The Doctrine of Personal Infallibility

The Doctrine of Personal Infallibility February 8, 2019

This statement by a Facebook friend seemed worth turning into a meme. I did so some time ago, but unfortunately it took me longer than it should have to share the meme on my blog. Here is the quote:

I often look at it as the unspoken doctrine of personal infallibility. Many Christians think something like this: “The Bible is True. I believe the Bible. Therefore, everything I believe is true.” This also applies to the morality of actions they may take or motives they may have (see: defending the separation of families by quoting Romans 13). With such a mentality, it simply does not occur to people that they may be wrong.

Lars Cade

You can see from what it says the contemporary issue that sparked the statement. But it has a much broader application, which is what made it seem particularly memeworthy. It certainly seems true to my own experience. Even while claiming “it isn’t me, it’s God,” I did precisely what Lars Cade says in practice, although it is only with hindsight and after significant introspection and self-examination that I recognize these things.

Is this your experience of what is at work in fundamentalism – that the reason for being concerned to defend the authority of the Bible is ultimately to defend the rightness of one’s own views and those of one’s community? To be sure, the claim is always that it is one’s own beliefs that are being conformed to the Bible rather than vice versa. But that only works because, despite all the praise heaped on the Bible and its importance, the average conservative Christian does not know the Bible well enough to appreciate its diversity, reads it in a translation that hides discrepancies and differences from them, and knows only (or at least knows best) those parts that can be interpreted as supporting their stance.

“The Bible is True. I believe the Bible. Therefore, everything I believe is true.” Does that sum this viewpoint up well?

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  • Josh Hauck

    This leads to some frustrating ad-hoc biblical interpretation. They already know what the Bible means. They know because they hear it from their preacher and their community. When confronted by the fact that the Bible says very little about – for example – sexual morality and quite a bit more about economic justice, they’re at a loss as to how to get from what the text says to what they know the Bible means. And any argument that appears to bridge that gap will be accepted.

  • Spirit Plumber

    It definitely explains presuppositional apologetics…

  • I do find that there’s some correlation between the “strength” of your view of biblical infallibility and your inability to distinguish your beliefs from it.

    I don’t mean to pick on the evangelical types, but I find this tendency very strong there. It can be stunning to watch someone’s repeated failure to differentiate between “what the Bible says” and “what I believe the Bible to say.”

    And this is why I think there’s so much heat from more conservative camps when it comes to differing interpretations. The issue isn’t that you disagree with them, the issue is that you disagree with the Bible. Whether we’re talking about Hell or penal substitution or homosexuality – they don’t see it as a discussion among Christians who understand the Bible differently; they see it as one group of Christians who affirm the Bible talking to a group that attacks or disregards it. There is just no difference for many of them between their understanding of the Bible and the Bible itself.

  • David Evans

    It is, of course, illogical. Everyone believes many things to which the Bible is irrelevant. If they believe that Sydney is the capital of Australia they are just wrong, Bible or no.

    I am reminded of what Caliph Omar is reported to have said about the Library of Alexandria:
    “If those books are in agreement with the Qur’an, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Qur’an, destroy them.”

  • Chuck Johnson

    The Bible is true.
    (Actually, it’s partly true and partly false.)

    I believe the Bible.
    (People who say this only believe it partly.)

    Therefore, everything I believe is true.
    (This means that I am blindly obedient to those people who explain to me what God and the Bible are saying.)

    This is not unique to Christian obedience to authority.
    All authoritarian politics use similar mechanisms of mind control and behavior control.

    The Great and Powerful Leaders make stuff up.
    The man in the street and the woman in the street are compelled to believe the made-up stuff.
    Obedience and credulity are synonymous with good morality in such societies.

    • FactoryGuy

      “Therefore, everything I believe is true.
      (This means that I am blindly obedient to those people who explain to me what God and the Bible are saying.)”
      This! This is the key thought here…the follow the leader mentality, which is why Paul said false profits will arise and MANY WILL BE LED ASTRAY…,has led to many horrible conflagrations. Nobody wants to be the only one left out and this is how it is manipulated…

      • Mary Anne Mead

        May I share this? You have succinctly stated what my jumbled mind has been whirling around.

      • Theodore A. Jones

        “Paul said false (profits)”: prophets is the correct word.

        • FactoryGuy

          Lol! But those false prophets profits are a part of the probem!

    • Mary Anne Mead

      Excellent analysis. I believe it is important to separate Jesus following from human institution following. I have several Biblical Library translations. It is glorious to me to see how different translators wrestle with the ancient languages, working on keeping the meaning true and still allowing for cultures and societies to be learned. I don’t think I’m saying this very well. I love learning about how and where people lived and how that shaped what they wrote about who God is.

      • Chuck Johnson

        I am an atheist.
        I do my analysis of these cultural phenomena using scientific insights.

      • Theodore A. Jones

        “I don’t think I’m saying this very well.” You are right.

  • Oscar Scott Oliver

    Sad but true for many conservative Christians. Actually that can also be applied to some liberal Christians. Whenever there is politicization of the Gospel the fine nuances and ambiguities get thrown out the window. Thanks, Constantine!

  • barrydesborough
  • barrydesborough

    Entered in error.

  • ODR Supporter

    I’ve always wondered what is the best translation? I have a couple, so maybe that’s best? And then I start to think about the Council of Nicene and wonder if there’s even a best because can we know what didn’t make the cut be because THE Church had issues.

  • RonT

    There are more than 24,000 partial and complete manuscript copies of the New Testament. These manuscript copies are very ancient and they are available for inspection now.

    There are also some 86,000 quotations from the early church fathers and several thousand Lectionaries (church-service books containing Scripture quotations used in the early centuries of Christianity).

    Bottom line: the New Testament has an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting its reliability. (R.Rhodes)

    I would say that the majority on fundamental Christians base their basic tenants on the bible; however, I never read what Progressive “Christians” base their tenants on. If as you imply the Bible is obscure, what do you progressives base your basic beliefs on?

    Maybe your statement: “With such a mentality, it simply does not occur to people that they may be wrong.” could easily apply to progressives???

    • I am not sure why you think basic information about textual criticism is relevant to this question, nor what your remark about tenants might mean (and not only for those of us who own no rental properties and so have no tenants). But if I presume for a moment that you meant to refer to “tenets,” then your comment seems to presume that progressive Christianity is just like the fundamentalist variety, merely claiming to build a parallel foundationalist project on some other inerrant base. That is clearly not the case.

