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The Reliability of Scripture

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
April 27, 2022 12:01 am

The Reliability of Scripture

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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April 27, 2022 12:01 am

If the Bible is not basically reliable as a historical document, there is no reason to attach any particular significance to Jesus of Nazareth. Today, R.C. Sproul explains the importance of defending Scripture's reliability.

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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Have you ever known a Christian who had a hard time believing that all of the Bible is true there are Christians like this all over the place who, 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 problem will be Renewing Your Mind. You have been over the years I've had the opportunity to hit the streets and discover what people believe what they believe about God in salvation and what they believe about God's word about the Bible. Do you believe it's 100% accurate and all that it teaches thing has a lot of metaphors and I believe that a lot of different people can read it in a different way that I believe is the same for everyone and me and some things are not as I would like to find a friend to be more activity you then maybe you've heard you talk to friends were coworkers about the Bible. How do we defend the reliability of Scripture.

How do we tell them they can trust the Bible story Dr. RC explore from his series for back in the early 1970s before the International Council on biblical inerrancy was formed that culminated in their Chicago summit meeting in statement defending the authority of Scripture. Later ministries held a special conference on the trustworthiness and authority of the Scriptures back in Pennsylvania and in that seminar, theologians and biblical scholars from around the world were assembled to address the question of the Bible's claim to being a matter of divine authority and without any collusion what came across in that particular seminar was that every single scholar grounded his confidence in the authority of Scripture on the authority of Christ, which is an interesting approach to the question because it left everyone open immediately to the same charge that we've looked at those who defend the Bible is self authenticating and the question recess is in its circular to say we believe in the authority of the Bible because Jesus taught that the Bible was the word of God when the only way we know that Jesus taught that the Bible was the word of God was because it's found in the Bible and that's certainly on the surface looks like another exercise in circular reasoning when I'm going to endeavor to do today is to show that in fact there is a linear argument involved in that that moves progressively through various stages and that in fact the argument is not under close analysis, a circular argument. Also, let me illustrate. In simple terms how the question of Christ's authority and the authority of the Bible are related. Several years ago I was speaking in Philadelphia on the authority of Scripture and at the end of the service right given this message was a conference or actually I came down from the pulpit and coming down the aisle to my great surprise was one of my college roommates that I hadn't seen in at least 20 years, probably longer than that and it was really a wonderful opportunity to become reacquainted. We went out to dinner immediately after the service, and this: I during our college days as roommates met together every night for 1/2 an hour of Bible study, followed by 1/2 an hour of prayer, and my recollection of him was how deeply he loved the Scriptures, and so on. And as we sat down at dinner. He said you know before we go any further, he says, I gotta let you know RC that I don't believe what I used to believe when I was in college about the black after college I went to the seminary, which is a liberal seminary and so on Asus I was overwhelmed with negative criticism so that I no longer believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. That was very sad for me to hear and I said well what do you still believe from what you believe. Back when we were together in college and he smiled and he said I still believe that Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, and I simple I'm delighted to hear that but I have a question for you, and he said what I said how does Jesus exercise his Lordship over you and he simply mean a symbol of the Lord is somebody who is empowered and authorized to impose obligation to issue commands to his subjects. How do you hear the command of God over your life. If not, through the Scripture. He said to me through the church in us which church and he named the denomination and I said one that denomination is at the local church or is that the general assembly of the churches of Gen. assembly, which Gen. assembly last year's general assembly that voted this way on a particular issue or this year's general assembly that reversed which one of those was the mind of Christ.

He's well I guess I have a little problem there. I said I guess you do is give both of your legs planted in midair you want to maintain your conviction of Christ as Savior and Lord.

And yet you don't trust the primary source of information of his identity of his person and work you have a problem and he felt the weight of the problem, but he was by no means alone. There are Christians like this all over the place who, because of questions that have been raised about the integrity of Scripture find themselves living in a kind of tension between trusting Scripture to a degree that it teaches us about the things of God and about Christ. And yet at the same time embracing a skeptical view of that Scripture.

So how do we get around that problem well again going back to the seminar that we had in Pennsylvania. The basic way in which we proceeded and I believe is the way to proceed seriatim in constructing an argument for the defense of Scripture is to begin with. The first premise that the Bible is a basically trustworthy historical document. Basically, trustworthy historical document that premise is not that the Bible is inspired is not that the Bible is infallible. It's not that the Bible is an errant, only that it is basically trustworthy as it is sitting alongside of a host of other historical documents.

The works of Herodotus, the works of Josephus, Suetonius, and plenty, and others who are engaged in ancient history now let me just pause for a moment and say if I am trying to defend the authority of Scripture to a non-Christian, then I'm going to have to spend a lot of time dealing with this issue right here because this is the first thing because obviously if the Scriptures are not basically reliable as historical documents.

