Bibliology

A Theological Case for Inerrancy (Part 2)

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Let us consider the full import of Christ’s words in John 17:17:

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Jesus is praying to the Father regarding the sanctifying of His disciples. He tells the Father “Your word is truth.” This “word” is the same “word” which will sanctify them. They have kept it (v.6) as it was given them (v.14), but where is this word? I maintain it is Scripture (v.12), and this text associates the word with God’s own holy and truthful character. There is no room for human frailty.

This text also separates Jesus from the Scripture. Jesus is going away, but the word of the Father must now keep His disciples. Thus, it is a mistake to too closely equate Jesus the Word with the Scriptures. There does exist a close connection between the two, but we cannot push the association too far. Indeed, we cannot push it even as far a personification. The Scriptures are the written product of the Divine revelation, but they are a product all the same.

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A Theological Case for Inerrancy (Part 1)

The battle over the inerrancy of Scripture hasn’t and isn’t going away. We must decide how we will approach the Bible – what our working assumptions will be. If “all Scripture is God-breathed” then all Scripture has the insignia of God upon it. This would be the bare-bones theological deduction from the relationship between the two.

For the human element to be lifted above the Divine element so as to enjoy equal ultimacy over the resultant production of Scripture requires an alteration to Scripture’s own self-witness. This is the reason why those who reject the idea of inerrancy (and I am far from rejecting all their work on account of their error), often plead in the vacuum of unaided reason.

Taking one prominent broadly evangelical theologian as an example, Donald Bloesch wrote,

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The Gospels Are Not Enough

I have heard it from theologically liberal theologians. I have heard it from supposedly conservative pastors (usually those with no theological training). I have heard it from lost people and immature believers: “We don’t follow Paul or Moses, we follow Jesus. All we need is the Gospels.”

Such a viewpoint stands in contrast to that of the Apostle Paul, who taught,

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (ESV, 2 Tim. 3:16-17, emphasis added)

According to Paul, all Scripture is inspired, and all Scripture is profitable. We are to teach it all, use it all for correcting and training. We need all Scripture to be “complete” and “equipped.”

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The Tragedy of Biblical Illiteracy, Part 3

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Inerrancy

Reasons for biblical illiteracy are many: lack of emphasis and teaching of the Bible in our churches, youth programs that major on entertainment rather than the Word of God, Bible colleges and seminaries that prepare ministers to be CEOs rather than shepherds who feed the flock a rich diet of Scripture, confusing MTD for biblical Christianity, and simply laziness and distractions resulting in neglect of personal reading of the Bible. But one other culprit surely is the increasing challenge to biblical inerrancy. If Christians do not believe in the inerrancy of the Scriptures then by default they believe the Bible contains errors and, therefore, cannot be trusted.

If this is the case then why bother reading it? Major attacks on the truthfulness and reliability of God’s Word have been prolific from the New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, and skeptics such as Bart Ehrman. But, sadly, theologians closer to the core of the faith are also adding fuel to the fire.

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Uncertainty vs. Renewed Confidence in the Word of God, Part 2

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Where to from Here?

As a result of these past and present influences, the church of Christ is facing an authority crisis. There has been a steady erosion of confidence in Scripture for several decades cumulating in theological and/or practical elimination of the need for the Bible in our lives. After all, in a society infatuated with success—theological understanding, biblical knowledge and even righteous living are no match for fancy buildings, high-powered programs, the finest in entertainment and emotional experiences (no matter what the source).

Very few churches grow numerically today because of solid teaching of the Word. That is because very few Christians today see the importance of the Word. To them the Bible is much like a musical concert, there to produce an experience, not to transform their lives. They see no vital connection between Scripture and life. To know God’s truth is not essential to how they want to live their lives, therefore they have no desire to study the Bible.

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Uncertainty vs. Renewed Confidence in the Word of God, Part 1

From Think on These Things; used with permission.

Emergent spokesman Brian McLaren calls for the evangelical community to get over its love affair with certainty. He writes, “Drop any affair you may have with certainty, proof, argument—and replace it with dialogue, conversation, intrigue, and search.”1 Are we to take McLaren seriously? If so, then the best way to get over our love affair with certainty, according to McLaren, would be to replace it with uncertainty, or more commonly, mystery. It is definitely in vogue at this point in church history to make the rather “certain” claim that we cannot be certain about anything. Of course, the irony of such certainty about uncertainty is obvious. But much like impossible political promises, when statements are left unanalyzed and unchallenged they tend to be uncritically absorbed by the minds of some people, often resulting in great harm.

It is important then that we give careful thought to the recent love affair with uncertainty. What are its origins? Is it really something new? Does it line up with the claims of Scripture? How should the people of God respond?

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What the Bible Contains for the Believer

(About this series)

CHAPTER X—What the Bible Contains for the Believer

BY REV. GEORGE F. PENTECOST, D. D., DARIEN, CONNECTICUT

1. The Bible is the Only Book That Can Make Us Wise unto Salvation.

The Bible is not a book to be studied as we study geology and astronomy, merely to find out about the earth’s formation and the structure of the universe; but it is a book revealing truth, designed to bring us into living union with God. We may study the physical sciences and get a fair knowledge of the facts and phenomena of the material universe; but what difference does it make to us, as spiritual beings, whether the Copernican theory of the universe is true, or that of Ptolemy? On the other hand, the eternal things of God’s Word do so concern us. Scientific knowledge, and the words in which that knowledge is conveyed, have no power to change our characters, to make us better, or give us a living hope of a blessed immortality; but the Word of God has in it a vital power, it is “quick and powerful”—living and full of Divine energy (Heb. 4:12)—and when received with meekness into our understanding and heart is able to save our souls (Jas. 1:18, 21), for it is the instrument of the Holy Spirit wherewith He accomplishes in us regeneration of character. The Word of God is a living seed containing within itself God’s own life, which, when it is received into our hearts, springs up within us and “brings forth fruit after its kind;” for Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God, is the living germ hidden in His written Word. Therefore it is written, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John

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