      • Mary Anne Mead

        tenet. Interesting word. I’m not sure it’s the right work for what this blog/meme/Ron T are trying to assess. It seems to me a issue of worship the Bible, instead of God/Jesus/Spirit.
        I seem to get into kerfuffles with more ‘conservative’, ‘evangelical’ people because I unequivocally believe the tenets of Christianity; The Apostles Creed; the Nicene Creed. I usually then get told that it is impossible that I should believe those tenets and still believe ‘we’ should care for the lame, sick, poor, those in prison…. afterall, ‘those’ people are getting what ‘they’ deserve…nevermind that I deserve all of that and more, but am covered by the saving Grace of Jesus my Lord. If I then mention Matthew’s gospel, or the Church in Acts, I’m usually told God/Jesus didn’t mean for people to really give up all their possessions, didn’t really mean for us to love our enemies, or turn the other cheek, or give also our ‘cloak’…. I generally shut-up after that; go on my way; check a few translations I have of the Biblical Library to see if I can find evidence that God does not want me to behave like Jesus; and pray, pray, pray. Thank you for addressing this issue. Shalom.

        • RonT

          I think tenet: “a principle or belief, especially one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy” really applies: however, Kerfuffles might not apply totally. Kerfuffles implies a commotion or fuss and there isn’t any on my part. Since many Conservatives are non-creedal(sp) they may not agree, but there is no conflict . There is nothing in the creeds you mentioned that would conflict with thoughts on service.

          Giving. 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV) Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Luke 3:11 (NIV) Those who have ABUNDANCE should share with those who have nothing.

          Study to strengthen your convictions. There many False Prophets. Shalom to you as well.

        • Theodore A. Jones

          “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13

    • RonT

      OK, James you got me, but are you saying that you couldn’t catch the context? Anyway. I said: “If as you imply the Bible is obscure, what do you progressives base your basic beliefs on?”. The much criticized by Progressives Bible is a document proven reliable and the basis for fundamental thought. My question was: “what do you progressives base your basic beliefs on?”.

      • One way to answer this would be to say that progressive beliefs are built much as conservative beliefs are, expect with a greater effort at honesty. Conservatives typically claim to build their beliefs on a foundation such as the Bible, ignoring that they are inevitably reading those texts selectively, interpreting them through the lens of their contemporary worldview and concerns, and more often than not pretending that they are merely reading the Bible without interpreting it and embracing a “biblical worldview.” But conservatives are engaged in an act of worldview construction, about which they find it more difficult to be honest because they feel the need to seek (as your language indicates) a supposedly solid foundation that they can build upon, not realizing (1) this reflects the Enlightenment foundationalist enterprise begun by Descartes, and (2) this is ultimately about a desire to escape the inevitable fallibility that is part of being a creature rather than the Creator, and so ends up taking a form that is so opposed to the most central emphases and ethos of what the Biblical literature says, that the attempt to do this while claiming to be the most faithful interpreters of the Bible is more bizarre than any conservative interpreter is likely to realize or admit.

        • RonT

          Wow, James! Very impressive! I must admit, you started to answer my question with: “One way to answer this would be to say that progressive beliefs are built much as conservative beliefs are,”…; however, from this point on, no mention of Progressive thought, then, all you said was what you perceive as the failure of Conservative’s effectiveness, inability, honesty, and integrity to develop a reasonable belief system.
          Thanks for responding, but I don’t see us getting anywhere. I find this a very common response with Progressives. Hope I eliminated any typos.

          • This was in response to your failure to acknowledge the point I made beforehand, about the fact that you are adopting a conservative approach to the matter looking for some absolute foundation on which to build your own certainty, and asking what the comparable foundation is that makes a progressive stance equally certain to a progressive. There has yet to be any acknowledgement on your part that you are engaged in an idolatrous quest to avoid the uncertainty that is inherent in human frailty, in our not being God, which means that we need to rely not on some foundation that gives us inerrant dogma, but on a God who transcends us and in whom we must trust even without understanding all things or knowing all answers.

          • RonT

            James, I am NOT searching! My certainty is firmly developed and I can discuss alternate thoughts without resorting to negativity and and insults. For instance: “There has yet to be any acknowledgement on your part that you are engaged in an idolatrous quest to avoid the uncertainty that is inherent in human frailty,”. REALLY? That is a most ridicules comment I have ever received from anyone! I have asked you three times -Oh, never mind – I’ve lost interest.

          • This is precisely what I was referring to. You have cultivated the feeling of certainty, the illusion that that feeling is justified, to such an extend that a basic teaching of the Bible seems ludicrous (note the spelling) to you, and cannot even hold your interest.

  • The left is always muddying the waters. They don’t want anyone to hold any opinions on any subject other than those they dictate. Can you have an opinion on racism, abortion, socialism, social “justice,” guns, Trump, women, etc., and consider your views infallible? Of course you can if you follow the standard socialist (“progressive”) line. But hold to an opinion outside the socialist line and you claim infallibility for yourself, which is what “progressives” claim with their views.

    Historically, the West has used the principles of hermeneutics to determine the correct interpretation of the Bible. Aristotle first distilled the principles, but they’re common sense and merely principles for being honest in one’s interpretation of any communication by another. If you follow sound hermeneutic principles you can be as close as any human can get to the truth. Only God can do better – that is, the Biblical God, not the “progressive” god who is to small and weak to know anything.

    Most people don’t like to follow hermeneutics, especially “progressives.” It limits them too much. It forces them to face the truth that they don’t like to see, as Paul wrote in Romans 1.

    • John MacDonald

      I’m just a reader here, so I’m not here to debate. But, just for the sake of reader clarity, could you explain what the “Principles of Hermeneutics” are that you keep referring to that guarantee us textual transparency?

      • That would take a book and there are quite a few available on the topic. Just search for “principle of hermeneutics.” Most Bible colleges have classes in it, too. As I mentioned, Aristotle first distilled the principles as a guide to interpreting the speech or writings of others. He was countering the sophists who loved to twist what others said to make it mean what they wanted. The basics are consider the context – who is writing, when, why, and where. Look t the historical and cultural background. Use the common definition of words unless the author gives a reason for using a nonstandard one. Assume the author is intelligent enough to avoid contradicting himself in the same book. Use writing from other authors on the same topic at the same time to help interpret this author. Don’t interpret poetry as history or history as poetry.

