Two Vital Questions

I have read the whole Bible and attended various Catholic and Protestant churches, and after much study and exploration I believe I have a pretty good idea of the central doctrines and tenets of the Christian faith. Those who have read my essay entitled An Almighty Predicament will know that there are some aspects of Christian doctrine that I struggle to accept and believe.

I have come to realise that there are two questions that I need to find answers to in order to determine whether or not I should be a Christian.

  1. Is Jesus the only way to have peace with God?
  2. Is the Bible God’s only revelation for people today in relation to spiritual Truth?

These two questions are interrelated. Jesus claims that He is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). But of course, we know about this claim from the Bible, so it only needs to be believed if the Bible represents absolute and exclusive Truth.

Within Christianity there are many different interpretations concerning what constitutes Truth. Learned Biblical scholars differ wildly concerning which interpretation of particular scriptures is correct, so it seems that interpretation is to a certain extent subjective. After all, the words of Scripture are merely markings on pages – the way we come to understand what is written is by God working in us as we read and reflect, and He can do this in myriad different ways.

The sole authority of the Bible is disputed by Catholics who believe Truth must be interpreted and defined by the leaders of the Catholic church. There are also many other groups who argue that the Protestant canon isn’t the exclusive embodiment of Truth and that we can find truth in nature, reason, and logic, as well as in other scriptures, whether it be the Qur’an, or the Book of Mormon, or some other supposedly inspired collection of writings.

How are we to know whether the 66 books of the Protestant Bible represent absolute and exclusive Truth? I believe the only way is through revelation from God to the human mind, resulting in a certain understanding or posture of faith. It must be a matter that we pray about, and ask God to help us discern.

Ultimately, what we believe to be true comes down to faith, and faith, I believe, comes from God. He is working out His plan for existence with sovereign authority, and whatever He wills us to believe is what we will believe. If you maintain it’s possible for us to believe things that are contrary to God’s will, then you are saying God is not in control of our lives, which is a belief that many Christians hold, but with which I profoundly disagree (read my aforementioned essay for a detailed account of my reasons why).

In my understanding God is completely sovereign, creation is His handiwork, and He is in control of all the details, including every aspect of our lives; our thoughts, words, actions, and beliefs (wouldn’t it be strange to pray to a God who isn’t in control?). And if I am to wholeheartedly dedicate my life to the teachings of Jesus Christ as we find them in the Bible, it will depend on God’s guidance, revelation, and ultimately, His will.

So I pray:

Lord God, shape me into who You want me to be, guide me so that I know I am on the right path, help me to live in a way that pleases You always. Be merciful to me and save me from any thoughts, words or deeds that lead to destruction. Sovereign God, help me to have sound understanding in matters of theology and Truth, and eradicate from me anything that is false, unsound, or evil. Help me to live well and be a blessing to others, and to be a person who will always be held in Your favour. Even if it’s difficult, Lord, show me the way. Amen.

36 comments

  1. Great article Steven. I have a question. What do you think about the proclamation of the Gospel? Is this, combined with the illumination from the Spirit, an avenue to obtaining true knowledge? I ask because I think one can have certain knowledge that is part of God’s special Revelation which comes from the proclamation of the Gospel, for which people can believe in without having access to the Bible. But, if you want to say that the Gospel is inherently tied to Scripture, or a part of it, I wouldn’t argue with you on that (meaning, in hearing the Gospel preached people are hearing the message of the Bible, or His Word). What do you think?

    1. Hello Brandon! This is a great question and yes I do believe that God could illuminate the minds of those who hear the Gospel preached, regardless of whether they have read the Bible.

      You’re making me wonder whether in theory the Gospel could be passed down from generation to generation without anything written. I think it’s possible, but God has chosen to use the Bible as a means of revelation.

      It seems to me that there are so many aspects to faith that it’s no wonder the Bible is a big collection of books. But I spend a lot of time listening to teachers who have a very high view of Scripture (and believe in Sola Scriptura) so I suppose that has influenced me. I know some people hardly read the Bible and instead say they live by the leading of the Holy Spirit, so there are different views and approaches to this.

