February 28, 2015

He Stills the Storm to A Whisper: An Unforgettable Boat Ride (Story with A Lesson)

From the forthcoming He Stills the Storm to A Whisper. For age group 4-17.

An Unforgettable Boat Ride

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. (Psa 107:29 NIV)

One day, the Bible tells us in Luke 8:22, Jesus got into a boat with His disciples. There were many times that Jesus chose to have a boat ride along with His disciples. If you have been on a boat sometime, you may remember it as a very pleasurable experience. But, for those who have travelled in a boat many times, almost everyday, the ride is as common as going to school in a school van, car, or an autorickshaw.

But, this was a ride that the disciples could never forget. How do we know that? Because they spoke about it again and again, and we read about what they spoke in the Bible. You never speak about your everyday walk or ride to school in general. But, if you had some unusual or very different experience, you would surely tell. And, in case you had an unforgettable experience, you might even want to write about it. So, what was this experience that the disciples of Jesus had?

It was the experience of a windstorm. You might have heard of storms, but there are different kinds of storms, like the hailstorm, the rainstorm, the snowstorm, the ice storm, the sand storm, the dust storm, the fire storm, the thunderstorm, and the electrical storm. If someone was driving a car and suddenly there was a hailstorm, it could make them terribly afraid. The hailstones would start pattering hard on the car roof, the big icy stones could even crack the window and front glasses and cause great damage. Sometimes rain comes like a storm; then, we call it a rainstorm. In some places, during a rainstorm, houses collapse and trees fall. Also, the roads and streets become filled with so much water that people have to use boats to move around the town. That may seem very exciting, to go about in boats, but it is not really exciting after all because the water is stinky and very dirty, and one cannot even live in one’s house anymore, even at night!

Storms of all kind are very destructive. But, to people in a small boat caught right in the middle of a huge lake, a windstorm means death—it is very scary, really. So, the disciples were scared. They began rowing the boat as fast as they could, but it was not possible to fight against the winds. The winds were stirring the waters of the lake like one stirs sugar with a spoon in a glass of water. Just imagine a tiny little boat with people in it in such a glass of water. Can they fight against the spoon? A windstorm is like that spoon stirring the water. And, the disciples were really terrified. But, do you know what Jesus was doing in the midst of such danger? Perhaps, you can imagine what any person would do. Well, but Jesus was just different than all the others. He was fast asleep in the boat. That is amazing, isn’t it? Actually, it shocked the disciples.

Let me ask you something now. We spoke about rain sometimes coming like a storm. What did we call it?... Yes, a rainstorm. Suppose there was snow coming like a storm. What would we call it?... That’s right, a snow storm. What about troubles coming like a storm? What would we call it?... That’s right, a trouble storm. And what happens to people when such storms come? Evidently, as it happened to the disciples, they usually become very afraid. They panic. But, that is what Jesus doesn’t want anybody of us to do. He doesn’t want us to panic, for He Himself never panicked when there was a storm. He was actually soundly sleeping in the midst of the storm. What would you think of someone who was fast asleep in the midst of a storm? Well, first of all, I would think that it would be impossible to be asleep when there is a storm. So, it would surprise us. It surprised the disciples too.

So, the disciples began to wake Him up saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”

Now, what happened next is the really interesting thing. It was the thing that the disciples never expected, because they never ever had thought that something like that could happen. You know what, Jesus simply arose and scolded the wind and the raging of the water, and they stopped, and there was a great calm. To you this may look very normal, because you expect Jesus to do just these kinds of things; that’s why He is Jesus right? That’s what makes Him different from the disciples. But, to the disciples it was too amazing. They had never seen something like this in their life, and never thought that something like this could ever happen.

But, Jesus was not happy with the disciples. He turned to them and scolded them asking, “Where is your faith?” Actually, Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that for children of God, it is not normal to panic in the sight of danger. God doesn’t expect that of them. If they were the disciples of Jesus, they should never be afraid of storms; whether it is a rainstorm, a hailstorm, or a trouble storm.

Now, people usually wrongly associate one thing with the other. They say that every cause has an effect, which is true in many ways; but it is not always true in the way people think. For instance, there are people who think that we should not move ahead on the road after a black cat has crossed it. They say that if we do that, there will be an accident. They even tell stories of people who went ahead after a black cat crossed the road and had an accident. But, this is false. The black cat crossing the road doesn’t cause accident. But, for some people this idea has become so permanent and unchangeable that even if they may say in their head that a black cat cannot cause accident, they would still be afraid to move ahead on the road, because they would think, “Suppose, the black cat did cause the accident, then?” That is what we call little faith.

