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April 5, 2018
The War Against The Word of God From Within the Church
By Anthony Wade
Examining a new article dredging up the failed Andy Stanley arguments from last year that we no longer need the Bible to be inerrant...
The Bible says that we should not be ignorant of the schemes of the devil, thus we know he has schemes working against the cause of Christ. One of the more active ones is to attack the verity of Scripture. As we see so evidently in politics today, the truth is not only under assault but it is being violated every day. People no longer want to seek absolute truth on any given subject but would prefer to hear the echoes of their own false beliefs. This is also true within the church. Just try and tell someone that their favorite false teacher is false and see the ensuing backlash for what it is - demonic. The assault on the Bible has several fronts. The devil has always used man to constantly attack any minor claim made in the Bible and even used science to dispel historical narratives. For example science believes they have a natural answer for the supernatural ten plagues of Egypt. Why does the devil go to such lengths? Because sin is always found within shades of grey. As long as the world feels it is poking holes in the inerrancy of Scripture then it gives the unsaved more cover to dismiss the entire Bible. The war against the Word has several fronts though and sadly it has two within the walls of the church itself. Experiential Christianity such as Bethel and IHOP teach that our experience trumps Scripture. Thus those the cling to the Bible as their plumb line are dismissed as legalists, out of touch, and in need of a revelation of the Holy Spirit. This is ridiculous of course since we know that Jesus is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truths contained within the pages of God's Holy Word. People like Mike Bickle and Bill Johnson teach the notion of fresh revelation -- as if God forgot something when He put the Bible together.
The other front from within the church is more devious and subtle. It comes in the form of reasonable sounding preaching from formerly well respected pastors. Their motivation always sounds pious and Jesus-centric but their rationale is straight from the pit of hell. We saw it last year when Andy Stanley preached serval messages designed to undermine the sufficiency of Scripture. Andy was frustrated because so many of his youth went away to college and came back either backslidden or atheistic. His solution was to replace the inerrancy of the Bible with reasoned and carnal arguments because he could not see that the problem was in his mirror. When you run a compromised church that does not bring the whole Gospel to bear, this is the end result. His youth were not falling away -- they were never converted to begin with. Stanley caught a lot of grief for these sermons and didn't really care. We had not heard a lot on this front until an article this week on Charisma News, linked above, turned up. To be honest I had not heard of Dr. Frank Turek but his bio claims he is a leading apologetics expert. If so, I am afraid that the devil has picked up significant ground on this front. Let us reason together through this article and see what God really has to say.
"Is Christianity true just because the inerrant Bible says it is? No. Christianity would still be true even if the Bible was never written." -- Dr. Frank Turek
This is the same flawed foundation Andy Stanley tried to lay. The object is not to turn our faith into an academic subject. Faith does not rely upon empirical evidence. The drawing of the Holy Spirit and conversion to a belief in Jesus Christ is not a measurable event. God uses the foolish to confound the wisdom of this age. The things of God are utter foolishness to those who are perishing. It is not the job of any Christian or pastor to convince the unsaved that the Gospel is true. Their job is to preach it. The work of salvation is entirely of God and supernatural. We know the Bible says that only the Gospel can save someone and that only God gives that increase. So we are not off to a good start here.
"Let me explain. It's a common belief prevalent among some Christians today that what we know about Christianity depends on an inerrant Bible. Sure, we know that there are several non-Christian writers from the ancient world who make brief references to the first-century events and the beliefs of the early Christians, corroborating what we read in the New Testament. We also know that there is an increasing number of archaeological findings that support characters and events in the Christian storyline. But some of us erroneously think that Christian beliefs cannot be sustained unless the Bible is without error. That would mean that the Christian faith is a house of cards ready to collapse if one verse or reference in the New Testament is discovered to be false." -- Dr. Frank Turek
The reference to the house of cards analogy is actually what Andy Stanley said in one of his sermons and it was wrong then and it is wrong today. True faith is the opposite of a house of cards. True faith can look at what carnal excuses the world makes and see through them because we believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. We do not need archeological finds and first century events. Sure it is always nice to hear that the world admits something we believe has somehow been proven but faith already knew it was proven. Turek has it backwards. I do not have faith because I believe the Bible is inerrant. I believe the Bible is inerrant because I have faith. Let's break it down real simple. The key verses today express that all Scripture is God-breathed. This is what is known as divine inspiration. This means that God Himself breathed out the words we see on paper in the Bible. It was not Paul, Peter, or John but God. Is God like a man that he would lie? Is there anything He has said He was going to do that He did not? Does He change His mind? Is He capricious? No beloved. No.
