Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1-Chapter 5-The Word of God

January 2, 2015 1 comment

CHAPTER 5-THE WORD OF GOD (THE HOLY SCRIPTURES)

Christianity is the religion of a Book. Without this Book Christianity cannot be perpetuated. Wherever this Book has not gone there is no evidence of anything Christian. Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ, and people cannot believe in Him of whom they have not heard: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (#Ro 10:14). And we are shut up to this Book for news about Jesus Christ. This Book is the Bible, and, in its original, is God’s word to us today. Efface the teachings of the Bible from human thought and Christianity passes into oblivion. The Bible is an infallible Book, sufficient and authoritative in all matters of religious faith and practice: “All scripture 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 perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (#2Ti 3:16,17).

“Bring me the Book!” cried Sir Walter Scott on his death bed. “What Book?” he was asked. And this genius of the Scottish people replied, “There is but one Book; bring me the Bible!” When Queen Victoria was asked the secret of England’s greatness, she took down a copy of the scriptures and said, “This Book explains the power of Great Britain.”

SCRIPTURE VS. TRADITION

The word for Scripture in the Greek is “graphe” and means “a writing,” or “anything written.” The expression “holy scriptures” occurs only twice in the New Testament: “(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)”(#Ro 1:2); “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (#2Ti 3:15); but wherever the Scriptures are referred to, the Divine writings are meant. The usual reference is to the Old Testament writings, but Peter speaks of Paul’s epistles as Scripture: “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (#2Pe 3:16).

The Scriptures of our Lord’s day were the writings of the Old Testament. The Bible of that time was the Septuagint, which was the Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament. To our Lord and the apostles the Old Testament was the word of God. This was the Book Christ challenged the Jews to search: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (#Joh 5:39). This was the Book He meant when He said “If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;” (#Joh 10:35). This was the Book the Bereans searched to see if what Paul preached was true. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (#Ac 17:11).

Our Savior charged that the “traditions of men” were against the Scriptures. The Scriptures were the verbally inspired writings of God; the traditions of men were the teachings handed down by the Jewish elders. When the scribes and Pharisees charged Jesus with transgressing “the traditions of the elders,” He turned on them with this question: “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? (#Mt 15:2,3). Before Saul of Tarsus became a believer in Jesus Christ: He was “exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers” (#Ga 1:14). But when he became a believer he renounced the traditions and turned to the Scriptures. There are many traditions which need to be given up today, things handed down that are contrary to Scripture.

REVELATION AND INSPIRATION

These two words must not be confused. The word of God came to the prophets; that was revelation. Inspiration is the method by which the word came through them to us. It is by inspiration that the revelation to them became a revelation to us. Without inspiration we would have no revelation, for the word of God does not come today as it came to men of old. This inspiration has given us a written revelation. God’s word which we have today is in the form or nature of a Book, the Bible.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (#2Ti 3:16). This does not say the prophets were inspired; inspiration has to do with the words; the words of scripture came from God; they were God breathed. It is not our purpose to enter the controversy about theories of inspiration, except to say that we believe in the verbal inspiration of the scriptures, which means that the very words were selected by God, and the men spake as they were borne along by the Holy Spirit. They were not given conceptions or ideas of truth; they were given words of truth and directed by the Spirit to put those words of truth in writing.

The human element in the production of the Bible is fully recognized, the Book came to us through human agency, but the human element was not allowed to hazard the accuracy or infallibility of the Book. The Bible is as accurate and infallible as if God had written it without the human agent. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (#2Pe 1:21).

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (#Heb 1:1). The Old Testament is the Divine record of what God said at different times and in different ways to Israel through their prophets. The New Testament is the Divine record of God speaking in the Son. The comparison between the prophets and Christ is to point a contrast. God was using the prophets to give His word to Israel; but in Christ it was God Himself speaking. The prophets were many; the Son is one. The prophets were servants; the Son is the Lord. The prophets were temporary; the Son abideth for ever. The prophets spoke the word; Christ is the Word.

The Bible is in two editions, commonly called the Old and the New Testaments. They are not two but one book. The Old Testament is the New enfolded; the New Testament is the Old unfolded. In the Old Testament the New is concealed; in the New Testament the Old is revealed. The Old is patent in the New; the New is latent in the Old. The Old is prediction; the New is fulfillment. The two Testaments have the same Author: God; they have the same subject: Christ. The crimson thread runs through the whole Bible. You can begin anywhere and, preach Jesus. In both Testaments it is recorded that the Lord said: “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me” (#Ps 40:7); “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (#Heb 10:7). And in #Re 19:10: “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Martin Luther quaintly compared the two testaments to the two men who brought the branch with the cluster of grapes from the promised land. They were both bearing the same fruit; but the one in front did not see it, but knew what he was carrying. The other saw both the fruit and the man who was helping him. The prophets who came before Jesus testified of Him, although they did not see Him; and we who live since He came, see both Him and them.

ARGUMENTS THAT THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD

1. There is a presumption in its favor. Man needs a revelation from God, and if the Bible is not this revelation we have none. To be sure there are the sacred books of other religions, but they are like the gods they witness to, and are obviously not the revelation of the true and living God. Man needs the kind of revelation we have in the Bible. There is a revelation of God in nature, but this revelation is inadequate; it does not cover enough subjects. Nature reveals His eternal power and Deity, but has nothing to say about His moral qualities. Nature tells us there is a God, but it does not tell us what He is. A savage on an island far removed from civilization, finding a watch, might reach the conclusion that it was made by man, but he could not, by examining the watch, learn anything about the character of the maker. And man cannot learn the character of the Creator through the study of geology, biology, and astronomy. The Bible makes no effort to prove the existence of God, but it goes to great lengths in telling us what God is. He is revealed in His mode of existence and in His many moral perfections.

