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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John Piper panel – Complementarianism: Essential or Expendable?

Panel led by Ligon Duncan of Ligonier.org, Russell Moore, Greg Gilbert and John Piper from the Together for the Gospel T4G Conference 2012:

Here’s a small excerpt from the discussion where Piper discusses the texts he would use in order to explain complementarianism. For its context, you will find the complete answer down at the very bottom of this post. Piper:

„Now, here’s Adam, why did He create him and then the woman later. Why did He give him the rules of the garden like „don’t eat here”? Apparently he’s had to tell her because she was never told that. And why does he name her and why in the world didn’t he step up to the plate, because it says he was there while she was being tempted and he blew it from the first point and I think, probably, what Paul is getting at when he says ‘the woman was deceived and not the man- is that simply she was taking initiative and dealing with the tempter, and the guy (Adam) was not saying a word, like he should have been, to protect his woman from this tempter and you just walk through 8 or 9 evidences in Genesis 1 & 2 that this is from the beginning what wrecked the world. That the beauty of his headship wasn’t owned by him. Maybe he fell first. In the real fall there, they fell together. She didn’t fall and then he fell, they fell together cause they’re both there at the tree and he’s not doing his role and she’s not doing her role and the whole sin collapse is happening as they reject their roles, which is right at the heart of it.”

Complementarianism: Essential or Expendable? from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Duncan asks Piper: Where did the term ‘complementarianism’ come from?

Piper: Wayne Grudem and I were a part of the production of the Danvers statement, which happened in the late 80’s in Danvers Connecticut, in which we tried to articulate a vision about how men and women are equally, gloriously, in the image of God with that worth and that dignity and yet complement each other in their differences, both in their marriages and in church and in their societies and in such a way that the flourishing of manhood and womanhood happened best when those complementary differences are honored rather than minimized in what we saw happening in feminism and evangelical egalitarianism was a minimizing at best or a nullifying of those differences. And, over on the other side, we saw a historic abuse  of women kind of machismo that would define manhood as mishandling or bossing, or putting down and we said: The egalitarianism- we don’t see that in the Bible. This abuse and beetling of womanhood, we don’t see that in the Bible. This goes on under various names like hierarchicalism , the more traditionalism, or whatever… so we said, „We need another name otherwise we’re just gonna be called traditional, otherwise, there will be no distinction between this”. I don’t remember who thought it up, but it came into being at one of those conversations, „Why don’t we take the word complement, complement with an ‘e’, not an ‘i’, we are not paying one another compliments, we are completing one another – ‘It is not good for man to be alone”, here is a fit. She is a complement for him. That is the origin and the essence of the term.

So, the just of it today is it’s a vision that stirs, we hope, a biblical path between the nullification or minimization of differences that are to be lived out in church, and home, and society, and the abuse of those differences that I think the New Testament has written to correct and it seems to me that in the garden, and then corrected in Ephesians 5, the abuses can be either men domineering or being passive and the women being domineering or being doormats, mindless and coquettish and we want to call women to full, articulate, creative personhood and men to step up to the plate where they kind of Christ-like sacrificial leadership in the home that enables the woman to flourish in all that she is and him to flourish in a Christ like demeanor.

Duncan:  Egalitarianism has been around in evangelicalism from the beginnings of neoevangelicalism. Why, in the late 80’s, did what became the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and what became the Danver’s statement, why did a group of folks get together (to say) ‘It’s important for us to articulate this now’. What was pushing that particular issue?

Piper: I don’t remember, except personally. You (Duncan) probably know culturally. I was teaching at Bethel College between ’74 and ’80 and the speakers that were coming in were increasingly strident in their feminism, so that Virginia Mollenkutt, for example, called our view obscene, in the Bethel Chapel and it was that kind of rising tide of aggressiveness of the evangelical wing that caused me, at least, to say, „I’m going to say something about this because I don’t see any of that in the Scriptures”.

