The God of Truth


The New Testament can be divided into four logical sections. The four gospels describe the life and teachings of Jesus. The book of Acts describes how the Disciples understood and implemented the teaching of Jesus. The epistles provide additional teaching for the new churches. Finally, the book of Reveletion offers some hints at the future.

The modern Feeler message inviting unbelievers into the Christian church is essentially that ``God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.'' I call this particular one ``The Gospel According to Bill Bright,'' but virtually every evangelistic message from Billy Graham down to the smallest rural church in the Bible Belt is fundamantally the same. This focus on God's love has little or no basis in Scripture. The word ``love'' is completely absent from every record of the early church's evangelistic efforts. The Apostle Paul, writing to Christians (not unbelievers) in the young churches often mentions love and (to a lesser degree) relationships, but not significantly more often than he writes about Truth, Justice and Righteousness. Jesus taught his disciples (and Nicodemus, at the time arguably an unbeliever) about relationships and love, but only in a few chapters of John's gospel. The rest of his teaching is about Truth, Justice and Righteousness.

What is going on here? How did the Christian church turn the balanced or slightly Thinker message of the Bible into a pure Feeler agenda?
 

New Testament

I went through the entire New Testament, looking at every verse for evidence that it teaches or promotes or exemplifies for our emulation Thinker values of truth and justice at whatever cost, or else Feeler values of relationship or affirmation (or even just mentions the word ``love''). True but affirming sentiments I judged as not promoting either value (although I did count effusive expressions of affirmation as Feeler), but criticism was deemed clearly Thinker, and anything relational was deemed clearly Feeler. Of the 31,218 verses in the New Testament, I found [so far] 1003 promoting Thinker values, and 606 to be more Feeler oriented (a few counted both ways). This assessment was rather subjective, and another person might get slightly different numbers, but I tried to give the benefit of any doubt to Feeler verses. Here are my findings:
 
Book Thinker Feeler
Matthew 201 99
Mark 44 20
Luke 164 95
John 91 88
Acts 66 26
Romans 37 47
1 Corinth 90 43
2 Corinth 16 20
Galatians 17 5
Ephesians 12 17
Philippians 5 6
Colossians 12 11
1 Thess 6 13
2 Thess 7 5
1 Timothy 36 10
2 Timothy 24 7
Titus 16 5
Philemon 1 4
Hebrews 23 15
James 32 7
1 Peter 8 9
2 Peter 14 2
1 John 25 29
2 John 6 4
3 John 5 4
Jude 10 5
Revelation 35 20
Totals 1003 606

This is not the whole Bible, but we can see some important factors here. The gospel narratives tend to reflect both the personality of the evangelists recording them and the message reported. John is more relational, almost equally promoting Thinker and Feeler values, while the synoptics consistently favor Thinker values by a 2:1 margin. Jesus had a mostly Thinker message to his disciples and to the Jews, but was more relational to the disciples in private teaching (which John reports in greater detail). Paul, writing to the church at Rome, where he had not yet been, is much more relational and affirming, despite that he has some disaffirming things to say to them. We see a similar affirming bias in the Ephesian and Colossian letters, which appear to be general encouragement meant to accompany the return of Onesimus. To the churches at Corinth and Galatia, and in the pastoral epistles, his remarks are much more sharp. The one-chapter books are too small and too specific to count fairly.

No book here is overwhelmingly relational or Feeler-oriented. God is the God of His whole creation, not just the Feelers, but also not just the Thinkers.

But if you look at the gospel message preached to unbelievers, the Biblical model is far different from what we practice today. Never is the gospel presented to unbelievers in relational terms. Nicodemus possibly excepted, God does not love the unbelievers, and they -- not even Nicodemus -- are never, not even once, offered a relationship with God. The gospel to them in every case is always ``Jesus died and rose again. Repent.'' There are a few relational verses in Acts, but almost always directed at other believers in the church. The same is true in the gospels and [so far] also the epistles.
 

Mark and Romans

I picked out two representative books, one gospel and one epistle, for detailed reporting, which you can look at in the Appendix, so you can see for yourself if I made a fair judgment. I chose the gospel of Mark, and Paul's epistle to the Romans, both 16 chapters.

There are 678 verses in Mark, 44 of them promoting Thinker values, and 20 more Feeler oriented. Romans is smaller, with only 433 verses, and more balanced; I counted 37 Thinker verses, and 47 Feeler verses, including 18 verses with the word ``love,'' many of which would not otherwise get counted as promoting an explicitly Feeler value. There were also 9 verses with some form of the word ``true'' that did not get considered; if they had all been counted, the scores would have been much more nearly equal.
 
 

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Rev. 2013 October 7