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Archive for the ‘Inerrancy’ Category

I’m not a guy that would watch the Oscars and personally I could care less since most of Hollywood elites seems to be in la-la land.  The host this year was also Jimmy Kimmel which I personally think is an example of a fool with jokes that’s not funny, cheap laughs and too frequently down right mean. But my phone last night got an usually rare news notification concerning the most awkward moment in Oscar’s history which as many of you know, was about the mistake in the announcement of who got the award of Best Picture.

Seeing this made me think about how I’m grateful that the Bible is without error or mistake.  It is God’s Word and is always true.  The Bible is inerrant.  If you want to learn more check out the Inerrancy Summit Seminar Sessions Audios and also my Series of posts responding to attack on Biblical Inerrancy.

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biblical inerrancy series

Here’s the wrap up of our series from the last few weeks in which I responded to someone who objected to Biblical Inerrancy.  I post it as a collected series here because I realize that some of these objections against Biblical inerrancy are also repeated by others.

  1. Does 2 Timothy 4:13 undermine the Doctrine of Inerrancy?
  2. “You’re Putting God in A Box:” The Irony of this argument against Biblical Inerrancy
  3. Does Inerrancy stunt Christians relationship with God through the Holy Spirit?
  4. Bad reasoning: The Word inerrancy does not appear in the Bible, so therefore the Bible is errant?
  5. Inerrancy: A Lie Invented By the Church?

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lie or truth

This is my sixth posts in a series responding to some arguments against inerrancy presented by a certain blogger.  Today we shall look at the following paragraph:

I believe that the doctrine of inerrancy was conveniently brought in by the Church to protect the Bible as a consecrated canon of scripture, with the authority to teach and convict.  With this, the false doctrine of “papal infallibility” was also established.  However, the assertion of inerrancy is a lie on both counts, considered to be the lesser of two evils; the other being chaos!  Now, what started as a lie is now a deeply entrenched doctrine that every professing Christian is compelled to accept as true or be branded as a heretic!  But how can we claim to have the truth in Jesus, when we are forcing many to believe a lie?!  It shows a lack of faith in God’s ability to protect His Church and reveal His Word to true believers.

Here is my response:

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error

This is actually my fifth posts in my series responding to some arguments against inerrancy.  I was mistaken last week to say that I only had two posts.  Today’s objection we shall look at is as follows:

However, no where is it written, in any verse of any chapter of any book of either Hebrew or Christian Bible that ‘scripture’ equals ‘infallible’ or ‘inerrant’!  What it does say is that God’s words are flawless (Psa 12:6), His Law is perfect (Psa 19:7), that His word will not return to Him void (Isa 55:11), that His words will all be fulfilled (Matt 5:18) and that all scripture is profitable for teaching (2 Tim 3:16).  However, it should be crystal clear that not every word written in the scriptures (whether Jewish or Christian) were the very words of God, so they do not all have the same claim to flawlessness.

Here’s my response:

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silly objection to inerrancy

Last month I wrote two posts in which I evaluated some arguments that a woman presented for the rejection of Inerrancy.  My first post was titled “Does 2 Timothy 4:13 undermine the Doctrine of Inerrancy?” followed by a second that was titled “.”  Today’s post I want to look at another criticism offered against inerrancy:

 I believe the teaching of Biblical inerrancy has hurt more than it has helped the Christian faith.  I think it could be responsible for the stunted growth among Christians, who do not develop their relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.

Here’s my response:

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building collapsing

For the last two weeks on Saturday I’ve been posting a response to a blog post that attacked the Bible specifically with the doctrine of Inerrancy.  My first post looked at the only verse the writer cited as positive proof that the Bible itself teaches an errant Bible; that was titled “Does 2 Timothy 4:13 undermine the Doctrine of Inerrancy?”  My second post deconstructed a theological argument against Inerrancy and was titled ““You’re Putting God in A Box:” The Irony of this argument against Biblical Inerrancy.”

