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Biblical Inerrancy. The Meaning of Inerrancy “The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that.

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Presentation on theme: "Biblical Inerrancy. The Meaning of Inerrancy “The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that."— Presentation transcript:

1 Biblical Inerrancy

2 The Meaning of Inerrancy “The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact.” *from Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem (as are most of the following notes)

3 Inerrancy Four Questions: 1. Can the Scriptures err and Christianity still be true? 2. Can the Scriptures err and still be inspired? 3. Do the Scriptures contain inconsistencies? 4. How do we explain the apparent contradictions?

4 The Meaning of Inerrancy The Bible always tells the truth The Bible always tells the truth …concerning everything it talks about (science, history, etc.) …concerning everything it talks about (science, history, etc.) Psalm 12:6 Psalm 12:6 “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”

5 Three Considerations 1. The Bible Can be Inerrant and Still Speak in the Ordinary Language of Everyday Speech The sun can “rise” and the rain can “fall” The sun can “rise” and the rain can “fall” Precision is not always important – Precision is not always important – 8,000 fell in battle (not 7,823 or 8,242) 8,000 fell in battle (not 7,823 or 8,242) 1 mile (not 1.27 mile) 1 mile (not 1.27 mile) A container 10 cubits in diameter can have a circumference of 30 cubits A container 10 cubits in diameter can have a circumference of 30 cubits

6 Three Considerations 2. The Bible Can Be Inerrant and Still Include Loose or Free Quotations Elliot said, “I will come to the house to eat in two minutes.” Elliot said, “I will come to the house to eat in two minutes.” Elliot said that he would return home for supper right away. Elliot said that he would return home for supper right away.

7 Three Considerations 3. It Is Consistent With Inerrancy to Have Unusual or Uncommon Grammatical Constructions in the Bible “It ain’t so” can be a true statement “It ain’t so” can be a true statement Some language is elegant, some is rough- hewn Some language is elegant, some is rough- hewn

8 Common Challenges to Inerrancy 1. Is it misleading to speak of an inerrant Bible if we have no inerrant manuscripts? For over 95% of the Bible we know what the original autograph said. For over 95% of the Bible we know what the original autograph said. For the few exceptions, the general sense of the sentence is usually quite clear from the context. For the few exceptions, the general sense of the sentence is usually quite clear from the context. Our modern Bibles identify variants in marginal notes. Our modern Bibles identify variants in marginal notes.

9 Common Challenges to Inerrancy 2. Is the Bible Only Authoritative for “Faith and Practice”? Does it sometimes err on other issues such as science and history? Does it sometimes err on other issues such as science and history? Some who would claim that the Bible is infallible (meaning “in faith and practice”) would hesitate to use the word “inerrant.” Some who would claim that the Bible is infallible (meaning “in faith and practice”) would hesitate to use the word “inerrant.” How do we decide which parts are “faith and practice”? How do we decide which parts are “faith and practice”?

10 The Bible Is True in All Things 2 Timothy 3:16 declares that Scripture is “God- breathed.” 2 Timothy 3:16 declares that Scripture is “God- breathed.” Proverbs 30:5 Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Acts 24:14 Acts 24:14 “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets”

11 Or, is it as Rudolf Bultmann wrote: “Man’s knowledge and mastery of the world have advanced to such an extent through science and technology that it is no longer possible for anyone seriously to hold the New Testament view of the world—in fact, there is no one who does. What meaning, for instance, can we attach to such phrases in the creed as ‘descended into hell’ or ‘ascended into heaven’? It is impossible to use electric light and the wireless and to avail ourselves of modern medical and surgical discoveries, and at the same time to believe in the New Testament world of spirits and miracles.”

12 The Bible Is True in All Things Matthew 12:40, Christ speaking – Matthew 12:40, Christ speaking – “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Luke 4:27, Christ speaking – Luke 4:27, Christ speaking – “And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."

13 Luke 17:29, 32; Christ speaking - Luke 17:29, 32; Christ speaking - “but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— …Remember Lot’s wife.

14 Alleged Errors in the Bible

15 Inerrancy Alleged Error #1 2 Samuel 10:18 versus 1 Chronicles 19:18 1 Chronicles 19:18

16 Inerrancy 2 Samuel 10:18 But the Arameans fled before Israel, and David killed 700 charioteers of the Arameans and 40,000 horsemen and struck down Shobach the commander of their army, and he died there. 1 Chronicles 19:18 The Arameans fled before Israel, and David killed of the Arameans 7,000 charioteers and 40,000 foot soldiers, and put to death Shophach the commander of the army.