Man is in darkness about himself. He needs a written revelation to tell him what he is, whence he came, and, whither he is bound. The Bible answers every question concerning the eternal welfare of the human soul. It convicts every man of sin and tells him how to be saved. Yes, there is a presumption in favor of the Bible. Man needs a revelation; God is able to give it, and the Bible is the kind of revelation man needs. The Bible satisfies the thirsty soul.

2. The Bible claims to be the Word of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (#Joh 1:1). If the Bible is not what it claims to be it is a bad book. It is utterly inconsistent to extol the Bible as a good book, and at the same time deny its infallibility. All through the Bible runs the expression, “Thus saith the Lord.” This expression or its equivalent is used fully two thousand times in the Old Testament.

3. The testimony of Christ argues for the authenticity of the Bible. The Old Testament was in existence in His day, and He accepted it and quoted it as the word of God. The very book most frequently attacked by the critics (the book of Deuteronomy) was the book from which He made every quotation when tempted by Satan: “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live” (#De 8:3); “Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah” (#De 6:16); “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name” (#De 6:13), and compare with: #Lu 4:4-12: “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

4. The uniqueness of the Bible attests its Divine origin. It is different from all other books. To drink at this fountain of Truth is to taste the difference. It is unique in its teaching about God, about creation, about man, about sin, and about salvation. It has been said that man could not have written such a book if he would, and he would not if he could. Any honest man, who knows much about the Bible, will readily admit that it cannot possibly be a human production.

5. The frankness with which this Book deals with its heroes and authors, gives abundant evidence that it is the word of God. Human biographies give only the bright and best side of a man’s life. They extol his virtues and praise his achievements, but say little or nothing about his weak points. But the characters of the Bible are painted in the colors of truth. The Bible does not whitewash.

6. The wonderful unity of the Bible is an argument for its inspiration. This is a miracle within itself. Penned on two continents, written in three languages, its composition and compilation extending through the slow progress of sixteen centuries, having about forty different authors; parts of it written in tents, palaces, dungeons, in cities and deserts; written in times of danger and in seasons of ecstatic joy; among its writers were judges, priests, kings, prophets, prime ministers, herdsmen, scribes, soldiers, physicians, and fishermen; yet in spite of these varying circumstances, conditions, and workmen, the Bible is one Book. It holds together. There is affinity one part for the other. The more this truth is pondered the more amazing is the Bible.

“Imagine forty persons of different nationalities, possessing various degrees of musical culture, visiting the organ of some great cathedral and at long intervals of time, and without any collusion whatever, striking sixty-six different notes, which when combined yielded the theme of the grandest oroatorio ever heard: would it not show that behind these forty different men there was one presiding mind, one great Tone-Master? As we listen to some great orchestra, with its immense variety of instruments playing their different parts, but producing melody and harmony, we realize that at the back of these many musicians there is the personality and genius of the composer. And when we enter the halls of the Divine Academy and listen to the heavenly choirs singing the Song of Redemption, all in perfect accord and unison, we know that it is God Himself who has written the music and put this song into their mouths” (A. W. Pink).

7. Fulfilled prophecies give testimony to the Divine origin of the Bible. Prophecy is the foretelling of events before they come to pass. This is the acid test of Divine revelation. God’s appeal to fulfilled prophecy is made all through the Bible: “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (#De 18:22); “Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together” (#Isa 41:21-23); “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (#2Pe 1:19-21). Men may make some general predictions about the future, but the Bible contains hundreds of prophecies, which have been literally fulfilled hundreds of years after they were written.

7a) Prophecies about Christ. He is the one great subject of prophecy: “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (#Re 19:10); “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (#Heb 10:7). Micah predicted His birthplace: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (#Mic 5:2). Isaiah said his mother would be a virgin: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (#Isa 7:14). We have many things about His death predicted in #Ps 22:1-22: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee,” and #Isa 53:1-12: “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” And in #Ps 16:10: “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” we have His resurrection foretold.

7b) Prophecies about the Jews. These like the prophecies about Christ, are too many to enumerate. Frederick the Great once demanded of one of his marshals, who was a devout believer, proof of the truth of the Bible in one word. “The Jew,” was the laconic, unanswerable reply. The destruction of their royal city, Jerusalem, was foretold years in advance. “And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city” (#Mt 22:1-7 24:1,2): “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” and #Lu 21:5,6: “And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Read the account of the destruction of Jerusalem by Josephus, who was with Titus in this campaign and afterwards wrote the history of it. The wandering Jew has long been a proverb in human history, but it was a Divine prophecy a long time before.

7c) Prophecies about Babylon. “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged” (#Isa 13:19-22); “For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts” (#Isa 14:22,23); “Therefore hear ye the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitation desolate with them. At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations” (#Jer 50:45-46). Of all the cities in prophecy apart from Jerusalem, Babylon figures most prominently. Babylon is mentioned in Genesis and in Revelation. This city is Divinely threatened through Isaiah; at great length through Jeremiah, and there are further threatenings through John in the book of Revelation. It would be interesting and profitable for the student, by the use of concordance, to read all the Bible says about Babylon.

7d) One of the most interesting bits of prophecy is that concerning Josiah, the boy king of Judah, who reigned from 637-608 B.C. When Jeroboam stood by his altar at Bethel to burn incense, an unknown prophet of God came out of Judah “And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee” (#1Ki 13:2). The date of this prophecy was 975 BC. Here is the prediction of the birth, and name, and deed of a later king of Judah, which took place three and one-half centuries later. The fulfillment is recorded in #2Ki 23:15,16: “Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove. And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words”. (#2Ki 23:15,16). The fulfillment took place 624 BC, or 351 years after the prophecy was spoken.