Here in this post I want to interact with another one of her theological arguments against Biblical inerrancy:

Likewise, people have translated “inspired by God” to mean “God-breathed” to equal “inerrant”. But God first breathed into Adam, and he certainly was not inerrant!

Here we see how the writer thinks that since Adam was God breathed and erred, therefore the Bible being God breathed cannot be inerrant.  I think this warrants a closer look.

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when i hear put god in a box argument

Last Saturday I wrote a post titled “Does 2 Timothy 4:13 undermine the Doctrine of Inerrancy?” in which I evaluated an argument from an internet discussion that attacked the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy from a professing Christian.  As I stated in that previous post there was a lot of things this individual said that I want to respond to but I don’t have the time to respond to them in full concerning the matter of inerrancy.  Here in this post I want to respond to another argument given by the individual attacking inerrancy which I shall call the “God-in-A-Box-Argument-Against-Biblical-Inerrancy:”

The problem with referring to the Bible as the COMPLETE and inerrant word of God is that we limit the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the gift of prophecy.  By so doing, God has been gagged, and cannot reveal a new word, for fear of false teachers and prophets.  In light of this, I do believe we are in danger of repeating the mistakes of the Pharisees, and will brand as heretics true prophets of God and ministers of His Word.

Elsewhere in this person’s post the individual talk about putting “God in a box.”  How shall we respond to this argument against Biblical Inerrancy?

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question mark

I found an internet discussion surrounding a post that’s been generating some discussion and I find the post to be filled with a lot of things I want to respond to but don’t know if I have all the time to go through everything.  So I begin with a quote:

There are also times that Paul gave dated instructions in his letters, which we have to admit are not the inerrant words of God (2 Tim 4:13)!

According to this individual if one read 2 Timothy 4:13 we would have to admit that this is an example of a passage in Paul’s epistle that is not the inerrant words of God.  2 Timothy 4:13 is suppose to be an example of a passage that contradict the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.  The case is suppose to be so obvious that “we have to admit are not the inerrant words of God.”

Whenever people engage in doctrinal disputes it is imperative of Christians to think biblically and think through logically the arguments presented.  Sometimes that careful look at a verse require us to avoid rabbit trail and thus this post will narrow it’s scope only to the passage of 2 Timothy 4:13 and the examination of the logic of the immediate argument at hand.  So let’s take a prayerful closer look.

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ZM1210-operating

Picture Source: Georg-Johann Lay via Wikimedia Commons

March 2015 has been a busy month on our blog.  On the last day of the month I thought I share with you guys the top four post from this month:

1.) Evaluating RC Sproul’s Objection to Presuppositional Apologetics at the Inerrancy Summit

2.) The Inerrancy Summit Videos

3.) Inerrancy Summit Seminar Sessions Audios

4.) Evangelism and Inerrancy Interview with Tony Miano

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inerrancy-summit-2015
I imagine I’m not the only one who is looking forward to the audios from the Seminars at the Inerrancy Summit.  Videos of the General Sessions have already been posted.

Here are the audios of the Seminar sessions below:

Lunch Session 1

Lunch Session 2

Seminar Session 1

Seminar Session 2

 

Enjoy!

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Inerrancy Summit 2015

I’ve been to nearly a decade worth’s of Shepherd’s Conference and this one was definitely the best personally.  I really enjoyed the Inerrancy Summit.

Here are the videos!

There are some more videos they haven’t had it up yet but I will put it up as soon as they make them available.

Enjoy!

 

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Sproul Theology

Introduction

I was unable to attend RC Sproul’s session at the Inerrancy Summit.  After Sproul’s message there were several guys at the Conference that asked me what I thought about Sproul’s swipe against Presuppositional apologetics.

I finally got to see the video and if you want to see it yourself the video is below:

I thought it was ironic that Sproul spoke out against Presuppositional apologetics at the Inerrancy Summit in which many of the other speakers and audience subscribe to Presuppositionalism.

