. All of us not only home school, but have been home-schooled.
Now, please don’t take this to an absurd extreme. There’s often a place for outside schooling. Throughout the Bible we find many instances of specialized schooling. In the Old Testament we find a group called “The Sons of the Prophets” that seems to be a special prophet school to which Elijah and Elisha belonged. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were trained in the schools of Babylon – schools that were radically hostile to their faith. In the New Testament we read that the Apostle Paul spent fourteen years in special training – special schooling – for his work as a missionary. And the explosion of Christianity in the New Testament happened in cities where there were all sorts of schools – schools of philosophy, trade schools, and religious schools. Even Jesus Christ profited from specialized schooling! In Luke 2 we read that when Jesus was 12 years old he spent 3 days in the temple at Jerusalem “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” So – while the home is a school – there is often a place for specialized schooling as well.
And that brings us to the options and difficulties we typically think of when we consider education. We all homeschool. The question is – to what extent should we make use of specialized schools? Are public schools the best way to raise our children in the Lord? Are private Christian schools the best way to go? What do we do here in NY where every option seems so labor intensive and financially challenging? To what extent should we make use of the programs and opportunities were already paying for through taxes? If we do more with homeschooling, what about socialization?
My wife Lauryn and I have a 9 year old son, 7 year old daughter, and a 5 year old boy. We wrestle with education & school-related questions all the time. Today’s show is an effort to start answering them.
Listen to find out more! Follow me on twitter at @jon_shishko. Message me there if you want the recording of this show.
The following is the monologue from a radio show I hosted on April 1, 2017.
Thank you for joining us today. I’m Pastor Jon Shishko. Today, we address an issue that confronts all of us all the time. Did you watch something last night? What did you watch? What did your kids watch? As Christians, what sort of TV, movies, and Broadway plays should we be watching? “Rated R”….. “TV-MA”….. HBO ….Do these stand for “OFF LIMITS TO CHRISTIANS?” What about the Christian-themed movie The Shack? It is Christian-themed, it deals with God and forgiveness – and it’s in theaters right now. You would think that means churches and youth groups should be flocking to theaters in droves to watch it. But, do a quick Google search, and you’ll find that many Christians see it as full of lies and heresy. What about the number one box office hit, Disney’s newest Beauty and the Beast, in which Gaston’s companion Lefou, a man, is openly attracted to other men? If you take a moment to scan through your Facebook feed or read through various Christian Blogs, you’ll find conflict, disagreement, and not a little hysteria around the question – To Watch – Or Not To Watch? What are we Christians to do?
Once again, we find that God, through His Word, delivers us from the confusion that surrounds us. And yet, He doesn’t do so simplistically. From God’s Word, it seems us Christians are often asking the wrong question. To Watch – or Not to Watch? That’s not the question. Or at least, not always. Certainly there are some things no Christian should ever watch. But, Jesus Christ Himself makes clear that part of Christianity is being thoroughly in the world without in anyway being of the world. In John 17, Jesus Christ’s longest recorded prayer, Jesus prays for His people saying, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”
Why is Jesus praying for us in this way? Because He knows we will always be surrounded by things that are “of the world”. He knows that His people will constantly experience a tension – a difficulty – asking – what should we watch? What should we listen to? Is this appropriate for me as a Christian? Is this ok for us to go to? Is this alright for my children?
And yet, we find Jesus asks even more of us! In Luke 16 He says, “The sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.” You see, Jesus wants us “in the know” about what’s going on in the world that we’re in but not of. What beliefs are circulating? What does “the world” think? What do our neighbors and co-workers think is good or bad, right or wrong, acceptable or intolerable?
