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Showing posts with label Apologetics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apologetics. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

There is No God – Lies of the Enemy #3 – Purity 1015


There is No God – Lies of the Enemy #3 – Purity 1015

Purity 1015 04/12/2023 Purity 10015 Podcast

Purity 1015 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a lush springtime plateau in the shadow of the Catskill Mountains, under blue skies and cumulus clouds, comes to us from an unnamed FB friend who shared this photo on social media back on or around April 21, 2021.  I suspect I know the identity of our springtime photographer of 2021 but didn’t have the time to go back 2 years through their FB posts to find the evidence to convict them.  So if that’s you and you want the credit, you are due, let me know and I will update the blog after the fact.  

I have 2 suspects who live in Greene county that have been known to hike the Catskills and share their adventures on social media but I would rather not say what I’m thinking and be later proven wrong rather than assigning the credit to the wrong individual. Besides, many of my friends share the “views” from their lives and any one of them could have captured and shared the simple beauty they encountered while walking through life.     

Just like my friends who would share the beautiful scenes they see in the world, I have discovered the beauty and majesty that are encounter when one puts their faith in Christ and decides to follow Him in spirit and in truth.  So this whole blog and podcast is provided to encourage all who hear or see its message to pursue a life of faith. 

The reason for my zeal is that, unfortunately, it wasn’t always this way. I lived most of my life without a true understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and spent a great deal of it seeking meaning and happiness in all the wrong things: materialism, drugs, alcohol, and other indulgences of the flesh.  None of those things provided an adequate meaning for my life or lasting satisfaction, although I “faithfully” pursued them. 

Part of the reason why I couldn’t find satisfaction for a good portion of my life was because I was operating under an assumption that was false: that there was NO God.  I viewed life as a physical and mental exercise and had decided that “the spiritual” was non-existent. I had an atheist worldview and the resultant nihilism of such a philosophy brought me to despair and gave me the conviction that I better enjoy myself and live it up because life was meaningless.   

And so, we continue with our current series, Lies of the Enemy, the beliefs that I or others have believed that caused them to doubt the existence of God or kept us from following Him with the way we live our lives. 

So today’s big lie is:

Lie # 3: There is No God.     

For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ . Turek wrote “I Don’t have enough Faith to be an Atheist” with the late Norman Geisler, and it is packed with convincing evidence for God and Christianity. So if you aren’t satisfied with what I write about today, I encourage you to seek the Lord and suggest Turek’s work as a place to find evidence that demonstrates that faith in God isn’t irrational or unreasonable.  

Well, my simple apologetic – which borrows from Christian apologists that have gone before me, comes from the need to be clear and concise to present the evidence for God with a captive audience that may not have had much to be happy about.  

Years ago, I did jail ministry at the Columbia County jail and when you are behind bars you don’t want to waste any time in your presentation of the evidence for God and the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ, so I developed a simple 3 point apologetic to try to express some simple evidence for the Lord’s existence and His presence in the world of the living.   I still use this 3 point presentation today and encourage you to know it and to share it with those who find faith hard to swallow.  

1.    1.  Creation proves that there is a God.  

The first verse of the Bible tells us this!

Genesis 1:1 (NLT2)
1  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

 

Where did all of this come from? Everything we know and experience comes from God. He is the Creator. He made everything.  More learned theologian and philosophers state that the fact of existence itself logically requires a “Self Existent” being over and above time and space.  We see design in the universe that indicates a designer. We see cause and effect relationships that indicate that there was This self existent – Creator God – this unmoved mover – that set creation into being.  That’s God!

2.    2. Our innate sense of right and wrong proves that there is a God.

 Romans 2:14-15 (NLT2)
14  Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it.
15  They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.

God’s law is written on our hearts. Our sense of wrong and right – what C.S. Lewis described as that sense of “oughtness” that we have- comes from God.  How do we know right from wrong? God put that in us. And while we can overcome what God has “written” by hardening our hearts and choosing to do what is wrong, we instinctively know when we are not doing right.  That sense of right and wrong, missing the mark – sin and guilt – proves there is a God.  

3.    3.  Changed lives prove the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and God is alive.   

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

While we will struggle with the witness of supposed “Christians” who seem to claim faith but whose lives don’t demonstrate much evidence for it, there are those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ and whose lives have been completely transformed by the new life they have in Christ.  The difference between these two?  Those transformed have believed in Christ and made the decision to let Him live through them.    

