Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Monday, October 16, 2006

Biblical Inerrancy VI: Why Is Inerrancy Necessary?

My conscience is captive to the Word of God; to go against conscience is neither right nor safe; on this I stand, I can do no other; God help me, Amen.”

- Martin Luther

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
-Romans 16:17-20

(Introduction and subsequent links to the series can be found here)

After acknowledging that there is more truth than is contained in the Bible, that all truth is of God, and that there are other ways in which God speaks to us, why insist upon an inerrant Scripture? Aren’t all forms of revelation equally valid? Why would we consider a written revelation any more authoritative than a word directly from the Holy Spirit to someone? If God has spoken, who am I to contradict it? Perhaps a true, current example will suffice.

The current worldwide Anglican Communion comprises millions of members from throughout the entire world. However, the Communion is in danger of a split that may exclude parts of it from certain functions and meetings, if not from the Communion altogether. While the issues may be more myriad than on the surface, the issue that has the headlines is the acceptance and ordination of homosexual clergy. The Anglican branches in Canada, the US and New Zealand allow this. Other first world, westernized countries are neutral or considering it. The remainder of the Communion, particularly in the third world, is vehemently opposed to the practice.

The western branches, who happen to be primarily white, wealthy, western, and liberal, believe that they have been and are led by the Holy Spirit to move in this direction. Thus, they claim, in essence, revelation from God as an authority to do so. The majority of the Communion disagrees, and claims that the Holy Spirit has led them to an opposite conclusion.

Yet, we know that “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:4-6)

The same Spirit cannot assent that an act is praiseworthy and abhorrent at the same time. There must be an arbiter – that arbiter is Scripture. In fact, they are more than arbiters – they are sufficient for our knowledge of the things of God. That is why St. Athanasius said, “For indeed the holy and God-breathed Scriptures are sufficient for the preaching of the truth.” Cyril, a bishop in the mid-fourth century, wrote, “In regard to the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, not the least part may be handed down without the Holy Scriptures…even to me, who tell you these things, do not give ready belief, unless you receive from the Holy Scriptures the things of which I announce.” St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in the thirteenth century, “we believe the successors of the apostles and prophets only in so far as they tell us those things which the apostles and prophets have left us in their writings.”

The belief that the Scriptures alone are the final authority for the believer is crucial to Christianity. For only as the authority of the Bible stands supreme over the authority of the individual, or the community, or even the church can we truly be addressed by the Word of God and not by our own word. Only when the difference between the work of the Holy Spirit in the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures is recognized as different from His work in the teaching ministry of the church can the church hear a Word from God rather than its own voice.

What do we have in those branches of “Christianity” that deny an inerrant Scripture? What do we have in liberal theology, neo-orthodoxy, and historical-critical theology? What do we have in the other theologies that have sprung up in the last 200 years or less that deny the authority of the Scriptures over their own authority?

They are not Christianity. They are made up religions.

That sounds harsh. I don’t think it is anything but the truth. While liberal, neo-orthodox, and historical critical theologies have distinct differences (all three are hereafter referred to as liberal), and those of one color are insulted when called another, in the end, they all have the same hermeneutic (method of determining what the Bible says) as described by Marcus Borg in “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time”: “There are parts of the Bible that we will decide need not or should not be honored, either because we discern that they were relevant to ancient times but not to our own, or because we discern that they were never the will of God.”

This kind of hermeneutic is one that, essentially, reduces our faith to a faith that is in only what we want to believe. Think about it. It is this faith that agrees that God is a God of love, who is our heavenly Father, yet denies that, somehow unlike an earthly father, He would give us rules that we don’t like, or knows things that we do not, or would impose his authority upon us in wisdom we cannot understand. It is this kind of hermeneutic that results in a faith that relies upon the “Spirit working in community”, yet restricts that community to my particular denomination, culture, place and time and completely rejects the testimony of historical Christianity, Scripture and the faithful the world over. It is this kind of hermeneutic that creates a “Christianity” that is extremely acceptable to secular intelligencia and culture, instead of preserving a gospel that offends the world and makes them hate us (Matt 10:16-41).

These followers of this kind of faith are following something, but not Christ. They are following the teachings of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). (Appropriately enough, many of these very people will deny the existence of demons, or that they actually do anything.) They use a hermeneutic that allows them to pick and choose Bible verses they already agree with, and reject those they do not.

Consider this – what basis does one reject Scriptural teaching upon? Upon their own desires. Oh, they may cite the agreement of others or current scientific evidence, but the evidence and opinions of others conveniently agree with what they already believe.

