Outreach: Does the Inerrancy of the Bible Matter Evangelistically?

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014 in Inerrancy

Outreach: Does the Inerrancy of the Bible Matter Evangelistically?

Introduction

Throughout this series (http://servantsofgrace.org/an-attack-on-marriage-is-ultimately-an-assault-on-gods-character-and-gods-word/) and (http://servantsofgrace.org/teaching-feelings-opinions-or-the-inerrancy-of-the-bible/) we’ve looked at how inerrancy relates to the family and the church but today we will look at how inerrancy relates to outreach. Some people may think that outreach isn’t really related to inerrancy at all, but such people are gravely mistaken. If the Bible isn’t without error then that will affect how we engage in evangelism, discipleship, missions, and apologetics.

At present some Christians are focusing more on what they think about the Bible rather than what the Bible says about Adam being a historical person. If Adam isn’t a historical person then we will have issues with our understanding of sin, salvation, the Church, and all facets of ministry. Theology has consequences and denying inerrancy whether explicitly or implicitly is one of those issues that while not explicitly a gospel issue will have devastating effects on our understanding and implementation of the gospel into every area of our lives and or ministries.

Outreach and Inerrancy

The mission of God is to seek and save the lost and make disciples from every people group to the glory of God. Understanding inerrancy is crucial, because our understanding of this doctrine will affect how we evangelize, make disciples, and engage in apologetics. Inerrancy is so important, because it has a direct bearing on our understanding of God’s mission to save, sanctify, and glorify a people for His own possession and kingdom. Not only does inerrancy have a direct consequence on our understanding of issues related to the family, Church, and outreach, but in denying inerrancy we will have issues with every area of our theology.

As we have already learned, inerrancy is a very important issue– one that merits serious reflection and defense.  The Church is called to preach the Word of God in season and out of season and to reach people in order that they may be transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since our outreach is so important may we never forget that in seeking to make disciples we should be driven not by our opinions or feelings, but by the Word of God that pierces the heart of hardened criminals and sinners and brings them to the knowledge of the Truth through the preaching of the Word of God.

Conclusion

The doctrine of inerrancy is important. Denials of inerrancy are denials of God’s truthfulness to us. God would be a liar if the Bible contained error. In addition, if one denies inerrancy, then the truth of the entire Bible comes under suspicion. Believers would be left without any solid foundation for faith. No one would be certain what was true and what was not. Lack of belief in inerrancy opens the door to denying the major doctrines of the faith. While this may not happen with each person who rejects an inerrant Scripture, it is the logical result of denying inerrancy.

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Teaching, Feelings, Opinions, or the Inerrancy of the Bible

Posted by on Jul 16, 2014 in Inerrancy

Teaching, Feelings, Opinions, or the Inerrancy of the Bible

In the first post in this series (http://servantsofgrace.org/an-attack-on-marriage-is-ultimately-an-assault-on-gods-character-and-gods-word/) we learned about attacks on inerrancy as they relate to the family. In the second post in this series today we will learn about those who deny inerrancy by placing their feelings above the truth of Scripture.

Friedrich Schleiermacher was born November 21, 1768 and died February 12, 1834. Schleimacher began not with the Bible, a creed, or revelation, but with personal experiences that happened to the individual and the community.  The influence of Schleiermacher is felt today among those who deny inerrancy by placing their opinions above the truth of Scripture. The same people who question inerrancy are those who typically have issues with the Church.

Many people are just like Friedrich Schleiermacher who think that their opinions about Scripture and the Church are authoritative. The fact is attacks on inerrancy from our culture and even within the Church are not new but rather old. Ken Ham points out that “our culture is filled with increasing numbers of people who do not believe the Bible is a credible book. As a result the culture has lost its faith in biblical authority.”[i]

Believing in inerrancy is vital to the ministry of the Church. Denying the authority of the Word of God has dramatic effects on how the preacher will preach to God’s people. Denominations that were once bastions of biblical orthodoxy are now laid in waste because they have rejected inerrancy in favor of what they believe. These people are often the one’s who don’t have an issue with the Church necessarily, but do have issues with the Word of God, because they believe that the Bible is a book full of errors. In doing this they follow in the steps of Schleiermacher who was known to place a high emphasis on how he felt rather than on what the Bible teaches.[1]

Believing that the Bible is verbally inspired in every part and authoritative for our lives not only affects the preaching ministry of local churches, but also how ministry leaders minister to God’s people. For example, a blogger who denies inerrancy will write only about his/her thoughts about the Bible rather than coming under the authority of the Word and allowing the Word to take central place in his/her blogging ministry. The preacher who doesn’t believe in inerrancy will preach only his own opinion, but the preacher who believes in inerrancy will preach to make the point of the passage under examination the point of the sermon. The counselor who doesn’t believe in inerrancy will focus on self-help, but the counselor who believes in inerrancy will focus on what Scripture says about what the client is going through.

