2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
Tragically, a generation of Americans will see the recent editorial in USA Today by Oliver Thomas and will read his core argument that reason and experience trump Biblical literalism, and will think his argument enough to undermine the sufficiency of Scripture in the daily lives of believers.
Thomas argues, in his article, that Biblical literalism, especially when it comes to the Biblical definition of marriage, is causing the downfall of the Western Church.
Thomas uses the two pillars of secular humanism, reason, and experience, to attack one of the most basic historical tenants of the Christian faith: the infallibility of the Word of God.
Notice throughout his article the barrage of anecdotal experiences used to attack the Bible. “We know better” and “The centuries have taught us” reveal much about how Thomas views the Scriptures. And unfortunately, it also reveals much of why liberal churches have joined the culture at every turn when faced with the decision to trust God’s word or the cultural elites.
The Problem With Chronological Snobbery
This is a clear case of what C.S. Lewis coined, “Chronological Snobbery.”
Chronological snobbery, especially within the Christian context, is the thinking that, considering the advancements the human race has made over the two millennia since Christ ascended to His throne, we must know more than this ancient text. Thomas himself says as much: “Not even Jesus, who was fully human and therefore limited to what first century humans knew, could know about cancer, schizophrenia, atomic energy and a million other things the centuries have taught us.”
Note the audacity, ignorance of the hypostatic union of Christ, and sheer arrogance of that statement. In essence: because we have advanced technologically, we know better than Christ Himself.
This reasoning states that reason and experience, or rather, the culture at large, dictate how we read and find out which of God’s commands to obey, and which to disobey.
If Scripture is not the standard the Christian is to live by, then we must ask the question, by what standard? Is culture the right guiding principle for the Christian? And if culture is the guiding principle, which one? And what happens when culture changes?
The previous culture thought eugenics moral. Reason and experience brought them to that horrid conclusion. A person living in the previous generation could not point to the culture as a reason to dissuade others from being persuaded that “lesser humans” should not be allowed to breed. As with that generation, so a person in our generation, ungoverned by the Word of God, cannot use anything from culture to reveal why human life is so sacred, especially in the womb.
Standing on the Rock of the Word of God
Considering the shifting moral sands of the culture – what is good has become evil and what is evil has become good – standing on the solid rock of the inerrancy of Scripture is the only way for the thinking Christian to live.
Scripture is not primarily a scientific textbook, nor a history book, or even a book with guiding principles to live by. Though the science is correct, the history accurate, and the principles just, Scripture is God’s revelation to us of who He is. It is first and foremost theological. It reveals our sin and our need for a savior, and it gives us what and who we need for salvation: Christ the King.
Thomas, in his opinion piece, says that doctrine is imposed on the Bible by fundamentalists. But is he correct? What does Scripture say about itself?
Paul says “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). Peter says “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit ” (2 Peter 1:21-22). And Christ Himself says “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
The doctrine of the inerrancy of Scriptures is not one we imposed on God’s Word, it’s what God’s Word imposes on us.
It’s one every Christian should believe, and it’s one every Christian should defend. Without God’s Word to guide and protect us, we are left rudderless in a world that hates good and loves darkness.
When we defend the doctrine of inerrancy, we are not defending a cold, hard, set of rules, we are defending what protects us from both the world, which hates God and the things of God and a safeguard against our own wicked hearts and flesh, which constantly war against the Spirit.
That is what it seems Thomas and others who would see Scripture align with culture rather than calling culture to align with the Word of God, miss when they call Christians to discard our Bibles in order to be liked by the culture. Christ Himself told us if the world hated Him they will hate His followers (John 15:18-21).
If we find ourselves agreeing with the world over and against the very Word of God, we must ask ourselves who do we love, our Savior or the love of the world?
God’s Word not only protects us from the world and the flesh, including our desire to be accepted by the world, it also nurtures and strengthens us, and stirs our hearts with affection to love and good works. Through the revelation of God through Scripture, God has shown us who He is and whom He has called us to believe, namely, in Christ, the very Son of God.