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The Authority of Scripture

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
April 26, 2022 12:01 am

The Authority of Scripture

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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April 26, 2022 12:01 am

Since the Holy Spirit breathed forth every word of Scripture through His prophets and Apostles, the Bible bears the authority of God Himself. Today, R.C. Sproul appeals to the impeccable authority of the Word of God.

Get R.C. Sproul's 'Defending Your Faith' 32-Part DVD Series for Your Gift of Any Amount: https://gift.renewingyourmind.org/2155/defending-your-faith

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Coming up next on Renewing Your Mind. We are in a time frame right now where the question of the integrity and authority of the Bible is not just something that is challenged in the secular world.

It is challenged routinely with in the church itself and that's reflected in the most recent state of theology surveyed of modular ministries conducted.

For example we pose this statement, the Bible, like all sacred writings contains hopeful accounts of ancient myths, but is not literally true. 59% of those we surveyed agreed with that statement were weren't sure, but here's the thing close to 20% of self-described evangelical Christians were in that same camp is vital that we are confident authority and integrity of Scripture help us gain the confidence's Dr. RC scroll in our last session we began the new section on the authority of the Bible and we looked at how establishing the authority of the Bible is one of the top priorities of Christian apologetics and we also saw that the Bible, if we claim is self authenticating leaves us open to the charge of circular reasoning and raises all kinds of problems about its trustworthiness and also mentioned that defending the Bible in this day and age means that were on a collision course with a culture that has been very much influenced by philosophical naturalism. That's why it's so important. First of all to establish the reality of the supernatural, which we've labored so much to do in this course because then we at least allow for the possibility of supernatural activity such as miracles. Now also I have to say that on more than one occasion is so far in our course.

I have referred to the Scripture before establishing the Scripture as a normative authority. If you remember a couple of sessions ago we looked at the psychology of atheism and I looked at Paul's teaching in Romans one with respect to his claim that natural man suppresses the truth of God and then exchanges that truth for a lie, giving themselves over to idolatry not I did that before having gone through the process of establishing the Bible is the word of God. So really the only value that had from an apologetics viewpoint thus far is to indicate that there is a reply from the New Testament to those who accuse theists of establishing their notion of God purely for psychological reasons and also you will remember that I said at that time that the case for the existence of God cannot be made on the basis of psychology in either direction that it has to be established on an objective basis rather than in the subjective inclination and so that's why I was pointing out to you that both sides can argue from a psychological perspective, but that we are still left with the task of establishing that the argument for example, that the apostle Paul gives in Romans one is normative and binding on us because it's not merely his philosophical opinion, but it is nothing less then the word of God himself again. What were dealing here with is the question of authority. If you've been to a high score to college you had to write term papers, and perhaps you've written a masters thesis or a doctoral dissertation, and you know that in the academic world when you're involved in research and writing a research paper.

The professors look very carefully not only at the body of the composition and not only trace the arguments that you set forth.

But there also keenly interested in the sources and references that you cite to defend your thesis. If all of your quotations are from Dell comic books or from the Sunday afternoon Roto section of the paper. That's not gonna get you very far in the academic world. They want to see that you have examined the highest authorities in a particular field because by citing the authority you give added credibility to whatever thesis you're espousing or defending but we all realize. If, for example, were arguing physics somebody can cite Niels Bohr and get some kind of credibility for siding that authority and then turn around and get the opposite view from Albert Einstein because you realize that, hereto are the great titans of modern physics are on radical disagreement on certain point, I could also cite Plato as an authority on something in five minutes later general bottle from the pen of Aristotle in these two giants disagreed on certain issues, and so in the final analysis in this quest for truth that were engaged in the academic world searching for authority. What would be ideal is if we could establish an authority that was irrefutable and absolute in its scope and that's what again were dealing with. When were talking about sacred Scripture because were talking about a question of whether the content of this book comes from a source which source is first of all, omniscient, and second of all, infallible, and third of all completely incorruptible and righteous incapable of lying incapable of erring incapable of defects of any kind, which is what you're trying to establish when you're trying to establish that the Bible is the word of God because again, if we were engaged in the controversy and you were citing Aristotle and I were siding Plato, or you were siding, board, and I was citing Einstein and God himself appeared in the room and said this is the answer. How foolish would it be for us to challenge because obviously the final word begins to him because he is the only impeccable source of truth that we have at our disposal know if this book comes from him that all the conflicts we have in our society today over ethics and over truth can find their resolution in a source that is utterly and completely dependable.

