Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us. In today’s program, we begin 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, “Why Is Christianity So Intolerant?” And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re tuned in 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. In this first segment of our program, we’re going through Dave Hunt’s book, Seeking and Finding God, subtitled, In Search of the True Faith. And last week we pointed out that being tolerant of everything is today’s supreme virtue and being intolerant of anything, especially anything religious, could land you in jail. Nevertheless, Dave, you state that the Bible declares itself to be the only inspired Word of the one true God, and that it is absolutely intolerant of all the world’s religions. Then you challenge anyone who is truly seeking after God and ultimate truth to start with the Bible, rather than attempting to search all the religions of the world, because only the Bible has features that make it possible to substantiate its claims.
Dave: And the Bible says all the rest of them are wrong.
Dave: So if we can prove the Bible is true, we’ve saved a lot of time.
Tom: And you pointed out last week that Christianity is not a philosophy; it’s not a mystical experience or esoteric practice, which means it’s not in the realm of pure subjectivity, which these things, for the most part are. Now, here’s one of the things we talked about last week that I think is worth going over. Its central doctrine, the central doctrine of Christianity, sets itself apart from every religious belief system. No other religion has a founder or a God who became a man, who paid the full penalty for the sins of mankind. So Dave, let’s talk about that just briefly. It seems to me – and you know, a friend of mine likes to put it this way: there are only two religions, and we’re not…we’re only for the sake of comparison…we don’t believe that Biblical Christianity is a religion because religions primarily are man-made systems of belief, okay? But he says there’s divine accomplishment and human achievement. Human achievement: all the religions of the world – there’s something you need to do, it’s a religion of doing things.
Tom: Whereas Biblical Christianity is divine accomplishment. Christ did it all. There is nothing to do, it’s done. He did it all!
Dave: Yeah, unless people get the wrong impression, which some people are very quick to do. There is much to do because…not for salvation—Ephesians:2:10, I think it is: “We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” So we Christians ought to do more good deeds than anybody, but as I have often told Jehovah’s Witnesses—well, I don’t tell them very often because I think they have a mark on our house, so they don’t come back. But I used to tell them, “Look, I’ve knocked, probably knocked, on more doors than you have, in my younger days, when I wasn’t traveling all over and writing and so forth. But I knocked on doors out of love and gratitude to please my Savior because He paid the full penalty for my sins. You are knocking on doors in the hopes of earning your salvation, and you can’t even be sure. You have to pass a final test after Armageddon.
But the Bible offers certainty, absolute certainty. John writes in 1 John:5:13: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know [that’s present knowledge] that you have [that’s present possession] eternal life." So we can know that we have eternal life. And just a word about eternal life, because I know that there are people out there who believe you can have eternal life and then lose it. It’s a strange kind of eternal life if you have it today, and then somehow you lost it and you don’t have it tomorrow. That wasn’t exactly eternal.
Tom: Dave, another point here is that not just Jehovah’s Witnesses, but there are some whom people would put under the category of “Christian” that have the same idea – that there is something that you need to do for your salvation, whether it be baptism or the sacraments, and so on. But the thing that’s missing - and that’s the penalty; the penalty is an infinite penalty. Sin - the wages of sin is death, so the penalty is infinite, and none of these works have anything to do with paying that penalty. It’s separation from God forever!
Dave: Well, if you tell the judge…he’s found you guilty of something, “Well if you let me off this time I promise you I’ll never, ever, ever break the law again.”
The judge says, “If you never break the law again, you’re only doing what the law requires. You don’t get extra credit for that.”
But now, what are we going to do about the fact you have already broken the law? And Tom, some people say, “Well, it’s not just—you’re saying for some temporal sin, something that someone committed in their brief life…they will suffer eternally?”
Well, that’s another big subject that we can’t go back over. But, there’s no small sin, there’s no temporary sin. When Adam and Eve, - all they did was take a…I don’t know…I don’t know what fruit it was, it could have been anything. The point was they rebelled against God.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Disobedience.
Dave: God said, “This is My universe; these are the rules!” I don’t think that’s unreasonable. “Now if you want to remain in My universe, I have given you life [God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life; he became a living soul] – if you want to continue to enjoy the life that I have given you, you are going to have to realize it comes on My terms, My conditions, and one of those is that you will love Me, that you will obey Me.”
This is a requirement! You can’t…so it’s not a small sin. Just taking of that—a bite even—of that forbidden fruit was rebellion against God! And I don’t think—I certainly don’t believe that I have—I don’t think any of us has a grasp of the horror of that sin! To rebel against the one true God, the living God!? You can’t take that lightly. And you have put yourself out of His universe forever – unless you come back in on His terms, and that’s only through Jesus Christ: what He has done, not what you can do.
Tom: Right. So here we have divine justice and perfection. Everything God does is perfect. And then we have divine love, which offers this gift, as you mentioned earlier, this eternal life, this free gift of eternal life.
Dave: And God himself became a man to pay the penalty for our sins so that He could make that offer on a righteous basis.