Not what I have written here is a lot more verbose that what I would preach on the fly in jail.  When I got to point three in the presentation, I would point to myself and say something like:

“That’s why I have come to jail on a Saturday. Because the Lord has opened my eyes to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and has caused me to share it where ever I can.  And through following Jesus, I have overcome my past of addiction and wrong living and stand here to tell you that God is real, Jesus is who He said He was, and you can know a life of pure peace by putting your faith in Him and making the daily decision to surrender to His will for your life.”

It might sound prideful to point to myself, but changed lives are compelling evidence. This person was once like “this” and now they are completely different. They once lived a life of darkness and now they live in the light and genuinely filled with peace and joy.  

So, if you encounter someone proclaim today’s Lie of the Enemy – that there is no God.  Don’t try prove it. Give your three points and challenge them to look at the evidence and to seek the Lord for themselves. We believe for people and quite frankly its usually a matter of the heart more than reasons in the head that people choose not to believe.  They are usually prideful, rebellious or have sin that just don’t want to give up. 

So say what you need to say, but make sure that your personal witness – the way your live your life and convey a peace that goes beyond understanding – shows that you are a living and breathing example of the evidence for God and the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.   

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Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT2)
7  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Today’s verse reminds us that God does not only look at the outward appearances but that He looks at the heart.  

While our faith is outwardly demonstrated by our habits, attitudes, and good works, some will discover later that their convincing performance didn’t fool God because He knows when some one is going through the motions and when someone truly has faith in Jesus.   

Two of the scariest passages in the Bible can be found in Matthew 7:21-23 and Luke 13:23-28 and they testify to the dreadful fact that some will point to the works they have done “in your name” and others will point to their “loose associations” with Jesus and discover that the Lord never knew them.  

Our faith is not about performance or attendance.  You can sit in a church building and not be a part of the church. If you don’t believe in your heart, you can do all kinds of good works that you can claim were for God but while the works themselves may be good, the Lord will reveal that you never really believed.  

We should not judge a book by its cover. Some who don’t “look like Christians” may have a heart of faith.  Some who look like they are “on fire” for God will be exposed as being worshippers of themselves and having dark intentions if not dark habits.  

So as the word indicates we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling because we can’t fool God. We have to “real” Christians in our hearts and seek to love the Lord as our first commandment.    

God is good and loveable so open your heart and mind to all that He is and all that He has done and put your in Jesus and love Him for the way He made a way for you to know Him.

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

CONCLUSION continues

 

In the foregoing pages we have sought to repudiate such paganistic views as the above-mentioned, and have endeavored to show from Scripture that God is God, on the Throne, and that so far from the recent war being an evidence that the helm had slipped out of His hand it was a sure proof that He still lives and reigns, and is now bringing to pass that which He had foredetermined and foreannounced (Matt. 24:6–8 etc.). That the carnal mind is enmity against God, that the unregenerate man is a rebel against the Divine government, that the sinner has no concern for the glory of his Maker, and little or no respect for His revealed will, is freely granted. But, nevertheless, behind the scenes God is ruling and over-ruling, fulfilling His eternal purpose, not only in spite of but also by means of those who are His enemies.

How earnestly are the claims of man contended for against the claims of God! Has not man power and knowledge, but what of it? Has God no will, or power, or knowledge? Suppose man’s will conflicts with God’s, then what? Turn to the Scripture of Truth for answer. Men had a will on the plains of Shinar and determined to build a tower whose top should reach unto heaven, but what came of their purpose? Pharaoh had a will when he hardened his heart and refused to allow Jehovah’s people to go and worship Him in the wilderness, but what came of his rebellion? Balak had a will when he hired Balaam to come and curse the Hebrews, but of what avail was it? The Canaanites had a will when they determined to prevent Israel occupying the land of Canaan, but how far did they succeed? Saul had a will when he hurled his javelin at David, but it entered the wall instead! Jonah had a will when he refused to go and preach to the Ninevites, but what came of it? Nebuchadnezzar had a will when he thought to destroy the three Hebrew children, but God had a will too, and the fire did not harm them. Herod had a will when he sought to slay the Child Jesus, and had there been no living, reigning God, his evil desire would have been effected: but in daring to pit his puny will against the irresistible will of the Almighty his efforts came to nought. Yes, my reader, and you, too, had a will when you formed your plans without first seeking counsel of the Lord, therefore did He overturn them! “There are many devices in a man’s heart: nevertheless the counsel of Lord, that shall stand” (Prov. 19:21).