So where does the Spirit play in all of this? The Spirit is active, living and mighty in our world. He leads us into all truth (John 16:13), and gives us guidance, comfort, strength, wisdom and discernment. What He cannot do is contradict himself. He does not “lead” one believer to march in a “women’s choice” rally and another to volunteer in a pregnancy counseling center to save unborn children. He does not “lead” one preacher to proclaim a gospel of earthly prosperity and another to preach financial sacrifice to help others. He does not “lead” one denomination to ignore the Biblical prescription for the qualifications of pastors yet another to adhere to it. He does not “lead” one Christian to support a gay pride event and another to campaign for a traditional marriage protection amendment. None of these views make one a non-Christian, but to claim that both in any case are Spirit-led actions is ludicrous. Specifically, He does not contradict Scripture or lead us into “new” readings that did not become acceptable until secular culture said it was acceptable. In fact, the way we know the difference between the Holy Spirit and the leading of evil spirits is obedience and submission to the Scriptures, (1 John 4:1,6).

There is another difference you will notice between the adherents of inerrancy and those who do not: fruit.

Go to the Passion 268 website and after you enter, click on “Watch Louie’s talks online” choose “Unthinkable Rescue”. After it loads far enough, move the pointer to 22:45 and listen for a few minutes. He reads a personal letter of deliberate sin and its consequences, followed by divine salvation and the joy that results.

These stories are frighteningly rare in liberal circles, and common enough in inerrantist circles to be beyond the highest level of statistical significance in comparison. They are found in churches that maintain an orthodox view of Scripture – though many of them may look very different in presentation. This one (Louie’s), for example, is a Southern Baptist Church, though you wouldn’t guess it until you hear the Word preached. The salt of the earth are found, not in highbrow European neo-orthodoxy, but in a Promise Keepers rally where gang members renounce their gang ties at the risk of their lives; where homosexuals leave that lifestyle as they deny themselves and take up their cross; where alcoholic fathers gives their lives to Christ after being witnessed to by a street preacher; where porn-addicted husbands find rescue from their addiction after watching Billy Graham on TV; where drug addict sons leave their sin behind forever when they meet the living Christ in the preaching of the gospel! The stories of redemption from unspeakable sin are found in fundamentalist Christianity, where the Bible is regarded and preached as fully inerrant. The former gangsters never become pastors preaching that gay sex is honored by God. They are instead in COGIC churches, Cities of Refuge, and other urban gospel congregations that demonstrate real joy and exuberance in the Lord and who believe in the inerrant Word. They are coming to Christ in Pentecostal and charismatic congregations who practice gifts of the Spirit in a way I never would and who believe in the inerrant Word. They find community in a little Baptist church that makes weekly altar calls and proclaims an inerrant Word. They serve others as part of a Roman Catholic mission that believes in an inerrant Word and lives it in service to the poor. The drunkards, prostitutes, child molesters, murderers, thieves and liars come to the Christ who was fully God and man, who was born of a virgin, who suffered bodily under Pilate, who was crucified, dead and buried, who rose again from the dead, leaving an empty tomb, rose into heaven to sit at the hand of the Father, and will come again in Judgment. They come in response to a call to repentance and submission to the King of Kings, and not because they are told they have a “God-shaped Hole” and are seeking comfort after a tough week at the office. Christians the world over are martyred not for a liberal gospel of pick and choose doctrines – the Chinese government, after all, makes their own approved Bible of pick and choose verses – but for proclaiming that the road is narrow and that the truth of the Bible that Jesus is the only way!

There is a reason that Brian McLaren is never going to be translated into Sudanese; there is a reason that liberal theology isn’t exploding in North Korea; there is a reason that the trailer parks are not embracing neo-orthodoxy; there is a reason that spiritual revivals in the ghettos of New York are not found in churches that do not believe the Bible is the final and authoritative revelation, just as it was given. Lives are not changed by a “God” who doesn’t do real miracles, who doesn’t hold the universe in his hand, who somehow couldn’t communicate what He really meant until Bultmann, Schliermacher and Barth opened our eyes over the past 150 years.

Nancy Anderson and Richard Marius, both of whom are liberals, wrote sociological analyses of the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention – and both came up with the same conclusion. When you look at people who were moving toward liberalism, and the ones who were standing toward orthodoxy, the ones who were the fundamentalist were those who grew up in blue-collar homes; while the ones who were liberal, regardless of how much money they had now, were those who grew up in very comfortable homes. Not as a hard rule, but generally. Why? Anderson and Marius both asked, Why? Their conclusion: those who are more at home in American culture, those who are more secure in American culture, were those who were more likely to move with American culture, were those who were more likely to be concerned about what the outside culture thinks. Those who instead were insecure, those who were already marginalized, were the ones who were willing to hear and to listen to a gospel that the scholars had been telling them is ridiculous!