        Here’s a good example: People have been very creative in interpreting what “made in the image of God” means. But John Walton in “Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible” shows that in Moses’ day the term referred only to the idols and to kings and pharaohs. They represented the gods and exercised their full authority. Moses applied that idea to every person and launched the idea of human sovereignty.

        When interpreting the NT, we have to know the Old Testament well because the authors assumed their readers did, so they used a lot of idioms that only those familiar with the OT would get.

        • John MacDonald

          That’s interesting. I’m still a little unclear about the application of the principles, though. For instance, would you say the Jesus infancy narrative in Matthew records events that actually happened, or does the narrative simply recapitulate the story of Moses as part of a literary device to present Jesus as the New and Greater Moses? For that matter, can the birth narrative in Matthew be reconciled with the birth narrative in Luke?

          • One of the principles is that the natural reading takes precedence. On the surface, does it seems as if Luke and Matthew are attempting to write a history or something else? In other words, what genre is the work? A natural reading would show that the authors intended their works to be histories, especially that of Luke because that is what he states in the intro. Of course, it’s not history as we think of it in the 21st century, but history as people of that day thought of it. I don’t see why the birth narratives don’t complement each other. Critics of the authenticity of the Bible tend to be two-faced. If the narratives are too close they claim one copied from the other and if they differ they claim they contradict each other. It’s impossible to please them. The simple answer is that the two presented the elements of history they thought were important and the complete picture comes from combining the two. Under the principles of hermeneutics, the authors would have to indicate in their document that they were recapping the story of Moses in order for us to understand it as such. One of the purposes of hermeneutics is to keep us from adding things that aren’t there.

            I’m currently reading a book by Edersheim on OT prophecy that is very enlightening. One of his goals is to show how Jews in Jesus’ day viewed OT prophecies. It’s very different from our view of prophecy and history. They saw every jot and title of the OT as pointing to the Messiah. They saw Moses as a type of the Messiah. So from their perspective it wouldn’t be strretching the truth to say that a secondary purpose of Matthew might have been to show Jesus as the ultimate Moses by his selection of historical incidences.

          • John MacDonald

            Thanks for clarifying. As I said, I’m not here to debate, just to read, but I appreciate your responses because now I have a clearer understanding of the point of view you are coming from.

          • Thanks for listening. Did any of it inspire you to get a book on hermeneutics?

          • John MacDonald

            Which book(s) on biblical hermeneutics would you suggest? I would prefer one written by (or endorsed by) a professor of religious studies teaching at an accredited, secular university …

    • gimpi1

      For me, it’s not that I, “…don’t want anyone to hold an opinion on any subject,…” It’s that I think people should understand that what they hold is an opinion, not an indisputable fact.

      For instance, do you know that the way you phrase your arguments is insulting to your fellow believers? These are people who share most of your beliefs, but, because you appear to be so sure of your interpretation of some texts, you dismiss them entirely, even assuming they don’t worship the same God. Yet, your interpretation is just as subject to error. That’s what I read here; everyone should be aware that they can be wrong.

      Now, I’m not a believer, so I really don’t have a dog in this race. This is just a bit of information on how these discussions look from the outside. (Oh, one last point; ‘socialist’ and ‘progressive’ are not synonymous. They have different meanings.)

      • Not everything is just an opinion. That’s postmodern philosophy – there is no truth, just opinions. Yet, according to “progressives” and socialists, which are the same thing, their “opinions” should take precedence over every other opinion.

        I’m not post modern. I agree with the vast history of mankind that objective truth exists and we can find it through reason and evidence. Regressives have chosen to define that as arrogance, but then anything regressives disagree with is arrogant by definition.

        As for interpreting the Bible, there is a correct interpretation. I realize that gives post moderns like you hives. You can’t stand for anything to be true. But there is an honest and dishonest way of interpreting the communications of others. The principles of hermeneutics are guidelines for being honest. If I wrote that your post shows that you’re a Maoist communist who wants to take over the world, you would have a right to be offended at my dishonest interpretation. You would never say that’s just my opinion and it differs from yours.

  • soter phile

    As has been said before, you exult in a hermeneutic of suspicion that assumes the least of the Scriptures (e.g., “a translation that hides discrepancies and differences from them”) and which ironically begins with enormous confidence in the self – the very thing you’re projecting onto conservatives.

    In place of such suspicion, I’d much rather lift up Richard Hays’ “hermeneutic of trust” (which much more readily matches Jesus’ approach to the Scriptures):

    The real work of interpretation is to hear the text. We must consider how to read and teach scripture in a way that opens up its message and both models and fosters trust in God. So much of the ideological critique that currently dominates the academy fails to foster these qualities. Scripture is critiqued but never interpreted. The critic exposes but never exposits. Thus the word itself recedes into the background, and we are left talking only about the politics of interpretation, having lost the capacity to perform interpretations…

    Left to our own devices we are capable of infinite self-deception, confusion and evil. We therefore must turn to scripture and submit ourselves to it…in order to find our disorders rightly diagnosed and healed.

    • John MacDonald

      Can you talk a little more about your distinction between (1) Hermeneutics of Suspicion and (2) Hermeneutics of Trust?

      For instance, one reason I usually stay away from conservative biblical commentaries is that they tend to do things like claim it can be establish as historically probable that miracles have happened. This gives me pause and awakens my Hermeneutics of Suspicion because miracles are highly improbable by definition, and so seemingly resist being established as historically probable. For instance, If I went to see my grandmother’s grave, only to find a hole and a missing body, I wouldn’t conclude she had been raised from the dead.

      An evangelical apologist arguing for the historicity of biblical miracles seems a lot like a 1000 people applying for a position at a Law Firm, only to have the job go to the boss’s son. I wouldn’t immediately conclude from the son being hired that he was the best candidate, but rather (rightly, I think) would have a Hermeneutics of Suspicion.

      Most academics I have encountered in my time have believed their interpretations needed to be exposed the most rigorous/severe form of peer review, because this fosters academic quality and accountability. In our own limited way, should we not be playing devil’s advocate when we read, to ensure (to the best of our abilities) that our interpretations aren’t simply built on quicksand?

