In what way is the Bible a special book?

Bibles

The Bible is a special book in many ways. It has had a massive impact on the culture and language of many countries. And it is seen as holy scripture by about a third of the world. We can read it and be inspired, amazed, horrified and challenged.

But we tend to like to classify things. So how exactly should be describe the Bible?

In this rather long page (sorry!) I look at whether we should believe the Bible is inspired by God, whether this means it is perfectly true in every way, and how much of what christians believe about the Bible comes from the Bible itself.

Background facts

The Bible comprises 66 different writings (or books) written over a period of centuries by many different authors. Each of the Old and New Testaments was only compiled in its present form several centuries after the books were written.

The books include many different genres of writing – history, biography, poetry, prophecy, proverbs, visions, etc. We cannot therefore assume that what is said about or by one book necessarily applies to all the others.

The Bible is a story

People say and write a lot about the Bible. But here is something interesting: the way we write about the Bible is very different from the way the Bible itself is written.

Most of the books, newspaper articles and webpages about the Bible (including this page) are written like impersonal essays – a string of observations and evidence making some point. But the Bible itself is something quite different. A large part of the Bible is stories – and most of the rest is very personal.

Stories from Genesis to Revelation

The Bible starts with stories (Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, and the gang) continues with stories through the major events in Jewish sacred history (Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon and a whole bunch of heroes, villains, kings and prophets). Even the prophets, who warn Israel of impending danger, tell stories and graphically illustrate their message.

Stories are just as important in the New Testament, where the key components of christian belief – the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and the beginning of the christian church through the power of the Holy Spirit – are again told and explained through stories.

There are different types of stories, to be sure, from the ‘sagas’ of the early Old Testament, through historical chronicles in the later Old Testament and into the New, to the biographies that we know as the four gospels.

Jesus was particularly known as a story teller – Mark’s gospel tells us (Mark 4:34) that at one point, his public teaching was almost entirely based on parables. And Jesus’ parables of the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Fool, and many others are among the best known stories in our culture.

Even the last book, Revelation, which is primarily visual, also tells stories.

What!? No Systematic theology!?

The Bible we read contains 66 separate ‘books’ or writings. They include (depending exactly how you classify them – some have elements of more than one genre) 18 sagas or historical chronicles, the sayings of 17 prophets, 4 biographies, 21 letters, and half a dozen varied writings (poems, songs, stories, musings on life and an apocalyptic vision).

There isn’t a textbook, a systematic theology, a catechism or formal credal statement among them, although a few sections contain small elements of some of these. In the Bible, truth is not general known via impersonal facts, but through stories which can be universally appreciated and through teachings (in the prophets and the letters) which are very personal and written into very specific situations.

Taste the difference!

This might be a little unexpected to us today. We’re used to reading about truth, whether in science, history, philosophy or theology, in prose. Often difficult prose with lots of big technical words in thick well-meaning books. John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion are in prose, not story. So is Martin Rees’ book on cosmology Just Six Numbers. And so is Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion.

Why stories?

If you want to give a lot of facts, there’s nothing like a good description, perhaps accompanied by a table or a graph. However it is easy to glaze over when facts are presented.

But a story grabs our attention if it is well told. It gives pictures and insights that may be unforgettable. A story may not be so good on presenting detail, and each story comes from the perspective of the story-teller. But a story can make the ‘big picture’ easy to understand. And a good story makes us think rather than tell us everything.

Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son tells a human story with which we can all identify. It speaks to each of us in different ways. And most people will remember the story of extravagent forgiveness long after they have forgetten a homily on the same theme.

The Bible is one big story

Not only is the Bible composed of many stories, but christians believe it tells one big story. The evidence is everywhere:

  1. The beginning of the story contains promises that God will do certain actions in the future. Further promises are made to the king, David, about his descendents.
  2. The prophets continue to interpret the past from God’s perspective and point to a coming and glorious future that they themselves never see. But expectation grows ….. and grows.
  3. Then Jesus comes and says that all these promises and hopes are fulfilled in him. The people are divided, but many believe him, on the basis of his teachings and healings.
  4. Jesus’ apostles, principally Paul, point over and over again to how Jesus is the fulfilment of the whole Jewish scriptures. God’s daring plan to include all peoples in his kingdom is now able to be understood.
  5. Finally, in the last book in the Bible, we see the broad sweep of history in a series of cataclysmic visions. What God started at Genesis, he will surely finish.