Another place Scripture informs us on this topic is the example set by St. Paul in the book of Acts. In Acts 17, Paul is in Athens, surrounded by nothing by idols, idolaters, and idolatry. Paul found this perplexing, but he didn’t retreat and hide from all that was wrong with Athens. Instead, he went straight to the heart of the city – the marketplace – what we would call a mall – and there he worked to understand Athens more fully. Then, he preached to that pagan world without quoting a single scripture verse – but instead by using pagan poetry and references to idolatrous things he had observed in pagan Athens. Paul learned their culture without becoming a part of their culture, and Jesus Christ would have us do the same in our day and age.
So, instead of only asking the overly simplistic question – TO Watch or not to Watch? Let’s work to listen to Jesus and to live like the Apostle Paul – realizing we are Christians. Realizing we, like Jesus, are of God. Realizing we are in a world that we often, and often vehemently, disagree with. Realizing that Disney has never been in the business of producing Christian movies, and most of all realizing that Jesus Christ doesn’t treat us like dumb thoughtless fools – but instead like image bearers of God, redeemed to hold every thought captive to Jesus Christ – which means we realize that as Christians were are not always asking TO watch or Not to Watch but also, and even more frequently….How? How Should we watch this? How should we watch this show or that movie? What does it look like to watch a movie to the glory of God? How, as Christians, should we watch The Shack? How, as Christians, should we watch Beauty and the Beast? How should we then watch?
Listen to the whole show! Follow me on twitter at @jon_shishko. Message me there if you want the recording of this show.
Now that I’ve paved the way for an exhaustive answer (see here) let’s talk a little about books. Recently, I read about a successful business man who didn’t read books so much as he read libraries. Now, that’s a description! Libraries of books is the way – not to expertise & mastery – but to a sufficient understanding. (Isn’t it interesting that the Bible is a library? It’s not a book, it’s 66 books. There’s no 1 book that captures God! Only a library will do.) And, so, as we answer the all-important question of “Is the Bible Trustworthy?” let’s take a look at a mini library:
Do you need to read all this before trusting the Bible? Of course not. The Bible is written so the youngest child can truly believe what it says, and yet, it’s so profound and wonderful that the greatest minds become lost in marveling at its mysteries. Indeed, the Bible is written “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name,” (John 20:31). But here’s a question for you. Since the Bible speaks about eternal heaven and eternal hell (that is, endless-forever-and-ever bliss or torment), is there any scenario in which it would be wise to ignore a pile of books in order to simply go on in unbelief? And don’t “Pascal’s wager” me! Why wouldn’t you make an all-out study of what the Bible says and offers? It is the most-published & best-selling book of all time, and Jesus Christ is, by all accounts, the most influential person of all time. Those facts alone should mean you devote some time and energy into adequately answering the question, “Should I Trust the Bible?”
So, here’s a break down of the above picture (a picture that may not say a thousand words, but certainly contains at least that many!)
If you need to start with “only one book,” then start with
Jesus Among Secular Gods by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale. Begin by doing your homework. This book’s authors are brilliant men – look them up. They truck with the academic elite of Princeton & Oxford. But, that’s not why this book is where you should start. Both Zacharias and Vitale know how to communicate. Their brilliance doesn’t get in the way of them writing an accessible book to our 2017 secular day and age.
If you’re the sort who realizes you’ll need at least three books to get into a subject, then start with Jesus Among Secular Gods and add these two:
Making Sense of God by Timothy Keller is one of a kind. You’re simply not going to find a more thorough, timely, sensitive, thoughtful, and organized approach to belief in the face of the difficulties of 21st century skepticism. This is a tour de force that will not only answer many of your questions – but will also lead you to the many other questions you should be asking. In addition, every Tim Keller book serves as a tremendous index to all sorts of great literature. His books are always worth twice their cover value: first for Keller’s thoughts – second for all the thoughts of everyone else he footnotes & summarizes. Also, check out this Google Talk by Keller on the book.
Pensees by Blaise Pascal. About time for a curve-ball, isn’t it? Listen, if you get through the first two books and are still ready for more, it’s time to start swimming into the long, deep history of Christianity. Pascal lived and died in the 1600’s. He was 39 when he died. And his writing is still fresh and thought-provoking. You need to start grappling with all he grappled with over his short faith-filled but faith-testing life.
