As a Christian, who prays and studies scripture, you admit that your interpretation of God's Holy Word is not infallible; that you are most likely not perfectly correct in everything you believe. You admit that it can be important to know where you are wrong, but you also admit that there is no way to know where you are wrong unless the Holy Spirit shows you. I'm I correctly stating your position.
I don't know. On the surface that sounds like a dilemma all Christians have. We just have to wait on the Lord to show us where we are wrong and there is really no other way. We have to have faith that we "grow in grace."
May I start with another line of questioning? One I feel will help clarify the unworkable epistomological situation you have placed yourself in.
You believe in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. For the sake of this discussion we will identify it as meaning that the scriptures are your final source of authority. It trumps everything else. Can we use that definition for the purpose of this cross-examination?
You stated earlier that the determining factor for your beliefs is the scriptures. Is that a correct statement.
Yes, but I would add, because I am a born-again Christian, the meaning of the scriptures are revealed through the Holy Spirit.
Yes, thank you for clarifying. I believe that the premise you just stated is a faulty premise. Where do you derive the belief that the Holy Spirit will reveal the meaning of scripture to you?
(Witness pulls out iPod and finds text in John 16: 13.) Here it is, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth."
How does this Spirit guide you into all truth?
I don't understand the question.
How does this truth reach you? Are you given all truth downloaded into your brain during prayer? What method or vehicle or by what means is this truth given to you?
Through prayer you have thoughts, inspirations and you hear a little voice.
Is that an infallible voice?
Yes, maybe. It might be.
How do you know?
You have to check it through the Bible. The Bible will tell you if the voice is true.
So, the Holy Spirit must be "checked" through the Bible, correct?
So the Bible is the authority over the Holy Spirit.
No. We just can't always trust our own hearts, so we have to check it by the Bible.
Please read the scripture you just read earlier.
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth."
Does the text include the Bible in this transfer of truth?
Not specifically, no.
So where do you get the idea that the Bible is used to "check" the Holy Spirit?
(The witness remains quiet.)
Do you agree that the idea that the Bible bring us to all truth through the Holy Spirit is not a Biblical concept--that there is not specific text in the Bible that says the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to bring us into all truth?
(The witness remains silent.)
I want to now look at that text in another way. Do you believe that the text promising the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth is interpreted to mean you specifically or any Christian as an individual Christian--that Christ was promising that the Holy Spirit would guide the individual Christian independently of other Christians into all truth?
How do you know that is the correct interpretation of that text?
Because it plainly states it. Anyone who reads it honestly--and isn't twisting it around-- would get that.
How do you know that you are not twisting it around?
Because I know. I love Jesus and I am born-again! The Spirit wouldn't send me the wrong way. It says it right there that the Holy Spirit is going to lead us to all truth and that is that! Why are you trying to complicate things?
May I suggest another reading, taking in the context of that passage?
Okay, go ahead.
Jesus is with His disciples at the Last Supper. Judas runs out to betray Him and Jesus begins His famous discourse with "Do not let your hearts be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in Me..." This discourse continues for several chapters without a break. In chapter 14, Jesus begins telling the eleven disciples that He will send them the Holy Spirit. In verse sixteen Jesus says that He will ask the Father and the Father will give them a Helper--forever---the Spirit of Truth. Why would Jesus say that He is leaving the Spirit of Truth to His disciples forever?
Obviously because the Holy Spirit is going to continue in the hearts and minds of the believers AFTER the disciples are dead.... So we know by this passage that it IS going to be among us.
Yes, so the Spirit of Truth was promised to continue forever. Therefore it wasn't specifically promised to the individual Apostles alone, correct?
Yes, I answered that.
The Spirit of Truth began with the Apostles and is going to continue from that point with someone right?
You believe that it is going to be given out to each born-again, individual Christian from that point forward to bring them into all truth--not as a group--but as individuals, independent of a group, correct?
Could you read the context of the text you brought up. Read John 14: 25 and 26, please. Could you also read John 15: 26 and 27.
"These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.""When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
Are these two texts used within the same discourse of Jesus to His Apostles at Gethsemane?
So these two texts are speaking about the same thing, the Holy Spirit coming and bringing all truth?
"The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and bring to remembrance all the things I said to you." And The Holy Spirit will testify because "you have been with Me from the beginning." Who was with Jesus from the beginning.
Who was with Jesus in Gethsemane that night?
Who would remember all the things Christ has said to the Apostles?
Jesus specified that the Holy Spirit would be sent to those who had been with Him from the beginning and those who had heard all that He had said. Who would those people be?
Is there any indication within the text that the Holy Spirit would bring anyone all truth besides those who had been with Him from the beginning?
It isn't said, but it could be implied.
How is it implied?
We have to assume it is implied because how are we supposed to know truth unless the Holy Spirit gives it to us.
That is why I said the premise of your belief is wrong. Your premise is that Jesus made the promise to all Christian believers independent of each other. I would find that an unbiblical premise. The Bible does not in any way imply that all truth will be given to Christians. Jesus Himself limited it to His Apostles who had been with Him from the beginning and the Holy Spirit would call to their minds all that He had said to them.
So your premise is that the only people who can know all truth is the apostles who died?
No, that promise was a promise forever--that the Spirit of Truth would be with the chosen apostles forever?
That doesn't make sense why would they need that promise after they died? Why would God limit it to the eleven Apostles? Why would He say "forever?"
Is it possible that the text could be meaning that the Spirit of Truth would be given to the eleven Apostles and then would be handed on to the people who took the Apostle's office, forever?
I don't think that it what it means.
I did not ask you if you thought it meant that only if it could possibly mean that.
I guess it could.
Do you think I am twisting the text?
I think you are not interpreting it right.
Since there are several possible meanings of this text, how do you know yours is the correct one?
It is the one plainest to me.
Since you admitted that your interpretation is not infallible, could your interpretation of this text be mistaken?
How would you know that your interpretation of this text is correct?
Because the Holy Spirit confirms it in my heart.
So you are trusting your heart to tell you that you have a right understanding of this specific text?
I have to.
Why do you have to?
Because I don't have any other choice. What other choice do I have?