William Craig says no Christians should believe Rapture theology

Steve Quayle just posted the following link to an article by Morgan Lee, Christian Post Reporter:

http://www.christianpost.com/news/no-christians-should-not-believe-in-left-behinds-rapture-theology-says-prominent-apologist-124070/

I have read the article. I also looked at 11 pages of Google search results on William Craig, the prominent Christian philosopher.

I learned he also has a Doctor’s degree in theology, but he is best known for his philosophy.

On the subject of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, William Craig is mistaken in his theology and needs to go back and do his homework using the methods of Bible study which I here call Real Bible Study, following the Rules of Interpretation I’ve posted in the October, 2010 Archives to the right.

The article in part states:

Several months before “Left Behind” opens in theaters, a prominent Christian philosopher is reminding the American church that the movie’s claims about the rapture are false.

“This doctrine is not really found in the book of Revelation. If you read the book of Revelation, you won’t find any mention of the rapture there,” said William Craig, a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and Professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University.

This is an example of the logical fallacy known as “the straw man argument.” It is a fallacy, because those who may believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church have not made the claim that the Book of Revelation mentions the Rapture in support of their case.

Dr. William Craig ought to know better. He has been an experienced debater since his high school years. I have also been an experienced debater since my high school years, and like him, won major recognition while in high school.

When you know your subject of debate, you certainly do not engage in using the straw man argument.

The article next states:

Instead, Craig says, the idea of the rapture comes from a “misinterpretation of 1 and 2 Thessalonians where Paul is describing the coming of the Lord and resurrection of the dead, which will occur at His coming.”

On this Real Bible Study website I have set forth what the correct interpretation of the relevant passages in 1 and 2 Thessalonians is in more detail than you are likely to find anywhere else, on line or in print. I have thoroughly done my homework. Dr. William Craig has not, to judge by the falsity of his claims.

What is next said is the heart of the issue:

“If you compare what Paul says there to what Jesus says about the End Times, Paul uses the same vocabulary, the same phraseology. I think it’s very plausible that Paul is talking about the same event that Jesus predicted, namely the visible coming of the Son of Man at the end of human history to usher in his kingdom,” said Craig. “But proponents of the rapture view, say that Paul is not at all talking about the second coming of the Christ there. What he’s really talking about is this invisible preliminary secret return of Christ to snatch believers out of the world before the great tribulation occurs. I think there’s no textual warrant for that at all.”

I believe I have answered that argument Dr. Craig uses in my notes for 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (please read and study carefully!):

2 Thessalonians 2:1. we beseech. See on +*Ro 12:1. 1 Cor 1:10. *He 10:25. by the coming. Gr. parousia, +Mt 24:3. This is the coming at the Pretribulation Rapture. There are no Resurrection/Rapture passages which speak of the Great Tribulation (in terms of the Rapture occurring during the Great Tribulation period), and no Great Tribulation passages which speak of a COMBINED resurrection of the dead in Christ AND rapture and translation of living believers. ver. 2 Th 2:8 Jn 14:3. See on +1 Th 2:19. +**1 Th 4:14-16n. 1 Tim 6:14. +*2 Tim 4:1n. He 9:28n. and by. +*Ge 49:10. Mt 24:31. 25:32. Mk 13:27. +*Ep 1:10. +*1 Th 3:13. +**1 Th 4:17n. +*2 Tim 4:1n. our gathering. +*Ps 50:5. **Ps 102:21, 22. Is 58:8mg. +*Ezk 17:23. Ac 20:7n. +**1 Th 4:17n. together. Paul makes reference to the “gathering” taught in 1 Th 4:17 (“caught up together with them”) which takes place at the Pre-tribulation Rapture. This gathering does not follow the apostasy and the coming of the Antichrist. Rather, those two events must follow the Pretribulation Rapture, the “gathering” Paul speaks of here. 1 Th 4:17. He 10:25g. unto him. +*Ge 49:10. Ps 50:5. **Ps 102:22. Is 11:10. Mt 18:20. Jn 12:32. 14:3. 2 Cor 5:15. Ep 3:21. He 13:13.