"Although I think are good reasons to believe in an inerrant Bible, inerrancy is an unnecessarily high standard by which to establish the central event in Christianity--the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (which we celebrated this Sunday). Christianity hinges on that historical event. If Christ rose from the dead, then, game over, Christianity is true. On the other hand, if he didn't rise from the dead, then, as a first-century eyewitness by the name of Paul admitted, Christianity is false. But you don't need inerrant sources to establish that the resurrection actually happened, or any other historical event for that matter. For example, if you found an error in the stat line of a football game, should you assume that every game, story and stat line in the newspaper was a complete fabrication? Then why do some people do that with the New Testament? Why do they assume that unless every word of it is true, then most of it is false?" -- Dr. Frank Turek
Good reasons? The inerrancy of Scripture is either true or not; believed or not. The football score analogy is a little silly but let's work with it. If you found an error in a stat line of one game, wouldn't that naturally cast doubt on the rest of what is being reported? The issue would not be that everything else is 100% wrong but rather that you now would have a reason to dismiss any score or stat you don't like. Turek again misses the point. It is not that people believe in either inerrancy or complete falseness. That is a red herring argument at best. The scheme of the devil is to cast doubt. To make the truth malleable. To turn what is black and white into shades of grey. If the Bible is only mostly true then each individual can decide for themselves what they will accept and what they will reject. This salad bar theology is prevalent throughout the liberal denominations of Christianity. Our faith does not hinge upon any historical event but rather upon our belief in Christ. This is what Andy Stanley did not understand. If you try to teach Christ to your kids then it is no wonder they had no faith to begin with. They went off to school and someone taught them something else and they switched what they saw as true. If you preach Christ to your youth however then the Bible says that the Gospel can save them. That saving faith is supernatural. It cannot be quantified in a history book. More importantly with the indwelt Holy Spirit confirming what they believe there is nothing academia can throw at them that can shake their faith.
"They assume that because they are confusing the fact of the resurrection with the reports of the resurrection. Conflicting reports of a historical event are evidence that the event actually occurred, not the reverse. In other words, to return to our sports analogy, the only reason there is error in the stat line to begin with is because the game was actually played and someone tried to report on that game. Neither the stat line nor the error would exist unless the game had actually been played. After all, who reports on a game that didn't actually take place? The same is true with the documents comprising the New Testament and the resurrection. Even if one were to find an error or disagreement between the multiple accounts of the resurrection story, the very fact that there are several eyewitness accounts shows that something dramatic actually happened in history--especially since the folks who wrote it down had everything to lose by proclaiming Jesus rose from the dead. That is, all of the New Testament reporters (except Luke), were observant Jews who would pay dearly for proclaiming the resurrection. Why would Jewish believers in Yahweh--people who thought they were God's "chosen people" for two thousand years--invent a resurrection story that would get them excommunicated from the "chosen people" club, and then beaten, tortured and murdered? Answer: they wouldn't. They saw something dramatic that they weren't expecting. Then they proclaimed it, altered their lives because of it, and later wrote about it, despite the fact that doing any of that would get them killed." -- Dr. Frank Turek
That doesn't even make sense logically. Yes the fact that one stat report shows 400 passing yards and another says 300 does not mean you have proven anything other than the game was played. The fact that people disagree with the resurrection account does not mean it is proven that Christ was resurrected. Once again we see the true disconnect of faith. Turek is arguing that established facts and eyewitness accounts establish faith but that is untrue. Faith is in the belief without evidence. Beloved you must understand why this is so dangerous. Frank Turek is making very persuasive and convincing arguments but they are all carnal. Maybe by making all of these arguments he can factually convince someone that Jesus Christ rose from the dead -- but he cannot save them eternally this way. The other side of this folly is that if you were to somehow base your faith upon be convinced factually than someone else can easily unconvince you with different facts. That is why faith is often called unwavering.
