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Facts First!

By Jim Huskins

McDowell Countyfacts first!

 

The world’s most famous detective never existed. Or did he?

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character, but his astounding deductive reasoning is rooted in reality. It existed in the mind of Sherlock’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Remembered as an author, Doyle also practiced medicine. During med school, he clerked for one of his professors, Dr. Joseph Bell. Bell’s keen powers of observation and frequent collaboration with the Edinburgh police were inspirations for Holmes. Bell’s abilities also nurtured Doyle’s talent for deduction.

Once while walking with a friend, Doyle and his companion noticed a fresh set of bicycle tracks. The other man speculated that the tracks may have been made by a person known to both parties. Doyle casually observed that such could not be the case because the man mentioned used a different brand of tires. Sherlock Holmes is the brainchild of his creator

As Holmes, Doyle often commented on the scarcity of logic. In A Scandal in Bohemia, he said: “Never theorize before you have data. Invariably you end up twisting facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.” I call such defective thinking “reverse twist” logic.

Reverse twist is the foundation of a number of common attitudes: Why do I have to study history? I don’t live in the past. Why do I have to study algebra? I’m not going to be a math teacher. Why do I have to know to whom the book of Galatians was written or what was going on back then? I just want to know what it means today. Why do I have to read the stupid Old Testament? It’s gross and boring, and Jesus did away with all that. Why do I have to know anything about doctrine? That’s so old fashioned. My preacher tells me what I’m supposed to believe.

Reverse twist ignores the certainty that knowing the past prepares one to better understand and negotiate the future. It obscures the fact that the most valuable benefit of studying mathematics is learning logical thought. No passage of scripture can be understood without the context that led to its creation. The first two-thirds of the Bible is the context for the part most refer to as “New Testament.” Reverse twist logic lulls one into forgetting that no preacher or teacher or spiritual guide or “mommy” will be with us when we stand before God Almighty and give an account of how we responded to His claim on our lives.

The tendency to twist facts to suit theories is rampant in the church. I recently watched a video where a Christian radio-show host referred to Matthew 5:17-19. Jesus said that He did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. The radio host commented, “That doesn’t mean that the Law would never be abolished because it was when He fulfilled it.” The only way this man could have made such a “wretched” statement is that his theory told him a proclamation by the Son of God had to be “twisted” in order to fit his convictions rather than his convictions changed to reflect the Word of God.

One of the most damaging “twists” among believers is the widespread belief that the “church” somehow replaced the “Nation of Israel” in God’s plan. Amos 3:7 states: “For the Lord, YHVH will do nothing, unless He has revealed His counsel to His servants the prophets.” No prophecy claims that Unchanging God will break His promises to love and redeem Israel or replace His chosen people with some other group. The emphatic opposite of that message is found throughout scripture. Zechariah 2:8 says that Israel is the apple of God’s eye. Deuteronomy 31:6 says that God will never leave or forsake Israel. Isaiah 11:12 says that God: “will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Jeremiah 31:35-37 says that God will only abandon Israel “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored.” The same promises are found in Ezekiel 37:27, Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, Zechariah chapters 12-14, and Romans 11:23-27. The woman in Revelation 12 who gives birth to Messiah is Israel. She is protected and nurtured during the apocalypse.

Influential theologians proclaim that the “church” is now “spiritual Israel.” This is a grotesque reverse twist of fundamental doctrine: God will never abandon Israel. With the facts of Bible teaching and prophecy properly considered, it is impossible to conclude that Unchanging God has lied and reversed course. Jesus made no such claim. He stated in Matthew 15:24 that He “was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” 

One of the facts replacement theologians ignore or twist is that every time the New Testament uses the word “Israel”, it is referring to the blood descendants of Jacob. How could anyone conclude that the Son of God would endure the indignities and implications of the incarnation just to abandon four thousand years of God’s relationship with mankind? Jesus did not come to start a new religion. He came to fulfill the many, divine promises made to God’s people: Israel.

The actual Good News is that, by grace and through faith in Messiah, we are allowed to be grafted into His chosen people. Ephesians 2:12-13 proclaims joyfully: “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Hallelujah!

Obedient Heart Fellowship believes that the entire Bible is both true and relevant. We accept salvation by grace through faith in Jesus, and we attempt to love and serve Him by keeping his commandments. See Revelation 14:12. lostranger@mindspring.com

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Jim & Beverly Huskins are members of Obedient Heart Fellowship. You can read more good Christian news from Jim HERE.

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