2 Thessalonians 2:2. soon. or, quickly. Gr. tacheōs (S#5030g, Lk 14:21). **Ga 1:6. shaken. Gr. saleuō (S#4531g, Mt 11:7). Is 7:2. 8:12, 13. 26:3. Mt 24:6. Mk 13:7. Lk 21:9, 19. Jn 14:1, 27. Ac 2:25g. 17:13g. 20:23, 24. Ep 5:6. 1 Th 3:3. troubled. Gr. throeomai (S#2360g). Mt 24:6g. Mk 13:7g. +*Ep 4:14. *He 13:9. neither. FS129, +Ezk 34:4. by spirit. or, spirit-communication. Gr. pneuma, +Mt 8:16. FS121A4, +Ezk 37:1. By Metonymy for those who claimed to be depositories of spiritual gifts. All such claims were to be closely scrutinized (Hogg & Vine, p. 244). Supposed messages and revelations that were untrue. Dt 13:1-5. +**Je 23:25-28n. Mic 2:11. *Mt 24:4, 5, 24. Ac 11:12. +*1 Cor 14:29. 1 Th 5:19, 21. *2 P 2:1-3. **1 J 4:1, 2. Re 19:20. by word. A pretended verbal message from the missionaries (see Hogg & Vine, p. 244). ver. 2 Th 2:15. 1 Cor 12:8. 14:26, 29. 1 Th 5:2. nor by letter. This counterfeit letter was not from Paul, but claimed to be. +2 S 11:15. +*Ga 1:7, 8n. 1 Th 4:15. 2 P 3:4-8. as from us. Thus counterfeit, containing false and deceptive teaching that they were already in the Day of the Lord. Perhaps after this Paul authenticated his letters with his own signature (2 Th 3:17. 1 Cor 16:21. Col 4:18). Jn 5:31. 8:17. Ro 16:26. **Ga 1:6-9. Ep 3:8. day of Christ. or, day of the Lord. “Of Christ” has very little support from MSS., and none from ancient versions (F. W. Grant). Virtually all modern editors of the Greek text read “day of the Lord” here (Is 13:6. +*Am 5:18. Zp 1:14. +**1 Th 5:2. +*2 P 3:10). Paul firmly denies that the Thessalonians were in “the Day of the Lord.” +*Is 2:12. +Ezk 30:3. Lk 17:24. Ac 3:20. +*Ac 17:31. Ro 2:5. *+1 Cor 1:8. +*1 Cor 3:13. 5:5. 2 Cor 1:14. +*Ep 4:30. Phil 1:6, 10. 2:16. +*1 Th 5:2. is at hand. or, is now present. Gr. enistēmi (S#1764g, Ro 8:38). Ro 8:38. %+*Ro 13:12. 1 Cor 3:22g. 7:26g. Ga 1:4g. Phil 4:5. 2 Tim 2:18. 3:1g. He 9:9g. %+*1 P 4:7. Such a belief on the part of the Thessalonians necessarily implies that they correctly understood the Rapture and its associated resurrection of the righteous dead in Christ to be an event which will be secret and unobserved by the world (Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 2, pp. 316, 317), otherwise they could not have thought these events already took place, the error Paul is correcting. Mt 24:3-6, 14. +**Mt 25:19, 31-34, 41. +*Lk 19:11. Ac 17:31. 1 Cor 11:26. 15:24. He 2:8. 2 P 3:13. *Re 11:15-18. 22:10.

Morgan Lee writes further,

According to Craig, the rapture became a popular theory about the End Times due to the influence of the Scofield Reference Bible, which was published in the early 20th century and promulgated John Darby’s mid-18th century’s views on the rapture. Later, Christian institutions, among them Dallas Theological Seminary, and churches began teaching the validity of the rapture.

In logic, this kind of argument is an ad hominem argument, an argument that attempts to subtly attack a doctrine by appealing to its supposed or alleged source, rather than actually answering the Biblical evidence behind the argument. Do that, and you have lost the debate, should the opposing team or the debate judge catch or call you on it.

Lastly, Dr. William Craig is represented as saying:

“A good many Bible-believing Christians absorbed this view as their mother’s milk as it were and have never thought to question its Biblical credentials,” said Craig.

It looks to me that Dr. William Craig himself has not thought to carefully examine its Biblical credentials, such as I have briefly presented here.

In particular, please note that the Thessalonians who had been taught by the Apostle Paul himself were misled into believing that they had missed the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Resurrection of the dead in Christ.

Now, how could they have supposed they missed such an event, believing it had taken place already in their own day, and they had not noticed, unless in some measure they believed, and therefore Paul himself taught, that the Rapture would not be observed by the world at large? Thus there is a Biblical basis for the often scorned doctrine of the “secret Rapture.”