The disciples also suffered from it. For them, it was a like a scientific law to believe that a storm meant certain destruction. Some of them were expert fishermen and they might have many times heard the stories of people who got caught in a storm and lost their lives. Now, when they were in that same situation, the only thing they could think about was death; they couldn’t think of anything else. Of course, they knew the power of Jesus, of how he could feed 5000 men (besides women and children) with only 5 loaves and 2 fish. But, when it came to boat riding, their previous experience took over and they became very frightened. Now, there was nothing but death that they could think about. So, they began crying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”

It happens with elders too many times, especially when they have experienced a particular sequence of events multiple times. For instance, they see people who get cancer that they die, and also hear stories of people who die of cancer. So, they form a pattern of thinking in their mind and permanently associate cancer with death. They can think of nothing else. But, that doesn’t need to be so. There are people with cancer who got healed and cured. One doesn’t need to be frightened by it. Similarly, there are different cause-effect patterns or relationships that people form in their minds; patterns that are not necessarily true. But, the saddest part of it is that these thinking patterns prevent them from trusting in God who can calm any storm, even if it were a cancer storm or TB storm or poverty storm or misunderstanding storm. But, the children of God must learn to trust in the presence and power of God. Because Jesus is with us, we have every reason to believe that these storms cannot destroy us.

Now, sometimes it also seems that we are perishing and Jesus is just asleep in the boat, doing nothing. It seems that He doesn’t care. For the disciples, at least Jesus was bodily present with them in the boat; but, what about us? How hard it may sometimes be when we are only praying and it seems Jesus is nowhere around. It seems that He is not only invisible, but He is also sound asleep. But, Jesus wants us to trust in Him even in such situations. Jesus knew that the storm could not kill Him; the storm could not also kill the disciples, because Jesus had a work to finish first and He also had a plan for His disciples that no storm or wind could destroy.

God also has a special plan for you. He doesn’t just have a plan for you but is in the boat, the car, the bus, the room with you. Of course, when a storm comes, you must do what you can, but, you should never forget that God has a purpose for your life. Whatever storm it may be, it could even be the storm of examination fear, of not doing well in the exam; don’t panic, study well and trust in Jesus. I know of a young boy whose very good friend died in an accident, it was a very big storm of sorrow in his life. But, his parents comforted him and soon he understood that such storms are not forever. God is in control of all things. There was another boy who was really very good and loved Jesus very much, but some people started to speak very bad about him and began accusing him of all kinds of wrong things that he knew nothing about. It was a storm of accusations in his life. It was almost impossible for him to fight against all those accusations; he learnt that it is better not to try to prove himself in the midst of such storms but to have faith in Jesus who was with him in the boat in all this. Soon, all those who spoke against him were ashamed and God gave this boy great honor and respect in the eyes of the people who despised him. We must learn to trust in our Lord. He is the one who stills the storms to a whisper and hushes the waves of the sea.

February 21, 2015

Is God the Author of Sin?

Forthcoming in ChristianTrends

The answer, obviously, is “No!” God is not the author of sin. However, it is not an answer as easily agreed upon as stated.

Answering the Calvinist
The extreme Calvinists that are committed to the once-saved-forever-saved doctrine of eternal security, for instance, maintain that it was God Himself who ordained the sin and fall of Adam. In his The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (1932), Loraine Boettner wrote: “Even the fall of Adam, and through him the fall of the race, was not by chance or accident, but was so ordained in the secret counsels of God.” And again, “we hold that God fore-planned and fore-saw the fall; that it in no sense came as a surprise to Him.” Likewise, Edwin H. Palmer, in his The Five Points of Calvinism, argued: “Even sin - the fall of the devil from heaven, the fall of Adam, and every evil thought, word, and deed in all of history, including the worst sin of all, Judas’ betrayal of Christ - is included in the eternal decree of our holy God.” This conclusion became necessary for these theologians who considered any event that violates the will of God to be a threat to the sovereignty of God. God was sovereign, so according to them, anything that happens in this world could not be against God. Also, it was insisted that if God had not ordained the fall of Adam, redemption through Christ would have not been possible. Thus, Boettner asks, “And unless the fall was in the plan of God, what becomes of our redemption through Christ? Was that only a makeshift arrangement which God resorted to in order to offset the rebellion of man?” Therefore, the reality of sin had to be explained by interpreting it as an act of God. In other words, according to Calvinism, ultimately, God is the author of sin.

