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The Authority of Scripture: Inerrancy

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
June 29, 2022 12:01 am

The Authority of Scripture: Inerrancy

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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June 29, 2022 12:01 am

Scripture is absolutely true, and therefore it should govern our lives. Today, Stephen Nichols asks an important question: Are we willing to submit to the inerrant Word of God?

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If we say the Bible is God's word. Then we will be led to say the Bible is true because the Bible reflects God's character not think about this to say that the Bible contains error is like saying God lives when the event is that there are many in the evangelical church to inadvertently claim that God lives because they claim that the Bible contains error. The battle for the doctrine of inerrancy has raged for several decades today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. Steven Nichols will help us understand why we can be confident that the Bible is true in our last session together. We ended with saying that Scripture is God's word, the doctrine of inspiration and Scripture is God's word.

Then as the doctrine of inerrancy what were going to look at in our time together, tells us that Scripture is true. Now we can spend the next 20 some minutes together, talking about how Scripture is true or I could simply show you this and it will prove once for all. This of course is from the reliable, very scholarly publication, the weekly world news. This is from May 25, 1993 and there is Goliath's skull found in holy land, but this is my favorite banner down here reads dramatic discovery proves Bible story is true, there you go. The Bible is true, we don't need to talk anymore.

Tina, I wanted to show you that in the first session, but I was afraid if I did that he would give up on me so I save that for a couple sessions we are talking about how the Bible is true. This time, so we've got the inspiration and fact, if we go back to that essay that I mentioned to you that essay by BB Warfield back in the 1880s on the inspiration of Scripture. He gives us a very simple formula that is been followed since then. That inspiration teaches that the Bible is God's word and if it is God's word, then we are naturally led to the doctrine of inerrancy that is true now will see this in Scripture itself by showing that Scripture reflects as the word of God reflects the character of God. One of the interesting text that shows us this is numbers chapter 23 verse 19. You remember numbers you read through it when you read through the Bible each year, but it in numbers chapter 2319. This is in that really curious exchange with the donkey and bail him and Belloc and here we have a fascinating word again as God is speaking in up in verse 17 we have the question what has the Lord spoken that question is in fact a rhetorical question readies he saying that once you realize that God has spoken. Guess what, it will happen.

So he says this in verse 19 God is not man that he should lie, or Son of Man, that he should change his mind. Has he said and will he not do it or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it. There is a clear, linking here of the character of God with the revelation of God in the conclusion of that is God's word is true, reliable and trustworthy. That's fascinating.

It's not that the comparison is that God doesn't lie all the time because we don't lie all the time is contrasting himself with us and it's not as if everything we say is a lie right even if we lie sometimes were telling the truth. So the idea is not that sometimes God tells the truth in order for this contrast to work. It has to be an absolute contrast and then absolute contrast tells us very simply God does not lie, he speaks truthfully this is the doctrine of inerrancy. Now the doctrine of inerrancy has been there. Not only within the pages of Scripture but is been there from the beginnings of the history of the Christian tradition that church fathers at numerous places will talk about the full trustworthiness the whole Bible is the word of God. You even see this and one of the early bishops. Polycarp, Polycarp will be making a point writing in his epistles to some of the churches is the bishop that was martyred at Smyrna and he will be writing to these churches and give them advice on different things there facing but then help to sort of backup and just quote Scripture and the more the point he wants to drive home the more Scripture. He quotes you.

It's fascinating. Polycarp doesn't even have to introduce it with saying notice of Scripture and therefore strewn you need to listen to this.

He just quote and gets out of the way because the prevailing view is that Scripture is true now. This view was developed more fully. As we saw with the Prince Tony ends with Warfield in the 1880s to the 1910s, especially as it came under attack coming out of the ideas expressed in people like failure in the 1890s, but as we move out of the fundamentalist modernist controversy that your of the 1880s to the 1920s, we see that inerrancy pops up again.

In fact, it all started in 1961 1961 commentaries published on Genesis by a professor at a sanctioned Southern Baptist theological seminary and the book is published by a publishing house of the Southern Baptist convention in that commentary on Genesis almost right out of the gate.

The very first sentence questions the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, and then it's off to the races. And before you know it in the 60s and in the 70s, the largest Protestant denomination in America, the Southern Baptist convention is embroiled in a battle for the Bible and eventually the conservatives get the upper hand and bring the denomination around what was happening in the Southern Baptist convention was happening across the spectrum of American Christianity so much that in the 1970s a group got together and decided to write a statement on Scripture. Now this was maybe the dream team of theologians in the 1970s there was a JI Packer. There was Jim Montgomery Boyce. There was RC's parole.

There was this host of theologians and church. Recognizing the dangers of what was being said. From pulpits from the seminary Lecter that would result in the undermining of the authority, reliability and trustworthiness of Scripture. So they met. They formed a group called the International Council on biblical inerrancy they used to joke that it could be international, because JI Packer was a part of it.

