Darrell Bock on the (New) Queen James (Bible) Part 1 – Passages in the Old Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary

darrell bockIn this episode, Dr. Darrell Bock, Dr. Robert Chisholm, Dr. Joe Fantin, and Dr. Jay Smith examine biblical passages often bought up in discussions about homosexuality, focusing on material in the Old Testament.

Bock:

Within the last year, there is a Bible that is called the Queen James Bible. You heard that right. That was not King James, that was Queen James. I remember telling my wife this in preparation for this podcast, and she said, „You’ve got to be joking”. There is a group who sat down with the King James Scripture and worked their way through 8 passages (we’ll be discussing more than that today), but, 8 passages that they altered in light of what they claim is the proper way to render these texts. And so, we thought, this is great way into discussing this material:
00:12 Guest introductions and the goals of revisions in the Queen James Bible

04:13 Does Noah’s situation in Genesis 9 contribute to a biblical perspective of homosexuality?

09:03 Does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 contribute to a biblical perspective of homosexuality?
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/quee…

15:08 Does the prohibition in Leviticus 20:22 contribute to a biblical perspective of homosexuality?

23:11 What does the term „abomination” mean in Leviticus 20:22?

29:22 Israel’s call to holiness and the code for serious offenses in Leviticus 20
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/quee…

34:03 Does David’s description of Jonathan in 2 Samuel

1:26 contribute to a biblical perspective of homosexuality?

38:33 Responding to the challenge that Jesus did not object to homosexuality
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/quee…

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/t…  Youtube VIDEO by dallasseminary

Why you shouldn’t let your kids figure out faith on their own

Photo credit cehofstra1.hubspot.com

by J.C. Thompson via http://www.churchleaders.com

You will often hear nonbelievers say that parents should let their own children decide what they believe. They say this, while the school, the media and the nonbelieving people are indeed telling our children what to believe. J. C. Thompson makes the case for why we need to teach our children the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Here’s J. C. Thompson:

Kids owning their faith is the goal, right? Why is it that we think that “allowing” kids to figure it out on their own is the solution?

One of the things that I begin to see happen in the dynamic between students and their parents is that students begin to fight against faith practices. Parents usually approach it in one of two ways: they fight it creatively or they step back and let kids “figure it out”.

As a youth pastor it’s a frustrating thing, because figuring it out sometimes really means the family stops practicing faith altogether. I don’t know if it’s because parents were just keeping faith practices happening because of the kids or it’s so frustrating and painful that they stop because it’s too hard to keep pushing their students to grow in their faith.

A couple of insights into young teens when it comes to faith:

1. This is the first time that students begin to see their sin as real. It’s so important that they know what to do with it. Unfortunately, a lot of the times, they hide, seek to comfort themselves, or run. All of these we see played out in the story of Scripture. They must understand, hear, see, how to properly deal with sin. Sometimes their pushback is because they are trying to hide rather than they “hate” going to church.

2. Their questions go unanswered. Young Teens or preteens ask why more than any other question. It’s the most important question to answer as a family. Why church? Why Jesus? Why the Bible? Our faith is based on the gospel. Bring them back to that. God made us beautiful. We became evil. Jesus died. He came back. No one can prove He didn’t even though it’s the most important question in the world.

3. Friends. They influence everything. Find good ones for your kids and invest in them. Do the most fun things with those friends. Constantly invite them places. You are responsible for helping your student make connections. Find them. Show up to their youth group and find good friends for your student.

Then Thompson gives 3 reasons why you should not let them figure it out on their own:

  1. You didn’t figure out faith on your own. Neither did anyone else in Scripture.
  2. Preteens and young teens are hormone-enraged emotional crazy people.
  3. Wisdom = Truth + Experience

Read the entire article here http://www.churchleaders.com

Liar, Lunatic or Lord – Did God Really Say…?

SEE FULL VIDEO + TRANSCRIPT HERE – 

Cover of "Fundamentalism and the Word of ...

Cover of Fundamentalism and the Word of God

John Piper:

God made me see it. I believe, I couldn’t believe the Bible is untrue if I tried, because I’m just taken by Him. That’s my biggest reason (for believing the Bible).

You can’t persuade anybody with that, so up above those layers are the layers of experience, of encounter withe the text. And, I think that at one level, the Bible, as C. S. Lewis said: „You believe in it as you believe in the sun not only because you see it, but you see everything else by it.” I asked my professor in Germany one time, „Why do you believe the Bible?” And he said, „Because it makes sense out of the world for me”. And I think that is right. You don’t take every sentence and relate it to every part of the world. You just… year after year, after year, you live in the book and you deal with the world and it brings coherence to evil, and good, and to sorrow, and to loss.

There is one other level I would mention. liar, lunatic, Lord argument in the Gospels works for me. And Paul, liar, lunatic, or faithful apostle. Because I think I know Paul better than I know anybody in the Bible. Luke wrote most quantitatively, but he’s writing narrative. The apostle Paul you know, if you read his 13 letters hundreds of time, you know this man. Either he’s stupid, I mean insane, or liar, or a very wise, deep, credible, thoughtful person. So, when I put Paul up against any liberal scholar in any German university that I ever met, they don’t even come close. So, I have frankly never been tested very much by the devil, or whoever, to say, „This wise liberal offering his arguments…” and I read Paul and I say, „I don’t think so!” This man (Paul) is extraordinary, he’s smart, he’s rational, he’s been in the 3rd, 7th heaven evidently, and he’s careful about what he’s saying”. So, that whole argument: Liar, lunatic, Lord, works for me with Jesus and it works powerfully for Paul.

And, once you’ve got Paul speaking, self authenticating, irresistible, worldview shaping truth, then, as you move out from Jesus and Paul, the others just start to shine with confirming evidences

Why are you married? After 43 years, how do you endure losses? I mean, really, where does your strength come from? „You will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. Free from pornography, and free from divorce, free from depressions that just undo you. How do you find your way into marriage over and over, and out of depression, and away from the internet. How does that happen? It happens by the power of this incredible book.

2 recommended books on Scripture:

  1. Scripture in Truth by D.A.Carson and Nichols
  2. Fundamentalism and the word of God by J. I. Packer

Al Mohler:

The problem is with how few of our confessional statements are clear on this. So, one of our evangelical liabilities is that too much has been assumed under our article (statements) of Scripture, without specifying language, with inerrancy being one of those necessary attributes of Scripture to be affirmed.

You do find people today, some lamentably, who are trying to claim that you can still use the word, while basically eviscerating it, emptying it of meaning, so you have historical denials. In particular, you have that a text- and the Chicago Statement is very clear. Our affirmations of denials are actually patterned after the International Council of Biblical Inerrancy, which was itself patterned after previous statements in which there were not only affirmations, but clear denials. So, when you look to that statement, you’ll see the assertion of what that statement means, and you have clear denials. One of the affirmations is Scripture has different forms of literature. But, the denial is that you can legitimately dehistoricize an historical text. So, in other words, everything Scripture reveals, including a historical claim is true. Well, you find some people saying, „Well, you can affirm the truthfulness of the text, without the historicity of the events. You can’t do that. You have people who are now using genre criticism, various forms to say: This is a type of literature, the lamentable argument is, this is the type of text to which the issue of inerrancy doesn’t apply. In other words, „I don’t like it”. But, what they mean is (that the text) it’s not making a truth claim. That’s ridiculous, but you find these kinds of nuances going on.

You also find very clear points of friction. So, for ex.: Do we have to believe in the historicity of the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis? That puts us over and against a dominant intellectual system, that establishes what is called credibility in the secular academy. Those evangelicals that feel intellectually accountable to that are trying to say, „There has to be some other way then of dealing with Genesis 1-11. And that’s where you have, now, the ultimate friction point which is coming for instance with the historical Adam, and an historical fall. And now, you’re finding people who are trying to say, „Okay, There is no historical claim in Genesis 1-3, but I still believe in an historical Adam, because I’m just gonna pull him out of the air and plop him down. I still believe in a historical Adam, I’m not gonna root it in the historical text, but, I need him because Paul believed in him.

And then you have people who are on websites today, someone like Peter Enns, who used to teach at an institution which required inerrancy, who no longer teaches there, who says, „Clearly, Paul did believe in inerrancy, but Paul was wrong.” So now, not only do you have the denial of inerrancy and the historicity of Genesis 1-3, but, you have Paul now in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 being said (about): Well, now inerrancy for him means he was speaking truthfully, as inspired by God, but limited to the worldview that was accessible and available to him at the time. That is not what Jesus believed about Scripture.

VIDEO by WA BibleDepartment

Did God really say? VIDEO with full transcript

An essential, highly interesting affirmation by the panel of the belief on biblical inerrancy from the Together for the Gospel Conference 2012, led by Mark Dever, Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C. Besides the great panel discussion, there are also a few book recommendations (linked to Amazon, just click on title or photo) and lots of links to search peripheral issues as they relate to the inerrancy debate. This page will be added to the (permanent) apologetics page.

photo from T4G website – http://t4g.org/resources/photos/

  1. We affirm that the sole (final) authority for the Church is the Bible, verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible and totally sufficient and trustworthy. We deny that the Bible is a mere witness to the divine revelation or that any portion of Scripture is marked by error or by effects of human sinfulness. 
  2. We affirm that the authority and the sufficiently of Scripture extends to the entire Bible and that therefore the Bible is our final authority for all doctrine and practice. We deny that any portion of the Bible should be used in an effort to deny the truthfulness or trustworthiness of any other portion. We further deny any effort to identify a canon within the canon or for example to set the words of Jesus against the words of Paul. 
  3. We affirm that truth ever remains a central issue for the Church and that the Church must resist the allure of pragmatism and post modern conceptions of truths as substitutes for obedience to the comprehensive truth claims of Scripture. We deny that truth is merely a product of social construction or that the truth of the Gospel can be expressed or grounded in anything less than total confidence in the veracity of the Bible, the historicity of the biblical events and the ability of language to convey understandable truth in sentence form. We further deny that the church can establish its ministry on a foundation of pragmatism, current marketing techniques or contemporary cultural fashions.

Is inerrancy something new? Short answer „NO!”

Minute 4 – Dever addresses the charge that „inerrancy” is a „new thing” or just a „reformation doctrine?”.

  • John Piper responds:.In 1971 Fuller Theological Seminary  took the Word out.  I read what was happening in Germany. It blew me away. I did not see it coming. So it may have been there, but the teachers that I loved and had influenced me most didn’t talk that way and didn’t give me indication that it would be going that way. I was never able to make any sense out of the distinctions between infallible and inerrant. 
  • Dr Simon Gathercole – teaches New Testament at Cambridge, in England. One of the clearest figures to express a doctrine of inerrancy was St. Augustine and it came up for him in conversation with the Manichaeans where he made it very clear that there were no contradictions in Scripture , that if you do find what looks like a mistake in Scripture, it is either a result of a problem with the translation, a problem in the text, a particular manuscript or scribal error or that you have misunderstood it. So Augustine is an example of someone who was very clear on inerrancy.
  • Ligon Duncan – there is a consistent witness across Christian history to the Bible’s sole, final authority and its inspiration and inerrancy.
  • Peter Williams – (undergraduate studies at Cambridge) „I believe it is fully authoritative, inerrant, inspired by God’ I think I’d want to add more words, I want to say: It’s basically clear, it’s sufficient, it’s historical. People can take a word like „inerrant” and leech it (by saying) – „I agree with the notion that Scripture is entirely true, but then they try and weaken it in other ways and I think that’s happening particularly because a lot of people, at least in this country are signing an inerrancy statement for their paycheck (which sometimes happens; they redefine inerrancy). There are many reasons to believe in inerrancy, but I think when you believe in verbal inspiration (i.e.) that God gave words and you believe in God’s trustworthiness, that He has a true character and you want to have a relationship with God, then it is inescapable logically to come to a view of Scriptural inerrancy. If you believe that God has given words, I don’t see how you can break that and say, „Well, He gives words and they are sometimes full of errors”, without actually questioning God’s trustworthiness Himself.