Of course, Boettner doesn’t think that his view of God foreordaining Adam’s fall implies that God is the author of sin. Thus, he contends:

Yet God in no way compelled man to fall. He simply withheld that undeserved constraining grace with which Adam would infallibly not have fallen, which grace He was under no obligation to bestow. In respect to himself, Adam might have stood had he so chosen; but in respect to God it was certain that he would fall. He acted as freely as if there had been no decree, and yet as infallibly as if there had been no liberty…. God was pleased to permit our first parents to be tempted and to fall, and then to overrule their sin for His own glory. Yet this permission and overruling of sin does not make Him the author of it.

But, Boettner fails to see that this necessitating of the fall and the method of withdrawing grace only directly condemns God. It is equal to the sin of David who arranged to put Uriah in an inevitably fatal position and commanded his men to withdraw in the heat of the battle, in order to let Uriah get killed. That directly incriminated David and made him guilty of murder. The Genesis 3 episode, however, doesn’t indicate in any way that God had actually withdrawn constraining grace from Adam in order to make it inevitable for him to fall into sin. God cannot be held responsible for sin in the world. He is not the author of sin.

The rational man cannot accept God to be the author of sin. How could God, who is the embodiment of good, be the author of evil? Over 2,500 years ago, the Greek philosopher Plato, in his The Republic, concluded that “the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in Him.” But, the Calvinist would object that to search for the cause of evils elsewhere is to expect that there was or were forces, other than God, in control of the universe; but, this is impossible, for God is sovereign, they would say. However, the fact that God is sovereign has nothing to do with the fact that sin is possible in a system of free creatures. The sovereignty of a nation doesn’t mean that free citizens of it will not violate its laws; however, its sovereignty does give it its authority to administer justice in the system by means of reward and punishment. Similarly, God’s sovereignty doesn’t mean that free creatures have been restricted from exercising their will in opposition to the will of God. The very exercise of this free will is what creates the possibility of a moral universe.

Answering the Non-theist
Among philosophers, it is usually held that the idea of God’s existence as a perfect being is not compatible with the fact of sin and evil in the world. The Scottish philosopher David Hume argued that it is better to theorize that this world was created by different, finite beings (let’s say, the gods of polytheism) than to believe in an imperfect world full of sin and violence having been created by a perfect God. However, such a view doesn’t answer the question of how these finite beings came into existence; for, anything finite is limited by space and time. But, if there is an infinite being, that infinite being can only be one, not many (in the same way that if there were an infinite ocean, there couldn’t be other infinite oceans). Dualists, on the other hand, think that evil is as essential to the world as is good; the world is composed of two eternally opposite forces. But, again, two eternally opposite forces that are infinite in themselves would not complement but cancel each other. For instance, infinite light, materially speaking, leaves no room for darkness.

But, then, one would ask, “If God is good, how come there is evil?” The answer is because God is not the universe (as in pantheism), but the Creator of it. If God were the universe, then the universe would be perfectly good and there wouldn’t be any room for evil, for there wouldn’t be “wills” of other beings involved. However, that is not the case. But, at the same time, it is important to state that the finitude of the universe is not what necessitates evil; for, if that was the case then God who created the finite world would also be the creator of evil, which is not so.

However, the very idea of contingency (that the finite world is dependent upon the infinite God) implies that a creation that is cut off from the Creator has lost its wholeness (well-being). Therefore, a sin-stricken and evil-stricken world only indicates a God-separated world that has gone chaotic and wild without its Driver; in which every part of the mechanism has become its own god and director, and the universe as a whole (especially, in relation to the moral universe) has both lost harmony and order. To state that God must not have permitted this to happen (since He is the perfect Driver) is to forget the fact that the problem of sin concerns a moral (not a mechanical) universe; as such, it would not have been consistent for God Himself to have created a moral universe and not have given freedom to its moral entities—the freedom to choose between good and evil.

As such, it is not God who is the author of sin, but man himself to whom the world was meant to be subject (Gen.1:28) that is responsible for the entry of sin, chaos, and disorder in the universe.

…sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned- (Rom 5:12 NIV)

…the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Rom 8:20-21 NIV)

In addition, one must understand evil, not as a positive reality, but as the negation and violation of truth. One only knows evil because one sees it as the defective aspect of the good; for instance, one only knows darkness because it is seen as the absence of light. Therefore, it is important to reaffirm that it is not God who created sin, but that when man violated the command of God and negated God, this act of negation constituted sin; thus, making man guilty of sin entering the world.