What do those who claim Christ yet deny the Scriptures do? They say things like, “The crucifixion of Christ is not salvific.” Then they claim they are following Christ, and use their superior seminary education and high status as an ordained pastor as justification to scoff at the fools who believe the Bible. Yet, we should not be surprised.

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

Those who are saved believe the Bible and those who are perishing deny it. The Scriptures and the communion of saints throughout the ages stand in unison against the false religions followed by many who call themselves Christians. Are there those who deny some part of the Bible that is true and are yet saved? I’m sure there are. There is a difference, however, between denying Scripture one is ignorant of or perhaps not discipled in and denying Scripture after studying it. The Holy Spirit will not allow a Christian to continue to deny the wondrous truths of his name and follow sin as righteousness (John 15:26-16:15). I would wager my own salvation on a brother from any culture who believes the Bible, is not ashamed of the gospel, and serves the Lord with his life – yet would not even consider it for a highly educated westerner whose faith mirrors that of their culture. Yet my assent is of no relevance – the One who brings well-being and calamity, the only one who saves, the one who has breathed out the words of Scripture, has the final say.

He has spoken – to whom will you listen? Will you listen to those “Christians” who deny the inerrancy and authority of Scripture like Borg, who says “the gospels are neither divine documents not straightforward historical records. They are not divine products inspired directly by God, whose contents are therefore to be believed”, or will you listen to the Word of God: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16, from the larger section on Scripture 2 Tim 3:1-4:8)? These conflicting views cannot both be right. You either believe in an inerrant word or pick and choose that which you will believe and that which you will disregard, of which it is written, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Prov 14:12)

(This concludes the inerrancy series. I will have two short addendums – one regarding the lectionary and one that is a warning to conservative Christian leaders)



UPDATE: The Passion website took down the Louie Giglio message (which was #3 in the Unthinkable Series) today, Oct 16th. I'm sorry you won't get to hear the story.

20 Comments:

  • That was absolutely fantastic, Hammer!

    I appreciate such a wonderful synopsis of why inerrancy is necessary. I know many of us have been thoroughly changed-forever more, because we have encountered the supreme truth through the Word.

    I am always proud of believers who speak the truth...it is so much more difficult than simply existing amongst the world.

    I was particularly pleased to see you mention the biblical reference to demons. We recently had a teaching on demon control in regards to our "living in the time of Laodicea." It isn't a mystery that those who deny biblical inerrancy, and forsake it for their own doctrine, are blinded by the demons of which they follow.

    In all that I have studied and read, I have become increasingly aware that this is the first time in history that we are truly the apostate generation.

    By Blogger Rightthinker2, at 10/16/2006 05:04:00 PM  

  • Hammer: He does not “lead” one believer to march in a “women’s choice” rally and another to volunteer in a pregnancy counseling center to save unborn children. He does not “lead” one preacher to proclaim a gospel of earthly prosperity and another to preach financial sacrifice to help others. He does not “lead” one denomination to ignore the Biblical prescription for the qualifications of pastors yet another to adhere to it. He does not “lead” one Christian to support a gay pride event and another to campaign for a traditional marriage protection amendment.

    This is a good post overall, but I think you’ve oversimplified the issues in the above excerpt. As I see it, there are at least two things to consider: 1. why should one think that the Spirit is truly leading the latter, while simply “allowing” the former to sin with abandon?; and 2. what do you do with Isaiah 45:6-7?...”I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.” [incidentally, the KJV uses “evil” instead of “calamity”]

    Also, we know that God—not Pharaoh—slaughtered innocent children (Exodus 11) and it was God—not Satan—who asked “Have you considered my servant Job…?”, and then said “Behold, all he has is in your power…”, which resulted in the death of Job’s children.

    We also know that, with respect to homosexuals, God “gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts” and “gave them up to vile passions.” (Romans 1:24-27).

    Now, does God approve of infanticide, murder and homosexuality? Not hardly. However, He not only hasn’t eradicated it, He has used it for His own purposes, according to His good pleasure, for His ultimate glory (again, Isaiah 45: 6-7). To be sure, this is difficult to comprehend, but the Scriptures tell us that God’s judgments are “unsearchable” and “His ways are past finding out!” (Romans 11:36).

    By Blogger Robert, at 10/17/2006 08:34:00 AM  

  • Robert,
    Without assenting to or dissenting from your position, my point was not regarding whether God makes them happen, but how they are classfied. I said earlier in the post, "The same Spirit cannot assent that an act is praiseworthy and abhorrent at the same time."