Christians have a superior Word than what is offered by human opinion. The Church has a superior Word because of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the reason why His Word is inspired, inerrant, sufficient and authoritative. It is because of this reason that Christians should dedicate their entire lives and ministries lives to studying, proclaiming, contending, and defending the Truth for all of their days.



[i] Ken Ham and Bodie Hodge, How Do We Know The Bible Is True Volume 1 (ARK, New Leaf Press, 2011), 10.

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An Attack on Marriage is Ultimately an Assault on God’s Character and God’s Word

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Inerrancy

An Attack on Marriage is Ultimately an Assault on God’s Character and God’s Word

Charles Spurgeon is considered the Prince of Preachers but what is often not known about him and his ministry is that he faced attacks on the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible he loved to proclaim to God’s people the world over. Spurgeon faced challenges from all corners with people who wanted him to compromise, and from evolution. Spurgeon in the midst of all of these challenges declared that “believers must never adjust the Bible to the age, but the age to the Bible.”[i]

Just as Spurgeon faced attacks on inerrancy, evangelical Christians are under attack by those who think that marriage should no longer be defined as between a man and a woman, but rather between any combination of man or woman. At the heart of these attacks is a rejection of what the Bible teaches which makes these attacks ultimately an attack on the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.

It seems to me that those who attack the biblical teaching on marriage want to re-write the Bible to suit their own view even while they suggest that the Bible doesn’t speak to the issue of marriage. The problem with all of this is the Bible does clearly speak to this issue. If one even skims over Genesis 1-3 it becomes clear that marriage is a God-ordained institution and therefore to be treated as such. Any attack on marriage is ultimately an attack on the God who created the world we live in and get to enjoy by His grace. An attack on marriage is ultimately an assault on God’s character and God’s Word.

Attacks on marriage and the Word of God are not new but rather as old as the Garden of Eden. The Word of God always stands in judgment of men never do men– stand in judgment of it. This fundamental fact reveals the problem going on inside and outside the Church in regard to marriage: that the issue of marriage is revealed in who is authoritative– man or God. Charles Spurgeon revealed the problem when he stated that, “He that reads his Bible to find fault with it will soon discover that the Bible finds fault with him.”

As the Word of God did its work in Spurgeon’s time, so today can evangelicals be encouraged that the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). The Word of God is the means that God uses by His Spirit to pierce the heart of the convinced atheist, rejecters like Judas, and deniers like Peter. “When people understand they can trust in the early chapters of Genesis, they can better understand and can be more responsive to the gospel—the gospel that is based on that history.”[ii] Evangelicals need to stand firm in the grace of God and the Word of God by looking to the example of men like Spurgeon and be encouraged that God, by His grace, is still working to bring people to Himself and build His church for His glory and praise.



[i] Charles Spurgeon, An All-Around Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1906), 230.

[ii] Ken Ham and Bodie Hodge, How Do We Know The Bible Is True Volume 1 (ARK, New Leaf Press, 2011), 9.

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Spurgeon, Inerrancy, and What We Still Need Today

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in Apologetics, Charles Spurgeon, Inerrancy, The Gospel and the Ministry

Spurgeon, Inerrancy, and What We Still Need Today

20130130 promise law 300x140 Spurgeon, Inerrancy, and What We Still Need TodayCharles Haddon Spurgeon’s influence today is felt more than ever, as he is the most published Christian author in church history.1 He is often quoted in sermons, articles, books, tweets, and other quote-worthy mediums among Christians. Helmut Thielicke helpfully points out the impact and influence of Spurgeon’s ministry when he notes that, “The fire Spurgeon kindled turned into a beacon that shone across the seas and down through generations, was no mere brush fire of sensationalism, but an inexhaustible blaze that glowed and burned on solid hearths and was fed by the wells of the eternal Word. Here was the miracle of a brush that burned with fire and yet was not consumed.”2

Albert Mohler explains that “the defining characteristic of Spurgeon’s ministry was an undiluted passion for the exposition and proclamation of God’s Word.”3 Spurgeon’s influence is felt today because he was a man of the people, a man whose infectious love for the Lord Jesus Christ spilled over into all he wrote, said and did. Spurgeon’s influence won him many friends and many critics but it is undeniable that his influence is felt on evangelicalism today because of his passionate pursuit of proclaiming the glory and majesty of Christ in everything he said and wrote.

