Bible Contradictions: To Answer Or Not To Answer A Fool (Proverbs 26:4-5)

‘Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.’ Proverbs 26:4-5

(Note: Hebrew terms of “fool” and “foolish” describe a person who does not believe in God and is ignorant of wisdom based on God’s moral standard.)

Some modern critics assume the ancients were flat-out stupid. Case in point, after a brief glance at Proverbs 26:4-5 an objection may be raised along the lines of: “Look! An obvious contradiction in the very next verse! The Bible cannot be trusted…” And so a superficial argument has been framed.

But the ancients were not stupid.

The author of Proverbs actually intended to pair these seemingly contradictory verses together. And what these verses propose is not a logical contradiction, but a dilemma for the reader. It is a proposal of two choices. Proverbs 26:4-5 reveals two wise and effective ways to deal with a fool given the specific circumstance, and either way could be pertinent when the options are thoughtfully weighed.

‘Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him’

Some will outright reject any claim of the historical authority the Bible. Because of their contemporary secular presuppositions, some critics assume any argument with Biblical foundations must be deemed ridiculous.

When the debate format has been framed without using the Bible (evidential apologetics), the Christian has already conceded that the critic’s apologetic approach is a valid ground to start. It’s not. Secular critics may cry for objectivity and neutrality when debating; but they are neither objective nor neutral. No one is. Neither should the Christian be in an attempt to appear amicable.

Objectivity is a myth.

If a Christian takes up the approach of his critics the debate will spiral downward in to an incessant match of evidence regurgitation. After both of sides have exhausted all the contemporary arguments for and against evolution, the resurrection, and bible validity, still nothing has changed.

The critic leaves satisfied, because the Christian took the bait and accepted the game even though the deck was stacked.

In that case a fool was answered according to his folly. Or, to borrow the words of Jesus, the Christian has casted his pearls before swine (Matthew 7).

In this case, silence is preferable. A closing of the mouth may speak volumes of godly rebuke.

 ‘Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.’

Again, this seems to be a surface level contradiction when compared with v. 4. But remember one of the principles of the book of Proverbs is this: Wisdom only comes to those who diligently and desperately seek it (Proverbs 2:1-5). Wisdom does not come to those who would lazily cherry pick a verse as cheap ammo against bible authority.

It should be noted that there are many interpretive disciplines to employ when taking up Scripture, such as grammatical nuances, historical context, literary genre, and authorial intent. The secular critic rarely employs any of these when reading into the meaning of alleged contradictions.

Verse 4 may also be presented like this: ‘Answer not a fool according to his own presuppositions, lest you be like him’

When both sides apologetic foundations are addressed it may be time to proceed with debate. When a critic believes his arguments are above reproach then the Christian should expose his subjective presuppositions with the only unchanging foundational truth: the Bible.

For example: If the critic believes they evolved by chance (unguided natural process), then the Christian may need to point out that their processes of logic also evolved by chance. So ultimately, the critic can’t be sure they are even asking the right questions. Even more, they can’t be certain they are capable of knowing with certainty the answers. The critic has no ground to stand on but the randomly programmed chemical reactions of the 8 pounds of tissue between his ears.

How can the Christian be certain their logic has ground in historical reality? The Christian appeals to something outside of self. To the true abiding eternal word that has never changed and reveals the design and mind of God. The Christian stands on the firm foundation of God’s word. The pinnacle of the Bible is the glory of God as revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When the fool’s error is exposed using God’s living word he is forced to an impasse: submit to it or scorn it. If there is a softness of heart and open door to a clear presentation of the gospel you have been right in answering the fool according to his folly.

Without the goal of the biblical gospel, apologetics becomes nothing more than intellectual one upmanship.

Defending the faith should always be done humbly and boldly (1 Peter 3:15).

So there are times you should answer a fool and there are times you shouldn’t. It depends on the nature of the fool.

Is there evidence of grace in the fool’s words, demeanor, and person? Answer him according to his folly. Is there only an insulting scorn and hardness in the fool’s discourse? Do not answer him according to his folly.

How can you discern when and how to answer a fool? That takes Holy Spirit-born Bible-saturated wisdom. This divine wisdom must be prayerfully and intensely sought before God.

Such wisdom doesn’t come cheap or easy. But the truth is neither cheap or easy. Otherwise it would be an easy sell.

As wise Solomon once said in Ecclesiastes 3:7: There is a time to speak and a time to shut up. There is a season for everything.

Bryan Daniels

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

133 thoughts on “Bible Contradictions: To Answer Or Not To Answer A Fool (Proverbs 26:4-5)”

  1. Very astute. I appreciate this thorough discussion. My husband and I were sitting here meditating on this Proverb and decided to see what we could find about it online. Your post far outshone any Biblical website we perused…I appreciate such a ‘homegrown’ apologetic. Holy Spirit is the authority, not a divinity degree.
    Cheers.

  2. “Is there evidence of grace in the fool’s words, demeanor, and person? Answer him according to his folly. Is there only an insulting scorn and hardness in the fool’s discourse? Do not answer him according to his folly.” – This for me really brought it home. I totally agree with you on the wisdom issue. It seems so foolish (excuse me) to approach such a book as proverbs, saturated in incredible wisdom, and critique it on such a shallow level. In doing so, they show themselves to be fools.

    There’s this wrong thought going around, that the ancients were dumb. Far from it, I’m always shocked when I read Ecclesiasties because it’s incredibly hard to point to it having being written thousands of years ago. In the 21st century Solomon is still ahead of the game…after all he was the wisest man ever to live, no? — Ohh if only he had ended well though! If only he laid a Godly foundation for his sons…

    Thanks Chief, great stimulation of the soul, and heart.

  3. Excellent post, Bryan! Well said!

    I actually believe both statements mean the same thing. I won’t argue religion, theology, etc., and I answer fools according to their folly with a smile and “Have a nice day.” I do not answer fools with the same smile, but without the “Have a nice day.” It kind of depends on the situation and the fool.
    An old saying–I have no idea where I picked it up–I like to employ when someone who is obviously my opposite in beliefs wants to debate religion and/or politics, is to remind myself that “one should not engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent”; it’s a total waste of time.

  4. I don’t know what I’m doing so much of the time, in this regard. Yet, I feel an urging to keep going. Not always…sometimes I think it’s time to shut up and let it go. But then, where is that line where it’s my need to ‘make a person see’, and my ‘urging of the Spirit’? If you have a certain sense of being drawn to a person, for example, where many others similar to that person, you have not felt that way, you wouldn’t bother…isn’t that the urging of the Holy Spirit. I have felt that it was…that it was something beyond myself. I know that truthfully, nobody can tell a person whether something is what God is directing them to do or not. That has to come from within. But the Bible, I too believe directs us

    I have been told by others to let it go. Is it only my stubborn will that has made me not do so?.

    Good blog, and thank you for reposting.

    1. Is it a stubborn heart? I can’t answer that Anne. You seem kind, warm and generous to most all in your sphere. Can any argument/debate go too far? I’m sure, and that is what this verse intimates. You have the Holy Spirit and the word, and I know they are both enough to answer your deepest questions regarding this. Either way, it’s not right or safe to let your conscience down. Peace and grace sister!

