Category: Doctrine of Scripture

Barrett’s ‘God’s Word Alone’ is a Must Read on the Doctrine of Scripture

Scripture AloneI recently finished Matthew Barrett’s God’s Word Alone: The Authority of Scripture. Even at 374 pages, it is a unique confluence of concision, breadth, and depth. I am grateful that God equips men with such theological skill and calls them to ply their craft for the benefit of the church. My heart resonates with Robert Yarbrough who, in his endorsement, called this book “a feast.”

For the last five decades, evangelicals have wrestled with the past and with one another over what constitutes a true evangelical doctrine of Scripture. Over the last seven years, I’ve had the privilege of studying some of this history and even wading into the present discussion, if only just a little. It’s become painfully clear that the disagreement among evangelicals over how to understand Scripture’s authority, inerrancy, inspiration, and clarity has only intensified the last two decades, and there is no immediate indication that the clamor of controversy will soon quiet to a din of discussion (present attempts at dialogue notwithstanding). Continue reading “Barrett’s ‘God’s Word Alone’ is a Must Read on the Doctrine of Scripture”

Scripture, Tradition, and the Question of Authority

We affirm that the Scriptures are the supreme written norm by which God binds the conscience, and that the authority of the Church is subordinate to that of Scripture.

 We deny that church creeds, councils, or declarations have authority greater than or equal to the authority of the Bible.

The second article of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (CSBI) deals specifically with the issue of Scripture’s authority. Article II affirms that the Scriptures are the “supreme written norm” to which human conscience is bound, while other written documents, although important, do not possess authority equal or superior to that of the Scriptures. Continue reading “Scripture, Tradition, and the Question of Authority”

Let Us Have Peace with God? Reflections on Romans 5:1 and Dealing with Bible Difficulties

Encountering difficulties in the Bible can be troubling for the young believer and the seasoned saint alike. Yet, when we are confronted with hard passages or apparent discrepancies in the biblical text, we don’t want to ignore the difficulty or pretend it doesn’t exist. Out of an unwillingness to do a little hard work, lack of acquaintance with the available resources, or the mistaken assumption that faith shouldn’t require any mental effort, we may indulge the temptation to shuffle quickly past difficult passages in order to avoid intellectual and emotional discomfort. Continue reading “Let Us Have Peace with God? Reflections on Romans 5:1 and Dealing with Bible Difficulties”

Manuscripts and the Wisdom of God: A Brief Essay on the Transmission of the Bible

One of the reasons why Mormons look to revelation other than the Bible is because they believe—and assert in official LDS teaching—that the original content of the Bible has been corrupted over the centuries as the Scriptures have been passed down from generation to generation. Because of this alleged corruption, God’s revelation in the Bible had become tainted and is in need of corrective revelation. Alongside the Bible, Mormons receive The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrines and Covenants as authoritative Scripture.

My goal in this essay is not to examine and critique the claims of these “latter-day revelations” (others have ably handled this issue). Rather, I want to consider the accusation that the content of the Bible has been corrupted over time. If it can be shown that the Bible is wholly reliable and without textual corruption, the basis on which Mormons posit a need for new revelation is significantly undermined. Positively, a fresh look at the reliability of our Bibles can provide Christians with a renewed confidence that what they have in the Bible is the pure and sufficient word of God. Continue reading “Manuscripts and the Wisdom of God: A Brief Essay on the Transmission of the Bible”

Two Productive Questions to Ask of Psalm 119

What happens when you ask the right questions of Scripture?  You get the mother lode. Riches pour forth like water from Moses’ rock. In the case of Psalm 119, the text itself makes it clear what questions we are supposed to ask, and the payoff is pretty sweet. Here are the two questions we should ask as we trek through Psalm 119: (1) What does the psalmist pray for; and (2) What is the psalmist’s posture toward God’s word? Continue reading “Two Productive Questions to Ask of Psalm 119”

The Benefits of Written Revelation

It is easy to take our Bibles for granted.  Many Christians have more than one–I have over twenty–and ready access to a variety of Bible translations and formats is available for perusal and purchase from online or local bookstores.

Although it is easy to take this abundance of Bibles for granted, I also find it nourishing to my soul to reflect regularly on God’s kindness in revealing himself the way he has.  Why did God give us a written word rather than leaving us with an oral tradition?  While we may not know all the reasons why God has acted in this way, I think it is possible to land on a few reasonable answers.  In his always helpful Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem offers three reasons for why God chose to give his people a written revelation. Continue reading “The Benefits of Written Revelation”

Should We Blame Inerrancy for the Spiritual Troubles of Younger Evangelicals?

The framers of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (CSBI) believed that inerrancy was a doctrine vital to the health of the Christian and therefore could not be set aside or ignored without serious consequence. Yet, even though they held that the doctrine was essential to individual and corporate spiritual well-being, they also believed that an affirmation of inerrancy was not required for salvation (see Article XIX). That is, people may embrace the fundamental components of the gospel and even uphold the truthfulness of most of the Bible while at the same time denying inerrancy. Continue reading “Should We Blame Inerrancy for the Spiritual Troubles of Younger Evangelicals?”