It may be useful at this point to describe the premises on which all my arguments are based.
- I use the term 'Scripture' to refer to the 66 books comprising the Old and New Testament canon found in Protestant bibles.
- I ascribe to the 'inspired' view for both writings and canonical selection.
- I ascribe to the view that the ideas expressed in the following passage also apply to the New Testament even though it is the Old Testament scriptures to which the author refers:
"From infancy, you have known the holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:15-17).
- I ascribe to the view that there is no necessity to depart from scripture for teaching.
- I interpret Scripture by the yardstick of Scripture, not by the teachings or traditions of the churches. Where similar texts occur, the meaning in one case determines the meaning in the other. No scripture is of private (or special) interpretation (2 Pet. 1:20). Only by this method of interpretation can a perfect and just weighing of the evidence be assured.(Deut. 25:15)
- I do not, however, ascribe to the 'inerrancy' of words but rather to the 'inerrancy' of the fundamental values and principles underlying the words. Words can be twisted and made to serve many purposes; values and principles cannot.
- All statements I make are open to be measured by the yardstick of scripture. This principle automatically applies to the teachings of the ecclesia which will be measured in like manner. Thus the worth of my statements will be measured by: "With what measure ye mete, it shall be meted unto you." (Mark 4:24)
Is God's relationship with humanity really cloaked in mystery? Or is there some way to ascertain how we stand in relation to our Creator?
We are told by the prophet Isaiah to "seek ye out of the book of YHWH and read." (34:16). Just as the truthful, guileless words of Jesus were sharper than a two-edged sword searching the secrets thoughts of man, so too does Scripture "slay with words" the doctrines of mystery supposedly based upon it. (Hosea 6:5)
In this age of ready access to information, many people are questioning and rejecting the doctrines of the Christian churches. In not perceiving that ecclesiastical teachings are not based on scripture, they are rejecting the Bible and Jesus of Nazareth also. This defection, in part, can be laid at the door of those theologians who, through the ages, have justified their existence by introducing complexity where once was simplicity, exclusive psychobabble where once was inclusive language, and banality where once was spirituality.
The average person finds the proposition that everything is hidden in mystery untenable. Followers of Jesus are quite entitled to say that there is no mystery that shall not be revealed. (Luke 8:17) If the Bible was meant to be cloaked in mystery, why did Isaiah exhort the people to "Come then, let us reason together, saith the Lord?" (Isaiah 1:18) In the New Testament we read how one man powerfully confuted the Jews (Acts 18:28), while Paul "confounded the Jews that dwelt in Damascus, proving that this is the Christ." (Acts 9:22)
None of the prophets or apostles wanted to hide their works in a veil of mystery and were only too willing to reason with their kinsfolk. It is just as much a human failing today that people prefer not to listen to reason.
Believers in Jesus as the 'messiah' are bound to accept scripture where it clashes with doctrine.
Jesus said "the scripture cannot be broken" and he told the Pharisees that they "erred not knowing the scriptures." As the scriptures he referred to were the Old Testament books, Jesus put the impress of truth upon them.
The idea that the Old Testament was destroyed or made unreliable by the New is completely without foundation. No man can usurp Jesus' place as teacher, for he said also "Be ye not called Rabbi, for one in your teached, and all ye are brethren." (Matt. 23:8)
All that being said, it must be noted that the Old Testament scriptures were used in fundamentally different ways by supporters and opponents of Jesus.
His supporters claimed he was the man chosen from among the people and appointed by God to rule the world. They claimed that not only had he represented the true values of God and that his opponents had judged him by their own false standards, but also that Jesus had fulfilled the 'scriptures' predicting his death.
Yet the opponents of Jesus searched these same 'scriptures' but could not relate the writings to the man. On the surface, this seems understandable - there were particular and exact statements by the prophets that when the 'anointed' of God appeared, the fortunes of Israel, then at their lowest ebb, would be restored.
But therein lay the basic fallacy! The opponents were relying first on words and events to lead them to their 'messiah'. Jesus' supporters relied first upon fundamental values, then adduced words in their support. For them, he was the 'spiritual' fulfilment of the Israelite hope.
By concentrating on words, personality and events and ignoring basic values, the opponents of Jesus demonstrated their flawed thinking. The personality cult of 'Jesus Christ', promulgated by the Christian churches, does not reflect the man, or his mission - it reflects the same attitudes and displays the same flawed thinking as the priests of Jerusalem.
My mission is to 'resurrect' Jesus from a 'spiritual' crucifixion no less deadly and effective than that of the physical.