17 Inerrancy Alleged Error #1 Solution Error in transcription

18 Inerrancy Alleged Error #2 Matthew 27:5 versus Acts 1:18 Acts 1:18

19 Inerrancy Matthew 27:5 “So Judas threw the silver coins into the temple and left. Then he went out and hanged himself.” Acts 1:18 “Now this man Judas acquired a field with the reward of his unjust deed, and falling headfirst he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out.”

20 Inerrancy Alleged Error #2 Solution Faulty Assumption Two writers can include different details of the same event for their own purposes. Judas could have hanged himself and then fallen. Peter was emphasizing the fulfillment of prophecy through the death of Judas, while this was not a concern of Matthew.

21 Inerrancy Alleged Error #3 Matthew 26:34, 74–75 versus Mark 14:30, 72 Mark 14:30, 72

22 Inerrancy Matthew 26:34 Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." Mark 14:30 And Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.

23 Inerrancy Alleged Error #3 Solution Faulty Assumption One writer can be more detailed than another.

24 Inerrancy Alleged Error #4 The Bible claims that the moon is a light. But we know that the moon simply reflects light, but is not a light itself.

25 Inerrancy Isaiah 13:10 “For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises and the moon will not shed its light.”

26 Inerrancy Alleged Error #4 Solution Over-emphasis on scientific preciseness does not take into account phenomenological language (i.e., language that speaks from the perspective of the subject).

27 Inerrancy Alleged Error #5 Proverbs 12:21 versus Luke 16:19–22 Luke 16:19–22

28 Inerrancy Prov. 12:21 “The righteous do not encounter any harm, but the wicked are filled with calamity.” Lk. 16:19–22 The unrighteous rich man is without harm, while the righteous poor man is experiencing calamity.

29 Inerrancy Alleged Error #5 Solution Faulty understanding concerning the nature of a Proverb. A proverb is a general truth that does not necessarily apply in every situation. And a misunderstanding of the ultimate end of both men. The poor man, Lazarus, was the one who ultimately experienced peace, while the rich man experienced calamity after death.

30 Common Challenges to Inerrancy 1. Is the Bible Only Authoritative for “Faith and Practice”? NO!

31 If we deny inerrancy… …may we imitate God and intentionally lie in small matters also? …may we imitate God and intentionally lie in small matters also? …we begin to wonder if we can really trust God in anything he says. …we begin to wonder if we can really trust God in anything he says. …we make our own human minds a higher standard of truth than God’s Word. …we make our own human minds a higher standard of truth than God’s Word. …we must also say that the Bible is wrong not only in minor details but in some of its doctrines as well. …we must also say that the Bible is wrong not only in minor details but in some of its doctrines as well.

32 For Further Study The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (adopted at a meeting of ~200 evangelical leaders in October 1978) The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (adopted at a meeting of ~200 evangelical leaders in October 1978) R. C. Sproul provides a 72-page exposition on the Chicago Statement in his book, Scripture Alone. R. C. Sproul provides a 72-page exposition on the Chicago Statement in his book, Scripture Alone.

33 The Authority of Scripture

34 Authority Four Questions: What does Sola Scriptura mean? What does Sola Scriptura mean? What is the Roman Catholic understanding of Tradition? What is the Roman Catholic understanding of Tradition? What does Eastern Orthodoxy believe concerning Tradition? What does Eastern Orthodoxy believe concerning Tradition? What is the difference between Sola Scriptura and Solo Scriptura? What is the difference between Sola Scriptura and Solo Scriptura?

35 Martin Luther – “Unless I am convinced by the testimony from scripture or by evident reason—for I confide neither in the Pope nor in a Council alone, since it is certain they have often erred and contradicted themselves—I am held fast by the scriptures adduced by me, and my conscience is held captive by God’s Word, and I neither can nor will revoke anything, seeing it is not safe or right to act against conscience. God help me. Amen.”

36 Authority Five Primary Views: 1. Sola Ecclesia 2. Prima Scriptura 3. Regula Fidei 4. Sola Scriptura 5. Solo Scriptura

37 Authority What Is Tradition? American Heritage Dictionary (4 Definitions): The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by oral communication. The passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by oral communication. A mode of thought or behavior followed by a people continuously from generation to generation; a custom or usage. A mode of thought or behavior followed by a people continuously from generation to generation; a custom or usage. A body of unwritten religious precepts. A body of unwritten religious precepts. A time-honored practice or set of such practices. A time-honored practice or set of such practices.

38 Authority Two Types of Tradition in Ecclesiastical History: “Tradition 1” “Tradition 2”

39 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15 – 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15 – “To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6 – 2 Thessalonians 3:6 – “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.”

