Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Infallibility

Short Thoughts on “Rhema” Words From God

Recently I visited a Pentecostal church and once again I heard the old teaching that “logos” is the written Word of God but “rhema” is the “revelation to the heart from God.” In other words, “logos” is the Bible and “rhema” is a personal revelation from God the Holy Spirit.

A few thoughts are in order.  First, the Greek usage of “logos” and “rhema” here is horrible.  Not one Greek scholar (barring perhaps someone from the Word-Faith camp) would try to build this case.  Every Greek lexicon and Greek word study book I own doesn’t offer this distinguish between the Greek words “logos” and “rhema.”

Secondly, while this Pentecostal teacher would not admit to this, the teaching undermines the authority of the Bible.  When “logos” is reduced to “the written Word” but “rhema” is a fresh revelation from God, how does this not undermine the authority of the Bible?  Instead of opening up the Bible and hearing directly from God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), the believer instead believes they have to pray and wait on the Spirit to give them a fresh, divine revelation from heaven.  So what happens is simple: people want to hear from God so they don’t open the Bible to hear from God since they are taught that while the “logos” is good, “rhema” is better.  This undermines the authority of the Bible and makes the revelation from God via direct communication through so-called “rhema” words more important.  I know that most Pentecostals would reject such a view but they don’t see that their teaching is not helping people hear from God (which they can by simply reading the Bible) but is undermining the truth of God’s Word (John 17:17).

In reality, a good Greek study tool will easily clarify the issues related to “logos” and “rhema” and one need only go to a study site online.  It would only take a few minutes to see the error of trying to make “logos” as the “written Word” and “rhema” as “a personal word from God.”  This is misleading and false.

Finally, I repeat here again that if you want to hear from God you need only to read your Bible.  That is it.  I don’t need a personal vision, revelation from God.  I have His Word and His Word is inerrant and infallible and true.  I point again to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that the Word of God is breathed out by God (ESV) and makes us “competent, equipped for every good work” (v.17 ESV).  Peter the Apostle pointed not to his personal experience but the Word of God in 2 Peter 1:16-21.  The Word of God is our sure foundation.

To hear from God is easy and only takes seconds.  Take your Bible.  Open it.  Read it.  You’ve now heard from God.  Congratulations.

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Makes Me Wonder Again…

Memes.com

Making Sense of the Bible (But Not Really)

Adam Hamilton published a book called Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today.  The book is written by Hamilton who pastors one of the largest mainline United Methodist churches in the world, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.  Many mainline churches look to Hamilton for leadership as they face mass losses of people leaving their churches.  Hamilton comes across, at times, much like an evangelical while holding to his mainline theology.  This has led pastors of United Methodists to flock to hear Hamilton speak because they see in him a hope for mainline churches.

I have an old friend who pastors a mainline United Methodist church.  He is liberal.  He wasn’t always that way and comes from a strong Wesleyan family who holds to conservative theology.  He himself turned apostate years ago for sin (in this case, an immoral relationship with a woman).  From there he had a “conversion” back to Christ after 9/11/2001 but decided to attend the very liberal Chandler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  This led to his complete rejection of what he saw as “fundamentalism” and embraced mainline theology (liberalism).  Hamilton became his hero.  My friend viewed Hamilton as he viewed Rob Bell or other liberals.  He found in Hamilton though an evangelical passion that he missed but was not willing to return to.  My friend loved that Hamilton preached from the Bible and preached the Bible as if he actually believed it but my friend knew that Hamilton rejected the Bible.

Now let me state here that Hamilton probably would not say that he rejects the Bible.  He would state that he rejects the “fundamentalist” view of the Bible.  For example, in this book Hamilton builds a case for the Bible while trying to argue that the Bible is not the “inerrant and infallible Word of God.”  Hamilton holds that the Bible is only faithful as it relates to salvation.  So where the Bible disagrees with modern science (Genesis 1-2) or where the Bible disagrees with modern culture (homosexuality, genocide, slavery, women) then we reject the Bible.  God allowed the human beings who wrote the Bible to record these events as if God did them but He did not.  When it comes to Darwinian evolution for example, Hamilton holds that the Bible is wrong about creation in Genesis 1-2 and he holds that the writer of Genesis 1-2 (whoever that may be) is not writing science but allegory.  Modern science (in Hamilton’s worldview) has proven evolution and the Bible is just wrong about creation.  Hamilton goes on to write that there are countless errors in the Bible and even fundamentalist know this.  He points to the various resurrection accounts as proof of this.