The Bible is indeed a story book and a book of stories.

So what can we learn about the Bible from all this?

As christians we believe God planned for us to have the Bible. So we can only conclude that:

  1. He never wanted it to be primarily a textbook. He apparently made no effort to make it a comprehensive statement or reference on doctrine, or ethical behaviour, although of course it does contain both.
  2. Doctrinal and ethical truths are not taught academically, but are shown in very practical ways in specific situations and in people’s lives.
  3. In telling a story, the Bible’s truths are available to the educated and illiterate alike. Everyone can see and understand ‘the big picture’ of what God is doing. Yet there is plenty of meat on the story bones for those who need this. In this way it is egalitarion.
  4. Jesus’ parables were stories designed to elicit a response, to encourage people who were interested in knowing more to think and ask questions, while allowing others to let the teaching go right past them. It seems that the Bible may be somewhat the same – we can choose to focus on the main messages, or not.
  5. God’s message is not to be understood just with the intellect, but with our imagination, and with the spiritual core of our being.

Exercises in missing the point

Unfortunately, many readers, christians and sceptics alike, miss a lot of this. They approach the Bible as if it was a textbook. Finding different perspectives, they either decide the Bible can’t be ‘true’, or try to find ways to harmonise the differences. In the end, this can be a diversion that keeps us from hearing God’s story.

Of course we need to determine whether the Bible truly tells God’s story, but we need to understand that story first, and judge it according to what it is, not on what we think it is.

Bibles

What the Bible says about itself

Before we look at how christians describe the Bible, we must look at how the Bible describes itself.

Reporting

Many of the books of the Bible recount what are claimed to be historical events, whether in the life of the nation of Israel, or in an individual’s life. In several places they claim to be telling the truth or recording events accurately.

Many books of the Bible claim to describe the actions of God in human history, whether through the Israelite nation or in the ministry of Jesus and his apostles. God is seen as the hidden, and not so hidden, hand behind Jewish history. In many places, Old Testament books interpret events from God’s viewpoint. The writers don’t always say how they know this. Sometimes they were apparently present at the events but don’t always give an indication of how they know God was acting, or why.

God speaks

But in many places, the writers say God has spoken to them. This is most seen in the Old Testament prophets, but also occurs in many other books in both Testaments. And of course the teachings of Jesus were understood as communications from God via Jesus. These claims generally don’t extend to the books themselves, only to the original oracle or vision which the books record.

However there are a few places where New Testament writers quote Old Testament books, and say “The Holy Spirit says ….” – see for example Hebrews 3:7 & 10:15. There are also some occasions where the prophet or seer is told to write the vision down – e.g. Jeremiah 36:2, Revelation 1:19.

Inspiration

Two New Testament passages are often quoted to support the teaching that the Scriptures were inspired by God:

2 Peter 1:21: “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

This passage doesn’t really make the process very clear, although it may perhaps imply that the Holy Spirit led the writers’ thoughts without giving them the actual words. However this statement only describes how prophecy occurs, and doesn’t necessarily extend to all the books of the Bible.

2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”

This passage doesn’t specify which scriptures Paul had in mind, but it must have been the Old Testament. It has been interpreted several ways:

  1. The most common explanation is that “God-breathed” means that God ‘breathed out’ the words so they are his words given to the writers. However this doesn’t easily account for the fact that the writers have distinctly different styles, and sometimes even make grammatical mistakes.
  2. There are several places in the Bible when God is said to have “breathed” (e.g. Ezekiel 37:1-4, John 20:21-23), and in each case he breathed into something that already existed and gave it life. On this interpretation, God enlivens the human writings and uses them to reveal truth, thus saying more about our reading than the original writing.
  3. I have also read that the image of “breath” or “wind” describes how the wind fills the sails of a ship. This meaning would be similar to that in 2 Peter 1:21, that the Spirit motivated the writers without necessarily giving them exact instructions – just as the wind powers a sailing boat but the sailor still steers it – and is perhaps similar to the normal modern meaning of inspiration.
  4. Finally it is sometimes said that the best translation is “All God-breathed scriptures are profitable”, which could perhaps fit any of the above interpretations.