SOME GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BIBLE AS A DIVINE REVELATION

1. It is a religious Book. It is not a textbook on natural science, but a revelation of moral and saving truth. It was not written to tell men how to get on here, but to tell them how to prepare for the hereafter.

2. The Bible is an open Book. Its truths are not veiled in scientific language, but are given in the popular language of the people. If the Bible had been written in the scientific language of the first century it would have been out of date in the twentieth century. If it had been written in the language of the twentieth century nobody could have understood it until a few years ago. If written in scientific language only the scholars could understand it. The Bible was not written for scholars but for men. It is the people’s Book. It was delivered to the saints, not to the pope, or priest, or cleric. If the gospel is veiled the veil is not on the Book but on the human heart. The best qualification for understanding it is a sincere and honest and Spirit-enlightened mind.

3. The Bible is a practical Book. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable” (#2Ti 3:16). The value of the Bible is beyond human appraisal. This book came from God and takes us to God. I know it came from God because it treats the subjects beyond the human intellect. The Bible shows the way to God, and how to become righteous before his Holy law. It is a manual of life and conduct. It was not given to adorn a table, but to direct a life. Read this Book to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. As another has said, “know it in the head, store it in the heart, show it in the life, and sow it in the world.”

4. The Bible is an immortal Book. All other books die. It can be said of the Bible as was said of Christ: “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth” (#Ps 110:3). Time writes no wrinkles on the brow of the eternal Word. The Bible is the world’s best seller and at the same time the most hated of all books. Every weapon from the arsenal of hell has been used against it. All the strategists of Satan’s empire have collaborated in an effort to destroy it. But the Bible is a living and indestructible Book. It has survived the fires of pagan and papal Rome, and the sophistries of all opposing philosophers. It triumphed over the arguments of Ingersoll, the ridicule of Voltaire, and the reasonings of Tom Paine. “For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven” (#Ps 119:89). The Bible is like the bush which Moses saw burning but not consumed, for God was in it. It is like the anvil that wears out all the hammers.

“Yes, like a solid anvil the sacred Scripture stands,
And fiercely is it beaten by unbeliever’s hands;
With noise and show of learning they make a large display,
But, like the blackemith’s hammer they wear themselves away.”

5. The Bible is an expensive Book. The cost to us is not much. We enter a book store and ask for a Bible; we lay down the price, one dollar, two dollars, or ten dollars as the case may be. But is that the cost of the Bible? God in providential mercy has made the costliest of all books cheap to us. We estimate the value of an article by the cost of producing it. The Bible is a costly Book in its human aspect. Men sank their lives in medieval monasteries to make copies of it for future generations. Then there was the cost to martyrs who laid down their lives for love of the truth when pope or pagan would try to sweep away every copy of it. The Bible also represents a cost to God. From Genesis to Revelation it is written in the blood of His Son. The Old Testament is the finger of prophecy pointing forward to Calvary; the New Testament is the finger of history pointing back to Calvary. To write the message of love we have in the Bible God broke the heart of His Son on the cross. In olden times the word of God was inscribed on parchment which was the skin of sheep and today it is written on paper. The parchment speaks of the Lamb slain that its skin might clothe and its blood might atone, and that its skin might also bear the news of gracious love to sinners. The paper made from wood crushed into pulp reminds us that the Tree of Life was cut down and crushed on Calvary, crushed and marred beyond all the sons of men, that He might bear the glad tidings of God’s love.

METAPHORS OR SYMBOLS OF THE WORD

It is both interesting and instructive to study the symbols or figures under which the Word of God is set forth.

1. It is likened to a lamp or light: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path…The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (#Ps 119:105,130); “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:” (#Pr 6:23). The word of God is to man morally what a lamp is physically. This world is in a state of moral darkness; ignorant of how to become righteous before God, but God’s word is a light shining in a dark place, and every believer delights to say, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light” (#Ps 119:130).

2. The Bible is a mirror: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (#2Co 3:18); “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (#Jas 1:25). This cannot be said of any other book. I look into the Bible and see myself, not as I think I am, but as I really am, guilty and ruined: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (#Ro 3:19). The Bible is a mouth stopper. The least way to stop a man’s boasting is to have him look at himself in the mirror of God’s holy word.

3. The word of God is a laver or wash basin: “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (#Eph 5:26). The very Book that reveals moral dirt also provides for washing. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (#Ps 119:9). “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (#Joh 15:3).

4. The Bible is represented as food: “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (#Job 23:12). Every man by nature is a prodigal away from the Father’s house and perishing with hunger; in the word of God we find the gospel table ladened with soul satisfying food. There is milk for babes, and strong meat for men. There is bread for the hungry and honey for those who can take the sweets. The fat soul is the one who feeds upon the word of God.

5. The word of God is compared to a hammer: “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (#Jer 23:29). The best way to break stony hearts is to quote Scripture. These is no heart too hard for the word when wielded by the Spirit. It caused the hard hearted jailer to cry out, “What must I do to be saved?” (#Ac 16:30).

6. The word is called the sword of the Spirit: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” (#Eph 6:17). It is a perfect weapon with which to resist Satan. And the Holy Spirit knows how to use it in cutting the sinner to the heart and killing his self-righteousness.” For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (#Heb 4:12).

7. The word is likened to seed: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God” (#Lu 8:11). In spiritual as in natural farming the seed must be sown. It is the commission of our Lord to sow this world down with the word of God. We must sow beside all waters, and at all seasons. “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good” (#Ec 11:6).

“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious
seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his
sheaves with him” (#Ps 126:6).

“Say, Christian, wouldst thou thrive
In knowledge of thy Lord?
Against no Scripture ever strive,
But tremble at His word.

“Revere the sacred page;
To injure any part
Betrays with blind and feeble rage,
A hard and haughty heart.