      1. Thank you. Definitely something to pray about. And ha ha…stubborn heart…maybe. I would say stubbornness is not beyond the realm of possibility for me. 🙂 Peace and grace to you too, Bryan! –Anne

  5. Well, said, Chief!

    “In this case, silence is preferable. A closing of the mouth may speak volumes of godly rebuke.”

    I think a lot of us Christians feel like we have to have an answer for everything. You’re right, though, sometimes we’re just “taking the bait.”

  6. Bryan,
    Once again ,you nailed it.
    When Christ gave sight to the blind, generally they had expressed desire for it or He aasked them if they wanted to see.
    And we should weigh the weight of men’s words to carefully to find that desire.
    If none exists, we move on, for the sake of those who deeply desire to see.
    C.C.T.

  7. Bryan, I read your posts and as enlightening as they are, this is the best. I am with dear blogger Anne Sikes as to when to stop. On fb which can be the best debater, argumentative social network on the planet emotions are held in high esteem; to the point of cyber bullying or fighting.

    Having had the opportunity with an old friend who contacted me and blasted me for my change of heart over the years instead of calming down I exacted my position and used her words of hate to expound the truth. Of course she gave me new names I have never been called and defriended me. I was fine with this as this attempt had been done with others she knew who she rounded up against me. In this instance now I simply pray for her to see the truth and maybe one day God will give me an opportunity to riddle her again with his presence.

    She may still be reading my blogs and I hope so. God certainly uses and answers prayer so in the event we do not get across to those who so blindly refuse the truth, God also has other doors to walk through. Patience is the key as we wait for the blinders to be removed from their wayward eyes.

    Hopefully as Bird posted on her blog I have learned to be wiser in response and seek the Holy Spirit before I open my big mouth! Great post and very insightful!

  8. This was an epic post chief, much abliged. I really needed this one right now, you just don’t know. God bless you and yours brother.

  9. You said it all in one statement: Defending the faith should always be done humbly and boldly (1 Peter 3:15). We speak the Word/ sow the seeds of the Gospel, then it’s up to the Holy Spirit to make known the reality of the Word in the individual’s heart. (Just my 2 pennies worth). Always enjoy reading/ studying how our Lord Jesus handled questions with the different sects/political/religious groups of His day. Interestingly enough, He never argued.
    Blessings to you and the family Bryan 🙂

  10. Excellent thoughts. Great Blog. Especially like: The Christian appeals to something outside of self. To the true abiding eternal word that has never changed and reveals the design and mind of God.

  11. Great word bro. It’s always God’s Grace and never our ability to convince that wins the hearts of humanity.

  12. It’s unfortunate that you ‘screen’ my comments, but I hope you at least read them, and I did promise to continue reading your blog.
    To try to compare OT,wisdom literature with the NT is somewhat odd; although I apreciate where you are coming from.
    There is a certain amount of veracity and also common sense truth in much of Proverbs, whereas to try and establish the veracity of the New Testament and especially the Gospels is plain folly.
    It is also somewhat immature to take the standpoint that the ‘fool’ is anyone not a Christian – or at least anyone who does not believe the bible…ALL of it.
    There is no secular evidence to validate the truth of the stories contained in the New Testament, whereas, one doesn’t need to believe in any god-inspired rhetoric to appreciate many of the Proverbs.

    1. You don’t need “secular evidence” to validate God’s word. That’s the folly of our thinking; the believe that God needs to be validated/supported by evidence that man has figured out. To each his own however.

      1. Need? No. I need air, I need food and water.
        The real folly is blind acceptance. If you approach the bible with an open mind – a ‘teach me, show me’ attitude rather than an ‘It IS the truth’ attitude then you will soon find it has a certain amount of historical and literary value – Solomon’s prayer is quite nice as a form of romantic prose for instance- but there is no divine veracity.

        1. Of course one approaches scripture with a teach me/show me attitude. If you come into it with a glass that’s already full then the point of studying scripture is moot. The realization of it being the truth comes from just such an approach. You shouldn’t assume that one comes to accepting biblical truth because they simply just read it. There are many like me who were not raised in church going families or even had a bible in the house; we didn’t. I studied it, asked questions (and I still do because I don’t understand it all nor would I claim to) and prayed.

          1. Obviously you never asked the right questions. Maybe you should start? It’s never too late.
            What incident was it that caused the lord to seek you out?

        2. ….and those aren’t needs, they’re necessities. If you’re going to attempt condescension and cleverness, you have to be good at it first.

          1. Sorry, I should sit and learn from an expert….like yourself, naturally.
            And , yet again, the Christian Hypocrisy (“Oh, we’re really humble, honest! But still sinners, of course. Praise the lord.”) rears its head.

            1. Classic retort–“Christian Hypocrisy.” Not so much. You’d have a point if I had cursed you out and called you names but I didn’t, I pointed out the truth. But keep posting, you’re making the point of the verse everytime you do. Which in turn means that I am as well by paying attention to you so I won’t.

              1. The truth? All you did was try to make yourself look clever by offering a petty english lesson – one that made a point of splitting hairs rather than anything else. But keep posting, you’re making yourself look more hypocritical, Larry every time you do – and you can add smug to the short list if you like?
                But hold on for a while before you include intelligent. The jury is still out on this…

                But you are correct on your original point. You don’t ‘need’ secular evidence to validate God’s ‘word’.
                The whole exercise is moot, as one would first have to provide evidence of God. And this is an impossibility – whether you choose to call this god Yahweh or for Christians, Yashua.

    2. You’re not the only one “screened” I assure you (if it makes you feel better). I have no issue with allowing an “on topic” comment to stand (as you’ve done nicely here). Blanket screening helps me save time from moderating comments in a sloppy retro active fashion.

      I will say “fool” in the OT doesn’t necessarily have all the negative modern connotations we bring to the table. It does mean here simply a “godless person.” Psalms 14:1 also sums up the thought pretty well. Peace and grace sir.

      1. Corrupt? Me? Really? And what abominable works do you think I may have done, Bryan?
        Well, all I can reply to you, sir, is Psalm15:2. (read it as a stand-alone verse)Shalom etc.

        1. Well, before anyone gets offended remember Scripture reserves even stronger language for religious folk: “Whitewashed tombs” “Brood of vipers” etc. We’re all in the same boat, some religiously inclined may be in a worse one…

          1. Well, naturally it reserves the worst for the believers. They have more to prove and us heathens don’t really worry too much. You lot genuinly believe and thus fear.
            However, I am pretty certain you could have found a more amicable verse if you really wanted to. Your ‘quote verbatim’ ability is far superior than mine, I am sure.

  13. Bryan, I feel like this post treats the Bible as an automatically true document. Do you believe it should be treated that way, or should it be investigated first? And if it should be investigated, then isn’t the question of evidences valid?

