December 1, 1997 Issue
by Billy D. Dickinson

John F. Kennedy once observed that too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. However, not only is that true in regard to politics and other worldly affairs, that is especially true with reference to religious beliefs! That’s why the Bible exhorts us to search for the truth with a discerning eye: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thess. 5:21) "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (I John 4:1) The following "items of interest" will demonstrate how man is often guilty of fallacious reasoning while he ignores pertinent facts and information that can lead one into the glorious light of God’s truth.

The first item is an article, "Genesis Reconsidered," that appeared in the Oct. 28, 1996 issue of Time. It constitutes a blatant attack upon the veracity of the Bible, but the logic (?) and reasoning found therein is palpably weak and shallow. In fact, the article is one of the poorest attempts imaginable in trying to undermine people’s faith in the Scriptures! The subject of this article was actually given top billing on the front cover where these words could be found: "And God said... Betrayal. Jealousy. Careerism. They’re all in the Bible’s first book. Now there’s a spirited new debate over the meaning of Genesis." What was the main argument used to cast doubt upon the Bible? Well, a Rabbi is quoted extensively by the name of Barton Visotzky who is declared to be a "scholar" with the highest credentials: "Not many people in the country are as familiar with the workings of the Bible’s first book as Visotzky, an expert in Midrash, the authoritative early rabbinical parsings of Scripture, or the Torah" (Pages 67-68). The article goes on to relate how in the late 1980s, with an impending divorce, Visotzky went through "a bit of religious crisis." The Rabbi discovered to his dismay that Abraham and the Patriarchs were not perfect men and that they also experienced problems with their wives and families. Then Visotzky is quoted as saying: "The blinders fell off. This dysfunctional family was my family in every sense of the word. But why was it in Torah? I was holding onto my chair white-knuckled so I wouldn’t run out of the room" (Page 68).

Think about it! This so-called "expert" of the Scriptures discovered one day that Abraham and the Patriarchs were not perfect men? What a scholar and what a discovery! Why, that should come as no surprise to even the casual reader of the Bible! In fact, for years Gospel preachers have preached entire sermons on both the strengths and weaknesses of men like Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David, etc. Instead of destroying our confidence in the Bible, this is a fact that should strengthen our faith. I say that for at least two reasons: First, it shows how inspiration tells it like it was. Unlike the works of men which often give a biased view by glossing over reprehensible actions or inefficiencies of important men, the Bible gives an accurate and impartial account of its characters. Surely this is not a strike against the Scriptures but is actually an internal evidence of inspiration! Also, rather than destroying our faith, we should find it reassuring to realize that God was willing to deal favorably with men like Abraham (because of their faith in Him) in spite of all their weaknesses and imperfections. If this is the strongest criticism that modern day skeptics have to challenge God’s word with, they don’t have much, do they? Yes, critics of the Bible come and go, "but the word of the Lord endureth forever." (I Pet 1:25) That brings us to our next item...

The second item appeared under the caption, "Archeologists look for proof of the Bible in stones" [The News-Star, Monroe/West Monroe, Louisiana, Dec. 8, 1996, Page 12A]. The information in this article demonstrates why our faith in the Bible rests upon a solid and unshakable foundation. Consider the following: "From the Northern Hills of Israel to the desert of Yemen, a string of recent archeological discoveries have provided the first hard evidence for a number of Biblical figures and events, many of which had been widely dismissed as myths and moral tales. Individually, the discoveries are important. Together, they are shaking the field of Biblical archeology and buttressing words believers have taken on faith." Then the article produces several examples of bow the archeologist’s spade proves the Bible’s accuracy in dealing with people and places: (1) "In 1993, Israeli archeologists digging in Tel Dan in the Golan Heights unearthed a piece of stone from an ancient monument, or stele. Inscribed upon it, in ancient Aramaic, were the words King of Israel and House of David." The article says that the finding so shook some scholars that they insisted it had to be a fake. However, more fragments were found a year later with additional inscriptions referring to David. (2) "Recent expeditions at Shechem, where the Bible says Abraham built an altar to God, prove an organized community existed there during Abraham’s time nearly 4,000 years ago." (3) "Recent excavations have uncovered a string of ancient Egyptian forts along the Sinai’s Mediterranean coast." The article explains how that this provides a plausible explanation for the Exodus story that has long puzzled scholars— why Moses led the people out of Egypt through the Sinai wilderness instead of along the shorter coastal route. (4) "An ivory pomegranate purchased in the international antiquities market by Israeli authorities for $550,000 in 1988 is now believed by many scholars to be the first relic ever found from Solomon’s Temple." It is reported that an inscription on the pomegranate reads, "Holy to the priests, belonging to the temple of Yahweh."

Yes, let Time publish all of the articles that skeptics deem necessary for the purpose of attacking the Bible. However, one of these days when Time has ceased to exist and its last issue has been printed, God’s word will still be standing (Matt. 24:35)! As an advertisement for Ken Connolly’s book, The Indestructible Book, declares: "If you knew all the attacks the Scriptures had endured in order to survive the centuries, you’d realize you’re holding a miracle in your hands every time you pick yours up." Amen!

The last item appeared under the heading, "Dancing In Praise!" [The News-Star, Monroe/West Monroe, Louisiana, Jan. 18, 1997, Page I B). Is it scriptural to dance as an act of worship and praise unto God today? The instrumental music man would be hard pressed to answer in the negative because he appeals to Old Testament Scriptures to justify his practice. Also, the grace only, unity-in-diversity advocate cannot afford to condemn it because he would argue that there is no pattern for scriptural worship that must be maintained. Yet, there are those in the religious world who extol "spiritual dancing" (their term) as a means of worship and praise unto God. Listen to this explanation: "There is nothing sinful about dancing in church. I have seen other people dance the holy dance when praising God. I dance to praise God. It’s a way to express myself and to express my love for Jesus." Also, they say, "Plus, it’s fun and it lifts up the congregation."

There you have it! Why do they engage in this activity? Notice the answer that is not given. It’s not because the Lord commanded it or authorized it in His church. Yet, they say that they dance to express their love for Christ. This is a repudiation of Christ’s statement in John 14:15, where Jesus said that we demonstrate our love for Him by keeping His commandments! Notice, too, that they don’t dance because the Apostles led the early church into this practice (Acts 2:42) or because we can read where a congregation engaged in this activity under apostolic guidance. No, instead of pointing to an approved example in the New Testament, an appeal is made to what other uninspired men are doing. Finally, it is admitted that the real reason they engage in "spiritual dancing" is because it is "fun." In other words, they are engaging in something that appeals to the flesh, in stead of seeking to glorify God by worshiping Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). However, I would like to issue the following challenges: challenge the instrumental music man to show why dancing would be unscriptural in the New Testament church today! Because when he does, away goes the instrument with it. Furthermore, I challenge the grace only, unity in-diversity advocate to condemn dancing as an expression of praise in our assemblies today! Because when he does, he is going to be admitting that there is some kind of pattern (a word they despise) to be followed and that certain activities, like dancing, are unauthorized acts.

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