“If aught there dark appear,
Bewail thy want of sight;
No imperfection can be there,
For all God’s words are right.

“The Scriptures and the Lord
Bear one tremendous name;
The written and the Incarnate Word
In all things are the same.

“For Jesus is the Truth,
As well as Life and Way;
The two-edged sword that’s in His mouth
Shall all proud reasoners slay.

“Why dost thou call Him Lord,
And what He says resist?
The soul that stumbles at the Word,
Offended is at Christ.

“The thoughts of man are lies,
The Word of God is true.
To bow to that is to be wise;
Then hear, and fear, and do.”

—Joseph Hart.

 

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1

Advertisements

THE CHICAGO STATEMENT ON BIBLICAL INERRANCY

February 10, 2014 4 comments

Preface

The authority of Scripture is a key issue for the Christian Church in this and every age. Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are called to show the reality of their discipleship by humbly and faithfully obeying God’s written Word. To Stray from Scripture in faith or conduct is disloyalty to our Master. Recognition of the total truth and trustworthiness of Holy Scripture is essential to a full grasp and adequate confession of its authority.

The following Statement affirms this inerrancy of Scripture afresh, making clear our understanding of it and warning against its denial. We are persuaded that to deny it is to set aside the witness of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit and to refuse that submission to the claims of God’s own Word which marks true Christian faith. We see it as our timely duty to make this affirmation in the face of current lapses from the truth of inerrancy among our fellow Christians and misunderstanding of this doctrine in the world at large.

This Statement consists of three parts: a Summary Statement, Articles of Affirmation and Denial, and an accompanying Exposition. It has been prepared in the course of a three-day consultation in Chicago. Those who have signed the Summary Statement and the Articles wish to affirm their own conviction as to the inerrancy of Scripture and to encourage and challenge one another and all Christians to growing appreciation and understanding of this doctrine. We acknowledge the limitations of a document prepared in a brief, intensive conference and do not propose that this Statement be given creedal weight. Yet we rejoice in the deepening of our own convictions through our discussions together, and we pray that the Statement we have signed may be used to the glory of our God toward a new reformation of the Church in its faith, life, and mission.

We offer this Statement in a spirit, not of contention, but of humility and love, which we purpose by God’s grace to maintain in any future dialogue arising out of what we have said. We gladly acknowledge that many who deny the inerrancy of Scripture do not display the consequences of this denial in the rest of their belief and behavior, and we are conscious that we who confess this doctrine often deny it in life by failing to bring our thoughts and deeds, our traditions and habits, into true subjection to the divine Word.

We invite response to this statement from any who see reason to amend its affirmations about Scripture by the light of Scripture itself, under whose infallible authority we stand as we speak. We claim no personal infallibility for the witness we bear, and for any help which enables us to strengthen this testimony to God’s Word we shall be grateful.

 

A SHORT STATEMENT

1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.

2. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms, obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.

3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.

4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.

5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.

 

ARTICLES OF AFFIRMATION AND DENIAL

Article I

We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God.

We deny that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, tradition, or any other human source.

 

Article II

We affirm that the Scriptures are the supreme written norm by which God binds the conscience, and that the authority of the Church is subordinate to that of Scripture.

We deny that Church creeds, councils, or declarations have authority greater than or equal to the authority of the Bible.

 

Article III

We affirm that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God.

We deny that the Bible is merely a witness to revelation, or only becomes revelation in encounter, or depends on the responses of men for its validity.

 

Article IV

We affirm that God who made mankind in His image has used language as a means of revelation.

We deny that human language is so limited by our creatureliness that it is rendered inadequate as a vehicle for divine revelation. We further deny that the corruption of human culture and language through sin has thwarted God’s work of inspiration.

 

Article V

We affirm that God’s revelation in the Holy Scriptures was progressive.

We deny that later revelation, which may fulfill earlier revelation, ever corrects or contradicts it. We further deny that any normative revelation has been given since the completion of the New Testament writings.

 

Article VI

We affirm that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration.

We deny that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly be affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.

 

Article VII

We affirm that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us His Word. The origin of Scripture is divine. The mode of divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to us.

We deny that inspiration can be reduced to human insight, or to heightened states of consciousness of any kind.

 

Article VIII

We affirm that God in His Work of inspiration utilized the distinctive personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and prepared.

We deny that God, in causing these writers to use the very words that He chose, overrode their personalities.

 

Article IX

We affirm that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the Biblical authors were moved to speak and write.

We deny that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or otherwise, introduced distortion or falsehood into God’s Word.

 

Article X

We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original.

We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.

 

Article XI

We affirm that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses.

We deny that it is possible for the Bible to be at the same time infallible and errant in its assertions. Infallibility and inerrancy may be distinguished, but not separated.

 

Article XII

We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.

We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

 

Article XIII

We affirm the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture.

We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.

 

Article XIV

We affirm the unity and internal consistency of Scripture.

We deny that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved vitiate the truth claims of the Bible.

 

Article XV

We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy is grounded in the teaching of the Bible about inspiration.

We deny that Jesus’ teaching about Scripture may be dismissed by appeals to accommodation or to any natural limitation of His humanity.

 

Article XVI

We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy has been integral to the Church’s faith throughout its history.

We deny that inerrancy is a doctrine invented by Scholastic Protestantism, or is a reactionary position postulated in response to negative higher criticism.

 

Article XVII

We affirm that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the Scriptures, assuring believers of the truthfulness of God’s written Word.

We deny that this witness of the Holy Spirit operates in isolation from or against Scripture.

 

Article XVIII

We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historicaI exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.

We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizlng, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.

 

Article XIX

We affirm that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ.

We deny that such confession is necessary for salvation. However, we further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences both to the individual and to the Church.