Think otherwise? Agree or disagree? Feel free to leave a comment. I promise, I won’t chop off your head! But I will make a sincere effort to answer any Bible questions you may have.

If proven wrong, I always change my mind. Do you?

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7 Responses to William Craig says no Christians should believe Rapture theology

  1. Jerry says:

    As usual, I am not able to figure out how to make a live link in the main post. Here it is to the article I wrote about above:

    Link: http://www.christianpost.com/news/no-christians-should-not-believe-in-left-behinds-rapture-theology-says-prominent-apologist-124070/

    There are many who believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture who appeal to the Book of Revelation at Revelation 4:1 for support for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. My point is, however, that such an appeal is not necessary to establish the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Revelation 4:1 does not necessarily teach anything about the Rapture.

    Paul called the Rapture doctrine a “mystery doctrine” in 1 Corinthians 15:51. This means the doctrine was not previously revealed. Paul learned his doctrine directly from our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Thessalonians 4:15). Therefore, the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture will not properly be found in “what Jesus says about the End Times” (Dr. William Craig), such as in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 and its parallel passages. Dr. Craig, therefore, is necessarily mistaken when he supposes “that Paul is talking about the same event that Jesus predicted, namely the visible coming of the Son of Man at the end of human history to usher in his kingdom.”

    Those who wish to write and publicly comment upon prophetic issues really do need to do their homework first in careful Bible study. I have found it helpful to study carefully the work of Mr. George N. H. Peters, The Theocratic Kingdom, though that is not where I learned the view I hold. I learned the view I hold from my direct study of the Bible, particularly while working on providing additional cross references for Bible study over many years.

  2. Jerry says:

    Dear Lou,

    Thank you for submitting the interesting article by Bruce Rockwell, “The Pretrib Rapture Jackpot!” This article is a very good example of the logical fallacy called “ad hominem,” or “against the man.”

    The truth or falsity of a Bible doctrine does not depend upon the character or wealth of the men or women who promote it. That fiction writers have popularized the view for wider public consumption hardly counts as evidence either for or against the doctrine. One should not assume that fiction writers necessarily have an accurate grasp of the Bible doctrine underlying the plot outline of their fiction.

    What one must do to refute a doctrine is present a more valid exegesis of the texts of Scripture that bear upon the doctrine. The article’s author correctly identifies the major passages in the Bible that establish the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine. But beyond the bald assertion that these passages do not explicitly teach the pre-tribulation rapture Bruce Rockwell does not go. Perhaps had Mr. Rockwell written a longer article he could have spelled out his proof to the contrary. But far as I know, no author yet has done so.

    To suggest the alleged “newness” of the doctrine as an argument against it is logical nonsense. Do you and Mr. Rockwell mean to say that there is nothing new to be learned from the Bible through careful Bible study? Such an idea is absurd on its face. The issue is not how new or old a doctrine is, but is the doctrine supported by careful and accurate appeal to the Bible? The “age” of a doctrine is surely no evidence of its truthfulness. Many ancient heresies are with us yet today, and those very old errors are as dangerous now as when first propounded. We are warned against such doctrines throughout Scripture (Isaiah 8:20; Acts 20:29, 30; Galatians 1:6, 7, 8, 9; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 John 4:1; 2 John 1:9, 10; Jude 1:3).

    The pre-tribulation rapture doctrine did not originate with Darby or anyone else in the 1830s. It comes from a careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture. A careful study of Mr. George N. H. Peters’ work, The Theocratic Kingdom in three large volumes will demonstrate that in Peters we have a careful prophetic scholar who establishes the doctrine in detail without ever using the terms “rapture” or “pre-tribulation.” His work was completed in the 1880s as I recall. He spent a lifetime of study to produce it. While he mentions Darby and others, he is very much against Darby and the Plymouth Brethren and their writers. So he certainly did not learn about the pre-tribulation rapture from them! Furthermore, he thoroughly proves that the doctrine of the premillennial Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ has always been the doctrine of the true Church from apostolic times, and was the undisputed doctrine of the Church for the first two and a half to three centuries after Christ.

    So it may be that you, Mr. Bruce Rockwell, and many if not most others who are against the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture have been drinking from the poisoned wells of false doctrine themselves.

