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Richard Watson on the Trustworthiness of Scripture

Note: Richard Watson shows us again that inerrancy is worth defending as he writes the following on the trustworthiness of Scripture.  It is this trust in the Bible, that it is the inerrant and infallible Word of God, that blessed the early Arminians and the Wesleyan movements.  I pray that all saints of God would embrace the inerrancy of the Bible knowing that it is our sovereign God who gave us His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

To complete the character of their testimony, it is in the highest degree circumstantial. We never find that forged or false accounts of things abound in particularities; and where many particulars are related of time, place, persons, etc., there is always a strong presumption of truth, arid on the contrary. Here the evidence is more than presumptive. The history of the evangelists and of the Acts of the Apostles is so full of reference to persons then living, and often persons of consequence, to places in which miracles and other transactions took place publicly and not in secret; and the application of all these facts by the first propagators of the Christian religion to give credit to its Divine authority was so frequent and explicit, and often so reproving to their opposers, that if they had not been true they must have been contradicted; and if contradicted on good evidence, the authors must have been overwhelmed with confusion. This argument is rendered the stronger when it is considered that “these things were not done in a corner,” nor was the age dark and illiterate and prone to admit fables. The Augustan age was the most learned the world ever saw. The love of arts, sciences, and literature, was the universal passion in almost every part of the Roman empire, where Christianity was first taught in its doctrines, and proclaimed in its facts; and in this inquisitive and discerning era, it rose, flourished, and established itself, with much resistance to its doctrines, but without being once questioned as to the truth of its historical facts.

Yet how easily might they have been disproved had they been false – that Herod the Great was not the sovereign of Judea when our Lord was born-that wise men from the east did not come to be informed of the place of his birth-and that Herod did not convene the Sanhedrin, to inquire where their expected Messiah was to be born-that the infants in Bethlehem were not massacred-that in the time of Augustus all Judea was not enrolled by an imperial edict-that Simeon did not take the infant in his arms and proclaim him to be the expected salvation of Israel, which is stated to have been done publicly in the temple, before all the people-that the numerous persons, many of whose names are mentioned, and some the relatives of rulers and centurions, were not miraculously healed nor raised from the dead-that the resurrection of Lazarus, stated to have been done publicly, near to Jerusalem, and himself a respectable person, well-known, did not occur-that the circumstances of the trial, condemnation, and crucifixion of Christ, did not take place as stated by his disciples; in particular, that Pilate did not wash his hands before them and give his testimony to the character of our Lord; that there was no preternatural darkness from twelve to three in the afternoon on the day of the crucifixion; and that there was no earthquake; facts which if they did not occur could have been contradicted by thousands: finally, that these well-known unlettered men, the apostles, were not heard to speak with tongues by many who were present in the assembly in which this was said to take place. But we might select almost all the circumstances out of the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, and show, that for the most part they were capable of being contradicted at the time when they were first published, and that the immense number of circumstances mentioned would in after times have furnished acute investigators of the history with the means of detecting its falsehood had it not been indubitable, either by comparing the different relations with each other, or with some well authenticated facts of accredited collateral history. On the contrary, the small variations in the story of the evangelists are confirmations of their testimony, being in proof that there was no concert among them to impose upon the world, and they do not affect in the least the facts of the history itself; while as far as collateral, or immediately subsequent history ha.; given its evidence, we have already seen, that it is confirmatory of the exactness and accuracy of the sacred penmen.

For all these reasons, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are to be taken as a faithful and uncorrupted record of the transactions they exhibit; and nothing now appears to be necessary, but that this record be examined in order to determine its claims to be admitted as the deposit of the standing revelations of the will of God to mankind. The evidence of the genuineness and authenticity of the books of which it is composed, at least such of them as is necessary to the argument, is full and complete; and if certain of the facts which they detail are proved to he really miraculous, and the prophecies they record are in the proper sense predictive, then, according to the principles before established, the conclusion must be, THAT THE DOCTRINES WHICH THEY ATTEST ARE DIVINE. This shall be the next subject examined; minor objections being postponed to be answered in a subsequent chapter.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/08/2013 at 8:45 AM

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