One of the primary conflicts of our day among Christians is the integrity of the Bible. Some say it is bunk. Others say it "contains the Word of God", meaning that some of it is good and some is not and you have to figure out which. On the other end of the spectrum is the view that the Bible is God's Word, breathed by Him to writers so as to be inerrant and infallible. (I think I've made my view clear.) If we could solve this dilemma, we could answer a lot of questions ... either way. I mean, if we could prove that the Bible is God's Word, inerrant and infallible, once and for all, well, then, Christians would need to submit themselves to it. On the other hand, if we could demonstrate that it is not reliable, well, then, all bets would be off. At best we could have a potentially useful religion in some aspects, but mostly we could sumply push it into the dustbin of religions as just another man-made effort. Nice try. No cigar. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
Well, I've got the answer. I've found it. I know what the final verdict is. I have found the genuine, clear, unequivocal contradiction. If God's Word contradicts itself -- no "paradox" or "conundrum" or the like, but an actual contradiction -- then it is not God's Word and we're done. Christianity can take its ball and go home. Last one out turn off the lights. And it clearly does. Because Christians embrace both "fear God" and "no fear in Christ". There you have it! And it's biblical!
First, we read clear passages like these.
Is not your fear of God your confidence, And the integrity of your ways your hope? (Job 4:6)Solomon's conclusion to Ecclesiastes was this: "fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person." (Ecc 12:13) Paul declared to the Jews in Pisidian Antioch, "Brethren, sons of Abraham's family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent." (Acts 13:26) Peter commanded, "Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king." (1 Peter 2:17) The angel in the Revelation declares "with a loud voice, 'Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.'" (Rev 14:7) Repeatedly, over and over again, Scripture plainly and clearly commends us to the fear of God and condemns the lack of it.
Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; There is no fear of God before his eyes. (Psa 36:1; Rom 3:18)
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Cor 7:1)
Beyond the "fear of God", Jude writes about "certain persons", false teachers in our midst, of whom he says, "These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever." (Jude 1:12-13) To true believers he says to "have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. (Jude 1:22-23) Biblically, then, certain fear is good, necessary, godly, right.
Or is it? Doesn't Scripture also say the opposite? Don't we read, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love." (1 John 4:18) Now, you poor foolish Bible-believer, which is it? Are we to fear or aren't we? You see, if perfect love casts out fear and God's love is perfect, then there ought to be no fear. That means that no one should fear God and no one should fear anyone or anything else.
There, now, didn't I tell you I had the answer? A clear and present contradiction. Better than that, it is warmly and fully embraced by Christians who both urge the fear of God and embrace the belief that Jesus Christ casts out all fear. It's a beautiful thing, this clutching of contradiction. Just shows how silly Christians are.
Or ... it could be that someone is failing to comprehend some Scripture here. You decide.