Yet Hamilton wants to have his cake and eat it too.  After all, Karl Barth saw what happened in Europe when liberalism won the day.  He saw the mainline churches dying, the world turning toward evil and the rise of Nazi Germany out of the ashes of liberal theology.  Barth wanted to save the Bible while rejecting the Bible.  Hamilton wants that as well.  He wants to hold to the good stories in the Bible, the morals that it teaches (especially about peace and love) while rejecting much of the Bible.  He wants to preach the Bible as if its true while holding that it is not.  So while trying to tear up the “fundamentalist” views of the Bible, he wants his own liberal friends to still read the Bible and respect the Bible though don’t take it too serious.

There are so many holes in Hamilton’s views.  First, Hamilton fails to deal with Jesus’ view of the Bible.  What view did Jesus have?  Liberals love Jesus but they love the Jesus they have created in their own images.  They want a “hippy” Jesus who loves everyone, is all about peace and love, and wants nothing more than for people to find purpose and happiness in life.  They want to reject the Jesus who affirms the authority of the Bible.  Hamilton never points out that Jesus said His Words were true (John 17:17) and His Word cannot be broken (John 10:35).  Hamilton never points out that Jesus affirmed that God created all things including Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4-5).  Hamilton never points out that many of the stories that Hamilton would see as made up such as Jonah and the great fish, Jesus affirmed (Matthew 12:40).  Hamilton never deals with Jesus’ affirmation of the authority of the Bible nor with His affirmation of its timelessness (Matthew 5:17-19 which would include the issues of homosexuality within the law of Moses).

Secondly, the Bible affirms its inerrancy.  Texts such as Psalm 12:6; 18:30; 19:8; 119:140; Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 45:19 affirm this.

I highly recommend Dr. Vic Reasoner’s The Importance of Inerrancy.  He deals with the biblical arguments as well as the Wesleyan historical issue here.

Thirdly, Hamilton places himself as the judge of Scripture.  This happens over and over again not just in Hamilton’s book but with others who reject inerrancy.  How do we decide what is from God and what is from man?  Who knows?  Like others before him, Hamilton can pick and choose what he regards as “Scripture” or not.  In fact, he could reject the entire thing (and many liberals do).  Yet he holds that the Bible is true about salvation.  Why?  Because he believes that this is the bottom line issue for the Bible.  The Bible is not a science book or a history book per se.  It is all about Jesus and His work in saving us.  He applauds those evangelicals who see the inerrancy issue as separate from salvation (in other words, one can be saved while rejecting inerrancy).  He wants his own people to accept what the Bible says about salvation while ignoring what it says about creation or about homosexuality or about slavery.

Yet who is the judge here?  Why accept what John 3:16 says if Genesis 1-2 is wrong?  Why accept what God said in John 5:24-25 if the story of the Exodus is full of errors?  Why even believe in the resurrection of Jesus if in fact the four Gospels record four different views of the resurrection as Hamilton states?  Why should a person accept Hamilton’s view of salvation if the Bible is full of errors?

Hamilton could not say why.  I suppose he would argue that he has experienced salvation (sort of the Karl Barth view of salvation and Scripture) and this makes it true (pragmatism).  But if salvation is not based on a historical truth (in this case the resurrection of Jesus which Hamilton believes in while saying that the Gospels are full of errors), how can we know?

John states that we can know (1 John 5:13).  John states that the resurrection is based on the truth of God’s Word (John 20:31) as does Paul the Apostle (1 Corinthians 15:1-7).  Hamilton would affirm all this while rejecting the inerrancy of the Bible all because it doesn’t equal his worldview.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 states clearly that all Scripture is inspired by God or breathed out by God as the ESV states.  God is truthful (Titus 1:2) in all His ways (Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 33:4; 146:6; Isaiah 65:16; Romans 3:4; Hebrews 6:18).  If Hamilton is wiling to affirm the goodness of God, the truthfulness of God, why reject His Word which 2 Timothy 3:16 states He breathed out by His Spirit?  2 Peter 1:16-21 is clear that Peter did not regard his experience as the foundation for truth but the sure foundation of God’s Word.  I again point to Jesus who said that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17) but Hamilton would say that only some of it is true and that only with regards to salvation.  This is not logical.

