This is a continuation of Part 1 Is a Far-Fetched Story Like Noah’s Ark Enough to Dismiss Jesus? and Part 2 Fact or Fiction: Four Ways to View the Old Testament and responds to the question, “Where is the dividing line between what someone needs to believe to be saved and what they need to believe about the authority of all of Scripture?”
A fourth view, one of the middle views, and one that I do not ascribe to, looks at the Old Testament as pure mythology and/or culturally subjective history, including the historical (e.g. 1-2 Kings, etc.) and the prophetic (e.g. Isaiah, etc.) books that were written in real time. The thought here is that the Jews needed a way to explain their history so they made one up and as things transpired around them, they recorded these things in an embellished and exaggerated way.
I do not endorse, support, or argue for this view and I think it has a thousand holes in it. But I think with the intention of reaching as many for Christ as possible, we need to ask the question: Could the thief on the cross have held to this view? (Luke 23:38-43)
We should obviously not be creating systems of theology around the thief on the cross but if we are honest, we have to answer yes. We have no idea what this guy thought about the Old Testament, or about theology in general, but we know he put his faith in Jesus for salvation, and we know Jesus saved him.
And if we truly believe that “Jesus + Nothing = Everything” then we have to be okay with this. By “okay with this” I’m saying that we need to acknowledge that someone can be a Christian saved from their sins and on their way to heaven, even if they consider parts of the Bible to be fictional. This person could not be a member of my church, but they could certainly attend, worship with me, and serve alongside of me in certain areas.
I say this to encourage those who are wrestling with these things: do not throw out your faith in Jesus if you are struggling with some of the stories from the Old Testament. You have met Jesus. He is a living person. He loves you. And He invites you to continue to get to know him better.
Do I think you should embrace the entire Bible as God’s truth and in doing so, will bear considerably more fruit as a follower of Christ? Absolutely!
Do I think holding that the Bible is fictional is even defensible – no I do not. I will argue against that view until the day I die. I think it is incredibly inconsistent and is a very dangerous view to hold.
But the fact remains: Jesus came to save sinners, and he wants to save you. If you believe he is God in the flesh, lived a perfect life, died to pay for your sins as your substitute, and resurrected from the dead, and you have decided to follow him as your Lord, guess what? You are my brother or sister in Christ and I’m so glad we will spend eternity together.