And, if you’re the powerhouse who doesn’t so much read books as you do libraries, then start with the above three, and add these seven:
God’s Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts. Don’t judge the man for having 2 last names. It’s a great quick read that serves as a road-map to the entire Bible. Please don’t make the mistake of reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation thinking that it will be easy to understand. It’s grand, it’s full, it’s got all sorts of genres & histories. It is a unified story – but use this book to help you see that unified story.
You Are What You Love by James K A Smith is an introduction to the idea that all of life is religious – whether you think so or not. Read this to peal the blinders off your eyes and see yourself as the religious practitioner that you are.
Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey. About time we get some female authorship in here! This book is one that will clue you into our times. Pearcey channels Francis Schaeffer and Chuck Colson in this exceptional understanding of our day and age.
How (Not) To Be Secular by James K A Smith is another book that enables you to accurately see the day & age in which we live. Get your bearings, understand the challenges you’re up against, and see the ever-necessary place for trust in the Bible. Oh, and don’t get scared by the old guy on the cover. Charles Taylor is certainly someone you should read. But start with this summary for now.
The Reason for God by Timothy Keller is a New York Times best-selling case for Jesus Christ. Keller says Making Sense of God (see above) is a prequel to The Reason for God. Both are excellent. Read them both and welcome to the rest of your life, which will involve referring back to these books over and over again.
A Brief History of Thought by Luc Ferry who exposes you to the philosophies of the ages, and places Christianity alongside them. It’s a great concise summary, and can never be blamed of “a Christian bias” since Luc Ferry isn’t a Christian.
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. Write a summary of what the entire Bible teaches, organize it well, inform it with thousands of years of church history, then stylize it beautifully and publish it by a premium publisher – and you’ll have this book. One of the most beautiful things about the Bible is that, despite the thousands of years it covers and it’s vast array of human authors, the whole thing still forms a unity. So, you can summarize it, because each part corresponds with another, and there is no contradiction within its teaching. Learn the system of theology in the story of the Bible. Read this (or some other) reputable systematic theology!
“Wait a second,” you say. “I feel cheated! Isn’t there a Ghandi book in that picture? And books on the Canon of Scripture? And just wait a second….is that Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss? That’s not a Christian book! Not even close! What’s going on here?”
I’m glad you asked. Libraries are meant to grow and good answers often be enhanced. In this picture you see that I not only follow up on some personal special interests (the Canon of Scripture, mankind’s capacity & tendency to self-deception, etc.) but that one of those ongoing personal interests is to know what’s out there. What beliefs are currently circulating? What’s the atmosphere we’re in like? What does “the world” think? While reading a book like Tools of Titans may, at points, feel like an unchristian thing to do, I don’t believe it is. In fact, it’s obedience to Jesus Christ that leads me into such reading. I call it “Luke 16:8 reading” because in that verse Jesus says, “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.” And St. Paul in Acts 17:28 says “as even some of your own Poets have said.” Not that Tim Ferriss is a poet, necessarily, but that book and the others in that stack are some of the best books I’ve come across to see what the spirit of the age actually is.
Great questions deserve great answers.
This is especially important in our day and age. Often, we ask a question that can be answered quickly. “Are you hungry?” “Did you like the movie?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?” But not all questions are created equal. A question like “Is the Bible Trustworthy?” is almost a trick question. If you answer it simply, you’ve not answered it at all. As I’ve pointed out here, this question can’t be asked without a host of other questions leading up to it, surrounding it, and following after it.
Regardless of what you think of Him, Jesus Christ was an absolute master at asking and answering questions. One author I’ve read points out that – with Jesus – it wasn’t so much Questions & Answers as it was Questions & Questions. Right on!
