All This Fuss About Inspiration

By John Henderson

It is becoming apparent to me that the attempts to discredit and diminish the Scriptures are foundational to all postmodern errors}

Our times (which I believe are the End Times) are replete with openly conflicting ideas about the inspiration of the Scriptures. This is just one among other key issues that are clearly connected. Sadly, the championing of anything other than the complete inspiration of the Scriptures is coming from within the evangelical community, especially the so-called holiness movement—and especially from much of the Church of the Nazarene leadership and those in positions of influence.

I have been around long enough to remember that only “modernists” openly espoused such nonsense as is being espoused by today’s neo-orthodox adherents in our midst. At that time, those of us in the evangelical circles never questioned among ourselves the inerrancy, authenticity, authority, and total reliability of the inspiration of the Scriptures. About all we discussed was how the Scriptures were inspired—verbal, dictatorial, or plenary. Otherwise, we were in complete agreement that the Word of God was the Word of God. That was never questioned among us.

There were those in academia who may have been doing philosophical diggings and speculations but they were so vague to us that we didn’t pay them a whole lot of attention. No one seemed to pay them much mind one way or the other until they had gained a menacing foothold in our organizations and control began to slip through our fingers and into their grasp.

Well, we should have! Slowly—incrementally—they managed to create a major shift in the way many of the supercilious among the evangelicals look at the Scriptures. (I make a distinction between those “among us” and those who were actually of us).

No longer do they take God at His Word, if they ever did. They question His Word. They do not question us. They challenge His Word. They do not challenge us. A pigeon may as well challenge a jumbo jet, but they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Their own deception is deeply rooted in them and they think they can somehow out-maneuver God and bring Him in line with their opinions. Just like their father, the devil, they presume to ascend to the very throne of God. They cannot rise to His level so, in their own imagination, try to pull Him down to theirs. I think they may be stupid enough to think they actually do.

It is a fantasy, to be sure, but they are completely insensible to that fact. The imaginary god they have re-invented goes along with them very well but they do not comprehend that the God of creation will have nothing to do with their foolishness and is becoming increasingly agitated with the whole affair.

It is becoming apparent to me that the attempts to discredit and diminish the Scriptures are foundational to all postmodern errors. That is where it all begins. That is where it is all deeply rooted. A synthetic concept of tarnished Scriptures is the very hub of all modern apostasy. An honored and cherished Scriptures is the obvious antidote.

It has been said that you become what you eat. Someone may have also said that you are what you think. The Scriptures do tell us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). It is a foregone conclusion that a person follows through most readily on the things that occupy the mind the most. Facts—truth—has no bearing on that at all. Most people tend to argue from the standpoint of a prior accumulation of subjective opinion. At some point, arbitrarily biased opinion replaces facts and evidence as the authority in a matter.

There is a reason that Paul admonishes in Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Humanity is tragically flawed, especially when it come to the mind and the exercise of free-will. We are so overly proud of our puny mental abilities and boast like a hen that just laid an egg as if that was really something. We desperately need the right guidance and the only source of absolute truth is the Bible.

Some say that the Bible is relevant only in matters concerning salvation. That can be true only in the sense that everything in creation is relative to salvation in some way. Actually, everything is relative to the glory of God and that includes salvation. When the Bible speaks of “scientific” matters, it points to the glory of God. The same is true of all other topics the Bible engages. “Science” and its earthy companions are useless aside from how it all glorifies God. To try to separate them as somehow superior to biblical revelation is a false premise. It becomes a house of cards that is easily tumbled by the slightest breeze of truth.

So the hammers continue to pound against the anvil of God’s Word. The Anvil still stands and the hammers break, one by one, and fall into the dust of fading memories. There will be many more hammers but there will only be the one Anvil. Each hammer will think it will be the one to break the Anvil only to finally break apart itself.

Psalm 119:160 – “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”

​John Henderson

 

Fo further reference: Is The Bible Inspired?

 

Battle For The Mind

The following is a followup article by John Henderson after writing an extensive review of Dr. Harry Rimmer’s book, Internal Evidence of Inspiration.  You can download the entire review here.  You can also read the review on my blog at this link.  Thank you to John for an excellent review of Dr. Rimmer’s book on such an important topic.

Battle For The Mind*, by John Henderson, Nov. 2013

After having sent out a 17-article review of an excellent book on the internal evidence of inspiration of the Bible, I realize it was only a small bit of the information that needs to be settled in the hearts and minds of the people of God.  They are the only ones that will ever grasp its truth, and I am disinclined to debate the carnal-minded and heresy-oriented about it.  It is ultimately a matter of the heart, of a personal relationship with Christ through salvation. That is how we understand the things of God. The heart is the seat of understanding, but the agency God uses to reach the heart is through the mind.  Satan attacks the mind with deceptions and God enhances the obedient mind of the redeemed with truth.