    Thanks

    1. Nate, as a born from above believer since childhood I have learned that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. We must believe that if we believe Jesus is our life. Any time we doubt the authenticity of God’s Word it gives Satan an opportunity to steer us away from God. You will find, Nate, that if you investigate God’s Word with an open heart and allow God to speak His truth to you that all your investigation will lead you to the truth of God’s Word every time.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Steven. I think if we doubt the authenticity of the Bible, it might lead us away from the Bible, but that’s not necessarily the same as leading us away from God. After all, if a Muslim began to doubt the Koran, would that lead them further away or closer to God?

        Thanks

    2. Great question Nate. To me it is not an either or proposition. I believe the Bible to be true, and yet I still am free to investigate its claims. I did go through a bit of crucible early in college regarding the veracity of Scripture, and with a little digging and prodding I found enough to satisfy most of my questions.

      Now with regards to this post let me give an example: In the field of archaeology there are always new discoveries that are treated like a silver bullet to disprove OR prove the Bible’s trustworthiness. It seems every 25-50 years somebody finds something different that negates what everyone knew 50-100years ago. This cycle turns again and again. The problem is the Christian and atheist could quote such evidence for their own purposes. This type of debate may never end.

      With regard to “facts” everyone has the same one’s available. The difference is our interpretation of facts. And much of our interpretation has to do with our presuppositions we bring to the table. Anyone may bounce from Christian to atheist to agnostic to new age to buddhism to anything in between. But every world view brings a new set of presuppositions that is required to hold that particular view consistently. None of these are purely objective worldviews, though all pretty much claim to be so.

      So yes, I do presuppose the Bible to be a true document, it is consistent with the world as I see it and it is consistent with how I view God and self. I believe it is unchanging in its message and is a fixed reality in a world of shifting “evidences” and “facts.” But yet I am not altogether against investigating its claims and have done so in the past and will probably continue to do so in some measure in the future. That was much longer and convoluted than intended, hope it helps. : )

      1. Thanks for the reply. I agree with you about the “silver bullet” thing. That gets old, regardless of which side is beating the drum.

        I differ with you a little on the prognosis, though. I do think we all come to these issues with presuppositions, but I don’t think that necessarily dictates our conclusions — and maybe you’re not saying that. But I think to focus so much on the presuppositions is to minimize the other factors involved. I, for instance, started with the presupposition that the Bible was true, even though I eventually came to the opposite conclusion.

        So yes, our presuppositions can dictate how we interpret the facts, but they don’t have to. I do think the Bible is either true or it isn’t, and I think we can know which it is. You may feel that way too — I may have just misunderstood what you were saying.

        Thanks again.

        1. I agree the Bible is either true or it isn’t (I accept that either-or). I believe it to reveal objective (even eternal) truth and to me it is consistent with the big questions of human purpose, universal morality, etc.

          What I’m saying is whether we move from one world view to another, we still have to accept some underlying presuppositions about that newly held worldview. The skeptic may ask for evidence, but it is evidence according to their presuppositions. Example: If I point to Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament, the skeptic may say they were forged, dated incorrectly, or not real prophecies. Where the Christian or converting Christian may see evidence for Scriptural veracity, the skeptic or “deconverting” believer may deny it. There is a divergence of our interpretation, even though we’re observing the same “facts”. Both views have underlying assumptions about the nature of the Bible and God (It’s reliable or it’s not). These assumptions/presuppositions help make our personal view reasonable and other’s views unreasonable to us.

          That probably didn’t clear it up, but that’s all I got at the end of this day! : )

          1. The difference in one’s approach to the bible over any other literary form is the term ‘Word of God’ that is there as an injuction almost, regardless of whether one is a believer or not.
            Is the believer actively encouraged to research and question?
            No, not really.
            In fact it is only recently (in terms of the church’s history) believers were even allowed to question. Furthermore, believers are not encouraged in the fashion that a non-believer would be, being directed to such people as Lee Strobel etc…
            Thus the average believer knows little if anything about exegesis and hermeneutics.
            They would not, by and large, be aware that Genesis is not the first book of the OT to be written or that Paul’s writing pre-dates the gospels.
            They would unlikely ever investigate Josephus, or have knowledge of the history of Tacitus;
            Know next to nothing about the archaeology of Nazareth, or the etymology of its name .
            Armed with such knowledge the picture of the bible as a complete book that is an inerrant, archaeologically sound work that flows seamlessly is dispelled in an instant and raises many questions the believer might rather not ask.
            How many are away of Origen, Eusebius, or Tertullan?
            Or why the Eastern Church was largely Arian and this may well have destroyed the fledgeling church had not Constantine stepped in to help broker a truce?

            Or The Essenses?
            How about The Gospel of Thomas?

            How many are aware of how the Trinity was established? Who Theodosius was and how crucial he was in the hostory of the Chrisitan faith?
            The list is almost endless.

            None so blind as those that will not see?
            Yes, I think this is a fair description of the average Christian. Though to be fair, they have never been actively encouraged to be otherwise. Hence, faith.

            1. I knew Ark and his sweeping generalizations would make an appearance here.

              The average believer knows little about hermeneutics and exegesis? I personally know many average believers who have made it their life passion to study church and biblical history, Greek and Hebrew, hermeneutics, apologetics, etc. Some have formal education some informal, yet almost all have had their faith strengthened by these studies. They can lecture abut the Aryan controversy, Constantine’s role in the Nicene Creed, the Gnostic Gospels and other random church fathers and factoids you and I have never heard of.

              Here is something that may be completely shocking to Ark, the expert of all things Christian: They have studied everything you have and more, AND HAVE COME TO A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONCLUSION THAN YOU.

              I don’t know how Lee Strobel came up. But go debate Carl Trueman about church history, or Daniel Wallace about Biblical textual criticism. God forbid I know you learn anything from someone with a different worldview….

              1. Are you suggesting that of the billion plus christians the average individual would follow a course of studious investigation as discussed? Are you serious!
                I am a flat-out, no holes barred atheist and I only stumbled across the inumerable gaping holes in Christianty’s doctrine.
                What are the odds that the ‘average’ christian you blithely refer to will even bother to enquire?

                Arriving at a different world view does not valididate the invalidity of the claims of divinity or any of the other erroneous biblical claims.
                Interpretation when faith has been previously inculcated and accepted is always likely to return an answer that one seeks.
                And I was religious like most of us at one point – at least believing in the historicity of jesus and co.
                The key is to look at both sides with as un-biased view point as possible.
                The evidence will then reveal itself, for what it is, proving the biblical claim or rendering it false.
                And don’t take my word for it…as you don’t, and never will, rather ask someone like Nate, who’s sat at both tables.

                You have so often critisized me for making this personal but as as soon as the stakes are raised you come at me with churlish remarks…”I knew Ark and his sweeping generalizations would make an appearance here.”
                and…
                “the expert of all things Christian”
                (which I am not…not in the least – but I’ll wager that I know a damn site more than the ‘average’ christian. A damn site more!

                Shouldn’t you as a christian, and especially a born again Christian, ensure that my arguments hold no water rather than simply peeing on them?

                So, to help put to bed the ‘sweeping generalizations’, here’s a couple of specifics.

                The supposed acknowlegment of Jesus from Josephus is recognized as an interpolation by none other than the Catholic Church.
                If you disagree with them, be my guest and ask them why.

