I Know What and Whom I have Believed Part 2
No Final Conflict The Bible Without Error in All That It Affirms, Francis Schaeffer
“…at stake is whether evangelicalism will remain evangelical.” Without the entire Bible being considered “God’s verbalized communication to men giving propositional true truth where it touches the cosmos and history,” Schaeffer believes that Christians lack an adequate authority on which to build their faith.
The crux of the attack on Christianity is the reliability of scripture. This has been the place that Satan biblically and throughout Christian history has focused his attack. It began in the garden, when Satan deceived Eve…”…did God really say…” It continues today on one level or another in every church or denomination. The PCUSA has abandoned the inerrancy and infallibility of scripture, preferring statements of an agnostic, liberal type that makes the Bible a fallen human creation. For theological liberals the Bible is little more than a human created reflection of what people think to be true about God. It is “inspired” only so far as it inspires people to live on a higher moral and spiritual plain. The purpose of liberal leaders in regard to the Bible is to use it to enforce a justice agenda (as they interpret it) and to undermine the orthodox positions. For Neoorthodox (which many progressives fall back on when threatened and a theology that has influenced a majority of Presbyterian leaders), the Bible is not historically factual, nor authoritative in and of itself. It is only when God’s Spirit meets us in the reading of the text that it “becomes” God’s Word to us. You hear echoes of this theology even in the vows that PCUSA pastors are required to make. You hear it when Presbyterian pastors and leaders begin their reading of scripture with the words, “now listen for the word of God”, instead of “listen to the Word of God.”
It is my opinion that it is time to recover a solid stand on the truth, reliability, and absolute inerrancy of scripture. Emile Caillet, A French naturalist recovering from the wounds of war could find no life in his favorite literary and philosophical works, but when he read the Bible for the first time he wrote, “This was the book that would understand me!” He found in the pages of the Bible “animated by the Presence of the Living God and the power of his mighty acts.” As he prayerfully read the gospel of John he responded and his life became meaningful. This too has been my nearly daily experience with the Word of God. When we open ourselves, studying carefully and thoroughly, we find ourselves convicted and moved to believe obediently and live obediently, finding daily purpose and meaning. Having grown up with “culturally Christian” parents, I struggled to understand how the authority of the Word of God functioned. My father was an amazing hypocrite, and this created great doubt in my mind. How could someone who professed a knowledge of the Bible, live a life that was full of such anger and cruelty? How can some people use the Word of God as a hammer to hurt others with no redemption? For a time I rejected the Christian faith because of what I saw as the hypocrisy. But God and His Word would not let me go. The more I questioned, the more I became convinced of the veracity and power of the Bible. I was not convinced because I wanted to be, but because truth has great power.
The Bible is the only dependable way to Fellowship with the Living Word. “The Christian who wants to encounter God without listening to what he has to say, may remain in the condition of a smilingly sub-literate and disobedient two-year old. Sanctification of the mind is of pivotal importance in sanctification of the whole life, and sanctification of the mind involves an increasing ability to think biblically under the empowering of the Spirit.” – Richard Lovelace
The Scripture properly interpreted by a believer with the illumination of the Holy Spirit who inspired it is able to give spiritual vitality.
People do not have to receive the Bible for it to become the Word of God, it is the Word of God objectively whether received or not. It is the Spirit through the Word who enables receivers to walk faithfully with the Lord they love.
The Bible is also an Indestructible Weapon for Victory in Spiritual Warfare – The one weapon for spiritual conflict is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17).
I Believe in the Inerrant Word of the Living God!
Since all actively reject God’s general revelation in the world, God’s truth-based judgment declares that people are guilty (Rom. 2:11-12) and in need of salvation. Therefore, God reveals knowledge about himself to sinners through his written Word (John 20:31; 1Peter 1:16; 1 John 1:5). God reveals both Himself and information about Himself. One cannot know God, without knowing objective information about Him. It would be like saying I know and love my wife, but don’t know anything about her. The fallacy of the postmodern, neoliberal, emerging church leaders is to so subjectify our knowledge of God, thereby nullifying any knowledge or love for God.
The Word of God came first through the prophets. God providentially prepared the prophets (Jer. 1:5) and supernaturally inspired them by his Spirit (Zech 7:12) through an external voice (Exodus 19:3-6) or internal suggestions (1Kings 13:18-22, Isaiah 7:3-4) or visions (Ezekiel 37; Micah 4:1-4) or a miraculous seeing of hidden realities (Numbers 22:31, 2Kings 6:15-17, Isaiah 6). Signs must take place to confirm that the revelations were coming from God (Deut. 18:22). Their revelations must also be consistent with previous revelation (Deut. 13:3-4). The prophetic word is permanently viable as Jesus clearly affirms (Mt. 5:17-19).
The words of Jesus revealed the heart of God (Matt. 12:35; 7:15-20; 12:34-37) and were true and reliable (John 17:17; Matt 5:18; Matt 22:16). The apostles and their associates were the final way that the Word of God was transmitted and they preached with authority, delegated by Christ (Mark 6:7) and were Spirit-endued (John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2:4). The apostles’ words equated with those of the prophets and Christ (2Peter 3:2) and their teachings originated with God (2Peter 1:21; 1Cor. 14:37). The apostles were taught by the Spirit (1Cor. 2:13; 7:25; 14:37; 1Thes. 2:13). Although the apostles credentials were to be tested (Gal. 1:9-11; 2:7-9; 2Cor. 12:12; Heb 2:4), the content of authentic apostle messages was to be received as normative teaching from God and foundational to the church (1John 4:1-3).
The Canon of the Bible is closed. In the past God spoke to us and revealed himself and his plans through the prophets, but in these last days he has revealed himself by his Son, Jesus Christ (Heb. 1, Revelation 22:18-19). Since those who had direct information of the life and work of Christ and those associated with them are all gone, it would give evidence that the canon is
“All Scripture is God-breathed…” (2 Tim. 3:15-16). The origin is God (2 Peter 1:20-21, 1Corinth. 14:37). Throughout Psalm 119, we see that the Word of God is dependable and valuable throughout all facets of life and completely trustworthy. God within his very being is true and faithful without hypocrisy, thus all that God would communicate to us would be truthful and without discrepancy (Isa. 65:16; John 3:33; 16:13; 17:17; Rom. 3:5-7). It is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:17-18).
The “inspiration” of the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16) is the belief that God conveyed his message to the mind of the biblical author through divine influence. I believe that all the words down to the least word are wholly and fully inspired (Matt. 5:17-18). The Bible is inerrant, meaning that God’s truth resides in the words, propositions and sentences…what the Bible teaches about history and science as well as theology and ethics according to the standards of accuracy of their own day are truthful and accurate. Throughout the Old Testament there are hundreds of references of “Thus says the Lord.” When a prophet spoke in God’s name, every word he spoke has to come from God or he would be a false prophet (Num. 22:38; Deut. 18:18-20; Jer 1:9; 14:14; 23:16-22; Exek. 2:7; 13:1-16). Thus to disbelieve a prophet was to disbelieve God (Deut. 18:19). The Apostolic writings are held up on an equal level with those of the Old Testament as well (2Peter 3:2; 1Cor. 2:13)
Jesus confirms that not the least part of the Law will disappear before all is completed (Matt. 5:17-18). This would signify that God is preserving all of Scripture and thus we are not missing anything that should be included. Connection to Apostolic/Prophetic authorship is required for canonicity into the Bible (Heb. 1:1).
Next time we will begin to look at what the inerrant Bible reveals about the attributes and character of God that are essential for us to believe.
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