So he's British so there's the international part and they produced a statement in 1978 called the Chicago statement on Scripture or sometimes called the Chicago statement on inerrancy. This is an actual reporting of the statement.

It's only two pages long. It's got 19 articles while there was a preface to this doesn't have the preface about a page long preface and the 19 articles of affirmations and denials in the Chicago statement was intended to offer a definitive and a nuanced view of the doctrine of inerrancy. It recognized the statement that is recognized that when we talk about inerrancy.

We are talking about the original autographs it recognized that while the Bible is true.

It is a truthful recording of human speech and at times that human speech itself could be erroneous. So it is a truthful recording of somebody speaking falsely. In other words, it also recognizes what we call phenomenological language. Now there's a word you say 10 times phenomenological language is simply the idea that we talk in terms of the phenomenon. Nobody wakes up in the mornings and says oh what a beautiful Earth rotation.

We have this morning doing no of course not.

We even in our scientific age even in our technological age of the 21st century what we say, sunrise and sunset. We will save Earth rotation, but that's technically what it is will the Bible speaks and phenomenological language. The language of the phenomenon so the statement stresses all that. What's fascinating about the statement is that he centrally restates Warfield's basic idea. The doctrine of inerrancy is lodged in the doctrine of inspiration. If we say the Bible is God's word.

Then we will be led to say the Bible is true because the Bible reflects God's character. Now think about this to say that the Bible contains error is like saying God lies. Think about that. If the Bible is a reflection of God's character and we say, well, the Bible contains error.

It's limited inerrancy. But why not just call it limited Aronson right up to.

I guess his question was glass half for the last 70 but what you're saying that God lives, what, let's look at this. Let's look at what Scripture has to say about itself week. We see it in Numbers chapter 23 verse 19 God is not like us, we lie we equivocate we go back and forth we fail to keep our promises.

God says it will happen. God promises it, it will be fulfilled. We see it in Proverbs chapter 30 verse five will make you work. The session really looking a lot of texts. Proverbs chapter 30 verse five says every word of God proves true. Every word of God proves true, and there is a wonderful application of that effect. The author Proverbs goes on to finish that application force. He is a shield to those who seek refuge in God's trustworthy. His word is trustworthy. Therefore, we can flee to it for refuge things that are trustworthy aren't worthwhile refuges for us to flee to go over to well I guess we can go back to second Samuel chapter 7 verse 28. Here again we see the admission and now, O Lord God, you are God.

So we know who God is your God and your words are true. You have promised this good thing to your servant. We have young kids at home and in order that stage where the kids ask us to do a lot and I'm always saying oh yes we can do that we can go here and do this thing. Or we can see that and I don't always keep my promises and the other thing about kids is the sort of remember that you tell them you're going to do something. We have a balcony in our church. They always want to sit in the balcony and every Sunday. I pretty much say well maybe next Sunday will sit in the balcony and of course the next Sunday rolls around and they say will last Sunday you said we would sit in the back. We don't keep a promises to we try to but we are finite we are frail we are even sinful. God is not is none of those things is not finite is not limited he's not frail, he's pure and righteous in his words are pure and righteous and true and you can bank on it.

God keeps his promises.

God keeps his promises was we go over to the New Testament, we see the same thing fact we see it in Christ's ministry is sort of like Polycarp trying to advise the early church.

All he does is speak Scripture. He doesn't have to even say you know you should follow this because it Scripture. He just quotes it. Jesus does the same thing doesn't right off the bat in the temptation carriers met with Satan. Here is Matt literally with a lie and how does Christ respond at every turn. How does he respond, he simply quotes Scripture even see it in his own words when he says over in John chapter 10 John 1035, almost as an aside, Jesus is one of those many debates he's having with the religious leaders of the day. The Pharisees of any quotes the Old Testament and then almost as an aside, a parenthetical comment. He says in Scripture cannot be broken. Scripture cannot be broken. So Jesus both in what he explicitly says, and by his example is showing us that God's word is true that it is trustworthy in his high priestly prayer that wonderfully intimate prayer for us as Christ is about to leave as he is on the eve of his cross work on our behalf, and that high priestly prayer. He prays that we are sanctified any praise, sanctify them through thy word, and then he says your word is truth. Your word is truth because it's truthful because is trustworthy. It can be a refuge because it's truthful because it's trustworthy.

It is what works on us. As Paul says in the Thessalonians passage or as Jesus says it is what sanctifies us something that doesn't measure up to truthfulness something that doesn't quite get up to that level isn't something that we should have is the authority of her life that we turn to that we let governors that we let control us.