      Thank you so much for making me think – your comment is really helpful. Feel free to reply if you’d like to add anything 🙂

  2. Don’t let that prayer go Steven, “keep seeking”, “keep asking” , “keep knocking” with anticipation – the Lord will speak to your heart. Only God can reveal spiritual truths, no one can convince us or open our eyes. See Matt 16:16-17 and John 6:63-65. Only the quickening of the Holy Spirit can give life to the word. Once He reveals God’s truth to you, ALL else will fall to the ground. Press on , Steven, am praying for you too.

  3. I’m glad you wrote about this, especailly after our last comment discussion I wanted to make sure you knew there weren’t any hard feelings or anything of that mater. Just pure discussion. 🙂

    I think there’s a lot of technical aspects to your questions, though that may not be the best word. You want answers and you’ve tried to seek them from those who appear to be intellectual and wise in what they know. There are some amazing scholars who study night and day, and I think they still couldn’t figure out the questions you ask, or be narrow minded in what they believe is true. People are looking at the fine print so to speak. What history gives us. What we understand. What those lines saying.

    Reading the Bible helps us, understanding it helps us, but reading alone, and you’ve touched on this isn’t going to give you the answers you seek. I’ve noticed some read the Bible for one or a couple of specific things. Some to say they’ve read it. Some to debate. Some to learn. Etc. But knowledge isn’t enough. It is exactly as you said, God reveals things to us.

    Christ tells us no one comes to the Father except through the Son. John 14:06, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” To answer your first question, Jesus is the only way to have peace with God. We need salvation through Christ. We need to give Him our sins, and past ways, and work on being Christlike.

    I’ve found the more I’ve given up to Him. The more I’ve stopped partaking of this world, the stronger my spirit is to resist the weakness of the flesh. I’ve noticed when these things happen His lessons and truth become more clear to me.

    There are two different kinds of knowledge worldy (flesh, anything not part of Christ) and spiritual.

    We need to get to know Him. As for your second question, I feel the Bible is enough in regards to history and letters (understanding) of what it means to be Christlike, to know His promises, and more. Even if there are other pieces of truth out there, I feel we have a stable foundation from His word. But reading isn’t enough.

    If we are just reading to read, we aren’t going to know. We aren’t going to see with opened eyes. Get to know Him. Become involved with Him. Talk to Him about your dinner, your favorite color, what you struggle with, what you want to understand, the beautiful sunset, etc. I think the Bible contains the truth but the truth isn’t revealed unless we are all in when it comes to Christ. I think the truth then is reveled in other ways as well, once we start to form a true relationship with Him. God has used scripture to speak to me. He has used music. He has used answered prayers. He uses all parts of my life to speak to me. Scripture has only further helped me with understanding and application.

    I promise you, God is not silent nor quiet. But we need to drown out the noise of everyone else, and ourselves as well. To Elijah, He came as a whisper. Ever since the last discussion we had, I’ve been praying to make sure I don’t stumble you as a believer, and for you to get the answers you need. It isn’t about the Christian doctrine (the technical). It’s about a walk with Christ (the spiritual). 🙂 ❤ That's the best way I can tell you.

    1. Hi T.R.!

      Many thanks for your comment, and I appreciate that all you say is with genuine Christian love and concern for my spiritual well-being. However, I wish there was some way I could convey to you my spiritual journey, as I can’t help but feel that a lot of what you have written doesn’t appreciate how hard I have tried (and do try) to live for God, and to understand Truth.

      There have been times when I have been immersed in Christian living, serving in church, going on Christian retreats, praying for people on the streets as part of outreach teams, assisting with Christian conferences – and all of that has come from an appreciation of who Jesus is and what the gospel means. My prayer life has been dedicated, I have fasted and repented, and all of this with a REAL faith, not just following rules! I just want you to appreciate that because sometimes when I read your comments I feel as though you think I’m a newbie in the faith or don’t understand the faith somehow.