In what follows I can only give a quick response to Sproul’s objection found within the first eight minutes.  However, I think the brief summary written here does pose serious challenges to Sproul’s objections to Presuppositionalism.

 

Issue #1: Did Sproul accurately represent Presuppositional apologetics’ argument?

Sproul’s discussion of Presuppositionalism first identified two proponents of Presuppositionalism: Gordon Clark and Cornelius Van Til.  Keep this in mind as we want to see his description and criticism of Presuppositional apologetics being relevant to these two men rather than some random Internet keyboard warrior.

Sproul goes on to level his first charge against Presuppositional apologetics by giving what he claimed was the Presuppositionalist’s argument:

 

P1: The Bible is the Word of God

P2: The Bible claims to be the Word of God.

Conclusion: The Bible is the Word of God.

 

Then Sproul charged Presuppositionalists for being circular on the basis that the above is the Presuppositionalists argument.  However, did Gordon Clark and Van Til argue in this way?

Clark definitely wouldn’t have presented the above argument.  That’s because Clark’s apologetics is more axiomatic in his approach.  Note Clark stated “Our axiom shall be, God has spoken. More completely, God has spoken in the Bible. More precisely, what the Bible says, God has spoken.”[1]  In the same essay Clark also clarified how “axioms” cannot be proven: “But the axioms are never deduced. They are assumed without proof.”[2]  If something cannot be proven than by definition it can’t be “argued” for (moving from one premise to another), since it is merely assumed.  And assuming something is different than arguing for something.

If Sproul is talking about Van Til’s approach here it seems that Van Til is actually more complex than presented.  The closest I can see Van Til saying something approximating with what Sproul claim of how Presuppositionalist argues is with the following quote below:

To admit one’s own presuppositions and to point out the presuppositions of others is therefore to maintain that all reasoning is, in the nature of the case, circular reasoning. The starting-point, the method, and the conclusion are always involved in one another.”[3]

While admitting the role of presuppositions and worldviews makes things “circular” in one’s reasoning as in the sense of it being in one’ system of beliefs, Van Til elsewhere has also shared the kind of argumentation needed to get around this potential impasse:

The Christian apologist must place himself upon the position of his opponent, assuming the correctness of his method merely for argument’s sake, in order to show him that on such a position the “facts” are not facts and the “laws” are not laws. He must also ask the non-Christian to place himself upon the Christian position for argument’s sake in order that he may be shown that only upon such a basis do “facts” and “laws” appear intelligible.[4]

Note here that Van Til’s argument is not merely providing “The Bible claims to be the Word of God” as a second premise.  There is a lot more going on here.

 

Issue #2: Circular reasoning

We have noted above that Sproul did not do the best job representing the argument of the Presuppositionalist.  With this straw man argument Sproul also fault the Presuppositional apologist for committing circular reasoning.  Sproul notes that the Presuppositionalists are not bothered with this since they say all reasoning are circular.  He counters this by asserting “Circular reasoning invalidate any argument.” But if circular reasoning invalidate any argument, can Sproul give further argumentation proving that this is true?  And after he provides this argument can Sproul also provide additional supporting arguments which in turn be supported with additional round of arguments, etc?  If one truly believes circular reasoning invalidates every argument then Sproul would need to ground every premise with an argument to be rational and here Sproul would be caught in an infinite regress.  I would also encourage the readers to read this article that further address the issue: Is Circular Reasoning Always Fallacious?

 

Issue #3: Presuppositionalists commit a fallacy of equivocation?

Sproul also fault Presuppositionalists who argues “All arguments are circular” as commiting the fallacy of equivocation in that they change the definition of circularity within the discussion.  Sproul’s assertion raises several questions: Where did the Presuppositionalists changed the definition of circularity during the discussion?  If there is equivocation going on, what are the multiple different meanings of circularity being used by the Presuppositionalists?  Sproul is obligated to demonstrate that there really is the fallacy of equivocation being committed and not merely assert it.