    This is certain - whether we believe that we have libertarian free will or are entirely under the direction of the Almighty, no one who claims they are doing those acts under the "leading of the Spirit" would claim they are doing so because the Spirit is leading them to do an evil act for the greater good!

    Like how I dodged that one? Don't worry, I haven't forgotten your related question from earlier - I just wanted to finish this series, focused on Scriptural inerrancy, first.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 10/17/2006 03:16:00 PM  

  • Hammer: …my point was not regarding whether God makes them happen, but how they are classified. I said earlier in the post, "The same Spirit cannot assent that an act is praiseworthy and abhorrent at the same time."

    Fair enough…I take your point; and I completely agree with the last sentence. However, I don’t think that we should oppose abhorrent behavior (abortion, homosexuality, etc.) on the basis that it might somehow offend God’s sensibilities. That is, sin in general and the aforementioned sins in particular are not new to God, who knows—and has always known—the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Now, we can certainly echo God’s disdain for sin, but doing so in a political context becomes—in my view at least—somewhat problematic.

    For example: supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the proposed Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage are obviously motivated by religious conviction (including, but not limited to Christians). While I have no reason to doubt their sincerity, I do have good reason to doubt their understanding of (or commitment to) the principles of individual liberty, upon which this nation was founded.

    Think about it…the compromise that we—the citizens of America—presumably have made is this: mutual respect, despite differences of opinion where faith (or a lack thereof) is concerned. This is a two-way street; religion is neither mandatory, nor prohibited by law. The devout believer, as well as the gay atheist, benefits from our secular legal system; but laws like DOMA are intrinsically unfair; not from a theological perspective, but from a political perspective. The same is true for abortion, though it’s less clear-cut because of the overwhelming emotional element.

    Lastly, I would remind you (not that you need to be reminded) that the Incarnation of Christ was the catalyst for a massive paradigm shift from the Law to Liberty (in the theological, rather than the political sense). So, did God change His mind about the nature of sin? Of course not! Nevertheless, people are now more “free” than ever to sin with impunity, in that there is now no extant theocracy (well, not one that is sanctioned—in the sense that you mentioned above—by the One True God). Moreover, Christ “redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Galatians 3:13), so why should we seek to impose a new law on non-believers? After all, they’re spiritually dead; they can’t understand why homosexuality and abortion are sin unless and until they are regenerated. Again, why use the force of government to coerce sinners to stop sinning?

    [note: that last question is referring to “victimless sin”, so to speak]

    By Blogger Robert, at 10/17/2006 09:57:00 PM  

  • "While the issues may be more myriad than on the surface, the issue that has the headlines is the acceptance and ordination of homosexual clergy. The Anglican branches in Canada, the US and New Zealand allow this."

    I'm a NZ Anglican, and I'm not aware of this. Although it wouldn't suprise me. Can you refer me to a source on this one?

    Otherwise, nice piece.

    By Blogger A. J. Chesswas, at 10/18/2006 05:06:00 PM  

  • a.j. chesswas:

    I have read many articles from reputable authors that have mentioned the NZ Anglican church as one experiencing schism over the ordination of gay clergy.

    A google search will reveal many takes on the issue. Here is one result: http://www.investigatemagazine.com/july00gay.htm though I didn't fully read the article, and I have no idea if it is a reputable source.

    By Blogger Rightthinker2, at 10/26/2006 02:43:00 PM  

  • Robert,
    This is the first time I’ve found anything I disagree with you enough on to warrant a comment against what you are saying. I have to say I was taken aback by your comments here!

    I don’t think that we should oppose abhorrent behavior (abortion, homosexuality, etc.) on the basis that it might somehow offend God’s sensibilities… Now, we can certainly echo God’s disdain for sin, but doing so in a political context becomes—in my view at least—somewhat problematic.
    Sin does offend God’s sensibilities- not because He doesn’t expect it, but because He is perfect and Holy. Maybe I’m not really understanding what you are saying here, but how can we “echo God’s disdain for sin” on the moral issues of the times (such as homosexuality and abortion) without speaking out against them in a “political context”? In what context should we “echo God’s disdain for sin”- only in the religious realm? How then can we be salt and light if we only do it in the realm that should generally already agree with God’s laws? This makes no sense to me in light of this verse:

    “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men.” (Matthew 5:14-16a)

    I cannot put my religious convictions in a little box that only speaks up when I know people will agree with me. Our faith and belief in the Word of God (both the Bible and Christ) should affect everything we do, in every area of our lives- including the political realm.

    laws like DOMA are intrinsically unfair; not from a theological perspective, but from a political perspective. The same is true for abortion, though it’s less clear-cut because of the overwhelming emotional element.