                Origen contested for a long time with Celsus, and expended around a quarter million words in doing so. He even used tracts of Josephus in his arguments to refute Celsus’ claims. Yet, he never once quoted Josephus’ little golden passage.
                Why do think that is, Bryan?

                Go poll your church group of ‘average’ Christians and see if they even know who Origen was?
                Most will likely say it’s a state in the US.

                1. Are you serious with your question? I didn’t say Billions, I said I know “many” personally (why would you equate that to billions?). Christianity has long been spread to multiple countries where the overwhelming populace is illiterate and poor, I don’t see why their lack of education/resources should be held against them in this discussion. I make no qualms about this: The gospel is so simple a 6 year old can understand it yet it is so deep, PH.Ds have spent a lifetime attempting to wrap their mind around it.

                  I still say grapple with the more versed academic sources I mentioned and I will gladly give you more if you wish.

                  I should ask Nate? (which I do at times actually) Will you converse the former atheist who now sits at the Christian table with the same spirit of honest inquiry? They’ve heard “both sides” too ya know. I will give you their names and emails so you can have a jolly good discussion with them about their journey out of atheism.

                  Who is the final authority on which side has the most “un biased” view of things? You? Again I say Objectivity is a myth, no human has the ability to be neutral to his presuppositions.

                  1. Are you serious with your question? I didn’t say Billions, I said I know “many” personally (why would you equate that to billions?).
                    Because of your usage of the word average.
                    “Christianity has long been spread to multiple countries where the overwhelming populace is illiterate and poor, I don’t see why their lack of education/resources should be held against them in this discussion.”
                    I never suggested a lack of education should be held against anybody. This is a trite remark. I made the point that most average believers would not know or be encouraged to question the information they have been brought up to believe is immutable truth. Especially those in poor countries where access to comprehensive biblical literature is probably thin on the ground, let alone secular information.

                    “I make no qualms about this: The gospel is so simple a 6 year old can understand it yet it is so deep, PH.Ds have spent a lifetime attempting to wrap their mind around it.”
                    A 6 year old would understand all the dogma in the Old Testament would they? Don’t be facile, Bryan, it is beneath you. If it was so simple to understand then there would be one faith, one denomination. Deep? Not ,deep. Just obtuse and purposely misleading.

                    “I still say grapple with the more versed academic sources I mentioned and I will gladly give you more if you wish.”
                    Go ahead, please do. I would welcome as many viewpoints as possible.

                    “I should ask Nate? (which I do at times actually) Will you converse the former atheist who now sits at the Christian table with the same spirit of honest inquiry?”
                    Absolutely! I would relish the opportunity for such open discourse. Something must have changed them and it would be marvellous to hear. But you naturally assume I would not. Why?
                    “ They’ve heard “both sides” too ya know. I will give you their names and emails so you can have a jolly good discussion with them about their journey out of atheism.”
                    No problem. Provide those too, if you want to.
                    “Who is the final authority on which side has the most “un biased” view of things? You? Again I say Objectivity is a myth, no human has the ability to be neutral to his presuppositions.”
                    You sidestepped several points and now you are aiming personal barbs again with the ’you?’
                    It is not a question of who is the final authority, this is not the issue. The objective it to find the truth amongst the dross, and the lies. Faith is faith. It is personal and does not require proof, or even factual evidence.
                    In fact, it is likely if the major churches announced that Christianity was indeed solely based on faith with absolutely zero verifiable evidence to back its former claims most believers would likely carry on as before, even denying the Church’s new found honesty, such is human nature and its reluctance to change.

                    And why were you unwilling to comment on the Josephus and Origen segment?

                    1. What I meant by “average” is that they are “average” in comparison to the people I know: They are not overly educated yet they are not uneducated. They are neither rich nor poor. They are neither church leaders nor uninvolved. “Average.”

                      Of course a six year old wouldn’t understand all OT dogma, neither you or I understand all OT dogma. Don’t be facile with your intepretation of what I wrote. I stand by this for clarification: A six year could understand the basic tenets of the gospel message.

                      “In fact, it is likely if the major churches announced that Christianity was indeed solely based on faith with absolutely zero verifiable evidence to back its former claims most believers would likely carry on as before,”

                      You start with “in fact” in your closing point and then give nothing but personal conjecture and opinion. You have no clue what believers would do given that situation but yet your presuppositions force you to jump to conclusions and deem them “fact” in your own mind. Again, objectivity is a myth.

                      I’ll look into your Josephus and Origen claim later.

                    2. “What I meant by “average” is that they are “average” in comparison to the people I know: They are not overly educated yet they are not uneducated. They are neither rich nor poor. They are neither church leaders nor uninvolved. “Average.””
                      My mother is C of E and she would likely classify herself and all her church-going friends as Average Christians as well. Yet I am so much more versed in Christianity than she has ever been or ever will be. She has little interest in the aspects of her religion and faith that I find so fascinating – like the truth for instance.
                      “Of course a six year old wouldn’t understand all OT dogma; neither you or I understand all OT dogma. Don’t be facile with your interpretation of what I wrote. I stand by this for clarification: A six year could understand the basic tenets of the gospel message.”
                      Naturally, as they could grasp the basics tenets of Santa Claus.
                      “In fact, it is likely if the major churches announced that Christianity was indeed solely based on faith with absolutely zero verifiable evidence to back its former claims most believers would likely carry on as before,
                      “You start with “in fact” in your closing point and then give nothing but personal conjecture and opinion. You have no clue what believers would do given that situation but yet your presuppositions force you to jump to conclusions and deem them “fact” in your own mind. Again, objectivity is a myth.”

                      The usage was, in fact, meant to be idiomatic; as well you must have known. Splitting hairs with a former tonsorial artist again are we, Bryan? This is what my father would call, “point scoring”. Bravo for your side.

                      “I’ll look into your Josephus and Origen claim later.”
                      You do that…..

                    3. Your experience with “average” Christians is anecdotal, and holds no more water than mine. I’ll take my experience over yours (objectivity is a myth you know : )

                      Idiomatic usage or not “in fact” usually is meant to follow some form of actuality, like “In fact, I ate cake last night and not spaghetti.” But I’ll take the “points” where I can get them.

                      I’ve read some interesting claims on the Origen Josephus bit. I’ll just link what I’ve found on Josephus’s veracity here (as a myther I’m sure you’ve heard of this website):

                      And since you do love a spirited debate on all these matters I would suggest you go to this forum. These guys match your gusto for Eusebius, Origen and the existence of an historical Jesus:

                    4. You do love to side step, don’t you…
                      Now we’ll get as much mileage over correct grammatical usage I suppose? …bully for you.

                      Why not rather read Oregen himself?
                      http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/fathers/origen/against-celsus.asp?
                      This is a pretty good place to start.
                      Oh, I popped over to those links you provided. Well, their blogs rather than email directly Left a message on the one ex-atheist. Your Pastor Parks feller, the one with the porn addiction. Er…no thanks. He has serious issues, as do so many reborns as I’ve made mention.
                      We’ll see what I get back from the former lawyer, pastor and I’ll let you know.

