The Christian faith does not need to be defended; it needs to be lived. True! But for each succeeding generation the basis of this faith needs to be stated and restated, so that all may know what they believe and why.
The Bible is precious because it reveals to us Jesus Christ, the Son of God, telling us who he is and what he has done. Without this written Word, we would know nothing of Christ’s person and work. Christians therefore have every right to reject all efforts to call into question the biblical record and thereby denigrate the Scriptures.
The battle for the complete integrity and authority of the Holy Scriptures has now reached an extent never before known, whether from without or from within the organized church. The harm being done is incalculable. Many today are exerting great effort to get rid of certain basic truths while offering nothing valid in exchange.
One contention that confronts ns is that faith in the infallibility of the Scriptures is no longer tenable in this scientific and scholarly age. The fact is, however, that not one discovery of science, not one newly acquired manuscript, has invalidated a single doctrine of the Christian faith as taught in the Scriptures.
As we see where the denials are originating and being promulgated and as we see the lengths to which some who deny the Word will go, we can speculate about the ultimate end.
The latest fad in extreme liberalism is found among some who continue as professors in good standing in theological institutions while saying that God is dead and that we must develop a “Christianity” without God. These men have the freedom to be atheists if they wish; but it seems almost unbelievable that they should continue their wild claims under the aegis of the Church and in places where men are supposedly being trained to preach the Gospel.
But obviously the day of ecclesiastical discipline, certainly for liberals, has passed. Those who have made theological compromises themselves find it embarrassing to insist that others not do so. The result? Every man does that which is right in his own eyes—a chaotic outlook.
Where does this start? How do these denials of Christianity develop? What is the point from which such deviations begin?
The answer is a solemn warning to all Christians, particularly those who have the sacred responsibility of teaching. Deviations that lead ultimately to denials of Christianity begin when we reject the clear affirmations of the Bible in favor of the opinions of men. For years some men respected in the ministry have denied such things as the biblical account of the manner of the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth; the full implications of the Atonement, including our Ford’s vicarious sacrifice on Calvary; and the fact that he arose from the dead in bodily form and is coming again in power and great glory.
The inevitable result of such denials, long continued, is a further set of denials that constitute a repudiation of the Christian faith. These denials depend on the wildest speculations, all rooted in a rejection of the clearly stated record.
In thinking about these matters, let us not lose a proper perspective. The Bible is not a book we can defend while at the same time we ignore its teachings and warnings for our own lives. If the Scriptures are real to us, then the Christ of the Scriptures must also be real. Many will say, “We worship Christ, not a book.” Of course this is so. But we do respect and rejoice in the Book without which we would not know about the One who came from eternity into time and who continues to inhabit all eternity.
Why get excited? Why not leave those who deny the Word of God—or who are, as Paul describes them, “men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith”—to the judgment that is ultimately theirs? My answer is this: I do not like to have my pocket picked, nor do I want others to find themselves robbed of their precious possessions.
The Bible is, first of all, the primary source of our knowledge of God and his Christ. It is also the chart and compass for daily living.
Antiquated? It is more revealing than tomorrow morning’s newspaper, because it explains so many things to be found in that newspaper.
Unscientific? When the curtain of history is pulled down and we see time in the light of eternity, we will be amazed at how accurately science fits in with the teachings of the Bible.
Irrelevant? The Bible is relevant for all men in all times because it is, as Dr. Emile Cailliet has said, “the book that understands me.” It is relevant for every day we live, because it speaks to the innermost recesses of our souls. It cuts like a scalpel, down to the place where truth is separated from error, hypocrisy from faith, and honesty from deception. It speaks to the sex-obsessed of our generation and shows the sordidness of their existence in the light of God’s purity.
The Bible contains promises more valuable than anything the world has to offer. It brings hope in the midst of heartache and distress. It gives us glimpses into eternity while we are living in time. It gives stability in the midst of chaos, and certainty where otherwise there would be nothing but doubts.
The Apostle Paul warned against substituting the vain speculations of men for the eternal verities: “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith” (1 Tim. 6:20, 21, RSV). He tells of a time when there will be men “holding the form of religion but denying the power thereof” (2 Tim. 3:5); and, after cataloguing the danger signals of a generation that rejects the divine revelation, he concludes with these words: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:14–17).
The Word of God will continue to stand while its detractors marshall their forces against it—of this we can be certain. But we need to be deeply concerned about those who have been or are being robbed of a faith in the integrity of the Scriptures.
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