What a demonstration of the irresistible sovereignty of God is furnished by that wonderful statement found in Rev. 17:17: “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the Beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” The fulfillment of any single prophecy is but the sovereignty of God in operation. It is the demonstration that what He has decreed He is able also to perform. It is proof that none can withstand the execution of His counsel or prevent the accomplishment of His pleasure. It is evidence that God inclines men to fulfill that which He has ordained and perform that which He has foredetermined. If God were not absolute Sovereign then Divine prophecy would be valueless, for in such case no guarantee would be left that what He had predicted would surely come to pass.

For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the Beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” (Rev. 17:17). We can not do better than quote here the excellent comments of our esteemed friend, Mr. Walter Scott, upon this verse upon this verse—“God works unseen, but not the less truly, in all the political changes of the day. The astute statesman, the clever diplomatist, is simply an agent in the Lord’s hands. He knows it not. Self-will and motives of policy may influence to action, but God is steadily working toward an end—to exhibit the heavenly and earthly glories of His Son. Thus, instead of kings and statesmen thwarting God’s purpose, they unconsciously forward it. God is not indifferent, but is behind the scenes of human action. The doings of the future ten kings in relation to Babylon and the Beast—the ecclesiastical and secular powers—are not only under the direct control of God, but all is done in fulfillment of His words.”

Closely connected with Rev. 17:17 is that which is brought before us in Micah 4:11, 12: “Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they His counsel: for He shall gather them as sheaves into the floor.” This is another remarkable statement, inspired of God, and three things in it deserve special notice. First, a day is coming when “many nations” shall “gather against” Israel with the express purpose of humiliating her. Second, quite unconsciously to themselves—for they “understand not” His counsel—they are “gathered” together by God, for “He shall gather them.” Third, God gathers these “many nations” against Israel in order that the daughter of Zion may “beat them in pieces” (v. 13). Here is then another instance which demonstrates God’s absolute control of the nations, of His power to fulfill His secret counsel or decrees through and by them, and of His inclining men to perform His pleasure though it be performed blindly and unwittingly by them.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 242–244.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Bible says...? So?

Often I am challenged by others regarding my beliefs as a Christian. I do my best to explain that as a follower of Christ I am trying to do His will for my life rather than my own.  I have done things "My Way" for most of my life and discovered that the maker of all things, God, has a better way.  Knowing God's will can be difficult to figure out but one way He reveals His will for us is through the Bible.  

I have read and studied the Bible and know that it is not just an ordinary book. I also know it was not written by men to impose their evil will upon the powerless or ignorant.  The Bible is "is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV).  I know the Bible to be true but get tongue tied or have trouble expressing it to others.  

So below, I share an article by Brian Edwards, an apologist from answersinGeniesis.org that makes the case for believing the Bible to be true. I pray his work answers questions, clears doubts and inspires people to not only trust the Bible but to read it and to place their faith in Jesus Christ. 

The original link is: 


"Apologetics

Why Should We Believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture?

by Brian H. Edwards on July 5, 2011

*
Many people deny that Scripture teaches its own inerrancy, but Brian Edwards shows that, based on Scripture, Christians should absolutely hold to biblical inerrancy.

Introduction
“You don’t really believe the Bible is true, do you?”

The shock expressed by those who discover someone who actually believes the Bible to be without error is often quite amusing. Inevitably, their next question takes us right back to Genesis. But what does the Christian mean by “without error,” and why are we so sure?

Inspiring or Expiring?

Let’s start by understanding what we mean when we talk about the Bible as “inspired” because that word may mislead us. The term is an attempt to translate a word that occurs only once in the New Testament, and it’s not the best translation, even though William Tyndale introduced it back in 1526. The word is found in 2 Timothy 3:16, and the Greek is theopneustos. This term is made from two words, one being the word for God (theos, as in theology) and the other referring to breath or wind (pneustos, as in pneumonia and pneumatic). It is significant that the word is used in 2 Timothy 3:16 passively. In other words, God did not “breathe into” (inspire) all Scripture, but it was “breathed out” by God (expired). Thus, 2 Timothy 3:16 is not about how the Bible came to us but where it came from. 

The Scriptures are “God-breathed.” 