Tom: Yeah. Dave, I have to emphasize this again: There is no belief system, no other belief system that offers this. And that’s what separates Biblical Christianity, again, from every other belief system, all the world’s religions.
Dave: So then it all depends upon: is this Biblical Christianity true, and can we verify that (which we can; we have done it many times on this program).
Tom: Well, we’re going to go through a number of items, Dave, for our listening, viewing audience. Let’s talk about the authorship of the authority of Christianity. We’re talking about…certainly it is divinely inspired, God-breathed, but it went through about 40 different writers, all claiming to be inspired by the same supernatural source.
Dave: Well, that’s a good insurance policy, you could say, because…are you going to be a Muslim? Well, then you go by the Qur’an. Where did the Qur’an come from? Well, Muhammad says he got it from the Angel Gabriel, who received it from Allah. Well, how can we be sure of that? There’s no prophecies, there’s no proof, there’s no evidence. And Muhammad, you have to trust him, he’s all alone.
But for every Biblical author who claimed to be inspired of God – I think more than 60 times Ezekiel says, “The Word of the Lord came unto me,” he is saying “Son of man,” and so forth. You have 39 other witnesses, independent – most of them never knew one another; they lived in different cultures. They had no way of checking up on one another, and yet they are in complete agreement from Genesis to Revelation, and they follow certain themes. There’s no way that they could have done that. Now why, how did it happen? The one thing they have in common is they all claimed to be inspired by the one true God! So we’ve got 40 witnesses, 39 for every other one, and there is no way, there is no religion on this earth that has anything like this with the prophecies and proofs.
Tom: Well let’s look at some details. You mentioned different occupations: there were kings, governors, priests, fishermen, a farmer, prophets, shepherds, a tax collector, a physician. Now, for the Bible to be so highly esteemed, as not just history, and this is the Word of God, but as literature, and so on. How do these men, a farmer, you know, shepherds, a physician, and so on, fisherman, the New Testament writers Peter and so on - these were untutored, untrained, they didn’t go to this school or that school, and so on.
Dave: And how did they all write in agreement?
Dave: Now, of course there are critics, and we don’t have time for that, who would say, “Oh well, there were three Isaiahs, and Peter didn’t really write Book of Peter, and Daniel didn’t really write the Book of Daniel, and now we can tell by the syntax or the way the sentence was structured here and over there, it had to be a different author.” That’s pure nonsense. I mean it makes, it turns—look, Peter, in 2 Peter chapter 1, he says: “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, but we have made known unto you,” and so forth. Well now, what these critics were saying is, “Oh no, the whole thing is cunningly devised fables.” Well, then, this guy who is pretending to be Peter is lying. Now how are you going to build the Bible on a pack of lies? It’s not reasonable! So, when they try to play games with the Bible they are committing a sin.
Tom: Right. Dave, we mentioned this last week, but the Bible was written over a period of about 1500 or 1,600 years, dating all the way back 3,500 years—different ages! I mean, when you think of that time span, certainly there are going to be cultural difference, and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but how can you maintain continuity and harmony of content over that length?
Dave: Only if God truly inspired it.
Tom: Yeah. Now, as far as cultures go, this is fascinating to me. Moses writing around the year what, 1500 BC, right in that time span. Now here, as a baby, he is taken into the house of Pharaoh (the greatest ruler of that time in the world), he’s trained up, he is educated. And certainly some of the things that he learned, not all of them you could say are scientific. I’m sure there were some legends, mythologies, magic, I mean all kinds of things that he was probably tutored in.
Dave: Phony remedies for this disease and that.
Tom: Right, right. Now, do we find any Egyptian culture along the lines of what I have been saying, in the Bible?
Dave: No, Tom, you’re making a good point, because one of the things the critics often say is, “Well, the Bible just reflects the culture and the ideas of its time.” On the contrary, it does not! You can’t explain that away either.
Tom: So, we have Moses. What about Daniel? As a young boy he is taken to Babylon, and then by God’s grace he becomes, basically, a governor. You know, not the ruler, but a ruler in Babylon. Why don’t we find any of that in the cultural influences in the Book of Daniel?
Dave: Because he is not inspired by the culture of his day but by the one true God, as are all of the other writers in the Bible.
Tom: You know Dave, it just made me think of (going back to Moses) Acts:7:22. It says that Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds. So we have affirmation that, yes, he was there and he learned, but, again, we don’t find that culture in the Scriptures.
Dave: Well, you would, if the critics were true.
Tom: Yeah, or if anyone else was writing. You’re a writer, but the stories that you talk about are related to your culture, Dave. I mean, isn’t that what writers do?
Dave: Yeah. So it does not appear in the Bible.
Tom: Dave, other verifications of the Bible: science, for example. Now we get into a little of, you know, you mentioned that Moses didn’t promote some of the so-called health ideas of the Egyptians, but he did write many things that have to do with hygiene. For example, I think there are what? 613 laws in the Bible, and out of the 613, about 213 have to do with health issues.
