Monday, February 9, 2015

What about Newsweek, Inerrancy, and the Bible?

Last night I preached a message in which I was laying out the doctrine of inerrancy.  In doing so, I wrestled with Kurt Eichenwald's recent Newsweek article "The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin."  The article is written as an intellectual journalistic piece but is really little more than a liberal rant against the Bible and conservative Christianity.  There is so much thrown into that article that there was no way for me to adequately respond to each and every point in my message last night, nor do I plan to do so here.  While I do appreciate the responses of Michael Brown, Darrel Bock, and Al Mohler, the best response I found to this article was actually written way before it was.  I want to offer here the explanation John Calvin made of critics of the Bible in the 1500s.  I found it to still be very true today and relevant for Newsweek's article and the different responses to it. 

“But although we may maintain the sacred word of God against gainsayers, it does not follow that we shall forthwith implant the certainty which faith requires in their hearts.  Profane men think that religion rest only on opinion, and therefore that they may not believe foolishly, or on slight grounds, desire and insist to have it proved by reason that Moses and the prophets were divinely inspired.  But I answer, that the testimony of the Spirit is superior to reason.  For as God alone can properly bear witness to his own words, so these words will not obtain full credit in the hearts of men, until they are sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit.  The same Spirit, therefore, who spoke by the mouth of the prophets, must penetrate our hearts, in order to convince us that they faithfully delivered the message with which they were divinely entrusted.  This connection is most aptly expressed by Isaiah in these words, ‘My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever’ (Isa 59:21).  Some worthy persons feel disconcerted, because, while the wicked murmur with impunity at the Word of God, they have not a clear proof at hand to silence them, forgetting that the Spirit is called an earnest and seal to confirm the faith of the godly, for this very reason, that, until he enlightens their minds, they are tossed to and fro in a sea of doubts.”[1]

So I see the real issue at stake here is not whether or not we can intellectually prove the infallibility or veracity of the Bible, but the issue is an issue of faith.  Faith that comes from God.  Faith that informs about His Scriptures.  Faith that the Holy Spirit uses when making the scriptures alive and active in our lives.  So, my response to Kurt Eichenwald is not one of anger but is one of compassion.  I hope the Lord reveals to him the truth of His Scriptures and for this I pray.  I pray that the Lord will send his Holy Spirit upon this man, and that he will see the truth.  I know God's word to be fully true and holding the truth of the gospel.  I pray that God will make that truth clear to those who doubt Him and His Scriptures.

If you are looking for a point by point analysis of the facts of Eichenwald's piece, look to Bock or Brown, but if you have faith in God and in his Holy Scriptures, please join me in praying for those who do not.

[1] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 1 Chapter 7 Section 4. 

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