In conclusion, Hamilton offers nothing for mainline churches.  Nothing.  He gives the same old answers liberals have always been giving for the Bible.  Keep reading it!  Keep studying it!  But reject it!  Because of pragmatism, Hamilton’s voice is listened to even by some who would say they believe the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  If I could have five minutes with Adam Hamilton I would want to talk about his Bible.  Does he read it?  Does he study it?  Why?  How does he determine what is true in it or not?  How can you trust that God will save you if you can’t trust that He will preserve His Word?

My prayer is that Arminians would reject Hamilton’s views.  Let us remain faithful to the Word of God.  As John Wesley stated about the Bible,

“This is that word of God which remaineth forever: of which, though heaven and earth pass away, one jot or tittle shall not pass away.  The Scripture therefore of the Old and New Testament is a most solid and precious system of Divine truth.  Every part thereof is worthy of God; and all together are one entire body, wherein is no defect, no excess.”  (Wesley, Journal, 24 July 1776)

Dr. John MacArthur is correct when he writes:

The most important lessons we ought to learn from church history seem fairly obvious.  For example, in the two thousand year record of Christianity, no leader, movement, or idea that has questioned the authority or inspiration of Scripture has ever been good for the church.  Congregations, denominations, and evangelical academic institutions that embrace a low view of Scripture invariably liberalize, secularize, move off mission, decline spiritually, and either lose their core membership or morph into some kind of political, social or religious monstrosity.

May that not happen to true disciples of Jesus.  May we embrace the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God the same as our Savior held.  May we be willing to die for its truths.

Why Arminians Should Stand With Calvinists In Regard To Inerrancy

There are doctrines that we disagree with our Calvinist brethren over.  We disagree over the decrees of God.  We disagree over whether we have retained free will after the Fall.  We disagree over what Adam has passed to us.  We disagree over the extent of the atonement.  We disagree over whether election is conditional or unconditional.

Yet the doctrine of Scripture should be a doctrine that we agree on.  After all, it is the preaching of the gospel that brings salvation (Romans 10:14-17).  Paul the Apostle stated clearly that the preaching of the cross was foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).  The preaching of the gospel is necessary to bring about the salvation of sinners (Matthew 28:19-20).  So it would only logically make sense for us to take a firm stand on the authority of the Bible.  The Bible is given to us by the work of the Holy Spirit working through godly men to bring about His holy Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Jesus said that the Word of God cannot be broken (John 10:35).  Jesus further said that His Word would never pass away (Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 16:17).

How is then that some Arminians want to reject inerrancy of the Bible?  Some reason that this is not a biblical position noting that the word inerrancy doesn’t appear in the Bible.  I would note that the word Trinity is not in the Bible either but it is based on reasoning from the Scriptures.  The same is true for inerrancy.  We base our view of the Word of God on what God has already said about His Word in the Bible.  The Bible says that God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2) so what He says in His Word is absolutely true.  Some will contend that this is circular reasoning but it is biblically true.  Proverbs 30:5 says that every word of God proves true.  This is true of Genesis 1 as well as John 1 or Philippians 1.

Others want to say that they believe in “salvation inerrancy” meaning that only passages related to salvation are inerrant.  My question: how do they know that John 3:16 is true if they can’t trust what God said in Genesis 2?  The reality is that those hold to this “limited inerrancy” view are in fact placing themselves as the judge of Scripture (or at least others such as scientists or secular historians).  Only those who hold to full inerrancy can truly believe that what God said in 2 Timothy 3:15 is true just as what God said in every portion of Scripture.

Arminius was not like these Arminians.  He wrote much about the perfection of the Word of God.  He wrote:

We assert, that the arguments which, contained in the Scriptures, prove the Divinity of the religion prescribed in them, are so full and perfect, that no arguments can be derived for the defense of any religion which are not comprehended in these, and in a more excellent degree. (2 Cor. iv, 2- 6.) They are indeed of such high value that the truth of the Christian religion is established by them as strongly, as it is possible by any other arguments to prove that there is any true religion at all, or that a true one is possible. So that to a man who is desirous of proving, that there is any religion which is true, or that such a religion is possible, no way is more compendious and easy than to do so by these arguments, in preference to any other which can be deduced from general notions. But the most wonderful of all is, that the very thing in the Christian religion which seems to be one of the greatest absurdity, affords the most certain proof of its Divinity, it being allowed to be a very great truth — that this religion has been introduced into the consciences of men by a mild suasion, and not by the power of the sword. (1 Cor. i, 29-xxiv, ; 2 Cor. v, 11; Luke ix, 54, 55.) Of a similar tendency is the argument formerly used by St. Augustine: “If the Christian religion was established by the miracles which are related in the Scriptures, it is true; but if it was not, the greatest of all miracles is, that it has been able to obtain credit without miracles.” For the internal suasion of Him who alone can work miracles, ought to stand in the place of miracles outwardly performed, and to be equally potent. (Rev. ii, 17.) And thus the very narration, contained in these books, of the miracles which were performed in the early ages in proof of the doctrine, is now, through a most beautiful vicissitude of circumstances, proved to be true by the Divinity of the doctrine when subjected to examination.