Duncan: Russell (Moore), you are now the chairman of The Biblical Council of Manhood and Womanhood. Given where they were then, can you assess where we are now? Give us an idea where evangelicalism, the culture  is on this?

Moore: Well, what I fear is we have many people within evangelicalism who can check off ‘complementation’ in a box, but who aren’t really living out complementation lives. Sometimes I fear that we have marriages that are functionally egalitarian because they’re within the structure of the larger society and if all we are doing is saying ‘male headship’ – wives submit to your husband, but we’re not really defining what that looks like in a Christ centered way of discipleship in this kind of culture when those things are being challenged, then it’s simply going to go away. People are going to conform to the pattern of this age, which means we have an increasing struggle when it comes to questions that previous generations never had before in the same way. I have had in recent years- a woman came to me once and said, „My husband has told me he wants to be a woman, he wants to have gender reassignment surgery and become a woman. He doesn’t want to leave me, he wants to stay together. Martin Luther never had to deal with that. I can only imagine what he would have said, but he didn’t have to deal with that. Pastors now have to deal with that.

Duncan: Greg (Gilbert) you’re a pastor, what kind of issues do you see going on with regard to what Rusell has just talked about in the local church?

Gilbert: I do a lot of premarital counseling. The functional egalitarianism among the people that I counsel is just all over the place. So, you have men who think that being a complementation and leading their wives really has no feet on it until they come to a decision that they’re disagreeing about. But, up until that moment it is just an egalitarian way of living together without male leadership and headship in creating the atmosphere of the home.

Duncan: A lot of folks have said, „Why include this issue in a conference called Together for the Gospel? Aren’t there wonderful people that hold high views about God, high views of the doctrine of grace that are egalitarian? Why would we want to highlight this, given that it divides some parts of evangelicalism?

Piper: It is a good question because I don’t think you have to be a comlementarian to be saved and so it’s not essential at that level. But, as soon as you move beneath that level and ask: What are the implications of not following through with what Ephesians 5 seems to say or 1 Timothy 2 seems to say; those would be classic marriage/church texts. The implications… let me just mention 2 or 3. The implications, hermeneutically for the Gospel, are significant. If you do the kind of gymnastics that I think you have to do in order to escape Ephesians 5, you’re gonna get the Gospel wrong. That’s an overstatement. You will tend to go in that direction and sooner or later you’re gonna get the Gospel wrong. Second thing: Marriage, as it’s described there is the Gospel, in portrayal. The husband is to love like Christ loves the church and suffer for her, die for her and she is to submit to him, as the church submits to Christ. If you come along and say, „There is no head and there is no submission, you just cancel out the visible Gospel in marriage. And then, I would say, in the church where the Gospel is the pillar and bulwark of the Gospel and if you, at the core of its structure, and therefore deny that man, because of their call of God to be men, should be the leaders here and women should be leaders, it’s going to malfunction along the way. And I would say that in spite of the fact that I know Bible women in China and I know there are major women pastors in charismatic renewal in the global south, I would say: Not withstanding, it is written on male and female hearts to malfunction long term where the church is not being led by strong male proclaimers and leaders, the way Christ would lead. I would say, for those 3 reasons at least, it gets very close to the center in the kinds of things that are around the Gospel, protecting it and making it spread and vital in the world.

Gilbert: I would echo that and just push it again and I think that in order to get to an egalitarian position, you have to bring into your hermeneutic some bad DNA. You have to have some principles and ideas, that tend in a certain direction to corrode the authority of Scripture and once you do that, the corrosion isn’t just going to stop on those particular passages that you want it to stop at. It’s going to move on to other passages until you are eventually sitting right at the heart of the Gospel and letting those corrosive principles work on those texts also.