Spurgeon’s influence is still felt today in evangelicalism, because he was a man of conviction. Spurgeon did not seek after controversy but rather picked which battles he entered into with great care only choosing to enter into those battles which compromised the Christian faith. Spurgeon’s example is instructive to Christian ministry leaders as many supposed evangelicals today claim to follow in the line of evangelicalism, but do not have a high view of the Bible. If the story of Church history has taught evangelicals anything it should be that when a high view of Scripture is upheld then Jesus will be brought glory. The example of Spurgeon is especially important in this regard as he had a high view of God’s Word and of His Son Jesus Christ. Spurgeon proclaimed the Word of God in a time when truth was under attack, much like today, but did not compromise.

Albert Mohler explains “Spurgeon was a man, possessed by deep passion for the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”4 Spurgeon’s passion for the Word of God and the person of Jesus consumed all of his waking hours. Spurgeon’s conviction to preach the Word of God without compromise is needed among evangelicals today more than ever. In recent days some voices are calling for a “big-tent” evangelicalism that is more inclusive than exclusive.

This is a big mistake.

The early church fathers to the 16th century Protestant Reformers across Europe, and up to the present day conservative evangelicals, have all affirmed verbal plenary inspiration, and biblical inerrancy.

Clement of Rome (A.D. 80-100 taught, “You have looked closely into the Holy Scriptures, which are given through the Holy Spirit. You know that nothing unrighteous or falsified has been written in them.” (1 Clement, XLV. 2.3.) Augustine wrote to Jerome (A.D. 394), “It seems to me that most disastrous consequence to follow upon our believing anything false is found in the sacred books, that is to say, that the men by whom the Scriptures have been given to us, and committed in writing, did not put down in these books anything false.” (Cited by James Olive Buswell, Outlines of Theology, 24.)  Calvin thought of Scripture as “the sure and infallible record,” “the inerring standard,” “the pure Word of God,” “the infallible rule of His Holy Truth,” “free from every stain or defect,” “the inerring certainty,” “the certain and unerring rule,” “unerring light,” “infallible Word of God,” “has nothing belonging to man mixed with it,” “inviolable,” “infallible oracles.” Inerrancy was the view of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, as well as of the entire church; inerrancy is the ‘central church tradition.” (John D. Hannah, ed., Inerrancy and the Church (Chicago: Moody, Press, 1984), ix.). The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) was founded in 1949 and had a singular doctrinal statement at its founding that affirmed inerrancy: “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs. (“Evangelical Scholars Remove Robert Gundry for His Views on Matthew,” Christianity Today, February 3, 1984.)

At the end of the day those who want to redefine evangelicalism and reshape it in their own mold do so at their own peril. Evangelicals today would be wise to follow the example of Spurgeon who stood on the Word of God and called his readers to “read not so much man’s comments, or man’s books, but read the Scriptures, and keep your faith on this, — “God said it.”13

The ministry of Spurgeon is instructive to Christians today because Spurgeon was a man aflame with the glory of the grace of God. Spurgeon made an impact because of his passion for and stance on evangelical truth, which he contended for, defended, and proclaimed with all of his might to the glory of God. Men of passion and conviction are needed in evangelicalism today, men who will contend, defend and proclaim the truth of substitionary atonement, the authority and inspiration of Scripture, eternal punishment for unbelievers, original sin, and the absoluteness of Christianity.

Godly men of passion and conviction will be maligned and persecuted– as was Spurgeon, but they must follow the example of Jesus and men like Spurgeon who modeled for Pastors, ministry leaders, and believers how to stand firm in the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. While truth is under attack today on many fronts inside and outside the church, an even greater need and threat is arising from within its ranks, and that is found in the need of men to stand up and be counted.

Every generation of believers must determine if they are going to stand for biblical truth or lay down their swords and accept the lie of liberalism. While there is much to be commended in recent days in evangelicalism especially in the growing movement of Christians, ministries and churches that are discussing what is the Gospel and its implications; there is still much to be alarmed about as many are questioning and casting aside the authority of the Word of God either through how they use the Bible, what they think about Adam being a historical person, or their stance on gender roles. This generation of believers will have to decide– as did Spurgeon—if they will stand on the Truth of the Word of God and lift up the Son of God among the nations, or whether they will lay down their sword and succumb to the lie of liberalism.

