Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in. In today’s program, we continue a two-installment series of classics from our Search the Scriptures Daily archives with the late founder of The Berean Call Dave Hunt and TBC executive director Tom McMahon. This week they address the question: Is Tolerance Today’s Supreme Virtue? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
Last week we touched upon some things in Dave Hunt’s book Seeking and Finding God: In Search of the True Faith. Now, some things, Dave, that I think we should expand upon – for example, we noted being tolerant of everything is today’s supreme virtue, and being intolerant of anything, especially anything religious, could land you in jail. Now, in the face of that – in view of that – you make some rather…might I say “intolerant” declarations in your book, such as: “The beliefs of many religious people are little more than sanctified superstitions.” You state that the Bible declares itself to be the only inspired Word of the one true God, and that it claims that all of the world’s religions and their sacred scriptures are false. Then you sort of bring it all to a head by challenging anyone who’s seeking after God and ultimate truth to start with the Bible rather than attempting to search all the religions of the world. And you give your primary reason for having somebody do that – if they start with the Bible…well, to start with the Bible because only it, you say, has features that make it possible to substantiate its claims.
Dave: And furthermore, it says all the rest of them are wrong.
Dave: So if you can prove it’s right, you’ve saved a lot of time.
Tom: But, Dave, before we get to that, how do you respond to those who say Christianity can’t be the only true religion because number one, it’s a sect of Judaism, and both of which came much later than Hinduism and Buddhism?
Dave: I wouldn’t say that the books of Moses came later than the Vedas. I don’t know, but the books of Moses talk about the beginning: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” So you can’t get back farther than that, and the Vedas do not tell you that. They’re superstitions; they’ve got all kinds of nonsense.
Tom: Well, what about Christianity being a “sect” of Judaism?
Dave: It’s not a sect of Judaism, it’s the fulfillment; but not of Judaism, but the fulfillment of the Old Testament, it’s called. That was the first covenant, the old covenant. And the New Testament, the new covenant, talks about the old covenant being – not done away with, but it is fulfilled. And so, there are so many prophecies, as we’ve talked about many times, in the old covenant that are fulfilled in the new covenant.
So the Messiah, for example, He would establish a new covenant. And Christ at the Last Supper, when he took the bread and the wine, He said of the wine and the bread, He said, “This is my body. Take it and eat it in remembrance of me.” And the wine, He said, “This is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for many.” So it’s not a sect of Judaism. I don’t know where anyone would get that idea.
Tom: Dave, they launch these ideas, and it does trip up many Christians.
I also think about the Book of Genesis. This is Moses – Moses writing the Book of Genesis, which was a time in history far earlier than when he was born, okay? Now, if you look at Genesis, it has the gospel in it: Genesis:3:15. So what God had presented in Genesis, as you said, is certainly fulfilled ultimately in the New Testament.
Dave: That’s right.
Tom: So for somebody to say, “Well, this religion or that religion predates Christianity or Judaism,” or anything like that, it’s not the case! How much father back can you go than the creation of Adam and Eve, the first humans?
Dave: Well, Tom, I know that Dawkins and people like that, they say, “Oh, man’s been on this earth 250,000 years,” and so forth. Well, look it up, Tom. I have tried to verify these things. I cannot find language more than 3500 BC, and that’s about when the Bible says; 4000 BC is when Adam came out of the garden. So I don’t know about these claims – tens of thousands of years?
Furthermore, and not to get off the subject here, Tom, which I know I’m an expert; I could probably win the Olympic event in this.
Tom: But you do have a way of coming back. Your rabbit trails always end up back at the rabbit hole, so that’s good.
Dave: Right, right. Tom – and again, I’m not getting into this. We deal with these things in Cosmos, Creator, and Human Destiny. But the fact of the matter is DNA, it does make mistakes; it is subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Now, the atheistic evolutionist used to say, “Now, wait a minute, Second Law of Thermodynamics – no, these are living things. You can’t apply that to living things.” Well, we can, because it causes errors in the DNA, copying errors, although there are editing procedures that are built into it, but some of them sneak through. And if you want to calculate it scientifically, we couldn’t have been here any longer than what the Bible says, or our DNA would be so fouled up by now. And we’re not going to be here much longer, because we are a deteriorating race of human beings, and of course all the animals are deteriorating, as well.