      I do have an open mind, and would like to hear you explain your thesis further …

      • Gary

        John – good to see you back. I am not going to get into a discussion with you, so this is my last comment on this subject. But I’ll ask you a question.
        Would you use (1) Hermeneutics of Suspicion or (2) Hermeneutics of Trust on the 11 or 12 dimensions that we are currently living in according to string theory; or the Big Bang creation event; or what happened pre-Big Bang? I think in religion and Cosmology, they share a common bond in the rather unbelievable. Yet we shit can religion, but we devoutly read Hawking and Mlodinow religiously. Most funny, I think. We’re both in the same bag, in this particular case.

        • John MacDonald

          Hey Gary

          True enough, but I think a more original question might be whether Hawking and Mlodinow approached their subject matter with a Hermeneutic of Suspicion, or a Hermeneutic of Trust?

          The Principle of Reason basically says ” ‘To be’ means to stand in relation to a ground,” meaning rational thought aims at, in an ever more originary manner, dispensing with our presuppositions.

          That’s why I advocate the Devil’s Advocate model – though, as you say, at some point we need to trust the consensus of scholars, since we can’t be an expert in everything, lol.

          • Gary

            No discussion here, but Hawking has infinite Trust in math. But how string theory relates to actual reality has some suspicion associated with it. Fundamentalists have infinite Trust in the Bible, but how that relates to actual reality has some suspicion associated with it. To stand in relation to a ground, means you have already established in your mind what “ground” is. Your “ground” is actually your own presupposition. Which seems to defy Relativity Theory. You have already established your reference point to “ground”.

          • John MacDonald

            Math isn’t simply self-evident. It has to be demonstrable. For instance, 3X2 = 6 isn’t self-evident, but can be demonstrated, such as when we take a bunch of thing, make groups of 3 out of them, and isolate 2 of those groups and count. Math is not like religious fundamentalism, because it has a rational foundation – even if more speculative math may not be as solidly grounded, it isn’t like fundamentalist religious theories. In any case, I think we can both agree that a religious fundamentalist publishing an interpretation that purports to demonstrate a biblical miracle is like reading a study that gives evidence that tobacco isn’t really that bad for you, only to find out the study was funded by the tobacco companies. We have a right to be skeptical.

          • Gary

            I didn’t say math = religous fundamentalism. I said Hawking trusts math like fundamentalist trust the bible. I also implied M theory and bible miracles press the “suspicion” Hermeneutic button, at least in me. You didn’t answer my question. Since you view Bible miracles as “suspicion Hermeneutics”, do you view, say, M theory and 11 dimensions, that we are currently occupying, or multi-verse universe, with “suspicion Hermeneutic“, or “Truth Hermeneutics”? If the answer is “Truth Hermeneutics”, then you have unsubstantiated faith in Cosmology, which isn’t much different than fundamentalist’s belief in miracles. The lesson is, don’t throw stones at fundamentalists, unless you also throw stones at Hawking.

          • John MacDonald

            Where do you find that Hawking goes wrong?

          • Gary

            That, John, is a ridiculous question. You are avoiding my question.

          • John MacDonald

            Then I’m afraid I misunderstand you. My own opinion is that we can ask the metamathematical question as to whether Hawking is applying math in a way that goes beyond what math can reliably show, in a similar sense to the way Kant showed previous dogmatic Philosophical systems transgressed the limits of what is possible for human reason to know. In that regard, Hawking may be dogmatically asserting guesses about the multiverse, or that The Big Bang created time. Some cosmologists approach the Philosophical question as to how the materials that made up The Big Bang got there in the first place. Some suggestions include:
            (1) A white hole, a hypothetical body which emits massive energy and matter rather than absorbing it in.
            (2)A big crunch, a cycle of big bounce comes after the universe expansion.
            (3) A cyclical universe, an event happens when two extra-dimensional membranes, or branes, collide in a zone outside our universe; in relation to string theory.
            – Philosophically, whenever we posit something as originary, the question always comes back to how the series originated. But I certainly am in no position to have an opinion on the matter, since my background in math is limited to high school algebra/calculus, and logic in University.

          • Gary

            John – way too much information! I’m not in a position to challenge Hawking and his math. But I also admit I am not in a position to attack M Theory or multiverse or multi-dimensions beyond 4. Just like I am not in a position to challenge some other person’s belief in miracles. Hermeneutics of Suspicion is OK, but shouldn’t evolve into Vridar Hermeneutics of Nastiness, with a smugness that they know everything, even if they are a librarian 🙂 not a physicist or historian.

          • John MacDonald

            Yeah, if I’m being honest, apart from my secular bias, I have no idea whether miracles happen. I’ve seen some weird things in my life. I’m hopeful, anyway.

          • John MacDonald

            If you’re interested, regarding time prior to the Big Bang, here is an interesting short article where the math is being interpreted to suggest that prior to the Big Bang, there was a contracting universe with space-time geometry otherwise similar to the current expanding universe. See:

          • Gary

            Maybe. But as the article says, it’s all in the initial assumptions.
            “”Our initial work assumes a homogenous model of our universe,” Ashtekar said.“
            Which kind of violates the premise that our universe is accelerating in its expansion.
            I prefer at this point the budding universes idea. “Parallel Worlds”, Michio Kaku, “Theoretical evidence is mounting to support the existence of the multiverse, in which entire universes continually sprout or “bud” off of other universes”. Thus our “Big Bang” is just a bud blooming (i.e. there was something before our ”Big Bang”), just not anything in our universe. Makes me want to go to Outback, and get a Blooming Onion!

          • John MacDonald

            Then there’s the question of what Time is? lol

            I think if there was something before the Big Bang, it was probably temporal, since part of what it means “to be” is to “persist” as self-same over time: How could I be me, but to be the same individual I was a moment ago and will be a moment from now? Part of the thinghood of the thing seems to be in what remains present amidst change, the ὑποκείμενον, as Greek says. Temporality is implied in thinghood: enduring.

          • Gary

            Sounds too philosophical to me, not physics. I view time as just one more dimension among the 11 or so, that didn’t exist in our bud universe before the Big Band, but after. But did exist in the universe that we “budded” from, or “bubbled” from. Makes infinite more sense after a Bud Light. Many Bud Lights.

          • John MacDonald


      • soter phile

        1) It’s not my thesis. I was quoting Richard Hays. He’s a NT scholar at Duke. Check him out.

