A necessary question of veracity
"Every word of God is purified; he is like a shield for those who take A necessary question of veracity
"Every word of God is purified; he is like a shield for those who take refuge in him"
A veracity dig
The celebrated author Truman Capote had a birthday September 30th. His true crime novel In Cold Blood brought him a good deal of praise from the literary community and quite a bit of money. A few hounds, however, took it upon themselves to dig in and fact-check the events he reported. One such was Phillip K. Tompkins, who stated in an Esquire article from 1966 that as he dug through Truman's sources he turned up some discrepancies.
"Capote has, in short, achieved a work of art. He has told exceedingly well a tale of high terror in his own way. But, despite the brilliance of his self-publicizing efforts, he has made both a tactical and a moral error that will hurt him in the short run. By insisting that "every word" of his book is true he has made himself vulnerable to those readers who are prepared to examine seriously such a sweeping claim."
Jack Olsen, also an author in the true crime genre gave his personal take on Truman's fabrications: "I recognized it [In Cold Blood] as a work of art, but I know fakery when I see it. Capote completely fabricated quotes and whole scenes..." Olsen went on to say, "The book made something like $6 million in 1960s money, and nobody wanted to discuss anything wrong with a moneymaker like that in the publishing business."
Capote's reply was, "Jack Olsen is just jealous."
October is Reformation month, a celebration of the Protestant Reformation, a central tenet of which was the declaration Sola Scriptura! - Scripture alone. It's also the month owe Christian believers remember the death of William Tyndale, burned for translating the Scriptures into the English language. The Bible with all its long history of worldwide accolade has its critics too. How much trust can we rest on the Bible as the Christian Scriptures?
Is every word true?
Perhaps, as in the words of Mr. Tomkins and Owens, the Bible is merely a good work of art, even a great one or the best of them, but not wholly true. Some, many, probably most, have their doubts. We too may be among those motivated to tear the book of books apart out of jealousy for its unparalleled success, or jealousy for our own endangered viewpoints.
No doubt mistakes and discrepancies abound in our modern Scripture versions - perhaps more than we realize. The question though is, after digging them up, whether they amount to a hill of beans in importance? Do they in any way endanger the Bible's integrity and claim to divine origin?
Thanks to the critics for keeping us awake to the need for an ever better apologetic!
To help put our fears to rest, persistent research and adept scholarship have shown the vast majority of mistakes to be unintentional, and most, by far, are typos as we would call them, the common errors of human copyists. Where there are insertions that don't fit the author, as far as can be presently assessed, none have much effect on anything important. It must also be taken into account how some authors of holy writ may have been assigned a unique theological point to write toward which may have led them to add or subtract details from incidents, or to arrange events according to the value of their contribution to the goal of the book.
Also, failure to properly esteem the Hebrew's high regard for their law which states "You shall not bear false witness or take the name of the Lord your God in vain," is to grossly impugn their integrity! Their law insisted they be careful how they testified and what they attached His name to.
The following indictment of Jeremiah, quoted here in the form of a personal question is sobering: "[Are] you misrepresenting the words of our God, the living God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies?" Jeremiah 23:36
A jealous lover
Even if by way of credible witness and thorough research we feel compelled to render a verdict of truth on the Bible it will no doubt stir up some jealousy. Having found comfort in the arms of a requiting lover such as a long held belief system we may be very slow to believe our beloved worldview has betrayed us.
Opening to the possibility
The Apostle Paul pressed the importance of being open to Scripture's veracity by insisting we "Let God be proven true, and every human be shown up as a liar…” Romans 3:4
In the long run
"The Scriptures will our live our doubts and feeble attacks and thus remain alive and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword. Ever able to pierce us deeply even to the dividing of our soul and spirit, and they will remain a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our heart (Hebrews 4:12 paraphrase mine)."
Further, I Timothy 3:16 reminds us that the Bible will prove profitable to teach us the nature of God and us humans. It will fulfill its function as a rebuke where we've been wrong, of correction when we have mishandled truth and for instruction to lead us toward what is right.
No worries then
"…No one who believes (trusts) in Him will be put to shame!" Romans 10:11
"Rather than lean on our own understanding in rebel opposition, better to put our whole hearted trust in the Lord and His word to aid our ill affected thinking. Then in all our life's choices acknowledge Him and He will lead us so things ultimately turn out for the good." Proverbs 3:5, 6 [conceptual importing and paraphrasing mine]
Grace today y'all!
Second thought about disaster
On a recent evening Karen (my wife) dutifully rolled the trash receptacles out to the edge of the parking area at her workplace. While positioning them for pickup she stepped back into the brush line that borders the pavement. By chance, and without realizing it, she wrapped her pants leg in a spider's web. The mishap was discovered on her way home. Once she was able, she gathered and rolled the web and its all but invisible contents into a ball, and tossed it in her trash bag that hangs from the dash of her truck. The next morning when she slid behind the steering wheel to leave for work she discovered, stretched between the dash and a point on the bench seat, a fresh new web spun by an apparently resilient little spider.
There you go; former business location and enterprise destroyed, and life rolled into a tight ball by forces unpredictable and stronger than can be resisted. Given the damages, how can one spider cope and go on?
Awakened to the possibility of life after disaster we imagine one might ask, "Why has this happened? This is not where I want to be! What possible productive living can be made inside the cab of a GMC truck - is it even worth trying?"
Go to the spider O saint of God and learn from her for…
Some creatures never give it a second thought.
Grace today y'all!