The 3 roots/trajectories on how inerrancy is denied

  • Al Mohler (11 min mark) Why wouldn’t anyone believe in this? (This question) leads to a principle of interpreting church history, which often surprises people when you first hear it, and that is that „heresy precedes orthodoxy„. That doesn’t mean that the false precedes the true. It does mean that the codification, or confession of the faith is often in the face of, is a response to heresy or that which is sub biblical or sub orthodox. So, in 325  AD you have a statement made by the Council of Nicaea, that wasn’t necessary until Arius denied that the father and the Son are of the same substance. And when it comes to inerrancy, the first thing is that this is God’s word, God is totally true, so all the attributes of Scripture seem to come, and yet Augustine has to respond to the Manichaeans and we have to respond to contemporary denials of the total truthfulness of Scripture. I think there are 3 roots, or 3 trajectories in which that comes:
  1. The first is ideological and this is basically the external critique of biblical inerrancy. It comes from new atheists, of course if you don’t believe in God, you don’t believe there could possibly be a word of God; if you don’t believe in supernatural revelation as a possibility, or even recently, if you don’t believe in words as units of meaning; that are capable of conveying truth, there are various rules of philosophy and literary interpretation that have lost all confidence in words. They have to use words to explain how little confidence they have in them any longer; it’s part of the whole conundrum, but nevertheless, it is an ideological assault and so a good bit of what you will read simply says: „Inerrancy is an impossibility” and it will move on. But, it is not the major issue of our concern, there are two other trajectories.
  2. Another trajectory is apologetic. This is where you have evangelicals who say: This is an embarrassment. To claim inerrancy is to over claim the text, it is an impediment to our intellectual credibility and so you have people who would pose to be within the evangelical movement who will say, as Kenton Sparks in a recent book said, „This is the intellectual doom,” to paraphrase him, because it makes us continually defend the truthfulness of every passage in a text and that is leading modern people to have huge intellectual obstacles to receiving the main message in the text, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So you have various forms of this kind of apologetic argument; it’s the same argument as people who come along and say you can’t talk about the Bible’s teaching on sexuality; that’s presenting too much of an obstacle for contemporary people to come to Christ. Ot, you can’t deny the theory of evolution, it’s metanarrative because that creates too much of an impediment for people to come to Christ. And so, you have websites today and people arguing that inerrancy is just an obstacle, it’s a theological construct that’s doing more damage than good.
  3. The third trajectory, or the third root you can look at this is moral, in which case you have people say that if we’re committed to total truthfulness of Scripture, then we’re committed to text which reveal God as acting in immoral ways; God’s people sanctioning immoral acts, and what you have is people who will say, „Look, we have the capacity as human beings to judge God, and thus we’re gonna go to the conquest of Canaan or we’re gonna go to the way God deals with any individual in either Testament of the canon and say that that’s immoral. If you’re gonna try and impose a human standard of morality, like the late atheist, Christopher Hitchens, if you read the Bible honestly you’re gonna find texts that are gonna cause you all kinds of  difficulty and by the way, one of the things Christopher Hitchens did very well for us was to say, „He can understand theists who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and he can understand atheists who don’t believe it’s possible, what he didn’t understand were people who tried to pose in the middle.
  • Dr Simon Gathercole – The central plank for me in the doctrine of inerrancy, and that is that it was Jesus’ view of Scripture and I think the 2 other points that were mentioned are really significant. The sort of dogmatic logic of what Scripture says, God says and therefore because of the character of God, Scripture is without error. Also, it’s the continuous testimony of the Church. I would recommend everyone read John Woodbridge’s book  Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal even though the debate is now different, but there’s a lot to learn there. But, if you just look at the way Jesus treats Scripture, what He says about Scripture, „Your word is truth”, „Scripture cannot be broken”, the way He refers to Adam, the way He refers to Elijah and Elisha, all the figures of the Old Testament, the way He responds to Satan: „It’s written, and every word is proceeding from the mouth of God.” That has to be the real cornerstone for our doctrine of inerrancy and it means that it’s an imperative of discipleship for us, that it’s a matter of following Jesus. (Also recommends Christ and the Bible” by John Wenham)
  • Peter Williams – If heresy precedes orthodoxy then I think that apologetics precedes heresy, as in most heresy begins as apologetics movement. And, I say that as someone who is involved in apologetics and likes it. Liberal theology is an attempt to rescue Christianity from deep embarrassment and that’s how a lot of these things begin and  those of us that are involved in apologetics need to be quite careful about that, because it can lead to error. The way people get seduced sometime into abandoning Scriptural authority is when they become persuaded that, that thing which adheres most to their dreams and their aspirations and start to believe „that more people will come to Christ if I just water this down somewhat”. Sometime people become persuaded in theological education that they are being more faithful to the text if they read it in a way that is contrary to another text. When people are being brought up in a Chirstian context, to value the authority of the Bible, it appeals and they become persuaded that the most honest reading of the text is to read it so it contradicts to another one.
  • Al Mohler –   Liberal theology is a succession of rescue attempts for the reputation of Christianity and to just give an example of what Peter is talking about: You have Rudolph Bultmann, who in one of his books says people who use electric lights don’t believe in a supernatural universe. So, in other words, if you’re gonna reach modern people we’re gonna have to bring christianity into intellectual credibility with the modern world. A lot of the things you see being claimed right now are as old as the heretics that the church fathers faced and certainly in terms of protestant liberalism and what the church has faced in over 100 years.
  • Ligon Duncan –  Another example in modern liberalism is Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher. Schleiermacher  was offended by the doctrine of the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ and the uniqueness of Christ. And he looked out at Germany and he said: German intellectuals are rejecting Christianity in droves, they’re impacted by the enlightenment and the message of Christianity must change if we are going to be able to capture this generation for christianity. It wasn’t as if he was sitting around inventing to destroy christianity, but in fact he did that with apologetic missionary motives in reaching his culture and so liberalism’s fundamental premise is that the message must change if christianity is going to survive and effectively engage the culture.
  • Peter Williams -It’s going right back to Marcion in the second century. Marcion is deeply embarrassed by the Old Testament, by the Jewishness of Jesus. He, as an apologist thinks that he can commend christianity far better by ditching those things. So, that’s why becoming an apologist, led straight to the heresy.
  • John Piper (minute 20 mark) Mark Dever asks why JP concluded that inerrancy was true: There are layers to that like- My momma told me it was true. That’s one layer. „..remember those from whom you’ve learned the faith” (2 Timothy 3:14), that’s an argument in the Bible. Second layer would be: God made me see it. That’s the deepest layer and I do believe I couldn’t believe the Bible is untrue, if I tried because I am just taken by Him, for it. I believe that’s the deepest reason. You can’t persuade anybody with that and so, up above those layers are the layers of experience, of encounter with the text and I think that at one level the Bible, as C.S.Lewis said: „You believe in it as you believe in the sun, not only because you see it, but you see everything else by it”. I asked my professor in Germany one time, „Why do you believe the Bible? And he said: Because it makes sense out of the world for me. Year after year, after year you live in the book and you deal with the world and it brings coherence to evil and good and sorrow and loss. And there’s one other level I would mention: Liar, lunatic, Lord argument in the Gospels works for me in Paul: Liar, lunatic or faithful apostle because I think I know Paul better than I know anybody in the Bible. Luke wrote most quantitatively, but he’s writing narrative. But with Paul, if you read these 13 letters hundreds of times, you know this man. Either he’s stupid, I mean insane, or liar, or a very wise, deep, credible, thoughtful person. So, when I put Paul against any liberal scholar in any German university  that I ever met, they don’t even come close. So, I have never, frankly, been tested very much by the devil or whoever to say, „This wise, liberal, offering his arguments…” I read Paul and I say, „I don’t think so”. This man is extraordinary, he’s smart, he’s rational. He’s been in the 3rd, 7th heaven and he is careful about what he is saying. So, that whole argument „Liar, lunatic, Lord – works for me with Jesus and it works powerfully for me for Paul and moreover once you’ve got Paul speaking, self authenticating, irresistible, world view shaping truth, then as you move out from Jesus and Paul, the others just start to shine with confirming evidences. Just a few ayers, there are others. Dever prompts John to give one more. JP: Why are you married after 43 years? How do you endure losses? really, where does your strength come from? You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Free from pornography and free from divorce, free from depressions that just undo you. How do you find your way into marriage over and over and out of depression and away form the internet? How does that happen? It happens by the power of this incredible book. Dever: For people who haven’t had time to accumulate all those layers, anything you would tell them to read? Piper: Back when the inerrancy council was red hot „Scripture and truth” edited by Grudem and
  • Mark Dever recommends J. I. Packer’s „Fundamentalism and the Word of God”.
  • Al Mohler – The problem is how few of our confessional statements are clear on this in the first place. So one of our evangelical liabilities is that too much has been assumed under an article of Scripture without specifying language, with inerrancy being one of those necessary  attributes of Scripture confirmed. You do find people today, some lamentably who are trying to claim that  you can still use the word, while basically eviscerating it, emptying it of meaning. So you have historical denials, in particular, you have someone who says that a text… and „The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy” makes it very clear, our affirmations and denials are actually patterned after the International Council of Biblical Inerrancy, which was itself patterned after previous statements in which there were not only affirmations, but clear denials. So, when you look to that statement, you’ll see that there’s the version of what inerrancy means and that means „This is not true”. So, you have clear denials. One of the affirmations is: Scripture has different forms of literature, but the denial is that you can legitimately dehistoricize an historical text. So, in other words, everything in Scripture reveals, including every historical claim is true. You find some people saying: „Well, you can affirm the truthfulness of the text without the historicity of the text. You can’t do that. You have people who are now using genre criticism, various forms to say: This is a type of literature. My favorite of these lamentable arguments is the one that says: This is the kind of text to which the issue of inerrancy does not apply. In other words: I don’t like it. But, what they mean is: I am not making a truth claim. If I am not making a truth claim… that’s ridiculous, but you find these kinds of nuances going on. You also find very clear, points of friction. So, let’s give an example of points of friction: Do we have to believe in the historicity of the first eleven chapters of the book of Genesis? What Pete said about apologetics, that puts us over, against a dominant, intellectual system that establishes what is called credibility in the secular academy. Those evangelicals who feel intellectually accountable to that, are trying to say, „There has to be some other way then,  of dealing with Genesis 1 through 11 and that’s where you have now the ultimate friction point, with coming, for instance, the historical Adam and an historical fall and now you’re finding people who are trying to say, „Okay, there is no historical claim in Genesis 1 through 3, but I still believe in an historical Adam because I am just going to pull him out of the air and pop him down and say, „I still believe in an historical Adam (but) I am not going to root it in the historical nature of the text, but I need him because Paul believed in him. And then, you have people who have websites today, someone like Peter Enns, who used to teach at an institution which required inerrancy, but no longer teaches there, who says, „Clearly, Paul did believe in inerrancy, but, Paul was wrong”. And so, now you not only have the denial of inerrancy of the historicity of Genesis 1 through 3, you have Paul now, in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 being said, „Well now, inerrancy for him means ‘he was speaking truthfully, as inspired by God, but limited to the world view that was accessible and available to him at the time’. That is not what Jesus believed about Scripture. That is not what the church must believe about Scripture. I never came close to not believing in the inerrancy of Scripture. I came close to believing that there could be other legitimate ways of describing the total authority and truthfulness of the text and especially in context of fierce denominational controversy, I thought there must be room for finding it somewhere else and some people even mentioned here were correctives. For example J.I. Packer’s Fundamentals of God, was the bomb that landed in the playground. That little experiment just doesn’t happen; you take that out, it simply won’t work. At about the time that you (Mark Dever) and I really became friends, we were looking at how you came from an evangelical background where those issues have been discussed for 20 years before they did explode in the Southern Baptist Convention. My denomination had to learn this lesson a little bit late and at great cost.
  • Mark Dever– leaving the denominational stuff aside, you (Mohler) as a Christian, you found an intuitive, like John is talking about, an intuitive faith in Scripture.
  • Al Mohler– Well, it was intuitive, but I also had intellectual guardrails. My earliest, explicit theological formation was when apologetics hit me as a crisis as a teenager and I was led directly into the influence of Francis Schaeffer. And the book that most influenced me as a  teenager in high school, holding on to the faith as against a very secular environment was his book based on  lectures at Wheaton „He is there and He is not silent”, and I would point to that as the 5 or 10 books that most shaped my thinking, because Schaeffer’s logic in his lectures is really clear: „If there is a God, who doesn’t exist, we’re doomed. If there’s a God who does exist, but doesn’t speak, we’re just as doomed. If there is a God who does exist and He does speak, then salvation is in the speech. And so that was one of the guard rails in my life and being raised in a Gospel church that preached the word of God and just assumed that when you say „It’s the word of God”, it means all this.
  • Ligon Duncan – I didn’t have faith challenges as a teenager that Al did, but I was reading a lot of that apologetic literature and this was being talked about by evangelicals and the Ligonier statement on Scripture had come out in 1973, the ICBI Chicago Statement came out in 1978. Those are my teenage years. This is a conversation in the conservative corner of evangelicalism, in which I was reared. I had a good pastor that was happy to have me ask him questions about this when I was troubled with something I could ask him, he was on the board at Westminster Theological Seminary. When I went to Edinburgh (Scotland for PhD) I already had a solid education in the doctrine of Scripture at Covenant Seminary. But when I went to Edinburgh , James Barr’s book „Fundamentalism”  had just come out and I read it. I have more writings in the margins of the text in this book. I was arguing with him relentlessly in this book.
  • Mark Dever – This was an attack on J.I. Packer’s book and other kinds of statements of faith and Scripture.
  • Ligon Duncan – At that point I thought this would be some kind of hot topic. I had read some Barr in seminary, mostly semantics of biblical language and other things like that, in which, hopefully he is going after some bad stuff, but, I decided that when that book came out that I needed to read everything that Barr had ever written because of the potential influence on scholars. I was doing patristics at Edinburgh and so this wasn’t something that was part of my reading for work, it was just something I needed to do on the side and so I did. It was the most soul killing 6 months that I have ever spent. It was very disturbing. And several things helped me: One is a professor who had already thought through all of these issues. I went to another professor, and as we sat down he said, „You need to know, I have walked through all of these issues long ago and I’m happy to walk with you through them now. That was an enormous intellectual and theological resource to me. But then, it was the reality of Christ and the Gospel and the lives of believers that didn’t even know that they were ministering to me because that person could not be the way he or she is if there wasn’t a Holy Spirit indwelling Christ in us. I was also reading Ned Stonehouse’s biography of J Gresham Machen, who went through the same thing when he went to Marburg to study and he came into contact with Hermann and the german liberals of those days, and his correspondence with his mother was very significant in keeping him with just losing his mind.
  • Al Mohler – One other thing that was very informative to me was listening to people preach and seeing the distinction in the midst of a huge controversy with some people saying, „I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and other people saying, „I believe almost the same thing, I just think the words aren’t necessary, etc., etc.” When one got up and said, „This is the word of God”, read the text and preached the text and the other read the text and said, „Let’s find what’s good in here”. And they didn’t necessarily put it that way, but you could tell that is what they were doing homiletically. Here is an accountability to every word of the text. The text speaks because when the text speaks, God speaks. And on the other hand, people saying, „You know, there’s good stuff here, let’s go find it”.
  • Peter Williams – I went through a time of significant doubt when I was around 21 , 22. Mark (Dever) was in town at the time, in Cambridge, a great help and the Lord brought me through those, having to work through a lot of that. I certainly looked at liberalism and secular approaches to the Bible, from the inside, within my heart and really, there is nothing there, there’s nothing that has the explanatory power, the comprehensive work that the Gospel, the work in your life and even, also, I think on a historical  level there are some amazing things about the Bible. If I can just mention one: Historical level: Go back 400 years to someone like James Ussher (or 350) calculating the dates of Kings of ancient Israel, or Kings of Assyria. That was before archaeology had begun, before the language of the Assyrians had even been deciphered (that’s been in the last 200 years) and he gets the dates of Tiglas Pileser within one year of what now people believe it to be, based on the Bible and he’s not got Hebrew manuscripts any earlier than 11th century AD. and he’s getting reliable information from 1800 years earlier. You can document that. It’s not widely appreciated, but he gets the year 728 and we think it’s 727. It’s pretty remarkable, that sort of level of agreement. It is one of the most amazing stories to me, of historical accurate information being transmitted.
  • John Piper – ends with prayer that faith would increase in this generation.