              1. Chapter XLVII.

                I would like to say to Celsus, who represents the Jew as accepting somehow John as a Baptist, who baptized Jesus, that the existence of John the Baptist, baptizing for the remission of sins, is related by one who lived no great length of time after John and Jesus. For in the 18th book of his Antiquities [3146] of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite.

                This you might find interesting: from Contra Celsus.

                  1. Just thought I’d share it,in case you’ve never read him.
                    Yeah checked you ‘Pest link.
                    Almost looks like I shall have to become a Christian at this rate, does it not?
                    What do we think boys and girls?
                    Right!’

  14. Easy Archy! While you spout off about how much you know about everything…remember….its Faith and Grace that brings us to salvation. Neither are from us. So I encourage you to continue reading and I pray that God will pour His grace on you. I will agree that you are smarter than most but you are a big fish in a small pond bro. Your greatness is your folly. God be with you.

    1. I did not say how much I know about everything…you did, the classic churlish reply by someone with their metaphorical trousers around their ankles.
      Yes, I am smarter than many with regard this folly you call a relationshipo with Christ but as the tone of your reply suggests you consider yourself at least as equally smart then why reply with such a ridiculous retort.
      Faith has zip to do with empirical evidence. In fact, religous faith as espoused by the Church has historically preached against enquiry, unless for its own benefit.
      Seeing the light of common sense will never happen on my say so. NEVER!
      But as more information comes to light, the utter farce that is religion will lose adherrents like water flowing from a holed dam.

      The truth will set you free. The bible is a work of fiction. Go look elsewhere for enlightenment. Its all there….

  15. You can go on and on about the evidence that may or may not exist to support your “common sense” approach. Bottom line Archy…you have no explaination for the radical change that Christ has made in the lives of those through scripture as well as today. The Faith that God gave me to believe has only become emboldened over last 24 years of my life…so my empirical evidence is this…obedience to God breeds Faith. Not something one can try or understand through a world view…it’s not of this world. You wont crack this nut…im ALL IN. LOL

    1. Since Ark mentioned me, I’ll go ahead and throw in my two cents.

      I don’t find personal experiences to be very good evidence. Adherents of every religion can tell about how changed they are now that they’ve found the “truth.” When I was a Christian, I knew it was true, because I based my beliefs on the solid foundation of the Bible. However, once some of its problems were pointed out to me and I began to study those things more fully, I realized that the Bible was not a solid foundation at all. The personal experiences I’d had as a Christian were real to me — but that doesn’t mean I was actually experiencing God or Jesus. I simply believed something and interpreted everything that happened to me in light of my beliefs — much like the presuppositions Bryan spoke about.

      Anyway, that’s my take on it. For something as amazing as Christianity to be true, it needs to some solid, objective evidence. Feelings just won’t cut it.

      Thanks

      1. Thanks Nate for your comments. I personally will say there is satisfactory solid evidence for me, and that feelings are only a byproduct of the historical impact of Christ. The key is pressuppositions, and both sides have them: where one side finds what it believes to be objective evidence for their worldview, the other side can intepret the same evidence differently. Even when our worldviews change, we must first accept the basic assumptions of the new worldview before making the massive switch. Peace and grace sir.

        1. You’re probably right about presuppositions and worldviews. But does this give you any pause considering the stakes? Let me explain: Just like a Christian is going to approach a critical analysis of his own religion with the assumption that everything will turn out true and other religions will turn out false, a Muslim is going to approach a critical analysis of Islam assuming it will turn out true and everything else will be false. And more times than not, their assumptions will be correct. The Christian will come out the other side feeling as though they’ve tested their faith and been made stronger because of it — the Muslim will come out the other side feeling the same way about Islam.

          If God exists and he really does have a particular religious text that we’re all supposed to follow, does it bother you that we’re all so swayed by our own presuppositions? The Christians attitude — which we might term “faithfulness” — is the same attitude that we would criticize among other religious people. And the Christian believes that God will look upon his ability to remain faithful as being steadfast, and he can expect to be rewarded with Heaven. However, the Muslim is “blinded” and will be punished in Hell for not heeding Christ’s “clear message.”

          I hope you know I’m not trying to be mocking — but I do view this as a double standard. If Christians should treat difficulties in their own beliefs as matters of faith, why shouldn’t Muslims do the same thing? At what point should one see the inconsistencies as a reason to leave a faith, versus a reason to trust in God’s higher ways?

          Thanks

          1. Great question Nate. Presuppositions may be a decent starting place but I don’t think we should end there. In the case of the Islam v. Christianity we’d go deeper than that because there is a great divergence in those two theistic worldviews. One way would be to carefully study the life and teaching of the founder of the New Covenant Christianity, Jesus, with the life and teaching of the founder of the Islam, Mohammed. Another point to consider would be to investigate the salvation by grace of Christianity compared to salvation of works by most other major world religions. A comparison of the Bible/Koran could be helpful: especially considering forty authors over many years and nationalities wrote one text, while one dude in a cave wrote the other.

            There are other points of interest as well in such a Christian/Islam debate. All my talk about pressuppositions is not to say I believe objective reality to be a farce, simply that objective reality is something that exists outside of non objective humanity. Some things are universally true even if we don’t recognize them or see them: Laws of logic, some sort of objective moral law, etc. The difference between the skeptic and Christian is I would add one more greater Thing/Being to that list: the One who cast such universal invisible laws into being.

            1. “A comparison of the Bible/Koran could be helpful: especially considering forty authors over many years and nationalities wrote one text, while one dude in a cave wrote the other.”
              Which demonstrates Nate’s point as succinctly as one could hope for, especially your contemptuous line, “…while one dude in a cave wrote the other,” that pretty much shows how ignorant you are of Islam as well.

              1. Oh yes. Please verse us on Islam too, Dr. Ark. I’m ignorant of “Islam as well” as what else? I’m all ears to hear your diverse intellectual meanderings of all things theism.

                And you seriously don’t think you posit yourself as a “know it all” and “expert”?

                65 books, with 40 authors, three different languages, over hundreds of years and in multiple cultures all saying the SAME THING ABOUT THE SAME GOD proves my point. They were grasping at a fixed objective reality that transcended time space culture. Just like the logic and sense of morality you attempt to appeal to: It is unseen, unchanging and universal.

              2. Chief,

                They weren’t saying the same things about the same God. Just look at the differences b/t the OT and NT, if nothing else.

                But that’s really all beside the point. The point I’m trying to make is that you find that God’s text would more likely come from multiple authors because that’s the world view you’ve started with. You think a plan of salvation centered on grace makes more sense than one centered on works because that’s the world view you’ve started with. Wouldn’t you agree that a Muslim likely starts with the view that a works-based salvation makes more sense? And when he realizes that the Bible has been put together by various people centuries after the texts were written, where they could toss out the things that didn’t make sense, he would probably find one coherent text by one author to be more like what God would do.

