I really like your site. I believe you're the real deal. It's clear you love God.
Something has bothered me and been hurting my faith. I wondered why so many people have different views on the Bible. For instance, you said the world was 6,000 years old. I was taught that the world was millions of years old and have studied many other people who have PhDs who explained this in a biblical way basically going into Genesis chapter 1 as well as the term "the foundations of the world." This works for me because I believe since it is the logical explanation of God's miracles. I was wondering how you would explain stars, oil, diamonds and dinosaur bones if the world was 6,000 years old. This is not a personal attack; I'm just trying to understand.
Also you said something in an article to the effect that people should be nice to sinners but not hang out with them. I've personally always felt that this attitude was bad because it make Christians look like weirdos to non-Christians and then turns them off to God maybe foreverábecause all they ever know of Christians was that the neighbor wouldn't let their seven year old play with them any more because his parents where sinful in the eyes of the neighbor. I've always been under the idea that a person should choose their friendsábased on their integrity, intelligence and individuality or whatever traits they cared about most, including the Bible. A person should try and mature as a Christian and allow their actions and faith in God change the minds of the changeable just by serving God. You quoted the passage that said basically that bad company corrupts people. I agree with that, but I think you might be going around it wrong. Maybe it's not so matter of fact for mature and self-aware Christians. Maybe it is a matter of fact that the don't hang out with sinners at all idea is hurtful to Christians' image. Not that we should care about our image, but we should avoid turning people off to Christianity when it's acceptable to go another routeábecause you could may look very judgmental and overzealous even if your mind is in the right place.
I was wondering why God allows so many views on the Bible, and who's right. Is it possible to be wrong about parts of the Bible and still go to heaven? Should we just find a teaching that works for us and stick with it? At what point should we draw the line and say this isn't of God and should not be a part of it?
I was taught that false teaching could end you up in hell, but now I wonder. I've found reason to believe that the teacher who told me that may not be godly and kind of cultish, so I don't know what to believe any more. These discrepancy between myself and other people are trying my faith and I just want truth.
There is this fact about truth -- it is exclusive. You can't have contradictory things both being true. Either one is false or both are false, but both cannot be true. Therefore, your claim that you want multiple views of the Bible to be acceptable and want the truth cannot be true.
"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17). To be truth, there is only one right way to read the Bible. There are numerous false ways to twist what the Bible says, but truth only allows one correct interpretation. That is why Paul said there is "one faith" in Ephesians 4:1-6; that is, there is only one correct system of belief that is true. This is also why Paul came down heavily on people teaching things different from the Scriptures:
"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-10).
To be a true Christian means you agree with the teachings of the Bible. "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10). Thus, your contention that God allows multiple views of the Bible is false. He allows a freedom to choose among mankind, but to choose to not believe the truth leads to hell. "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).
The Bible does not teach that a person should not associate with other people in the world. Quite the opposite actually. "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world" (I Corinthians 5:9-10). While you admit it is true, you try to avoid the obvious, the people you associate with the most are the ones who influence your behavior (I Corinthians 15:33). Do people think it strange that Christians refuse to join them in sin? Certainly.
"Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you" (I Peter 4:1-4).
It is that difference in behavior that makes Christians noticeable. After all, if there was no difference between worldly people and Christians, why leave the world of sin? Becoming a Christian means something has changed that is beneficial and desirable to others if they too make the same change.
In regards to how old the world is, you have to realize that it is not directly provable. We can't go back in time and measure the age of the world. We have a record from God that says the world is about 6,000 years old. We have people who need the world to be billions of years old to make the unworkable theory that the world evolved by random chance to have a ghost of a chance. What you have run into are people who do not have faith in God, but want the Bible and non-believers to agree. To do so, they have to ignore the evidence that the world is relatively young because the evolutionists will not accept a young age no matter how strong the evidence is. What you have run into are people who poorly try to make the Bible and evolution match by introducing fanciful gaps. See: Could there have been a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?
We can make oil from plant matter in a matter of days. It doesn't take millions of years to produce it. Bury tons of vegetation under soil churned up by the Flood and you'll get things things like oil, coal, and diamonds depending on exactly how the matter was buried. Fossils have been shown to form rapidly when buried under ash, as demonstrated by eruption of Mt. St. Helen. A lot of life died in the Flood and was buried. The fossils are the remnants, which also explains why they did not decay and why there are no evolving transitional forms found.
Stars were created on the fourth day (Genesis 1:14). Since they appeared on that day, it just means that starlight was also created at the same time already in motion from the stars. If you have faith that God created the universe in six days, then it isn't hard to realize that the universe was created in working order from the beginning. It also means that it is possible that God also made deposits of various minerals, including diamonds, for mankind to find and use.