40 Authority Tradition 1 A “summary” of Christian orthodoxy that has been held by the Church since its inception. It is infallible only because it accurately represents Scripture. If it does not accurately represent Scripture, it is not true Tradition. Therefore, it is subject to the Scripture. Often referred to as the regula fidei or Rule of Faith. A “summary” of Christian orthodoxy that has been held by the Church since its inception. It is infallible only because it accurately represents Scripture. If it does not accurately represent Scripture, it is not true Tradition. Therefore, it is subject to the Scripture. Often referred to as the regula fidei or Rule of Faith.

41 Regula Fidei “Rule of Faith” This is a Greek phrase used often in the early Church to refer to the summation of the Christian faith. The regula fidei was seen as the faith which was held “always, everywhere, and by all.” It was seen as being inherited and passed on, not through an avenue of inspired or infallible information distinct from that of Scripture, but as representative of the essential doctrinal and moral elements of the faith contained in Scripture.

42 Authority Tradition 2 An infallible unwritten body of material that contains information beyond that which is contained in Scripture (e.g. Marian dogmas, infallibility of the pope). This Tradition began with the Apostles’ teaching and is passed on through a succession of bishops. It is only revealed when issues arise that make it necessary for a pope or a council to speak authoritatively from this “deposit” of information. Often referred to as “living Tradition.”

43 Authority Five Primary Views: 1. Sola Ecclesia 2. Prima Scriptura 3. Regula Fidei 4. Sola Scriptura 5. Solo Scriptura

44 Authority Sola Ecclesia: Belief that Tradition, represented by the magisterial authority of the Roman Catholic Church, is infallible and equal to Scripture as a basis for doctrine; it is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice since it must define and interpret Scripture. Adherents: Roman Catholics Tradition:Tradition 2 Alternate name:Dual-source theory

45 Deposit of Faith Deposit Age of the Apostles “... contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” —Jude 1:3 Catholic Church Unwritten Infallible Tradition Age of the Church Responsible for defining and interpretation Responsible for defining and interpretation Sola Ecclesia Scripture Written Infallible Tradition 400 AD1000 AD

46 Authority Scripture Tradition Experience General Revelation Reason Emotions Back Front

47 Trend in Roman Catholic Church The two-source theory was eventually made official church dogma at the Council of Trent (1545-1563). The two-source theory was eventually made official church dogma at the Council of Trent (1545-1563). Rome is gradually moving toward a one- source concept of revelation… Rome is gradually moving toward a one- source concept of revelation… …but the one source of revelation is the Roman magisterium. …but the one source of revelation is the Roman magisterium.

48 Keith Mathison (After Darkness, Light) “What these churches do not seem to understand is that a claim to greater authority than that of Scripture is a claim to greater authority than that of God. Such a claim is nothing short of blasphemy. If Scripture truly is the word of almighty God, then the issue of final authority is settled.”

49 Authority Five Primary Views: 1. Sola Ecclesia 2. Prima Scriptura 3. Regula Fidei 4. Sola Scriptura 5. Solo Scriptura

50 Authority Prima Scriptura: Belief that the Body of Christ has two separate sources of authority for faith and practice: 1) the Scriptures and 2) Tradition. Scripture is the primary source for authority, but by itself it is insufficient for all matters of faith and practice. Tradition also contains essential elements needed for the productive Christian life. Adherents: Some Roman Catholics, some Eastern Orthodox, some Protestants. Tradition:Tradition 2

51 Deposit of Faith Deposit Age of the Apostles “... contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” —Jude 1:3 Age of the Church Prima Scriptura 400 AD1000 ADChurch Unwritten Tradition (paradosis). Interprets Scripture and contains doctrine and morals that are extrabiblical. Tradition can never contradict Scripture. Scripture Written Infallible Tradition

52 Authority Scripture Tradition Experience General Revelation Reason Emotions Back Front

53 Authority Five Primary Views: 1. Sola Ecclesia 2. Prima Scriptura 3. Regula Fidei 4. Sola Scriptura 5. Solo Scriptura

54 Authority Regula fidei: Lit. “Rule of faith.” Belief that tradition is an infallible “summary” of Scripture passed on through apostolic succession. Ultimately, there is only one source of revelation, but two sources of authority. In other words, Tradition is Scripture. Adherents: Eastern Orthodoxy, early Church, some evangelicals. Tradition:Tradition 1

55 Deposit of Faith Deposit Age of the Apostles “... contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” —Jude 1:3 Age of the Church Regula Fidei 400 AD1000 ADChurch Unwritten Tradition (paradosis)/ summary of the Gospel message. Scripture Written Infallible Tradition

56 Authority ScriptureTradition= Experience General Revelation Reason Emotions Back Front

57 “Any disjunction between Scripture and Tradition such as would treat them as two separate ‘sources of revelation’ must be rejected. The two are correlative. We affirm (1) that Scripture is the main criterion whereby the church tests traditions to determine whether they are truly part of the Holy Tradition or not; (2) that Holy Tradition completes Holy Scriptures in the sense that it safeguards the integrity of the biblical message.” —Anglican-Orthodox Dialogue: The Dublin Agreed Statement 1984 (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985), 50–51

