Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Why Believe the Bible Pt. 3

Ultimately we can believe the Bible because it is the Word of God. The Bible self-authenticates itself. We believe the Bible because of its self-affirmation. As Boice says, this is where Christians should be starting from.
Christians say they believe in particular doctrines -- the Trinity, the resurrection of Christ, the virgin birth of Christ, the doctrine of the atonement, and we go to the Bible to defend these dear doctrines. Then why not go to the Bible to affirm its authority? If the Bible is our authority on these doctrines, then it does not lose its authority when we speak of the authority of the Scriptures themselves. If we hold to its accuracy in these matters, then it is accurate when it speaks of itself.
Look at 2 Timothy 3:16 "all Scripture is inspired by God." The greek word translated "inspired" literally means "God-breathed." "Theopneustos" combines the word for God, "theos", and breath, "pneustos".

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why I Believe the Bible - Pt. 1

Much of the information that follows will be taken largely from the work of the late Dr. James Montgomery Boice, longtime pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA.

First, in answering "Why do I believe the Bible?" let us build a case for the divine truthfulness for the Scriptures.
1. The Bible is a generally trustworthy document. Its reliability can be looked at and established as we would any other historical document. For instance we might treat the trustworthiness of Scripture as we would come to a historical record like the works of an ancient Greek writer. I mean why do we believe we have the accurate works of Socrates or Plato? What makes them trustworthy that is what we have when we read their works? So establish the trustworthiness of the Scriptures.

2. On the basis of the history recorded by the Bible we have sufficient reason to believe that the main character of the Bible, Jesus Christ, did what He claimed to have done and is who He claimed to be: the one and only Son of God.

3. As the unique Son of God, Jesus Christ possesses an infallible authority.

4. Jesus not only assumed the Bible's authority in His own teaching, but clearly proclaimed such -- that it is indeed without error and eternal. See Matthew 5:18 -"For truly I say to you till heaven and earth pass away not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished."

5. If indeed the Bible is the Word of God. as Jesus Christ taught, then the Bible must be inerrant and completely trustworthy as God is a God of truth, incapable of falsehood. 1 John says that God is a God of light and in Him is no darkness at all.

6. Therefore, based on the clear, straightforward teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ we can profess with confidence that the Bible is indeed infallible.

Hopefully these points will lay some groundwork for what will follow, as we touch on 10 reasons to believe the Bible as our guide and authority in matters of life and faith.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Believe the Bible -- Why?

Today on Focus on the Family I heard Josh McDowell speaking to some group somewhere and he was talking about asking young people and their Christian leaders a question -- "Do you believe the Bible? Is it your authority on life?" Well in these Christian groups he always heard the same answer -- "Well, yes."
Then he asked them a deeply penetrating question -- "Why do you believe the Bible?" McDowell reports that no one could really answer. Except on one occaison.
One time he asked a youth leader the "Why?" question, and the guy responded, "Because I have faith." He said the others in the crowd started cheering. Sadly.
Does just because I have faith in something, does that make it authoritative and true? What about a Muslim, they have faith that the Koran is true -- does that make it true?
In this post-modern culture, truth becomes personal truth. What is true for me is true for me, I believe it and have faith in it. You may not. You may have your own truth.
I have often thought about going to someone in a witnessing encounter and saying to them, "The Bible says you must repent of your sins and trust Christ for salvation."
And their response would be, "Well what do I care what the Bible says. I don't believe the Bible. I've never read the Bible. Why should I put any stock in what that book says. Why not listen to what the Mormons say, they have a book of their own don't they? What makes the Bible the authority?"
Do we as Christian men and women, evangelical believers, know how we would respond to that response from our neighbors?
Hopefully in the next few days I will be posting here some reasoned responses.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Dr Jerry Falwell

Growing up in Lynchburg VA in the 1970s I heard and saw much of Dr Jerry Falwell. He was a great citizen of Lynchburg. Jerry got things done, in the face of tremendous opposition in his hometown. In the midst of turmoil, he never lost his witness to Christ. He always smiled and pressed on. I always thought it ironic that many in Lynchburg seemed to despise the man and his mission. Of course a prophet is without honor in his own hometown. These days Lynchburg benefits tremendously (financially at least) from the presence of Liberty University. Also culturally and spiritually. Like him or not, Jerrry Falwell always stood for what he believed in. He was not scared of opposition. He stood at the front for many years taking shots from every direction for convictions that millions hold dear. He fought for decency and morality. I was touched on the day of his death when I heard Rev. Jesse Jackson refer to Falwell as a "great man" and a "great Christian." Jackson mentioned a time in his life when he and Falwell met and prayed together during a rough period for Jackson personally. This speaks to Falwell's character. He and Jackson seldom, if ever, agreed and they battled at opposite ends -- yet they prayed together and respected one another.
I am thankful for Dr Jerry Falwell. Though I didn't agree with every position he took, you cannot help but admire his tremendous vision and all that was accomplished in his 73 years. Even in the midst of great public accomplishments and battles, he never stopped being a great and loyal pastor to his congregation. I have seen him visiting in the hospital, I have seen him at homes of bereaved families, I have seen the lives saved in the crisis preganancy home for unwed mothers, I have seen the prison ministries, the home for alcoholics, and heard of the many many lives he touched personally with gifts and help. I also saw that even in the midst of "fame" that he was an ordinary guy -- pumping gas at the station, taking his family to eat, walking through the airport, driving around in his Suburban.
I am thankful for his years of faithfulness to his wife and family -- no hint of sexual misconduct. I am thankful that he never stole money from the ministry. I am thankful for his example of perseverence. I am thankful for his example of stepping out in faith, trusting God for everything. What you see on Candler Mountain today is "by faith." I am thankful that a university is filled with Christian teachers who believe the Bible, teach the Bible and love you as Christ loves the church -- not perfectly I know, but they know that is what is expected of them.
His political positions and gamesmanship I believe resulted from a deep love for his country and not wanting to see it slide to destruction. For that I am thankful.
I am thankful for his faithfulness to decalre the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His always wearing his "Jesus First" pin on his lapel. Would that more preachers would require bodyguards from the enemies of the cross.
Like him or hate him, at least he was in the arena, battling til the end. Thanks.