The gospel is…the word about Jesus Christ and what he did for us in order to restore us to a right relationship with God. – Graeme Goldsworthy

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dialoguing With Those Who Despise the Doctrine of Scriptural Authority

So, how do we respond to those who vehemently disagree that the Bible is God’s authoritative, inspired, and inerrant Word? The new tolerance, as we read yesterday, is tolerant of any and every morality and opinion, so long as there is no one position claiming to be the “ultimate, final opinion.” (Follow the logic, and you’ll recognize the fundamental hypocrisy.) And there lies the rub. The Bible claims to be authoritative in passages like 2 Tim. 3.16-17, which says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (ESV). In other words, the Bible comes straight from the mouth of God, and His will is that every human being walk with Him, which is only possible when His Word is providing consistent tutelage, rebuke, realignment, and recalibration to our hearts, minds, and wills.

Every worldview has presuppositions – or assumptions – upon which it is based. And ours, as Christians, is based upon what the Bible claims about itself, and it claims to be authoritative for the human race yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In other words – always. Its authority is timeless. This will not change. Some will call this circular reasoning. Very well. But let me ask them a question: by what authority, then, are we to submit to the new tolerance – that says all opinions are valid and equally true? The culture? The university? The elites? Anyway you look at it, that’s a scarier – and more dangerous – “think tank” of moral and social determination than a loving, just, merciful, all-knowing, everywhere present, eternal Creator of the universe Who punished His Son for our rebellion that we might know eternal life. History is rife with examples of when a society spurns God’s authoritative Word to determine their own authority. And history also shows that humans flourish when a society obeys and cherishes the Book.

Bowing our hearts and knees to its authority is not oppressive. It’s transformative. It’s life-giving. The Bible is the special way in which God has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity. And His revelation is intrinsically loving and gracious. Thus, to reject the Christian Scriptures is not socially sophisticated. Quite the opposite. So, let the foolishness end. And let joy begin.

“Scripture is not a ‘vocality’ that is just one stance among many. It is not making its voice known in a cacophony of other voices none of which will be authenticated until we accept them. It is not modified by how we ‘read’ it unless we depart from how the authors wished to be read and how the Holy Spirit delivered God’s truth through them. No. This is a voice unlike another voice, and what it says is unlike anything else heard anywhere else in the world. It speaks across the ages, across the generations, across the psychological divides. And it accesses our very innermost being, even our very innermost (post)modern being, modest as we may wish to be in what we can receive from God. This is truth that is rudely and insistently ‘in our face.’ This ‘word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart’ (Heb. 4.12). Can anyone really contend that this truth can be held at arm’s length just because we are postmodern?” – David Wells, The Courage to be Protestant (81)

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