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Inerrancy is Supported Biblically: The Relationship Between the Nature of God and Scripture – Carl Trueman and G. K. Beale

G. K. Beale:

There’s been some debate among evangelicals. And when I say evangelicals I don’t know what I mean because everybody’s an evangelical today, and it’s a huge, huge umbrella. It didn’t used to be back in the mid 20th century. But, nevertheless, a book as been written arguing that the traditional view of the inerrancy of the Bible is not biblical. Now, the traditional view he has in mind is a particular writer who started an evangelical seminary in England. The usual deduction is made that:

  1. God is perfect. I think that’s a pretty good deduction. His character is perfect.
  2. Therefore, what God speaks orally is perfect. So far, so good, for this particular writer.
  3. But his third one is that since God is perfect, His oral word is perfect, therefore His written word is perfect.

And this writer says, „Nowhere in the Bible do you find where it extends the perfection of God’s character  to the written Bible. He says, „That’s a logical deduction,” and in one way it makes sense. But, it’s not biblical. You can’t find a passage that really connects God’s perfection and his character with his word. So, I started thinking, when I read this, „I think there are passages. Such passages as Revelation 3:14, where it says that Christ is the ‘Amen’, the faithful and true witness the beginning of the creation, i.e. the new creation of Christ. It says that Christ is the ‘Amen’, the faithful and true witness. What’s amazing about that is that it’s almost a quotation from Isaiah 65:15-16, where it speaks of God as the ‘Amen’, the faithful and true. What a high statement about Jesus.

In fact, Isaiah 65:16 is the only place where it addresses a person in the Bible with ‘Amen’ as God. The only other place is Revelation 3:14, Jesus is the „Amen’, He’s identified with God, he’s a divine person. And so, He’s the faithful and true witness. So His character is true and what He says is true, and then very intriguingly in chapter 21:5, you have the statement that says: „The one who sits on the throne says: Write, these are true words of God.” And it says: Behold I create all things new. But, this phrase ‘Write, John…’ why are you to write John? These are actually true and faithful words of God. Well, that phrase ‘faithful and true’ is found only back in chapter 3:14. And this is an explicit development here in chapter 21, where John is to write God’s oral word, because they’re faithful and true. In other words, there’s an actual command for him to now put into writing what has been said, that represents God’s faithful character.

So we do actually have a place where God’s faithful character is true, and His oral word is true, and that’s to be put into writing. And one person’s writing, „Yeah, but when John went to record it, – okay, he was commanded to write, but when he went to record it, couldn’t there have been a little slippage? Was God actually superintending the recording? Yeah, yeah, He was in the command, but was He superintending the recording?” And, in fact, Carl Trueman rattled off a number of passages  about John, in the Book of Revelation writing the word of God. You might remember the seven letter, where Jesus commands John, „Write!!!” And, all of a sudden Jesus is speaking, John’s writing, but they’re the words of Jesus and at the end it says: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says. So, these are human words, they’re Christ’s words, they’re the Spirit’s words. Of course, at the very end it says, „If anyone adds to these words, God will add to him the plagues written in this book. And anyone who takes away from these words, God will take his part away form the tree of life and his part in the Holy City.” So, obviously, the words as they’ve been written down, have indeed been superintended by God through his prophet John.

So we do actually have an actual explicit Scriptural explanation of what this author says can’t be found. God’s character is true, His oral word is true, and the extension of that oral word to the written is not only commanded by God, but superintended by the Spirit. (Photos via http://www.wts.edu)

carl-truemanG. K. Beale:

Carl Trueman

From Acts 7- Scripture is the living word. As God is living and active, so His word is not just a book of logarithms, but it’s the speech of the living God.

G. K. Beale:

The sovereignty of God is important. Those, sometimes you find, who don’t affirm the absolute sovereignty of God. By that I mean, that leaves and birds don’t fall from heaven apart from God’s hand, even to that detail. If that’s the case, then it makes complete sense that when humans write, they will be sovereignly superintended by God, though their styles are different. But, those that don’t affirm the absolute sovereignty of God will say, „Humans have independence from God. They’re not always under God’s sovereign hand.” Then (to them) it makes sense that some human error could have crept in there. So I do think that an absolute understanding of the sovereignty of God is very important.

Michael Horton Is The Doctrine of Inerrancy Defensible?

Michael Horton at a Ligonier Conference:

Young evangelicals and inerrancy – There is a resurgence of commitment to inerrancy among a lot of young christians, especially in the young calvinist movement and that’s very encouraging. But, there are also signs that there is a generation that knew not the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, that Dr. Sproul and Dr. MacArthur were a part of so many years ago. I remember when I was a teenager I went to one of those conferences, and I was wrestling with some of these questions myself, and I was raised in a very conservative evangelical background, but I’ve always had some restless, inquisitive spirit and didn’t want to just take things whole as they were being taught to me without asking some questions and being convinced in my own mind. What I was questioning, in many respects, the doctrine of inerrancy really wasn’t. I think a lot of younger christians right now are struggling with inerrancy for a lot of the same reasons their parents and grandparents may have struggled with it. (PHOTO CREDIT derekgriz.com)

First of all, we’ve had 3 centuries of rationalistic criticism of the supernatural. Now, obviously, if we’re going to have a word form God, given to us in history, you have to be at least open to the plausibility for the supernatural world view. You can’t say that miracles never happen, and yet believe that God has spoken, has broken into our world to speak to us in our history. We’ve had 3 centuries of a presupposition that says, out of the gate, without any investigation, without any criticism or questioning, that things happen, purely according to natural processes. God doesn’t speak and God doesn’t act in history. He may have created the world, He may have wound up the clock, but He doesn’t get involved now that things are running along marvelously. God doesn’t speak either, to us in judgment that would terrify us, as Israel was terrified when God spoke at Mt. Sinai. Nor does He speak to us the good news of salvation, because we don’t need to be saved. And so, there’s this integral relationship between Pelagiansim- the belief that we can save ourselves, and naturalism- the belief that we don’t need to hear from  a god outside of ourselves. And that’s what we’ve seen for the last 3 1/2 centuries with the rise of the enlightenment, where spirit and letter were set in opposition. This was already clear in some of the mystical sects of the Middle Ages. It was very clear in the radical anabaptist movement, where leaders like Thomas Muntzer that Luther just preaches the external word, that merely just beats air, but, we have that inborn spiritual word in our hearts.  And so, the external word of Scripture and the internal word of the Spirit speaking directly in our hearts became a hallmark of western consciousness. It was picked up by the rationalists and secularized by people like Lessing and Kant and others, who said we have an inner morality that we turn to. We can trust that reason within us, and we don’t need a word outside of us. We do not need an external God outside of our own hearts, or our own minds, or our own experiences to tell us who we are, where we are, what or problem is and what He has done to solve it.

Immanuel Kant, one of the great leaders of the enlightenment said, „The concept of God, and even the conviction of His existence can be met only in reason, and cannot first come to us, either through inspiration or through tidings communicated to us, however great the authority behind them”.  He went on to say that the 2 things we can be convinced of most certainly of are the starry heavens above and the moral law within. But, of course this means that human existence is totally self enclosed, like the roof over this building. There’s nothing above us, there’s no one to tell us why He made us, how He made us, what His purpose is for our life, and how we stand before Him in the light of that purpose, and what He has done to save us. Closed up in ourselves. „In brief,” said Kant, „we seek moral imperatives. In brief, I am only interested on what is incumbent upon me, clearly distinguished form what God does for me. Hence, nothing new is imposed by the Gospel upon me. Rather, whatever the state of those reports, new strength and confidence is already given to my already good dispositions. And so, one of the real reasons I think we struggled with this, from Immanuel Kant to Oprah, is that we don’t allow anything from outside of our own narrow experience and reason to interrupt us.