There's no reason to attach any particular significance to Jesus of Nazareth. If you're dealing with a historical text that is basically on reliable so again, the burden initially is not to prove infallibility, inspiration and inerrancy, or any of the things of the Bible may claim for itself, but simply this much. On the other hand, therefore defending the authority of Scripture with in the church, then it's a far different matter of importance here. For example, shortly after this seminar took place. I was invited to address the faculty of a theological seminary which was openly hostile to the authority of the Bible, and yet every single one of the members of the faculty professed to be a Christian. And so when I came before the faculty and spoke to them. I started with this point and I said of course I'm assuming that you men has faculty members would affirm this premise. Otherwise you would acknowledge that you have no rational foundation for your Christian profession at all and I asked any questions. I challenge them to relate that. Not a peep out of them because I knew very well. They didn't believe it was basically trustworthy, but they didn't want to stand up and say I profess Christ for no good reason, but just through an irrational leap of faith, so they felt the conviction of what this was about the listener courses what's going on today with the Jesus seminar and other skeptical theories that are trying to show that the Bible is not even basically trustworthy factors, very little that is trustworthy in the Scripture, no, when you deal with the question of historical document and its trustworthiness. There are certain rules of historiography by which historians as scholars measure and evaluate historical sources for their credibility. There are standards that are applied to Josephus, Suetonius, Tacitus, Herodotus, and so can those standards in ploy a certain level of empirical investigation. Obviously, a historian cannot subject New Testament statements about the appearance of angels to the normal canons of historical verification or falsification.

The only way empirically from the 20 century viewpoint you could establish whether the historical testimony to angels such as Gabriel visiting Mary or Zacharias would be to find a set of petrified angel wings someplace. Maybe, but nevertheless there is a host of material within the body of the literature of the Bible that is open to historical verification or falsification. For example, early in the 20th century, an English scholar who was skeptical about the veracity of the New Testament accounts when on a special voyage and retrace the footsteps of the apostle Paul on his missionary journeys, much like Darwin in the Beagle went out and did his scientific inquiry.

In this particular scholar by pursuing the book of acts and its account examined from an archaeological viewpoint. Things that can be verified or falsified know what Luke says that when Paul visited such and such a city. The local magistrate was called this kind of a constabulary title and people say what we have no evidence whatsoever that people in those days and those towns were called by these titles. This archaeologist goes and uncovers evidence, whereby the local magistrate is called by exactly the title that Luke assigns to him in the book of acts will make a long story short after Sir Ramsey finished this scientific expedition beginning as a skeptic setting out to disprove the historical reliability of Luke as a historian came to the conclusion at the end of his journey that Luke has the best credentials of historical verification of any historian in antiquity. I remember shortly before the death of Wayne Foxwell Albright got mentioned before in here who was the Dean of Old Testament archaeology, who indeed was to archaeology what Einstein was the physics in the 20th century. In the preface to his commentary to Matthew in the anchor Bible series lamented the illegitimate influence of 19th-century Hegelian philosophy dominating New Testament research and irresponsible existential approaches to the Bible saying in his concern that scholars had moved away from archaeology and empirical investigation as the single most important tool to research historical documents reliability and said that the people are responding to the Bible on the basis of preconceived hostile philosophies that are not verified with the shovel and with the spade mean the greatest advance to recovering the authenticity of the biblical record.

In the 20th century has come through the science of archaeology and it's almost as if every time an archaeologist turns a spate of dirt over in Palestine, a new detail of history is verified by that research affect outgoing say this at no time in church history has the historical reliability of the New Testament documents or the Old Testament documents for that matter, have they ever been as well established and verified as there are today and I join Dr. Albright with his conviction that there simply is no excuse for the unbridled fanciful theories of the people like the Jesus seminar, who I call the lunatic fringe of the scholarly community about this statement.

Even Jewish theologians have granted that Luke is the best attested historian of history so taking historical canons of evaluation you look at FF Bruce little booklet. The New Testament documents are they reliable. We have established through the best studies of scholarship available. The basic historical trustworthiness inscription on just giving you an overview I'm just declaring it.

I can't go through all the details of filling out done other than the show you the approach that is made, but that there is a mountain of evidence to defend the historical reliability of sacred Scripture. No, again, you cannot on the basis of that historical type of research jump from historical reliability to infallibility or inspiration that you don't determine by archaeology, but let's go to the next premise. I'm saying that if you can establish and grant that the Bible and the documents of Scripture are generally reliable or basically reliable then you have a historical source upon which you can make a reasonable judgment about the person of Jesus of Nazareth and it's interesting to me that even people of other religions who do not embrace the New Testament claims the deity of Christ, and so on will acknowledge in their own views that Jesus was certainly at least a prophet, and if Jesus was a prophet which you can establish on the basis of these documents, then you have to ask the question was see a false prophet or a true prophet because as a prophet, Jesus prophesied concerning himself and the prophecies that he gave regarding himself were simply that he was more than a prophet butů Just only tickets for that. He's a prophet in the face of true prophet.