Moore: You know, in the United States military went into Iraq, one of the images that we saw all over the world was that statue of Saddam Hussein being torn down, because that was a repudiation of Saddam Hussein. Pastor Piper is exactly right. Ephesians ch. 5, Paul says, „This is a mystery”. Marriage is designed to show you Christ in the church, not the other way around. God says, „It is not good for Adam to be alone”, not simply because he needs company. He could have designed Adam to subdivide like an amoeba. But He creates Adam to have someone taken from him, who is like him, but who is different from him and the two become one flesh. Paul says – the mystery is Christ and His church. When you strike at that, and the satanic powers always want to strike at that, you are striking at the very sign and picture of the Gospel  itself and in the fulness of time, the Gospel will not be credible when you raise up children who see the image of the Gospel being torn apart in front of them all the time. The second thing- I don’t think it’s a question of whether or not we have male headship. I think it’s a question of what kind of male headship we will have. We live in a culture right now that is dominated by pagan patriarchy in which there are restaurants that are expressly for men to come in and ogle women. Internet pornography is preying upon women. When you have a male headship that is unhinged from the Gospel or unhinged from Christ like discipleship, women and children are going to be harmed and hurt and that is what we see all around us right now. So, part of what complementarianism is saying is not: Women submit. It is saying, „Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands”. When a wife submits herself to her own husband, or when a young woman who is not yet married submits herself to that future husband whose name she does not yet know, she is refusing to submit to men generally. So she is not seeing her identity in terms of how men view her in terms of sexual attractiveness and availability. Which is why the apostle Peter, when he is talking about what it means to be sanctified as a woman says: Not what the culture demands of you in braided hair and external appearance, but, that quiet beauty of the heart. That’s a counter cultural statement and if we don’t preserve that and show the kind of male headship that is self sacrificial, that washes feet, that goes to the cross, then we’re going to wind up with the kind of male headship that is satanic to the core.

Duncan: I still see guys going 3 ways. Some guys will lean into the complementation issue and they’ll recognize: I’m just gonna have to be countercultural here. Others say: We’re gonna back burner this. WHy offend folks up front, eventually we’ll get around to it. And then, I still see, maybe because of the dominant cultural bombardment, there are still others that begin to question the issue itself and say: Have we bought into something that’s traditional and cultural  and we baptized it. How do you respond to that when you’re talking to your generation?

Moore: I think there’s a 4th category too, which is to have a kind of hyper masculinity, hyper femininity that tries to push back on it with the caricatured form of masculinity that really could apply in the Bible to Nimrod, more than it could apply to Jesus of Nazareth and to Joseph. I think there’s an overreaction in a sense that really does take some cultural norm and tries to baptize it. But, I think, when people embrace this issue they are forced to become countercultural in this society. To say: I love what it means to be a man , for a Godly woman to say: I love what it means to be a woman- simply to love children and to love families and do what it takes to love families. So, when you see that man who is working 2 or 3 jobs, so he can provide for his wife and children. When you see that mother who is not seeking her own career advancement, but really sees pouring herself into nurturing the next generation, you’re seeing something that looks increasingly strange to the outside culture, but strange in a glorious kind of way, which means we as the church have to stop mimicking the outside culture even with the kind of pictures we put of women in our printed materials. We give this picture that would say that the ‘supermodel shall inherit the earth’. Instead of saying- what we really value is not that Madison Avenue caricature, (but) something else.

