We are not free to pick and choose the parts of the Bible we want to believe or obey
Published 11:00 pm Friday, September 15, 2023
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: I think of myself as a Christian and faithfully go to church, but I do not accept many stories in the Bible because they are simply not logical. Uneducated people may find the entire Bible acceptable (like being born again or becoming a new creation), but educated people will not receive things that simply don’t make sense. Doesn’t it seem that the Christian faith should update its narrative to broaden its base? – C.S.
Dear C.S.: Many people think Christ talked only to down-and-outers or children. One of His greatest encounters during His teaching ministry was with an intellectual. This man’s name was Nicodemus. He had a very rigid philosophical and theological system, and it was a good plan, with God at the center. However, this “intellectual” structured his philosophical religious system without the new birth – found only in Jesus Christ!
What did Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, tell this well-educated man? To paraphrase from John 3, He said, “Nicodemus, I’m sorry I can’t explain it to you. You have seen something that troubles you, that doesn’t fit your system. You admit I am more than an ordinary man; that I act with the power of God. This may not make sense to you, but I can’t explain it to you because your assumptions do not allow for a starting point. Nicodemus, to you it’s not ‘logical.’ Nothing in your thought patterns permits it. You cannot see with spiritual insight until you are born spiritually. You will just have to be born again.”
There are many who sit in some churches week after week, year after year, without hearing the whole Gospel and knowing what it is to be born again. They hear a gospel that is incomplete. We are not free to pick and choose the parts of the Bible we want to believe or obey. God has given us all of it, and we should be obedient to all of it.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)