Reverent Responses

Can the Bible be Wrong?:
Rev. Dr. Jean Orost Responds

[Posted on October 15, 2000]

Dear Mr. Schumacher:

Welcome to the Family of God! I am so glad to hear that you have found Jesus as your Lord and Savior. May God richly bless you as you grow in your faith. Thank you for expressing your concerns, for they do indicate some definite points of difference between us.

I agree that you need to take the whole Gospel into account, and not just pick and choose which verses you want and which ones you don't. In that, you demonstrate wisdom. Since you seem most concerned with the book of Romans, let's look at that first. Paul wrote this book to the Gentile and Jewish Christians in Rome in anticipation of a mission trip there. Little did he know that he would arrive in chains as a prisoner. It would help if you considered this book as a whole, as you suggested, and a good Bible commentary would help you to better understand its organization. In the first chapter Paul lists many of the traditional rumored practices of the Gentiles. Then, before the Jewish Christians get haughty thinking they are above such things, he turns to them in Chapter 2 to show them that they fall short, too. Romans 3:23 summarizes the first three chapters with the conclusion "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." I'm sure that you can find yourself and your sins somewhere in there, or if not, surely in Chapter 7. Then Paul goes on to explain the wonders of salvation in Jesus Christ, the wonders of God's grace in forgiving us from sin, washing away all of our transgressions, and removing us from condemnation (Rom. 8:1). So you see, your comment about Jesus coming to lay down the law is wrong. People had been trying to live by the law for thousands of years, and all the law did was lead to death and more condemnation. Jesus came to set us free from all that by offering up his life for our sins and offering us the free gift of cleansing for the ways we fall short, if only we ask Him. I suggest you read the whole book of Romans, and then go back to one of the Gospels to read how Jesus treated all peoples.

With respect to your comment about how we have changed God, I think it is rather that society has changed the gospel. We find the concept of grace hard to accept. Moreover, Paul did not say that homosexuality was a sin, since that concept didn't even exist in his day. PEOPLE changed the Bible translations to put in words for those they wanted to condemn. The Bible does have some things to say about some sexual practices in which people do not treat one another as those made in God's image. A few of those verses refer to some specific same sex practices, like forced humiliation and temple prostitution, and hundreds of those verses refer to heterosexual practices, like the adultery, incest, rape, etc. that you mention. God loves each of us and Jesus did command us to love God and one another. Any practice in which we turn away from God or from respect for our fellow human beings is sinful in God's eyes. So, it seems we do agree about some things.

I'm glad to hear that the Holy Spirit is dwelling within you and that Jesus speaks to your heart. I pray that you continue to listen to Him as He speaks to you on your journey of faith. I have found, in 50 years of walking with the Lord, that He rarely speaks to me concerning what others ought to do (see John 21:21). So, may you walk in the joy of your salvation, knowing that He who knows all about you has made you and has claimed you for His own. His love and acceptance of you are abiding. He will lead the way.

God bless you,

Rev. Dr. Jean Orost