[Note: My appreciation to Mike Jobbins and others for making this data available to me. You people did a fantastic job in bringing this together. I am honored to have received your work to comment on.]
Deuteronomy 30:14: “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”
Romans 10:7-9: “Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
One of the issues that fully convinces me that the Church has entered the predicted falling away, where men prefer deception to revelational truth and are willing to essentially sell their souls for the flesh pots of the Great Apostasy, is the pretentious and hypocritical assault on the Scriptures by those who should know better. The most tragic of it is that most of this assault comes from within denominations and their people that once preached and lived a Scriptural holiness that was unapologetic, unashamed, and relied on the full authority of all Scripture to prove their claim.
The most insidious error is the massive subtlety in how the Scriptures are maligned. Their disparagement of the Scriptures furnishes the basis upon which all of the rest of the whimsical inaccuracies of all postmodern emergent teachings rest. By corrupting the plain statements of the Word of God, they attempt to turn the Bible against itself. They resort to a system of inconsistent ideas and statements whose falsehood is a logical consequence of the act of holding them to be true based on nothing better than assumptions. In plain English, they not only put their theological foot in their mouths, they only open their mouths to change feet.
Regardless of any other claims they may make, they always throw back to logical fallacies and human reasoning based on those fallacies. That is where they stop. They go no further.
Jason R. Bjerke, wrote a paper April 11, 2011 titled, “Limited Inerrancy and Its Theological Issues.” It is published by Gospel of Christ Ministries at www.gcmin.org. Page 40 is a chart of this kind of false reasoning that is the topic of his paper. I have named the chart for my purposes, “A Heretic’s Decision Tree on Scripture Inerrancy.” Since the chart does not copy into emails and other places, I will furnish a brief description of it, along with some of Bjerke’s comments on the issue. One can take any passage from the Bible and follow down the decision tree to decide if that passage is “inerrant” or merely “accepted as truth under the big tent approach.”
The decision on the inerrancy of any given passage or verse is made by subjectively answering the question, “Does the Bible passage relate to salvation.” I say it is subjective because no guideline or authority is presented for determining the answer; and the answers (“solutions”) are all subjective. I should say about legitimate decision trees that they depend for their usefulness on answers based on evidence or a common understanding of the facts. This tree offers no such basis for the answers at all. Bjerke provides a scholarly and comprehensive response to many of the false, often adamant, explanations offered by proponents of limited inerrancy.
The “Yes” answer leads you to the statement: “The Bible passage is Scripture and is inerrant.” The “No” answer leads you to the statement: “The Bible passage is not Scripture and is not inerrant.” Notice that both answers offer an up-front determination about a passage of the Bible without the slightest offer of data. Under the “No” answer, it supposedly “becomes the Word of God as it is read.” Under both are two similar statements that the passage is supported by experience, church tradition, and critical thinking (reason), with a possibility of yes and no answers that lead to other conclusions. Again, no authority is offered for those conclusions.
If you have grasped this gobbledygook by now, you are three steps ahead of me. I have absolutely no idea how they came up with those answers, especially considering the previous paragraph I just presented. It is clear they did not go to the Scriptures for their authority. That means they went elsewhere, somewhere way outside of the Book of God. They meandered into human reasoning capabilities and experiences. In fact, they as much as say so on both sides of the so-called determination path to either “Accepted as Truth under the Big Tent Approach” or “Accepted as Scripture which is inerrant”—the final answers for both answers. Even the “inerrant” decision has a lot of wiggle room on this chart.
The first question, “Does the Bible passage relate to Salvation?” offers no objective way to determine that answer. Apparently, that is left up to the subjective judgment of the reader of the Bible passage. I have had that thrown at me before with such remarks as, “You have your opinion and I have mine.” Opinions, however, are not evidence. Personal choices or personal preferences are opinions. Thus begins the path to error, no matter how you answer the question because “thus saith the Lord” is completely disregarded. Revelation is a non-factor in this approach.