Piper: There’s a line of continuity between simple home spun conservative evangelical complementarianism and so called gay marriage. And in those days I used to say, „You’re gonna quote Galatians 3:28 on me „There’s neither male nor female”. „The way you’re quoting it, I know where that’s gonna go”, and they would just scoff at me, just scoff at me. Nobody’s scoffing today. Here’s the question that I found… the questions egalitarians have never satisfactorily answered for me is: If you’re raising an 8 yr old little boy or little girl and you’re mom or dad and that lithe girl says to mom: Mommy, what does it mean to grow up and be a woman? Or the little boy: Daddy, what does it mean to grow up and be a man? It will not do to just talk in terms of plumbing (biological) because that’s not your personhood and it simply won’t do to just say: courage, humility, righteousness, Christ likeness- cause the little kid’s gonna say, „No, no I mean a woman and not a man”. No answer. And that’s the question I would ask these folks (at conference): What will you say to an 8 yr old or 10 yr old when they ask what does it mean to grow up and be a man and not a woman? What separates me, and I don’t just mean body, is there anything that matters? In personhood, is there any rich, deep sense in masculinity? What are you going to say if you can’t give some articulation to complement parity between them and buy and I read book after book  after book in those days when I was trying to fight those battles. They never would address the issue. They always are talking in terms of personhood in  things that cross over in male and female. If you don’t help a man know what it means to be a man it will show itself.

Duncan: Where do you see as to regards of the receptiveness of the complementarian message, in the places where you are?

Piper: I talk at pretty conservative places so it’s not a fair sample. The answer is yes. It amazes me the difference between the 20’s, 30’s crowd today and the crowd I dealt with in the late 80’s. I fought battle after battle with college students who were  viciously opposed and now you have the likes of these young guys who are down here, all of them embracing this and having churches filled with thousands of  young, articulate, educated, flourishing women who are saying ‘yes’ to what they are saying. That’s new. It’s just amazing to me that that’s the case.

Conclusion

Moore: First of all, you have to deal with those biblical texts: Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, 1 Timothy 2. Just in terms of sanctification, there are some things the Scripture gives to all people as persons and then there are specific things for men and specific tendencies that the Scripture warns against: pugilism, quarrelsomeness, and those kinds of things and then specific aspects of womanhood: that quiet spirit, that Titus 2 function and all of those things and specific dangers: „Don’t fear”, Peter says, „that which is  frightening”. So you have to deal with those texts. You also have to deal with biblical complementarianism  in terms of what it is and not in terms of a caricature, whether that’s a caricature from the outside or caricature from people who think they’re complimentarian and what they mean by that is: Woman, get me my chips, which is not Ephesians 5. Complementarianism bears a cross and complementarianism is thinking about what is in the best interest. Male headship is- what is in the best interest  of my bride and of my children and as Christ washed his bride with pure water, when Jesus does that in the upper room, He washes His church, those foundations stones of His church with pure water, the church objects initially. „You’ll never wash my feet”, Peter says. Jesus doesn’t respond with passivity: „Well, try to do something nice…” But, nor does He respond with raw sovereignty. What does Jesus do? He leads and He teaches with His Word, „Unless I wash your feet, you can have nothing to do with Me”. When Jesus is giving Himself up at the cross for His bride, His bride doesn’t want Him to. „We’ll fight for you”, Peter says, „You’ll never go to the cross.” Jesus, always lovingly and gently , but decisively leads through teaching and discipleship in moving forward. So you have to deal with complementarianism in terms of Christ, not simply in terms of who is in charge.

Gilbert: I think the objections I run into with the young people that I pastor most of the time, it’s just a misunderstanding,  an understanding of role between men and women leads to dignity  and I would just shoot at that with everything I have to say: No, God given roles does not speak to God given dignity. Men and women are both created in the image of God; thats just as clear as it can be in Genesis 1 & 2. But, what’s also clear in Genesis 1 and 2 and 3 and then on through the rest of the Bible is that within that context of that equal dignity, God has every right to give out roles to his created people. And He does that throughout the Bible. Sometimes it’s men and women, sometimes it’s different things. But, God as Creator and Lord has every right to give us roles and that doesn’t speak to the dignity of the created person.