At the end of the day, Spurgeon was right “believers must never adjust the Bible to the age, but the age to the Bible.”14 Believers have been given the Word of God not to speculate on, but to study, to mediate upon, contend for, defend and proclaim to the nations. The Word of God always stands in judgment of men never do men stand in judgment of it. This fact reveals the fundamental problem going on inside and outside the church by exposing as Spurgeon knew in his time that the issues of today are old issues rooted in who is authoritative, God or man. As with every generation before and everyone after it, the Truth of God’s Word will remain authoritative, unchanging and unrelenting as it seeks to lift high the name and glory of Jesus among the nations.

As the Word of God did its work in Spurgeon’s time so today evangelicals can be encouraged that the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). The Word of God is the means God uses by His Spirit to pierce the heart of the convinced atheist, rejecters like Judas, and deniers like Peter. Evangelicals today need to stand firm in the grace of God and the Word by looking to the example of men like Spurgeon and be encouraged that God by His grace is still working to bring people to Himself and build His church for His glory and praise.



[1] Eric W. Hayden. “Did You Know: A Collection of True and unusual facts about Charles Haddon Spurgeon.” Christian History, 10:1, #29, (February 1991).

[2] Helmut Thielicke, Encounter with Spurgeon, trans. John W. Doberstein (Cambridge, MA: James Clarke & Co., 1964) 1.

[3] Albert Mohler, He Is Not Silent: Preaching In A Postmodern World, (Chicago, Moody, 2008), 163.

[4] Albert Mohler, He Is Not Silent: Preaching In A Postmodern World, (Chicago, Moody, 2008), 163.

[5] Roger E. Olsen, “Postconservative Evangelicalism.” In Four Views On The Spectrum OF Evangelicalism, 163. Edited by Andrew David Naselli and Collin Hansen. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

[6] Roger E. Olsen, “Postconservative Evangelicalism.” In Four Views On The Spectrum OF Evangelicalism, 179. Edited by Andrew David Naselli and Collin Hansen. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

[7] Albert Mohler, “A Confessional Response to Postconservative Evangelicalism.” In Four Views On The Spectrum Of Evangelicalism, 196. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

[8] Mark. A. Noll, David W. Bebbington, George A. Rawlyk, eds. Evangelicalism: Comparative Studies in Popular Protestantism in North America, the British Isles, and Beyond, 1700-1990 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

[9] Roger E. Olsen, “Postconservative Evangelicalism.” In Four Views On The Spectrum OF Evangelicalism, 182. Edited by Andrew David Naselli and Collin Hansen. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

[10] Albert Mohler , “Confessional Evangelicalism.” In Four Views On The Spectrum Of Evangelicalism, 91. Edited by Andrew David Naselli and Collin Hansen. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

[11] Albert Mohler , “Confessional Evangelicalism.” In Four Views On The Spectrum Of Evangelicalism, 78. Edited by Andrew David Naselli and Collin Hansen. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

[12] Albert Mohler , “Confessional Evangelicalism.” In Four Views On The Spectrum Of Evangelicalism, 91. Edited by Andrew David Naselli and Collin Hansen. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

[13] Charles Spurgeon, From “The Plea of Faith,” The New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. 2 (London: Passmor and Alabaster, 1856), 273-280.

[14] Charles Spurgeon, An All-Around Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1906), 230.

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Guest Post over at New Leaf Press: Outreach: Does the Inerrancy of the Bible Matter Evangelistically?

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Inerrancy

Here is last guest post in my series on Inerrancy over at New Leaf Press. Here is the first paragraph of the post:

At present some Christians are focusing more on what they think about the Bible rather than what the Bible says about Adam being a historical person. If Adam isn’t a historical person then we will have issues with our understanding of sin, salvation, the Church, and all facets of ministry. Theology has consequences and denying inerrancy whether explicitly or implicitly is one of those issues that while not explicitly a Gospel issue will have devastating effects on our understanding and implementation of the Gospel into every area of our lives and or ministries.

To read the read of the post click here: http://nlpgblogs.com/2012/09/19/outreach-does-the-inerrancy-of-the-bible-matter-evangelistically/

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Jesus, the Bible and You

Posted by on Jul 7, 2012 in Inerrancy, The Gospel and the church, The Gospel and the Ministry

Throughout history, the church has rarely seen an attack on the inerrancy, inspiration and authority of the Bible of the magnitude of modern debates—debates which really only gained academic credibility in the last two centuries and popular consensus within the last generation. And make no mistake, the attack against inerrancy is inextricably linked to inspiration—certainly in the way we have traditionally responded to our critical scholars. By proving the words of the Bible are accurate, we are, at the very least implicitly, answering the attack on the inerrancy of Scripture. Therefore, the answers to inerrancy and inspiration will be given together.