    I have to say that I am really surprised to hear you talk like a liberal. To say that upholding marriage between one man and one woman is “unfair” is in essence calling God “unfair” because he’s the One who founded marriage that way- for those who don’t like that or don’t believe that – tough, that doesn’t change the fact of it. This is the way it has always been traditionally and legally in our nation, as well, and to change these fundamental laws of our society is to alter it's foundation and our civilization will ultimately breakdown. I certainly don’t want this to turn into a political debate or another long argument about homosexuality (or abortion, for that matter), but to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture means believing God’s clear disdain for both of these acts, and upholding those truths even when it’s in opposition to the political acceptance of these behaviors in our day and age. Although men may accept sin, God hasn’t and will not.

    Christ “redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Galatians 3:13), so why should we seek to impose a new law on non-believers? After all, they’re spiritually dead; they can’t understand why homosexuality and abortion are sin unless and until they are regenerated.

    Sinners are still under the law, so there’s no “new law” being imposed on non-believers. For Christians to remain quiet and allow without a fight the government to accept marriage between homosexuals (and between whoever else this may lead to) and allow abortion to continue as it is, is to quit being “salt and light” as we are called to be to an unbelieving world. Our silence gives the chance for evil to prevail and sin to no longer be called what it is. Our subtle acceptance of these practices by not doing anything about it or speaking out against it allows non-believers to justify even more for themselves (and for naive and impressionable children) that what they are doing is normal and acceptable and sears their conscience even more from hearing God’s truth and the gospel that we are sinners in need of a Saviour.

    I don’t believe that non-believers are so “spiritually dead” that they cannot understand that abortion and homosexuality are wrong. God gives us all a conscience to show us right from wrong. It is repeatedly ignoring and hardening that God-given conscience that makes them become spiritually dead. I think many people who have abortions and engage in homosexuality (and any other sexual sin) do so knowing that it is wrong, but choose to commit the sin despite their conscience telling them it is offensive to God.

    Again, why use the force of government to coerce sinners to stop sinning?

    Using the “force of government” will never get sinners to stop sinning- that’s not at all what we’re saying here. However, we should not passively allow the law to be changed because it will invite sinners to indulge in these sins with more of a clear conscience by making it acceptable in society with the blessing and ordaining of sin as if it were from God. This only helps non-believers become further “spiritually dead” by telling them these sins are normal and OK with God when they are not. Personally, I don’t want to see homosexual marriage happen because of the implications it will have on our society (furthering the breakdown of marriage and families) and the effects it will have on my own children and future generations. Nothing good can come out of blessing behaviors that God says are abhorrent!

    In regards to your previous comments:
    what do you do with Isaiah 45:6-7?...”I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.” [incidentally, the KJV uses “evil” instead of “calamity”]

    Also, we know that God—not Pharaoh—slaughtered innocent children (Exodus 11) and it was God—not Satan—who asked “Have you considered my servant Job…?”, and then said “Behold, all he has is in your power…”, which resulted in the death of Job’s children.



    I’m not sure why you brought all this up in response to a post about inerrancy, but I can’t let it go without commenting. To tie this all in with inerrancy and to answer your question “what do we do with verses like these?” I will simply answer this:
    We believe and tremble at God’s awesome power! We trust and see how God “visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate [Him], but shows mercy to thousands to those who love [Him] and keep [His] commandments. (Exodus 20: 5-6)

    God’s divine judgment upon the first born children of Egypt in this verse you’re referring to is because of the “sins of the fathers” worshipping false gods. What a terrifying warning to heed God’s laws and obey His commandments, and put our trust in Jesus Christ who alone has the power to save us from the coming wrath.

    I’m not sure if you were using these verses to justify not pushing anti-abortion or anti-homosexual marriage policies because God Himself somehow “created evil” or “killed babies” (thus making it somehow OK for humans to do also?) or what your point was, so I don’t want to read too much into it and start commenting about things you didn’t intend to say, so I’ll let you clarify if I’m way off base. I just thought it was odd how you went really off topic here and brought up all these unrelated issues.

    By Blogger mrshammer, at 10/26/2006 02:56:00 PM  

  • Hammertime/Honey :-)-
    Sorry to have followed the lead of high-jacking your post... I figured after waiting for over a week it was OK to go ahead and answer Robert for you since no one else had commented on the topic of innerrancy. You had given me permission a while back to respond for you since you were too busy, but I wanted to give it some time for others to comment, first. No one has, so I ran off topic with Robert. Some of it does tie in with your original post.

    By Blogger mrshammer, at 10/26/2006 03:04:00 PM  

  • I appreciate your response, Mrs. H. There’s a lot to chew…

    I cannot put my religious convictions in a little box that only speaks up when I know people will agree with me. Our faith and belief in the Word of God (both the Bible and Christ) should affect everything we do, in every area of our lives- including the political realm.

