Reader’s Guide to the Bible; Dr. Brown vs. God
In my own life I find that the more I study the Bible the more I am able to articulate why it is that Jesus is not who the Church claims he is. The Bible gives me the clarity and the strength to see right through the arguments of the missionary.
Dr. Brown points to the same Jewish Bible and he arrives at the opposite conclusion. How does he do this? How does he get a book which so clearly directs the Jew to reject the claims of the Church to be seen as supportive of those very claims?
If you read Dr. Brown’s work you will see that he simply omits some of the foundational Scriptural passages when he presents “Scripture’s position” on a given subject. He misinterprets other passages in his effort to support the claims of the Church but these are not his main tools. The main tool that Dr. Brown uses to get the Bible to point to Jesus is that he invents his own reader’s guide to the Bible. What do I mean when I say “reader’s guide to the Bible”?
You see, in order to build a world-view on the basis of the Jewish Bible you need some guidance. The Jewish Bible is a big book, about 30,000 verses. It is very easy to get lost out there. Someone has to tell you where to find a teaching on a given subject and someone has to tell you what is central and foundational and what is peripheral. It is only if you have this information that you can see the Bible as a cohesive whole.
Thankfully, the Author of the Bible provided us with a reader’s guide to His book. God used various literary devices to accentuate and to emphasize certain passages and concepts. Certain ideas are repeated again and again. Sometimes the narrative builds to a climax demonstrating what the Author sees as the pinnacle of a given event. The Author uses strong and commanding language to show that a given teaching is central and important.
If you follow the Author’s cues you will realize that the prohibition against worshiping idols is central. The practice of justice and mercy is foundational. The election of Israel, observance of the Law of Moses, the power of repentance and the Temple in Jerusalem are all pillars of the Scriptural worldview.
The Scriptures introduce Deuteronomy 4 as the definitive teaching on the subject of idolatry and Ezekiel 33 is presented as a teaching on the subject of dealing with guilt and sin. This is the guidance that the Divine Writer of Scripture provided for the readers of His book.
When I follow the guidance of God I see the theology of Judaism in the pages of Scripture. I find all of the foundational teachings of Judaism spelled out clearly and explicitly in the pages of the Jewish Bible.
I now turn to the books of Dr. Brown. Dr. Brown is encouraging his readers to find the theological underpinnings of Christianity in the same Jewish Bible. How is he going to do this?
He takes various passages and misinterprets them so that they support the theology of Christianity. But before he does this he discards the reader’s guide provided by God and he puts forth his own “reader’s guide” to the Bible. Instead of pointing his readers to Deuteronomy 4 for a teaching on devotion he tells his audience that Genesis 18 is the central teaching on worship and devotion. God, the Author of Scripture doesn’t place this passage at the center of this discussion, but Dr. Brown does.
When it comes to the subject of sin and guilt, Dr. Brown also ignores the Author’s guidance. The Author points to Deuteronomy 30 as a teaching on how the nation can repair its relationship with God and to Ezekiel 33 as a teaching on how an individual deals with the burden of sin. The Ezekiel passage is introduced with the question; “our sins and our transgressions are upon us and we melt away in them, how then shall we live?” Deuteronomy 30 did not make it into Dr. Brown’s discussion of this subject and Ezekiel 33 is relegated to the back pages of the discussion and is not given the weight that God gives it.
Instead Dr. Brown points to Leviticus 17:11 as the focal point on dealing with guilt and sin. But God doesn’t put His finger on this passage as a teaching on this subject. Leviticus 17:11 is introduced by the Author as a teaching against drinking blood.
So here we have it. Dr. Brown puts aside God’s reader’s guide to the Bible and presents us with his own. Are we to take this seriously? In case you answered yes to this question then please consider the following. Dr. Brown doesn’t take his own reader’s guide to the Bible seriously.
On page 199 of “The Real Case for Jesus” Dr. Brown excitedly declares that Zechariah 6 is the “most overt passage in the Jewish Bible where a human being is identified with a Messianic figure.” He tells us this to highlight the point which he incorrectly gathered from between the lines of the narrative that the Messiah is some sort of priest. So when it comes to a point that the prophet only refers to in a backhanded way (according to Dr. Brown’s faulty interpretation) this prophecy in Zechariah is prominent and significant. But when the prophet tells us explicitly that this Messianic figure is to build the Temple, Dr. Brown tells us that this prophecy only appears once and in only one book of the Bible and is therefore of little significance (page 172 of Volume 3 “Answering Jewish Objections”).
How then can I abandon God’s guidance concerning the centrality of various Scriptural passages and accept the guidance of a man who doesn’t take his own words seriously?
Here is the first of the three questions that I will be sharing with you. God gives us clear direction concerning His book. He highlights certain points and He tells us that certain passages are teachings on particular subjects. How can I be expected to abandon the guidance provided by God and accept the guidance of a man who doesn’t take his own words seriously? How could I follow the direction of the Church when the Author of Scripture is pointing the other way?
Do you understand my question? Do you not recognize that this is an important question? Is this something I am not supposed to notice? If Dr. Brown would have a good answer for this question, would he withhold it from you?
The Church had 2000 years to work on this question and they have failed to address it. Can you understand why a Jew has the moral responsibility to disregard the claims of the Church if they cannot address this foundational question?