John Wesley stated about the truthfulness of Scripture:

This is that word of God which remaineth forever, of which, though heaven and earth pass away, one jot or tittle shall not pass away.  The Scripture therefore of the Old and New Testament is a most solid and precious system of Divine truth.  Every part thereof is worthy of God; and all together are one entire body, wherein is no defect, no excess.

I hold with both Arminius and Wesley that the Bible is true in all that it affirms.  Some want to even use the term “inerrancy” but they only mean that the Bible is inerrant when it speaks of salvation and not historical or scientific truth.  I affirm that the Bible is true in all that it affirms.  While the Bible is not a science book or even a history book per se, it still is true in what it affirms in regard to science or history.  I hold that the Bible is true in Genesis 1-11 and equally true in John 1-11.  There is no difference.  Whatever the Bible affirms is true because the very Spirit who has given us the Bible is the Spirit of truth (John 15:26).  Jesus Himself said that the Word of God is truth (John 17:17).

I find it alarming further that people who claim the infallibility of the Bible but deny its inerrancy will say that the Bible contains errors.  While they don’t produce any without their own presuppositions, they suppose that the Bible does contain errors.  2 Timothy 3:16 says that all of Scripture is breathed out by God.  Those who will say that the Bible is not true in whatever it teaches is making a grave assumption of God, that is that 2 Timothy 3:16 is not true since they would argue that such and such passages are in error.  They first make themselves the judge of Scripture as to what is true or not while ignoring their own utter sinfulness and faulty understanding in light of their own sins (Romans 1:21-22).  God alone is perfect in His wisdom and understanding yet sinful men will claim that they know where God has erred in His Word while ignoring 2 Timothy 3:16.  They claim that some parts of Scripture are indeed inspired by God such as John 1:12-13 but they will not say that all of Scripture is inspired of God despite 2 Timothy 3:16.  I fear for them before a true and holy God.  I am not saying that such people are not saved (for God saves us by His grace and not based on our perfect theological understanding; Ephesians 2:8-9) but I do believe them to be calling God a liar no matter what they may argue.

There is a fear among some Arminians to join hands with our Calvinists brethren to defend the doctrine of inerrancy.  I reject such a view.  I rejoice that many godly Calvinists are indeed declaring the truthfulness of Scripture and affirming the inerrancy of the Bible.  I rejoice that God is using many godly Calvinists to glorify His name.  Whether they be Arminians or Calvinists, if the Lord Jesus Christ is being exalted, worshipped, adored, and praised, I rejoice in those who preach Him!  I will gladly join with my Calvinist friends in preaching the Lord Jesus and I will gladly join with them in defending the truthfulness of the Bible.

Others are fearful that holding to inerrancy automatically means that we ascribe ourselves as “fundamentalists.”  I myself have no problem being labeled as such.  Certain aspects of current Baptistic fundamentalist trouble me and I am not a King James Bible only advocate.  I find the KJV only position to be illogical.  That said, I do agree that the fundamentals of the faith are worth defending (Jude 3). I believe strongly in many fundamentalist positions of doctrine such as the virgin birth of Christ, His sinless life, His miracles, His vicarious atonement, His death and bodily resurrection and His ascension to the right hand of the Father.  I ascribe to many of the creeds of Christianity and affirm, yet again, that the Bible is true in all that it affirms.  I study my Bible each and every day because I love the Word of God and long to know it more.

