Bi­ble in­tegrity

The Church of England - - LETTERS -

Sir, An es­teemed writer of Bi­ble notes for a leading Chris­tian or­ga­ni­za­tion, com­ment­ing on 1 Corinthi­ans 7:25-31, with in­tegrity, that the Lord’s re­turn was im­mi­nent, ie it was set to oc­cur in the life­time of some of those to whom Paul min­is­tered. But then the writer, dis­turbingly, went on to as­sert that the in­spired apos­tle was ac­tu­ally wring, the sec­ond com­ing was some­how de­layed so that it was still awaited 2,000 years later.

This sit­u­a­tion cer­tainly set the alarm bells ring­ing al­though, sadly, many Chris­tians have a mea­sure of sym­pa­thy with the writer’s opin­ion, not re­ally un­der­stand­ing the na­ture and tim­ing of the re­turn. How­ever, Paul did of­ten re­peat his fun­da­men­tal mes­sage of the im­mi­nence in other epis­tles and in Acts and this truth was fur­ther re­in­forced in the teach­ing of Je­sus him­self to­gether with that of Peter, John, James and the au­thor of He­brews. In fact, a sub­stan­tial part of the New Tes­ta­ment was taken up with gen­uine an­tic­i­pa­tion and ea­ger­ness re­gard­ing the near­ness of the sec­ond com­ing, which was con­sis­tently pre­dicted to tran­spire in that par­tic­u­lar gen­er­a­tion.

It is im­pos­si­ble for the Son of God and Holy Spirit-di­rected apos­tles to be wrong in any part of Scrip­ture, all of which is God-breathed and prof­itable. Chris­tians, there­fore, who do not ac­cept the Word of God, in parts, to sug­gest that the re­turn ac­tu­ally failed to hap­pen then, are those that are cul­pa­ble – this stance needs to change.

Be­liev­ers must al­ways ac­cord author­ity and supremacy to Scrip­ture and never to the claims or ideas of fal­li­ble hu­mans. There is thus the most heavy onus on each Chris­tian who is re­spon­si­ble for in­struct­ing oth­ers, ei­ther di­rectly or by the printed page etc, and es­pe­cially so in the crit­i­cal field of es­cha­tol­ogy. The New Tes­ta­ment warmly in­ti­mates that the be­liever, at death, is im­me­di­ately with Christ in glory, fully equipped and clothed in their new eter­nal body – with­out any de­lay or wait­ing.

Gra­ham Wil­son,

Ed­in­burgh

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