    Thank you for submitting such an interesting article. I have already answered the issues it brings up against the pre-tribulation rapture on this site in many articles under the category accessible to the right on “Bible Prophecy.” Please feel free to further the discussion by bringing up any Biblical evidence you may have that seems contrary to the position I currently support. I am always ready to change my mind about these matters should further evidence from the Bible, carefully exegeted, prove my position wrong. Are you?

  3. Jeff says:

    I don’t know. It seems to me many Christians have gone through tribulation, at times severe tribulation. A good example in recent months and years would be the Christians in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, the Sudan, China, North Korea. Now that I think about it Christians all over the world are suffering tribulation- simply for being Christian- at times at the cost of their lives. Would you please tell me how the pre trib rapture- so called- is any comfort to them, or their families. I think the early church was pretty much united in thinking that Christians must expect to suffer tribulation- even to the point of death- for their testimony. Our Lord Himself set the example. Now you are saying that we will not need to suffer through the ‘great tribulation’. Doesn’t make any sense.

    For my part I have suffered through great personal troubles and trials even before I became a Christian. It’s a long story. Now this doctrine is telling me, don’t sweat it Jeff, you may be snatched away at any moment. I understand that as a Christian I will not have to endure God’s wrath. But what Peter and Paul endured for their witness to Christ- indeed because of it- why should I expect anything less for my witness and testimony?

  4. Jerry says:

    Dear Jeff,

    I certainly agree with you that many are suffering much tribulation right now. I posted a new article about that yesterday, October 20, 2014. Just now I posted a comment to that article which contains a link to a video and furnishes the source of the prayer request for missionaries in the Middle East in grave danger from ISIS.

    But we must carefully distinguish between tribulation, which all of this age may be called upon to suffer, and the great tribulation, which is a future time of unmatched tribulation never duplicated in either past or future of that event.

    Therefore, those who correctly believe in the Pretribulation Rapture do not excuse themselves or others from tribulation in this life. Just as no proper husband beats his wife-to-be right before the wedding to prepare her for entrance into that relationship, neither does God or our Lord Jesus Christ. The Church, the Bride of the Lamb, is raptured out of this world to be with Christ, and is nowhere mentioned as present during the events of the Great Tribulation described in the Book of Revelation. Far as I know, no Mid or Post-Tribulationist has ever properly addressed this interesting fact.

  5. Rev.Dr.Thang Luaia says:

    Regarding rapture, we have to think carefully. When one died, every Pastor will say that his or her spirit goes to the Father directly. A dead body has been buried and will not resurrect because Paul says,”flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the perishable”(1Cor.15:50). When one person died, his or her spirit has already rests with God in heaven, so there is no need of rapture. The “Left behind”Movies shows that the clothes only remain visible, and the flesh and blood bodies are vanished. It has no meaning at all and is not according to the word of the Bible. How can a flesh and blood body will be taken up or rapture which cannot inherit the kingdom of God. There will be no second coming of Jesus in physical form, because he has already come on the day of Pentecost and dwell inside us. Read Eph2:6 “and raised us up with him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. As soon as we die, our spirit directly goes to God to be with Him forever. It is not necessary for Jesus to come back and caught us up in heaven. Paul mentioned those words to comfort the believers who were afraid of persecutions. Anyone who wants to contact me can do at my E Mail: revluaia95@yahoo.co.in

  6. Jerry says:

    Dear Dr. Luaia,

    It is a joy to have you post a very interesting comment on my Real Bible Study website!

    You are very correct that Paul explicitly teaches that “flesh and blood shall not inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50).

    What nearly all commentators upon this verse have missed is the Biblical teaching Paul gives: those yet in the flesh and blood bodies such as we who are now living inhabit will not inherit the Kingdom of God here upon this earth in those bodies. We will experience a marvelous change: those that have died as of when our Lord Jesus Christ returns for His Church will be rejoined to their newly resurrected bodies from the grave with bodies which are like the body our Lord Jesus Christ now has–often called our “glorified bodies” (Philippians 3:21).

    Those who are still alive at the return of our Lord Jesus Christ for His Church at the Rapture will have their living fleshly body “changed” without experiencing physical death (see 1 Corinthians 15:51 and context).

    But here is the point nearly all have missed: those who are in their physical bodies upon the earth will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God; rather, they will be the subjects of the Kingdom of God.