In conclusion, the Bible is the Word of God.  The very claims of Scripture are that it is true.  The Lord Himself spoke in Isaiah 45:19 that He speaks the truth.  Again 2 Timothy 3:16 says that all of Scripture is God-breathed.  The Bible is given by the Spirit of God whom is called the Spirit of truth.  The authority of the Church to proclaim the risen Christ, His salvation, and His judgment to come is based on the Word of God.  The precious promises of heaven and eternal life are based on Scripture.  The foundation of human thought and wisdom come from the Scriptures.  Our authority in evangelism is based on the truthfulness of Scripture.  Our authority to preach the forgiveness of sins is based on the absolute truth of the Bible.

So I stand with my Calvinist brothers and sisters who preach the inerrancy of the Bible.  I will gladly join with them in defending its truth and I believe that every Arminian should do the same.

The Absolute Authority of Scripture

The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  This is true because the Bible comes from God who is the absolute authority and He has said that He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2).  Because God is the absolute authority and He is perfection, His Word is both absolute in its authority and inerrant because it comes from God (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21).  Any denial of the authority of the Word of God will always lead to the elevation of the individual to the judge of what is true and not God Himself.

For example, some claim that they follow Christ but they deny the inerrant of the Bible.  They claim that such a view is outdated and not supported by modern science or some other claim.  Either way, they have placed science or a theologian or a creed or a person to the judge of God.  God is glorious and He will not be judged by fallible humans (Job 40:2).  God is exalted above all His creation and He will not lay down on a table for us to dissect and examine.  He has given us evidence both within and without of who He is (Romans 1:20) and He will not be judged by sinful people (Romans 11:33-35).  Who are we to judge the Lord of Glory?  Who are we to question His ways?  Who are we to say that we don’t believe God could create in six days or that He could rescue Noah and his family from the worldwide flood?  Who are we to question the miracles of Scripture when in fact God can do whatever He wants to do?

The reality is that the Bible flows from Him who is truth (John 14:6).  The absolute truth is found only in God.  It is not found in religion.  It is not found in human philosophy.  It is not found in our meager attempts at knowledge.  In fact, the Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) and all wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:3).  The Bible, because it has come from a perfect God who created all things, is perfect and infallible.

Everything must then submit to the authority of the Bible since the Bible comes from the One who created all things and who is the source of absolute truth.  When we reject the Bible, we reject our standard for truth and we become the standard for truth.  This only leads to insanity as we humans are so full of wickedness are easily swayed by our emotions and sins.  The standard for truth is God alone.  Any other claim of truth without God has no standing.  God is the foundation for knowledge and truth.  If you begin with any truth claim apart from God and His revelation, we have already erred.

The liberal churches give us a picture of what happens with the Bible is rejected.  Certainly liberal churches such as the PCUSA, many Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist churches show us what happens when the Bible is only held up as an example but not the inerrant and infallible truth.  The gospel is reduced to nothing but a social cause.  Lost is the forgiveness of sins (because sin no longer can be defined since the Word of God has been rejected and man is now the judge of sin).  Lost is the authority to warn sinners to repent.  Lost is the authority to call evil as evil and good as good.  Lost is the authority to teach sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).  All is lost and these liberal churches become nothing but social causes  and fighting for rights of sinful people without any authority.  Their authority becomes them and they sit as judges of God.  Yet God is not to be judged by us.  We will be judged by God (Romans 14:10-12; Revelation 20:11-15).

All of us approach the Bible with certain presuppositions.  I approach the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God because that is what the Bible says.  Someone will argue, “But that is circular reasoning.”  Yet if I told you I was the strongest man in the world, you wouldn’t reply, “Okay, prove that but don’t use your muscles.”  My muscles are my authority to prove I am the strongest man in the world.  Why deny me my guns (see what I did there)?  The Bible claims to be from God and by definition God would be superior to us and He would be judge of us.  He would not be like us and He is not (Isaiah 40:25).  God gave us His perfect Word because it flows from Him who is perfect.

Now when a person approaches the Bible and says, “I believe in Jesus Christ but I reject the parts in the Bible about the flood or about creation or about an ax head floating or about Daniel in the lion’s den or about Jonah and the great fish.”  Who is now the judge of Scripture?  Who now judges God?  Yet I may not understand some things about the Bible but I submit to a holy and perfect God.  I believe that He is certainly more than able to do even above what I could imagine or think (Ephesians 3:20).

It is nothing for God to raise the dead or for Him to feed 5000 people.  It is nothing for God to calm the seas or to bring down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifices.  It is nothing for God to become a man and make His dwelling among us (John 1:14).  This is the greatest example of God revealing who He is to us (Isaiah 9:6-7).