Scripture is true, and therefore it should govern us. We see it. Beyond Christ as well. We see it another New Testament authors Paul in Romans chapter 10 for instance he's quoting from Isaiah chapter 28 and is Paul quotes from Isaiah chapter 28 he doesn't even say the prophet Isaiah said he says Scripture says and he gives the quote and because it is Scripture is true and it is that Old Testament quote that is the pivot of Paul's argument in Romans chapter 10 we even see it in the way the New Testament authors reflect on themselves of verse I take tremendous comfort in an fact worthiness see this as we get into our session on interpretation, but at the end of second Peter in chapter 3 verse 16 Peter is referring to his beloved brother Paul and he says in verse 16 of second Peter chapter 3. Speaking about Paul as Paul does in all his letters when he speaks of these matters and then he says there are some things in them that are hard to understand. I can't tell you how comforting that is to know this is Peter. He spoke Greek. He was a disciple. He spent years with Christ. He was under the inspiration and he says I'm stumped by Paul every once in a while.

Isn't that encouraging. The next time you feel a little lost in the tall grass of Romans.

Just let those words of Peter Echo in your head and you will be comforted.

But he says things are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction. So he's talking about false teaching curators of the church as a newborn baby and there's false teaching already crept into it, but then he says this as they do to the other Scriptures wasn't even dry on Paul's epistles. And Peter is recognizing them as authoritative as truthful and he is equating them with the other Scriptures. So what we find here is not just isolated pieces here and there, but what we find is a consistent message that Scripture is the word of God. Now sometimes theologians will speak of what they call the self attestation in the Reformation era. They use the Latin for this. The internal testimonium than they would even make it the internal testimonium spirit to us sanctity the witness of the Holy Spirit that we know the Bible is true because it is from God and it bears the stamp. The divine witness of the Spirit. The internal testimony or we sometimes express this doctrine, the self attestation, ultimately, to answer the question, how do we know God's word is true, it's because it tells us it is now immediately a critic would launch a response to that will that sounds to me like circular reasoning will party wants to say you're right, it is because in fact all reasoning is circular. Some circles are more vicious than others, like the circle of your own head of human autonomy. That's a pretty vicious circle to be in.

But we don't simply have to say Scripture is true because it says it and that's it. We can look to external evidences that support, not the keyword, not prove but support the truthfulness of Scripture. Scripture didn't occur off behind some bushes somewhere and some profits with decoder rings giving some secret message. It occurred in real places in real time and real events and we can bear this out. This is where archaeology this is where history comes in to support the claims of Scripture, there was a discussion for years that there was no hard data. No evidence to support the Davidic dynasty's is so prominent in the Old Testament, and here we are lacking data archaeological physical data to support the presence of the Davidic dynasty, and so the critics lodge the charge. Therefore the Bible is not true and then lo and behold there is an inscription discovered with the simple words by eat David the house of David Scripture didn't occur in a vacuum. It didn't occur outside of time and place. There is a place for archaeology. There is a place for historical data, not to prove that the Bible is true, but to support it, to show us that it is indeed a reliable and trustworthy book. You know the bottom line issue here is not so much argument, though I think there is a place for that and it is important to make arguments for the truthfulness and trustworthy of Scripture. Bottom line issue here. By and large, is one of attitude and attitude of submission or not. Are we willing to submit to this ancient book is the word of God or are we not the doctrine of inerrancy reminds us forcefully reminds us this is the word of God. It is true, it is our trustworthy refuge and it is through this word that nursing. That's the doctrine of inerrancy MS Dr. Steven Nichols with a message from his series why we trust the Bible as Christians.

This is the foundation of everything that we believe without God's special revelation, we would be lost. Trapped in the darkness of our sin, studying understanding and embracing what we find of the Bible defines every aspect of our faith. If you'd like to learn more and continue your study on this important topic. I hope you'll contact us today and request the six message series by Dr. Nichols. You can do so with your donation of getting about to leave your ministries there are couple of ways you can reach is one is by phone at 800-435-4343 or you can go online to Renewing Your Dr. RC Sproul said that the purpose of Scriptures to help believers renew their minds and live more fully for Christ learning why the Bible is trustworthy is an important place to start is why we encourage you to request the series again. It's called why we trust the Bible by Dr. Stephen the goals are phone number again is 800-435-4343 in her online address is Renewing Your also will let you know about another bar helpful resources is called ask Ligon near 24 hours a day, Monday through Saturday, you can receive answers to your biblical and theological questions in real time.

This is not an automated system you'll be able to chat with a trained team member at any time day or night. Just go to ask God Ligon was referred to Dr. Nichols this week.

There is one topic that this seems to be a constant for the skeptics.

The reliability of the Bible tomorrow and Friday. Dr. Michael J.

Kruger will help us understand where the Bible came from how we can know it's reliable. I hope you'll join us Thursday for Renewing Your Mind

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