April 04, 2021
Contrary to popular opinion, even among many Christians today, the Bible emphasizes faith in history, not mysticism. The Bible is thus very different than all other religions, not only because it teaches salvation by grace rather than by works, but also because of its strong historical emphasis from cover to cover upon the historical facts of what we call "the faith." That so many atheists and agnostics in the West, particular in Germany in the 1700's and 1800's, spent an inordinate amount of time attacking the historicity of the Christian faith, is thus no accident. They well understood if one removes the historical foundations of the faith, biblical Christianity falls like a house of cards. This also explains why so many have left the faith in the West over the last few centuries, presuming the scientific and philosophical assaults against the Bible were factually based on science - yet only to indulge in their own speculative and hollow dreams and mysticisms that are so popular today, even in Christian circles - many of which have since been profaned and secularized into the destructive madness of progressivist politics that is anything but. Just look at the mess we are in today - sheer madness all around.
Yet, what is so often forgotten is that the history of the Bible reveals the personal reality of God's factual revelation of His own holiness and grace that is divinely designed to appropriate by faith today. As the biblical past is already fact, and as such biblical facts even go so far to predict the prophetic future that one will day will also become historical fact at the proper time, our own history today is thus surrounded on both sides of our personal lives like book ends that tells us where we have come from and where we are going as we walk a straight line in between those times.
It is thus no surprise that 1 John 1:1-4 opens up by emphasizing the historicity of the revelation of Christ to combat the mystical false teaching which had denied that God became historical flesh. Such mysticism was undermining the Ephesian and/or Asian churches (modern Turkey today) of John's day so that he writes," What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life--and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete." In other words, faith in the biblical facts of history can grant fellowship and joy. Do you believe this? This is one of the great spiritual tests of the Christian faith that is rooted in the reality and historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Luke himself likewise intimated, "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught (Luke 1:1-4)." Luke, of course, ends his gospel with the historicity of the resurrection of Christ (Luke 24). In the gospel of John, doubting Thomas also received an empirical history lesson from the Lord Himself, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing (John 19:27)." Happy Easter to everyone!!
Back quite a few years ago, when my wife and I were often "sub musicians" at a local Unitarian Church (you know, the gang that prides themselves on asking questions), we got tired of the "book reports" and other stuff that the services were full of, and on a couple of occasions I got asked "well, we're big on asking questions." To which I would answer "But the answers are out there, have been for centuries; why are you so afraid of them?" Things would get very quiet at that point. And we no longer have to play there, thank the Lord.
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