So anyway, all this talk about thousands and thousands of years ago…I just don’t buy it. You cannot prove it scientifically; in fact you’ve proved the opposite.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Well, Dave, you’re starting to sound a little bit intolerant here of these things, and that’s what I want to go back to, okay?
Dave: We want to be intolerant of error.
Tom: I hope so. And I hope that, although we’ve been mesmerized by this idea that you need to be tolerant of everything…
Dave: Except Christianity.
Tom: Well, yeah. But there are many other exceptions to it, Dave, yet we seem to gloss those over – not we, but certainly the world, the media is glossing those things over.
Well, I want to go back to this idea…again I’ll restate it: Your primary reason for having someone start with the Bible is because only it, you say, has features that make it possible to substantiate its claims.
Tom: I want to go over some of those features, okay? Because I am sure the people that fall in line with what you said, no religions—what you referred to with regard to other religions, that they are just superstitions, sanctified superstitions, and so on – now is the opportunity to at least get them to think about something.
Dave: All right.
Tom: All right. So you say Christianity (to begin with, the Bible is about Christianity) is not a philosophy, a mystical experience, or esoteric practice. Will you just elaborate on that a bit?
Dave: Well philosophies come from men, and Paul writes in Colossians 2, “Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy.” Now, I’m not opposed to philosophy, because men are thinking, and they are trying to come up with ideas, and of course they disagree with one another. Philosophies change, but not the Bible. The Bible does not change, and it’s not a philosophy; it’s not proposing something.
Tom: Or speculations.
Dave: Right, it’s giving facts. This is it. Facts of history; facts about God; facts about ourselves; facts about…how are you going to be saved? How will you get back in the right relationship with God? This is factual, it is not speculation.
Tom: What about mystical experience? We see that’s large in the evangelical church today. I mean, I had 30 years of it growing up Roman Catholic. But to see this come into the evangelical church, which is, to me - the breath of fresh air was that it was Word-oriented, the Word-of-God-oriented. But now mystical experience has become a part of a major movement within evangelical Christianity called the Emerging Church.
Dave: Well, the mystical experiences – what are they? Well, something beyond your ability to comprehend. It’s feeling oriented; it involves experiences that you have, supposedly.
Tom: Terribly subjective.
Dave: Right. But you don’t find that in the Bible. That’s not the way to God. God says, and we’ve quoted these verses numerous times – and one of your favorites, Tom, Proverbs:4:7: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: but with all thy getting get understanding.”
You see, one of the things the atheists, and I’ve listened to quite a few of them now, they always say, “Well, faith, faith – well, that’s just a leap in the dark. I mean, the idea of faith is that you don’t have any evidence, you don’t have any reason for it. You just believe something, and you can’t argue with someone if they say ‘That’s my faith,’” okay? Well, then, that’s sacred ground, and you can’t dispute it.
Tom: No. You’d be intolerant.
Dave: Right. But what does the Bible say? Well, God says in Jeremiah, we just fall back…I mean it’s all through the Bible, but certain verses we fall back upon. Jeremiah:9:24: “Let him…” Well, we have to go to 23: “Let not the wise glory in his wisdom, the rich in his riches, the mighty in his might, but let him that glorieth glory in this: that he’s had a mystical experience of me…” No, “that he understandeth,” it says, “and knoweth…” But it doesn’t even put “knoweth” first. “That he understandeth and knoweth me. I am the true God. I execute righteousness, justice, and truth upon the earth,” and so forth.
So Jesus said, John:17:3, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
And you, Tom, you’ve given a number of times – I think it’s worth repeating: in Matthew 13, Jesus gives the parable of the sower who went forth to sow. The first seed fell by the wayside; the birds of the air came and took it away. The disciples said, “What does that mean?” Jesus said, “When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom and he doesn’t get all goose bumpy and he doesn’t get mystical experiences,” and so forth – no! Anyone who hears the Word of the kingdom, and that’s the gospel, and does not understand it, Satan comes and takes that right out of his heart. So the Bible over and over – I could give you many more verses – the Bible over and over emphasizes understanding, knowing the truth, okay, not a mystical experience.
