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Faith resting on facts

Posted by Tim :: Ministry News

Matt Heerema pointed me to an article about a discovery that usually goes without much fanfare. It once again gives the believer in Christ solid reasons to hold on tight to their faith.
Last fall, a team of workers fixing a sewage pipe found the Pool of Siloam. Doesn't sound like that big of deal at first, but listen to these quotes from the article:

"Scholars have said that there wasn't a Pool of Siloam and that John was using a religious conceit" to illustrate a point, said New Testament scholar James H. Charlesworth of the Princeton Theological Seminary. "Now we have found the Pool of Siloam … exactly where John said it was."

A gospel that was thought to be "pure theology is now shown to be grounded in history," he said.

Charlesworth said. "This may be the most significant and largest miqveh [ritual bath] ever found."

Over the years, I've heard of scores of examples just like this. The city of Jericho is one notable example. Skeptics claimed that the city of Jericho never existed and so Joshua and the Bible in general could not be inerrant thus not the Word of God. Well, at least they used to say that.

Christian, hold on to your faith. God has embedded reasons to believe that are obvious to anyone who is willing to see them whether that's archeological discoveries in Israel, geological and biological discoveries in the natural world, or, most powerful yet, the personal discovery of salvation through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit.


Another story along those lines ...

I caught a Discovery Channel special on, of all things, Sodom and Gomorrah. (Begin Sarcasm) Of course if you have a truly open mind, you would know that Sodom and Gomorrah is just another morality tale that religious snobs tell kids to keep them on the straight and narrow, because, after all, if they had existed in the first place, we would have found them, since modern man is the pinnacle of intellectual development. Besides, wasn't Genesis written in AD 500 by Constantine at the Council of Nicea as an opiate for the Proletariat?(End Sarcasm)

Anywho, an archaeologist developed a theory that the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah have not been found because they are now at the bottom of the Dead Sea. So the show goes into detail to figure out among other things why anyone would build cities next to the Dead Sea (asphalt trade), just how the cities ended up in the seas (the soil liquified due to an earthquake, as far as I understood, just don't ask me how), when all this happened (probably around 2350 BC, which fits with the Bible as well as what we know about cities at the time), and what all that hubbub(sp?) about fire in the Biblical story meant (pockets of gas below earth set of by the earthquake, consult your geology text).

So while not a proof of the Biblical event, there is some corroboration for an event from 4500 years ago. Whoopee, though nothing next to the Resurrection.

Posted by: Ben W at August 22, 2005 02:07 PM

I heard someone somewhere (sorry can't remember, but it was someone credible) talk about the "flim-flam rule," or something like that (can I be any more vague?).

The rule is that time works against lies. The longer you have to examine something, the more likely a lie, or flim-flam, will be discovered. He said that the rule proves the Bible, because as more time passes, the Bible doesn't become less reliable. It becomes more reliable.

In every way -- scientifically, historically, archaeologically, philosophically -- the Bible continues to prove itself right and its critics wrong.

Satan is the master of false intellectualism. He likes to ask questions that cast doubt but never digs deep enough to find answers. An example is in the Garden, "Did God really say...?"

God on the other hand encourages us to ask questions and to keep digging until we find the answer.

Posted by: Dan Benson at August 22, 2005 04:56 PM

too bad our culture is moving away from being convinced by the facts that God exists.

Posted by: paul at August 24, 2005 10:55 AM

Paul... this is not entirely true. The emerging culture is schizophrenic in this regard. They will say (feel) as if facts are irrelevant and immaterial, but when their behavior or worldview is questioned they will resort to facts or reasons for their position.
And at a mid-west, engineering school like Iowa State, there is still a stronghold of modernist thinking.

Posted by: Tim at August 24, 2005 11:11 AM

"The emerging culture is schizophrenic in this regard."

Just a thought. I think perhaps the postmodern mindset is looking for "reality" and "authenticity," which is different from cold hard facts and being "relevant."

I think this is what Jesus is getting at in John 13:34-35 -- "As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

If we communicate the best news ever in that spirit, then we communicate reality and authenticity. And that opens people's eyes.

Does that make sense?

I bet you could articulate that thought better than I, Tim.

Posted by: Dan Benson at August 25, 2005 10:35 AM

I think what Dan said is very true. People do want integrity, and in fact, I think it's only after we have established our "reality" and "authenticity" that they will even listen to the facts. I think that's why street evangelism is becoming less popular, there needs to be some kind of relationship there first.
Just last night I was explaining to a guy on my floor the authenticity of the Bible and Christianity compared to other world religions, and he accepted a lot of what I said. However, I don't think he would have given me the time of day without having established a friendship and a trust first.
It seems to me that people can see through teaching that isn't done in love pretty quickly, and they'll just ignore anyone who simply presents facts.

Posted by: Dustin Schuur at August 26, 2005 04:31 PM
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