I can tell you from a practical experience when I was a pastor years ago in Cincinnati and did a lot of counseling and I would deal with marriage counseling issues frequently.

For example, how many times I would listen to people tell me their problems, and as I listen to their problems humanly. I wanted to fix it. I wanted to relieve them of their pain.

I wanted to get them away from their struggles, and I was inclined to do what they really wanted me to do, namely they wanted me as their minister to give them my permission to do what God said they were not allowed to do and I can remember many many times. Sitting there thinking what seems to me that the humane reasonable solution to this human problem is such and such. Yet at the same time I was acutely conscious that that was in direct opposition to the teaching of sacred Scripture and so I was facing this conflict. Do I trust my judgment or the corporate wisdom of psychologists and psychiatrists or do I really see this book as a source of ultimate truth because if it is that obviously has a tremendous impact on what counsel I give the people we see the problem we have today over whose authority determines what is proper behavior with respect to sexual behavior with respect to stealing with respect to murder with respect to capital punishment. We are a nation divided on all kinds of issues and we continue to debate them because we haven't agreed on a normative authority that will settle the issue, but for the Christian, he struggles upfront with the question do we have such a normative authority that settles the matter now historic Christianity has always advanced the theory that we do have an authority that is rooted and grounded in the knowledge and in the character of God himself. And it's only been in the last couple centuries since the Enlightenment that the absolute authority of the Bible has been subjected to widespread criticism not only from outside the church, but from with in the church and the last two centuries have seen a radical barrage of criticism against the Bible from within the church from within ecclesiastical academic institutions from the seminaries from the Christian universities from so-called Christian scholars who have attacked the trustworthiness of the Bible fight at the turn of the 20th century, Abraham Kuyper, the Dutch theologian made the observation which I think was somewhat astute.

He said the biblical criticism has disintegrated into biblical vandalism. The great archaeologist William Foxwell Albright, who was to Old Testament archaeology. What Einstein was the physics in the 20th century in his last written piece of literature expressed not only his disappointment and frustration, but his daughter discussed for the influence of Hegelian philosophy and later existential categories of thought on biblical scholarship that has produced a mindset within the church and within the realm of biblical scholarship of radically un-scientific theories about Scripture ignoring the primary canons of historical investigation and empirical research such as you find in the Jesus seminar, which bases the part one.

Inventive and imaginative theory after another, and so we are now in a morass of confusion within the church about the integrity and authority of the Bible. I personally believe having studied in higher critical institutions for much of my academic background that having to go through the rigorous process of being exposed to these critics and giving the criticisms the philosophy of a second glance alike came out the other side of that tunnel may be because I'm just pigheaded like came out the other side so much more confident in the impact ability of Scripture than I was when I started, but that's another question I'm getting ahead of myself now but for now, let me just say we are in a time frame right now where the question of the integrity and authority. The Bible is not just something that is challenged in the secular world. It is challenged routinely with in the church itself. Now let's begin where I started. The last time with the claim of the New Testament writers because if the writers don't claim to be speaking under the authority of God.

There is no reason to go through this laborious process of defending the idea that we know at the end of the apostle Paul's life's last letter to Timothy where he gives his final admonitions and expectations in the third chapter he talks about that perilous times will come upon the church and he says in verse 10, you have carefully followed my doctrine. My manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering law of perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happen to me at Antioch I Coney on that list are what persecutions I endured, and out of all of them, the Lord delivered me and yes Paul's writing to Timothy, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being to see but you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them only just comment there when he tells Timothy to stay the course to endure in the path in which he is begun, he saying to him.

Remember the source of your instruction. Now Paul may be saying well I was the source or your grandmother was a source I don't think so, but I remember when I was a little boy and somebody would say something to hurt my feelings and I go home crying to my mother and she would dry my eyes with her apron strings not say doing Johnson's acceptance of sentence at my mother's comment was always consider the source and see what she meant was what else can you expect from Memphis them, and that's the kind of stuff he says to everybody, and she was trying to ameliorate my pain by telling me that the source of these critical statements was an unreliable source now.

Conversely, Paul is saying to Timothy, tough times are going to come here going to suffer persecution. But I want you to continue the course in which Iran hang in there remembering what you have learned and from whom you have learned. Consider the source. Timothy and then he goes on to say what that from childhood you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus of the source he has in Julian is the Scriptures. Now in verse 16 he says all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. Now what Paul makes here at the beginning of verse 16 is a universal affirmation about the Bible when he says all Scripture now let me pause here where Paul is saying all things are everything in a universal affirmative that includes all that is contained within this generic concept. Scripture what is Paul talking about here. He says all Scripture is given by inspiration. The word here is the word gruffly which literally means the writings which in the first century when Jewish people talked about the Grau Fay or it is written, or the writings what they were referring to clearly was the Old Testament. So at the very minimum. Paul is claiming inspiration for the Old Testament.