                Each of you can find plenty of reasons to feel very confident that you have the “truth”, but God will reward one of you and punish the other, even though you’ve used the same logical processes. But since he was born into a Muslim culture, his presuppositions were totally different from yours, and that’s pretty much all that separates him from you. That’s why I find it so hard to believe that a loving and just God would use either of your systems. If we’re all sincere in our efforts, but each of us comes to different conclusions, God would not be just to reward one of us and punish the rest.

                But hey, that’s just how I see it. 🙂 Thanks for the dialogue.

                1. I appreciate the dialogue too. In my opinion I would say the OT confirms and establishes the NT. Jesus said all Scripture reveals Him (John 5:39): The OT sacrificial system that pointed to His sacrifice, the OT prophets who prophesied about His coming, the levitical Law that showed our great need for a Savior, etc. etc. Genesis to Revelation is about Jesus.

                  I don’t know that God blesses any human system in particular. He sent His own Son to show how twisted we have made human systems. But He does seek a humble and contrite heart; and there are many even in a variety of cultures/religions who can and do know Him if they seek Him (Acts 17). If my salvation had to do with my own inherent sincere “effort” I would be very discouraged. No one is perfectly sincere enough effort driven to overcome their own sin nature before a holy God. If effort is the only way all fall short. I definitely don’t count myself better than any Muslim, I’m a sinner saved by grace. I didn’t have a knowledge of this grace growing up (so it wasn’t a lifelong assumption) until my senior year in HS. I know Christians who were initially born into unbelieving families (I know your case is the other way), so a different culture is not so constricting as to nullify people coming to faith in Christ.

                  As far as a just and loving God I believe both those ideals meet satisfactory at the cross. A just God punishes man’s sin by putting it on His son, and a loving God offers grace to hapless mankind from that same sacrifice. In Christ, Love and justice flows down in an amazing way no one would have imagined.

                  I know you’ve heard most all of this before and I’m preaching to the (former) choir, but I still enjoy sharing it. Thanks again for your thoughts, I value them and they always give me something to chew on.

  16. In case my comment gets eaten by the Spam Monster….as they are occasionally wont to do.
    Yes, All IN, indeed. Quite….
    Explanation? Well, ask a reformed believer such as Nate how he feels about Christ? He’s here on this page if you scroll a bit.

    The last thing I wish to do is crack your Christian nuts, Keith, I assure you. But when the common sense truth is finally revealed to you, the shock will ensure your Christian nuts will probably be somewhere around your throat and you will be glad of a handy atheist to administer the Heimlich manoeuvre.

    pray to your god(sic) that it’s someone as understranding as me…
    Peace Out..
    The Ark

  17. First of all Nate and Archy…im not trying to prove the existence of God in my comment, only He can do that. Secondly, Nate…not sure where I misled you to think that I meant my Faith was built on Feeling. Obedience to God??? How can one do that without scripture?

    1. Only He can do it…Oh, what a rejoinder.
      “Obedience to God??? How can one do that without scripture?”

      The Muslim will say the same thing about the Qu’ran. And of course it then begs the question, if one takes away scripture does one remove the notion of god?
      Inrteresting philosophy.

      As the bible is a compilation by men with no eveidence of divine inspiration or historical veracity then what does this say about your god, one has to wonder.
      If there’s no gos without scripture and man made scripture, then man made god -or Yahweh, as he did with all the other deities.

  18. You crack me up Archy! I guess I can understand your delimma. The only way that you can justify your man made belief (faith) is to reduce my faith to a world view. That’s funny right there.

  19. Chief,
    What are you doing to yourself, and to your followers?

    These guys will wear you out and chase off many who seek and need hope.
    You write so well, but this is casting your pearls before swine.

    One of your best posts about Christ started out with many of us who also love Christ praising God along with you.
    Then these guys crashed the party, just as I warned you they would in a private email.

    You could have written six posts from a positive stance in all the comments you have made in defence of truth.

    You get tons of comments, but mostly from two guys who only want to highjack every effort you make to proclaim truth to those who seek hope.
    You may have learned from these encounters, but at what cost?
    Your gracious dialogue is wasted. They can read your posts if they really do want to ,”see.”

    Is it about traffic?No! Because your audience is primarily two repeat guys.
    Nobody wants to hear foolish tirates like these. And if they do, they become party to thier foolishness.

    Get back on Center Chief.
    Get back to Jesus.

    And let me reblog your great posts without concern that I will bring the influence of doubt to a forum intended to give hope to those who are already suffering under the weight of doubt and really do want hope.

    Please Bryan. Take some time to pray and consider it.
    C.C.T.

    1. Oink, oink. 🙂

      Seriously, I get what you’re saying, and there’s some value to it. I wouldn’t want someone hijacking my blog, and I don’t want to hijack Bryan’s. And some comments on here do approach troll-ish proportions, so that’s something we should definitely be careful of.

      At the same time, I think real discussion on these issues is very important. I can understand why you think Ark and I are trying to lead people away from hope — but we feel the opposite. I was a Christian for many years, and I was deeply disturbed by the notion of Hell (I know some don’t believe it’s literal, but this was an issue for me). Now that I know it doesn’t exist, I feel so much more hope and happiness! The universe is so full of possibility to me now, because I don’t think anyone has all the answers. The Christian message has a lot of good things going for it, but don’t forget that it also has some negative stuff. Christ said he didn’t come to bring peace but a sword, and there’s been evidence of that in our world’s history. And even now it’s often used to breed divisiveness.

      Beyond that, it’s the Christian’s responsibility to “give a defense of the reason for the hope that’s within you,” and you’re also supposed to bring the gospel to the lost. If Christianity is true, then discussions of this sort should only help Christianity.

      But all that said, I’ll try to only leave comments when I think I have something of value to offer, or if I think non-believers are being portrayed in an unfair light. Sometimes these discussions do get uglier than is necessary, so in that, I hope your comment is taken to heart.

      Thanks,
      Nate

      1. No worries from me though I appreciate where CCT is coming from. You’re usually on topic and thoughtful; Now the oinkange level for other commenters of interest may be reaching a serious level… : )

        1. Bryan,
          You said it better than I can,
          Objectivity is a myth.

          If a Christian takes up the approach of his critics the debate will spiral downward in to an incessant match of evidence regurgitation. After both of sides have exhausted all the contemporary arguments for and against evolution, the resurrection, and bible validity, still nothing has changed.

          The critic leaves satisfied, because the Christian took the bait and accepted the game even though the deck was stacked.

          In that case a fool was answered according to his folly. Or, to borrow the words of Jesus, the Christian has casted his pearls before swine (Matthew 7).

          In this case, silence is preferable. A closing of the mouth may speak volumes of godly rebuke.

      2. Bryan, that is exactly my point .
        Nate responded to a comment I made to you.
        since that is the case I’ll respond to you nate
        Christ will tell you that he never knew you.
        matthew 7
        you don’t know what you’re missing because you never were a christian

        1. Nate,
          Jesus will not say, I knew you but you left me.or I knew you but lost you. It never was so you never were.
          Matthew 7:22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
          Matthew 7:23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (NKJV)

          1. CCT, it’s statements by Christ like that that make the entire “I used to be a Christian, now I’m not” argument pointless. How does one make himself un-born again? AS John points out in his first letter, they went out from us because they were not part of us. This is why people leave the church. They leave because they were never truly part of the church.