The meanings may not all be mutually exclusive. I feel drawn to the second and third ones, while the first is the most common among christians. However, while it is tempting to choose the meaning that most fits what we’d like to be true, the truth seems to be that the Greek isn’t clear and we cannot be sure what Paul meant.

Authoritative scriptures

The Greek word graphe, translated ‘scriptures’ is used more than 50 times in the New Testament, generally referring to the Jewish scriptures which we know as the Old Testament. It literally means ‘writings’, but generally in the sense of sacred and/or authoritative writings for a community who wishes to follow God’s teachings. (In How to interpret the Bible? we look at how Jesus and his apostles used their Scriptures in ways we might not expect.)

In one interesting New Testament passage, 2 Peter 3:16, the writer compares Paul’s letters to “the other scriptures”. Many scholars think 2 Peter was not written by the apostle Peter, but the passage still shows that the church began very early to equate the writings we have in the New Testament to the Jewish scriptures.

Teaching for life

As an authoritative writing, the Bible claims to give good advice on how we should live (e.g. Isaiah 58:1-10). But we should note that this guidance is not always absolute, as Jesus updates the Old Testament on some ethical matters (e.g. Matthew 5:21-22), and Paul says we serve God in a less legalistic way than before (1 Corinthians 3:5).

Bibles

What the Bible doesn’t seem to say

But some of the things christians say about the Bible are not claims the Bible makes about itself.

Word of God?

By ‘Word of God’, most people mean that the Bible is actually God’s words, communicated through the human authors. But is this true?

What ‘Word of God’ means in the Bible

According to BibleGateway.com, the phrase “Word of God” occurs 39 times in the Bible, mostly in the New Testament, and the phrase “Word of the Lord” occurs 230 times, mostly in the Old Testament. These references mostly fit into the following categories:

God speaking in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, both phrases almost always mean that God spoke to one or more people, either directly or through a prophet – i.e. verbal rather than written communication. Example: 1 Chronicles 17: 3: “But that night the word of God came to Nathan, saying ….”

The phrases almost always cannot mean the written text of the Old Testament, because it wasn’t written at that time, and the context clearly shows it to be a spoken word.

God speaking through Jesus or the Holy Spirit

In the New Testament, the phrases sometimes have a similar meaning, as Jesus or the Holy Spirit speak to people. Example: Luke 5:1: “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.”

Jesus himself

In a very small number of cases, “Word of God” means Jesus. Example: Revelation 19:13: “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” John 1 calls Jesus “the Word” but doesn’t actually use the phrase “Word of God”.

The message about Jesus

But the most common usage of these phrases in the New Testament is to mean the message about the coming of Jesus, spoken by the apostles and obviously not yet written down in the form we now have it. Example: Acts 12:24: “But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.”

What ‘Word of God’ doesn’t appear to mean

I cannot find a single place where the Bible is unambiguously called “the Word of God”. The closest include these:

  • Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” This passage is often applied to the Bible, but the text doesn’t make that connection. In fact the context talks about God’s sight, suggesting that the passage is about God speaking and seeing, not about a written text.
  • Matthew 15:6: “Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” Jesus could indeed be speaking here about the Old Testament, but it seems more likely he was talking just about the Law given by God, which is only a part of the Old Testament.
  • John 10:34-35: “Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, “I have said you are gods”? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came – and Scripture cannot be set aside …”. Jesus here quotes Psalm 82:6, which he clearly describes as “Scripture”, and it could be that he uses “word of God” to also mean Scripture, but this isn’t clear, and again it seems more likely that he referring to God’s word to these particular people. (Note that in the original context, this Psalm is a judgment on the rich and powerful, who think they are like gods, but God will bring them down. Jesus has taken the Psalm out of its original context, which surely throws some doubt on its inerrancy.) Nevertheless, this is probably the closest that the Bible gets to calling Scripture the word of God.
  • Apologetics Press says this: “In just Psalm 119 alone, the Scriptures are exalted as the Word of God some 175 times.” Bible Gateway lists only 30 times, and none of these clearly refers to the written scriptures (much of which may not have been written at that time), some clearly do not (e.g. v 49 “Remember your word to your servant” and the most obvious meaning of them is God’s commands and laws.