Harry Rimmer acknowledged the agency of the devil in his arguments but did not specifically deal with it at length in his book on internal evidences of inspiration. Satan seeks whom he may devour and does so by attacking the mind. 

A systematic study of Satan and his activities and agencies is known as demonology.  Demon activity is as real as it ever has been but is more subtle than ever, traveling about in many disguises.  It may be rawer in flourishing paganism but is no less dangerous wearing a tuxedo on Park Avenue.  In fact, it may be more dangerous under “civilized” disguises.

Paul expressed his concern to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 11:3 (Amplified Bible): “But [now] I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”  Eve is a real person of history who is a prophetic symbol of the Christian experience when encountering deception.  Sin may have come through the first man but deception came through the first woman.  It was deception that led to sin.

The most important battle of our times is over the control of the mind, both in the world and among the people of God.  Control for Satan is clear—to oppose God by damaging His Church.  Control for human beings is totally selfish.  Brought together, they are spiritually explosive and destructive in every direction.

We are engaged in a warfare that is not of the flesh (2 Corinthians 19:3-5).  It cannot be won politically, socially, economically, intellectually, or militarily.  It is waged on the spiritual plane and that is where it is won or lost.

This battle attempts to overthrow the strongholds of Christ-centered reasoning.  Either Satan will prevail or God’s forces will make every thought captive to His will and way.  The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe the truth and it takes the light of revelation to shine on such darkened minds and bring them over to Christ.

Humanity by nature is carnal, reprobate, and blind.  It is at enmity with God and opposes Him “naturally” because of people being born in iniquity. They are enemies of God in the mind and then in behavior.

That mind can only be reached and conquered for Christ by the proclamation of the Scriptures.  If the supernatural revelations of the Scriptures are replaced by the deceptive counterfeits of truth and people turn away from the Word of God, there can be no illumination of the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit, God’s only Agent of truth, uses the people of God to express His truth.  Charlatans of deception soon run out of ways to deceive but they can keep repeating and many never catch on.  In very truth, the soul that would know Christ must look and live, just as shown by the lifted serpent in the wilderness.  If the mind is blocked by deception, the revelation of the Holy Spirit will not penetrate until the heart and mind is turned towards Him.

It comes to an important need in the Church—sanctification.  We have well-stated doctrines about sanctification but few seem to actually put it to practice.  A double-minded Christian is hampered by the nature of the old mind and will just as easily distort the truth as an intentional opponent from the devil.  The Christian mind not only needs to be delivered but fully delivered in holiness.  “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ” is the command.  Many get new hearts but hold onto the old head.  Worldliness in the believer is more destructive to truth than paganism.

We can win the battle but it takes the full armor of God and a complete readiness to enter the battle.  If we are being distracted by allurements around us, may God save us from ourselves and equip us for this battle.

 


* This article is inspired by a tract by Jessie Penn-Lewis of the same title and follows the general idea of the tract with application for this day and time.

Internal Evidence of Inspiration, Part II

Internal Evidence of Inspiration, Part II

Betrayal is the most treacherous of the undermining of others.  When Rimmer said that higher criticism’s second purpose was to pretend to be Bible-friendly but actually betray what it purported to support, he was describing the deepest sedition possible.  Like Judas, higher criticism and its hell-impregnated whore-daughter, the emergent church, haughtily seek only the downfall of the Scriptures only for its own temporal gain.  Like Judas, the time will come when its own judgment will fall upon its head but it closes a blind eye to that as if that somehow will make it not happen.

Purpose is the core feature of intentions.  Betraying the Scriptures through feigned allegiance is its design, its objective.  It never intends to honor and support the Word of God in any way.  So-called higher criticism may have presented itself as defending the Bible from the attacks of atheists and “radical rationalists”[1] for a while but it actually became agreeable partners with them.  Higher critics are ripe recruits for atheism and many of the character in the church have heartily joined them.  Rimmer states that the Bible “would have suffered untold harm and eternal defeat from these false followers, had it not been the inspired, infallible Word of God.”  Any other document could not have survived the attacks. God’s Word is undefeatable, thank the Lord!