Christianity is a rational faith. Not rationalistic, but rational. There is no great doctrine in the christian faith that isn’t a mystery, that doesn’t transcend our reason. But, there is no doctrine in christianity that is against reason itself. But, rationalism is itself against reason because it presupposes a world that doesn’t exist  before it even investigates that world. 

Unwilling to be judged by God’s external law, many of our contemporaries are unwilling to be saved  by God’s external Gospel. In one sense, the modern age has been very rationalistic: „Just the facts, ma’am.” And on the other hand, very mystical. When it comes to finding ultimate meaning in life, they realize they can’t find ultimate meaning in science and reason, and so they turn inward. As C. S. Lewis said: They sort of just become scientist magicians- going to the lab and thinking critically as scientists, and then going home and playing with their ouija boards. (10)

There’s a schizophrenia in out culture that is that is very much a part of our problem with an external authority. Also, there have been scuffles with science. The reformation contributed mightily to the rise of modern science, in many ways. But, there’s the history, especially in the Medieval church of Copernicus and Galileo that still haunts us to this very day. Today, science and orthodox faith are polarized as never before. Scientists often go beyond the methods, sources, and criteria of their own field, in order to pronounce on philosophical and metaphysical questions, while, sometimes christian theologians transgress the boundaries of the faithful interpretation of Scripture and adopt extra biblical theories. And, what happens in the process often is you have young people going off to college not knowing what they believe and why they believe it, and they get caught in this crossfire between science and faith.

Thirdly, there are genuine discrepancies. After 3 centuries of relentless criticism, we can say there are genuine discrepancies. Now, discrepancies are not errors. Discrepancies are problems that we haven’t solved in our exegesis. They’re not problems with the text, but they’re problems with us. But, it’s not as if this was shown for the first time in the enlightenment. If you read Jean Calvin’s commentaries, or if you go back to John Chrysostom, for that matter. Or, Augustine, you see that they point out discrepancies. But, as in any science, you don’t throw a whole paradigm that is stable and accounts for the greatest amount of data overboard, simply because you can’t explain anomalous data. And if that’s true, and the sign is that it is generally true when we come to the inerrancy of the Scripture.

For the Protestant reformers, the defense of Scripture, they agreed with Rome on the inerrancy of Scripture- Rome has down  to the second Vatican council agreed with the inerrancy of Scripture, at least officially. The reason the informers were so insistent on Sola Scriptura was not because they have a sort of Islamic attachment to a book, It was because they knew that in that book, God had spoken to us outside of our experience, outside of our reason, outside of what we ever could have know for ourselves and delivered the only hope for our salvation and the salvation of the world. And so, the Gospel itself was bound up with Scripture.

The apostle Paul tells us, famously, in 2 Timothy 3:14 „But, as for you continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training and righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped, for every good work.” The first thing we need to look at here, in this definition of inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture is:

Photo credit www.beliefnet.com

God’s own testimony to His word is in Scripture.

The Bible’s testimony to itself. The Bible is a canon, coming from the greek word canon, which means rule, it’s sort of similar to a constitution. And in the ancient near eastern world, the world of political treaties from which our covenantal analogies in Scripture come, in that ancient near eastern world, a great king would liberate a lesser people from tyrants and then annex that lesser people to himself. And so, his word had both liberating power and when he gave them the treaty, binding, regulating power. And it’s no different between Yahweh and His people. God is the great king, greater than all kings of the earth, and God has annexed us, He has chosen us, redeemed us, called us to Himself, liberating us from lords that cannot make us safe. And so, God;s word not only saves, it rules. It’s not only the word of liberation, that saves us from our enemies. It is also that constitution by which the people of God are bound, and by which His church is regulated. Nothing added, nothing subtracted on penalty of death. And there’s a line in these ancient near eastern treaties of Israel’s neighbors. With these political arrangements, the treaty always had a clause saying that whoever adds to or takes away from the words of this treaty X,Y, and Z would happen to them. And usually it was death. We find the exact same formula in the Old Testament. We read that death will come to anyone that adds words to this law or takes away from the words of this law. And in the last book of the Bible it ends the same way: Whoever adds words or takes away from this prophecy, his name will be taken away from the Book of Life.

That’s what it means to have a canon. But, how can we embrace the christian canon over other supposed canons? For instance, the Koran. What distinguishes the Bible? Scripture, of course, is self authenticating. That means that as we read the Bible we hear God speak to us, and you don’t need to know the argument for how that happens, to really hear God speak through His word. You don’t have to become an apologist, you don’t have to defend it to all detractors. The word of God speaks for itself because in that word, we have God Himself addressing us through the lips of His ambassadors.  And yet, we need to always be prepared for the defense that we have, and also to help christians struggling with issues like inerrancy, to think through the internal and external evidence for the faithfulness of God speaking in His word.

The best way to do this is to start with Jesus. 

Jesus is GodJesus declared and eyewitnesses confirmed that He was the promised Messiah. That was His message concerning Himself. He’s the Son of God and the Son of David, who was sent to deliver us from our sins. That’s the main message and ministry of Jesus Christ. And He explained that He came to die on the cross, and to be raised 3 days later. So, we start with the message of Jesus. Who did Jesus believe He was? And what did Jesus believe He had come to do? And then, the second question to ask is: Did He do that? Was He successful? Did He accomplish everything that He promised? And when we look at  that we see great evidence internal and external for the resurrection of Christ.

Those with the means, the motive and the opportunity to disprove the resurrection of Jesus failed to do so. They failed to come up with evidence. In fact, the ancient rabbinical sources, the rabbis of Jesus’ day said that He was born illegitimately and was probably demon possessed because ‘He performed signs and wonders and led our people astray by the work of Satan’, confirming therefore that He was performing signs and wonders, and confirming the report that the unpardonable sin the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is to say that Jesus was performing these miracles, not by the power of the Holy Spirit, but by the power of Satan. They offered implausible arguments about the disciples having stolen Jesus’ body, proving once again that the body wasn’t there. Hindsight is 20/20, but you almost think that if you’re a later Jewish apologist, you’d wanna say, „Why couldn’t anybody shut up? Why were they talking so much? Why were they going after christians so much? Every time they attacked these claims that swirled around Jesus, they substantiated many of those claims as hostile witnesses.”

Roman and JEwish historians have both confirmed that a great dissension erupted in Jerusalem over the whereabouts of Jesus’ body and over the immediate rise- this wasn’t a slowly evolving myth, over the immediate rise of the disciples of Christ who proclaimed His resurrection, on penalty of death. And none of the disciples showed themselves to be in any mood for martyrdom. They fled the scene leaving the women to sort of fend for themselves. The men fled. Peter denied Jesus 3 times. Where do we learn about this? In the Bible itself. If you start a new religion would you represent yourself and your buddies that way? Well, the New Testament is telling us warts and all what had happened because whatever it was it was great enough to bring them out into the light of day and proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ even though they knew that they would be martyred for that claim.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The person who wrote that, the apostle Paul, was commissioned by this risen Christ. And the other apostles were commissioned directly by Jesus Christ. They had to be eyewitnesses. And so, what we have now in the New Testament is a canon composed through human agency, with the criteria of their being eye witnesses and commissioned directly by Jesus Christ for this purpose.

Let me just say a little word about trinitarian cooperation in inspiration. The cooperation of the persons of the trinity is very important here. Every work that the godhead does is done from the Father, in the Son, through the Spirit.- Whether it’s creation, whether it’s the Exodus and the conquest, or whether it’s the life and ministry and work of Jesus Christ. Nothing is done by the Father without the Son and the Spirit. Nothing is done by the Son without the Father and the Spirit. Nothing is done by the Spirit without the Father and the Son. They cooperate in every work. And that is true of inspiration as well.

If we just have a doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy that focuses on the Father’s speaking (such as): It’s inerrant and infallible because God said it, I believe it, that settles it- we do not yet have a sufficiently christian doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy. But, some people say, „No, it should focus on Christ, Christ is the content, the substance of Scripture and this often leads to a canon within a canon approach. That is, whatever preaches Christ, in other words, whatever ‘I’ think preaches Christ is inerrant, and everything around it might be full of errors, but at least that is true, at least the Gospel is true. And then, some people take the Holy Spirit and separate the Holy Spirit from the word, so that you hear things like, „What the Holy Spirit is saying to us today is is just as important as what He said to the prophets and the apostles.” What we have to do is recognize  that in the work of inspiration, the Father is speaking, the Son is the content, and the Holy Spirit is the one who both inspires the text and illumines our hearts to embrace it.

In 2 Corinthians 1, the father is the faithful promise maker and we read: „All of the promises of God find their yes in Christ. Yet, we can only utter our amen to God for His glory because He has also put His seal on us and given us His spirit in our hearts as a guarantee”. There you have the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in cooperation. Other passages 2 Timothy 3:15017, that I just read also makes that point very well. The Father is mentioned, the Son is mentioned, and the Spirit is mentioned. (25:00)

But, when you go back and read the creation account, one of the things that has really stood out to me in recent years is the way you have there in the creation account two forms of God’s creative accounts. The first is ex nihilo, bringing the world out of nothing. „Let there be..” and there was. That’s the formula that we’re familiar with. But, in those same passages you have references to God saying, „Let the earth bring forth.. ” and the earth brought forth. Now here’s the thing. Liberals and fundamentalists often sound alike in their presupposition, that to the extent that something is from God, it is not through human agency. This is something we really have to work through because hyper supernaturalism and naturalism are kissing cousins. The first thing we have to see here is because it’s trinitarian, the Father working in the Son, by the Spirit, both declaring, „Let there be…” and there was, but also through the work of the Holy Spirit saying, „Let the earth bring forth…” God used the natural capacities of the prophets and the apostles to bring forth that which He had foreordained before the foundation of the world. Photo credit for book www.amazon.com)

To delineate this a little bit more, what I’d like to do in the time remaining is look very briefly at a book that I think remains probably the best book on this subject. B. B. Warfield and A. Hodge’s book ‘Inspiration’ remains untouched. Their arguments have yet to be answered by critics. And so, I wanna mention their points very briefly, cause I don’t think anything here has changed yet.