 

EXPOSITION

Our understanding of the doctrine of inerrancy must be set in the context of the broader teachings of Scripture concerning itself. This exposition gives an account of the outline of doctrine from which our summary statement and articles are drawn.

 

A. Creation, Revelation and Inspiration

The God, who formed all things by his creative utterances and governs All things by His Word of decree, made mankind in His own image for a life of communion with Himself, on the model of the eternal fellowship of loving communication within the Godhead. As God’s image-bearer, man was to hear God’s Word addressed to him and to respond in the joy of adoring obedience. Over and above God’s self-disclosure in the created order and the sequence of events within it, human beings from Adam on have received verbal messages from Him, either directly, as stated in Scripture, or indirectly in the form of part or all of Scripture itself.

When Adam fell, the Creator did not abandon mankind to final judgment, but promised salvation and began to reveal Himself as Redeemer in a sequence of historical events centering on Abraham’s family and culminating in the life, death, resurrection, present heavenly ministry and promised return of Jesus Christ. Within this frame God has from time to time spoken specific words of judgement and mercy, promise and command, to sinful human beings, so drawing them into a covenant relation of mutual commitment between Him and them in which He blesses them with gifts of grace and they bless Him in responsive adoration. Moses, whom God used as mediator to carry his words to His people at the time of the Exodus, stands at the head of a long line of prophets in whose mouths and writings God put His words for delivery to Israel. God’s purpose in this succession of messages was to maintain His covenant by causing His people to know His name–that is, His nature–and His will both of precept and purpose in the present and for the future. This line of prophetic spokesmen from God came to completion in Jesus Christ, God’s incarnate Word, who was Himself a prophet–more than a prophet, but not less–and in the apostles and prophets of the first Christian generation. When God’s final and climactic message, His word to the world concerning Jesus Christ, had been spoken and elucidated by those in the apostolic circle, the sequence of revealed messages ceased. Henceforth the Church was to live and know God by what He had already said, and said for all time.

At Sinai God wrote the terms of His covenant on tablets of stone as His enduring witness and for lasting accessibility, and throughout the period of prophetic and apostolic revelation He prompted men to write the messages given to and through them, along with celebratory records of His dealings with His people, plus moral reflections on covenant life and forms of praise and prayer for covenant mercy. The theological reality of inspiration in the producing of Biblical documents corresponds to that of spoken prophecies: although the human writers’ personalities were expressed in what they wrote, the words were divinely constituted. Thus what Scripture says, God says; its authority is His authority, for He is its ultimate Author, having given it through the minds and words of chosen and prepared men who in freedom and faithfulness “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (I Pet 1:21). Holy Scripture must be acknowledged as the Word of God by virtue of its divine origin.

 

B. Authority: Christ and the Bible

Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is the Word made flesh, our Prophet, Priest and King, is the ultimate Mediator of God’s communication to man, as He is of all God’s gifts of grace. The revelation He gave was more than verbal; He revealed the Father by His presence and His deeds as well. Yet His words were crucially important ; for He was God, He spoke from the Father, and His words will judge all men at the last day.

As the prophesied Messiah, Jesus Christ is the central theme of Scripture. The Old Testament looked ahead to Him; the New Testament looks back to His first coming and on to His second. Canonical Scripture is the divinely inspired and therefore normative witness to Christ. No hermeneutic, therefore, of which the historical Christ is not the focal point is acceptable. Holy Scripture must be treated as what it essentially is–the witness of the Father to the incarnate Son.

It appears that the Old Testament canon had been fixed by the time of Jesus. The New Testament canon is likewise now closed, inasmuch as no new apostolic witness to the historical Christ can now be borne. No new revelation (as distinct from Spirit-given understanding of existing revelation) will be given until Christ comes again. The canon was created in principle by divine inspiration. The Church’s part was to discern the canon that God had created, not to devise one of its own. The relevant criteria were and are: authorship (or attestation), content, and the authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit.

The word ‘canon’, signifying a rule of standard, is a pointer to authority, which means the right to rule and control. Authority in Christianity belongs to God in His revelation, which means, on the one hand, Jesus Christ, the living Word, and, on the other hand, Holy Scripture, the written Word. But the authority of Christ and that of Scripture are one. As our Prophet, Christ testified that Scripture cannot be broken. As our Priest and King, He devoted His earthly life to fulfilling the law and the prophets, even dying in obedience to the words of Messianic prophecy. Thus as He saw Scripture attesting Him and His authority, so by His own submission to Scripture He attested its authority. As He bowed to His Father’s instruction given in His Bible (our Old Testament), so He requires His disciples to do–not, however, in isolation but in conjunction with the apostolic witness to Himself which He undertook to inspire by his gift of the Holy Spirit. So Christians show themselves faithful servants of their Lord by bowing to the divine instruction given in the prophetic and apostolic writings which together make up our Bible.

By authenticating each other’s authority, Christ and Scripture coalesce into a single fount of authority. The biblically interpreted Christ and the Christ-centered, Christ-proclaiming Bible are from this standpoint one. As from the fact of inspiration we infer that what Scripture says, God says, so from the revealed relation between Jesus Christ and Scripture we may equally declare that what Scripture says, Christ says.

 

C. Infallibility, Inerrancy, Interpretation

Holy Scripture, as the inspired Word of God witnessing authoritatively to Jesus Christ, may properly be called ‘infallible’ and ‘inerrant’. These negative terms have a special value, for they explicitly safeguard crucial positive truths.

‘Infallible’ signifies the quality of neither misleading nor being misled and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe and reliable rule and guide in all matters.

Similarly, ‘inerrant’ signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.

We affirm that canonical Scripture should always be interpreted on the basis that it is infallible and inerrant. However, in determining what the God-taught writer is asserting in each passage, we must pay the most careful attention to its claims and character as a human production. In inspiration, God utilized the culture and conventions of His penman’s milieu, a milieu that God controls in His sovereign providence; it is misinterpretation to imagine otherwise.