To know how the Bible came to us, we can turn to 2 Peter 1:21 where we discover that “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The Greek word used here is pherĊ, which means “to bear” or “to carry.” It was a familiar word that Luke used of the sailing ship carried along by the wind (Acts 27:15, 17). The human writers of the Bible certainly used their minds, but the Holy Spirit carried them along in their thinking so that only His God-breathed words were recorded. The Apostle Paul set the matter plainly in 1 Corinthians 2:13: “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches.” 

The word “inspiration” is so embedded in our Christian language that we will continue to use it, though we now know what it really means. God breathed out His Word, and the Holy Spirit guided the writers. The Bible has one Author and many (around 40) writers.

With these two acts of God—breathing out His Word and carrying the writers along by the Spirit—we can come to a definition of inspiration:

The Holy Spirit moved men to write. He allowed them to use their own styles, cultures, gifts, and character. He allowed them to use the results of their own study and research, write of their own experiences, and express what was in their minds. At the same time, the Holy Spirit did not allow error to influence their writings. He overruled in the expression of thought and in the choice of words. Thus, they recorded accurately all God wanted them to say and exactly how He wanted them to say it in their own character, styles, and languages. 

The inspiration of Scripture is a harmony of the active mind of the writer and the sovereign direction of the Holy Spirit to produce God’s inerrant and infallible Word for the human race. Two errors are to be avoided here. First, some think inspiration is nothing more than a generally heightened sensitivity to wisdom on the part of the writer, just as we talk of an inspired idea or invention. Second, some believe the writer was merely a mechanical dictation machine, writing out the words he heard from God. Both errors fail to adequately account for the active role played by the Holy Spirit and the human writer.
How Much Is Inerrant?

If “inspired” really means “God-breathed,” then the claim of  2 Timothy 3:16 is that all Scripture, being God-breathed, is without error and therefore can be trusted completely. Since God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18), He would cease to be God if He breathed out errors and contradictions, even in the smallest part. So long as we give theopneustos its real meaning, we shall not find it hard to understand the full inerrancy of the Bible. 

PLENARY AND VERBAL INSPIRATION MEANS THE BIBLE IS GOD-GIVEN...IN EVERY PART...AND IN EVERY SINGLE WORD.

Two words are sometimes used to explain the extent of biblical inerrancy: plenary and verbal. “Plenary” comes from the Latin plenus, which means “full,” and refers to the fact that the whole of Scripture in every part is God-given. “Verbal” comes from the Latin verbum, which means “word,” and emphasizes that even the words of Scripture are God-given. Plenary and verbal inspiration means the Bible is God-given (and therefore without error) in every part (doctrine, history, geography, dates, names) and in every single word.

When we talk about inerrancy, we refer to the original writings of Scripture. We do not have any of the original “autographs,” as they are called, but only copies, including many copies of each book. There are small differences here and there, but in reality they are amazingly similar. One eighteenth century New Testament scholar claimed that not one thousandth part of the text was affected by these differences.
1 Now that we know what inerrancy means, let’s cover what it doesn’t mean.

*  Inerrancy doesn’t mean everything in the Bible is true. We have the record of men lying (e.g., Joshua 9) and even the words of the devil himself. But we can be sure these are accurate records of what took place.

*  Inerrancy doesn’t mean apparent contradictions are not in the text, but these can be resolved. At times different words may be used in recounting what appears to be the same incident. For example, Matthew 3:11 refers to John the Baptist carrying the sandals of the Messiah, whereas John 1:27 refers to him untying them. John preached over a period of time, and he would repeat himself; like any preacher he would use different ways of expressing the same thing.

*  Inerrancy doesn’t mean every extant copy is inerrant. It is important to understand that the doctrine of inerrancy only applies to the original manuscripts.

Inerrancy does mean it is incorrect to claim the Bible is only “reasonably accurate,” as some do.2That would leave us uncertain as to where we could trust God’s Word. 

What Does the Bible Claim?

Is it true, as John Goldingay stated, that this view of inerrancy “is not directly asserted by Christ or within Scripture itself”?3 Let’s look at what the Bible says about itself.

The View of the Old Testament Writers

The Old Testament writers saw their message as God-breathed and therefore utterly reliable. God promised Moses He would eventually send another prophet (Jesus Christ) who would also speak God’s words like Moses had done. “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him” (Deuteronomy 18:18). Jeremiah was told at the beginning of his ministry that he would speak for God. “Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth’” (Jeremiah 1:9). 

