Quote Byron: "All I am really saying is that the message of God has always existed".
I agree, IMO, that's an absolute, very valid point. I'll give you love
Quote Byron: "and did not drop down from heaven in the form of a magic book".
I personally wouldn't describe it in these terms, but IMO, there may
separation in POV here, in that I believe the written Word(s) of God are part of/also the
Word (the total of God's truths and the expression thereof).
Quote Byron: "He comes to us personally and even though the book tells the story about God's dealings with others it should not replace His direct dealings with us as individuals."
That's my point, is that IMO, it will never
replace His direct dealings with us...they are part and parcel, they work together, one testifies and/or witnesses of the other.
Quote Byron: "I don't think you all disagree with this, and maybe I'm arguing more over an all encompassing term, ie: "Word of God" than an actual issue?"
I don't think most in this discussion do
disagree with this either. However, IMO, the terminology is
very critical, because of the implications involved and where that belief system can
lead. I will only speak for myself, but I suspect many others have seen as well, that often when someone verbalizes the statement "[accurately translated, Spirit revealed] scripture is not the Word of God", then that can
open the door to beginning the slide down that slippery slope to which I earlier alluded. I believe that can
be a very critical area in which we can "give way to Satan", which scripture warns against. It gives Satan a foothold, an entrance to question "did God really say"? In essence, that if scripture can't be trusted, and I have the need to make the statement(s) that it's generally not inspired, not God's Word, etc., then I could
begin to question and influence others to dispute all sorts of actually scripture-based doctrinal issues (not just denominational dogmas with which we've all dealt) including some that IMO are very integral to the message of the Christ's Good News. When that happens, then where does it stop and who am I negatively affecting? I can then go to this scenario... [I'M NOT SAYING YOU
DO THIS, BYRON, I'M MAKING A POINT USING ME AS THE EXAMPLE...I PERSONALLY WAS
TURNING IN THE DIRECTION OF DOUBTING GOD'S WORD, HAVING BEEN INFLUENCED BY SOMEONE ELSE, UNTIL GOD S/W PAINFULLY VISITED ME IN CORRECTION
]...So this scenario...the cross was unnecessary, Jesus' blood isn't important, Jesus wasn't really born of a virgin, we don't really need the salvation of Jesus as God has accepted us all along, all other religions are OK in God's eyes, Jesus isn't divine, Paul was a liar so we can't believe anything he said (unless there's a certain passage I like and fits well to make whatever point I
want to make)...again, where's the end to that (answer: destruction) and how do we as the universal Body of Christ really edify each other with truth, contend for sound doctrine, etc., if we have gone the way of making up our own doctrines because scripture can't be trusted, although my POV may be that it is a very good book and I like a lot of its stories.
The Word of God is powerful. And in the Greek, in Hebrews alone, over and over it talks of the Word of God as being the logos AND the rhema...for instance, this famous verse; 4:12 For the word (LOGOS) of God
is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And here; 13:7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word (LOGOS) of God
So, even if I believe scripture is "neat", IMO, that's not enough. If I even believe scripture is "really good stories about God, and we ought to pay a lot of attention to it"...IMO, that's still not enough. The Word of God is absolute power, and it IS Jesus, but to say it's only Jesus, IMO is incorrect and missing much.
IMO, all of God's truths, including His thoughts, written words, manifestation of His power, are God's Word; and again, Jesus manifested all that in the flesh. More Hebrews; 6:5 and have tasted the good word (hRHMA) of God
and the powers of the age to come, 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word (hRHMA) of God
...See, as I understand it, this scripture and the scripture wrt "and the Word was/toward God", is not specifically talking about Jesus "only" at that point, but more so, for lack of a better way to say it, along the lines of God's thoughts/will/intent, etc...specifically, the hRHMA...again, [part of] the Word of God. Quote Byron: "It's just that so many I deal with everyday are stuck in deep deep ruts just parroting over and over what their pastors teach them and all their pet scriptures to reinforce a particular world view which I see as false and twisted. It's not the bible's fault per se, but it's how it is presented."
Sad, but true, and I do understand how those situations make us want to pull our hair out...
God's blessing, James.