We already know that God does not have a library on a cloud so we can find out which parts of His Word are inspired and which are not. We only have from Him that 66-book library we call the Bible. All that other “information” has its origins somewhere besides Him.
As far as I can tell at this point in time, this notion is the foundation for all claims to limited inspiration, including “only in matters pertaining to our salvation.” They call it Scripture one moment and then call it not Scripture almost at the same time. Which is it? Both answers are based solely on experience, tradition, and “critical thinking.” Do I need to go into that to show that each are among the most unreliable aspects of proving or disproving anything, let alone the Word of God. They are tenuous aids at best and far from strong in making a believable point.
There is a world of difference between saying that “Scripture is not everything contained in the Bible, but rather the passages concerning salvation” and the clear teaching of Scripture that everything inspired by God is Scripture and therefore inerrant, as Bjerke pointed out on page 12.
It is dangerously presumptuous to take a position that comes up short of the Bible being anything but fully inspired and fully inerrant in all matters whereof it speaks. It is apostasy on parade that is more shameful than a gay pride parade in New York City on a sunny summer afternoon. We can wrack our brains with myriad of philosophical approaches and pseudo-scientific “proofs” and never be able to either prove any jot or tittle of the Bible is erroneous or to prove any position other than it is totally inerrant and that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”. It is to call God a liar or stupid. We know He is neither of those. All of the sanctimonious babble on it is plain hooey, and that is far more than just my opinion versus another’s.
The notion of judging the Bible by an arbitrary standard such as “pertaining to our salvation only” is man-concocted—purely imaginary and arrogantly condescending upon the Word of God. It does not come from God and can be found nowhere in the Scriptures. It comes down to the fact that many among us are pushing the boundaries of revelational truth and trying to make it into what God has never said that it was. It is vital that we pull back those artificially extended boundaries created by conceit and spiritual depravity and return to the simple truth of “thus saith the Lord,” and nothing else.
If no one objects (or even if they do), I will just stick with a favorite Bible verse and John Wesley on this:
Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Wesley: “…if there be any mistakes in the Bible, there may as well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that Book, it did not come from the God of truth.” Just so we are clear: Wesley was not making allowances for any error in the Bible. One flaw discredits and nullifies all.
If I am to take seriously Deuteronomy 30:14 and Romans 10:7-9, the only conclusion is that every jot and tittle of the Scriptures are indeed inspired Scriptures and, in truth, pertain to our salvation so that it is an exercise in sinful futility and carnal arrogance to try to nit-pick the holy Word of God and claim differently.
Ravi Zacharias has said that argument will take you in all kinds of directions but that people naturally need to go beyond argument to actual experience, observation, things that elicit emotions. Oddly, postmodern emergents rely on just that very thing. If they can get you to feel good, they have won the argument with you. That means that those who hold firmly to spiritual truth must understand that logical argument alone will not win the day. We can talk all day about the legitimacy and wonders of marriage, for instance, but love must be there as well; otherwise marriage is just a concept. I have heard holiness preached precept upon precept and watched the constant glaze-over in the eyes of the congregation. I have also heard holiness preached and watched the enthusiasm in those who were listening.
One of my daughters reminded me of the need to express these matters in simple concepts and terms. That is so true. Much of this error is convoluted and camouflaged in clouds of terminology that superficially sounds so wonderful but lacking in substance. We counter-emergents tend to fall into their trap and respond in kind, further confounding the issue for the ordinary person who does not spend a lot of time researching these things as others do.
Once we have the idea, we are duty-bound to translate it all into the common language we all understand. We need to get into the habit of not only appealing to the intellect but also to the heart. A young man who seeks to win the affections of the girl of his dreams does not tell her, “I hold dear, adoring, and enduring affections for you.” All she needs to hear is, “I love you.” She will respond more favorably to simplicity than clouding the message. Keeping it simple can be challenging.
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