Conclusion
Usually, it is misunderstandings regarding the sovereignty and the perfectness of God that raise doubts whether God is the author of sin or not. However, we have examined the main views to see if really these doubts or conclusions are true, and if their logic is valid. The sovereignty of God doesn’t imply that the universe cannot have rebellious elements; however, it does assert that these elements cannot efface the righteousness of God. Secondly, the contingency of the created world and its givenness to humans for morally right dominion implies that the world falls with the fall of man into sin. Man is not a programmed robot (for if that was so then both sin and self-reflection, as in this essay, would have been impossible). Man is a moral creature; therefore, the primary cause of sin in this world, as also stated in Romans 5:12 is disobedient man himself.

He Sees Me, I See Light! - Poem

Why do the stones disappear when I try to place my foot on them and walk?
Why when I raise my sails, the winds suddenly, unhesitatingly stop?
Why do I find out I am late, when I am excited that time hasn't been lost?
Why is there such painful silence, when all I want to hear is a voice?

Why is the heaven above so stony cold when I want to feel its heart?
Why is the fire of hell so bold as a fiery, piercing dart?
Why can't the Savior be seen anywhere when the going seems so hard?
Why, O why, I ask while doubts assail my solitary thoughts.

But, dark as it seems the coldest hour of the night,
I know He is there though invisible to my sight;
The thoughts of His mind, I may not ever see,
But He sees me; that's enough, I see light!

February 14, 2015

The Testimony of Christ About Himself

Jesus didn’t just make claims like “I am the Bread of Life” (Jn.6:48), “I am the Light of the world”(Jn.8:12), “I am the Gate” (Jn.10:9), “I am the Good Shepherd” (Jn.10:11), “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (Jn.11:25), and “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn.14:6); Jesus also invited examination of His claims. He called upon men to examine the logic of His teaching and to evaluate what He said by what He did (Jn.10:38). There are a few characteristics of the testimony of Christ that we need to note:

1. The Testimony of Christ is Not Dependent upon the Testimony of Man. When Jesus was at Jerusalem and many people believed in Him because of the miraculous signs that He did, we are told that He would not entrust Himself to them for He knew all men and He did not need the testimony of man about man as well, for He knew what was in a man (Jn.2:25). Regarding the testimony of John the Baptist, Jesus said, “I do not receive testimony from man” (Jn.5:34). The reason, of course, was because it was impossible for any human being to testify of God; humans didn’t qualify for that.

2. The Testimony of Christ is Self-Authenticating. In John 4:39, we are told that people believed in Jesus because of what the Samaritan woman said about Him; however, when they heard Jesus Himself they said, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world." (Jn. 4:42 NKJ) Were these people too credulous? How could they just believe in Christ because of the words He spoke, for anyone could say anything? The fact, however, is that the words of Jesus are unlike the words of any other human. Christ’s testimony is unique. His testimony is self-authenticating. It is impossible to encounter Christ and remain the same, for anyone who encounters Christ has to make the choice to either reject or accept Him.

3. The Testimony of Christ is Authoritative and is Spiritually Recognized. The Gospel attests that Jesus spoke as one who had authority and not as the scribes (Matt.7:29). Several times He began His statements with the words “Truly, truly, I say unto you…” or simply “But, I say unto you,” even when those statements seemed to oppose the Old Testament Law; however, He wasn’t contradicting the Law but was establishing its real intent. Therefore, it is said that as long as the Jews read the Law a veil was over their face, but when anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is removed (2Cor.3:15,16). Authority and Testimony go together. For instance, when we see an ISI mark on a product sold in India, we understand that the product was examined by a standard authority and that authority bears testimony of the product by its ISI seal. Similarly, it is only the testimony of an authority on a driving license that establishes it as valid or invalid. Just anybody cannot issue licenses and degrees. A police officer who examines a driving license can tell if that license is acceptable or not. Jesus used the parable of the sheep to teach us that the sheep can recognize the voice of the Shepherd from that of the thief. Similarly, when God’s Spirit works in the heart of man then the eyes of spirit can recognize spiritual truths as our physical eyes can distinguish colors; our spiritual ears can distinguish the voice of the Lord. Of course, this seems too subjective; but, this also proves that the attester is internal.

“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ” (1Co 2:14-16 NKJ).

“If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (Jn.7:17 NIV).

“…no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (1Co 12:3 NKJ).

But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him” (1Jn. 2:27 NKJ).