"So Christianity isn't true just because the Bible says it's true. Christianity is true because an event occurred. True, we wouldn't know much about Christianity if the reports of the resurrection had never been written, but the resurrection preceded the reports of it. As my friend Andy Stanley asks, "Do you realize that there were thousands of Christians before a line of the New Testament was ever written?" Paul was a Christian before he wrote a word of the New Testament. So was Matthew, John, James, Peter and so on. Why? Because they had witnessed the resurrected Jesus. Contrary to what some skeptic may think, the New Testament writers didn't create the resurrection--the resurrection created the New Testament writers. In other words, the New Testament documents didn't give us the resurrection. The resurrection gave us the New Testament documents! There would be no New Testament unless the resurrection had occurred. Observant Jews would never have invented that. -- Dr. Frank Turek
Imagine my surprise to find out that Andy Stanley is his friend. This is essentially Stanley's heretical sermon from last year regurgitated. It is just as wrong today beloved. We know Christianity is true as believers because God did a supernatural work in us and now we have the indwelt Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. Without that, all we would have is some academic understanding that could be altered with the next college course we take. The things of God, such as the indwelt Holy Spirit, are foolishness to those who do not believe. You cannot educate someone into salvation. This entire argument serves only one master -- Satan. It serves only one purpose -- to undermine faith in God. Please understand we are not talking about minutia. If one Gospel writer has a story one way and another has different details; that is not a discrepancy. It is a matter of perspective and who the Gospel writer's intended audience was. But if the walls of Jericho did not really fall as described, why would I believe in the literal six day creation? Why would I believe in sin, repentance, heaven, hell, or anything else that might make me uncomfortable. That is why we do not compromise - because it always begets more compromise.
"This why the foundational beliefs of Christianity--what C.S. Lewis called Mere Christianity-- are true even if the reports have some errors. Getting details wrong in reporting the resurrection doesn't change the larger point that the resurrection actually happened. In fact, if all the accounts agreed on every detail, we'd rightly assume they colluded. Actual eyewitnesses never describe the same historical event in the same way. For example, survivors of the Titanic disagreed how the ship sank. Some say it broke in two and then sank. Other say the thought it went down whole. Does that disagreement mean that we shouldn't believe the Titanic sank? Of course not. They all agree on that! They were just viewing the same historical event from different vantage points. Likewise, all the writers agree that the resurrection occurred, but they will differ on the minor details (Who got to the tomb first? Did you see one angel or two? etc.). And these differences aren't necessarily contradictions, but the natural result of viewing the same historical event from different vantage points." -- Dr. Frank Turek
Just a word here about the casual way He handles the fundamental lynchpin of our faith. Comparing the resurrection to the Titanic is beyond stupid. The Titanic was not the only ship that has ever sunk before and since. The resurrection of Jesus Christ however is a singular standalone event that could only be accomplished through an omnipotent God. Now I agree with Turek that the minor details do not matter but that has not been his point beloved. His point has been that the Bible does not need to be inerrant. That means it can be false or wrong. Yes one Gospel writer may have Mary reaching the tomb first and one might have Peter. While inconsistent it does not mean that the Bible is no longer inerrant. That is absurd.
"The historical documents we've collected and put into one binding we call the New Testament are just what the name implies-- they are testaments or reports of what honorable people witnessed and had no motive to invent. In fact, given who they were and how they suffered, they had every motive to say it wasn't true . And there are several other excellent reasons that show it takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian. So inerrant Bible or not, the resurrection we celebrated on Sunday actually occurred about 1,985 years ago. That means you can trust that one day you'll be resurrected like Jesus if you put your trust in him." -- Dr. Frank Turek
Wow, breathtakingly poor theology. First of all the opinions he gives are just opinions and other people can choose the other side of those opinions. Many would say they were not honorable and made up the witness accounts. Many in that day believed the followers of Christ stole the body of Jesus. Man will believe what he wants to be his own god. It is only fitting that in an article riddled with such disconnect that he finishes with the worst yet. Seriously consider this question without laughing beloved.
How does Dr. Frank Turek know that we can be resurrected like Jesus if we put our trust in Him?
There is only one answer and that is because the Bible told him so. Yet he just spent the last four pages convincing himself that the Bible does not need to be inerrant. Are you starting to see the problem you create Frank? The Bible is more than the resurrection and faith is more than academia.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- April 5, 2018