Tom: Right. So, Dave, those who are telling us today, and it’s coming out of the woodwork, that, “No, we are finite beings. God is infinite. We can’t understand God; we don’t have the capacity to understand God,” they are basically calling God a liar. Isaiah: “Come let us reason together,” God says. So can’t an infinite God do just exactly what He says: make these things understandable for us?
Dave: Well, yeah. How does He make them understandable? He has given us the capacity to understand…
Dave: …and He brings it down to our level. But you…
Tom: Seems simple to me, Dave.
Dave: It is. You don’t have to be a genius, because the Bible is written to common people, so certainly. But it’s understanding: “With all thy getting, get understanding.” And you will not get understanding in a mystical experience.
And, Tom, you’ve said it a number of times when we were discussing the Emergent Church, [or] Emerging Church. Well, they say, “Well, homosexuality, that’s a little bit difficult subject. I think we need five years, and if we don’t quite come to an agreement at the end of five years, well, we’ll take another five years.” And Tom, I’m not diverging too far. I know you warn me about that. I’m probably…
Tom: Yeah, Dave, I put the fear of God in you, didn’t I?
Dave: I’m probably the champion. But here are the Lutherans, top people in the Lutheran Church, and the Catholic bishops and so forth – they studied, they dialogued for 30 years! Then they put out a document, you know: justification by faith, and so forth. Wow, we finally agree on it!
Well then, you know…(I like to be a little bit sarcastic, if people will allow me to do that). And so, here is the Philippian jailer. He cries out, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Paul says, “Do you have about 30 years? This is really a complicated subject, and we may have to go into a few trances before we get to…”
Tom: Or seek other opinions from the psychologists, the sociologists, and scholars and so on.
Dave: Right, right. The Bible is very straight forward. God wants us to know Him. And He reveals himself, but in Hinduism? No, you can’t know. In Islam? Allah is unknowable by very definition. Not the Bible.
Tom: Right. Dave, the third part of this is you say it’s not an esoteric practice. I think about for…so many things that are, that have come down the pike – now we have The Secret – there are esoteric ideas and practices. There are these concepts that you need magic and ritual and incantations and all that stuff to really bring the truth out. That’s not what the Bible is about.
Dave: Well, if you went back to…I love the Bible, Tom; you can’t get away from it. All you have to do is read the Bible, and let it speak to you. But if you went back to Isaiah:48:16, the one who is speaking, he says, “Go back as far as you can to the beginning, there am I.” Now, that’s got to be God. And He says, “I have not spoken in secret.” It’s for everybody, okay? God says that. Wait a minute, who is this God? He says, “The Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me.” You’ve got the Trinity right there, Isaiah:48:16. You can’t deny it. Here’s one who is God; he’s been there since the beginning, but “the Lord God and his Spirit sent me.” Okay, and He says, “I have not spoken in secret.”
Now, Jesus…well, maybe they didn’t even get it. When He’s brought before the high priest after His betrayal, and there He is; He’s in chains, bound, and they are going to judge Him. They say to Him, “Well, tell us about your doctrine, and your disciples.”
Remember what He says? “I have not spoken in secret. Why don’t you ask those who heard me?” Okay? This…
Tom: He wasn’t referring to the scholars and the priesthood. He’s was talking to – there was a mob there!
Dave: This is not a secret – secret organization. But Jesus was saying – He was claiming to be this one who speaks from the beginning. So, esoteric? No.
Tom: Well, go back over these. It’s not a philosophy, mystical experience, or an esoteric practice because if that were the case, then, Dave, you’d be dead in the water. You couldn’t substantiate the claims that you are going to lay out for our audience.
Dave: Of course. Right, right.
Tom: Because this is all subjective, it’s speculative; you just can’t nail it down. These are men’s opinions.
Dave: Esoteric: that’s a secret organization. Ah, isn’t that…Tom, why don’t we start a secret organization? I mean, people really love to join secret organizations like the Masons; they go through rituals, you can have passwords.
Tom: Well, like the Dalai Lama. He’s initiating people into Kalachakra, Tantric yoga! And he tells the initiates that if you reveal any of these secrets, you’re going to end in hell. That’s not…I don’t think he got the Nobel Peace Prize for that, did he?