58 “Regarding the relation of Scripture and Tradition, for centuries there seemed to have been a deep difference between Orthodox and Lutheran teaching. Orthodox hear with satisfaction the affirmation of the Lutheran theologians that the formula sola Scriptura was always intended to point to God’s revelation, God’s saving act through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, and therefore to the holy Tradition of the Church... against human traditions that darken the authentic teaching in the Church.” –Lutheran-Orthodox Dialogue: The Agreed Statements 1985-1989 (Geneva: Lutheran World Federation, 1992), 11

59 Authority Five Primary Views: 1. Sola Ecclesia 2. Prima Scriptura 3. Regula Fidei 4. Sola Scriptura 5. Solo Scriptura

60 Authority Sola Scriptura: Belief that Scripture is the final and only infallible authority for the Christian in all matters of faith and practice. (one source) Adherents: Evangelicals, Reformers Tradition:Tradition 1

61 Sola Scriptura Luther and the Reformers did not mean that the Bible is the only authority in the church. Rather, they meant that the Bible is the only infallible authority in the church. Luther and the Reformers did not mean that the Bible is the only authority in the church. Rather, they meant that the Bible is the only infallible authority in the church. Example: Respect for great councils of Nicea, Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople Example: Respect for great councils of Nicea, Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople Example: Calvin’s admiration of Augustine Example: Calvin’s admiration of Augustine

62 Sola Scriptura Sola fide – faith alone, but a faith that is not alone. Sola fide – faith alone, but a faith that is not alone. Works testify of faith. Works testify of faith. Sola scriptura – scripture alone, but scripture that is not alone. Sola scriptura – scripture alone, but scripture that is not alone. Traditions of Councils, Creeds, and the Fathers guide our interpretation. Traditions of Councils, Creeds, and the Fathers guide our interpretation.

63 R. C. Sproul – “Protestant churches have tended to be confessional in character. Subscription to confessions and creeds has been mandatory for the clergy and parish of many denominations. Confessions have been used as a test of orthodoxy and conformity to the faith and practice of the church. But the confessions are all regarded as reformable. They are considered reformable because they are considered fallible.”

64 Keith Mathison, speaking of the Apostles’ Creed – “The Creed was essentially a continuation of the regula fidei, expressing the same truths in a fuller way.” Michael Horton – “Although the Reformation sought to purge the church of medieval superstitions and additions to apostolic Christianity, the Reformers staunchly defended the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds as necessary for genuine Christian profession.”

65 Deposit of Faith Deposit Age of the Apostles “... contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” —Jude 1:3 Age of the Church Sola Scriptura 400 AD1000 ADChurch Unwritten tradition (paradosis)/ summary of the Gospel message Scripture Written Infallible Tradition

66 Authority Scripture Tradition Experience General Revelation Reason Emotions Back Front

67 The Rich Man and Lazarus Luke 16:19-31 Luke 16:29 Luke 16:29 “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’” Everything necessary for their salvation may be found in the extant Scriptures. No second source of revelation is necessary. Everything necessary for their salvation may be found in the extant Scriptures. No second source of revelation is necessary.

68 Authority Five Primary Views: 1. Sola Ecclesia 2. Prima Scriptura 3. Regula Fidei 4. Sola Scriptura 5. Solo Scriptura

69 Authority Solo Scriptura: Belief that Scripture is the sole basis and authority in the life of the Christian. Tradition is useless and misleading, and creeds and confessions are the result of man-made traditions. Adherents: Fundamentalism, Restoration Churches (radical reformers) Tradition:None (or Tradition 0)

70 Deposit of Faith Deposit Age of the Apostles “... contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” —Jude 1:3 Age of the Church Solo Scriptura 400 AD1000 ADScripture Written Infallible Tradition

71 Authority Scripture Back Front

72 Alexander Campbell, Founder of the Disciples of Christ “I have endeavored to read the Scriptures as though no one has read them before me, and I am as much on my guard against reading them today, through the medium of my own views yesterday, or a week ago, as I am against being influenced by any foreign name, authority system whatever.”

73 The astronomy analogy

74 Radical Reformers The radical Reformers believed that the classical Reformers had not gone far enough in their application of the principle of sola Scriptura. According to the radical Reformers, the classical Reformers were making a mistake by continuing to adhere to the creedal formulations of the ancient church.