            1. I wasn’t going to comment, but you guys should take a look at Hebrews 6 and 10, both of which say that people can be saved but fall away. You might also want to look at Romans 11, which shows that people can fall away and still come back again later. I don’t want to debate those points with you, because it’s not the point of the original post, but I thought I’d share in case you hadn’t noticed those passages before.

              Thanks

              1. Nate,
                I have looked at it, preached it and delved into both passages. Hebrews 6 is dealing with those apostates who are raised in the church, but never come to the saving knowledge of Christ. They know all the answers to all the questions, but reject the gospel and condemn those who do. It is not talking about prodigals in that passage, but those who are out and out opponents of the gospel, who tasted the means of grace and had all the benefits of those being raised in the community of believers, but turned away from the truth that they had, even the benefits of the Spirit by being in the community of believers. But they rejected all of it.

                John 10:28-29 show us that if someone is truly saved, they cannot lose their salvation. However, even Jesus recognizes that there are those who seem to be saved, in the parable of seeds, and wheat and tares, but who are not saved.

              2. John 10:28-29 says no one will snatch them out of his hand. Doesn’t say they can’t leave of their own accord. In Heb 6, is it possible to be a “partaker of the Holy Spirit” without being saved? And from Heb 10, can one be “sanctified by the blood of the covenant” without being a Christian? Doesn’t “sanctify” mean to purify from sin? What else is salvation?

                Thanks

                1. Hey Nate….Hebrews is rich bro. Like all scripture, it is important that we read it in is fullness….context is sooo important. Im ashamed to say that “cherry picking” verses is a major factor in why our churches are so messed up. For me the writer is asking the hypothetical question, “If” and the point of the question is found in Chapter 9: 23-26. His saving power is final…”Once for all”. Roman’s 7 and 8 show Paul’s struggle between the two Laws that wage war in a believer. Notice…he never struggles over loosing his salvation rather rejoices in the fact that “Therefore, there is now No condemnation”. There is a formula to salvation and it is found in Ephesians 2:8 & 9….Faith and Grace. Neither one are from us. So…as a Reformed believer just like I don’t believe that we can choose to be in His Kingdom we can’t choose not to be. 1John 5:13 is a confirmation to believers.

                2. I’ll look at that Keith — thanks for the input. Just one quick question: if faith isn’t from us, why does God punish those who don’t have it? Isn’t that up to him?

                  Thanks

                  1. That one’s way too easy of an answer to me. I don’t accept the Bible at face value. Even if God exists, these men might have been speaking on their own authority, not his. So when I see something in those doctrines that run counter to common sense, or seem to promote a skewed morality, I question whether or not they’re really from God. If we pull out the “God’s ways are higher” card every time we run into something that doesn’t make sense, we’ll always hold fast to Christianity, even if it’s a false religion. Thanks for the answer, though.

                    1. Do you mean that my reply is too simple? Hmmm? By not accepting the Bible certainly posses a problem for any further discussion. Its either True or False for me bro. I will agree that my reply was easy… It makes sence to me that the Creator of the universe has complete sovereignty. Not sure where to go from there.

                  2. Thanks for the replies, guys. So just to be clear, you do think one can be sanctified by the blood of Christ and partake of the Holy Spirit all without being saved, right?

                3. Nate,
                  Yes, John 10 says “no one” can snatch those who belong to Him out of His hands, including those you speak of. If they are truly saved, they won’t want to “snatch themselves” out of His hands because of their love for Him, and His love for them. If they do leave the faith, it means they never were part of the faith to begin with, because their hearts were darkened and they loved darkness more than the light. But trying to say that about John 10 is quite a stretch.

                  1. Nate…if you are refering to Hebrews 6:4-6, my answer is in a previous comment. No, I don’t believe that scripture lines up with loosing salvation or choosing to no longer believe.

                  2. Well, yes, I was referring to chapters 6 and 10. I missed where you replied to this specific question. I guess you are saying that one can both be sanctified by the blood of Christ (ch 10) and have partaken of the Holy Spirit (ch 6) without actually being a Christian. Maybe this is why Paul said that even he had to watch himself lest he become disqualified (1 Cor 9:27). Perhaps he wasn’t saved yet?

                    1. Again…regarding Hebrews I think it is a hypothetical IF. The point being Christ would have to die over and over and so on to continue covering our sins. The comparison here is to the lacking power of the Old Cov. blood sacrifice to the Perfect blood of Christ that is final. In regards to 1 Cor. 9…I believe he is talking about Gifts not Salvation.

                    2. Nate,
                      Hebrews 6 is a warning to all of us, even those who are the elect and have assurance of salvation. The warning is just as necessary. It’s kind of like having warnings on the road about speeding. Even those of us who do not speed (for the sake of argument) still need the warnings. The Apostle is showing us that even though they were partakers of the Spirit’s actions, not in the sense of being born again, but from all the blessings of being among the people of God, that these people still drifted away and became enemies of the faith.

  20. CCT while you may be concerned about the outcome of this great post (and I do agree that it was a bit out there at times), I rather enjoyed it. I take the time to read 90% of Bryan’s blogs but only comment 10% of the time. I know Brayn personally and can tell you that he lives what he speaks. I am constantly amazed every time I turn on my computer to see another post staring me in the face. With a full time job, coach, Husband and Father…he finds the time to bless those who believe. My question to you is, are his posts for you? Is this a believers only blog? (Respectfully) To your comment about chasing off those who are seeking and need hope…I believe that Nate certainly qualifies. I would be willing to bet that most people read this blog and post a comment disregarding any of the “junk” that has been said…I certainly do.
    I dont know about you but I don’t know any intelectual atheists. This has been an enlightening conversation in terms of the “World” vs. what we consider to be Truth. If you extract the personal attacks and tirates from this discussion we can see the deceptions that await the “iching ears”.
    So Brayn…no applogies necessary here bro! Debate is good. I want to know how to defend my Lord…especially when I am with new or young belivers.

  21. Keith,

    I think Hebrews 6 is talking about someone still actively involved in sin. They would be crucifying Christ again and holding him in contempt.

    I’ll quit trying to set you up with chapters 6 and 10, but let me explain what I think they mean. In Hebrews 6:4-6, he talks about those who “have once been enlightened, have tasted the heavenly gift, and shared in the Holy Spirit.” I think those qualities could only describe believers. It then says, “if they fall away.” How can you fall away from something you were never a part of? Again, good reason to think he’s talking about the saved. In verse 4 he says, “restore again to repentance.” How is that possible unless one had already repented at some point?

    Hebrews 10 is even clearer. Verses 26-31 talk about how bad it will be for those who deny Christ. But it’s not talking about just any old unbeliever or skeptic. Verse 29 says it’s talking about one who has “profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified.” You can’t be sanctified by Christ’s blood unless you’re a Christian. I know that’s why you didn’t want to answer my question, and I’m sorry I put you in that position.