Dave: Well, I guess he did. They must have known…
Tom: Yeah, I guess he did.
Dave: …what he believed. But Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was the same: you went into TM, you were initiated with a secret word, a secret mantra, only for you, and so forth, which was a lie.
Tom: Okay, so you say it’s not philosophical, it’s not really a mystical experience, not esoteric. But it’s intricately tied into established history. It can be evaluated on the basis of evidence, that’s what Christianity is about. You say the Bible stands upon a fourfold foundation, every part of which can be examined and verified. This is what we are trying to encourage our listeners, our viewers, to get into the Bible, because it makes…it has evidence, and it can be substantiated. Its claims can be substantiated. So what are these fourfold foundation? Prophecy, prophecy fulfilled, historical corroboration, factual data corroborated by archeology and science. Now, we’re going to get into those, Dave, but generally that’s what the Bible offers. Do any of the other sacred books offer that? So-called sacred…
Dave: Not that I know of. Certainly not the Qur’an, which is…well, it’s the largest denomination now. They have exceeded the Catholics. They’re not more than all Christians put together. I think…
Tom: Or professing Christians.
Dave: Yeah, professing Christians, right. I think there must be 1.3 billion now? And there’s 1.1 billion Catholics. But that doesn’t make it right, of course. But they have no history; they have no real manuscripts even. But there’s no scientific basis, there’s no historical…because, well, we can give you the history. You want the history of Islam? Three of the first four successors to Muhammad, they were murdered by fellow Muslims! That’s a great start! How would you like the disciples of Jesus killing one another? And they killed one another by the hundreds of thousands as well as killed other people by the millions! Okay? We’ve got plenty of history about Islam, but it doesn’t…there’s no verification of any doctrines, of any truth. Muhammad just says, “Well, this is what the angel Gabriel told me he got from Allah.” We just have to take his word for it. You cannot verify this, but you can verify the Bible.
Tom: Dave, we only have about three minutes left, but it’s time to go over the very thing that separates biblical Christianity, Christ Himself, from every other religion, and that is its central doctrine. Did Buddha die for our sins? Confucius…any of these leaders? Many of them in some of the religions were mythical. But for the historical figures…
Dave: Well, it’s God becoming a man through a virgin birth. Nobody…that’s not in Hinduism, you know, although they have many avatars. But what are these avatars? Well, half man, half elephant: Ganesh.
Tom: Hanuman the monkey god.
Dave: Right. Oh my gracious, the monkey god. But this is an avatar. This is Vishnu coming to this earth, not by a virgin birth, but by some mystical who knows what – hocus pocus and here he is…no. But we have God becoming a man; doesn’t cease to be God, never ceased to be man, the one and only God/Man – the unique and only begotten Son of God. And He comes and lives a perfect sinless life. He fulfills all the prophecies: the very day He would ride into Jerusalem; that He would be crucified 500 years before crucifixion was known; He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver that would be thrown down in the temple, and they would buy a potter’s field to bury strangers in. I mean, we can go down the list of the prophecies. No prophecies for Muhammad, no prophecies for any of these avatars, no prophecies for Buddha or Krishna, or any of them! But there are for Jesus Christ, and He fulfilled every one! And this is how Paul would preach the gospel. He went into…Acts 17, he went into the synagogue, he opened their Scriptures, he said: “Look what your prophets said about the Messiah, okay?” A, B, C, D, right down the list—this is what it said. You cannot deny these were contemporaries, you cannot deny this was all fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
Now try to do that with Buddha or Confucius or Muhammad or anyone else. It can’t be done; the Bible is unique!
Tom: Dave, next week, the Lord willing, I want to continue with this, at least to make the point that biblical Christianity, Jesus Christ, God who became a man – although we don’t consider biblical Christianity to be religion; all the religions of the world have gods that you have to appease, that you have to do certain things for. Only biblical Christianity presents a God who has done it for us. Not human achievement here, but divine accomplishment: He did it all for us. There’s nothing like that.
Dave: Amen. And the saying that Christianity is not about what we must do, it’s what Christ has done.
Gary: You’ve been listening to a special edition of Search the Scriptures 24/7 with Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. The complete radio discussion of Dave’s “Seeking and Finding God” is available from The Berean Call.
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