75 Keith Mathison - “Tradition 0 was used during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to deny every fundamental doctrine of Christianity, including the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the inspiration of Scripture, the Resurrection, and the Atonement.” “Tradition 0 was used during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to deny every fundamental doctrine of Christianity, including the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the inspiration of Scripture, the Resurrection, and the Atonement.” “If we adopt the individualistic doctrine of Tradition 0, it is not possible to settle any debate because the final authority is each individual.” “If we adopt the individualistic doctrine of Tradition 0, it is not possible to settle any debate because the final authority is each individual.”

76 Sola Ecclesia Prima Scriptura Sola Scriptura Solo Scriptura Absolute Individualism Absolute Authoritarianism Individualistic Respect for Authority Regula fidei Dual-source view of authority and revelation Single-source view of authority and revelation

77 Sola Ecclesia Prima Scriptura Sola Scriptura Solo Scriptura Absolute Individualism Absolute Authoritarianism Individualistic Respect for Authority Roman Catholicism Eastern Orthodoxy Reformed (Protestants) Radical (Protestants) Dual- source view of authority and revelation Single-source view of authority and revelation Regula fidei

78 Prima Scriptura Sola Scriptura Solo Scriptura Absolute Individualism Absolute Authoritarianism Individualistic Respect for Authority High View of Scripture Supreme View of Tradition Supreme View of Scripture Low View of Tradition Scripture is the primary and only infallible authority for the Christian in all matters of faith and practice. Tradition, as represented by the Church, is important and useful, but not paramount and infallible. Tradition is true to the degree that it agrees with Scripture. Tradition, represented by the magisterial authority of the Roman Catholic Church, is infallible and equal to Scripture as a basis for doctrine; it is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice since it must define and interpret Scripture. Scripture is the sole basis and authority in the life of the Christian; Tradition is useless and misleading. Creeds and confessions are the result of man-made traditions. Sola Ecclesia Regula fidei

79 Prima Scriptura Sola Scriptura Solo Scriptura Absolute Individualism Absolute Authoritarianism Individualistic Respect for Authority Roman Catholicism Eastern Orthodoxy Reformed (Protestants) Radical (Protestants) Early Church Through Reformation Catholic Counter- Reformation Radical Reformation Sola Ecclesia Regula fidei

80 Prima Scriptura Sola Scriptura Solo Scriptura Bible Churches Anglicans Independent Churches Lutherans Baptists Presbyterians Methodists Eastern Orthodox Roman Catholic Church of Christ Disciples of Christ Sola Ecclesia Regula fidei Reformed

81 Summary Conclusions

82 Keith Mathison, The Shape of Sola Scriptura “Like the Reformers, our battle must be on two fronts. Just as they had to combat the Roman Catholic position which effectively made the Church autonomous and the Radical Anabaptist position which effectively made the individual autonomous, so we too must combat both of these defective views.”

83 Mathison – “Each [of these views] results in autonomy. Each results in final authority being placed somewhere other than God and His Word.”

84 Mathison – “We must continue to stand firm against [the] view which ultimately results in a Church which is a law unto itself. But we must also take a strong stand against those Protestants whose view ultimately results in each man being a law unto himself. Both positions are a deadly poison in the body of Christ, and both are condemned not only by Scripture itself, but also by the witness of the communion of saints throughout the history of the Church.”

85 The Down Side of Enlightenment Thought in Early America Anabaptistic individualism Anabaptistic individualism Enlightenment rationalism Enlightenment rationalism Democratic populism (belief in the rights and wisdom of the common people) Democratic populism (belief in the rights and wisdom of the common people)

86 American Christianity Nathan Hatch – The Democratization of American Christianity “Above all, the American Revolution dramatically expanded the circle of people who considered themselves capable of thinking for themselves about issues of freedom, equality, sovereignty, and representation. Respect for authority, tradition, station, and education eroded.”

87 Nathan Hatch – “In a culture that increasingly balked at vested interests, symbols of hierarchy, and timeless authorities, a remarkable number of people awoke one morning to find it self- evident that the priesthood of all believers meant just that—religion of, by and for the people.”

88 Nathan Hatch – “Taking seriously the mandate of liberty and equality, the Christians espoused reform in three areas. First, they called for a revolution within the church to place laity and clergy on an equal footing and to exalt the conscience of the individual over the collective will of any congregation or church organization.”

89 “Second, they rejected the traditions of learned theology altogether and called for a new view of history that welcomed inquiry and innovation. “Finally, they called for a populist hermeneutic premised on the inalienable right of every person to understand the New Testament for him or herself.”

90 American Christianity The Unitarian Noah Worchester argued that Christians would reject the doctrine of the Trinity if they would simply study the Scriptures apart from the creeds of the Church. The Unitarian Noah Worchester argued that Christians would reject the doctrine of the Trinity if they would simply study the Scriptures apart from the creeds of the Church. Charles Beecher denounced “creed power” and called for “the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.” Charles Beecher denounced “creed power” and called for “the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.” But not all Americans adopted Tradition 0. Charles Hodge (1797 – 1878). But not all Americans adopted Tradition 0. Charles Hodge (1797 – 1878).

