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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the www.comereason.org Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Bible Contradictions - Why Responding "Show Me Some" Doesn't Work
One thing, though. One must know how to answer the objection. In books and sermons, I've heard preachers talk about how to face this challenge. Usually, the advice they give is something along the lines of "If someone claims that there are too many contradictions in the Bible, you should hand them your Bible and say 'OK, show me some.' That's usually enough to stop them."
Now, there is some truth that this may catch the objector off guard. As I mentioned above, many times a person throws out this question to simply stop the conversation. They don't know any Bible contradictions; they've simply heard other say the same thing and they're parroting the question to play what they think is a trump card. So, when you ask them to point some out, you're just calling their bluff.
However, what if they're not bluffing? What if a person is really asking you to reconcile biblically-stated facts that seem to be in tension with each other? Maybe the objector isn't sincere in his desire to see the supposed contradiction solved, but what if others are also listening? What if they actually point out a couple of examples to you and hand you your Bible back—what do you do then?
You see, bluffing is fine if you're playing poker, but not for Christians sharing the most important message of life. It's not what the Bible itself commands us to do. As1 Peter 3:15 tells us, we always need to be ready to give a defense for our faith. Jesus did so when he was questioned by the skeptics of his day, the Sadducees. Luke 20 offers some clear examples of him doing so. The Bereans in Acts 17:11 were called noble because they didn't take Paul's claims at face value, but checked them out. So we had better check our Bibles honestly before we go off and offer a smug answer to someone else. If we're merely throwing out the "show me some" statement, then we're guilty of the exact same stall tactic as the skeptic. Neither of us knows what we're talking about, we're just trying to block the other person's parry. But if they are informed and you don't know the subject matter, then you endanger your witness as well as your own reputation.
I'll be looking at the idea of so called biblical contradictions in the next few posts and the larger principles of how to treat passages that appear in tension. I hope you'll join me so you can honestly answer the contradiction claim when it shows up.
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