      I think I understand the gospel very well, but often when I am fully immersed in Christian life, for whatever reason, the problems I find with Christian theology surface and they are powerful. This is either because my concerns are true and valid (which is what I believe) or because I am being deceived by the devil in some way (I have prayed about this A LOT!)

      I can’t answer all your points, because there was too much there, but I hope that what I’ve said in my response here is in some way helpful.

      God bless and thanks again!

      Steven

      1. No, I completely understand where you are coming from. One of the main problems I’ve found with blogging is we can present only a small portion of our walk with Christ, and people don’t always see everything else. I tried to answer from the viewpoint of where I thought your questions were coming from (and I hope perhaps they help others). I did not mean to discredit at all how far you have come, by no means 🙂

        I too, also feel like I can’t convey what I want to clearly and correctly, which makes me understand your points of view all the much more. What I can say is I was not speaking to you as a new believer. 🙂 Believers go through all sorts of stages with their walk with Christ, including mature ones, and those who have a strong relationship. A lot of times it can come down to a heart issue, and that’s where I think you are at. Between the mind and heart, that kind of thing, and I have issues I think within myself that are heart-related and mind related, so please understand I don’t mean this as a newbie response.

        For me, faith sometimes has taken a long time, and I’ve been working on trusting God to provide even when I’m not sure, and I still work on this daily. I really wanted to encourage you and uplift you as a believer and I hope in some way I was able to do so. I apologize again if my response(s) have come off in a negative way to you, and thank you for being open about it. 🙂

        God be with you!!! I’ll join you in prayer for answers.

        1. Hey T.R.,

          Thank you for your gracious words and for explaining some more about your thought process. The main reason I wrote my two books was to help people to understand my spiritual journey and the thinking behind what draws me to Jesus and also the problems I have with Christian theology. If you lived in the UK I would send you my books (they aren’t very long so I hope it wouldn’t be a burden for you!) as I agree there’s only so much you can say in a comment discussion.

          My books aside I’m sure you will be able to understand my views from what I have shared on my blog, my About page, my Testimony (video), my Essays… not that I’m giving you homework so don’t worry if you don’t get a chance to check all these out!

          Some of your words in your earlier comments came across as a bit harsh, but I understand this was not your intention. I suppose one aspect of maturity is showing love whatever the viewpoint of the person you’re chatting to, which is something I’m working on as I’m quite sensitive and tend to get offended quite easily! It’s because I’ve experienced what you could call ‘spiritual abuse’ in the past, so I always try to be super-careful to guard my heart, which can mean I sometimes don’t give others the time or consideration they deserve, as I worry that I’m going to get hurt… Not sure if that makes sense; the extent to which you can relate to that will depend on what you’ve been through yourself.

          Anyway, I often ask others to be concise in their comments so I should practise what I preach!

          Thanks so much for your prayers!

          Peace and blessings,

          Steven

          1. I understand the spiritual abuse as you put it. There are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing, and there are a lot of believers who seek the praises of men. So, when you question or try to discuss things they aren’t comfortable with or disagree with, some people really become a burden and stumbling block to others.

            I spoke the way I did too because I feel like you really want an honest, open discussion, you don’t just want people to agree with you or to gently talk about something in a small matter, that’s how I am at least, especially with topics and posts like these.

            🙂 I am really sensitive too!! I try to work on whether my feelings are justified or I’m more focused on how I think someone is talking to me when that isn’t how they really are coming across, and I still have to daily check my feelings, so I don’t blame you on being guarded!!

            It is important to be guarded, and when you aren’t sure how someone is speaking, especially in text form, it gets confusing. My words to you are not at all meant to hurt you. Provoke you or convict you, if the Spirit leads you to such feelings, but never to make you feel belittled in any manner.

            I really try to uphold the fact we have to be honest with each other as believers, even when it is dealing with sensitive topics. I’m trying to tell myself, “If no one talks about these things in a more blunt manner, but everyone is beating around the brush, how are we going to grow? How are we going to learn?”