91 Scriptural Problems with Tradition 0 Acts 15:1 - Acts 15:1 - “But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’" Response: The Council at Jerusalem Response: The Council at Jerusalem

92 Mathison – “The Apostles did not tell every individual believer to take their Bible and decide by themselves and for themselves whether the Judaizers were correct. On the contrary, they gathered in a council as a body and discerned the truth of the matter.”

93 Hermeneutical Problems with Tradition 0 Mathison – “The doctrine of solo scriptura, despite its claims to uniquely preserve the authority of the Word of God, destroys that authority by making the meaning of Scripture dependent upon the judgment of each individual. Rather than the Word of God being the one final court of appeal, the court of appeal becomes the multiplied minds of each believer.”

94 Historical Problems with Tradition 0 Large segments of the Church have been illiterate or without a Bible—for centuries. Large segments of the Church have been illiterate or without a Bible—for centuries. For these believers, the practice of solo scriptura would have been impossible. For these believers, the practice of solo scriptura would have been impossible. Solo scriptura requires an anachronistic reading of modern conditions back into periods of history when those conditions did not exist. Solo scriptura requires an anachronistic reading of modern conditions back into periods of history when those conditions did not exist.

95 Theological Problems with Tradition 0 Adherents to solo scriptura cannot authoritatively define the canon. Adherents to solo scriptura cannot authoritatively define the canon. The canon was confirmed by church councils. The canon was confirmed by church councils. Solo scriptura reduces the essential doctrines of the church to no more than opinion. Solo scriptura reduces the essential doctrines of the church to no more than opinion. The Nicene doctrine of the Trinity and the Chalcedonian doctrine of Christ are no more authoritative than the doctrinal ideas of any opinionated Christian. The Nicene doctrine of the Trinity and the Chalcedonian doctrine of Christ are no more authoritative than the doctrinal ideas of any opinionated Christian.

96 Practical Problems with Tradition 0 Leads to schism and factionalism Leads to schism and factionalism It’s the ecclesiastical equivalent of a nation with a constitution but no court of law to interpret that constitution. It’s the ecclesiastical equivalent of a nation with a constitution but no court of law to interpret that constitution. It negates the duty to submit to those who rule over you. It negates the duty to submit to those who rule over you.

97 Mathison – “Scripture was given to the Church within a certain pre-existing doctrinal context that had been preached by the Apostles for decades. Solo scriptura denies the necessity of that context, and it denies the necessity of that Church. In doing so it denies Christ who established that Church and who taught that doctrine to His disciples. It is rebellion in the name of God against the authority of God for the sake of preserving the authority of man.”

98 Sola Scriptura and Limited Inerrancy Is sola Scriptura compatible with a view of Scripture that limits inerrancy to matters of faith and practice? Is sola Scriptura compatible with a view of Scripture that limits inerrancy to matters of faith and practice? No, there are problems. No, there are problems.

99 Problems with Limited Inerrancy Results in “canon reduction” Results in “canon reduction” What parts of Scripture deal with faith? What parts of Scripture deal with faith? What becomes of history in the Bible? What becomes of history in the Bible? How do we escape dehistoricizing the gospel? How do we escape dehistoricizing the gospel? What do we do with John 3:12? What do we do with John 3:12? Christ to Nicodemus: “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” Christ to Nicodemus: “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”

100 Other Canon Reduction Subtraction of the Old Testament in general and the law of God in particular Subtraction of the Old Testament in general and the law of God in particular Sproul, “Perhaps we are living in the most antinomian period in church history. It is a time when attention to the law of God is not considered all that important. This represents a pernicious form of canon reductionism.” Sproul, “Perhaps we are living in the most antinomian period in church history. It is a time when attention to the law of God is not considered all that important. This represents a pernicious form of canon reductionism.”

101 There are no serious attempts today to add books to the Bible. There are no serious attempts today to add books to the Bible. Neopentecostal theology often views messages delivered in tongues or the utterance of “prophecy” as new forms of revelation. Neopentecostal theology often views messages delivered in tongues or the utterance of “prophecy” as new forms of revelation. Pat Robertson routinely gets a “word of knowledge.” Pat Robertson routinely gets a “word of knowledge.” “Someone in Topeka is right this moment being healed of a goiter.” “Someone in Topeka is right this moment being healed of a goiter.” Canon Addition

102 Oral Roberts told the nation that God had revealed to him that his life would be taken if he didn’t receive a large amount of money in donations. Oral Roberts told the nation that God had revealed to him that his life would be taken if he didn’t receive a large amount of money in donations. Some Christian leaders have claimed that God has “spoken to them.” Some Christian leaders have claimed that God has “spoken to them.” Some people say that a message from God has been “laid on their heart.” Some people say that a message from God has been “laid on their heart.”