        2) Your approach here itself needs a lot of bearing out. There’s too much to write in a comment, but here’s a few glimpses:

        a) the skeptic’s hypocrisy is his refusal to equally turn that same lens upon himself (self-refuting confidence in himself)

        b) Hume’s ‘probability’ argument in regard to miracles is problematic in itself. As someone else has pointed out below, string theory & quantum physics is built upon the realization that many of our current physical realities are contingent on the improbable. In a much greater sense, existence itself presses that concern (as Hawking died trying to explain; i.e., his much maligned thesis in The Grand Design)

        c) your analogies all display bias. you accuse conservatives of such bias (rightly so), but appear unaware of your own.
        i) be aware: neutrality is a myth, especially when so much is at risk (i.e., if any of this is true, it means everything in your life has to change; that’s not a comfortable initial premise). do you admit your in the approach & be willing to account for it in your desire to exclude these possibilities?
        ii) no one is asking you to ignore scholarship. if anything, dig in. you reference the resurrection with great skepticism, but there is a lot of scholarship on that subject. if you’re willing, check out NT Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God. It’s a tome (900pgs), but it brings a lot of relevant scholarship to bear on the historicity of these events.

        but bottom line: the hermeneutics of suspicion is purposefully precluding the possibility of the very things claimed in these accounts, despite what they overtly say (Lk.1:1-4; 1 Jn.1:1-3; 1 Cor.15:3-8; etc.). it actually presents a significant historical problem (how did Christianity get off the ground?) if such claims were openly falsifiable and written within the lifetime of eyewitnesses (as it was). a hermeneutic of trust takes the final form at face value and explores the claims. if this is who Jesus was, what does that mean/entail? that is a far cry from those who would look for any other avenue to avoid dealing with the radical and life-altering claims made in the Scriptures themselves.

        you don’t have to agree with Christianity to engage deeply with what is being claimed – but it is a purposeful end run to dodge concoct one’s own religion by dismissing the ‘uncomfortable’ parts to match one’s predilections.
        a) that’s a self-projected god which helps no one &…
        b) wouldn’t you expect a transcendent (read: divine) culture to offend all other cultures (even if in different ways to varying societies)? note well: Jesus offended 1st c Jewish sensibilities as much as he offends ours – but where we take offense is very different from the places where they do.

        no, the author of this blog points at current human scholars to dodge the main issue: his refusal to take God’s Word as truth where it offends him now. but that can be equally true of conservatives. and wouldn’t you expect no less from God – at least not a domesticated god?

        dig in. explore the scholarship. if this really is God’s Word, that prospect doesn’t scare him.
        if Jesus really is God, how does he read the Scriptures? How can I read & hear them that way?
        the bigger problem tends to be the way we deceive ourselves.
        begin with suspicion of self, not suspicion of God’s Word… and see where that leads you.

        • John MacDonald

          soter phile said “the author of this blog points at current human scholars to dodge the main issue: his refusal to take God’s Word as truth where it offends him now”

          – I wonder what Dr. McGrath would have to say about that?

          • Those who read my blog regularly know that I’m happy to repeat myself, but don’t appreciate the ploy of pretending I haven’t addressed something that I’ve actually addressed repeatedly. And those who read my blog regularly know that I fought for as long as I could to defend inerrancy, but eventually abandoned it because I recognized that it made no sense to defend this doctrine about the Bible from evidence within the Bible itself, because in the act of doing so I was making something other than the Bible – namely the doctrine of inerrancy – the highest authority, one that not even the Bible was allowed to challenge.

          • soter phile

            as I wrote above: the author of this blog points at current human scholars to dodge the main issue

            it seems like you wanted to deny what i said, but you almost verbatim affirmed it.

            as I’ve said to you many times before:
            if you follow Jesus, why don’t you share his view of the Scriptures?

          • I wonder whether you didn’t understand what I wrote, didn’t read it, or are deliberately trying to misrepresent it. But instead let me counter your final question with a question: if you claim to follow Jesus, why don’t you share his view that the generation that was contemporaneous with him would be the last one before the kingdom of God fully dawned?

          • soter phile

            a) you said: deliberately trying to misrepresent?
            we’ve had this conversation multiple times – on this, your blog. this is the same path we always take. shall we peruse old blog comment sections? I’ve asked you the same question many times before.

            b) you said: let me counter your final question with a question…
            this is a deliberate dodge – which ironically demonstrates my point. you are strongly implying that Jesus was wrong (which makes one wonder why you claim to be following him at all).

            and note well: your ‘interpretation’ begins with suspicion of Christ rather than noting the other ways to read that verse which do NOT require beginning with a fallible messiah. even as you attempt to ‘counter’ me, you’re supporting my point (or rather Richard Hays’ point).

            c) you said: his view that the generation that was contemporaneous with him would be the last one before the kingdom of God fully dawned…

            case in point that you don’t have to read the passage with a hermeneutic of suspicion, here are several different alternatives to your ‘Jesus was wrong’ read:

            and – as many note – the phrase could easily be a reference to the destruction of the temple:
            Stein explains that the parable and two sayings in Mark 13:28–31 resume Jesus’s teaching concerning the temple’s destruction in vv. 1–23. He argues that ταῦτα (v. 29) and ταῦτα πάντα (v. 30) take up the same expressions in the disciples’ question in v. 4 and have the same referent. Thus, “this generation will not pass away” refers to the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in the lifetime of Jesus’s contemporaries.

            but sadly – and more to the point – i think you are fully aware of these other reads (as they are prevalent in virtually any commentary), but you are so committed to your own panentheism that you dismiss them out of hand. of course, a fallible Christ entails the entire edifice of the faith falling… something which matters little to someone who has already dismissed it.

          • Other interpretations are always possible. If one decides to accept any and all interpretations of the evidence, no matter how implausible or at odds with the apparent meaning of the text, so long as they avoid Jesus and his followers ever having been wrong about anything or having had other universal human characteristics, that will always remain an option.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            The Bible states and defends a singular soteriological paradigm, and according to God there are only a very few who find out what it is. Jn. 7:14b

          • soter phile

            Are you really citing Jesus’ knowledge (without study) as a basis for your soteriology?
            Unless you mean to invoke Jesus’ divinity (which you do not seem to mean) – the clear inference of the text – you have put yourself in a precarious position.

          • soter phile

            Again, the irony here is the bald manner in which you apply the very position you critique. By beginning with the assumption that Jesus is wrong… you are the ironic mirror of the caricature your mock.

            As for “the apparent meaning of the text”: consider how many of the primary, readily acknowledged (by virtually all scholars) themes of Jesus’ teaching you have tossed aside as a panentheist. Never mind the shallow caricature you wish to broad brush onto all conservative scholars. Occam’s razor explodes your criticism here. As Hays criticized, your hermeneutic of suspicion prevents you from engaging the central claims of the text.