Some misleading statements

In researching this, I have come across several christian websites that say that the Bible clearly describes itself as the word of God (see for example CARM, Bible.org and Got Questions). But none of them actually quote a passage that says this. Instead they quote passages that describe the Bible as Scripture or inspired, which is not the same thing.

As I review other sites supporting inerrancy (see list below), I find some of them quite misleading. They have no clear Biblical teaching so they take passages that are very doubtful and place more on them than can be justified.

Some arguments

Two arguments are sometime used to justify the description of the Bible as the word of God:

  1. The Bible many times records where God has spoken to people. It is claimed that this makes the Bible the word of God. But this is clearly an incorrect argument. Many christian books may quote the same occasions where God spoke, but this doesn’t make them the word of God. No, all we can say about these passages is that they show that the bible records the words of God on many occasions.
  2. Many christians argue that the Bible is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), so this must mean that it is the word of God. But we have seen that the meaning of inspired (literally “God breathed”) is not clear, and while it may mean that God “breathed out” the words, it is perhaps more likely that it means that God breathes into the words, or that God breathed into the authors. So, again, the argument does not necessarily follow.

Some counter arguments

It doesn’t seem like the Bible is God’s actual words, given to the authors. The authors have different styles, some use less correct grammar than others, and they don’t make any explicit claim to be writing the exact words God has said to them. Rather, they claim to be recording what they have seen and heard, or what others have seen and heard (see for example Luke 4:1-4). Some of what they record is claimed to be the actual words of God, but they don’t claim this for their writings.

These conclusions are reinforced by:

  1. Paul’s discussion of marriage in 1 Corinthians 7, where he carefully distinguishes between advice which comes from “the Lord” (v10) and from himself and “not the Lord” (v12, 25). It seems Paul is claiming that some of the things he writes are not directly from the Lord, although he has the Spirit when he makes his judgment.
  2. As I outline in How to interpret the Bible?, Jesus and the apostles did not quote and interpret the Old Testament as if they were the literal and unchangeable words of God, but flexibly and creatively.

Word of God?

I conclude then that the Bible cannot be said with any confidence to be the “word of God” in the sense of the actual words of God. It doesn’t make this claim in any clear way. It clearly had human authors, who believed they were recording important words or events that revealed God. That God inspired them and led them is clearly a reasonable conclusion, but it is by no means clear that God gave them the exact words.

If we want to be Biblical in our terminology, we will use “word of God ” to describe (i) actual words of God, or (ii) Jesus or (iii) the general message about God’s salvation through Jesus. It may be that describing the Bible as the “Word of God” in sense (iii) is an acceptable statement of faith that God speaks through the Bible, but we should be careful to distinguish what we mean by this, and not allow misconceptions to creep in.

This is not a radical conclusion

Some christians may be fearful about this conclusion, but it really changes very little. The Bible is still the written revelation of God’s actions in jewish history and in Jesus. We will still have disagreements over interpretation whether we believe it is the Word of God or not. It will still require faith and obedience to believe and act on what the Bible tells us. I consider these outcomes further in a page yet to be uploaded.

Bibles

Is the Bible inerrant?

Probably the strongest claim christians make about the Bible is that it is inerrant – it contains no errors. There are various limits put on this – e.g. it only applies to the original writings, it only applies to the meaning and intention of the writers – but within those limits it is perfectly accurate without the slightest inaccuracy.

There are many reasons to trust the Bible as a document that reveals God, especially the New Testament, but it is harder to justify going further and claiming it is inerrant. Below I look at the main arguments for and against.