    […]

    [to] believe in the inerrancy of Scripture means believing God’s clear disdain for both of these acts, and upholding those truths even when it’s in opposition to the political acceptance of these behaviors in our day and age.


    I don’t disagree, per se…however…my point was, and is, that America is not a theocracy, nor was it intended to be by its founders. Furthermore, God dissolved (or allowed to be dissolved) the theocracy of Israel…both figuratively and literally.

    There is a clear distinction between calling sin what it is and using the police power of government to prohibit sin. In other words, the law ought not to concern itself with spiritual things. God is more than capable of dealing with sin, as well as with sinners, which is His prerogative, not that of the government or society at large.

    I don’t believe that non-believers are so “spiritually dead” that they cannot understand that abortion and homosexuality are wrong. God gives us all a conscience to show us right from wrong.

    With all due respect, your argument here is with Scripture, not with me. (Romans 1,2,3…etc.)

    [we] should not passively allow the law to be changed because it will invite sinners to indulge in these sins with more of a clear conscience by making it acceptable in society with the blessing and ordaining of sin as if it were from God.

    Again, this is not a theocracy. America has a secular legal system, the neutrality of which benefits us all.

    I have to say that I am really surprised to hear you talk like a liberal.

    I’ve not hidden the fact that I’m a libertarian, i.e. a “classical liberal”.

    By Blogger Robert, at 10/27/2006 09:10:00 AM  

  • God’s divine judgment upon the first born children of Egypt in this verse you’re referring to is because of the “sins of the fathers” worshipping false gods. What a terrifying warning to heed God’s laws and obey His commandments, and put our trust in Jesus Christ who alone has the power to save us from the coming wrath.

    I have to disagree with you here as well Mrs. H, primarily because I agree with what Paul wrote in Romans 9 concerning this very issue. I do acknowledge, however, that this is probably the most difficult (and most misunderstood) portion of the Bible.

    By Blogger Robert, at 10/27/2006 09:18:00 AM  

  • From what I read, Robert, Hammer was not addressing the discussion you are embarking on. It appears to me that Hammer was conveying that the Holy Spirit will never lead someone against God.

    The claim that the Holy Spirit is leading a person to sin against God is preposterous. The Spirit only leads for the will of God, and not to embrace what God has called abhorrent. The Spirit works for holiness and righteousness, and Satan works to draw people away from salvation through acceptance of sin.

    The spirit leading a person to sin against God isn't The Holy Spirit. The Devil is the instigator of all things evil, not The Spirit. I believe that was Hammer's point.

    No one is suggesting that our country is or should become a theocracy. It is a famous and faulty argument of the liberal to claim that Christians wish to change our country to a theocracy. Our country was founded on certain principles and values, and it is the liberal, anti-Christian, or progressive Christian who denies inerrancy that has called for foundational change in our nation. Roe v Wade was only one instance. We are calling for maintanence of values to prevent our having to live in a country who promotes sins that were specifically called aborrhent. See my post: http://andreamomm.blogspot.com/2006/07/were-founding-fathers-christian-why-is.html

    There are biblical passages that depict God's disdain for the murder of the unborn through strict punishment of those who harm a growing baby. I will cite those as soon as I get another minute. This can't be somehow misconstrued that abortion doesn't offend God, or that we should allow it to continue as a necessary part of life. It undermines the value of life that is given solely by God, and it sensitizes a nation to His teachings and His wrath for those who deny it.

    Anti-Christians, and liberal Christians who do not believe the Bible are using their disregard of inerrancy to push their personal agenda, which is counter to God. One cannot claim they are for Christ, and support sin. One does not rebuke sin because we don't think the Lord has a say, or that He won't come as a lion to deal with sin. We rebuke it because we have been told to do so.

    Understand that the rebuke and opposition to sin doesn't mean that we don't believe these sins will come to pass as part of the bigger plan. It just means we will fight sin and the divide sin places between God and man, the whole way there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/27/2006 11:46:00 AM  

  • Passages I promised:

    "Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed (murder of the innocent)pollutes the land and atonement cannot be made for the land on which the blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. Do not defile the land where you live." Numbers 35:33-34

    In Psalm 106 God speaks specifically against killing innocent children and babies. He says of His people: "They mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshipped their idols which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughter to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan and the land was desecrated by their blood."

    As we know from Biblical context, demons and idols are anything you place above God. When a woman values her life and her freedom, sexual and otherwise, over God and human life, she is sacrificing her child to an idol-herself, materialism, sex, etc.