The Hebrew word for prophet means “a spokesman,” and the prophet’s message was on God’s behalf: “This is what the Lord says.” As a result they frequently so identified themselves with God that they spoke as though God Himself were actually speaking. Isaiah 5 reveals this clearly. In verses 1–2 the prophet speaks of God in the third person (He), but in verses 3–6 Isaiah changes to speak in the first person (I). Isaiah was speaking the very words of God. No wonder King David could speak of the Word of the Lord as “flawless” (2 Samuel 22:31; see also Proverbs 30:5, NIV). 

The New Testament Agrees with the Old Testament

Peter and John saw the words of David in Psalm 2, not merely as the opinion of a king of Israel, but as the voice of God. They introduced a quotation from that psalm in a prayer to God by saying, “who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things?’” (Acts 4:25). 

Similarly, Paul accepted Isaiah’s words as God Himself speaking to men: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers” (Acts 28:25). 

So convinced were the writers of the New Testament that all the words of the Old Testament Scripture were the actual words of God that they even claimed, “Scripture says,” when the words quoted came directly from God. Two examples are Romans 9:17, which states, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh,” and Galatians 3:8, in which Paul wrote, “the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand . . . .” In Hebrews 1many of the Old Testament passages quoted were actually addressed to God by the psalmist, yet the writer to the Hebrews refers to them as the words of God. 

Jesus Believed in Verbal Inspiration

In John 10:34 Jesus quoted from Psalm 82:6 and based His teaching upon a phrase: “I said, ‘You are gods.’” In other words, Jesus proclaimed that the words of this psalm were the words of God. Similarly, in Matthew 22:31–32 He claimed the words of Exodus 3:6 were given to them by God. In Matthew 22:43–44 our Lord quoted from Psalm 110:1 and pointed out that David wrote these words “in the Spirit,” meaning he was actually writing the words of God. 

Paul Believed in Verbal Inspiration

Paul based an argument upon the fact that a particular word in the Old Testament is singular and not plural. Writing to the Galatians, Paul claimed that in God’s promises to Abraham, “He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ” (Galatians 3:16). Paul quoted from Genesis 12:7; 13:15; and 24:7. In each of these verses, our translators used the word “descendants,” but the Hebrew word is singular. The same word is translated “seed” in Genesis 22:18. Paul’s argument here is that God was not primarily referring to Israel as the offspring of Abraham, but to Christ. 

What is significant is the way Paul drew attention to the fact that the Hebrew word in Genesis is singular. This demonstrates a belief in verbal inspiration because it mattered to Paul whether God used a singular or plural in these passages of the Old Testament. It is therefore not surprising Paul wrote that one of the advantages of being a Jew was the fact that “they have been entrusted with the very words of God” (Romans 3:2, NIV). Even many critics of the Bible agree that the Scriptures clearly teach a doctrine of verbal inerrancy. 

Self-authentication

To say the Bible is the Word of God and is therefore without error because the Bible itself makes this claim is seen by many as circular reasoning. It is rather like saying, “That prisoner must be innocent because he says he is.” Are we justified in appealing to the Bible’s own claim in settling this matter of its authority and inerrancy?

SINCE THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORD, WE MUST LISTEN TO ITS OWN CLAIMS ABOUT ITSELF.

Actually, we use “self-authentication” every day. Whenever we say, “I think” or “I believe” or “I dreamed,” we are making a statement no one can verify. If people were reliable, witness to oneself would always be enough. In John 5:31–32 Jesus said that self-witness is normally insufficient. Later, when Jesus claimed, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), the Pharisees attempted to correct Him by stating, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid” (John 8:13, NIV). In defense, the Lord showed that in His case, because He is the Son of God, self-witness is reliable: “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true . . .” (John 8:14). Self-witness is reliable where sin does not interfere. Because Jesus is God and therefore guiltless (a fact confirmed by His critics in John 8:46), His words can be trusted. In a similar manner, since the Bible is God’s Word, we must listen to its own claims about itself. 

Much of the Bible’s story is such that unless God had revealed it we could never have known it. Many scientific theories propose how the world came into being. Some of these theories differ only slightly from each other, but others are contradictory. This shows no one can really be sure about such matters because no scientist was there when it all happened. Unless the God who was there has revealed it, we could never know for certain. The same is true for all the great Bible doctrines. How can we be sure of God’s anger against sin, His love for sinners, or His plan to choose a people for Himself, unless God Himself has told us? Hilary of Poitiers, a fourth century theologian, once claimed, “Only God is a fit witness to himself”—and no one can improve upon that.