103 Two Views on the Defense of Inerrancy The Presuppositional Method The Presuppositional Method The Evidentialist Method The Evidentialist Method

104 The Presuppositional Method Presupposes (assumes) that inerrancy is true and that a rational defense of it ought not to be made, even if it could be made Presupposes (assumes) that inerrancy is true and that a rational defense of it ought not to be made, even if it could be made Argues that the Bible is self-authenticating Argues that the Bible is self-authenticating Adherents: Cornelius Van Til and Gordon Clark Adherents: Cornelius Van Til and Gordon Clark Criticized for circular reasoning; other books claim divine inspiration Criticized for circular reasoning; other books claim divine inspiration

105 The Presuppositional Method Premise A: The Bible is the infallible Word of God. Premise A: The Bible is the infallible Word of God. Premise B: The Bible attests to its own infallibility. Premise B: The Bible attests to its own infallibility. Premise C: The self-attestation of Scripture is an infallible attestation. Premise C: The self-attestation of Scripture is an infallible attestation. Conclusion: The Bible is the infallible Word of God. Conclusion: The Bible is the infallible Word of God.

106 The Evidentialist Method Evidentialists affirm the validity of the arguments for the existence of God and the truth of the Bible. Evidentialists affirm the validity of the arguments for the existence of God and the truth of the Bible. Adherents: Thomas Aquinas, Charles Hodge, John Gerstner, R. C. Sproul Adherents: Thomas Aquinas, Charles Hodge, John Gerstner, R. C. Sproul

107 The Evidentialist Method Premise A: The Bible is a basically reliable and trustworthy document (the claim of inerrancy is not necessary) Premise A: The Bible is a basically reliable and trustworthy document (the claim of inerrancy is not necessary) Premise B: On the basis of this reliable document we have sufficient evidence to believe confidently that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Premise B: On the basis of this reliable document we have sufficient evidence to believe confidently that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Premise C: Jesus Christ being the Son of God is an infallible authority. Premise C: Jesus Christ being the Son of God is an infallible authority.

108 The Evidentialist Method Premise D: Jesus Christ teaches that the Bible is more than generally trustworthy: it is the very Word of God. Premise D: Jesus Christ teaches that the Bible is more than generally trustworthy: it is the very Word of God. Premise E: That the word, in that it comes from God, is utterly trustworthy because God is utterly trustworthy. Premise E: That the word, in that it comes from God, is utterly trustworthy because God is utterly trustworthy. Conclusion: On the basis of the infallible authority of Jesus Christ, the Church believes the Bible to be utterly trustworthy. Conclusion: On the basis of the infallible authority of Jesus Christ, the Church believes the Bible to be utterly trustworthy.

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111 Is the Bible Sufficient? James Montgomery Boice - Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? “Today we confess the Bible’s authority, but we discount its ability to do what is necessary to draw unbelievers to Christ, enable us to grow in godliness, provide direction for our lives, and transform and revitalize society.”

112 Unworthy Substitutes for the Word’s Sufficiency Captivating music, moving testimonies, emotional appeals Captivating music, moving testimonies, emotional appeals “signs and wonders” “signs and wonders” healings healings

113 The Cambridge Declaration “In practice, the church is guided, far too often, by the culture. Therapeutic technique, marketing strategies, and the beat of the entertainment world often have far more to say about what the church wants, how it functions and what if offers, than does the Word of God.”

114 Sufficiency of the Bible 2 Timothy 3 “[1] But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. [2] For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, [3] heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, [4] treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, [5] having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

115 Sufficiency of the Bible 2 Timothy 3 “[1] But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. [2] For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, [3] heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, [4] treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, [5] having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

116 2 Timothy 3 “[14] But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [15] and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

117 2 Timothy 3 “[14] But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it [15] and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

118 The Bible is Sufficient… …for Evangelism …for Evangelism …for Sanctification …for Sanctification …for Guidance …for Guidance …for Social Reformation …for Social Reformation

119 The Westminster Confession of Faith Completed in 1646

120 Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 1, Of the Holy Scripture Chapter 1, Of the Holy Scripture Ten Paragraphs Ten Paragraphs

121 Paragraph 1 Explains the Necessity of Scripture “Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore, it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church…

122 “…and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.”

123 Paragraph 2 Lists the Books of the Canon “Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, which are these: [66 books listed] “All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.”

124 Paragraph 3 States the Reformed Understanding of the Apocrypha “The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.”