Piper: So, the question is (to) help the uncertain with the Bible. Show its in the Bible. I think I would probably start with Ephesians, because I think that’s the clearest: „a woman should submit to her husband and the man should be the head. Even if you don’t know any Greek like Grudem to look up 3800 uses of κεφάλη  (pronounced kefali) for ‘head’, you can just follow the context through on this one and say, „Well, if it means source, source of provision and source of authority, and source of protection and so we’ve got the real deal anyhow, whatever you call it, so I just think Ephesians 5 carefully walks through, beautifies marriage, it’s what every woman wants, a man who cares for her, will be strong for her, lay down his life for her, be strong for her and lead in devotions and open the door, take her to the restaurant and just respect her in every possible way. Then I would go to 1 Timothy 2 and I would say that the two things that a woman is forbidden here: to teach and have authority, or the two things that distinguish an elder from a deacon, governance and teaching, and therefore what he is saying is, elders should be men. That’s the distillation of 1 Timothy 2:12-13 and then he grounds it in the order of creation. Well, what does that have to do with anything… and then you go back to Genesis 1 & 2 and you just walk through there and say, „Now, here’s Adam, why did He create Him and then the woman later. Why did He give him the rules of the garden like „don’t eat here”? Apparently he’s had to tell her because she was never told that. And why does he name her and why in the world didn’t he step up to the plate , because it says he was there while she was being tempted and he blew it from the first point and I think, probably, what Paul is getting at when he says ‘the woman was deceived and not the man is that simply she was taking initiative and dealing with the tempter and the guy (Adam) was not saying a word, like he should have been to protect his woman from this tempter and you just walk through 8 or 9 evidences in Genesis 1 & 2 that this is from the beginning what wrecked the world. That the beauty of his headship wasn’t owned by him. Maybe he fell first. In the real fall there, they fell together. She didn’t fall and then he fell, they fell together cause they’re both there at the tree and he’s not doing his role and she’s not doing her role and the whole sin collapse is happening as they reject their roles, which is right at the heart of it. Those are the 3 places I’d start.

Related articles on gender roles 

T4G – Inerrancy: Did God Really Say…? Mark Dever, John Piper, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Dr Simon Gathercole (Cambridge, England), Peter Williams (Warden at Tyndale House)

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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Together for the Gospel – Ligon Duncan – The Underestimated God: God’s ruthless, compassionate grace in the pursuit of his own glory and his ministers’ joy.

by Together for the Gospel (T4G) (58 minutes)

Together for the Gospel – Innerrancy: Did God Really Say…?

Panel Participants: Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Albert Mohler, John Piper, Simon Gathercole, Peter Williams

Ligon Duncan – Why the Resurrection Matters

…a very good insight on an aspect of postmodern style thinking from sermon-     „the plot always has these three components:  the church used to believe this – that is, that Jesus was literally raised from the dead on the third day – but through our brilliant insight and our scholarly pursuit, we now know that  is not true. But not to worry! We don’t have to abandon Christianity! We just need to reinterpret it.”

Please read entire sermon for an accurate assessment of the times we live in:

(via) Monergism

1 Corinthians 15:1-58

If you have your Bibles, I would invite you to turn with me to I Corinthians 15.  It is appropriate that on this day that we would spend some time considering the biblical teaching about the resurrection and its significance. There is much confusion on this  subject in our own day and time. There are many in the secular world who delight in calling into the truth of the resurrection. There are many within the Christian church who are confused about the truth of the resurrection, and some who are laboring hard to sound a trumpet with an uncertain sound about the resurrection. Many are speaking about the resurrection in such a way as to reinterpret it, to call it into question in the minds of Christians. And it is altogether appropriate that we pause and reflect what the biblical teaching is about the resurrection,  and especially the resurrection of Jesus Christ,  and its significance. We cannot jump too quickly to the significance of the resurrection before we have embraced the truth of the resurrection, itself. C. S. Lewis reminded us,  long ago, that there is a tendency in our age “to believe something because its good, rather than because it is true.” But if it is not true, than ultimately it does not matter if it seems good or not. We must be convinced both of the truth of the resurrection as well as its positive, good, and beneficial significance for us, before we can drink deeply of the draft of blessings which the Lord has prepared for us. So, let’s hear God’s Holy word here in 1 Corinthians, beginning in verse 1:

„Now, I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you  believe.”