            As I said elsewhere in these comments:
            One does not have to trust every word of the Bible to become a Christian,
            but the more one grows in the faith, the more one trusts God’s Word over one’s own.

          • Umm, how in your twisted and deceitful misrepresentation does a conclusion that I fought to resist for years, and begrudgingly accepted because the evidence in the Bible kept pushing me in that direction, become the assumption that I begin with?

            Trusting God rather than oneself is the stance that I advocate. What you are suggesting instead is pretending that the words of ancient human beings are the words of God, so that instead of having to rely on God and accept your own uncertainty and limitations as a human being, you can rely on them – and ultimately on yourself as interpreter of what they meant.

          • soter phile

            So you ‘trust’ Jesus, just not his words – much less his view of Scripture?

            That’s not a “twisted and deceitful misrepresentation” – it’s recognizing that you are (at best) being disingenuous when you claim to be ‘trusting’ Jesus while dismissing much of what He said. You don’t get to have your cake & eat it, too.

            And it’s definitely not “accept[ing] your own uncertainty and limitations as a human being” to privilege your experience above God’s Word. That’s a feigned humility – no matter how genuinely rationalized. Again, that’s the arrogance of the ‘hermeneutic of suspicion.’

            How can one claim to follow Christ while not following a central theme of his teaching?

          • I don’t think you understood what I wrote. Where did the discussion of trusting Jesus come into the picture? If one assumes that Jesus is not a human being and should be trusted as though his voice were the voice of God, and then assumes that the words placed on his lips by the New Testament authors are thus also the very words of God, then one can create the conundrum that you try to here. But somehow you can’t see the problem. You simply assume that the words of the New Testament authors are “God’s Word” and engage in idolatry in the process, while never seeing anything problematic or ironic in your doing so.

          • soter phile

            Did you read the opening of this thread? It would seem not.

            Note my initial quote from Richard Hays. It is the impetus for this entire thread.
            I’ll repost it here to save you the scrolling:

            The real work of interpretation is to hear the text. We must consider how to read and teach scripture in a way that opens up its message and both models and fosters trust in God. So much of the ideological critique that currently dominates the academy fails to foster these qualities. Scripture is critiqued but never interpreted. The critic exposes but never exposits. Thus the word itself recedes into the background, and we are left talking only about the politics of interpretation, having lost the capacity to perform interpretations…

            Left to our own devices we are capable of infinite self-deception, confusion and evil. We therefore must turn to scripture and submit ourselves to it…in order to find our disorders rightly diagnosed and healed. (bold mine)

            Your line of argumentation here falls directly under the critique he is giving:
            hermeneutics of trust vs. suspicion…

          • soter phile

            See below. He & I have had that conversation many times. And even he would have to admit that both Richard Hays & NT Wright are well-respected scholars in the AAR & worldwide – even among those who disagree with them. If you want to know both sides of the argument, why fear reading those with whom you disagree?

            On the contrary, the author here is a panentheist – a position that requires dismissing significant and repeated teachings in Scripture (again, check it out; don’t have to take my word for it). He wants to encourage others to dismiss the ‘bias’ of conservatives while overlooking the same critique of his own bias.

          • John MacDonald

            I’m not sure why you think there is evidence for the resurrection? There are endless tales of magic in antiquity – do you take all those seriously? All we know from the earliest account, the Pre Pauline Corinthian Creed, is that Cephas and the boys (supposing they were telling the truth) were having perfectly naturally explainable visions, as were the basis of every religious experience since the beginning of time: After my godfather died, my grieving godmother was convinced she had a vision of him in her house. Perhaps, but my money would be on the bet that she was hallucinating.

          • soter phile

            you said: I’m not sure why you think there is evidence for the resurrection?
            Because I’ve engaged the scholarship. I’m simply inviting you to do the same. Again, NT Wright’s book is a great, recent place to start. If that’s too voluminous for you, it’s relatively easy to google a good critical review of it.

            you said: There are endless tales of magic in antiquity – do you take all those seriously?
            a) we’re not talking about magic
            b) how many of those ‘tales’ started the largest movement in human history?

            as one Cambridge expert in myths wrote a generation ago:
            “I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this. Of this text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage – though it may no doubt contain errors – pretty close up to the facts; nearly as close as Boswell. Or else, some unknown writer in the second century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative. If it is untrue, it must be narrative of that kind. The reader who doesn’t see this has simply not learned to read. I would recommend him to read Auerbach.”
            – CS Lewis

            you said: After my godfather died, my grieving godmother was convinced she had a vision of him in her house.
            if she, you and over 500 of your friends (1 Cor.15:6) had such ‘hallucinations’ simultaneously, over a 40 day period… then maybe you’d have a point. when have you heard of month-long, group hallucinations? add to that the fact that many of these same eyewitnesses died for this claim (that they fabricated?). No, Paul is inviting fact-checking in 1 Cor.15. As he writes that, within 20 years of Christ’s death, many of those eyewitnesses are still alive.

            Again, you don’t have to take my word for it. check out the scholarship.

          • John MacDonald

            Would you agree the ghost story from I Samuel 28: 7-20 in which King Saul goes to the Witch of Endor and asks her to conjure the ghost of Samuel, his former advisor and a prophet of God, is just superstitious silliness?

          • soter phile

            1) No, I do not agree

            2) But you don’t have to accept 1 Sam.28 to wrestle with the authenticity of the Gospel accounts.

            One doesn’t have to have faith in the entire Scriptural witness to become a follower of Christ, but the more one follows Christ, the more one trusts the entire Scriptural witness.

          • John MacDonald

            All the Pre Pauline Corinthian Creed says is:

            “That Christ died for our sins
            in accordance with the scriptures.
            and that he was buried;

            That he was raised on the third day
            in accordance with the scriptures,
            and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”

            “appearing to the 500 is hearsay.”

            Yes, we are talking about magic, because the dead don’t rise – as any cryptkeeper could tell you.

            We certainly don’t have good evidence of the martyrdom of the followers, but even if we did, why couldn’t they be lying about encountering what they thought was the risen Christ? Do people not die for causes all the time? Maybe they thought spreading the message of Jesus’s resurrection appearances would facilitate making a better world. I talk about the noble lie model of Christian origins here:

            There’s nothing in the Pre Pauline Corinthian creed about 40 days of appearances.