In the end, there is no reason to reject the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  Any claim otherwise is to set ourselves up as the judge of the Bible and we lose our authority and answer for truth.  From here we have no truth to stand on and our standard for truth will be our feelings, our emotions, our culture, our reasoning.  And all of this is sinful and flawed.  However, God is not sinful nor is He flawed.  He is perfect in every way possible.

When We Deny Inerrancy, We Become the Judge of Scripture

Does the Bible judge you or do you judge the Bible?  This is fundamental to the authority of the believer.  How can we speak for God?  How can we preach that Jesus rose from the dead?  How can we speak that God will forgive sinners of their sins?  How can we bring comfort to the dying?  How can we offer help in marriage?  How can we address cultural issues?  How can we know what God deems as necessary for salvation, what God calls sinful or not?  How can we know God?

All of these begin with a worldview, a fundamental position by which we judge all things.  Every human being has been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and thus we are able to reason, to think.  We have a worldview and we judge things based on that presupposition.  That we are able to reason assumes that there is a God.  That we judge assumes that there is truth or error.

For the disciple of Christ, the Bible is the presupposition that we always begin with.  If a truthful God wrote the Bible (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2) then what He wrote is truthful (John 17:17) and cannot lie (John 10:35).  God wrote the Bible using people but He guided them by His Spirit so that they wrote using their own thoughts but guided by the Spirit of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).  All that they said was truthful in that it was given to them by the Spirit of God so that all that is recorded in the original autographs comes from God and His will.  The Bible records truth even if he truth goes against the character of God for example the sins of the people in the Bible or the killing of the Lord Jesus Christ.  By God’s providence, He guarded His Word and protected it from error because it reveals Him who cannot lie.

Yet when people reject the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God, they do so because they want to be a god.  They want to judge even God Himself.  They despise the authority of God.  They want to set themselves up before a holy and pure God so that they can live their lives of sin and rebellion against God (Romans 1:18-32).  Even people who claim to be Christians often will reject many parts of the Bible because they simply don’t like them.  They want to feel comfortable in their sins.

The reality is that the Bible judges us (Hebrews 4:12-13).  The Bible cuts us deeply and exposes our sinful hearts and minds.  The Bible destroys our fleshly world views.  The Bible shatters our utter depravity and shows we are guilty before God (Romans 3:19-20).  The Bible faithfully reveals the salvation of the Lord that we reject.  The true disciple of Jesus should spend time daily in the Word of God (John 8:31-32).  The disciple should faithfully preach the Bible to the lost exposing their faulty world views in light of God’s truth (1 Peter 3:15-16).  The Bible should be our focus in evangelism (2 Timothy 4:1-5).  The Bible should be our focus in apologetics (Psalm 19:7-11).  The Bible should be our focus in conversion of sinners (1 Peter 1:18-25).  The Bible should be our focus in our teaching (James 1:21).  The Bible glorifies the work of Christ Jesus (1 John 5:13).

I believe the consistent response from the Church should be: the Bible says.  No matter what the question, the answer is the Bible says.  Creation: the Bible says.  Marriage: the Bible says.  Child raising: the Bible says.  Money:  the Bible says.  Salvation:  the Bible says.  Cults: the Bible says.  The end of the world: the Bible says.  Doctrine: the Bible says.  Holiness: the Bible says.  Prayer: the Bible says.

The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  It has never failed and never will fail (Isaiah 40:8).  Every movement that rejected the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God has failed.  We would do well to learn from history and not reject the Word of God.  To do so will only bring the judgment of God.  Let us stand firmly upon the foundation of Church History and know that God is faithful to glorify His name when His people preach His Word.

Lord give us more men like William Tyndale or John Knox who will defend Your Word even unto death.

When We Lose The Authority of Scripture

I am thankful that disciples are now standing up for the Word of God.  Brothers such as Dr. Vic Reasoner or Dr. Norman Geisler are standing firm for the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.  It is a fight that is needed.  Some have suggested that we abandon the inerrancy of the Bible.  Some hold that the Bible is infallible but not inerrant.  Others hold that the Bible is infallible only for salvation and nothing more.  Yet there are many problems with such views.