            Who am I as a follower of Christ if I don’t try to help a struggling brother or sister? He would take the time to talk to them, even if they felt a little uncomfortable with the subject matter, but He would do it in love. And I try, best and flawed as I am, to follow His footsteps 🙂

            And I do get, completely, no matter how gentle I try to respond, yes, I can see how the responses may come off as harsh, and I do apologize for that. I don’t mean it be in that sense.

            For me, I sometimes feel accused with some comments, and I feel like I have to justify to that person x,y, and z. But the truth is God knows where I am at, and whether a person sees that or not, is not my responsibility, that is what has helped me. I do, like you did, try to direct people to posts or places they can learn more about me, but I try to leave the feelings at the door of the situation.

            May these burdens not overwhelm you, and may your heart be filled!

  4. From my perspective, I think Truth has to be absolute, especially when it’s based on the Word of God. It wouldn’t be Truth anymore if we could all come up with our own interpretations of it. Truth has to be absolute, otherwise it would be defined as “truth’s” or “many truth’s” therefore ultimately making Truth in itself a lie.

    That’s why the Bible has to be absolute Truth, God breathed, Holy Spirit inspired. Otherwise any other definition it can fall under will make it fall short. Those are my thoughts! I dunno, it just doesn’t make sense to have multiple truths, then that means we could have multiple definitions of a lie too and so forth. 😀 Hahaha, I just convinced myself…

  5. Very good read. I also raise the same questions with Christianity and the potential exclusivism prevents from fully embracing the religion. However, when I wrote the piece Who Created the Creator, there was an incredibly insightful comment from Infinite Warrior, who gave me some peace with interpreting Christ’s statement that he is the only way. I personally find that it allows Christianity to be true, without degrading the beauty and truth found within other spiritual traditions. It’s from quite a mystical perspective, which as you’re aware, I’m very fond of.

    Here it is in full:

    the important question is whether or not Jesus was speaking the truth when He stated that He is the only way to the Father.

    Not sure how or if I can possibly get this across, but I’d be grateful to give it a try.
    In my understanding, Jesus wasn’t speaking of himself at all when he made that statement. What the sages of the world’s religions have come to realize is that forms such as ourselves (as well all others) are conduits, in a sense, and have no real, permanent and abiding “identity” of our own, e.g. in the Buddhist teaching of “non-self,” which translates as “selflessness” in Christianity. In other words, as far as Jesus was concerned, there was no single, separate entity called “Jesus” and intended his disciples to learn the same.
    Say this yourself, but — imperatively — not of “your self:” “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The “I” in this is not the egoic “I,” i.e. the “little I” we often take ourselves to be, but rather the whole of Creation or “life force power of the Universe,” in Jill Bolte-Taylor’s terms. Do that and, as far as I’m concerned, you’ve got it because, of course, when a name was “asked,” the answer that reportedly came back was, “I Am that I Am” [Exodus 3:14] and not “God” in whatever form the name might take. “God” is just convenient shorthand for the Ineffable.
    The first “I Am” in that statement might be understood to represent the creative force or principle of the Cosmos while the second represents the “reflection” of same or the manifestation of the Cosmos itself. “I Am that I Am” works both ways, in a sense.
    What sets Christianity apart and unique as a religion is the “Christ” concept, which is equally important. “Christ,” of course, was not Jesus’ last name. The concept places Christ-ians at the crux of space and time — the present moment — as conduits of “I Am.”
    This is why the Scribes and Pharisees were continuouly shocked by Jesus and everything he said. To them, it was blasphemy because they did not understand that, at no point, was Jesus referring to himself.
    I must admit, I long ago gave up on Christianity ever actually getting this across to Christians (and am quite certain that I’ve utterly failed myself), but found some hope that it yet might in the work of Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, most specifically in his book The Christian Future: Or The Modern Mind Outrun.
    Rosenstock’s work alone has tempted me more than once to re-enter Christianity in some capacity, but I’ve thus far resisted the temptation. It’s just a little too wonky, especially in the States, to find a place for myself there. It just doesn’t look anything like Jesus himself intended, in my opinion, but the Christian canon certainly has the potential to change that.
    Christianity would then align perfectly with the universal teaching on this subject to be found in all the world’s religions. The goal is not “to become one with I AM.” The goal is to real-ize “I AM” in our daily lives. There has never been nor will there ever be a time when we are not “one” with “I AM,” regardless what we might think or what others might have us think.