    In Exodus 21:22 God gives a specific law regarding social order for the Israelites. He stated that if two men were fighting and hit a pregnant woman, thus causing her to give birth prematurely, they must be fined according to any damage done to the baby. The fine must be paid in relation to the amount of damage inflicted upon the child. If God would make a law specifically referring to the rights of the unborn, then surely the unborn must mean something to Him!

    A just government IS called to make laws that are just, as well: "Rescue those being led away to death, hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say "But we knew nothing of this," does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?" Proverbs 24:11

    "Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil." I Peter 2:16

    Clear statements about abandoning our kids and babies for ourselves: "Even the jackals offer their breasts to nurse their young, but my people have become heartless like ostriches in the desert." Lamentations 4:3

    God clearly valued the unborn, even when society doesn't:

    "The Lord hath called me from the womb: from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name." Isaiah 49:1

    "Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us within our mothers?" Job 31:15

    "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:13-14

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/27/2006 12:09:00 PM  

  • Robert,
    Thanks for your response so quickly! Of course, I know America is not a theocracy. I listed reasons other than religious conviction for why I don't believe the law should be changed to embrace gay marriage. Marriage between one man and one woman is the cornerstone and foundation from which our society has always been built, and to allow that to be altered will cause a breakdown of the family and marriage as we know it. It will create a snowball effect that began with 'no-fault' divorce and will continue to decline. It's a sad state for a nation to begin blessing and normalizing what has always been considered an "alternative lifestyle". I fear the consequences for my children and future generations- if the Lord lets it go on that long before He returns! :-)

    I believe gay marriage will become legal everywhere in the not so distant future, but that does not mean I help it along by doing nothing to speak out against its implications. This is the last thing I am saying about this subject because it is not the topic of the original post and I've already been down this road way too many times. Again, it is not a central issue to Christians- it is the world that is so focused on the issue of homosexuality and when anyone who is a Christ follower stands on the Bible's truths and speaks out against it, we are called "hate-mongers". Again, I have flesh and blood relatives who are gay and I love them dearly. Just because we disagree with someone's actions and their agenda to normalize a sinful behavior to justify it does NOT MEAN WE ARE HATEFUL! I love my brother, my cousin and my uncle (who are all gay) and pray they will come to Christ in repentance and turn from the lifestyle just as I had to turn from my sin to come to Christ. Granted, their whole lifestyle is embedded in their sexuality so in some sense they have more to give up, but Jesus never promised the narrow road would be easy- He promises eternal life for those who take up their cross and give up everything to follow Him, and that's worth far more than any temporary pleasures this life can offer.

    Robert, I know you agree with much of the basic argument here (just that we shouldn't push our religious convictions and impose them on unbelievers who cannot even understand them), but this part of my comment is for other readers whom I know think of my husband and I (and all us conservative, right-wing, fundamental Christian, Focus on the Family lovers)as intolerant, bigoted, opressive and hateful, and I'm tired of it. That said, enough of the homosexuality comments!!!

    Again, I do not think we should use government power to prohibit sin! People can live in sin however they choose to, but let's not change a law that has always been the foundation of our society and call it "anti-discrimination". Soon we'll be "discriminating" against a man who wants to marry his 12 year old niece because they're "in love" and we won't have a leg to stand on legally. Don't you see where this is headed? It has little to do with religious conviction and everything to do with a breakdown of our society's foundation. It all does stem back to a disregard for God's law, but you don't have to see that part of it or be a Christian to see how damaging and hazardous altering the definition of marriage will be to our culture and nation. The majority of people in general (not just Christians!) are opposed to gay marriage and there is a reason for that- it's not all about religion!!

    I have no arguments with Scripture, Robert, but thanks for your reminder of what Romans says about unbelievers being spiritually dead to the things of God. With a continuous lifestyle of indulging in sinful behaviors, we dull our God-given conscience and convince ourselves that we're no longer sinning. People have an intrinsic sense of right and wrong from the moment they begin to sin as a little toddler because God gives us all a conscience with His Laws written on our hearts. It is the repeated hardening of that consceince by doing what we know we shouldn't do that hardens us to the things of God. Yes, we are spiritually dead before we're regenerated, but God has built us with an internal awareness of right from wrong (which identifies for us sinful behaviors!) and I don't think you can deny that.

    I read Romans 9, and cannot find anything you think I am disagreeing with Paul about. Can you please give me a specific verse related to something I said specifically so I can see where I am wrong or have misunderstood something? I can't even see how Romans 9 is really related to what I said at all. Maybe the part about God "hardening the hearts of whom He wills"(v.18)? I thought I explained what I meant the first time, but I hope I re-explained better in the previous paragraph.