So history must be treated as history, poetry as poetry, hyperbole and metaphor as hyperbole and metaphor, generalization and approximation as what they are, and so forth. Differences between literary conventions in Bible times and in ours must also be observed: Since, for instance, nonchronological narration and imprecise citation were conventional and acceptable and violated no expectations in those days, we must not regard these things as faults when we find them in Bible writers. When total precision of a particular kind was not expected nor aimed at, it is no error not to have achieved it. Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at Which its authors aimed.

The truthfulness of Scripture is not negated by the appearance in it of irregularities of grammar or spelling, phenomenal descriptions of nature, reports of false statements (e.g., the lies of Satan), or seeming discrepancies between one passage and another. It is not right to set the so-called “phenomena” of Scripture against the teaching of Scripture about itself. Apparent inconsistencies should not be ignored. Solution of them, where this can be convincingly achieved, will encourage our faith, and where for the present no convincing solution is at hand we shall significantly honor God by trusting His assurance that His Word is true, despite these appearances, and by maintaining our confidence that one day they will be seen to have been illusions.

Inasmuch as all Scripture is the product of a single divine mind, interpretation must stay within the bounds of the analogy of Scripture and eschew hypotheses that would correct one Biblical passage by another, whether in the name of progressive revelation or of the imperfect enlightenment of the inspired writer’s mind.

Although Holy Scripture is nowhere culture-bound in the sense that its teaching lacks universal validity, it is sometimes culturally conditioned by the customs and conventional views of a particular period, so that the application of its principles today calls for a different sort of action (e.g., in the matter of women’s headgear/coiffure, cf.1 Cor.11).

 

D. Skepticism and Criticism

Since the Renaissance, and more particularly since the Enlightenment, world views have been developed that involve skepticism about basic Christian tenets. Such are the agnosticism that denies that God is knowable, the rationalism that denies that He is incomprehensible, the idealism that denies that He is transcendent, and the existentialism which denies rationality in His relationships with us. When these un- and anti-biblical principles seep into man’s theologies at presuppositional level, as today they frequently do, faithful interpretation of Holy Scripture becomes impossible.

 

E. Transmission and Translation

Since God has nowhere promised an inerrant transmission of Scripture, it is necessary to affirm that only the autographic text of the original documents was inspired and to maintain the need of textual criticism as a means of detecting any slips that may have crept into the text in the course of its transmission. The verdict of this science, however, is that the Hebrew and Greek text appears to be amazingly well preserved, so that we are amply justified in affirming, with the Westminster Confession, a singular providence of God in this matter and in declaring that the authority of Scripture is in no way jeopardized by the fact that the copies we possess are not entirely error-free.

Similarly, no translation is or can be perfect, and all translations are an additional step away from the autographa. Yet the verdict of linguistic science is that English-speaking Christians, at least, are exceedingly well served in these days with a host of excellent translations and have no cause for hesitating to conclude that the true Word of God is within their reach. Indeed, in view of the frequent repetition in Scripture of the main matters with which it deals and also of the Holy Spirit’s constant witness to and through the Word, no serious translation of Holy Scripture will so destroy its meaning as to render it unable to make its reader “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

 

F. Inerrancy and Authority

In our affirmation of the authority of Scripture as involving its total truth, we are consciously standing with Christ and His apostles, indeed with the whole Bible and with the mainstream of church history from the first days until very recently. We are concerned at the casual, inadvertent and seemingly thoughtless way in which a belief of such far-reaching importance has been given up by so many in our day.

We are conscious too that great and grave confusion results from ceasing to maintain the total truth of the Bible whose authority one professes to acknowledge. The result of taking this step is that the Bible which God gave loses its authority, and what has authority instead is a Bible reduced in content according to the demands of one’s critical reasoning and in principle reducible still further once one has started. This means that at bottom independent reason now has authority, as opposed to scriptural teaching. If this is not seen and if for the time being basic evangelical doctrines are still held, persons denying the full truth of Scripture may claim an evangelical identity while methodologically they have moved away from the evangelical principle of knowledge to an unstable subjectivism, and will find it hard not to move further.

We affirm that what Scripture says, God says. May He be glorified. Amen and Amen. 

The Bible and hermeneutics

February 10, 2014 Leave a comment

by Andrew S. Kulikovsky

Hermeneutics is the formal process by which the interpreter employs certain principles and methods in order to derive the author’s intended meaning. Naturally, this is foundational to all theological studies, and before a biblical theology of creation can be built, it is necessary to discuss the hermeneutical approach that should be utilized and how it should be applied to the text of Scripture, and in particular, the creation account of Genesis

The biblical account of creation simply assumes that God had endowed man with the faculties to communicate with his Creator.

 

Biblical inerrancy

Presuppositions and prior understandings have always played a significant role in the hermeneutical process, and one such presupposition is biblical inerrancy. Inerrancy is a complex doctrine, but it is internally coherent, and consistent with a perfect and righteous God who has revealed Himself. Broadly speaking, the doctrine of inerrancy identifies Scripture as true and without error in all that it affirms, including its affirmations regarding history and the physical universe.1 Article IX of The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy states:

WE AFFIRM that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the Biblical authors were moved to speak and write.

WE DENY that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or otherwise, introduced distortion or falsehood into God’s Word.’

Concerning the role of history and science in the interpretation of Scripture relating to creation and the Flood, Article XII states:

WE AFFIRM that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.

WE DENY that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.’