Those who are more familiar with Presuppositional apologetics will note that Van Til does talk about vicious circularity and broader circularity but the Presuppositionalists are not using those two terms equivocally since they are not switch-referencing the term “circularity.”  Note also as well that just because Presuppositionalists sees different kinds of circularity that does not mean that the meaning of circuliarity itself is being changed.  Rather the distinction between vicious and non-vicious circularity are seen by presuppositionalists as two different subset of circularity BUT NOT as two different meanings of circularity.  I must note the obviously: Presuppositionalists wouldn’t want to equivocate the two kinds of circularity anyways lest they want to make all circularity equally fallacious (Sproul’s view, and a view which he acknoweldge is not that of the Presuppositionalists) or equally virtuous (which would make the endeavor of apologetics pointless if every circular argument is right).  Sproul’s charge of an equivocation fallacy is unfounded.

 

Issue #4: What about other religious Scriptures?

According to Sproul anyone could make such claim that their book is the book of God such as the Book of Mormon and the Quran.  He seems to be bringing this objection as a defeater to the Presuppositionalist’s commitment to the Bible as the Word of God in their apologetics.  This is where Sproul’s misrepresentation of the way Presuppositionalists argues brings obstacles to the discussion rather than help it.  If Presuppositionalists merely claim that the Bible claim to be the Word of God and therefore it is, then the defeaters with the example of other religious scripture might work.  However, the Presuppositionalists view of Clark and Van Til include the element of examining the other worldview and demonstrating how they are internally problematic.  In fact, one can adequately counter both Mormonism and Islam within a Presuppositionalists’ framework.  For an example on Mormonism see my review of Presuppositional Apologetics Examines Mormonism: How Van Til’s Apologetic Refutes Mormon Theology by Mike Robinson.  Concerning Islam see my outline WITNESSING TO MUSLIMS: THE QURANIC VIEW OF THE BIBLE.

 

Issue #5: What does Sproul believe is self-evidencing?

I want to turn the tables around.  As a presuppositionalist I am aware that everybody presupposes something in their belief system that is so foundational it is taken as self-evidencing.  Of course people disagree with what truths are self-evidencing.  Sproul hinted at what he thinks is self-evidencing:

“Obviously if it were God speaking and we heard his voice directly from his lips we won’t have to construct to have an argument to defend his infallibility or his inerrancy because we know that God is incapable of deceit and lying.”

Apparently sensation of the supernatural physically taken place is self-evidencing enough in Sproul’s view to establish that God did speak and that God is incapable of deceit and lies.  “Obviously.”  That’s Sproul’s own words.  Sproul brings this up in juxtaposition to his objection to the Presuppositionalists view that the Bible’s claim for itself is sufficiently self-evidencing.  So we see here that on the one hand the supernatural hearing of God speaking audibly is obviously self-evidencingly while the Bible claims as God’s Word is not as obviously self-evidencing.  Does the Scripture support Sproul’s perspective?

Jesus in Luke 16:31 tells a story in which Abraham tells someone how to weigh the evidential value between the miraculous with the Scriptures: “‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

[1] See more at: http://trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=50#sthash.73rgGFRo.dpuf

[2] Ibid.

[3]  Cornelius Van Til, Apologetics, Chapter 4.

[4] Van Til, Defense of the Faith, Third Edition, 100-101.

 

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Note: The following are rough notes from the conference.

Mark Dever Shepherds conference

We sometime need to unpack what it means when we say that the bible is true?

Issue: translation, transmission, truth content (teaching)

We want to get to the issue of its teaching

4 questions to help understand God’s Word:

1.) What is God’s Word?

2.) What is God’s word like?