    For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate
    us from… [Romans 8:38]

    …”I Am.”

    Thanks Steven, and all the best!

    1. Hi David!

      Good to hear from you, I hope you’re doing great and all is well! 🙂

      I’ve come across this mystical interpretation of Jesus’ statement before, when I was very involved with New Age spirituality. After studying the New Testament I think it’s quite clear, from a number of statements, that Jesus did mean that to believe in Him and follow Him is the only way to be saved.

      I think my Christian followers will have a field day with Infinite Warrior’s comment! But seeing as my beliefs aren’t certain at this point in time, I’m not going to get into the depths of the arguments.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, David, much appreciated!

      Looking forward to your next post and I do hope you’re enjoying your new surroundings.

      Peace and blessings,

      Steven

      1. Hi Steven,

        I wasn’t aware that you used to be involved in New Age spirituality. I’ve dabbled in it a little bit in the past myself, and found some of it quite profound. Yet on the whole, I found it lacks something the ancient religions and spiritualities possess, as well as the movements seem to be a little too “feel good” if you know what I mean.

        If you have the time, if you’ve got any links to a Christian apologetic writer, who defends the notion that Jesus is the only way. That would be much appreciated.

        Blessings to you too!
        David

        1. Hi David,

          Check out James White, Nabeel Qureshi, Jeff Durban, Ravi Zacharias – I believe they are all apologists who defend a ‘Jesus is the only way’ standpoint. You can find plenty of material from these guys on YouTube or Amazon.

          If I can help in any other way, let me know!

          God bless.

          Steven

  6. Hi Steven,

    May I first commend you on your ability to transmit your thoughts to blog. I am forever making poor attempts at doing so and reading well seasoned writers such as yourself really gives me the boost I need to keep going.

    You say that God is in control of our thoughts and actions, however if that were so, it would mean that he is behind the intentions we have to commit sin, but Saint James in his letter explains that God cannot tempt us. He cannot move us towards sin.

    This is because God has given us free will to choose Love or to choose hate. He is not in control of that otherwise he could not be perfect love for perfect Love casts out all fear.

    Gods bless and thank you for taking interest in my blog.

    Stephen

    1. Hi Stephen!

      Many thanks for your kind comment, and for taking the time to visit my blog, I really appreciate it 🙂

      I’m very familiar with the free will argument you make, but I simply disagree. I believe God is omnipresent, which means there is no atom anywhere in existence that is not part of God. In this context, we cannot be free. I realise this means God is in control of everything Christians call ‘good’ and everything they call ‘evil’. I understand and accept that. But it makes much more sense for me to accept that than to place limitations on God (I have a very high view of God).

      I believe that divine omnipresence and human free will are logically contradictory. I realise this makes it hard for me to be a Christian, and this is my great struggle, which you can read about on my ‘About’ page and in my essay ‘An Almighty Predicament’ (on the Essays page) if you’re interested. You can also email me if you’d like to have a more in depth discussion about this.

      While you’re likely to disagree, I hope you understand my position.

      Thanks again – and I’ve just seen you’ve hit the follow button, I’m very grateful for that!

      Peace and blessings,

      Steven

      1. Hi Steven,

        I agree regards Gods omnipresence and that ultimately he holds entire universe in balance.

        However as God he is free to give us and confer upon us special gifts and one of those is free will.

        Just because Gods presence is both in and through everything does not preclude we are denied free will.

        To use an earthly example: If water is present everything in some shape or form all around us in the athmosphere, then how come we don’t drown?