One question I love is the one asked of Jesus after His resurrection. These two people are walking along – and Jesus joins them – though they don’t recognize Him. Jesus asks them why they are so sad. One of them says to Jesus, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” (Luke 24:18). In its context, there couldn’t be a more ironic, even humorous, question. As it happens, Jesus is the ONLY one who knows exactly what’s going on. Everyone else is still grappling with the death of Jesus, only to be overwhelmingly mystified by the 3-day-later empty tomb.
Here’s Jesus’ response: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself,” Luke 24:25-27.
Besides noticing that Jesus answers with a question – check out how comprehensive his answer actually is. Jesus recognizes the magnitude of their question – and answers with a massive answer because great questions deserve great answers. When it says “he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” it means that Jesus walked them through the entire Old Testament. That’s not 1 book….it’s 39 books, hundreds and hundreds of pages that summarize thousands of years of history. Now that’s a great answer!
And look at how the account ends. The disciples Jesus was speaking to didn’t snipe and complain about how “they only like short and simplistic answers” or about how “Jesus’ answers are so complex and hard to understand.” They realized they were asking a great question – and that they received a great answer. They are saying what people sometimes say after a truly wonderful conversation. “They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?‘ (Luke 24:32).
So, as we continue to work towards answering “Is the Bible trustworthy?” let’s avoid the foolish idea of thinking that only short, simplistic, easy, bumper-sticker, tweet-worthy answers deserve our attention. Let’s remember that great questions deserve great answers.
The following is the monologue from a radio show I hosted on February 25, 2017.
Thank you for joining us today. I’m Pastor Jon Shishko. On today’s show, we’ll discuss the all-important question, “Should We Trust the Bible?” Or, to ask the question the way a New Yorker would, “Why Should I trust the Bible?”
Before diving into an answer, let’s consider a thought experiment. Imagine you’re staring down the barrel of a loaded gun – a gun ready to fire. How long would it take to stop thinking about it? Of course, initially, that loaded gun is all you would think about. But, after a while, do you think your mind would drift? The loaded gun is there – but time passes. And it seems you don’t have to stare directly at it. How long before you start thinking about something else? An hour? A day? A week? Is it possible that the shock of staring death in the face would wear off? Could you become so pre-occupied with other things that you completely stopped thinking about your own immanent death?
Now, to take the experiment one step further – wouldn’t it be foolish to ignore that loaded gun for weeks and years on end – if there was a way to be saved from it? We all face immanent death. We don’t know when or how it will happen, but we’ve been to funerals and we know ours is coming. And with this morbid but realistic frame of mind — with, as it were, one eye on the loaded gun, let’s use the other eye to look at our question today: “Should we trust the Bible?”
As I think about the Bible, I see three massive reasons to trust the Bible as the Word of God. First, The Bible Knows Me. Second, the Bible is More than a Self-Help Book. And Third, the Bible is History.
The Bible Knows Me. As I read the Bible, I’m constantly impressed with how it knows me, it knows my most private thoughts, and it knows my greatest needs. It understands the way I think, the errors I’m prone to, the mistakes I make, the things I shouldn’t do but do anyway and the things I don’t do but should. It summarizes me and everyone else when it says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Rom 3:23 ESV). It explains my situation and everyone else’s. It explains why we all face immanent death. For, “The wages of sin is death,” and “all have sinned.” But, the Bible doesn’t stop with this reality check. That’s only its starting point. “The wages of sin is death” is only half of the verse. The whole verse proclaims, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Rom 6:23). You see, the Bible knows me, my thoughts, and my greatest need: salvation from my sin & my immanent death.