125 Paragraph 4 – The Authority of Scripture Depends upon God and Not upon the Testimony of Men “The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.”

126 Paragraph 5 – Authority (cont) “We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God:…

127 “…yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.”

128 Paragraph 6 – The Sufficiency of Scripture “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.” (continued)

129 “Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.”

130 Paragraph 7 – The Perspicuity of Scripture “All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.”

131 Paragraph 8 – Autographs Are Inspired by God “The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.” (continued)

132 “But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.”

133 Paragraph 9 – The Interpretation of Scripture “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.”

134 Paragraph 10 – The Unique Authority of Scripture “The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.”

135 Hermeneutics The Science of Biblical Interpretation

136 Hermeneutics In Greek mythology… In Greek mythology… …Hermes was the messenger of the gods. …Hermes was the messenger of the gods. It was his task to interpret the will of the gods. It was his task to interpret the will of the gods. (Most of the following notes come from Knowing Scripture by R. C. Sproul.) (Most of the following notes come from Knowing Scripture by R. C. Sproul.)

137 The Purpose of Hermeneutics To establish guidelines and rules for interpretation (in this case, Scripture) To establish guidelines and rules for interpretation (in this case, Scripture) To establish guidelines and rules to safeguard us from misunderstanding To establish guidelines and rules to safeguard us from misunderstanding

138 A Hermeneutical Example The supreme board of hermeneutics for our land is… The supreme board of hermeneutics for our land is… …the Supreme Court (in regard to the Constitution) …the Supreme Court (in regard to the Constitution)

139 Grammatico-Historical Method The Constitution was supposed to be interpreted by studying the words of the document itself in light of what those words meant when they were used at the time of the formulation of the document. The Constitution was supposed to be interpreted by studying the words of the document itself in light of what those words meant when they were used at the time of the formulation of the document.

140 Grammatico-Historical Method Acts 1:8 – “You shall be my witnesses.” Acts 1:8 – “You shall be my witnesses.” Is Christ making a prediction of our future performance? Is Christ making a prediction of our future performance? Or is He issuing a command? Or is He issuing a command? The Greek structure clarifies: It’s a command. The Greek structure clarifies: It’s a command. (We are thankful for commentaries.) (We are thankful for commentaries.)

141 “The Analogy of Faith” The primary rule of hermeneutics The primary rule of hermeneutics This rule is that Scripture is to interpret Scripture This rule is that Scripture is to interpret Scripture No part of Scripture can be interpreted in such a way as to render it in conflict with what is clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture. No part of Scripture can be interpreted in such a way as to render it in conflict with what is clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture.

142 Sensus Literalis The second rule of hermeneutics The second rule of hermeneutics The Bible should be interpreted according to its literal sense. The Bible should be interpreted according to its literal sense. Genre analysis Genre analysis Literary forms Literary forms Figures of speech Figures of speech Style Style

143 Genre Analysis We distinguish between lyric poetry, newspaper accounts, and legal briefs. We distinguish between lyric poetry, newspaper accounts, and legal briefs. Hyperbole = exaggeration for effect Hyperbole = exaggeration for effect Matthew 9:35 – Matthew 9:35 – “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.” “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.”

144 Genre Analysis Personification = objects are given human characteristics Personification = objects are given human characteristics Isaiah 55:12 - Isaiah 55:12 - “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” But what about Balaam’s ass speaking? But what about Balaam’s ass speaking?

145 Genre Analysis Metaphor = a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another so to suggest a likeness or analogy between them. Metaphor = a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another so to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.

146 Metaphor John 10:9 – John 10:9 – “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” Sproul: “Does that mean that where we have skin Jesus has mahogany veneer? Where we have arms Jesus has hinges? Where we have a navel Jesus has a doorknob?” Sproul: “Does that mean that where we have skin Jesus has mahogany veneer? Where we have arms Jesus has hinges? Where we have a navel Jesus has a doorknob?”

147 But what about… Luke 22:19 – “This is my body…” Luke 22:19 – “This is my body…”

148 Ten Practical Rules for Biblical Interpretation

149 Rule 1- The Bible Is to Be Read Like Any Other Book

150 Rule 2 – Read the Bible Existentially

151 Rule 3 – Historical Narratives Are to Be Interpreted by the Didactic

152 Rule 4 – The Implicit Is to Be Interpreted by the Explicit

153 Rule 5 – Determine Carefully the Meaning of Words

154 Rule 6 – Note the Presence of Parallelisms in the Bible

155 Rule 7 – Note the Difference between Proverb and Law

156 Rule 8 – Observe the Difference between the Spirit and the Letter of the Law

157 Rule 9 – Be Careful with Parables

158 Rule 10 – Be Careful with Predictive Prophecy


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