  • True (v.142)
    Good (v.68)
    Ancient (v.152)
    Unchanging (v.160)

Note God’s word is like this because He is like this

To attack the word of God is to attack God

3.) What does God’s word does?
Studying God’s word should not make us morally indifferent
Sir us to holiness? (V.102)
Note if Jesus use the Scripture in temptation why would we think we need it less than Jesus?
Rejoice (v.65)
Understanding (v.105)
Answering prayers (v.66)
Give life!

If God is speaking why would we not read it?

4.) How do we respond?
Obey
Love it (v.148)
Meditate
Trust it (v.42)
Fear (v.120)

This passage is about: Jesus! (Listen to the sermon when it is out and the many verses in Psalm 119 that only Christ could have fulfilled.

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Inerrancy Summit 2015

The Inerrancy Summit had some recommended books to help those attending the conference pick out what they want from the bookstore.  I thought I share my reviews of some of those books along with my own recommendations concerning books not only with Inerrancy but Scripture in General.

Can I Really Trust the Bible? by Barry Cooper

Can I Really Trust the Bible Cooper

Purchase:  Amazon

Thoughts: If you are attending the conference you would already have this as part of your ten free books.  However this book is worth purchasing as gifts for others especially young believers.  Cooper’s short book shows an awareness of Presuppositional apologetics.

My Further Review

 

Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung

18475501

 

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Thoughts: Like what Ligon Duncan said in his message, one should be informed by what the Word of God says about itself first and then understanding Scripture’s phenomena and not the other way around.  What does God’s Word says about itself?  Check out DeYoung’s exposition!

My Further Review

 

The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God by John M. Frame

The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God John Frame cover

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Thoughts: The doctrine of Inerrancy is often rejected because of other surrounding issues such as a bad doctrine of God’s revelation (for instance, due to a bad philosophy of language, knowledge, etc), bad philosophy and problematic epistemology.  John Frame’s biblically driven book towards the knowledge of God is very helpful!  I would also recommend John Frame’s Doctrine of the Word of God but I think it’s best to begin here.

My Further Review

 

Inerrancy and Worldview by Vern Poythress

InerrancyAndWorldview

 

Purchase: Amazon

Thoughts: Very helpful in evaluating different worldviews that often is the undercurrent in people’s reasons for having problems with Bible.

Further Review is forthcoming!

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Note: The following are rough notes from the conference.  Internet is slow at the conference.

CarlTruemanTrueman admits he is a historian and not a theologian

This is not a theological or biblical reflection but there is a role for historical contemplation because of how the nature of some of the objection against inerrancy

The Reformers spent comparatively little time on doctrines of Scripture
That’s because the Reformers inherited it from the church and had intentionally no problems with it.

Factors:
1.) The theologians in the middle ages was working through the issue of source of revelation
2.) The black plague which makes people see him as arbitrary

By the time near the reformation Luther saw scripture as only reliable source

We remember Luther’s bondage of the will was about the will but clarity of Scripture and the latter was more foundational

We must not have the battle for the bible without the battle for the God behind the bible

Aquinas made a good distinction between revelation and inspiration

Remember the key issue in reformation was not scripture yet we see their language about scripture match the same high view of Scripture of those before them

In this message three reformers are whom we look at: Luther, Calvin, Bullinger

For Luther how he uses Scripture is insightful:
Scripture is recommended against the devil
Luther believed the word did it all for the reformation

Calvin believe in inspiration
Did not hold to dictation theory

Bollinger was someone who was better known for earlier protestant circles than today

Letter 82 of Augustine to Jerome is important and a stunning statement of dealing with error: faulty manuscripts, own misunderstanding,

Is error a modernist concept?  Reformers did understand the word difficulties concerning interpretation
Luther on chronology prefer interpretation that does not presupposes error
His approach may not be adequate but he wishes to preserve the integrity of the bible

Secondly the Reformers believe in a trustworthy God that led to a trustworthy Bible
The connection is so close
Why should we do it? Because together it is very powerful

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