Sunday, August 30, 2009

Christ's witness to Biblical inerrancy

Continued from: Biblical inerrancy in church history

Christ’s witness to the Scriptures is plain. Jesus saw God as the source of Scripture and the Holy Spirit as the author (Matt 15:4 “God said”; 22:43).

Jesus emphasized the importance of every word having divine authority (Matt 5:18; Mark 12:24-27: “I am the God of Abraham”; Luke 16:17: “It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law”).

Jesus believed the Scriptures must be fulfilled because God cannot lie (Matt 26:52-54; Luke 24:44; John 10:35).

Jesus placed himself under the Bible’s authority (Matt 4:4, 7, 10; Luke 24:25-26).
[1] Christ gave full acceptance to the Old Testament. He himself believed its prophets and prophecies (Matt 5:12; 13:57; 21:34-36; 23:29-37; Mark 6:4 [cf. Luke 4:24; John 4:44]; 12:2-5; Luke 6:23; 11:47-51; 13:34; 20:10-12; including false prophets Luke 6:26) and cited its miracles.

He believed in a real Adam and Eve (Matt 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-8); that Cain killed Abel (Matt 23:35; Luke 11:51); in the worldwide flood at the time of Noah (Matt 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27); that God spoke to Moses from a burning bush (Luke 20:37) and gave the Law through him (Matt 8:4; 19:8; Mark 1:44; 7:10; 10:5; 12:26; Luke 5:14; 20:37; John 5:46; 7:19); the reality of Abraham (John 8:56); the institution of circumcision (John 7:22; cf. Gen 17:10-12; Lev 12:3); in Sodom and Gomorrah (Matt 10:15; 11:23-24; Luke 10:12); in Lot (Luke 17:28-32); Isaac and Jacob (Matt 8:11; Luke 13:28); in manna (John 6:31, 49, 58); the serpent in the desert (John 3:14); in David eating consecrated bread (Matt 12:3-4; Mark 2:25-26; Luke 6:3-4), that David wrote psalms (Matt 22:43; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42); in Solomon (Matt 6:29; 12:42; Luke 11:31; 12:27; Elijah (Luke 4:25-26); Elisha (Luke 4:27); that Jonah was in a fish three days (Matt 12:39-40; Luke 11:29-30, 32); and that Daniel’s predictions were accurate (Matt 24:15); and in Zechariah the prophet (Luke 11:51).

But what about Jesus use of story as illustrations?

It is argued that Jesus may have used these OT stories not as history but as legends to teach a lesson, but a careful reading of the Lord’s manner of using these stories clearly leaves no room except that He considered them historical.[2] Some say Jesus was accommodating the culture, but Abraham Kuyper has shown that such a view of Christ is untenable for any Christian who accepts Jesus’ moral integrity, much more his deity.[3]

Further, Jesus was a pretty unaccommodating person on anything he considered in error, such as the Pharisees’ teaching. Some say that since Jesus was human, he too was subject to error, but that suggests a problem with one’s Christology, one’s understanding of the person and work of Christ. If you correct your Lord, who is Lord?

Even if you take the Gospels as halfway credible, it is plain how Jesus viewed Scripture. Kuyper concludes, “Either Jesus’ view of the Scripture is the true one, and then we would kneel in His presence; or Jesus’ view of the Scripture is an enormous mistake, in which case the Rabbi of Nazareth can no longer be the absolute guide along the way of faith.”[4]

What we know of Christ is that he believed in the inerrancy of Scripture. In order to be logically consistent, one must believe in both Christ and biblical inerrancy or neither one.

For the Christian the choice is plain.[5] While technically speaking one can be saved and be a noninerrantist, intellectually speaking one cannot be a follower of Jesus Christ and at the same time disbelieve inerrancy. Jesus Christ himself has laid that choice before us, “If you believe not his writings, how shall you believe my words?” (John 5:47). If Christ is your Lord, then how can your view differ from His and be intellectually honest?

[1] John S. Hammett, THE6110 Christian Theology I Class Lecture Notes, (Wake Forest, NC: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fall 2008), 29.

[2] John Wenham, “Christ’s View of Scripture,” in Inerrancy, ed. Norm Geisler (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979), 3-12.

[3] Harris, 16.

[4] Abraham Kuyper, Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology: Its Principles, trans. J. Hendrick de Vries (New York: Scribners, 1898), 459.

[5] Harris, 17.

Also on Sunday in the South: Biblical inerrancy in church history
Objections to Biblical Inerrancy #1 & #2, #3 & #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12