Indeed, as Herman Bavinck noted, when Scripture touches on science it does not suddenly cease to be the Word of God.2

Of course, a high view of Scripture is ‘of little value to us if we do not enthusiastically embrace the Scripture’s authority.’3 Indeed, many scholars who claim to be evangelical have either rejected this doctrine outright, or have redefined it to allow for errors in historical and scientific references. Francis Schaeffer described the denial of biblical inerrancy as ‘The great evangelical disaster’. He noted that accommodating Scripture to the current scientific consensus has led many evangelicals to a weakened view of the Bible and to no longer affirm the truth of all that it teaches—not only in regard to theology and morality but also regarding science and history.4 Why, then, have many so-called evangelical historians and theologians denied inerrancy and infallibility in relation to history and science? John D. Woodbridge suggests they believe that if the Bible is only infallible for faith and practice, then it cannot be negatively affected by evolutionary hypotheses.5 The irony of this position is that in trying to defend inerrancy, they have essentially given it up!

Read the entire article here.

The Authority of Scripture

February 10, 2014 3 comments

by Jonathan Sarfati

Abstract: Scripture had supreme authority for the Old Testament saints, Christ and His apostles in all matters it touched upon. In particular, for Christ, what Scripture said, God said. Christ also directly affirmed many of the passages attacked by liberals. Objections to the inerrancy and suffiency of Scripture are refuted. The charge that Christ was mistaken or merely accommodating to His hearers is impossible for a consistent Christian to hold. The charge of circular reasoning fails on several counts: the internal and external cross-checks, and the role that axioms play in all philosophical systems.

I) Old Testament:

1) Moses

Moses often testified that his writings were from God:

Exodus 24:4: ‘Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said …’

See also v.7, Ex. 34:27–28, Nu. 33:1–2, Dt. 31:9,

Deuteronomy 31:11: ‘when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose, you shall read this law before them in their hearing.’……….

 

II) New Testament

1) Jesus Christ:

Matthew 19:3–6:

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?’

4 ‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’

5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?

6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.’ Note:

Christ accepted the Genesis Creation account literally (see also But from the beginning of … the institution of marriage? In fact, Jesus believed the parts of Scripture most attacked by skeptics today — see Jesus Christ on the infallibility of Scripture)

He cited from Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, showing that He did not regard Genesis 1 and 2 as separate contradictory creation accounts, but as complementary. See also Do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other?

v.5, which in Genesis is an editorial comment, is equated with the word of the Creator. This is not the only place where the New Testament cites an Old Testament passage as ‘God said’; compare the following pairs: Ps. 2:1 & Acts 4:24–25, Ps. 2:7 & Heb. 1:5, Ps. 16:10 & Acts 13:35, Ps. 95:7 & Heb. 3:7, Ps. 97:7 & Heb. 1:6, Ps. 104:4 & Heb. 1:7, Is. 55:3 & Acts 13:34. The converse is true in the following pairs: Gen. 12:3 & Gal. 3:8, Ex. 9:16 & Rom. 9:17; where a direct statement by God in the OT is cited as ‘Scripture said’.

Luke 17:26–32:………

 

Read the entire article here

Free Ebook: Outlines of Theology

January 13, 2014 3 comments

outlines500 Preface to First Edition

In introducing this book to the reader, I have only a single word to say upon two points: first as to the uses which I regard this form of exhibiting theological truth as being specially qualified to subserve; and, secondly as to the sources from which I have drawn the materials composing these “Outlines.”

As to the first point, I have to say, that the conception and execution of this work originated in the experience of the need for some such manual of theological definitions and argumentation, in the immediate work of instructing the members of my own pastoral charge. The several chapters were in the first instance prepared and used in the same form in which they are now printed, as the basis of a lecture delivered otherwise extemporaneously to my congregation every Sabbath night. In this use of them, I found these preparations successful beyond my hopes. The congregation, as a whole, were induced to enter with interest upon the study even of the most abstruse questions. Having put this work thus to this practical test, I now offer it to my brethren in the ministry, that they may use it, if they will, as a repertory of digested material for the doctrinal instruction of their people, either in Bible classes, or by means of a congregational lecture. I offer it also as an attempt to supply an acknowledged public want, as a syllabus of theological study for the use of theological students generally, and for the use of those many laborious preachers of the gospel who cannot command the time, or who have not the opportunity, or other essential means, to study the more expensive and elaborate works from which the materials of this compend have been gathered.

The questions have been retained in form, not for the purpose of adapting the book in any degree for catechetical instruction, but as the most convenient and perspicuous method of presenting an “outline of theology” so condensed. This same necessity of condensation I would also respectfully plead as in some degree an excuse for some of the instances of obscurity in definition and meagerness of illustration, which the reader will observe.

In the second place, as to the sources from which I have drawn the materials of this book, I may for the most part refer the reader to the several passages, where the acknowledgment is made as the debt is incurred.

In general, however, it is proper to say that I have, with his permission, used the list of questions given by my father to his classes of forty–five and six. I have added two or three chapters which his course did not embrace, and have in general adapted his questions to my new purpose, by omissions, additions, or a different distribution. To such a degree, however, have they directed and assisted me, that I feel a confidence in offering the result to the public which otherwise would have been unwarrantable. In the frequent instances in which I have possessed his published articles upon the subjects of the following chapters, the reader will find that I have drawn largely from them. It is due to myself, however, to say, that except in two instances, “The Scriptures the only Rule of Faith and Judge of Controversies” and the “Second Advent,” I have never heard delivered nor read the manuscript of that course of theological lectures which he has prepared for the use of his classes subsequently to my graduation. In the instances I have above excepted, I have attempted little more, in the preparation of the respective chapters of this book bearing those titles, than to abridge my father’s lectures. In every instance I have endeavored to acknowledge the full extent of the assistance I have derived from others, in which I have, I believe, uniformly succeeded, except so far as I am now unable to trace to their original sources some of the materials collected by me in my class manuscripts, prepared fourteen years ago, while a student of theology. This last reference relates to a large element in this book, as I wrote copiously, and after frequent oral communication with my father, both in public and private.