Who Believes This?

The belief the Bible is without error is not new. Clement of Rome in the first century wrote, “Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them.”4 A century later, Irenaeus concluded, “The Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and his Spirit.”5

This was the view of the early church leaders, and it has been the consistent view of evangelicals from the ancient Vaudois people of the Piedmont Valley to the sixteenth century Protestant Reformers across Europe and up to the present day. Not all used the terms “infallibility” or “inerrancy,” but many expressed the concepts, and there is no doubt they believed it. It is liberalism that has taken a new approach. Professor Kirsopp Lake at Harvard University admitted, “It is we [the liberals] who have departed from the tradition.”6

Does It Matter?

Is the debate about whether or not the Bible can be trusted merely a theological quibble? Certainly not! The question of ultimate authority is of tremendous importance for the Christian.

Inerrancy Governs Our Confidence in the Truth of the Gospel

If the Scripture is unreliable, can we offer the world a reliable gospel? How can we be sure of truth on any issue if we are suspicious of errors anywhere in the Bible? A pilot will ground his aircraft even on suspicion of the most minor fault, because he is aware that one fault destroys confidence in the complete machine. If the history contained in the Bible is wrong, how can we be sure the doctrine or moral teaching is correct?

The heart of the Christian message is history. The Incarnation (God becoming a man) was demonstrated by the Virgin Birth of Christ. Redemption (the price paid for our rebellion) was obtained by the death of Christ on the Cross. Reconciliation (the privilege of the sinner becoming a friend of God) was gained through the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. If these recorded events are not true, how do we know the theology behind them is true?

Inerrancy Governs Our Faith in the Value of Christ

We cannot have a reliable Savior without a reliable Scripture. If, as many suggest, the stories in the Gospels are not historically true and the recorded words of Christ are only occasionally His, how do we know what we can trust about Christ? Must we rely upon the conflicting interpretations of a host of critical scholars before we know what Christ was like or what He taught? If the Gospel stories are merely the result of the wishful thinking of the church in the second or third centuries, or even the personal views of the Gospel writers, then our faith no longer rests upon Jesus but upon the opinions of men. Who would trust an unreliable Savior for their eternal salvation?

Inerrancy Governs Our Response to the Conclusions of Science

If we believe the Bible contains errors, then we will be quick to accept scientific theories that appear to prove the Bible wrong. In other words, we will allow the conclusions of science to dictate the accuracy of the Word of God. When we doubt the Bible’s inerrancy, we have to invent new principles for interpreting Scripture that for convenience turn history into poetry and facts into myths. This means people must ask how reliable a given passage is when they turn to it. Only then will they be able to decide what to make of it. On the other hand, if we believe in inerrancy, we will test by Scripture the hasty theories that often come to us in the name of science.

Inerrancy Governs Our Attitude to the Preaching of Scripture

A denial of biblical inerrancy always leads to a loss of confidence in Scripture both in the pulpit and in the pew. It was not the growth of education and science that emptied churches, nor was it the result of two world wars. Instead, it was the cold deadness of theological liberalism. If the Bible’s history is doubtful and its words are open to dispute, then people understandably lose confidence in it. People want authority. They want to know what God has said.

Inerrancy Governs Our Belief in the Trustworthy Character of God

Almost all theologians agree Scripture is in some measure God’s revelation to the human race. But to allow that it contains error implies God has mishandled inspiration and has allowed His people to be deceived for centuries until modern scholars disentangled the confusion. In short, the Maker muddled the instructions.

Conclusion

A church without the authority of Scripture is like a crocodile without teeth; it can open its mouth as wide and as often as it likes—but who cares? Thankfully, God has given us His inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word. His people can speak with authority and boldness, and we can be confident we have His instructions for our lives.


Footnotes
1. Bishop Brook Foss Westcott, The New Testament in the Original Greek (London, MacMillan, 1881), 2.
2. John Goldingay, Models for Scripture (Toronto: Clements Publishing, 2004), 282.
3. Ibid.
4. Clement of Rome First letter to the Corinthians XLV.
5. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, XVII.2.
6. Kirsopp Lake, The Religion of Yesterday and Tomorrow, (Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1926), 62."