        If this is how water behaves ( which God created) then what supposes God from behaving in similiar fashion who himself is the creator of all?

        Have I at least giving you some food for thought here? Gods presence is entirely different from HIS will. Does that makes sense?

        God bless

        Stephen

        1. Hi Stephen,

          “Just because Gods presence is both in and through everything does not preclude we are denied free will.”

          Unfortunately, I disagree with you on this point. God beats my heart and flows my blood and grows my hair, He grows the trees and plants, He moves the planets and the clouds. He is actively controlling everything that happens, because He is boundless being. There is literally no room for freedom from God. I believe all that exists is part of God, and contained within Him. In Him we live and move and have our being. How are we free from God if we are a part of God? That doesn’t make sense to me.

          I don’t really understand your water analogy, to be honest, apologies! Perhaps you could give me another analogy?

          I’m having Internet problems currently but hopefully this will reach you and you can respond 😊

          Peace and blessings,

          Steven

          1. Stephen

            God flows through all of us and everything but he has a will. His will is entirely different to His presence. For example, I am present in the room but I will not to hit you with a frying pan. See what I mean? I am in control of whether or not I hit you with an object regardless of my presence in the room.

            I hope your internet connection improves.

            1. Hi Stephen,

              Actually, I think God’s presence and His will are intimately connected. How is God able to carry out His will if not by His presence?

              I believe God is the animating force behind all activity in existence.

              I don’t understand the frying pan analogy either I’m afraid, sorry! Surely you have to present to carry out your will?

              Steven

            2. Yes but God gets to choose what he will do in that moment amidst his presence. I can choose to give you a box of sweets or not. This choice is not dependent upon my presence even though my presence must be there in order to carry it out.

              Same with God, his presence doesn’t mean he becomes involved in our free will simply because it’s his gift to us. God cannot be inclined to control us towards evil simply because He Himself chose not to. His presence in the situation has nothing to do with what he wills only that as you say, it is necessary.

            3. I agree that God chooses what He will do, and is able to carry out His will because He is present everywhere. In order for anything to actually happen, it is the result of God’s will.

              On the human level, whatever we do is what God is doing through us. I believe we are like puppets in God’s hands.

              Perhaps you pray to God about your life circumstances? If so, aren’t you acknowledging that He’s in control of every aspect of your life?

            4. He isn’t in control of every aspect of my life. Such is my free will I pray to him to intervene and invite him to take control of a situation in my life. He then chooses whether or not he will take action.

            5. Okay, so just so we can clarify where we disagree – you don’t believe God is in control of those things I mentioned, things like the beating of our hearts, the flowing of our blood, the digestion of food, the growing of our hair, etc? You believe you are doing these things by your own free will?

              And you believe God is somehow outside of you but can intervene in your life? Do you believe God is dipping in and out of your circumstances – coming into your life and then retreating somewhere else somehow?

            6. To answer your question yes God is in control of everything and the air I breathe is something he gives and takes away. He creates life and he takes it. But the one gift he has given me is to choose good or evil.

              That’s the whole point of prayer to petition God to intervene in my situation. He’s always in my life but must ask him to change my circumstances. You may be in the room but I must ask you to help me do the dishes and don’t expect it.

            7. Well, Stephen, I think that’s probably a good place to leave it. Thanks for the discussion, I hope it will be useful for people who happen to stumble upon it and read our exchange! These are matters that are at the heart of Christian theology so it’s good to talk about them.

              I wish you well, and you’re always welcome here!

              God bless,

              Steven

  7. Hi Steven

    If we assume that the Bible is inerrant, we face contradictions that don’t make sense because: we don’t know if there is a symbolic meaning to a story; we don’t understand the context; or we don’t know how to solve apparent contradictions between passages – remember how you dealt with the different views of how salvation happens and the extent of humanity that may be saved, each view supported by different scriptures?

