With General Assembly for the Church of the Nazarene coming up next week, it may prove to be the major turning point for the church and its future. Many questions must be answered which have been unanswered in the last four years. The apostasy within the church must be addressed and dealt with in a significant and forceful manner, or the church will die spiritually. It may grow in numbers, or financially, but it will die nonetheless if the spiritual matters are not address.
I am writing a pre-Assembly article for next Monday. The following is a re-post of an article John Henderson wrote. I believe it is pertinent because of the major issue of what to believe about the Bible, whether it is true in whole or only in part, and whether it truly is the word of God, or only “contains” it.
Let God Be True And Every Man A Liar (Romans 3:4)
Reposted, originally written by John Henderson, June 1, 2011
A Christian lady who recently attended an interview session for a prospective pastor of a Nazarene church where she attends posted online her experiences from the interview. Among those were are the following excerpts:
“no questions regarding anything about doctrine or scripture…except when I asked how he would present the gospel in a ‘positive way‘. One of the people I shared the questions with asked about the inerrancy and infallibility of scripture…..said he did believe it …but when I added in all areas….geographical, historical, and scientifically…he did not agree …..most if not all in favor of his admittedly liberal approach to ministry and admitted that he uses books like Kimball, and the others I listed, like Osteen as a basis for his sermons and ministry approaches…. (although admitted his home congregation didn’t care for those messages)…..looking for a progressive thinking congregation….when I addressed the “sin” issue of the gospel….he suggested not knowing me and my religious background….that I maybe grew up in a legalistic church or maybe was abused as a child….neither of which is true….I had a good cry when I left….not about being alone…just about the state and direction of Christ’s holy Church.”
I am among those Nazarenes who are very weary of neo-Nazarenes or pseudo-Nazarenes who are trying to ascend to leadership among us while dragging along the emergent church heresies. As former General Superintendent James Diehl said rather recently, they are already here and what we need is a resurgence of old-time holiness among us. We certainly do not need an “emergent Nazarene” assimilation of socialistic progressivism, eastern mysticism, postmodernism, new age social gospel, and all its accouterments. We need people who do not hesitate on or apologize about the cardinal questions of sin and biblical inerrancy as well as all other biblical truths. No human being is qualified to pick and choose as to how the Scriptures are inerrant as they may assert. They are not qualified to say which ones are and which ones are not inerrant nor how they may be so.
I highly favor the proposal of change in the Manual presented at the last General Assembly (on which no action was taken):
“RESOLVED that Manual paragraph 4 be amended as follows:
IV. The Holy Scriptures
4. We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, [inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation] inerrant throughout, and the supreme authority on everything the Scriptures teach so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith.
(Luke 24:44-47; John 10:35; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21).”
The phrases they asked that should be added was “inerrant throughout, and the supreme authority on everything the Scriptures teach.”
Questions that might be asked of anyone who appears to equivocate on the inerrancy of Scriptures are:
If the Scriptures are inerrant only in “things necessary to our salvation” (something the Scriptures do not claim):
1. What are some examples of those Scriptures “necessary to our salvation”?
2. What are, therefore, some examples of those Scriptures NOT necessary to our salvation? Why are they not? Who makes the distinctions, who decides that? What qualifies them to do that? On what authority is that based?
3. Does that not mean, therefore (given 2) that Scriptures NOT necessary to our salvation are NOT inerrant and, therefore, ambiguous?
4. If they are not inerrant, why are they Scriptures? Why are they in the Bible at all? What would be their divine purpose for being among the inerrant passages?
If the Bible is not inerrantly inspired by God in any part, it is not at all trustworthy because there is no one outside of the Scriptures themselves who is qualified to tell us which ones are or are not inerrant. We could never be sure because we have nothing left but fallible human reasoning as our ultimate authority.
We need to stop equivocating with the uncertainties of neo-orthodoxy*, the seedbed of postmodernism, and embrace an understanding of simple things, such as: If it is Scripture, it is inspired of God and it is infallibly authoritative.
The Holy Spirit did not mix speculation with inspiration. We need to understand that if we say that any part of the Scriptures are not inspired, we are saying that the Holy Spirit made mistakes and that God is teasing us with error mixed with truth. We are saying that we cannot trust the passages that declare that all Scripture is inspired of God and that holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. It is satanic haughtiness right out of the serpent’s mouth that still questions what God has said. To devalue God’s Word is to challenge God Himself.
We have no right to posture our opinions and presumptions so as to say that any word, phrase, or account in the Scriptures is not there by a full and complete inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which makes it irrefutable. Even the words of pagans quoted in context are there because the Holy Spirit recorded them. God did not waste words in His Scriptures. We need to be always seeing the divine message, not quibbling over this or that speculation or bogus knowledge about the Bible. If the Bible seems to have errors, it is not the shortcomings of Scriptures. It is our own shortcomings comprised largely of ignorance and intentional stupidity. It is we who missed the message.
The Bible is not a book of science but if it speaks of something of a scientific nature, it is always true, even if some smart aleck of the day thinks otherwise. No man has the authority or qualification to validate or judge Scriptures. The Scriptures authenticate Scriptures, and they judge us. God’s Word is always historically and geographically correct. For us Nazarenes, that means all 66 books and every word in each book. Every “jot and tittle!!” Those who think otherwise are missing their facts somewhere—or distorting them.
Significantly, it is the only Book in the history of mankind that has never been proved wrong in any respect. Every alleged discrepancy is easily refuted by the Scriptures themselves. Its critics have come and gone by the wagon loads. That Book is still here and will be here when the current crop of naysayer’s carcasses have turned to dust (if Jesus tarries that long).
There was a time when I thought that the elitists among us were few and basically disconnected. Was I ever so wrong! They are well organized, well connected, and well-heeled.
Maybe we are lobbing too many soft balls to these people. Perhaps we should be pitching the hardball-98 mph-questions to these self-appointed experts of the faith, such as: Why are you here? Why do you seek to undermine our confidence in the Lord and in His Word? What do you offer in its place that gives as great a hope and assurance of eternal life and such wonderful guidelines of holy Christian living on earth? Why do you want to drag us into hell with you?
Question: “What is neo-orthodoxy?”
Answer: Neo-orthodoxy is a broad term, but it is mostly used in the sense of “modern contemporary theology” or “liberal theology.” Fundamentally, neo-orthodoxy differs from orthodoxy with its approach to the “doctrine of the word.” . . . . The orthodox view holds that the Bible is the revealed Word of God, which was given by inspiration of God. By inspiration, both verbal and mechanical, it is meant that the Holy Spirit was in full control of the Bible writer, by either verbally dictating everything he was writing or by using the person as a tool to work through. This doctrine of inspiration comes to the logical conclusion that the original manuscripts are without error or contradiction. Two Scriptures that are quoted in support of this view are 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21.
Neo-orthodoxy denies this orthodox approach of inerrancy and inspiration, saying that inspiration was not given verbally or mechanically, but that the author interpreted the events or word of God, thus writing his own interpretation. This denies what God has revealed to us in the above passages, among others. Scripture in its original manuscripts is the very words of God in the words of men. . . . In orthodox circles the Bible is regarded to be the complete and sufficient revelation of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Jude 1:3). Neo-orthodoxy believes the Bible is a medium of revelation (while orthodoxy believes it is revelation). To the believers in neo-orthodoxy, revelation is therefore dependent on the experience (or personal interpretation) of each individual, making truth a mystical experience, rather than a concrete fact. Neo-orthodoxy would make a distinction between the “word of God” and the “revealed Word of God,” calling the Word of God (Bible) the “letter” and the revealed word of God the “Spirit-word.”