    Remember that the Bible repeatedly and emphatically teaches that natural generations of humankind in the flesh shall continue on this earth forever (Psalms 72:5 and its cross references–Psalm 89:4, 29, 36, 37. 102:28. 145:13. 146:10. Isaiah 34:17. 51:8. 59:21. 60:15. 65:23. 66:22. Jeremiah 33:22. Ezekiel 37:25. Matthew 5:5. Luke 1:32, 33).

    Those who are saved from all the ages will inherit the Kingdom of God and live upon this earth to reign with Christ in His eternal Kingdom of God forever (Luke 1:32, 33) in glorified, imperishable, immortal but tangible bodies.

    Feel free always to visit, comment, and reply to my comments! Ask any questions you may have about the Bible or any aspect of Bible doctrine.

    Thank you for visiting here, and do please visit again and again as the Lord gives you time and opportunity.

  7. Jerome Smith says:

    I have received further correspondence off-site about this post I wrote about Bible prophecy. More than one person has kindly objected to what they perceive as a rather abrupt, unloving response to Dr. Craig’s article, an article or comments attempting to dissuade Christians from viewing a then forthcoming film about the Pre-tribulation Rapture.

    Of course, emotions can hardly be discerned accurately from the written page alone. I may assure you that in person I have often been considered a very timid, unassertive person. I was even voted “The Most Bashful Boy” in the Senior High School mock elections when I was a graduating senior at Cass Technical High School in 1956. I am not about offering angry or unfair criticism, but as a teacher I always required that my students do their homework carefully before asserting what the correct interpretation of a work of literature might be! Yet most of my students loved being in my class, and I loved being their teacher, and I am still in touch with a few of both my first students and last students by the modern marvel unthought of then called the Internet and Facebook.

    I thought my response written just today was worthy of a wider audience, so here it is:

    Dear R,

    Thank you for sending an excerpt of your writing. I have read it this morning with care and interest.

    You wrote in your accompanying letter:

    Indeed the rapture becomes a possessive doctrine, a personal belief hard pressed to relinquish in this abstract. When in fact the main hope, I would believe, is that we will be delivered from what can only be described as “times of distress unequalled in the world”. Therefore, the rapture ought to be seen and experienced in that spirit. A gently spirit. A loving disposition. A deliverance. When finally the ” creation itself will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Romans 8:21

    I agree with you that the “main hope” is deliverance from “times of distress unequalled in the world.” There is a difference between “tribulation” which all must endure (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12), and the foretold “great tribulation” which is predicted to come called in Scripture “the times of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).

    I suppose any doctrinal view could be described as “a possessive doctrine, a personal belief hard pressed to be relinquished in the abstract.” But you will note on my website, and in the very article you are referencing, that I personally am open to learn something new from the Bible every time I read it and study it. I am willing to change my view, if presented with better evidence than what I have so far seen. Therefore, no one can claim that I hold a view simply as a personal belief, or as a “possessive doctrine.” Unlike some people, I continue to study God’s Word, every day, and am open to the correction God provides in His Word.

    Did you know that the Bible, God’s Word, is a self-interpreting, self-explaining Book? It is also a self-correcting Book. Anyone who studies the Bible itself (not just what others might say or teach about it) will find the Bible will correct any mistaken view you might have about what it teaches. That is so because a mistaken view will not “fit” the rest of what the Bible teaches. An error in understanding will produce a contradiction with some other truth in the Bible. When I encounter what appears to be a contradiction, I make the effort to dig deeper to find out what I either did not understand, or find out where my mistake comes from. Usually I have found I need to correct an idea or opinion I learned from teaching I received from others (Sunday school teachers, messages from the pulpit, radio Bible teachers, authors of Christian books, etc.).

    You mention in your letter to me:

    However, I should also point out in your rebuttal to William Craig. re “William Craig is mistaken in his theology and needs to go back and do his homework using the methods of Bible study which I here call Real Bible Study, following the Rules of Interpretation I’ve posted in the October,… ” Jerome Smith. July 31, 2014. Is obviously a harsh criticism between heavy weights.

    I have taken great care on my website at http://www.realbiblestudy.com not to speak of anyone or anything in a harsh or unfair manner.

    I often in the past have had my wife’s mother, Grandma Grace, read over what I write before I post it online. She is the kindest, most gentle soul I have ever met, and a wonderful Christian grandmother. She lived with us until this past August, when she was briefly hospitalized, and received for permanent ongoing care at a facility able to more adequately care for her than we could do here at our home where she has lived for the past fifteen years. She approved what I wrote on that post, and so did my wife.

