Here’s a snippet from a wonderful sermon on the doctrine of Election from C.H. Spurgeon emphasising the authority of the Bible:
“But if you do not see it to be here in the Bible, whatever I may say, or whatever authorities I may plead, I beg you as you love your souls, reject it; and if from this pulpit you ever hear things contrary to this sacred word, remember that the Bible must be the first, and God’s minister must be subject to it. We must not stand on the Bible to preach, but we must preach with the Bible above our heads. After all we have preached, we are well aware that the mountain of truth is higher than our eyes can discern; clouds and darkness are around its summit, and we cannot discern its topmost pinnacle; yet we will try to preach it as well as we can. But since we are mortal and liable to error, exercise your judgment; “Test the spirits to see whether they are from God;” and if on mature reflection on your bended knees, you are led to disregard election–a thing which I consider utterly impossible–then forsake it, don’t listen to it preached, but believe and confess whatever you see to be God’s word. I can say no more than that by way of introduction.”
Here’s Dick Lucas’ answer:
“Expository preaching takes the Bible at face value, and that’s why the preacher will want to work hard to understand what it says. The preacher starts with the premise that God must be the perfect communicator, both in content and method. Since he has chosen to communicate through the Bible, we need to work hard at understanding the Bible, so that we can understand what God is saying, because when the Bible faithfully proclaimed, God’s voice is heard. When a preacher goes off on a frolic of his own, his own voice is heard. When someone explains away the Bible, his explanation is heard. But when the Bible is faithfully expounded, God’s voice is heard, because the Bible is the word of God.”
(see in full here).
Just occasionally some ‘celebrity’ pastor says something which is so profoundly wrong that it becomes worth highlighting simply as a means of better understanding what’s actually true. And now is the turn of the Rev Steve Chalke. Chalke has recently made a video in which, in an attempt to defend the place of the Bible in the church, he seems to depart entirely from a traditional evangelical view of Scripture. Here’s the video – but please don’t just watch this video. Do read on to the good stuff below!
Restoring Confidence in the Bible from Oasis UK on Vimeo.
In response, Dr Dan Strange of Oakhill College has written very helpfully in a post on the Oakhill blog. It’s worth reading in full. In addition, the FIEC has filmed an interview with Dan which clarifies the issues. Put together, Dan’s words are a wonderful corrective and help us evangelicals take confidence in the Bible.
If you weren’t around in Rock when we explained why we were making the change from the tNIV Bible translation to the NIV 2013, here’s an excellent article from the FIEC on why the updates made to the NIV were good and useful. The article is worth reading in full, but, if you’re short on time, see the summary below:
The NIV has been helpfully updated to reflect progress in our understanding of the Biblical text, to improve the clarity of its English, and to reflect the context in which it is being used. All three are a must for a faithful and practical translation, and we can be grateful for the work of the committee that continues to oversee the NIV. Is it perfect? By no means. But no Bible translation is. And to the relief of us all, God can do great things with imperfect tools!
Here is a useful conversation between Michael Kruger and Mark Mellinger in the US on the Canon of Scripture. In a very accessible way, they deal with issues such as dating the NT documents, textual criticism (differences between early manuscripts of the NT documents), and ‘self-authentification’. Thanks to the Gospel Coalition for making this video available.
Why You Can Rely On the Canon from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.