It doesn’t say so

I don’t know of any verse which clearly claims this (a view apparently shared by christian scholar Peter Enns). I have looked up a dozen or more christian websites supporting inerrancy (a couple of examples: bible.org and John Frame), and I don’t recall seeing any of them quote a verse which unambiguously supports the idea. The nearest I can find are these:

  • Several Psalms make statements like “the law of the Lord is perfect” (Psalm 19:7). (Similar statements are found in, for example, Psalm 12:6, Psalm 119:89 and Proverbs 30:5-6.) But it isn’t at all clear that this refers to the written text of the Old Testament, especially as much of it wasn’t written at that time. It seems more likely that it is referring to God’s commands, not the written text.
  • Jesus said (John 10:35):“Scripture cannot be set aside” (sometimes translated as “the Scripture cannot be broken”). But while this makes clear we should not ignore or disbelieve the Scripture, it doesn’t say that the Scripture is without any error.

You would think that, if the doctrine of inerrancy is as important as proponents claim, God would have made it clearer.

It doesn’t seem to be inerrant

New Testament

While historians and other scholars find the New Testament to contain a bunch of generally good historical sources (see What the scholars tell us about the New Testament, there are nevertheless internal reasons why it doesn’t appear to be inerrant:

There are a number of minor inconsistencies and mistakes in the New Testament – misquotes, making wrong references to OT books and history, etc. These don’t change the meaning or the reliability of the writer in any significant way, but they do suggest the writers were subject to normal human limitations, like quoting Old Testament text from memory or only roughly quoting it. Believers in inerrancy have ways to explain these minor inconsistencies, but it doesn’t alter the fact that it doesn’t seem to be inerrant.

Old Testament

Archaeology has confirmed many aspects of Old Testament history, especially during the period of the kings. However, despite what some christian websites claim, archaeology is not so supportive of earlier Old Testament history (see What the scholars tell us about the Old Testament).

Archaeology is notoriously random and incomplete in what it finds, so we can certainly believe that many of these gaps are not based on errors but on incomplete information. However it is fair to say at least that, at this time, the Old Testament doesn’t seem to be inerrant in its history. (Here is the view of Peter Enns and a National Geographic summary of the scholarly state of play.)

The main argument

It turns out that most christians who support inerrancy do so on the basis of logic, not scripture. The following arguments are commonly used:

  • “If the Bible is the inspired Word of God, it could not contain error.” But we have seen that the Bible never claims to be the Word of God.The passage which describes inspiration can be interpreted several ways, and perhaps more likely refers to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit when we read it. This argument is based on what appear to be wrong assumptions.
  • “The Bible contains many places where God spoke to the authors, so the Bible must be without error.” But this is an invalid argument. I could write a book that quotes the words of God in the Bible, but that wouldn’t make the rest of my book inspired or inerrant.
  • Jesus promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit would lead them into truth (John 16:13) and remind them of the things he said (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:15). But again, this says nothing about the written text of the New Testament – in fact it would appear to say something much more general, perhaps applying to us today.

These arguments don’t seem to follow. And the fact that an important doctrine about the Bible relies not on the Bible’s teachings but on human reasoning, should tell us something straight away.

People need it?

Finally, it is sometimes argued that we need the Bible to be inerrant, or we lose our assurance of God’s message to us. But we are not promised such certainty, we have been given the Spirit to give us assurance and lead us into truth, and those who believe in inerrancy disagree about many things (see below). While this is not a very good argument for inerrancy, it may be a real reason why some people believe it.

It doesn’t matter …..

We don’t have the originals

Inerrancy is generally applied only to the original documents – no such claim is made for the copying and translation. This is a strange distinction to make, for if God could keep the writing free from error, he could surely have kept the copying and translation free from error also, if he wanted to. But this limitation on inerrancy does mean that the Bible we read is not inerrant. Proponents argue that the doctrine is still important, for if the original was without error, it makes it likely that the copies are more reliable.

Nevertheless, this makes it difficult to justify the importance of inerrancy over, say, a belief that it is reliable but not inerrant.

We are never promised certainty

Human beings are not perfect, neither is the church. As TS Eliot once wrote: ‘Between the idea, and reality …. falls the shadow.” Nevertheless, we make decisions in life, even in science, without certainty. And we manage quite satisfactorily, even if there are many disagreements.