  1. They point out that the rejection of inerrancy, which means that the Bible does not err in all that it affirms in the original autographs, they point out that the rejection of inerrancy is typically founded ultimately on a false view of God’s relation to the world. In other words, either miracles cannot happen, or whenever God acts it always has to be miraculous. Here again, the fundamentalists and the liberals often play off against each other. If it’s going to be an act of God, to that extent, it can’t come through human agency. You have to deny the human aspect. And yet, these authors say biblical inspiration, not only includes the untrammeled play of all the authors faculties, but involves the very substance of what they write. It’s not just how they write it, it’s what they write that is human. It is evidently, for the most part a part of their mental and spiritual activities. The writers say God’s superintendence does not compromise creaturely freedom. Our freedom is not divine freedom, it’s always creaturely freedom. But precisely because God gives it to us by analogy, we really do have freedom. This means that it is not the case that as to the extent that God does something, creatures don’t do something. Rather, it is precisely because of God’s sovereign freedom that human freedom is even possible in the first place. God has no trouble, therefore, producing a Bible that is without errors, without interrupting or taking away human freedom. There’s this assumption that human freedom implies error. „To err is human”, that’s not the case at all. And of course, Jesus Christ was without sin, and yet tempted in all respects as we are. If we believe that He was truly human, yet without sin we can believe that the Bible is truly human, yet without error.
  2. Warfield and Hodge underscore the redemptive historical unfolding of biblical revelation. In other words, the Bible did not fall down from heaven, it’s not like Muhammad receiving the Koran, supposedly as it dropped down from Allah to Muhammad. It’s not a collection of eternal timeless  thoughts and principles. It is a story, it is  narrative that unfolds from Genesis to Revelation. And that which is less clearly revealed in the Old Testament is more clearly revealed in the New Testament. 1200 years of this organic, like a plant, organic development is what produced our Bible. That’s what we have in the Old and New Testaments. A canon that has grown through the centuries, through the superintending work of the Spirit, working through creaturely means. Therefore, say the authors, theories concerning  authors, dates, sources, and modes of composition that are not plainly inconsistent with the testimony of Christ and His apostles. As to the Old Testament or with the apostolic origin of the books of the New Testament cannot in the least invalidate the Bible’s inspiration and inerrancy. Those questions are open. They’re questions about the humanness of the books. Whenever we bump into the obvious humanness of the Bible, that shouldn’t diminish our confidence in its divinity, its divine force. Rather, it should strengthen it, that in all of its humanity, in all of its diversity, in all of its plurality of witnesses and voices, clearly, there is one voice behind it all that brings it together. In Scripture, no less than in history itself. (32:50)
  3. These Princeton theologians faced squarely the question of contradictions and errors. They noted problems in great detail. Some discrepancies are due to imperfect copies, which textual criticism properly considers. Other discrepancies may be due to an original reading that has been lost. Or we may simply fail to have adequate data, or be blinded by or own presuppositions from understanding a given text. They say, „Sometime we are destitute of the circumstantial knowledge which would fill up  and harmonize the record, as is true in any historical record. But, you don’t have historians running off and saying the battle of Waterloo never happened because there are things we can’t explain. The record itself, they say, furnishes evidence that the writers were in large measure dependent on their knowledge upon sources and methods in themselves fallible. Peter, himself, says that the prophets were diligently searching out in an inquiring as they were writing out their prophecies, what this might mean. They weren’t Nostradamus, walking around receiving a word of knowledge to see into the future. No, God gave them audible verbal words  in those case of ‘Thus saith the Lord”, analogous to ‘Let there be light,’ and there was. And in other cases, led them to the trammel free of their faculties and in His sovereignty determined that what they said would be an inspired record of what He wanted for future generations to be recorded.
  4. (skipped # 4)
  5. The claim of inerrancy is that in all their real affirmations, these books are without error. Every sentence here, every thesis of Hodge and Warfield was carefully selected and every word in it is very important. Now, there are many things in the Bible that are not real affirmations, but are assumptions on the part of the writer. A reductionistic view of language would only lead us to reject the inerrancy and the trustworthiness of the Bible because we couldn’t reconcile it, for example, with the cosmology of the Psalmist with Einstein. It would be ridiculous. As Jean Calvin said, „Moses was not an astronomer. He wasn’t doing astronomy. He was giving us God’s inspired  infallible record of His covenant relationship with His people and His sovereignty over the whole earth”. Whatever the Scriptures teach is inerrant. We have to ask: What is their purpose? What is being really affirmed in certain passages? Some critics have said, „Look, the Psalmist says that the world rests on four pillars. What an antiquated world view, as if they’ve never read poetry before. It may well be that the Psalmist assumed a cosmology or a world view  that was unknown until modern science. That may be, but what was he affirming? What is the real affirmation there of the Psalmist, especially when it’s in the form of poetry? He didn’t believe God had feathers, yet He spoke of God having feathers (cover me with Your wings…). We have to be very careful that we don’t hand liberals the fodder. A classic example that is often quoted is Matthew 13:32 where Jesus said that the mustard seed is the smallest seed. I can’t tell  you how many well educated scholars who used to believe in inerrancy and now they don’t, flounder on this passage. Of course the mustard seed is not the smallest seed in all the world. We know what the smallest seed in all the world is and it’s not that one. But, 2 things we can say by way of response. Jesus didn’t necessarily know what was the smallest seed in the entire world. In His state of humiliation He didn’t know the hour or the time of His return: Only my Father in heaven. In His state of humiliation Jesus Christ was faithfully telling  what He had been delivered from the Father. All of this, I received from my Father in heaven”. And so, Jesus was speaking to them in a way that they would have understood, out of a world, out of a place and time He belonged to very much, as a first century Jew. What’s really being affirmed in this passage is: The smallest seed you have any awareness of, any experience of in your daily life, the kingdom of God starts out like that, and gets  real big. Inerrancy requires our confidence, not in the exactitude of the biblical statements, but in the reliability  of the biblical statements. What is affirmed as reliable, not necessarily exhaustive?

Critics, also, often point out that if you follow the chronologies in the Scripture, particularly in the Old Testament, you arrive, as archbishop Usher did in the 17th century, that the world was created Sunday, October 23rd 4004 B.C. Well, if that’s disproved, then the Bible therefore unravels and we can no longer trust in its authority. Well, now we know how chronologies work. Chronologies are not like the United States Census Report. Chronologies in the ancient world highlighted significant people in dynasties. You go from George Washington and skip to Abraham Lincoln. You don’t go from George Washington to his children, and their children and so forth. And the same is true in Matthew’s genealogy. Once again it’s a question of the scope. What is being claimed in each passage? As Warfield explains: It is true that the Scriptures were not designed to teach philosophy, science, or ethnology, or human history as such. Therefore, they are not to be studied primarily as sources of information on these subjects. Not because they’re unreliable, because they don’t address it. That’s not their purpose. That’s not their scope.

  • 6. An appeal to the inerrancy of the original autograph. This is kind of the Achilles’ heel. Critics will say, „What museum can I go to for the original autographs? If so, we can talk about whether they’re inerrant or not inerrant. You guys keep talking about the  inerrancy of the original autographs…” We’re clearly not saying that this (the Bible) is inerrant. Textual criticism is always going through and showing, after more careful research, more careful study that the ending of the Lord’s prayer isn’t in the best manuscripts. Because not much has changed through textual criticism, nothing touching any major point of doctrine , we can be convinced that as it is now, the conclusions that have been reached are pretty devastating to higher critics.

It is really important for us to realize that not only the Gospel, but the nature of God is implicated in this whole question of inerrancy, and that’s what I’m going to close with here.

I mentioned that the reformers bound their understanding of Scripture, the importance of the nature of Scripture with the content, the Gospel itself. Whatever the holy, unerring, and truthful God says is simply by virtue of  having come from Him holy, unerring, and truthful. In addition, the content of God’s speech is none other than the gift of the eternal Son, who became flesh for our Salvation. Revelation is therefore not merely an ever new event that occurs through the work of the Spirit, it is a written canon of biting, Spirit breathed, constitution for the covenant community unto all generations. That’s why Paul calls it a pattern of sound words, that we are to guard by means of the holy Spirit, who dwells within us. Of course this word creates. The Spirit creates through this word our act of faith in it. But, it is primarily, and first and foremost objectively the faith, once and for all delivered  to the saints.

Far more than ancient eastern rulers who demanded the death penalty for adding and subtracting from the canon does this great King, the Lord God almighty impose His canon with all seriousness. Secular kings could impose their constitutions simply by brute force, vascillating arbitrarily between harsh tyranny and careless abandon. But our King rules us, brothers and sisters, our King rules us in order to save us. He doesn’t rule us haphazardly, or tyrannically, although He has more power than all the kings of the earth. When He speaks, life comes to those who are dead. Sins are forgiven, and new creation dawns. That’s what happens when God speaks. In this way, we see the wide gulf separating christianity from Islam, for instance, in its claim.

And, I’ll conclude with this comparison and contrast. No Muslim embraces the Koran out of confidence that only there they can find the gracious face of a father, who warmly embraces them in His Son. Whereas the Koran is a collection of oracles supposedly dictated directly from Allah to Muhammad, the Bible directs us to the testimony of prophets and apostles over many centuries and in the proper voice of each author. Furthermore, whereas Paul reminded Caesar’s court that the events surrounding the resurrection of Jesus Christ were public knowledge , saying, „These were not done in a corner, as you, yourself know.. Everything, every miraculous claim in the Koran was done in a corner. A deep dark corner. Privately, not publicly, not open to investigation or criticism. 3 centuries of the greatest intellects of the western culture  have subjected the Bible to criticism precisely because it invites it, and has turned out to be better for the struggle. Islam means submission, based on the mere assertions of its leader. Christianity proclaims trust in Jesus Christ based on historical reports. And that same gulf separates Christianity from all of the inward looking enthusiastic movements of our age. Christians receive Scripture as inspired and inerrant because it comes from a faithful FatherIt speaks of a gracious Son, and it is certified by the Spirit who opens our heart to receive its treasures  for everything that we need in this passing evil age. And all other ground IS sinking sand.

VIDEO by WA BibleDepartment

What Is Inerrancy? (William Lane Craig)

william lane craigThe doctrine of inerrancy doesn’t mean that everything in the Bible is literally true. What inerrancy, properly understood means is that everything that the Bible teaches is true. Or, that everything that the Bible teaches or affirms to be true is true.

Inerrancy is viewed as so important because if the Bible has mistakes in it, then how can it be inspired by God?

The doctrine of inspiration, I take to mean that the Scripture, as it was originally written was exactly what God wanted to be His word to us, that what those human authors wrote, under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit was His word to us, and therefore is inspired, in that sense. Now, whether or not inerrancy is an implication of that, or not, might be something that one might debate. But, I think, typically, one might think that inerrancy would be a corollary of inspiration, because it is God’s word to us, and God is truthful. Therefore, whatever the Bible teaches or affirms is true. It is God’s word to us.

Bart Ehrman’s own evangelical faith was undermined, initially, at least he claims, by his abandonment in his belief in inerrancy. He had a strong view of inerrancy, as a student at Moody Bible Institute, and then Wheaton College. And when he went to Princeton to do his graduate work, apparently when he was doing the exegesis of a certain passage, that looked to have an error in it, and when he tried to think of all sorts of ways to interpret the passage, so as to explain away this mistake, and apparently, his professor returned the paper to him and said, „Maybe Mark just made a mistake.” And Ehrman said this was like the scales falling from his eyes. With that simple comment, his belief in inerrancy just began to collapse. And he thought, „Yeah, maybe the author just made a mistake.” And the problem for Ehrman was that once inerrancy went, it was like the finger in the dyke being released and the whole of his faith disintegrated.

And I think there’s a lesson in this. And it’s this: Inerrancy is a corollary of the doctrine of inspiration. And as such, it’s important to the Christian faith, but it doesn’t stand at the center of the Christian faith. It’s not one of the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith. If we think of our theological system of beliefs as like a spider’s web, at the core of the web, where the center is there will be things like

  • belief in the existence of God. That will be absolutely central to the web of beliefs.
  • a little further out would be the deity of Christ and His resurrection from the dead.
  • a little bit further out from that would perhaps be the penal theory of the atonement, the substitutionary death for our sins.
  • and even further out than that, somewhere at the periphery of the web will be the belief in the inerrancy of Scripture.

What that means is that if one of these central beliefs, like the belief in the existence of God or the resurrection of Jesus goes, that part of the web is plugged out, the whole web is going to collapse because if you take something out of the center, the rest of the web can’t exist. But if you pull one of the strands out that is near the periphery, that will cause some reverberation in your web of beliefs, but it’s not going to destroy the whole thing. And the problem with a person like Bart Ehrman, and I think, many people today, is that they have at the very center of their web of theological beliefs, the belief in inerrancy, so that if that belief goes, the rest collapses, and they are really in danger of committing apostasy.  They’re teetering on the brink by having this belief be at the very center of their beliefs.  And that, I just think is clearly mistaken. If inerrancy isn’t true, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist. If inerrancy is not true, does that mean that Jesus of Nazareth was not the second person of the trinity, that He didn’t rise from the dead? That He didn’t die for persons? Obviously not.

So, inerrancy isn’t a doctrine that belongs at the center of your beliefs, it belongs on the periphery. What happened to Bart Ehrman was a misconstruction of his theological system. He set himself up for a fall by having a disoriented theology. If inerrancy is not true it weakens the Christian faith, because you would be prepared to say that various Scriptural authors have erred in things that they have said. And then the questions would arise, „Well, then, where do those errors lie?” And this would reduce your confidence and certainty in the teaching of the Scripture. So, absolutely, this is an important doctrine, and one that one would not give up lightly. (10:00)

However, it is a huge mistake to make the focus of evangelism inerrancy instead of Christ. It’s Christ that is the center of the Gospel. And so, He ought to be the stumbling stone, not the doctrine of inerrancy. Inerrancy is an in-house debate for someone who is already a Christian. It’s an in-house argument to what corollaries are there to the concept of inspiration. (10:00)

Suppose somebody did demonstrate an error in Scripture, does that invalidate the Christian faith? I am saying: No. It would mean that you’d have to adjust your doctrine of inspiration, you would have to give up inerrancy of the Scripture, but it wouldn’t mean that Christ didn’t rise from the dead. , and it wouldn’t even mean that you wouldn’t have good grounds for believing Christ rose from the dead. So often, christian apologists give lip service to this idea that if you approach the New Testament documents as you would any ordinary historical document, that they are reliable enough to show, for example, that Jesus thought He was the Son of God, that He did miracles and exorcisms, and that He rose from the dead. But, they don’t really believe that, because the minute somebody point an error, they go up in arms as though to admit this one error it would completely undermine the historicity of the records of Christ. No historian approaches his documents like that. Indeed, the very task of the historian is to sift through the chaff and to find the historical nuggets of truth amidst the errors and mistakes that are typically found in historical writing.

