This scenario often occurs as it will in this 2020 – something is said or written, and it seems obvious, but then another person does a careful analysis on it and what was first thought to be reasonable is then seriously questioned.
The classic case is in the annals of the Reformation where Eck and Luther went head to head and Eck, being the quicker on his feet seemingly trounced Luther, the problem was that scribes were in attendance and wrote it all down. Luther's later written rebuttal made Eck look quite a non-starter in true theology.
Recently I discovered two articles. One said one thing and the other article – that writer pulls the first apart, piece and piece. The first article at first reading, made a great deal of sense, the second challenges the first as there are numerous pre-suppositions that cannot be substantiated.
Take a read and consider your verdict:
5 things I wish Christians would admit about the Bible
What we will not admit about the Bible
The second speaker (as it were)
The second speaker as it were has the great advantage of being able to comment on what has already been written without a third rebuttal (so to speak).
The law courts are not unlike this, final summations can be lengthy and very detailed, and may take one or two days, and then the other side has their final summation, and I know which position in the queue I'd prefer.
It was consistently said of Adolf Hitler during WWII that the last person who spoke to him had by far the greater advantage of seeing their point pursued.
But there are many situations in life where this applies. It can be in the work place, the sporting field, the social arena, the music we select, where we worship and a host of such matters.
Many a one day cricket match or a 2/Twenty has seen a situation where it appears to be easier to chase a target than to be first at the crease, and when it rains, under the program system, it certainly appears to be better as batting second.
The writer of The Revelation knew all about this too as at the very end of the Scripture something very important is made clear. Self serving it may be, but nonetheless it is critical to the Gospel message:
Verses 18 and 19 of chapter 22 spell it out – that adding or taking away from the words of the book of this prophecy – the outcome is not a pretty one, it's devastating.
Here is the presentation of life and future and hope in all things eternal and it is squarely based on the blood of Christ shed on the Cross of Calvary for the sin of the world and moreover the only one who could offer such an outcome was God himself – the incarnate - the core teaching of the Christian message.
Quite recently someone who I know from many years ago when I was a young lad rang me, a senior member of the Jehovah Witnesses. At the time he rang, I had other things on and I could not talk but he insisted and played those conversational tricks to keep you engaged. In the end I had to cut him off.
But one of the interesting card tricks he played was to introduce the new translation / version of the bible that the Jehovah Witnesses are now using. It was one of those moments of realisation where at once I saw through this ploy, as it always comes down to Jehovah Witnesses interpretation.
The tried and tested and orthodox understanding of the incarnation that Jesus is God Himself, the triune God, regardless of new translations / version, this remains the critical issue – and the two – Orthodox Christianity and Jehovah Witnesses on this single and central point stand at opposite ends of the spectrum.
This is the focus at the end of The Revelation. Salvation is a gift – as the giver is the only one who can gift the life. I cannot give your car to someone else, it is not mine to give. Christian Theology - only God can give life, and eternal life and that comes from God himself, Christ. Only God, Christ.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/dr-mark-t.html