The authority and inerrancy of Holy Scripture are the bedrock upon which true Christianity stands. We depend upon Scripture’s witness for all that we hold true concerning God, man, and the way of salvation in Christ. The great events of redemptive history, such as the incarnation of the Son of God in the person of Jesus Christ, His atoning death, His glorious resurrection, and His ascension into heaven, are recorded only in Scripture. If the witness of Scripture is not reliable and compelling, then we have no basis for our faith and nothing to command our obedience.
Scripture has authority because it is the Word of God. God is first revealed as the Creator who speaks with compelling authority to call creation into being out of nothing (Gen. 1). That creative word was executed by the Holy Spirit, who secured the result intended by the words that were spoken. From that time until Christ came, God continued to speak through His servants, the prophets. In the person of His Son, God has spoken His final word, offering grace, forgiveness, and eternal life to all who believe in Christ (Heb. 1:1–3).
Moved by the testimony of the Holy Spirit, Christians confess that God’s Word is true and trustworthy in all that it affirms. If the basic tenets of our faith are challenged by anyone, our reply must be, “Thus saith the Lord.” This is equally so whether it concerns what man is to believe concerning God or what duty God requires of man. As a rule or authority for faith and life, Scripture has no equal or rival, but stands alone and supreme. more
Therefore we are commanded to search the Scriptures as for silver [John 5:39], and to seek in them as for treasures, to read in them continually, to meditate on them day and night [Ps. 1:2], to use them as bracelets upon our arms, and frontlets between our eyes [Deut. 6:8], to teach them to our posterity, and to talk of them when we are in our houses, and when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we are up. And great reason there is of this commandment, seeing that (as an ancient writer says) Quicquid in eis docetur veritas est: quicquid praecipitur bonitas est: quicquid promittitur faelicitas est – that is, “Whatsoever is taught in them, is truth itself; whatsoever is commanded, is goodness itself; whatsoever is promised, is happiness itself.” They being of such perfection, that nothing may be added unto them, or any thing taken from them [Deut. 4:2]; of such infallible certainty, that heaven and earth shall sooner pass away, than one tittle fall to the ground [Matt. 5:18]; so pleasant and delightful, that they exceed the honey and the honeycomb; and so profitable, that no treasures may be compared unto them [Ps. 19:10], seeing they are able to make us wiser than our enemies, than the aged, than our teachers [Ps. 119:98, etc.]; to make us wise unto salvation [2 Tim. 3:15]; to give us an inheritance among them that are sanctified [Acts 20:32]; nay, able to save our souls [James 1:21]. The Works of William Perkins, Vol. 2, pg. 3,4
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word 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 in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared toJames, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy 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 was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only,we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reignuntil he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to bedestroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? Why are we in danger every hour? I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day!What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, andthis mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15 (ESV)
To stay with our inerrancy theme, below is a few resources/articles written in the past week or two from some of our regular blog stops.
- R. Scott Clark on The Difference Between Sola Scriptura and Biblicism.
Mystics start with their personal experience of God or of the risen Christ. What matters most to them is not what God’s Word actually and clearly says but what they knew from their immediate, personal, mystical encounter with God. Though they start with experience and affection (feeling) they end up in the very similar place to that of the rationalist. They talk about Scripture but they follow it only when it confirms what they have already experienced. They are resistant to what Scripture actually and clearly teaches. They may talk about sola Scriptura but what really drives and shapes their theology, piety, and practice is sola experiente (according to experience alone). The mystic is committed to the Quest for Illegitimate Religious Experience (QIRE). He is ultimately unsatisfied with Scripture.
- Southern Baptist and the Sufficiency of Scripture by Todd Pruitt. This one needs to be categorized under both needed to be done (pulling heaven tourism books) and needed to be said (Sarah Young and Beth Moore).
- The Power of the Word of God: Oft-Overlooked Ramifications by Dan Phillips. Good follow-up to the Todd Pruitt post.
You see, if what they speak is a word of God, I am morally obligated to believe it. It doesn’t matter what the content is: a word from God has God’s authority, and “an authoritative word is one that imposes obligations on those who hear.” Well, I hear. What is my obligation? If it is God’s word, I am obligated to believe it. And if it is not, I am obligated to rebuke and expose them as false prophets.
- Shepherds Conference, General Session 7 by Carl Trueman.
Put simply, the doctrine of inerrancy is the belief that the Bible is true.
Of course, there is much more to say about the definition than this. Countless books have been written explaining, defining, and defending this doctrine, not to mention the affirmations and denials of the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. But the gist of inerrancy is the belief that the Bible is God’s Word and that when God speaks, He speaks truth. Thus, belief in inerrancy is the conviction that whatever the Bible affirms is accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Why It’s Essential by Michael Kruger
To stay with the theme of inerrancy, Dan Phillips has some good words to share.
This all brings us to the Charismatic issue. The great achievement of modern Charismaticism is to dupe so many otherwise-fine people into letting Charismatics carve a niche for themselves where they can both promote themselves and avoid accountability. Or, put another way, both to canonize and sanctify their personal experiences and claims and to avoid testing of any sort.
One of these ways is that they will ostensibly quote God, some “word from the Lord” — but then, when challenged, hurry to say “That’s just for me!”
But is that option open? They have dared to claim to quote God. They have had the breath-taking, astonishing hubris to position themselves as mediators of revelation — claiming that God said words to them, words they now convey to you and to me.
Can that be a private affair? If so, too late now: they’ve spoken. They’ve claimed to speak God’s words!
So now I am indeed obligated. Their word obligates me. I cannot escape. (Nor can they, though they try.)
You see, if what they speak is a word of God, I am morally obligated to believe it. It doesn’t matter what the content is: a word from God has God’s authority, and “an authoritative word is one that imposes obligations on those who hear.” Well, I hear. What is my obligation?
If it is God’s word, I am obligated to believe it. And if it is not, I am obligated to rebuke and expose them as false prophets. more