    Add to this the human factor whereby original manuscripts had to be copied by scribes because the materials on which the originals were written could not last forever and you have possible copy errors too. Also, there were groups of Jewish Christians who wanted to preserve the Jewish practices and others like Paul who wanted to include the Gentiles and it’s difficult to know which doctrines are from Christ.

    Personally, I think faith in God’s goodness and the inherent goodness of human nature should be fostered and respected and that includes Muslims.

    Peace and love to all,

    Dinos

    1. Hi Dinos,

      Many thanks for your comment and I appreciate your points. I think textual criticism is a very complex area, but I do believe God (who is sovereignly in control of all things) is able to use the Bible to speak to people in exactly the way He wants to at any given time. So He has produced all the different versions over the centuries to be the way He wants them to be in order to communicate the Gospel and speak to people in different ways.

      I’m currently reading ‘The King James Only Controversy’ by James White, which is all about textual criticism and the history of the Bible. It’s a challenging read!

      Have a good weekend.

      Steven

  8. Do not let your mind get in the way. Bhakti, or selfless devotion to God, love of God comes from the heart. Work on that, and you will make progress.

    1. Hello Larry,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      What do you suppose I should be progressing towards, out of interest? And how do you decide what constitutes ‘selfless devotion to God’?

      These are genuine questions – I’m curious to learn more about how you perceive these things.

      Peace and blessings,

      Steven

  9. I have also read the whole Bible. The end result of this for me was Yoga (before you go away, you should understand that Yoga is not a religion or a belief system but a spiritual ‘science’ that is universal and inclusive of any religion, or none at all).

    Regarding your first question: According to my daughter and her husband, who are both very devoted Christians and have studied the Bible for years in the original language(s), the word ‘only’ does not exist in this context.

    Regarding your second question: The answer is “No.” It is absolute truth, but not the only text of its kind. One must consider history, and the damage done by Constantine to the masses of writings of the teachings of Jesus, that were burned after he dictated what would be allowed. He was first and foremost, a politician. The “Bible” as we know it, is what is left. This does not make it wrong, or not authentic.

    RE “the only way to the Father”. Jesus can rightfully say this because He knew who and what He was, and THAT is the only way. Because He has accepted every single one of us absolutely, regardless of our imperfections, surrendering to Him will save us. It’s a free ticket home.

    RE “many different interpretations re Truth.” There are many interpretations because there are many people, and not everyone is in the same place in this journey. Maybe they are ALL right (even if they appear to be contradictory).

    RE “the way we come to understand” is through experience. Not solely by intellect. It is for this reason that Yoga directs one to a regular “practice” in the same way a scientist uses a lab. Experience is the result, and proof is the prize. (My daughter would tell you the same thing. She and her husband do the same practice I do, but call it by a different name. I call it ‘surrender to God’.)

    If you depend solely on the mind, how is this different than depending solely on any one text, one interpretation, or one religion?

    All religions have the same Truth at the core, but religion tends to externalize and demand agreement among its members. This results in “belief systems”, which are subjective.

    Now, ‘faith’ is an interesting word. I like it better than ‘belief’. But both work once you have proved God to yourself in your own lab. Then these words have a place.

    I would definitely say that God does not automatically control our lives. “To wholeheartedly dedicate my life to the teachings of Jesus Christ as we find them in the Bible, ….depend on God’s guidance, revelation, and ultimately, His will.” This is your surrender to God, to Jesus — you surrender by your own choice — no one has forced you to do this.

    Your prayer is beautiful and I believe (!) it will surely be answered. You have put God, Jesus, in the driver’s seat, so That is what will be in charge of your life to the degree that you remain surrendered to That.

  10. My goodness – I don’t know how I missed this post earlier. Forgive me. I believe that God will continue to honor your quest for truth and your faithfulness to learn more about Him.

    Keep asking the good questions, my friend. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 I’m planning to post an article today which is another of those ‘asking difficult questions’ posts, and I’m hoping I don’t offend anyone. I feel I must share these thoughts at least once in my life, to allow me to understand and process them and arrive at a place of greater clarity (possibly!).

      I appreciate your patience and support!

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