          • soter phile

            Paul did not say appearing to the 500 was hearsay. You said that.

            You have a funny way of defining magic.
            People also used to say there was nothing smaller than an atom…
            Again, string theory and quantum physics would be “magic” by your definition – never mind the mathematical improbability of existence itself.

            The martyrdom of the followers is not in the biblical account, but we do have extant evidence and accounts of their deaths.

            As for the disciples dying – who knowingly dies for a lie you yourself fabricated? It requires being incredibly altruistic while deceptive. That’s an ostensibly self-refuting ‘possibility’ to invoke, especially while criticizing those with whom you disagree for advocating something ‘improbable.’ Never mind that the ‘nobel lie’ thesis has been repeatedly addressed.

            Again, if you want to actually engage the scholarship, I’d encourage you to read it. It increasingly sounds like you’re purposefully avoiding that path.

            You are correct that 1 Cor.15 doesn’t say 40 days. But the Gospel accounts do. And they also all mention the resurrection – as does virtually every NT author.

          • John MacDonald

            Soter Phile said:

            “Again, if you want to actually engage the scholarship, I’d encourage you to read it. It increasingly sounds like you’re purposefully avoiding that path.”

            You say that, but you won’t respond to the arguments in the information on the link I provided. Here it is again:

    • Theodore A. Jones

      If fifty theologians were to be sequestered under the obligation to produce an accurate biblical interpretation they will produce one hundred and fifty replies and none of them will be correct.

  • DebbyJane65

    I believe that the holy scriptures are the Word Of God that point us to Jesus Christ. The written Word is vital for our journey. Following Jesus The Christ made flesh as The Living Word is our daily endeavor. I believe Christians need the written word and the living word in their lives. Most Christians that are devoted daily to Bible Reading daily understand most of the Bible and apply it’s wisdom to their lives. “To prove rightness” is arrogant. The Bible is filled with stories, parables, poetry, revelation, etc.; and it is God’s Truth. It was not written to prove that it is correct. It was written to inspire, challenge, apply, and teach. The Bible reveals itself through the Holy Spirit. If one wants to challenge the Holy Spirit and say that Holy Spirit’s teaching is not true; then one would have to say that this gift that Jesus The Christ left for us is futile! Thank you Jesus for the Holy Spirit that teaches us holiness through the holy scriptures of the Holy Bible.

  • Jane Ravenswood

    Even the most literal of Christians don’t take the bible entirely literally e.g. we don’t have them trying to murder people working on the sabbath, but heck they have no problem in claiming homosexuals are wrong in their god’s eyes. Wht these people do think is that everything that they believe is true and their invented version of this god in their own image agrees with them. This includes their political views, etc.

    • DebbyJane65

      I do not believe everything in the bible is literal. However, I do believe there are insights that are very personal. For example, I do not believe that the book of Revelation is just a poem! Even though there is allegorical writing; there is prophetic wisdom in Revelation that reveals truth in other places of the Bible. It is a matter of interpretation and personal perception. I believe the Lion and the Lamb are a picture of perfect harmony. I believe the Lion and the Lamb are a picture of virtues of Christ. Belief and perception are in the eye of the beholder. I have to be mindful to not allow the political rhetoric of our time invade my sanity. We all do….less reactive…..more stillness.

      • Jane Ravenswood

        I know, DebbyJane. You’ve invented your own version of Christianity just like every other Christian. You want to claim that the parts you need to be literal are literal; the parts you don’t like aren’t, some parts are “prophecy” but they are so vague they could mean anything, some parts simply can’t be true since they show this god to be as ignorant and pathetic as any human, etc. You want to claim that Revelation somehow confirms nonsense in other parts of the bible. Which parts confirm which parts? And why dont’ other Christians agree with you?
        Yep, the entire bible is up for interpretation and “personal perception”. It is a great rohrshach test, and nothing more. So much for the false claims of Christians who insist that they get their “correct” views right from the “Holy Spirit”. You can’t even convince each other that you have the “right” version.

        All you have is a subjective mess. No objective morals, no one true savior to worship. In that Christians can’t do what is promised for any baptized believer in Christ to be able to do, it seems we have no Christians at all on this earth.

        • First of all, I believe in one true savior, Jesus Christ. Secondly, what I believe is not a subjective mess! What I want to claim is the Truth based on decades of bible study and research. The bible is complex. God is not ignorant or pathetic as you project. There are four main viewpoints about the book of Revelations and I can back up what I believe with millions who agree. Biblical interpretation and Holy Spirit insight are not to be mocked as you have done. Also, I have very strong morals based on The Word Of God. There is no right or wrong version. It is not about being right or wrong. It is about the Truth. Biblical interpretation should never be used as a measurement to determine who is a Christian and who is not. I am a student of the Bible just like every other student.

          • Jane Ravenswood

            DebbyJane, every Christian claims that they believe in JC. And yep, it is a subjective mess since all of you have different versions of what JC wants, how to be saved, who is saved, what laws to follow, how to interpret the bible (which parts should be taken literally, which are metaphor, which should be ignored, etc). Claims of decades of bible study and research are also made by Christians who are sure that everyone else who is a Christian is wrong. I was a Christian (Presbyterian) so I know how this works. And like you, I have decades of bible study and research.

            Your god is as ignorant and pathetic as I have indicated, and I get that straight from the bible. In that Christians don’t agree and can’t even convert each other as I have stated before, your bible and your supposed holy spirit do deserved to be mocked for their failure to be coherent and comprehensible. Every Christian claims that they have the only right answer and that the holy spirit gave it right to them. And none of you can show that this is true. None of you can do what is promised that baptized believers in Christ as savior can do, and you doubt each other just like I doubt all of you.

            Christians obviously think that there is a right and wrong version since we have thousands of Christian sects that claim that they and only they are right. Christians are sure that at best those “other Christians” have only part of the truth, and at worst are sure that those “other Christians” are going straight to hell. If you didn’t think that the church down the street wasn’t wrong, you’d be there, and not wasting resources with a church of your very own. Protestants would be worshipping right there along with Catholics, and evangelicals would be right there with Mormons. They aren’t.

            You may have strong morals from the bible but you cherry picked them like every other Christian. Do you think homosexuals deserve death, DJ? How many people working on the sabbath have you murdered? Have you given up all of your worldly goods to follow JC? Do you agree that JC should murder every non-christian in the supposed “end times”? As for you backing up what you believe with “millions who agree”, that’s appealing to the fallacy of popularity, and other Christians (and other theists) who don’t agree with you can do the same.