What I’m suggesting is that if you approach Scripture as you would historical documents, and you find in them mistakes, contradictions and errors, that still wouldn’t undermine the general historical  credibility of the Gospels for example. , including things like the miracles and exorcisms of Jesus, His radical self understanding, His resurrection from the dead. Those things don’t hang on the affirmation of biblical inerrancy. (15:00)

So, I am not arguing for biblical errancy. I do believe in inerrancy, myself, properly understood.

The passage in Matthew 27 is that at the time of the crucifixion, there were some, not resurrections, but revivifications of some saints who actually came out of the grave, and who appeared to people, much like other resurrections or revivifications in other Gospel accounts. And, whether that’s historical, or whether that’s language to illustrate  the profundity of it, we don’t know. Whether this looks like an error to some critics, it would be really quite irrelevant to either the historicity of the crucifixion or the historicity of the resurrection. It is just a red herring to try and distract people.

I’m happy to say, about this passage in Matthew that I’m not sure what it means, and that’s perfectly consistent with believing in biblical inerrancy. Believing biblical inerrancy doesn’t mean that you understand everything. I don’t understand the Book of Revelation. When I read the Book of Revelation, with all these various symbolic figures and images, I am not sure what it’s saying. But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that it’s inspired by God or inerrant in what it teaches. That’s perfectly consistent.

Scholars have given good explanations on this passage that it was the first fruit of the dead in Christ and that we would expect phenomenon like this to go on at such a profound event, at the crucifixion and the resurrection. So, it’s not a knock down error. For me it’s a triviality. It doesn’t prove anything. This is an addendum to the crucifixion story of Christ. It’s not part of the resurrection account. This is a part of the account of the crucifixion. And yet, no historian denies the truth that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. So that even if you regard this a piece of apocalyptic imagery on Matthew’s part, and not something that literally, historically happened, nobody thinks it does anything to undermine the fact that Jesus of Nazareth died by Roman execution, by crucifixion. So, it is just a triviality, a red herring.

Norman Geisler is very encouraging to those that are disturbed at the longer ending of Mark not being authentic, not being in the oldest manuscripts, and he just says, „So what? So we have some extra material that we don’t quite know what to do with. Well, textual criticism helps us sort these things out. But, that’s quite a different answer than inerrancy. As we said before: Inerrancy is the view that whatever the original Scriptures, the original documents teach or affirm is true. But the question of textual criticism is: What were the original documents? So on discrepancies, an informed inerrantist won’t be upset by that, on the contrary, he’ll be involved in textual criticism, because he’ll be anxious to understand what the original text really did say, lest he me misled by copyist errors. So, somebody like a Daniel Wallace, for example, who is a fine New Testament textual critic at Dallas Theological Seminary is an inerrantist, but he’s also very much involved in establishing the original text in the New testament. And he, like other text critics would say the longer ending of Mar, as well as the shorter is spurious, it’s an accretion by some later author. That the original Gospel of Mark either ended with verse 8 of chapter 16, or else the original ending has been lost and has not been recovered. This is not really relevant to inerrancy at all.

What we need to understand is that the doctrine of biblical inerrancy  is a corollary of the doctrine of inspiration. As such, it is an important doctrine, but it is not a central doctrine to the christian faith. You can be a christian and not affirm it. And, if one does give it up, it will have some reverberations in your theological web of beliefs, but it won’t be destructive to that fundamental web of  Christian beliefs because it stands somewhere near the periphery. 

VIDEO by drcraigvideos

Eric Ludy – The Ancient War Cry

Photo credit biblewalks.com – Valley of Elah where David battled Goliath

1 Samuel 17 2:And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together,
and pitched by the valley of Elah,
and set the battle in array against the Philistines.

Where’s our war cry?

We don’t even know that we’re at war! We don’t understand that we’re in hostile territory. This isn’t a time of peace. It’s against the principalities and the powers that are puppeteering the people. And we are in a position to see souls set free!

This has been the ancient war cry throughout all the generations of the Hebrew nations. Rak Chazak! Where does it come from? Chazak, this is the Hebrew: the rock like „oomph” of the spiritually zealous heart. The game face of a mighty man. Tenacity of soul, the gritting of the teeth of the Spirit inspired warrior. And the bearing of those teeth to the enemy. Chazak is possessing a resolute and growling resolve for the glory of God. A flush of spiritual fervor. A tensing of all of a soldier’s muscles. There’s a Chazak.

We don’t have that spiritually. We should. We don’t. Because we don’t know what we’re engaged with. Did you know that we have the armory of heaven? That you have everything you need for life and godliness to push the enemy forces back? And so, when you hear Chazak, your knuckles spiritually should immediately turn white. And you should find yourself gritting your spiritual teeth with a belligerence against the enemy. He goes down! There are souls that must be saved!

The Hebrew statement is Rak Chazak. However, in the Bible, where it came from it’s Chazak Amats. The other word that goes with it, Amats, it’s heavenly audacity. It’s rushing headlong into the most hazardous and impossible battles without pausing to consider the impossibilities.

Who had Amats in the Bible?

  • David against Goliath? That’s some serious Amats. He’s rushing headlong against Goliath. „David, you might think about this for a minute.” „No, I am not weighing the impossibilities. This is for my God!” It’s a confidence in victory, even before the field is taken. It’s lambs moving with liquid ferocity straight into the lion’s lair.
  • How about the three that overheard him in the cave of Adullam? All for a cup of cool water  from the well of Bethlehem. Those guys had Amats. They go running out, break through a garrison of Philistines to grab a cup of cool water, and then bring it back through the garrison. They’re being hunted by the Philistines the whole time, trying not to spill a cup of water. That’s Amats.

Mere men and women on earth are being eaten up by the enemy.

However, we’re not just mere men and women of this earth. We are redeemed. We are bought with a price. And we’ve been changed into the body of Christ. Amats means swift-footed, all believing, super conquering, prevailing faith in the Lord of battles. What happens to the world, if Christians once again get Chazak and Amats? Do you know what the apostles had after Pentecost? Something came into them. What was it? You can say it very simply as Chazak and Amats – the Spirit of God. He came in to win. He came in to turn this world on its head.

Moses’s last gasp, this is his great speech before the promised land, which he never got to enter into, and he’s laying out the ground rules for the kingdom that is about to be established across that Jordan river. „Be strong, and of good courage. Fear not, nor be afraid of them. For the Lord, thy God, He it is that does go with thee. He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, „Chazak! Amats!” Be strong and of good courage! For thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord has sworn unto their fathers to give them. And thou shalt cause them to inherit it.

What’s happening there? The men and women of God are coming in to take what was purchased.. The promise. You are surrounded by 31 hostile empires. You know, that’s what they were headed into: 31 empires on the other side of that Jordan river. 31!

This is where we are at, as the church of Jesus Christ. Yet, we are there without a war cry. Let’s understand that we are out to win for the glory of Jesus Christ. And, even if we die, we win. It doesn’t matter what happens to our bodies. We obey… God wins. Now, suddenly we’re crossing. Joshua is the same name for Jesus in the New Testament, by the way. Yeshua- this is the Savior, the Man of Salvation, who is coming to bring us into the inheritance. Be strong and of good courage, for unto this people shall thou divide for an inheritance, the land which I swore unto their fathers to give them. Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage. Rak Chazak! Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed for the Lord thy God is with thee, withersoever thou goest. Rak Chazak, Israel! Rak Chazak, men and women of God almighty. And all the powers of earth and hell that come against your soul, and all the powers of earth and hell that are puppeteering the lost masses, you hit them square in the teeth, and you show love to this world. To anyone who would spit in your face, you serve them and you love them in return, and say, „Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” Rak Chazak, Israel!

Video by  setapartlife

The kind of preaching that encourages you to sin

This post by Jared C. Wilson, over at the Gospel Coalition is meant to be read by pastors/preachers. But, I always like to read articles like this from the listener’s perspective- myself. So, please read on, even if you are not a preacher/pastor. I have included each of Jared’s points, but you will have to click on the post to see the explanation for each one:

  1. Preaching even a “positive” practical message with no gospel-centrality amounts to preaching the law.
  2. The message of the law unaccompanied by and untethered from the central message of the gospel condemns us.
  3. Therefore, a steady dose of gospel-deficient practical preaching doesn’t make Christians more empowered, more effective, but more discouraged, less empowered.
  4. The Bible goes further to suggest, actually, that without the gospel of Christ’s finished work, the preaching of the law of works serves to exacerbate disobedience.
  5.  The law brings death
  6. The preaching of Christless, gospel-deficient practical sermons increases self-righteousness.

Read the entire article over at the Gospel Coalition (Photo credit thegospelcoalition.org)

Monopolizing Knowledge: Can Science Explain Everything? – Ian Hutchinson at Wesleyan University

 

creation God

Science is an incredibly powerful tool … can it make religious explanations obsolete? Is the Bible inconsistent with science? Are science and faith at war? Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, shares his perspective at The Veritas Forum at Wesleyan University. VIDEO by VeritasForum

10 Dangers of theistic evolution

Photo credit epignosisministries.com

The doctrines of creation and evolution are so strongly divergent that reconciliation is totally impossible. Theistic evolutionists attempt to integrate the two doctrines, however such syncretism reduces the message of the Bible to insignificance. The conclusion is inevitable: There is no support for theistic evolution in the Bible.

What Does Theistic Evolution Involve?

The following evolutionary assumptions are generally applicable to theistic evolution:

  • The basic principle, evolution, is taken for granted.
  • It is believed that evolution is a universal principle.
  • As far as scientific laws are concerned, there is no difference between the origin of the earth and all life and their subsequent development (the principle of uniformity).
  • Evolution relies on processes that allow increases in organization from the simple to the complex, from non-life to life, and from lower to higher forms of life.
  • The driving forces of evolution are mutation, selection, isolation, and mixing. Chance and necessity, long time epochs, ecological changes, and death are additional indispensable factors.
  • The time line is so prolonged that anyone can have as much time as he/she likes for the process of evolution.
  • The present is the key to the past.
  • There was a smooth transition from non-life to life.
  • Evolution will persist into the distant future.

In addition to these evolutionary assumptions, three additional beliefs apply to theistic evolution:

  1. God used evolution as a means of creating.
  2. The Bible contains no usable or relevant ideas which can be applied in present-day origins science.
  3. Evolutionistic pronouncements have priority over biblical statements. The Bible must be reinterpreted when and wherever it contradicts the present evolutionary worldview.

Danger no. 1: Misrepresentation of the Nature of God

The Bible reveals God to us as our Father in Heaven, who is absolutely perfect (Matthew 5:48), holy (Isaiah 6:3), and omnipotent (Jeremiah 32:17). The Apostle John tells us that ‘God is love’, ‘light’, and ‘life’ (1 John 4:161:51:1-2). When this God creates something, His work is described as ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31) and ‘perfect’ (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Theistic evolution gives a false representation of the nature of God because death and ghastliness are ascribed to the Creator as principles of creation. (Progressive creationism, likewise, allows for millions of years of death and horror before sin.)

Danger no. 2: God becomes a God of the Gaps

The Bible states that God is the Prime Cause of all things. ‘But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things … and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him’ (1 Corinthians 8:6).

