2 Kings 6:1-7
“Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” And he answered, “Go.” Then one of them said, “Be pleased to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed.” Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float. And he said, “Take it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.”
This account is called “historical narrative”. Historical narrative describes what actually happened at a certain time and at a certain place in history. So, let me ask you a question:
Do you believe that an axe head actually did float?
Think about it for a moment…
It’s an important question. How one answers this question reveals something about how one views scripture. If one says, “Nah, it’s just a tale,” as opposed to believing that an axe head actually did float (because scripture says that an axe head actually did float), then scripture may not be one’s ultimate authority.
The main point that I am making here is that if scripture is one’s ultimate authority, and scripture says that an axe head did float (as part of its historical narrative), then there is no reason to think an axe head once did not float. To deny such is to deny scripture itself, because to deny scripture’s telling of what actually happened in history is to deny scripture as being scripture. In other words, when scripture is denied to be scripture, then it is not considered to be authoritative. And when scripture is not considered by one to be authoritative, then it certainly cannot be one’s ultimate authority.
So, why is ultimate authority important? Because one’s ultimate authority is what determines what one thinks about any given aspect of reality. Here’s an example:
Christian Apologist, Ravi Zacharias once made the point that he does not need to know one’s viewpoint on any specific topic. He only needs to know one’s worldview:
“When I know a person’s worldview, I then know their position on any issue.” (Paraphrasing)
The same can be said about one’s ultimate authority. Whatever one’s ultimate authority is, when it’s not scripture, then their rubric, their perceptions and assumptions regarding reality, are completely based on a false premise.
I’ll never forget watching Bill Maher joke on cable tv about people who “treat the Bible… as though it’s the Bible.” He got a big laugh, but I suddenly felt frightened for him. The thought of going before God, alone, without Christ, is an absolutely horrifying notion. In essence, the concept of an ultimate authority doesn’t even cross the mind of someone who says such a thing because such a person is their own ultimate authority, and we (Christians) must pray for such people to have their hearts and minds changed by God. We must always keep in mind that if such a person’s heart doesn’t change regarding what scripture is and teaches, that person is going to hell.
So, let me ask you. How do you, personally, respond to the question as to whether or not an axe head actually did float? Or, that an ark was once actually filled with (at minimum) representative pairs of all existing land creatures, and 8 people? Or, that a donkey talked? Are such things really that hard to embrace as true? Not if scripture is one’s ultimate authority. If scripture is one’s ultimate authority, then it’s not ridiculous to embrace out of the ordinary accounts in the historical narratives of scripture. In fact, they become blessings, because these accounts show us that God is personally involved with His creation. He didn’t just start it all, and now just lets it run its course, unfettered. He is intimately part of every aspect of our experience, and we know this because that is what scripture says:
“But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
Whenever we (Christians) are confronted with challenges regarding the validity of scripture, it is important to recognize that we are being confronted by someone who does not hold scripture as their ultimate authority. The mistake we then make, with good intension, is to then attempt to prove to them that scripture is the ultimate authority. When such an attempt is made by us, scripture is then evaluated by the one who says that it’s not authoritative. And once scripture is put on trial, God is then put on trial. If there is One who should never be put to the test, it is God.
Paul encourages the Colossian brothers and sisters to watch out for worldly inspired influences:
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
So, who is the Ultimate Author of scripture? Jesus Christ (God). Don’t put Him on trial by allowing challengers of scripture to take you “captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Stand on the foundation of God’s gift of presupposition: His Word.
God will take it from there.
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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