The following letter is to a friend who had led a Bible study and was asking if I thought he was too biased in what he said.
No, it wasn't too biased at all! Though of course it was biased, if bias is "a bent, a tendency, an inclination of temperament or outlook" (Merriam-Webster)! Everyone has bias, and everyone's going to communicate it unless they talk nonsense or are deceitful! But then I guess we'll have to say that God is biased, too, since He inflexibly believes in His own existence!
You pointed all of us to Scripture, and had a very sensitive approach, not a "watch me hammer you over the head with my interpretation" approach! Thanks for leading! I learned a whole bunch, and I think all of us did. It kind of cracks me up when people say "I'm going to open a can of worms." I mean, life is a can of worms, and anything can be agreed or disagreed on. I'm just praising God that the folks in the study are willing to listen and think about Scripture and the interpretations of other people in the study. I think we're all interested in pursuing Truth, not just doing the cop-out and saying "Well, your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth." Of course, that does make tension, because whenever folks disagree but are convinced that there is a correct interpretation, the question is "Who's wrong, and who's right?" It's a good question to ask and answer, and God is the One who can answer this. By studying the Word with other people, God can work through our conversations to challenge us and help us to understand His Truth better. (John 16:13 "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. ") It's only because each of us believes something about salvation that we can discuss it in depth. I don't see this process as a dialectic, where one of us has some portion of truth, another person has the opposite, and we have to fuse them together. The ultimate reality isn't our brains: it's God. We trust empiricism as far as it goes, but revelation is the trump card. (Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing; Were not the right Man on our side, The Man of God's own choosing...). We're all trying to search Him out, and understand Him better. It's like we've seen glimpses of a perfect Being, and we're all trying to describe Him, but our descriptions are always falling short. We only understand in part, and we're often wrong, but sometimes right (so our trying to understand God is like playing Mastermind). Awesomely, God's given us a whole book to guide us, and while we all agree that this the most important book, at different points, we often interpret it differently. It's not just a matter of comparing all of our interpretations and in our own strength deciding which one is best. 'Cause we might get that wrong too. There's so much to learn from the searches of other people, especially those who have written books about what they've learned about Scripture, because the Holy Spirit has given many, many of them insight into the meaning of Scripture. We can also seek out teaching from the Holy Spirit directly. We've got to submit to the Holy Spirit, and say "H.S., please help me to understand." And as each of us grows in Christ, we're going to grow in our capacity to understand. And then in Heaven... WOW!
Yeah, and you're right about Newton, too! Henry Schaefer has a paragraph on him, too. I didn't copy any of his quotes over, but he definitely was a Christian. I didn't realize he spent more time studying Scripture than physics, but that's awesome!! Hmmm... "no one knows about that day or hour," but maybe we have an idea of the year... I mean, Newton was pretty good at math, right?!
Have an awesome weekend...