However, in theistic evolution the only workspace allotted to God is that part of nature which evolution cannot ‘explain’ with the means presently at its disposal. In this way He is reduced to being a ‘god of the gaps’ for those phenomena about which there are doubts. This leads to the view that ‘God is therefore not absolute, but He Himself has evolved—He is evolution’.

Danger no. 3: Denial of Central Biblical Teachings

The entire Bible bears witness that we are dealing with a source of truth authored by God (2 Timothy 3:16), with the Old Testament as the indispensable ‘ramp’ leading to the New Testament, like an access road leads to a motor freeway (John 5:39). The biblical creation account should not be regarded as a myth, a parable, or an allegory, but as a historical report, because:

  • Biological, astronomical and anthropological facts are given in didactic [teaching] form.
  • In the Ten Commandments God bases the six working days and one day of rest on the same time-span as that described in the creation account (Exodus 20:8-11).
  • In the New Testament Jesus referred to facts of the creation (e.g. Matthew 19:4-5).
  • Nowhere in the Bible are there any indications that the creation account should be understood in any other way than as a factual report.

The doctrine of theistic evolution undermines this basic way of reading the Bible, as vouched for by Jesus, the prophets and the Apostles. Events reported in the Bible are reduced to mythical imagery, and an understanding of the message of the Bible as being true in word and meaning is lost.

Danger no. 4: Loss of the Way for Finding God

The Bible describes man as being completely ensnared by sin after Adam’s fall (Romans 7:18-19). Only those persons who realize that they are sinful and lost will seek the Saviour who ‘came to save that which was lost’ (Luke 19:10).

However, evolution knows no sin in the biblical sense of missing one’s purpose (in relation to God). Sin is made meaningless, and that is exactly the opposite of what the Holy Spirit does—He declares sin to be sinful. If sin is seen as a harmless evolutionary factor, then one has lost the key for finding God, which is not resolved by adding ‘God’ to the evolutionary scenario.

Danger no. 5: The Doctrine of God’s Incarnation is Undermined

The incarnation of God through His Son Jesus Christ is one of the basic teachings of the Bible. The Bible states that ‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14), ‘Christ Jesus … was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:5-7).

Click here to read the other 5 dangers- http://www.answersingenesis.org

Related articles

The Compromise of Theistic Evolution

What is Theistic Evolution? Theistic evolution, theistic evolutionism or evolutionary creationism is the view that religious teachings about God are compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. Theistic evolution is not a scientific theory, but a range of views about how the science of evolution relates to religious beliefs. Supporters of theistic evolution generally reject the conflict thesis regarding the relationship between religion and science – that is, they hold that religious teachings about creation and scientific theories of evolution need not contradict each other.

Definition: Theistic evolution has been described as the position that „evolution is real, but that it was set in motion by God”, and „Theistic evolution, which accepts that evolution occurred as biologists describe it, but under the direction of God”(wikipedia)

The following excerpt below is from an article,  written by rachel Miller, who is the News Editor at The Aquila Report, ‘an independent online source for News and Commentary from and about orthodox evangelicals in the Reformed and Presbyterian family of churches’.  However, you don’t have to be reformed or presbyterian to recognize the importance of the creation vs. evolution debate raging in the orthodox (as in orthodox doctrines) evangelical circles. Miller reviews Presbyterian Pastor John Otis’ new book on theistic evolution. In his book, Pastor Otis addresses the churches in his denomination, a heed we can all take on here. He specifically addresses Tim Keller, Peter Enns and the Biologos Foundation.

Pastor Otis’ book, Theistic Evolution: A Sinful Compromise, is available for free download here. You can also order a printed copy here. The lecture series is available on Sermon Audio here.

John Otis, pastor of a Reformed Presbyterian Church US (RPCUS) church in Burlington, North Carolina, has written a book on theistic evolution, Theistic Evolution: A Sinful Compromise, based on a series of lectures. His purpose in writing the book was to alert believers, and especially elders, to the danger that theistic evolution poses to the church:

Those that I am really addressing are those who do advocate an evolutionary view, who do believe that man did evolve from lower forms of life, who do teach that God used this means to “create.” These men are the ones who must be silenced; they are disturbing families. In obeying Jude 3, we elders must earnestly contend for the Faith once for all delivered to the saints. This is my purpose (5-6).

Pastor Otis begins his book by considering what Scripture teaches regarding creation, creation days, and the chronologies. From there he moves on to a history of Darwin and evolutionary thought. Lastly, he spends several chapters on what he calls “Compromisers.” He takes time throughout those chapters to address specific concerns about the teachings of specific organizations and individuals.

Pastor Otis’ concern over theistic evolution and its influence in the Reformed church today is due in part to his own background. Before he became a believer, Pastor Otis was an agnostic, evolutionary, Biology student.

Why does Pastor Otis call theistic evolution a sinful compromise?

  • It robs God of His due glory.
  • It elevates science as an equal authority with Scripture.
  • It adopts a faulty hermeneutic.
  • It assaults the uniqueness and dignity of man.
  • It is insulting to Jesus’ true humanity.
  • It can undermine the glorious gospel.
  • It undermines the Bible’s credibility (281-284).

In the second half of his book, Pastor Otis takes on certain individuals and organizations to task, people who are influential and whom he calls out for compromising. They include: the BioLogos Foundation, Dr. Tim Keller, Dr. Ron Choong, Dr. Gregg Davidson, Dr. Jack Collins, and Dr. Peter Enns.

You can read Rachel Miller’s entire article here: http://theaquilareport.com

Existence of Babylonian official connected with the Fall of Jerusalem and mentioned in the book of Jeremiah confirmed

This seems to have been reported in the archaeological circles in 2007, back when very few of us were reading blogs. Thanks for the tip on the story to Johnny C.

Story from http://www.britishmuseum.org/

Important breakthrough in Biblical archaeology

Existence of Babylonian official connected with the Fall of Jerusalem and mentioned in the book of Jeremiah confirmed in cuneiform tablet (photo credit freedominourtime.blogspot)

Working at the British Museum, Assyriologist Michael Jursa has made a breakthrough discovery whilst examining a small clay tablet with a Babylonian cuneiform inscription. The document is dated to the 10thyear of Nebuchadnezzar II (595 BC). It names a Babylonian officer, Nebo-Sarsekim, who according to chapter 39 of the Book of Jeremiah was present at the siege of Jerusalem in 587 BC with Nebuchadnezzar himself. The tablet thus confirms the historical existence of the Biblical figure. Evidence from non-Biblical sources for individuals named in the Bible other than kings is incredibly rare.

Nebo-Sarsekim is described in the book of Jeremiah as ‘chief eunuch’ (as the title is now translated, rather than ‘chief officer’). The Babylonian tablet proves that his name was really pronounced as Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, and gives the same title, ‘chief eunuch,’ in cuneiform script, thereby confirming the accuracy of the Biblical account.

The discovery highlights the importance of the study of cuneiform. The British Museum’s collection contains well over one hundred thousand inscribed tablets which are examined by international scholars on a daily basis.  Reading and piecing together fragments is painstaking and slow work, but cuneiform tablets are our only chance of obtaining knowledge of this fateful period of human history. Other discoveries made whilst examining tablets include an Assyrian version of the Old Testament flood story, observations of Halley’s Comet and even rules for the world’s oldest board game.

Dr Jursa, Associate Professor of the University of Vienna, has been studying tablets at the British Museum since 1991. He says of this discovery:
“Reading Babylonian tablets is often laborious, but also very satisfying: there is so much new information yet to be discovered. But finding something like this tablet, where we see a person mentioned in the Bible making an everyday payment to the temple in Babylon and quoting the exact date is quite extraordinary.”

Irving Finkel, Assistant Keeper in the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum, commented: “Cuneiform tablets might all look the same, but sometimes they contain treasure.  Here a mundane commercial transaction takes its place as a primary witness to one of the turning points in Old Testament history.  This is a tablet that deserves to be famous.’

For further information please contact Hannah Boulton on +44 (0)20 7323 8522 or
hboulton@thebritishmuseum.ac.uk

Below, another cuneiform which records the accession of Nebuchadnezzar and the appointment of Zedekiah as king, – which agrees with the text of 2 Kings 24:10-17. Photo credit http://www.generationword.com/notes/jeremiah/ On this website you can find plenty of maps and charts, and commentary on Jeremiah (and other Bible books) in verse by verse detail- http://www.generationword.com/

Notes to editors:

  • Cuneiform is the oldest form of writing known to us and was commonly used in the Middle East between 3,200 BC and the second century AD. Today there are only a small number of scholars worldwide who can read cuneiform script which was created by pressing a wedged-shaped instrument (usually a cut reed) into moist clay. Each tablet is a unique window into the past and allows us a direct link to the people who lived during that period. Examples of cuneiform tablets are on permanent display in the Museum and the whole collection can be accessed by appointment through the Middle East Study Room. More information on cuneiform can be found atwww.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/explore/themes/writing
  • Nebuchadnezzar II (Nabu-kudurri-usur, ‘O Nabu, protect the son’) came to the throne in 604 BC, on the death of his father Nabopolassar. The Babylonians had conquered the Assyrian empire having allied themselves with the Iranian Medes. After his coronation in Babylon the new king campaigned in Syria for five months. In 601 BC Nebuchadnezzar marched to the Egyptian frontier. The Babylonian and Egyptian armies clashed and both sides suffered heavy losses. Over the next few years the struggle between the Babylonians and Egyptians continued and in the course of these campaigns Jerusalem was captured (597 BC). Problems in this region persisted when Zedekiah, the Babylonian-appointed king of Judah, rebelled. As a result, in 587-6 BC Jerusalem was taken again and a large section of the population deported.

How do you make sense of contradictions in the Bible? Peter Williams at USC

Cambridge scholar Peter Williams answers USC’s toughest questions about the Bible at The Veritas Forum. Moderated by Dead Sea Scroll expert Bruce Zuckerman.

In this clip, Williams and Zuckerman share their perspectives on how to deal with contradictions in the Bible. Williams suggests that many such cases are deliberate contradictions to draw out important meanings, and that he hasn’t found any unreconcilable statements. Zuckerman suggests that the writers were more concerned with the message and less than the details. http://www.veritas.org/talks VIDEO by The Veritas Forum (Photo below credit onthewarningtrack.podbean.com)

From the video:

„The Bible is full of contradictions,” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. How do you understand biblical contradictions as a scholar and how do you understand them  as a professing Christian?

Peter Williams:

The way I see things is a contradiction is not necessarily a bad thing, the way Dickens begins ‘A Tale of Two Cities’- ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….’ At which point, you might close the book, or you might struggle on for a few more pages. But the point is that simply using code which is opposite, and someone asks me, „Do you believe this?” And I say, „Yes and no.” Of course my yes is a qualified yes, and my no is a qualified no. But, I have packaged them as a formal contradiction. Now, sometimes bible writers will actually use contradictions quite deliberately.

John’s Gospel has its famous passage: ‘For God so loved the world’. John’s epistle has a passage that says: ‘Do not love the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him.’ In other words, telling you not to love the world. But, of course you have to think a little it further about what it means by world, and what it means by love. And John’s Gospel is actually full of these sorts of these things, where it says, „The Son didn’t come into the world to judge it, and in another place it will say ‘for judgment I came into the world.’ And they’re in the same Gospel, sitting alongside each other.

You can find in 1 Samuel 15 where it says that God does not change His mind, he’s not like a man to change His mind, and yet He does change His mind. And it’s all there in the same passage. You can find in 2 Kings 17 a passage that talks about ‘they worshipped God’ and ‘they didn’t worship God’ and then ‘they did worship God’. In other words, you’ve got A B A. Both of those 2 Old Testament passages that I mentioned, where you have a statement contradicting the statements on the two sides, and I think these are things deliberately put there by the authors.

Now, there, I think one of the things that makes us use contradictions less often is that since Aristotle taught us to use technical vocabulary, we like to use one term with one sense. And we don’t like the idea of using one term with multiple senses. That means ancient authors were not constrained in that same way. Now, people might be prepared to accept, when they read John’s Gospel that John has an overall intention when he uses these contradictions. In other words, he’s making you think a little bit further. What happens, though, when they find one thing in one writer and another thing in another writer, and they say, „Well, there’s no way I can fit those together.” Now, the way I would understand things is that things are written in the Bible as such, that there are different authors at the human level, but a single author at the divine level. I can’t prove that, but it seems to me a rational thing. So, I don’t find this sort of contradictions in the Bible which are utterly irreconcilable at any level. In other words, I don’t find them in the Bible something that says Jesus was born in Egypt and Jesus was born in Judea.