And, the Bible is More than a Self-Help Book. I’m always fascinated by Self-Help books. Whether it’s Dale Carnegies Classic, How To Win Friends and Influence People or Tim Ferriss’ brand new New York Times Best Selling Tools of Titans – Self-Help Books are, well, helpful. But what fascinates me most about them is their inability to extend beyond this life. They are “Tips, Tricks, Tools, and Tactics” to make money, build relationships, have fun, learn new things – but they never teach how to dodge the bullet currently lodged down the barrel of the loaded gun which is pointing at you and me. In the Bible, St. Peter cuts right to the chase when he says to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,” (Joh 6:68 ESV). Peter is saying, “Jesus, You Offer More Than ALL The Self-Help Books Combined!” You Offer life forever! And Jesus demonstrated just that by raising Lazarus from the dead. Remember what Jesus said? He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die, (John 11:25-26). Tools and tricks for life are helpful. But they can’t save you from death. Jesus promises that those that believe in Him will live forever – even if they die.
Many, at this point, start thinking – “it’s all just too good to be true.” Isn’t the Bible just a bunch of myths, folklore and fairy tales?” But here is more good news. The story of Jesus doesn’t begin with “Once upon a Time” or “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” In fact, the Bible, more than any other religious book, is rooted in History. For instance The Gospel of Luke is written by a historian who began by saying he was compiling “a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who …were eyewitnesses,” (Luke 1:1-4 ESV). He’s saying, “This story about Jesus – as fantastic as it is – as wonderful as it is – even as unbelievable as it may at points seem – it’s history. It’s true. I got the facts the same way all history is gathered and written – from multiple eye witnesses. The Gospel of Luke is Eye-Witness News!
And now, God invites you into this History. If you’re his, you belong to his story, History. You’re saved from sin and death itself. If you know Jesus Christ – then you know the way the truth and the life – the resurrection and the life – if you know Him, you will live, forever, even if you die. That’s what the Bible says. Do you believe it? Do you trust the Bible? Or are you ignoring the loaded gun?
Listen to the entire show! Follow me on twitter at @jon_shishko. Message me there if you want the recording of this show.
This question is deceptively simple. It’s certainly a question we should ask and be able to answer. If the Bible isn’t trustworthy, neither I nor anyone else could offer God’s answers to your questions! And yet, we must not rush into answering this question. Or, to say that another way, we must ask this question along with a host of other questions. “Is the Bible trustworthy?” must occur right alongside “How is the bible trustworthy?” “What questions does the Bible answer?” “Is the Bible silent on anything?” “Why do we have the Bible?” and “why should we care if the Bible is trustworthy or not? – who needs the Bible anyway?”
John 6:67-69 begins to answer the question, “Is the Bible trustworthy?” So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Peter says to Jesus, “You have the words of eternal life…” Notice all that Peter does not say. He does not say, “Jesus, you’ve taught us every law of science and physics!” He doesn’t say, “Jesus, you’ve made known to us the answer to every last question we’ve ever had. You’ve exhausted our boundless curiosity. You’ve cleared all our objections, and now we’re ready to believe.” No. Peter says, in so many words, Jesus, you alone offer eternal life, and we believe you’re the Holy One of God – which means, among other things, you can’t be lying.
That gives us a place to start when it comes to the Bible. It’s not an encyclopedia. It’s not a science book. It’s not a database or a search engine. It’s God’s revelation of Himself in which He answers the greatest questions. Not the questions we might have, but the questions we should have. The Bible is a book about the Savior and the sinners He came to save. It’s a book that teaches the forever-dying how to attain life forever, how sinners can attain righteousness, how enemies of God can become God’s friends. And God doesn’t get sidetracked. In the 66 books of the Old and New Testament, God tells the story about Himself. The story is fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ who is God Himself & God with Us (Emmanuel, Matthew 1:23), the One who will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
Perhaps these words from some of the poets of our own day can help. In Coldplay’s masterful song “The Scientist,” Christopher Martin sings,
Questions of science
Science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart
God in the Bible doesn’t get sidetracked by questions of science & progress. From Genesis to Revelation, God focuses in on the louder questions, the questions of the heart. And when we go to the Bible to get answers to the questions of the heart, we find solid answers because the Bible is trustworthy.