“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Many of you know that I work in a political arena so I am used to the name-calling that is often associated with my profession. As a Christian, particularly an evangelical Christian, I have also been subjected to a lot of labels over the years – fanatic, bible-toting believer, zealot, religious right, homophobe – the list is growing. This is familiar territory for higher profile Christians like me even though I don’t subscribe to some of the beliefs that other members who are often associated with these names espouse.
There’s a name I heard recently that is somewhat new to me – biblical literalist. From a world view, a biblical literalist, someone who believes the Bible word for word, is an unenlightened, narrow-minded, imbecile who has yet to accept what is being taught in most of our seminaries today – namely that the Bible should not be taken literally. This point of view has been widely propagated and is exactly why we see so many doctrinal changes in our churches. It is also partly responsible for the proliferation of new translations of the Bible, so be careful in what translation you select to read.
Even though I do not like to be associated with some of the groups in which I am placed by those who like to lump evangelical Christians together so they can discredit them, I do take great pride that I am now being labeled a biblical literalist.
No academic will ever convince me that John 3:16 no longer means what it says. In fact, the Bible teaches that false prophets and teachers will be with us until the end of time. Ironically, it was Peter, the disciple who denied Jesus three times, who warned us of such people:
“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:16-21)
Southern Gospel songwriter Rodney Griffin was so stirred by those who twist and refute Scripture that he wrote a hit song about it. Enjoy the words and hold on to it truth:
When I was a child I was taught how the Bible was God’s infallible word
That He had inspired every line that was written so His voice could be heard
But now folks are saying there’s a new way of thinking, the Bible is not clear
Well friend if you’re needing some interpretation, listen and I’ll bend your ear
Whosoever means whosoever, live forever means we’re never going to die
Forsake us never means that He will never leave us.
Reign forever means He’ll always be the king who rules on high.
No never means our sins are not remembered
A living savior means that He’s no longer dead.
The father changes never, the Bible will forever mean just what it says
I know I’m not the smartest of people you’ve been privileged to meet
I tend to think this life is as simple as we make it out to be
That the faith of a child and the love of savior will open heaven’s gate
And that God in his goodness gave a simple Gospel
He even wrote it down that way.