Dave: Well, people are reluctant to eat kosher, for example. “Well, I’m not a Jew so I don’t have to eat kosher.” Well, but there’s some good reasons for it. And there are many things, and Tom, I don’t know what you had in mind, but I’ll just mention one: circumcision. That has health benefits for male and female, and amazingly, the clotting factor in the blood is very low when the infant is born; it reaches a peak at the eighth day. That was the day God said you will circumcise them. Now of course that’s also of significance because the eighth day is the first day of a new week, the first day of a new creation, so it has some symbolic value as well.
But there are many others, I mean, let me just give another one quickly, Tom. In the Middle Ages, one of the reasons for persecuting Jews was because they didn’t get the diseases. They didn’t get the Bubonic Plague, the Black Death, and so forth, and so the people who were getting it said, “Look, these Jews, they are the ones; this is a disease that they have aimed at us.” No, the reason was because they didn’t have their gutters running with sewage - there wasn’t open sewage; and they washed their hands and they got rid of the feces and so forth. So, I mean, that was the reason why, but God gave that order to the Jews.
Tom: Dave, also as you well know, in the 1800s there was a Hungarian doctor, a Jewish doctor, his name was Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, I think is the way you pronounce it. Here’s a man recognizing that expectant mothers were dying at a rate of about 30 percent in their hospitals, and he also noticed that the interns that were ministering to them, they would go from, let’s say a cadaver, or a woman who had just died of that disease and then…
Dave: Cutting them up to examine them.
Tom: You’re right, and then examining another woman who would come in who was an expectant mother. Well, again, with his Jewish background, his understanding of the Bible, all he did was something very simple, and that is he made these interns wash their hands after working on a cadaver before they examined the expectant mother.
Dave: And their instruments.
Tom: Right, and the mortality rate dropped from 30 percent down to 1 percent. Now, you would think the world would have said, “Wow, this is fantastic!” But they practically drove the man insane. I mean, they had him put in a mental institution.
Dave: Well, they drove him out of the hospital.
Tom: Right, right.
Dave: He had one wing of the hospital, and when they got rid of him, then the mortality rate went back up.
Tom: Right. But this is the method today. Science then, so-called, came around to doing things as the Bible says - just this simple idea of washing your hands.
Dave, how about archaeology? What we’re talking about here are facts, basically, that support the Bible for its accuracy, from a medical standpoint, although it’s not a book about medicine, you know, but all the things with regard to science that it deals with; these things are proven true.
Dave: But, Tom, as you know, the Book of Mormon is a story about some “Hebrews” who came over, supposedly, and they peopled…this was an empty place, North, South and Central America – they’re the Indians, native American Indians, and so forth. Well, a great story, very interesting, but you can’t find a pin, you can’t find any evidence whatsoever, and the Mormon Church has spent millions of dollars. Their archaeology department – they are trying to build it up, to make it very scientific and accepted, but they can’t find anything.
Now, what about the Bible? The museums of the world, and I’ve visited quite a few of them here, there, and everywhere in the world, they are literally filled with relics, proofs, evidence, and they keep digging up more! I’ll give you one specific example of the Hittites. I’m old enough to remember, as a very young boy – “Well, now, the Hittites, I mean that obviously shows that the Bible is not true because there never were such a people.” Well they were a huge nation, but the archaeologists hadn’t found any evidence yet.
Well, I have visited - my family and I, in fact - visited the huge Hittite museum in Ankara, Turkey. They’ve got a whole museum showing that the Hittites really did exist, and if you want to know where to dig to find an ancient well, or an ancient city that has long been buried, just follow the Bible.
Tom: And, Dave, this is attested to by the Smithsonian, certainly sources that you would say, well, this is not exactly a Christian organization, but the Bible is esteemed for its accuracy over and over again. You …discoveries are happening almost daily with regard to the support of the accuracy of the Bible.
Tom: Dave, again we’re talking about accuracy. The Bible mentions 29 kings from 10 countries. And…
Dave: For which we have monuments and evidence to verify. Of course it mentions more than 29.
Tom: And certainly these kings are mentioned by secular writers of the time, historians of the time, but they got it messed up. The Bible has it accurately, each given its right place in time and history, complex names spelled correctly, and again, all verified by the archeological monuments.
Dave: Well, you can try to make some comparisons, and there’s nothing like that in the records back there. We have others who…historians who name them, but they don’t get the spelling right, they don’t get the date in history right, and so forth. But we have been able to verify that the Bible is 100 percent accurate.
Now, that’s just a sample of its accuracy, and the Bible doesn’t make mistakes. Now they will maybe try to find some, but they are not there. So this is really a good example. In fact, Dr. Wilson of Princeton - he said, “Take a look at this! I don’t know of anything in ancient history like that; the library at Alexandria or the library at here, or the writers who reported on these kings. Nowhere except in the Bible do you find them 100 percent accuracy.” Now that kind of gives you some idea this is something we can verify, the accuracy of the Bible in every detail!
Tom: And again, the point being that with only the Bible can you substantiate its claims, but you can’t do that with the Book of Mormon, as you mentioned; try the Bhagavad Gita, the Qur’an, and so on. They don’t have this ability or characteristic of being substantiated.
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. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon, 97708; call us at 800-937-6638; or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in, and we hope you can join us again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.