While the methods of higher criticism (equivalent to modern neo-orthodoxy and postmodernism) are varied, their technique “is broad enough to embrace any procedure that eventually will discredit the text of the Scriptures.”  The more in and among us they can be, the more damaging they can be—much like the termites that destroyed that Bible in the picture.

Rimmer describes some and there are others we know of in our own times.  They all follow the same pattern of using some method to discredit the Scriptures:  language idiosyncrasies, incomplete and poor historical “facts”, false applications of scientific theory, etc.  “So, in every case where higher criticism has depended upon literary peculiarity, external evidences, theories of science, and supposed history to discredit the Book, the critics have found a Waterloo in each of these chosen fields.”  They ruled our God and the supernatural and judged His Book by natural means only.  They were big game hunters armed with fishing rods.

The wise student of the Bible “proceeds upon the premise that this Book, being in a class by itself, must be studied by rules peculiar to itself….When a supernatural book is measured entirely by a natural standard, the inquirer remains in ignorance of its content and its purpose.”

The critic of the inspired Scriptures takes the first step in repudiating the Bible by setting aside the doctrine of revelation.  Truth is always revelational and that holds especially for the Scriptures.  This becomes the critic’s lynchpin for declaring the sacred record of God as myth, allegory, poetical imagination, etc. and thus declaring the whole Bible at great variance with modern science.  I still hear exactly that today!  As Rimmer boldly and accurately says, these wolves in sheep’s clothing seek to hand back to the Church an emasculated edition of the Bible that is robbed of its soul-saving and supernatural power.

Although the pattern of attack is similar among them, then as now, there has never been unanimity among them.  The more radical critics admit to infidelity.  They deny Christ’s deity and “offer us a humanistic personage who is the flower of evolution.”  They ask us to “worship a defeated and baffled martyr whose tragedy eventuated because he was born centuries too soon.”  Modernism (and now postmodernism) try to hand us a beautiful and appealing Jesus who is the leader of a lost cause.  This leads to their also setting aside the atonement by calmly ignoring every element of the supernatural in the life of the Son of God.

The more “conservative” critics of the Scriptures will claim to believe in certain kinds of inspiration.  “They even talk of the relationship of Christ to God and profess to see some measure of benefit in His atonement.  They talk glibly of the spiritual benefit of the Bible, as seen from their point of view.”   They stand in pulpits, sit in chairs of colleges and seminaries, and hold high positions in the church while “seeking to arm us with rubber weapons from an arsenal that no longer contains the sword of the Spirit.  They offer a questionable Scripture as the premise of a possible salvation.”

They are void of legitimate logic and use false reasoning to undermine dependence on the Bible as the authoritative revelation from God.  They diminish the records that tell of Christ into something bogus and thus present a faulty concept of Jesus.  If what they claim should be true, the human race would still lost in sin and we must wait for another Savior.

It comes to this.  We have a choice between the orthodox (revealed truth in the Scriptures as self-evident) or the false premise of modernism, postmodernism, and the emergent church heresy concerning the Scriptures.  The difference is this:

“The orthodox hypothesis [premise] is—Almighty God revealed the matter and inspired the writers of the Bible.

“The critical theory [notion] is—The Book is a natural development written by men more or less overruled by God. (It may be said in passing that the ‘more or less’ is determined entirely by the scholar’s own views.)”

There is evidence in the Bible itself, book by book, that proves its own genuineness as being the inerrantly inspired Word of God.  It is a matter of seeing it for what it is and what is on its pages.  It is a matter of being led and taught by the Holy Spirit as the legitimate Revealer of truth.  One needs no other argument than the declaration of the Bible itself.  Any honest and objective analysis of the Bible will support its right to its claim of divine inspiration.

These three articles have sought to establish what the issue is—the question of divine inspiration and absolute authority of the sixty-six books of the Bible and its nature of internal evidence. 

The coming articles will address six key sources of internal evidence under the topics as stated by Rimmer:  Who chose the books of the Bible? The need of revelation; The claims of the prophets; The claims of the apostles; The testimony of Jesus Christ; and The voice of prophecy. I will try to condense key thoughts as much as possible so as to produce as few articles as possible while covering those things that matter most in understanding and internalizing the truth that the Bible proves its own divine inspiration.


[1] Radical rationalists = and extreme form of the theory that holds that reason alone, unaided by experience, can arrive at basic truth.

Internal Evidence of Inspiration, Part I

By John Henderson

“Jesus Christ is God’s last revelation to man….because Christianity is a personal revelation of a personal Saviour from personal sin, Christianity rests upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ.”[1]  Continuing in the next paragraph, Rimmer further asserts:  “But it also rests upon a documentary record.  The sixty-six books of the Bible, as we now possess it, constitute the basis and foundation of Christianity.”  As I quoted him in the previous article, “It is axiomatic that nothing can endure if its foundation is destroyed.”