4. The Testimony of Christ is Triune. This is an unbeatably unique characteristic of the testimony of Christ. He made it clear that a testimony cannot just be self-declarative. It must be supported by the testimony of persons equal to the declarer (or say, be examinable by an equivalent or higher authority). Therefore, He said, “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid” (Jn.5:31 NIV). Also, since man is not equal to God nor qualifies to validate the kind of claims that Jesus made (because His claims were explicitly divine), Jesus refused the testimony of man. As we saw, He said, “I do not receive testimony from man” (Jn.5:34). But again, when the Pharisees objected that Jesus was testifying about Himself and so His testimony could not be valid, Jesus replied, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. (Jn. 8:14 NIV). Evidently, here again, He was pointing to the fact that there could be no earthly testimony about Him. No earthly academic or political or religious authority was qualified to testify of Him (neither did they testify of Him), and He was the only one who knew where He came from and where He was going. Therefore, it is very wrong headed for preachers today to seek testimony about Christ in anything other than the proclamation and work of Christ.

But, Jesus didn’t stop at that. He explained to the people that He didn’t mean that His testimony was alone. This is where the intensity of the doctrine of Trinity comes in. No man or angel could testify of the claims of Christ, for their authority could only come from someone who is qualified to validate them; and since His claims were divine, only God could validate divine claims, and, there can be none greater than God. However, since God is Triune, the requirement of the Law to have more than two witnesses is fulfilled in Christ. He said, “In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me." (Jn. 8:17-18 NIV) Again, He said, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, He will testify about me. (Jn. 15:26 NIV). Thus, it is Christ, the Father, and the Spirit that together testify of Christ, and their testimony is valid for their testimony is divine. The Father Himself testified of Jesus at His baptism and on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the Holy Spirit was sent to remind the disciples of Christ’s words and to write the Scriptures:

“And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mat 3:17 NKJ).

“While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid” (Mat 17:5-6 NKJ).

“For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (2Pe 1:17-18 NKJ).

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (Jn. 14:26 NKJ).

“…the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1Pe 1:11 NKJ).

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2Ti 3:16 NKJ).

5. The Testimony of Christ is Dynamic. The Triune testimony of Christ is not only verbal but also dynamic, i.e. it is validated by works. The Son does the work of the Father and the works testify of Him; similarly, the Spirit confirms the word today in the world through works that only God can do.

“…the works which the Father has given Me to finish-- the very works that I do-- bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (Jn. 5:36 NKJ).

“…though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (Jn.10:38 NKJ).

"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (Jn.14:10-12 NKJ).

“If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father” (Jn. 15:24 NKJ).

“And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs” (Mar 16:20 NKJ).

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mar 16:17-18 NKJ).

“God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will” (Heb 2:4 NKJ).

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Heb 3:7-8 NKJ).

Remember that the testimony by supernatural works that we see today in the world is not the testimony of man; it is the testimony of the Triune God (the Father, the Son, and the Spirit) in the world bearing testimony of Christ. He is not far from any of us (Acts 17:27). He is in the world testifying of Himself. He has not left the Church alone to bear testimony of Him (Jn.14:18; Acts 1:8). In fact, it is impossible to testify of Christ without the Spirit of Christ, and without Him we can do nothing (Jn.15:5; Col.1:29; 1Cor.15:10). It is He Himself who testifies and His testimony is true. And, “as He is, so are we in this world” (1Jn. 4:17 NKJ).

February 13, 2015

How Do We Know the Bible is True? - Illustration

We usually judge things when we choose to buy or buy again. We look at reviews of products before we buy and have an opinion about products after we have used them. Suppose someone asked me the question, "How do you know that this dictionary is better than the other?" I would not reply that I don't consider any dictionary authoritative or true because it is compiled by humans; I would not question, "Why should any human tell me what is the meaning of a word?" I know the quality and the veracity of a dictionary by using it. If a dictionary is a standard and reliable one, i.e. it is authoritative, then it will help me to make sense of language every time I come across a word that I cannot make sense of. Similarly, a scripture that deals with spiritual reality can only be authoritative and genuine when it helps me make a meaningful and right sense of the universe and my experiences in the world. Suppose, it is filled with unintelligible words or with stuff that cannot be verified, then it is a closed and mystic book, not a useful reference book or manual of living. However, if it helps us to live sensible and better lives, it is authoritative. The Bible helps us to see the world better and to live in the world better; therefore, it is true and reliable. Now, the standard of measurement that the church fathers used was called the Canon: It asked questions like, "Is this book authentic in its content?" (which implied that its authenticity could be verified), "Is this book authored by an apostle or one close to the apostle?", "Is this book acceptable by the local churches?" (like asking whether the meaning of the word in the dictionary was the same that is intended when the word is used  in general), whether the book was recognized and quoted as Scripture by the early church fathers, and whether its subject matter was edifying spiritually. It was not a random and careless compilation. The book had to address reality. It had to be true, be verifiable as true, and function as true. And, the Bible does. It helps us understand the world better and live lives better than any other book in the world. It is a complete book.

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