    By Blogger mrshammer, at 10/27/2006 12:52:00 PM  

  • RT,

    The Spirit only leads for the will of God, and not to embrace what God has called abhorrent. The Spirit works for holiness and righteousness, and Satan works to draw people away from salvation through acceptance of sin.

    Well, I’ve already mentioned Job, Isaiah 45:6-7 and Romans 9. For more detail, see my next comment…

    By Blogger Robert, at 10/27/2006 08:24:00 PM  

  • Mrs. H, your passion is laudable; and I appreciate the restraint you showed in your response. My family could learn from you ;-)…my brother-in-law is a nondenominational (semi-Pentecostal) pastor in Atlanta, GA. He thinks I’m a heretic, but won’t say so.

    I read Romans 9, and cannot find anything you think I am disagreeing with Paul about. Can you please give me a specific verse related to something I said specifically so I can see where I am wrong or have misunderstood something?

    You mentioned 9:18, but 9:17 provides context: “Even for this same purpose I have raised you up, that I might show My power in you, and that My name might be declared in all the earth.” Now, of course, Paul was quoting from Exodus...9:16 specifically, which recounts the event in question. A careful study of Exodus reveals that God alone directed the actions of everyone involved; it was not the case that God was simply reacting to the sin of the Egyptians. In fact, the whole thing began with Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers, which was itself an integral part of God’s eternal plan (Genesis 45:8).

    I brought this up initially in response to the point that Hammer made in the original post…it was on topic. Here’s what I wrote:

    Also, we know that God—not Pharaoh—slaughtered innocent children (Exodus 11) and it was God—not Satan—who asked “Have you considered my servant Job…?”, and then said “Behold, all he has is in your power…”, which resulted in the death of Job’s children.

    So, in light of that, I think you misunderstand the Scriptures when you say: ”God’s divine judgment upon the first born children of Egypt in this verse you’re referring to is because of the “sins of the fathers” worshipping false gods.”

    By Blogger Robert, at 10/27/2006 08:34:00 PM  

  • Robert-
    I'm a little confused with the point you are trying to make, so I'm just going to let it go at this point. I don't think anything you've said is heretical, I just didn't agree with the points you were making (that we should keep our religious convictions separate from a political context, mainly) in your original comments to my husband. That doesn't make you a heretic just because I don't agree with you! :-) You haven't said anything (that I can remember) that's in direct contrast to the Bible- and that's what makes one a heretic.
    Thanks for the discussion and your attempt to broaden our horizons, so to speak. :-)

    By Blogger mrshammer, at 10/28/2006 03:09:00 PM  

  • Rightthinker, the article you quoted was about Methodist and Presbyterian churches, it didn't talk about the Anglican church at all.

    I was asked by a lady the other day, "you Anglicans aren't like those Presbyterians who are trying to ban homosexuals from the ministry are you?"

    I answered, "we're not trying to ban them, the Anglican church has never accepted gay clergy..."

    as far as I know...

    I hear stories of all sorts of heretics being ordained in England, and USA clearly has lost the plot. I know some Anglicans who are empathetic to the gay rights cause, but none of them are clergy...

    Now that I think of it, there is one church in Auckland city that blesses gay relationships (I think), and there prob should be a push for disciplinary action there... but I think that church is just seen as a bunch of wacky urban Aucklanders and it is expected they'll eb out of touch with reality and thus not taken too seriously...

    Perhaps we're too blase on the matter, but I think Kiwis tend to think for locally than nationally and as a result the Anglican church is quite diverse without visibly "falling apart". Few Anglicans take their Anglicanism that seriously, the evangelicals know that CoE is not the one true church and understand their role as the wheat among the weeds...

    By Blogger A. J. Chesswas, at 10/29/2006 04:40:00 PM  

  • AJ,
    I apologize - I was writing from memory, and I knew that the US, Canada, and another former holding of the British Empire East of the GMT line ordained homosexual clergy, and I guessed wrong with NZ. It is actually South Africa, yet they say that those homosexual clergy must be celibate. Honestly, I am not sure I have a big problem with that - just as I would not have a problem with an alcoholic who has and intends to remain sober.

    I visited Christchurch in 2001. I loved it! Go All-Blacks!

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 10/29/2006 07:29:00 PM  

  • Cheers Hammer...

    I have been impressed with the leadership of NZ's Anglican church since joining, I hope and pray they have the sense not to take our communion through the sort of thing yu're talking about... I trust that they do...

    By Blogger A. J. Chesswas, at 10/29/2006 08:46:00 PM  

  • My how quickly things change!!

    Dunedin Bishop Ordains Homosexual Deacon

    By Blogger A. J. Chesswas, at 11/06/2006 03:26:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home