The author makes the argument that with Christianity the foundation of our faith is the Bible because there is nowhere else where we can learn the precepts of Christ.  External systems of accurate information concerning salvation in Christ do not exist. “It is folly,” he says, “for men to claim that they believe in Jesus Christ, when they reject the sole source of evidence that tells of Him.”  He takes note of the criticism and sneering about the Word of God in liberal pulpits, institutional classrooms, the daily press, and even Sunday supplements “with all the ghastly nonsense produced by a past generation of higher criticism.”

A study of so-called higher criticism is a task in itself and I must presume my readers either know something about it or can easily find out through Internet research.  Suffice to say that it is still about and largely identifies the emergent movement of today.

Rimmer assures us that it was never God’s design that His written Word stand on external evidence alone.  Although natural sciences, when handled faithfully, always add luster and testimony to the value and integrity of the Book of God by providing supporting proof that constitutes them as reserve battalions in contending for the faith, the Bible—every book of it—provides proof of its own inspiration aside from all of that.

The enemies of biblical truth in the 1930s are apparently no different than those of our generation.  Rimmer refers to Jude’s description in verse 4 as being prophetic:  “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Rimmer says that the term, “crept in unawares” is an odd and unusual Greek phrase which, literally, is “to creep in sideways.”  He then says:  “Just so in our generation, the church is troubled by men who are seeking to gain possession of the church and thus displace those who remain true to the ancient foundation of our historic faith.”  He thus paraphrases the Jude verse, “’There are certain men who have crept in crab-wise,’” and comments: “These scuttling crustacea look one honestly in the eyes, as though they were coming one’s way, but sneak off sideways and go on their own way.”  He adds that we are criticized for disturbing the peace when we raise an outcry against the presence of a burglar.  [I have to keep reminding myself that Rimmer is not talking about the early 2000s, but the 1930s.]

Rimmer establishes four principles of inspiration:

1. The Bible is a revelation from God and is, therefore, a supernatural Book.  It is not an evolution of human wisdom but rather an involution by inspiration (God-breathed revelation).

2. The content is verbal and plenary, rendering the Scriptures as hinging on the plenary[2] authority of the Bible.

3. The original manuscripts are inerrant—free from error of any kind, including historical accuracy and scientific credibility.

4. Every book of the Bible is absolutely authentic (Moses did write the books ascribed to him; a man named Isaiah wrote the prophecy that bears his name; and so for every book of both Testaments).  This point is vital because the credibility of Jesus rests on His accuracy in ascribing certain books of the Old Testament to their traditional authors.

Having previously described the principle of scientific inquiry by verifying or refuting an hypothesis based on the evidence, and concluding that the inspiration of the Scriptures are beyond being an hypothesis, having provided its own proof, Rimmer describes the approach by “higher criticism” as an attempt to repudiate the texts of Scripture upon a basis of imagined errors in the structure of the text.  He compares that to trying to study astronomy with a pick and shovel, and states:  “The higher critical method is to presume that the Bible contains error and fallacy, and then seek to establish that premise.”

In other words, they seek to repudiate the supernatural element of the Scriptures with the laws of natural human reasoning and “scores of times their conclusions have been demonstrated to have been rooted in prejudice and error rather than in historical fact.”  Even when faced with their own errors, they hold tenaciously to them, bitterly refusing to surrender to fact.

Part II will pick up where the second purpose of higher criticism is to present itself as a friend of the Bible while betraying it like a Judas.

Dr. Gran’pa

(John Henderson)

________________________________________

[1] This continues the discussion from Dr. Harry Rimmer’s book, “Internal Evidence of Inspiration,” with all quotes from his book unless otherwise indicated.  This is the second article following an introduction article.  Each “part” will be numbered in sequence, beginning with this article.

[2] Plenary = full, complete, unlimited, entire, whole

Square Peg Nonsense in False Theology

In the following guest article by John Henderson, he discusses a recent Nazarene pastoral training conference conducted by Dr. Al Truesdale, and material Truesdale used including a document by theologian Robert Branson.  In a previous post, I refuted Dr. Truesdale’s continuing attempts, along with others, to re-write history and say that Nazarenes were never fundamentalists.  Truesdale was my former Greek New Testament professor at ENC and was an excellent instructor, but he has it all wrong in the matter of scriptural inerrancy and John Wesley’s position on it.  The material from Dr. Branson is also very suspect and does not make any biblical sense, as John points out.  It is no surprise that both men are members of Nazarenes Exploring Evolution, which is trying very hard to make the heretical belief in evolution the de facto, unofficial position of the Church of the Nazarene.  We clearly need more theologians who are true to the Bible, and not their own imaginations.  Rev. Henderson has asked us the proper question here: How absolutely foolish can it become? 

