The pastor paced back and forth across the platform extolling the merits of studying scripture. “This is the life saving Word of God. How can you not want to study it? How can you not want to know it like the back of your hand? This is the only way to know the Living God. This is His means to speak to us today. He does not speak audibly. Scripture is the only means to salvation. You need not look anywhere else.” Having grown gravely serious he goes on, “To become a counterfeit expert he must study the genuine article. To learn to detect a counterfeit an expert is not allowed to look at anything else but the original. The expert knows the original so well that counterfeits are easily and automatically detected. This is the way it should be with God’s word. We shouldn’t study anything else and we should know it so well that when anything false is presented we know it immediately.”
This is the way most pastors in fundamentalism present the Bible. Now I know why. If you begin to look outside of scripture there are way too many questions. And though they sound confident they have the answers, they really don’t. It’s easier to dissuade the believer from even learning that there are questions. Nobody knows who really wrote the gospels. There are only a handful of books that it is fairly certain Paul penned himself. The creation story, the Tower of Babel, the flood account cannot be scientifically nor historically proven as accurate.
Wouldn’t it be better for leaders to be up front and honest about these things? Wouldn’t there be less of this apostasy if people were more comfortable asking their questions, instead of being presented with confident answers only to find out the answer isn’t truthful? I’ll admit it: I have trust issues. It’s been drilled into me since I can remember that the Bible is one hundred percent unquestionably true and accurate in it’s every detail from the creation account to The Revelation. I not only distrust pastors and teachers, but the very Bible itself. Will I ever be able to trust it again?
There are scholars who say something different on nearly every doctrinal issue. They differ widely on heaven and hell, bodily resurrection, virgin birth, baptism, communion, the trinity, and salvation itself. These are widely learned scholars who all claim to be Christians. Each one claiming to have the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If they cannot come to a consensus, if they cannot agree on these things then how is the average person supposed to know what is true and what is right? Brilliant minds disagree on the very fundamentals of Christianity. Which one is right? How will I know?
I’ve studied quite a bit of scripture. I thought I had studied enough to know if something was a counterfeit. And in all honesty had I never looked at anything else outside of scripture I would have gone on in my belief. Though I’m not at all certain that what I believed was even real.