Inspiration, like its sister doctrine, inerrancy, is not something invented by theologians and forced on the church—the arguments for them arise from the Bible and are based upon the internal consistency of the Bible. And make no mistake, the Scriptures are equated with God’s revelation in words (Matt. 19:4-5Heb. 3:7Acts 4:24-25; see also 2 Tim. 3:162 Pet. 1:21).

How Jesus Understood (and Understands) the Bible

As we look to Scripture, it’s crystal clear that Jesus recognized the authority and inerrancy of Scripture—indeed, the way he uses it explicitly affirms their inspiration. He made constant appeal to it when tempted by Satan (Matt. 4:1-11) and used it often in his ministry to defend his actions (Matt. 11:15-1726:54-56). This demonstrates the authority Jesus placed in the Scriptures, but we are not left to make assumptions on the basis of Jesus’ actions alone. He, on at least four occasions taught the Scriptures in such a way as to make clear His position on inerrancy.

In a confrontation with the Sadducees over the doctrine of the resurrection, which that group denied, Jesus silenced His opposition, arguing the entire resurrection belief on the tense of a simple verb, “to be” (Matt. 22:32). Jehovah had told Moses at the burning bush, “I am the God of Abraham,” but as Jesus implied, Abraham had been dead 480 years when the statement was made. Arguing that God was the God of the living, not the dead, Jesus claimed life after death must be true. Jesus used the tense of a verb to prove Abraham was not simply physically dead, but was living in the presence of God. The fact that Jesus used a word and it’s tense to demonstrate His deep confidence in inspiration and inerrancy.

The final statement of Jesus that we will look at pertaining to inerrancy occurred during His Sermon on the Mount. In identifying His relationship to the Law, Jesus said, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matt. 5:18). Most scholars agree the reference to a jot and tittle referred to theyod, the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet and a small id distinguishing several similar letters. Dr. Gaussen notes, “All the words of Scripture, accordingly, even to the smallest stroke of a letter, are no less than the words of Jesus Christ.”1 Dr. Ed Young notes, “If, therefore, the inspiration of the Bible is plenary, it should be evidence that it is one which extends to the very words.”2

Five Truths About Why Inerrancy Matters

The question of ultimate authority is of tremendous importance for Christians, which is why understanding it matters so much. By way of conclusion, I want to look at five ways that inerrancy affects our Christian lives:

First, inerrancy governs our confidence in the Truth of the Gospel. A pilot will ground his aircraft even on suspicion of the most minor fault, because he is aware that one fault destroys confidence in the complete machine.  If the history contained in the Bible is wrong, how can we be sure its doctrine or moral teaching is correct? The heart of the Christian message is history. The Incarnation (God becoming man) was demonstrated by the Virgin Birth of Christ. Redemption (the price paid for our rebellion) was obtained by the death of Christ on the Cross. Reconciliation (the privilege other sinners becoming a friend of God) was gained through the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. If these recorded events are not true, how do we know the theology behind them is true?

Second, inerrancy governs our faith in the value of Christ. We cannot have a reliable Savior without a reliable Scripture. For example many people teach that the Gospels and that the recorded words of Christ are occasionally His. If this is true then how do we know what we can trust about Christ’s teaching? If this is the case as these teachers want God’s people to believe then it follows according to their logic that the Gospel stories are merely wishful thinking or the personal views of the Gospel writers. If this is the case then believers cannot base their faith on Jesus, but rather on the opinions of men.

Third, inerrancy governs our response to the conclusions of science. Those who believe the Bible has errors are quick to accept scientific theories that prove the Bible is wrong. When we allow the conclusions of science to dictate the accuracy of the Word of God one places the authority of science over the Word of God. The consequence of doing this results in having to invent new principles of interpreting Scripture in light of science turning history into poetry and facts into myths.  Another result of this line of thinking is that people will not know how reliable a passage is but instead decide what to make out of it. On the other hand those who believe in inerrancy test all theories including scientific theories according to Scripture.

Fourth, inerrancy governs our attitude in the preaching of Scripture. Denying biblical inerrancy leads to a loss of confidence in Scripture in the pulpit and the pew. The problem is not science or education it is the cold deadness of theological liberalism. Doubting the Bible’s history opens one calling into question its words, which results in people losing confidence in Scripture. The people of God don’t want opinions they want to know what God has said from His Word.

Finally a church without the authority of Scripture is like a crocodile without teeth. It can open its mouth as wide and as often as it likes—but who cares? Thankfully, God has given us His inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word. His people can speak His Word with authority and boldness, and can be confident, because His Word contains His instructions for our lives.

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