Then he truly and accurately speaks for God and as a true prophet.

I'm simplifying this, he takes us to the next. His prophetic teaching about the Bible is that, according to Jesus, the Bible is more than generally reliable that this prophet Jesus as part of his prophetic instruction and teaching was that the Bible is the veritable word of God, that cannot be broken and not only did he teach verbal inspiration, but he taught jot and tittle inspiration saying not. Or, will pass away until every single word is full built so in a nutshell what you have here. If you start with basic reliability moved to some solid information about Jesus then make the inquiry. What was Jesus view of the Scripture.

Now, if you have come to faith in Christ is more than a prophet, and you're convinced that he's the son of God and that he is your Lord is my friend who still believe that buybacks college roommate then you ask yourself what is the Lord of the churches authoritative teaching about the nature of Scripture and so Christians who are convinced that Christ the historical Jesus was indeed the incarnate son of God and that he was truth incarnate that he taught that the Bible was the veritable word of God than the question is do we submit to the authority of Christ.

At that point know what you have in 20th century biblical scholarship is an astonishing tension. You have all kinds of scholars out there who profess their confidence in Christ not only as a prophet but as the veritable son of God who acknowledge plainly that if we know anything about the historical Jesus, we know that he accepted and taught the prevailing Jewish view of the Scriptures, namely that they were the word of God, but the scholars though they acknowledge that Jesus taught that the Bible was inspired of God that it is infallible, and so on, that Jesus was wrong, but knowing they teach that he was wrong, but they teach that it's perfectly okay that he was wrong because we could not reasonably expect that Jesus touching his human nature could possibly have known that Moses didn't write the first five books of the Old Testament, which he said that Moses did right or that he could not be held accountable for assuming a view of Scripture that was prevalent in his day because touching his human nature. He was not omniscient and so from a theological perspective it's argued by such scholars as Karl Barth, Paul Althouse Amo Bruner Joy Khmer Emmaus, CH Dodd, just to mention a few, that they all agree that Jesus, in fact, taught the Bible is the word of God, but they also all agree that Jesus, whom they embrace as the Lord of glory was wrong in his teaching of the nature of Scripture and so that's the tension that critics within the church are dealing with.

But again the justification for this is based upon their understanding of the nature of Christ. So in the final analysis. The argument for the authority of Scripture within the church is reduced to a Christological argument, and I want to take a whole.

Of our study to examine that issue as it manifests itself with respect to this question of biblical and we look forward to hearing that message tomorrow here on Renewing Your Mind.

You know it's almost unbelievable to hear those outright attacks against the truth and authority of the Bible is in. We need to understand these things if were going to defend our faith effectively. That's why we think this series by Dr. RC Sproul is so important. It is called defending your faith.

An overview of classical apologetics. It contains more than 30 lessons covering the history of philosophy in the basic rules of logic and reason, we will send you the 11 DVD set when you give a donation of any amount to look at her ministries can make a request by phone at 800-435-4343 or online at Renewing Your Mind.or in Romans chapter 1, the apostle Paul makes the case that everyone knows that God exists. I asked Darcy what effect that has on our defense of the faith.

The problem is that fallen man refuses to acknowledge what he knows to be true. Now how that influences our defense of these will being report in my theology I believe that all the rational defense that I can get.

If I can give a perfect argument a compelling argument in irrefutable argument for the existence of God, which frankly I believe I can and not that it started with me but if I could do that unless the Holy Spirit accompanies that argument, and changes the heart of that person who hears the argument that person will never submit or acquiesce to the arguments of some people say, why even bother Mina would just proclaim it and let it go at that and I civilly most common said. First of all, to stop the miles of the obstreperous when we give a defense and intellectual defense of the truth claims of Christianity that puts restraints on the unbeliever and the militant atheists in their arguments. Second of all, it is preparation for evangelist. We are not called to jump into the darkness. In a blind leap of faith and hope that Jesus will catch us the faith that we propose and the gospel that we preach is one that is not learned by the actions of reason alone or by what we call rationalism, but the content of the gospel is reasonable. It is rational and really the person can't submit by faith. The something it when their heart, the mind tells him is absurd. I don't ever ask people to jump into the observer jump into the darkness vessel jump out of the darkness and into the light. If you've ever wondered what classical apologetics is Dr. Strohl just exploited.

It's the effective use of logic and reason. As we defend the faith. Again, we invite you to request this series by Dr. scroll 32 lessons in all and includes a bonus disc that gives you access to the study guide for the series, plus all of the MP3 audio files will send it to you for your donation of any amount to look at her ministries. When you reach out to us online@renewingyourmind.org or when you call us at 800-435-4343. The apostle Paul declared that all Scripture is breathed out by God.

In other words it's inspired what we mean by that, in how do we defend the inspiration of the Bible.

That's our focus tomorrow on Renewing Your Mind and I hope you'll join us


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