We make decisions in christian belief without certainty too – in fact even the doctrine of inerrancy is not found in the Bible, so an inerrantist cannot believe that the doctrine is certainly true. We are not promised certainty – we are asked to believe on the basis of both evidence and faith, not certainty. It doesn’t seem as if we need this doctrine, except if we are fearful.

Inerrancy doesn’t guarantee agreement

This is the most important reason why the doctrine doesn’t matter, and is of little practical use. The important thing about the Bible is not what we say about it, but whether we believe and obey it (as both Jesus and James said – see Matthew 21:28-31 & James 1:22).

But it is the unfortunate reality that those who hold strongest to the doctrine of inerrancy are often also in the strongest disagreement with each other. It is often inerrantists who argue over pre- post- and a-millennialism or Calvinism vs Arminianism. Their inerrancy has not enabled them to get the same message from the Bible which they claim must be inerrant to guarantee truth!

Perhaps even worse, many of these same christians find ways to ignore some very serious Biblical teachings about wealth and materialism, about war and non-violence, about loving their enemies and about care for the poor. Somehow, they seem more concerned about inerrancy than obeying.

It must be said that these adverse remarks don’t apply to some very wonderful and admirable christians. But the point is still generally true – inerrancy doesn’t guarantee agreement on the Bible’s teachings, thus negating one of the main reasons why it is considered important.

…. or does it?

But at a deeper level, inerrancy does matter, but in the opposite way than many think.

Truth is important

Truth is very important to christians, or should be. If the Biblical and other evidence points to the Bible not being clearly inerrant, truth demands that we moderate our doctrines.

Unreasonable expectations destroy people’s faith

I have come across many, many christians and ex-christians whose faith was attacked because they believed in inerrancy. They believed an inerrant Bible was the reason why we could trust God, so when they came to believe that it couldn’t be inerrant after all, their faith suffered.

Ignoring the Holy Spirit

We christians generally know that our faith is not so much in the Bible, but in God – the Father who made us all, the Jesus revealed in the Bible, and the Holy Spirit who interprets the Bible to us. Our trust in the Bible is therefore not based on a doubtful doctrine of inerrancy, but on the work of the Holy Spirit “inspiring” it to us as we read.

It is unfortunately clear that many parts of the church today, including many inerrantists, have a very weak dependence on the Holy Spirit day-to-day, regardless of what they teach. Many churches do not allow the Spirit to speak through prophecy and healing, nor allow the Spirit to teach us new things from the Bible – many would rather hang on to the traditions of the past.

In the end, I feel this may be the most important point of all.

So what do we have?

Possibly the most important conclusion is that the Bible doesn’t seem to try to define itself in the sort of detail we would like. Nevertheless we can believe that God speaks through the Bible.

We can say that the Bible contains the sacred scriptures of Christians and Jews, it claims to have the authority of God behind it and to be in some sense be inspired by him, to record important events accurately, and to communicate people’s experiences of God, including times when God spoke through prophets, apostles or Jesus. And it claims to be able to help us live more truthful and moral lives, and to know God.

But the Bible doesn’t explicitly say several things that christians sometimes say about it, and which can be divisive and unhelpful, without helping us live for him. There is no strong Biblical or doctrinal reason to believe the Bible is inerrant, and some good practical reasons to be wary of the teaching. Those who believe in faith that the Bible is inerrant should be free to do so, but it should not be made a matter of essential doctrine or division.

Freedom and the future adventure

I believe we need to break loose of the restrictions of a legalistic approach to the Bible and truth. The New Testament warns us that the letter kills but the Spirit brings life (2 Corinthians 3:6, Romans 7:6). Let us live in that freedom, which isn’t the freedom to think whatever we like, but rather the freedom to allow the Spirit to teach us, including teach us new things from the scriptures.

Life following Jesus can be an adventure, as we set our sails, let loose our anchors, and allow the wind of the Spirit to take us into deep waters and uncharted territory. Just like his first disciples who left their nets to follow him, he will lead us in a new and meaningful life, where we put aside arguing about unbiblical and unclear doctrines that divide, and take up Jesus’ priorities of love, forgiveness, new life, caring for the poor and bringing God’s healing rule to all the earth.

Will you join me, and so many others, on this new adventure?

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