The question is whether the New Testament documents properly belong to the category of Scripture while were asking that question let me just jump ahead to Peter's statement at the end of his second letter where in verse 14 of chapter 3, Peter says, therefore, beloved looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by him in peace, without spot and blemish and consider that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him has written to you, as also in all his epistles. Here we have Peter cognizant of the body of literature epistles that have been produced by his co-apostle Paul.

He says, speaking in them of these things in which are some things hard to understand which untaught and unstable people twist of their own destruction as they do. Also, the rest of the Scripture is no question that Peter's testimony here is to the fact that Paul's writings belong to this category that people were twisting Paul's words. Just like they do the rest of the Scriptures, indicating that Peter puts Paul's writings on the same level of Scripture as the Old Testament, which, again, there are many other reasons to do that with the rest of the New Testament documents the promise of Christ that they would be taught and led by the Holy Ghost, and so on.

But in any case back now to Paul's statements in second Timothy when he speaks of all the Scripture all the graphite are given through what my English text says, is the inspiration of God. Now, I would agree with BB Warfield from the old Princeton school of theology, that this is technically a mistranslation when it speaks of inspiration because the word that is used in the text. Here is the word for the newest, which literally means in the Greek God breathed, God breathed, but the idea that Paul is speaking of here is that the Scriptures have been breathed out by God's God breathed in a taken a breath and when I speak as I'm speaking.

My breath is exhaling. I am breathing out now when we talk about inspiration, the doctrine of inspiration has the idea that God somehow does something to the human writer and will will will look at that later but he is breathing into them. Some superintending power to keep them from distorting his words but here the word Fiat noose refers not to the mode by which God superintendents the human authors who set down the Scripture.

The question here is the question again of source when Paul says that all the Scripture is God breathed. What Paul is saying is that the ultimate and original author of the Scripture is God. It comes from his source, he brings it out disciples of the policy. Breathing in, but it is coming ultimately from God. That is the point that he is speaking of here in the context of asking Timothy to remember the source of his instruction that ultimately the content of the Bible comes from God. So really it would be better to say that the Bible is based on expiration.

Now when we speak of inspiration again were talking about a doctrine by which the Scriptures claim that the content is not through the private insight of the prophets and apostles, but these men wrote as they were moved or carried along by the Holy Ghost where you see there now a divine and supernatural, enabling all of the human agents of Revelation. Just like the power of the Holy Ghost comes on Jeremiah in the Old Testament than the message that he delivers to Israel is not his recent opinion, but he says to the people.

Thus saith the Lord, because the spirit has given his word put his word in his mouth or in his pen and that what Jeremiah is is the one who is the human ancient who conveys the word of God. So again we haven't defended that thesis at all yet always tried to establish so far is the claim that what Paul is claiming here and Peter seconding the motion in his second epistle is nothing less, than the divine origin of sacred Scripture and again I remind you, just because the claim is made doesn't mean the truth has been established that remains for us to argue, but simply from here. We understand what it is were trying to defend mainly the claim that the apostles and the prophets together make that their word is not their own word that their word finds its source and origin in God himself.

So I think we can see there how a basic understanding of logic and reason can help us when we defend the faith, but it's vital course that we know what Scripture says what what God says about truth, thank you for joining us for Renewing Your Mind. I we web this week were featuring Dr. RC Sproul series on classical apologetics.

It's called defending your faith become in this 32 message series 2.

It's on 11 DVDs and will be happy to send you the full set when you give a donation of any about to leader ministries you can make your request online@renewingyourmind.org or you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343.

The study guide for the series is included in this offer and that there's an interesting quote by theologian Brian Edwards. In that study, Gotti said philosophy and religion may reform but only the Bible can transform Euler these important distinctions in Dr. Sproul series.

So again, we invite you to call us and request defending your faith are numbers 800-435-4343. You can also give your donation online@renewingyourmind.org as I mentioned at the beginning of the program is not unusual to find Christians who have a difficult time believing that all of the Bible is true there are Christians like this all over the place because of questions that have been raised about the integrity of Scripture find themselves living in a kind of tension between trusting Scripture and yet at the same time embracing a skeptical view of that Scripture. So how do we get around that will find out tomorrow. I hope you'll join us for Renewing Your Mind


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