Few things will shake one’s faith like a well-crafted attack on the inspiration, inerrancy, and reliability of Scripture. More than ever, atheists and skeptics are taking their opposition to Christianity directly to the Bible, proposing evidence that what has traditionally been considered the Word of God is little more than a haphazard and arbitrary collection of ancient religious writings. This strategy is a good one. As evangelical Christians, our final authority for faith and practice rests with the Bible. If the enemy can persuade us to doubt or even deny the orthodox view of Scripture, at the very least he will have opened us up to all manners of destructive error. At the very worst, he will have stolen the very foundation of our faith.
The devil is a pragmatist. Once he finds a strategy that works, he wears it out. His current onslaught against the faith is the same ploy he used so affectively against our first parents in the Garden of Eden. If you listen closely to the skeptics, you can hear the serpent’s echo in their question, “Has God actually said…?”
As we have seen in our brief look at the Emergent Church in our Sunday evening series, it isn’t only the atheists who are questioning the authority of Scripture. The enemy behind the attack is the same, although the question is modified: “Can we really know what God has said?”
If the true church is to remain strong, she must be able to defend an orthodox view of the Scriptures. Knowing what we believe is only part of a ready defense. We must also know why we believe. A firm grasp of why we hold that the Bible is inspired, inerrant, and reliable is valuable for two reasons. It gives us the tools with which to counter the enemy and it strengthens our own confidence that what we have in the Bible are the very words of God, words that can be trusted, words that can be understood.
Our annual Bible conference this year will focus on this issue. How did we get the Bible? What do we mean when we say it is inerrant? How can we know that the Word is reliable? These questions will be answered in depth by our guest speaker, Dr. Robert Plummer.
Dr. Plummer is Associate Professor of New Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His book, 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible, is not only an excellent resource on the discipline of interpretation, but also gives a solid understanding of how we got the Bible, why it is reliable, and what inerrancy means. It is a great resource for pastors and laypersons alike.
The Bible conference will be held at PBF on August 13-14. Please mark your calendars now and look for more details in the coming weeks.
Below is a sermon that Dr. Plummer recently delivered at SBTS. If you have the time to listen, you will be blessed.