    1 Cor 9 doesn’t seem to talk about spiritual gifts to me. In fact, Paul says he’s working for a reward that’s imperishable. According to chapter 13 of this book, spiritual gifts were perishable. What isn’t? Eternal life. So if Paul is talking about eternal life and says that he doesn’t want to be disqualified, isn’t he talking about the possibility of losing his salvation?

    1 Tim 1:18-20 is another passage to consider. Paul tells Timothy to hold his faith and a good conscience, then refers to those like Hymenaeus and Alexander who “shipwrecked” their faith. How can you wreck a faith that you never had?

    But think about it. These passages are fairly clear. When you combine them with Romans 11, which warns the Gentiles that they could be broken off just as the Jews had been. The Jews were broken off because of their unbelief (vs 20), but they could be grafted in again if they believe (vs 23). He’s obviously not talking about the entire Jewish and Gentile peoples, because there were both Jewish and Gentile Christians at this very time. He’s speaking in generalities to show that salvation is dependent upon faith.

    That makes sense too. Haven’t we all changed our minds about things before? I imagine you believed in Santa when you were a kid, though you probably don’t now. Does that mean you never really believed to begin with? Of course not. You just received more information and changed your mind.

    However, you’re right that certain passages seem to make the opposite argument — 1 John 2:19 is probably the best to look at: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” But this is just another reason why I think the Bible is contradictory. It teaches both things: you can’t lose your salvation, and you can.

    Anyway, just something to chew on. Thanks for taking the time. And thanks to Bryan for putting up with me. 🙂

    1. @Nate,
      You said you wanted to write a post on your blog about this and you and I could discuss it there.
      Whats up?
      Anyways, what I tried to say before is that everything in the Bible that appears to be counterdictory is really a paradox, meaning deeper truths make them relate. A third truth makes harmony and deeper truth of the paradox.

      The law of non counterdiction means that opposing statements cannot both be true at the same time.BUT if a third truth

      1. @Nate,
        …..well…hopfully you get the idea.
        BTW. Read Paul’s Letter to the Galatians in preperation for your post on this subject. It is the clearest message on Grace in the Bible.
        Hebrews, who I think was authered by Barnabas, is the least clear and paradoxicle. But I also think this subject is why the tow preachers parted ways. John Mark was only the last straw.

      2. Don’t worry, that post is coming. I wrote most of it last night. I’m looking forward to the conversation, and maybe we can flesh out the law of non-contradiction point you’re making, because I didn’t really follow it here.

        Thanks

        1. Bryan…sorry for helping to totaly destroy this great post….what was it about again??? lol. Nate, I will look for your post and add my 2 cents…probably all I have left.

    2. @Nate,
      And I’ll add one pf my favorite eternal security verses, Ephesians 1:13,14.
      Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 1:14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (NKJV)

    3. Hi Pastor Timothy,

      Maybe you’re right. Of course, even if we law-abiders do speed, we’re still subject to the law. We’ll be fined, have our license revoked, etc. To me, Hebrews 6 and 10 seem to make the same point about Christians when they turn away from their faith. They’re subject to those “laws.” But hey, I’ll keep looking at it.

      Take it easy,

      Nate

      1. Nate…just to clearify…I miss spoke on 1Cor. 9. I meant Crowns not gifts (read 1Cor. 3). I replied to you on the fly and did not put much effort into my response (sorry about that). Forgive me if this comes accross in the negative but I think this is a elementary uderstanding for believers. I argue this often with some denominations with great zeal because I think it is important to understand that Works don’t keep us…Only the redemptive power of the Blood. Your argument holds no water when you read the the book of Hebrews from beginning to end. Let me ask you some simple questions…How much sin does it take for a believer to be lost again? Is it one sin, multiple sin??? Is my salvation dependant on part me and part Jesus? Is His Blood limited in it’s power to hold or keep? If we can loose our salvation, what than can bring us back to salvation since vs.6 in Hebrews say’s in regerds to the “impossible”…”if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance”. (In response to your comment about setting me up with these verses…bring it!) Let me just say bro…if sin causes me to loose my salvation…then by this scripture alone I am like you. Lost! That’s why I pointed you to Romans 7 and 8. Awesome comfort for the believer! Capter 7:14-25 shows Pauls struggle with the Old Nature (Sin) but in Chapter 8: 1-4 reveals the FREEDOM FROM SIN that we as believers share because of what Christ did.
        Please answer my questions before you respond with other verses to try and counter. Thanks

        1. I agree with you that it’s not just about sinning. Everyone sins, even after they’ve become Christians. But it’s a willful turning away that changes it. Hebrews 10 is very clear about this. In other words, it’s the overall attitude of the individual that dictates whether or not they still have salvation.

          But look, I’m not a Christian anymore anyway. I don’t believe the Bible was inspired, so it doesn’t surprise me to see it give mixed messages on things like this.

          1. Nate,
            I did write a related post about Hebrews in an attempt to answer the age old question of, WHO WROTE IT.
            In the post I make the case for who I think it is and why that matters to this subject.
            Honestly, you should check it out. You may find it compelling enough to move past the doubts you attribute to the subject of eternal security.
            Too long to cut and paste here.
            (Bryan, sorry for the shameless plug for a C. C. T. post on your site.)
            Who Wrote The Book of Hebrew
            I know you are already sure in your mind of what you believe Nate.
            I too am sure, only for Christians it’s WHO we believe.
            We all wish you knew Christ too!
            C. C. T.

          2. Well…then you will have to say that Jesus was just kidding. Jn. 10: 26-30 says
            “but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand . I and the Father are one.”
            Jesus is a Heart thing bro. Knowledge alone just do
            According to this…you never were. I mean this with all my heart…I pray for you.

  22. Very simple idea. If you don’t have an answer…well thought out, intelligent, informative or at least correct, you will be answering a fool according to his folly. Once we give a pat answer or some Christian-ese response (Because that is what the Bible says, or God said it), we play into the hands of the asker, who likely already has his own answers, as it is. By doing so, we have made them ‘wise in their own eyes.’ Truthfully, with crappy answers like that, the other party was easily one up, anyway. Would have been better to be honest and say “I don’t know, but I will find someone who does”, than to give a hollow and, yes, corny, pat answer.

    Great post.

  23. Thank you so much of putting into words what has only been on the brink of my conscience! And I like how you described the meaning of “fool” before you began. You broke everything apart in a very easy-to-understand way. Very helpful, insightful and intelligent!

  24. Chief of Least, thanks for the “like” this morning! I’m digging this little exposition on such a fascinating couplet, too. It really is a breath of fresh air to encounter some presuppositional apologetics in the blogosphere. Blessings!

      1. Presuppositionalism is interesting, but it seems to just be a way for believers to feel good about not engaging with unbelievers. I don’t find that it accomplishes anything in trying to reach those who don’t believe. Is that the take you guys have too?

        1. No, you know that’s not our take. And please don’t base your opinion on my limited apologetic ability. I think Greg Bahnsen’s debate with George Stein (on youtube) is a good introductory place to start if you don’t want to purchase a book on it.

        2. No, I meant that seriously. I just don’t see what value it is in reaching those who don’t already believe.

          But I’ll check out the debate you mentioned. Maybe there’s more to it than I realize.

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