    It is often the case that those who read what is written in “cold, hard print” cannot discern, or even be expected to discern, the actual attitudes underlying what is written.

    I would suggest that Dr. Craig was most harsh, and most unfair, in his statements sharply criticizing a forthcoming movie about significant prophetic subjects with which he disagrees, and urging that no Christian bother to attend its showing. That is rude. Sometimes that tactic is called “poisoning the well.” We ought to be willing to hear or watch more than one side of an issue. We do not need to be defended or protected against the Bible. The Bible speaks well for itself. Our job as believers is to “search the Scriptures to see if these things are so.”

    I wrote my article to rebut his mistaken claims about belief in the pretribulation rapture.

    Included in my article were my meticulous notes and cross references for 2 Thessalonians 2:1 and following context.

    You will notice if you read with care that I have exegeted the passage based upon the original Greek text.

    If I am wrong or mistaken, anyone who thinks or believes I am wrong is welcome to offer a rebuttal of what I have found in careful study of the Scripture by doing what I did: going to the Bible, the very Word of God, to show that I have failed to follow the requisite rules of interpretation as I have identified them and posted in the October 2010 archives.

    So far, no one has offered an actual rebuttal.

    Many Christians are uncomfortable with the idea that we can engage in intelligent discussion about how to correctly interpret God’s Word. They are mistaken. Jude 3 tells us to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.”

    Not to do so is a violation of that commandment.

    Of course, we must do so “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV).

    I fully recognize others have a right to hold a view that differs from mine. I have over many years spent more time reading their literature written against what now turns out to be what I have found in Scripture.

    This is not a matter of what is “loving,” or what is an example of “humility.” We can surely love those who differ with us. It does not mean we must not call attention to false doctrines or mistaken interpretations when we encounter them. It is popular today to “debunk” what many dear saints have firmly held as their hope in the past, and many still hold even today. Those who do the “debunking” need to carefully do their homework first.

    Some don’t like my expression about doing homework first.

    Remember, I spent 40 years teaching high school in Detroit, Michigan as an English, history, reading, and briefly a mathematics teacher. It is natural to me to speak of people who have not fully studied an issue to have fallen short in their preparation as not having done their homework. I was also deeply involved in debate programs in high school and college. In debate, if you have not studied the issues on each side of the debate question or topic more thoroughly than your opponents have, you will lose the debate. That is why I make reference to the lack of having done the proper homework first before expressing an opinion on a controversial subject.

    Even great scholars more famous than I will ever be have surely been guilty of not having done their homework when it comes to careful Bible interpretation. We all must be open to learn something new as we read our Bibles, or else the Bible becomes a closed book to us, and we are merely proclaiming our prejudices or reflecting our traditions.

    Let me share with you two Bible verses from Romans that appear on the surface to be contradictory (and they are!) when placed side by side:

    Rom 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

    Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

    I have a good friend who is a careful Bible scholar. If I understand what he has told me, his attention was arrested when he considered these two verses side by side. Obviously, the Bible does not contradict itself. There must be something here that needs fuller attention and study to resolve the apparent contradiction. This led my friend to do a decades’ long study related to this difficulty. He has shared his results over many years with me, for I have served informally as his editor. He has asked me to verify his correctness doctrinally, grammatically (both English and Greek), and I have been delighted and privileged to do so. I have learned some truths–central truths vitally important to the salvation message of the New Testament and Bible as a whole, as a result. My friend knows very well that we do not agree at all in matters pertaining to Bible prophecy. But we work together well. We agree that prophetic matters are not a salvation issue; the doctrine of the Atonement of Christ most certainly is. You, too, might want to carefully ponder the truths to be discovered when studying these two verses, and all that their implications lead to.

    The Bible is a vast book, worthy of our most careful continuing study. No one can hope to fully grasp it all perfectly. But it is surely possible to study the Bible accurately and fully and learn what it teaches regarding any subject God has deemed important enough to place in His Book.

    The greatest failure in humility would be to persist in holding a belief that is demonstrably mistaken (based on a fuller study of all the Biblical evidence), rather than being open to examining the evidence God has placed in His Word.

    I love hearing from you, and hope to hear further from you soon.

    Yours in Christ,

    Jerry

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