When we lose the authority of the Bible, we no longer have any authority to speak for God.  The Roman Catholic Church has falsely taught that their priestly ordination has led to the infallibility of the Pope beginning with Peter.  Sadly, their long history has produced countless errors, the sins of fallen men who claimed to be speaking for God, and persecution of the true Church that has withstood the Catholics and preached the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.  The Catholic Church continues to teach that authority lies in three places: the Bible, the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Pope.  Yet her history shows that the Bible is often completely ignored, twisted, or even forbidden to read.

The modern liberal church movement in the West has completely rejected the authority of the Bible.  What do they have?  Nothing.  They are a dying bunch.  Their causes have turned to socialism, fighting for human rights, etc.  They have nothing by which to stand for God or His truth.  They have no gospel.  They offer nothing spiritually.  They are not known for their soul winning, their turning sinners away from a life of sin, nor do they have a solid prayer ministry they can point to.  Missions among the liberal churches typically involves just “helping people” while not giving them any truth from God nor speaking peace into their souls that are far from God because of their sins (Isaiah 64:6).

Many evangelical churches have replaced the authority of the Bible with the opinions of men.  Their sermons are full of movie clips, skits, shallowness, and little to no exegesis of the Scriptures.  The Protestant pulpits were once known for their study and explaining of the Bible but today, to appease the world, many churches have abandoned the careful study of the Bible to be replaced with happy, feel good sermons designed to keep the crowds happy and coming and of course, giving money.  Evangelism has been replaced with “friendship evangelism” or just inviting lost sinners to church in hopes that they like it, find it cool, and keep coming back.  Nothing is said about the wrath of God, the justice of God, the holiness of God, our utter sinfulness before a holy God, our accountability toward this God.  Nothing is preached about true repentance, sanctification, obedience to Christ as Lord, and forsaking sin.  Nothing is said about taking up our crosses and following Christ, living a life of holiness and discipline.  Instead we hear over and over again that God loves us just as we are and we stop at that.

Because the evangelical church has replaced the authority of the Bible with feelings and a desire to please the world (1 John 2:15-17), the evangelical church does not address social issues or sins because she has no authority to speak on them with.  The church is silent on many issues when the people are hearing the sinful thoughts of the world all week on issues such as homosexual “marriages,” adultery, gambling, etc.  The church could and should address these issues biblically but she doesn’t.  She remains silent.

This is why the Church must stand firm on the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.  The Church can address issues ranging from sin to science to history to what does God require.  We can preach that God will save sinners by His grace because of the authority of the Bible (Ephesians 2:8-9).  We can preach holiness and righteousness (1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 John 3:7-10).  We can preach salvation through Christ alone (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).  We can preach the wrath of God toward sin (Romans 1:18).  We can preach the existence of God (Romans 1:19-23).  We can preach the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).  We can preach baptism (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16).  We can preach that God answers prayer (Matthew 7:7-11).  We can preach that Christ is coming again (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  We can preach the end of the world (Revelation 21:1).

We can preach all these truths because of the Bible.  We don’t have to listen to the world.  In fact, the Bible says that we must listen to God first and foremost (John 8:47).  The Bible alone is the God-breathed Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).  Peter the Apostle said in 2 Peter 1:16-21 that even his own experiences with Christ is not as important as the Word of God.  1 Peter 1:23 says that we are born again through the Word of God.  James 1:21 says that the Word is able to save our souls.  Jesus said that we are His true disciples when we abide in His teachings (John 8:31-32) and this only comes through faithful study of His Word.  Jesus Himself said that the Word of God cannot be broken (John 10:35) and thus we can trust the Word of God.

The hope I have for my own salvation and the preaching of salvation to the lost is found in the Bible.  It is through the Bible that I learn more about God, I love God more, I grow in my own holiness and discipline, and it is through faithful study of the Bible that I hunger to worship God and seek His face.  Whenever I cease spending time with the Word, I find that the other things wane as well.  I daily seek to spend time in the Word.  Some days are better than others but daily I seek to know God through His Word.  I believe that it is His Word that has kept me all these years by His grace.  I rejoice that the Word both comforts and convicts me (Hebrews 4:12-13).  At times, the Word is my delight (Psalm 119:16) and at times it is a sword to my soul.  I need them both.  I need the grace of God when I sin but I also need the Word to show me my sins and expose my wicked heart (Romans 7:7).  I rejoice that God’s Word does all that and more (John 17:17)!

May the reformation Arminian movement find joy in the Word of God!  May we Arminians celebrate with our Calvinist brethren in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Word of God!  May we all love the Bible and preach its truths to the lost.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/31/2014 at 11:30 AM

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