I come to the text believing that it speaks truth. I don’t think it has to speak truth according to our conventions, our interest in precision. It can quote in completely different ways than us, because after all speech marks (punctuation ?) were only invented in the last few centuries, so there are all sort of conventions which make it different. But, I think… and this is where we need to have a discussion on this issue, that I think there is an overall coherence within Bible writers, even that come from some pretty different perspectives. I’m happy with tension.

…..

When scholars claim that they found these 2 very different strands which are being combined by some editor at some stage, that is essentially a scholarly reconstruction, all we have is a final text, and the final text is where we start from and and we try to explain how the final text arose as it did. And so, if we have 2 passages alongside each other  that seem to us to be different, well, someone put them together and thought that they could fit together. And so, I want to understand that someone’s mind, and I think that very intelligent people can waste a lot of effort dealing with hypothetical sources, and I’m not sure that’s a very fruitful thing.

Wayne Grudem Sermon: Guard your heart (video) August 2013

Photo credit marshill.com

Commentary on Wayne Grudem’s sermon from the Christian Post.

„Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life,” Grudem began by reading the verse, and explained that it talks about protecting, guarding, caring for your heart.

Biblical reference to the heart „includes all of your deepest moral and spiritual convictions, along with your feelings and emotions, especially your deepest moral and spiritual convictions in relationship to God,” said Grudem, the general editor of the ESV Study Bible, on Aug. 25.

In this verse, „God is saying basically that the inward spiritual and moral life that you have will determine the course of your life and ministry, whether it will be a life that knows God’s favor and blessing or not,” added Grudem, the author of Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.

Grudem shared three things in his sermon: what it is to keep your heart, why you should keep your heart, and how you keep your heart.

The Hebrew text for „with all vigilance” means, „more than all vigilance, more than all guarding, more than all protecting, keep your heart – more than your job, your health, everything,” he explained.

„Have we been making the condition of our hearts more important than any other concern?” he asked.

Grudem then expanded on the words, „keep it.” „If you are to keep something, it implies that there’s a goodness to it, that there’s a goodness that is to be protected and guarded.”

At the same time, the Bible also says in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is deceitful, he acknowledged. But „that’s not the whole truth.”

Several New Testament verses speak in a positive way about the condition of our hearts. „If we’ve been born again and trusted in Jesus as our Savior, there’s a goodness to them that has to be protected.”

Grudem quoted Romans 5:5, „God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Our hearts aren’t perfect, but there is a goodness in them still by Jesus’ work within us that needs to be protected and guarded, he explained. Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news

Photo credit wednesdayelegy.blogspot.com

VIDEO by Mars Hill Church Videos Published on Aug 27, 2013

Pastor Dr Wayne Grudem Sermon „Guard Your Heart”. Series Title: „Best Sermons Ever”. Copyright Mars Hill Church Seattle  AUGUST 2013. Message starts at the 3:00 minute mark:

A must-read free book on the attributes of God

From the introduction to the book (pp 2,3) – Bob Deffinbaugh:

A. W. TozerOver 30 years ago, A. W. Tozer wrote concerning the desperate need for the church to revise its concept of God due to a very distorted conception of Him:

It is my opinion that the Christian conception of God current in these middle years of the twentieth century is so decadent as to be utterly beneath the dignity of the Most High God and actually to constitute for professed believers something amounting to a moral calamity.
Tozer goes on to say,
The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him–and of her.
A. W. Pink is of the same opinion:
The god of this century no more resembles the Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The god who is talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday school, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible conferences, is a figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality. The heathen outside the pale of Christendom form gods of wood and stone, while millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a god out of their carnal minds.
In one of his letters to Erasmus, Martin Luther said, “Your thoughts of God are too human.” Speaking for God, the psalmist of old penned the same thought in these words:
21 These things you have done, and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you, and state [the case] in order before your eyes (Psalms 50:21).
It would be difficult to over-estimate the importance of the study of God. Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s words are often quoted by those who embark upon a study of the attributes of God:

C. H. Spurgeon, "The Prince of Preachers&...Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued, investigation of the great subject of the Deity. The most excellent study for expanding the soul is the science of Christ and Him crucified and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity.

The proper study of the Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the doings, and the existence of the great God which he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can comprehend and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go on our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumbline cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought “I am but of yesterday and know nothing.”
The study of God’s nature and character is the high calling of the Christian and is of great importance and

practical value:

What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the ‘eternal life’ that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God. ‘This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent’ (John 17:3). What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God. ‘Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me’ (Jer. 9:23f.). What, of all the states God ever sees man in, gives Him most pleasure? Knowledge of Himself. ‘I desire . . . the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings,’ says God (Hos. 6:6) . . . Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord . . . What makes life worth while is having a big enough objective, something which catches our imagination and lays hold of our allegiance; and this the Christian has, in a way that no other man has. For what higher, more exalted, and more compelling goal can there be than to know God?

Let Me See Thy Glory:

A Study of the Attributes of God

Preface
No study is of more importance or value than a study of the nature and attributes of God. It is our hope that these messages will enhance your knowledge of God, resulting in a greater love for Him and for others.
This material is from a series of messages on the attributes of God delivered by Bob Deffinbaugh, a teaching elder at Community Bible Chapel in Richardson, Texas. Anyone is at liberty to use this material for educational purposes, with or without credit. Community Bible Chapel believes the material containedin this series to be true to the Word of God, and desires to further, not restrict, its potential use as an aid to the study of God’s Word.
Robert Deffinbaugh graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with his Th.M. in 1971and has contributed many of his Bible study series for use by the Foundation. E-mail address: deffinba@ix.netcom.com.
©1995 by Community Bible Chapel, 210 Abrams Road, Richardson, TX 75081, http://www.bible.org.
Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances
whatsoever without the author’s consent.
Lesson 1: Exploring the Excellencies of God
Lesson 2: The Power of God
Lesson 3: The Goodness of God
Lesson 4: The Wisdom of God
Lesson 5: The Holiness of God
Lesson 6: The Righteousness of God
Lesson 7: The Wrath of God
Lesson 8: The Grace of God
Lesson 9: The Sovereignty of God in History
Lesson 10: The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
Lesson 11: The Nearness of God
Lesson 12: The Immutability of God
Lesson 13: The Joy of God
Lesson 14: The Invisibility of God
Lesson 15: The Forgiving God
Lesson 16: The Truth of God
Lesson 17: The Love of God
Lesson 18: The Glory of God
click to read book

click to read book

Download the book/ pdf here –

http://www.davidcox.com

In marriage, no two people are compatible

Here’s a truth that many of us ignore, even though experience has shown us this statement is absolutely true. I am reading through Tim Keller’s new book „The Meaning of Marriage” and I am finding so much wisdom and insight that I have not found in other books with the same subject matter.  Tim J. Keller, (born 1950) is an American author, speaker and the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City,  starts out by repeating what thousands of couples have said to him that he spoke to or counseled, and whether they were working on sustaining or saving their marriage, most couples complained that „love should not be this hard.” Those couples seemed to believe that „love should just come naturally if two people are compatible, if they are truly soul mates”. Here, Keller dives in and shares with us about compatibility and what the Bible has to say about it:

„The Bible explains why the quest for compatibility seems to be so impossible. The Christian answer to this is that no two people are compatible.”

Then Keller quotes Duke University professor Stanley Hauerwas who made this famous point:

„Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become „whole” and happy. The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person. This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage. It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person. We never know whom we marry; we just think we do… For marriage, being [the enormous this that it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary problem is… learning how to love and care for the stranger whom you find yourself married”. (Photo below via Amazon.com)

Keller points out that you can’t know ahead of time how your spouse will change, until you get there and that over the years, „you will have to learn to love a person you didn’t marry” and „make changes you don’t want to make”, but in the end you may have a joyous marriage and it will definitely not be „because you married the perfectly compatible person”. Keller states, „That person does not exist!”

Keller points out that „Hauerwas gave us the first reason that no two people are compatible for marriage”. Then Keller gives us the biblical reason:

„Any two people who enter into marriage are spiritually broken by sin, which among other things mean to be self-centered… Why would it be easy to live lovingly and well with another human being in light of what is profoundly wrong within our human nature? … the Biblical doctrine of sin explains why marriage– more than anything else that is good and important in this fallen world– is so painful and hard.”

(source Relevant Magazine)

Paul Washer – Worthless Prayer Meetings

Paul Washer heartcry.com

Paul Washer:

Have you submitted your mind to Christ. You say, „But, what does that mean brother Paul?” Well, go to Scripture. I like this better than using a concordance. Start in Genesis and read through the entire Bible and every passage in Scripture that deals with the mind, pull it out and create a systematic theology with regard to how your mind can be submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Your eyes, what does the Bible say about your eyes? And your ears, and your tongue, and your hands and your feet, and your body and the way you clothe it.

What does the Bible say about relationships you are in? What are you commanded to do by Scripture? You see, my dear friend, without a vision the people perish. And that should not be used by pastors who want to go into a building program. That’s not what that text is talking about. Where there is no vision of God’s law, the people run unrestrained.

I want to talk to you, young person. You’ve learned doctrines of sovereign grace, you read the Puritans. Congratulations. Have you gone through Scripture to discover what God says about relationships, and sought to understand it and submit your life to it in obedience? I know I sound like a 1960’s fundamentalist preacher. Let me ask you a question. Have you gone into the Scriptures to find the principles laid out for clothing and etiquette? And have you decided that you would submit your life to those directives? You see, we talk about being biblical in our worship. Have you gone through Scripture to learn what God desires out of worship? „Well, you know, we love worship this way,” „I don’t care how you like worship, cause that’s not the point. What has God said?” You see, in this idea, we can romance this thing to death, we can spiritualize it to death.

Someone can say, „Oh, I’ve given my life to themission field.” That does not mean, at the same time, that you have given your heart to God. Cause you can go to the mission field and be godless, and carnal and trite. You’d be better off joining National Geographic, than you would a mission agency. Are you seeking, in simplicity, to examine your life? I’m not talking about finding legalistc inferences and forcing them upon yourself. I’m talking about the great principles of Scripture, dealing in every aspect of your personal life, applying them to you and seeking to obey them.

Let me ask you a question: If you go to the mission field, without taking what I said as a serious endeavor, isn’t there the possibility that the only thing you’re going to do there , after you have crossed land and sea is make a convert like yourself that’s nothing more than a twofold son of hell? I mean, after all, my greatest fear, one of my greatest fears is that Fidel Castro is going to die, and that the wall around Cuba is going to fall. That’s one of my greatest fears. Do you wanna know why? Cause every form of American churchianity  that exists is going to make its way over there. I remember speaking to Conrad, the first time we went over there, and he said, „The first thing we always like to tell people who come over to teach: You’re not bringing God with you”. He was here long before you bought your ticket.

There isn’t a lot of American Christianity, folks, that needs to be exported. Unless, like Ravenhill says, we put it on some kind of a raft and send it off to a lone island, and after it’s going away from the dock, we all sing the doxology. If we’re going to endeavor to work in missions, then we must be motivated by a God that we know. A Gospel that we know. And we must be a people who have endeavored, with great force, to examine their lives in the light of Scripture, and conform their lives to what Scripture says.

How much of what you have, even the way you sit in the chair is formed by those around you and not by Scripture? Something to think about. Let’s pray. Father, I pray that, Lord, you know, that you would use this to begin some on a journey, of knowing you, seeking to know of that which brings delight , seeking to transform, conform their lives to it. Father, help us, who have begun the journey long ago, we cannot grow weary, but to seek to know you more, to seek to understand your will, to love what you love, and hate what you hate. To be a simple people, an obedient people, a people motivated by the Gospel, and drawn to the Gospel. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

VIDEO by EZEKIEL3622

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