Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Will we believe God's Word?

From Al Mohler:

Tom Krattenmaker, a Portland, Oregon based member of the paper's Board of Contributors, levels a broadside attack on the unity, inspiration, and veracity of the Bible as the Word of God in his column, "Fightin' Words".

Krattenmaker first celebrates what he describes as "a year of retreat and retrench" for conservative Christianity. Now, he says, "here come more challenges to traditionalist views of the Bible and Christian faith from a lineup of big-name, liberal-leaning scholars and theologians."

First up on Krattenmaker's list is Bart Ehrman of the University of North Carolina. As Krattenmaker explains, Ehrman "mounts evidence against literalist conceptions of the Bible as factual history and a divinely transmitted testament to an afterlife-focused religion called Christianity."...

Bart Ehrman has established himself as the media's go-to professor in terms of denying the truthfulness and unity of the Bible, especially the New Testament. Ehrman, who has written several best-selling books seeking to debunk and discredit the New Testament and classical Christianity, is a popularizer for many accusations long alleged against the Bible. He takes passages (such as the passion passages from Mark and Luke) and sees contradictions where the church has always seen complimentary accounts. Christ did indeed utter the cry of God-forsakenness recounted by Mark, but this was itself a citation of the Psalms that points to a much different purpose and meaning than Ehrman implies. Which is the true account, Mark or Luke? It takes very little imagination to understand that, in the crucible of the crucifixion event, Jesus experienced both the agony of the God-forsakenness he experienced (and knew He was meant to experience on behalf of sinners) and the serenity that He also experienced, given his faith in the Father's purposes and power to raise him from the dead.

Of course, if you are coming to the Bible from the perspective of one who has rejected Christianity, you are likely to see the kind of pattern Ehrman alleges. Of course, if he did see the Bible as the perfect and completely truthful Word of God, he would not remain a rejecter of the Christian Gospel.

No one comes to the Bible without presuppositions and a basic intellectual disposition. That is true for Bart Ehrman, and it is no less true for the evangelical believer. In both cases, the presuppositions assign the way each will read the Bible. Krattenmaker simplistically cites Ehrman as his authority for suggesting that Jesus spoke of himself as God in John's gospel but not in Matthew. But this facile assertion, offered without any supporting argument, does not take in to account that throughout the Gospel of Matthew Jesus speaks and acts as God. When Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, He cites Scripture with the formula, "you have heard it said." When Jesus then continues by saying, "but I say unto you," He speaks as God in a way that any first-century Jewish person would have readily understood. Nature obeys his command, and he performs miracles (even bringing the dead back to life) that show his providential control over the created order.

Read the entire post HERE.

For further reading:
Misquoting Truth by Timothy Paul Jones
The Erosion of Inerrancy by Greg Beale
The God-Breathed Scripture by E.J. Young
The Infallable Word ed. by Stonehouse & Woolley
The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible by B.B. Warfield
Fundamentalism and the Word of God by J.I. Packer

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