Square Peg Nonsense in False Theology

Oct. 7, 2013, By John Henderson

How absolutely foolish can it become?  If the emergent movement ever beats folks such as I, it will be that they wear us down with foolishness, but never by reason or evidence of truth.  I came across what seemed to be a handout of sorts and assume it was at the recent pastoral training conference for the Nazarene’s Tennessee District conducted by Dr. Al Truesdale.

I actually came across two documents from that event.  One was Truesdale’s outline of his presentation wherein he appears to have attempted to trace the idea of “fundamentalism” historically by tying it into the John Darby movement of a pre-tribulation rapture and Calvinism.  I had received a notice of the event from the district office and responded politely that I could demonstrate historically that Nazarenes were traditionally fundamentalists right along with the Calvinists.  Also, the Church of the Nazarene does not take an official stand on the theories of millennialism but allows all three and their variations.

It seemed, from the outline, that Truesdale was attempting to teach that Nazarenes and John Wesley were never “fundamentalists.”   I do not wish to actually address that issue here because the idea is well-refuted in other places and I think I have dealt with it enough for the moment.  It is the second document that concerns me and I am puzzled that it would have been included in the presentation for any reason without rebuttal by the presenter, unless he supports its assertions.

It is a short document by Robert Branson, Emeritus Professor of Bible Studies, Olivet Nazarene University, August, 2013.  It is titled:  “A Day In the Wilderness (An Illustration of ‘accommodation’ in the Bible).”

It is presented in an imaginary setting of Moses entering the tent of meeting where he uttered a casual “Good morning, God.” And there was a table with parchments and pens.  God told Moses to write how He had created the universe.  I quote:

“’Before time and space began, before anything existed, thirteen billion years ago, I formed a singularity of tightly compacted energy and matter.  In three-thousands of a second it exploded sending energy and matter in all directions.  Time and space began.

“’I commanded gravity to collect the matter into billions of galaxies of stars.  The angels watched as giant red stars such as VY Canis Majoris and white dwarfs such as Siri​us B burst forth​ in light.  They were astonished as subatomic particles such as quarks formed hydrons such as protons and neutrons.

“’I shaped planets out of the remnants of stars and gave particular attention to the one I called Earth.  Four and half billion years ago it was a ball of molten lava which soon cooled.  Out of its toxic methane environment I caused the first living cells to form.  Then a little over two billion years ago blue-green algae formed and began to free oxygen into the air.  A billion years later invertebrate animals evolved and then vertebrate animals.  The Earth was alive with plant and animal life.  The oceans were filled with fish of every kind and description.  Soon humans would appear.’

“’Moses, are you getting all this down.  The parchment looks empty.’

“’Forgive me, God.  I have a question.’

“’Yes?’

“’What’s a billion?”

“After a few seconds of silence, God said, ‘Hmmm.  Get a clean sheet of parchment and write down these words.’

“’In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and…’”

It is extremely difficult to respond to utter foolishness, but I will try.

First, the imaginary setting is plagued with both scientific and theological errors.  The casual meeting between God and Moses is irreverent towards God.  That may have set the tone for the outlandish dialog that followed.  Compared to God, man is certainly not bright but the punch line seems to say that we are too dense to understand what an “educated” scientist easily grasps so God had to resort to a simplistic summary of sorts, knowing that we would manage to misinterpret it with fictional concoctions.

Not only does Dr. Branson need to revisit the Scriptures, but he should consider either getting his scientific data straight or leaving it to those who really understand research and discovery—the only thing “science” can actually do.

This is an anemic and silly attempt to promote the demonic doctrine of creation by evolution—a concept that the atheistic evolutionists reject.  In other words, phony theologians have bought into the atheistic ideas of evolution but vainly try to rationalize beyond reason to force-fit it into a wild idea that God was somehow behind it all.  Dr. Truesdale’s Square Peg  book was part of his presentation.  Talk about a square peg in a round hole, however, Dr. Branson’s attack on revelational truth takes the prize cake.  I wonder why it was part of the presentation.  I have one question.  How far is one willing to go to reject the plainness of the Scriptures?

Resource:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/10/20/debate-finally