Amen. This is God’s Holy and inspired word. May He write its eternal truth upon our hearts. Let’s pray.

O Lord, by Your Spirit, make us behold wonderful truths from Your word, and enlighten us to the saving truth of the resurrection, and its great significance for our Christian living. In Jesus’ name, we ask it. Amen.

About this time of year, every year that I can remember in the age of my teenage to adulthood, somebody – somewhere – and usually many people in many places, write articles, release books, do interviews or are interviewed on a television special, that attempt to debunk the historic Christian teaching about the resurrection. It may be a professor at the local university that announces in a startling interview with the newspaper that “Now all intelligent people everywhere know that Jesus did not rise again from the dead on the third day.” Or it may be a famous New Testament scholar, who is hawking books that he is preparing to sell in the market, through writing articles in a newspaper or in a major new magazine, debunking the resurrection. Or, it may be a television special, offered on one of the special cable channels that purports to give you the „real story” behind the resurrection account in the gospel. But it just seems that every year about this time, someone is making what they say is a new and startling revelation about the truth surrounding the death and burial of Jesus Christ. And the plot always has these three components:  the church used to believe this – that is, that Jesus was literally raised from the dead on the third day – but through our brilliant insight and our scholarly pursuit, we now know that  is not true. But not to worry! We don’t have to abandon Christianity! We just need to reinterpret it. The resurrection isn’t Jesus coming back from the dead – it is the cosmic victory of life over mortality. Whatever that means! And the plot is always the same: the church used to believe this; we are smarter than that now. We don’t believe it anymore,  but we can still believe the Easter Story even if the Easter Story didn’t happen.

Mai mult

The Gospel Coalition April 12-14 in Chicago (link to watch it live courtesy of Desiring God org.)

Update – April 15 Full Audio links- page here.

From Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition website:

Link to watch it live http://ow.ly/4xW2x

Watch TGC11 Live from Chicago All times below are Central (UTC-5).

Tuesday, April 12

2 PM R. Albert Mohler Jr. Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus (John 5:31-47)
4 PM Tim Keller Getting Out (Exodus 14)
5:30 PM White Horse Inn Live Recording: The Great Commission and the Great Commandment
7 PM Alistair Begg From a Foreigner to King Jesus (Ruth)
8 PM Tim Keller, John Piper, Crawford Loritts, Don Carson, Bryan Chapell Preaching from the Old Testament
9 PM Hymn Sing Sing Them Again: An Evening of Old and New Hymns

Wednesday, April 13

9:30 AM James MacDonald Not According to Our Sins (Psalm 25)
12:30 PM Matt Chandler, Kevin DeYoung, Trevin Wax, Jonathan Leeman Gospel, Mission, and the Church
7 PM Conrad Mbewe The Righteous Branch (Jeremiah 23:1-8)
8 PM Matt Chandler Youth (Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14)
9 PM Keith and Kristyn Getty Concert

Thursday, April 14

7:30 AM Don Carson, Tim Keller, Crawford Loritts, Kevin DeYoung, and Stephen Um God: Abounding in Love, Punishing the Guilty
9:30 AM Mike Bullmore God’s Great Heart of Love Toward His Own (Zephaniah)
11 AM D. A. Carson Getting Excited about Melchizedek (Psalm 110)

So you weren’t able to join us this year in Chicago for The Gospel Coalition’s 2011 national conference. We have good news! Follow along with us and learn how to teach Jesus and the gospel from the Old Testament by watching the livestream from TGC’s conference media page. You’ll be able to watch all nine plenary sessions, beginning with R. Albert Mohler Jr. on Tuesday afternoon, April 12, at 2 p.m. CDT. The final address will be given by Don Carson, who begins on Thursday morning, April 14, at 11 a.m. CDT. Check the schedule for the times of every address. We will also make audio of each talk available for download afterward on the media page.

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