            Now, since you didn’t answer my question: what part confirm other parts? How do you know? Why don’t other Christians agree with your version? Why is it okay for your god to commit and command genocide and not a human (assuming you believe that)? Why does your god need to show off like any human? Why does your god allow Job’s family to be murdered on a bet?

          • I cannot answer your “why God” questions. Knowing God does require your willingness to believe; and that takes faith. Ask Him. Seek Him.

          • Jane Ravenswood

            of course you choose not to answer. If your god exists, someone’s willingness to believe wouldn’t matter. All you depend on is someone agreeing with your nonsense blindly. Funny how I’ve prayed to the Christian god, and I’ve gotten no response. Your claims fail Debby. I’ve aske and I’ve sought. Still no god.

            Since your bible says that any baptized believer in Christ as savior can heal people from physical illness and harm, which hospital or hospice can I meet you at so you can show me you are a TrueChristian(tm)? I do expect a response from such a true Christian that you claim you are. Do you have the faith to show me your claims are true? Or will you run away just like every other TrueChristian(tm)?

          • I choose to be done with your insults!

          • Jane Ravenswood

            No, you choose to try to avoid answering questions. It’s no surprise that you would refuse to accept my offer since you can’t do what the bible promises you can do.

        • No invention. Perspective is personal and to be respected.

          • Jane Ravenswood

            no one’s fantasy deserves respect without evidence. I don’t respect you or anyone else just because you can imagine nonsense. Your god is either impotent,evil or imaginary. You choose.

          • My God is not imaginary. Your disrespect, hateful remarks and argument is over!

          • Jane Ravenswood

            Respect is earned, not demanded. You find my remarks “hateful” since I’ve shown you unable to support your claims.

  • John Gills

    Doesn’t this help explain why, last time I checked, there are over 43,000 Christian denominations – all confident that they are right and the others are wrong?

    • soter phile

      Worthy of simultaneous note: over 98.9% of those denominations doctrinally affirm the Apostles’ Creed as a summary of the central tenets of the faith as found in Scripture. That’s not a simplistic document by any means.

      And while certainly there are some disagreements as one goes beyond these central tenets – now your numbers defeat your purpose… across 2,000,000,000 self-described Christians in over 40,000 denominations there is that much unity? That’s directly opposite what you are intimating.

      • Theodore A. Jones

        The soteriological perspective stated in the “Apostles’ Creed” is not subordinated by the Scripture.

        • soter phile

          Did you mean to say “supported” rather than “subordinated”?

          It would seem the historical use and application of the Apostles’ Creed alone would refute any claim that the creed was not subordinate to the Scriptures themselves.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Either word is a sufficient descriptive. The “Apostles’ Creed” is an ecclesiastical conjecture. It’s defect is that it does not convey the understanding that the sin of murdering Jesus Christ by crucifixion became universally accountable by adding a word to the law after Jesus’ ascension in regard to the sin of his murder.

          • soter phile

            But those two words say different things. I was trying to make sure I understood what you’re claiming. But in this case: both are mistaken.

            1) the Apostles’ Creed is supported by the Scriptures.
            Even a quick perusal of any annotated version demonstrates the biblical basis for each claim. That’s far from an “ecclesiastical conjecture.”

            2) the Apostles’ Creed is likewise subordinate to the Scriptures.
            All of the theological claims are contingent on the biblical witness – and, as a result, the only authority it holds is as a faithful summary of what is stated in the Scriptures.

            Furthermore, at no point in Church History did the Apostles’ Creed functionally become more important or authoritative than the Scriptures themselves (from which it derives its authority).

            as for “adding a word to the law”, you’re going to have to clarify what you are trying to say.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Look sport. The soteriological conjecture of the murder of Jesus Christ being the direct benefit of dying in your place, paying your sin debt, and whatever other soteriological assertions contemporaneous churches allege are all in error.

          • soter phile

            speaking of soteriological conjecture, dismissing all churches as “all in error” would make most take pause & consider the possibility that the shoe is on the other foot.

            majority does not necessarily make right, but it should make humble.

            as for rejecting penal substitutionary atonement, you’ll find some friends on these blogs, but consider: the very things from which you are attempting to ‘rescue’ God by dodging that doctrine are nonetheless repeated throughout the Scriptures.

            yet even that red herring discussion does not refute what I stated above: the Apostles’ Creed is a faithful summary of the central tenets of the faith as shared by virtually all denominations.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Just one tiny pinch of a particular falsehood was needed to leaven the whole lump. Substitutionary atonement.

          • soter phile

            God made him who knew no sin to be sin, that we might become the righteousness of God.
            (2 Cor.5:21)

            But now you’ve moved the goalposts from objecting to the Apostles’ Creed into PSA.
            As I said before – regardless of that red herring – your original objection does not stand.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Jesus Christ was murdered by crucifixion.

          • soter phile

            As one theologian has said:
            “The cross proves: given the chance, humanity would kill God.”

            As John Stott said:
            “Sin is humanity taking God’s place.
            Salvation is God taking humanity’s place [i.e., on the cross].”

          • Theodore A. Jones

            God’s judgement about this issue is recorded in the direct comment he stated prior to the sin of murdering him. See Jn. 16:8a

          • soter phile

            Jn.16 is talking about the Holy Spirit’s role once he is sent – he will convict humanity of their sin… (along with remind them of what Jesus said [14:26] & guide them into all Truth [16:13] – namely Jesus [Jn.14:6]).

            As has been said: the Holy Spirit is like a spotlight pointing to Christ. As 1 Jn.4 points out, the way you know you have the Spirit is he guides you to Jesus (certainly not righteousness through one’s own works).

          • Theodore A. Jones

            “When he, the Holy Spirit, comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin” Jn. 16:8a After and in regard to the sin of murdering Jesus Christ by crucifixion. “Brothers!? What shall we do about the sin of murdering the only begotten son of the Living God?!! Acts 2:37

          • soter phile

            Repent & be baptized (Acts 2:38) – an act identifying oneself as reliant on Christ (not the self) for salvation.

            None of this supports your position here. What do you think it implies?

          • Theodore A. Jones

            “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13

          • soter phile

            Keep reading. Paul is building an argument… and who is righteous by obedience?

            None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one… For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom.3:10-12,23)

            For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom.6:23)