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 (Manna 70: Discerning the Truth)
Manna 70 Editorial: Discerning the Truth
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The Prophetic Word Confirmed

by Peter Shee

“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (2 Pet 1:19)

The line between truth and error seems to obscure with time, but only because human understanding changes over time.  Post-modernism seeks to demolish the very foundation of knowledge—the recognition that absolute truth exists—and is thus incompatible with theistic belief and the self-revelation of God.

When faith in any of the sixty-six books of the Bible is undermined, man cannot arrive at an accurate understanding of God. Even though God is revealed in physical creation (Rom 1:20), without the Holy Scriptures, no one can be “wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15). Historically, deviant sects like the Montanists denied the Old Testament as inspired, while the New Testament, especially Pauline writings, was rejected by Judaistic Christians and certain Gnostics. In recent times, Bart Ehrman, an American New Testament scholar and author of “Misquoting Jesus,” refreshes some of the ancient objections to the New Testament and continues with his own disparagement.

In his second epistle, Peter defended the inspired nature of the New Testament, still in the process of writing and compilation, linking it to the inspiration of the Old Testament: because Old Testament Scriptures are inspired, they must never be interpreted according to personal whim but in light of the revelation given to the apostles through Christ. Hence, New Testament teachings are not “cunningly devised fables” but “prophetic word confirmed” (2 Pet 1:16–21). In the same spirit, Peter vindicated his fellow apostle Paul at the end of the epistle, placing Pauline writings on the same level of inspiration as “the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Pet 3:15–16). Paul’s teachings were not new inventions, but truth received from the Lord (1 Cor 11:23).

Speaking of the truth that we have received, a theme writer emphasizes the inseparability between God and His word—because God Himself is the truth—leading to the logical conclusion that truth is eternal and unchanging. The progressive nature of revelation (Heb 1:1–2) cannot be seen as change in truth as we transition from the Old to the New Testament, for God and His word are immutable (Heb 6:13–18). Another contributor to the theme warns that false prophets will arise within the true church, who will first misrepresent our traditional beliefs, then attack the twisted version thus presented, paving the way to subvert what we truly teach. These are matters that concern every member of the church. Doctrines regarding the Holy Spirit, inspiration and finality of the Bible, and the unchanging nature of truth are but some of the things currently under attack.

Satan’s old trick of causing disharmony and the nature of Satan himself as a fallen creature are examined in the exhortation section.   While the first article posits that love is indispensable in ensuring harmony, it observes that the love between Adam and Eve was broken as a result of disobedience to God’s word and that fellowship amongst workers is based on commonality of faith. The second article, on the fall of Satan, affirms the absoluteness of God, expounding on the meaning of the tetragrammaton—YHWH—that God is the only self-existing Being. The age-old issue of theodicy—reconciling the justice and mercy of the Almighty with the existence of evil—cannot be resolved by appealing to the idea of a self-existing devil.

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Author: Peter Shee