A. A. HODGE.

Fredericksburg, May, 1860.

Preface to Revised and Enlarged Edition

The Preface to the original edition gives a perfectly accurate and somewhat circumstantial account of the origin of this work. Since its first publication the evidences of the fact that it met a public need have been multiplying. Its sale in America and Great Britain has continued. It has been translated into Welsh and Modern Greek, and used in several theological training schools.

The author, in the meantime, has been for fourteen years engaged in the practical work of a theological instructor. His increased knowledge and experience as a teacher have been embodied in this new and enlarged edition, which has grown to its present form through several years in connection with his actual class instructions.

The new edition contains nearly fifty per cent more matter than the former one. Two chapters have been dropped, and five new ones have been added. Extracts from the principal Confessions, Creeds, and classical theological writers of the great historical churches have been appended to the discussions of the doctrines concerning which the Church is divided. Several chapters have been entirely rewritten, and many others have been materially recast, and enlarged. And the Appendix contains a translation of the Consensus Tigurinus of Calvin, and of the FORMULA CONSENSUS HELVETICA of Heidegger and Turretin, two Confessions of first class historical and doctrinal interest to the student of Reformed theology, but not easily accessible.

The work is again offered to the Christian Church, not as a complete treatise of Systematic Theology, for the use of the proficient, but as a simple Text Book, adapted to the needs of students taking their first lessons in this great science, and to the convenience of many earnest workers who wish to refresh their memories by means of a summary review of the ground gone over by them in their earlier studies.

Princeton, N. J., August 6th, 1878.

 

Source [Monergism.com] (.99Mbs)

The authority of scripture is sealed on the hearts of believers by the testimony of the Holy Spirit

November 27, 2013 2 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Last and necessary conclusion, That the authority of Scripture is sealed on the hearts of believers by the testimony of the Holy Spirit. The certainty of this testimony. Confirmation of it from a passage of Isaiah, and the experience of believers. Also, from another passage of Isaiah.

5. Let it therefore be held as fixed, that those who are inwardly taught by the Holy Spirit acquiesce implicitly in Scripture; that Scripture carrying its own evidence along with it, deigns not to submit to proofs and arguments, but owes the full conviction with which we ought to receive it to the testimony of the Spirit. Enlightened by him, we no longer believe, either on our own judgment or that of others, that the Scriptures are from God; but, in a way superior to human judgment, feel perfectly assured — as much so as if we beheld the divine image visibly impressed on it — that it came to us, by the instrumentality of men, from the very mouth of God. We ask not for proofs or probabilities on which to rest our judgment, but we subject our intellect and judgment to it as too transcendent for us to estimate. This, however, we do, not in the manner in which some are wont to fasten on an unknown object, which, as soon as known, displeases, but because we have a thorough conviction that, in holding it, we hold unassailable truth; not like miserable men, whose minds are enslaved by superstition, but because we feel a divine energy living and breathing in it — an energy by which we are drawn and animated to obey it, willingly indeed, and knowingly, but more vividly and effectually than could be done by human will or knowledge. Hence, God most justly exclaims by the mouth of Isaiah, “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he,” (Isaiah 43:10.)

Such, then, is a conviction which asks not for reasons; such, a knowledge which accords with the highest reason, namely knowledge in which the mind rests more firmly and securely than in any reasons; such in fine, the conviction which revelation from heaven alone can produce. I say nothing more than every believer experiences in himself, though my words fall far short of the reality. I do not dwell on this subject at present, because we will return to it again: only let us now understand that the only true faith is that which the Spirit of God seals on our hearts. Nay, the modest and teachable reader will find a sufficient reason in the promise contained in Isaiah, that all the children of the renovated Church “shall be taught of the Lord,” (Isaiah 54:13.) This singular privilege God bestows on his elect only, whom he separates from the rest of mankind. For what is the beginning of true doctrine but prompt alacrity to hear the Word of God? And God, by the mouth of Moses, thus demands to be heard: “It is not in heavens that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart,” (Deuteronomy 30:12, 14.) God having been pleased to reserve the treasure of intelligence for his children, no wonder that so much ignorance and stupidity is seen in the generality of mankind. In the generality, I include even those specially chosen, until they are ingrafted into the body of the Church. Isaiah, moreover, while reminding us that the prophetical doctrine would prove incredible not only to strangers, but also to the Jews, who were desirous to be thought of the household of God, subjoins the reason, when he asks, “To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1.) If at any time, then we are troubled at the small number of those who believe, let us, on the other hand, call to mind, that none comprehend the mysteries of God save those to whom it is given.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 7-Henry Beveridge Translation

All Scripture is for us and addressed to us

April 16, 2013 4 comments

PinkWhen the Dispensationalist is hard pressed with those objections, he endeavors to wriggle out of his dilemma by declaring that though all Scripture be for us much of it is not addressed to us. But really, that is a distinction without a difference. In his exposition of Hebrews 3:7-11, Owen rightly pointed out that when making quotation from the Old Testament the Apostle prefaced it with “the Holy Spirit saith” (not “said”), and remarked, “Whatever was given by inspiration from the Holy Spirit and is recorded in the Scriptures for the use of the Church, He contrived to speak it to us unto this day. As He liveth for ever so He continues to speak for ever; that is, whilst His voice or word shall be of use for the Church— He speaks now unto us….Many men have invented several ways to lessen the authority of the Scriptures, and few are willing to acknowledge an immediate speaking of God unto them therein.” To the same effect wrote that sound commentator Thomas Scott, “Because of the immense advantages of perseverance, and the tremendous consequences of apostasy, we should consider the words of the Holy Spirit as addressed to us.”

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism