Is Inerrancy Inseparable from Christology?

Inerrancy_620According to noted Reformed pastor and theologian R.C. Sproul the answer is yes: inerrancy is inseparable from Christology:

At the end of the day, inerrancy is inseparable from Christology. If Jesus didn’t teach this view of Scripture, the argument would be over. The issue is not the sacrosanctity of a book, a ‘paper pope,’ or bibliolatry. The issue at stake is the integrity of the person and work of Jesus. He can save us only if He is sinless, and He is sinless only if all of His teaching—including what He teaches about Scripture—is true. –source, emphasis added

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found a few things wrong with what Mr. R.C. Sproul is saying here.  First, Jesus taught inerrancy.  Where can we really find this in Scripture?  Second, to reject inerrancy (as defined by Sproul) is to put “at stake the integrity of the person and work of Jesus.”  So in an effort to convince us that this is indeed the case, Mr. Sproul argues, “[Jesus] can save us only if He is sinless, and He is sinless only if all of His teaching–including what He teaches about Scripture–is true.”

Again, where does Jesus teach inerrancy in Scripture?

What else can I say, except that this is another desperate move on Mr. R.C. Sproul’s part–confusing the person and work of Jesus with biblical inerrancy.

Posted in Inerrancy, R.C. Sproul | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Is Hell Tough Love?

It all depends on who you ask.

And to make matters more interesting, there are some who don’t believe in hell, and still others who are annihilationists–believing hell to have an expiration date.

But to describe hell as a form of tough love is another story.  Let’s say you hold to that version of hell, which says, eternal, conscious torment in the lake of fire–how can such a place be tough love?

At this point, we need to define love.

Whatever we believe about love, for it to truly be love, I think it ought to be redemptive and restorative in its aim.

If not, then call it something else.  Don’t call it love.

Also, when defining love, we often say love is freedom; that is, it respects the choices of others.  If we then hold to this nuance of love, should we be compelled to lend credence to C.S. Lewis’ famous quote?

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”—The Great Divorce

Is C.S. Lewis correct?

When our kids do something wrong, out of love, we discipline them, hoping that they will not repeat the wrong, but actually do what is right.  We refer to this as tough love.

Come to think about it, God sending sinners to hell cannot be termed tough love.  Let’s not call it tough love.

Let’s call it something else.

Posted in C.S. Lewis, Hell | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

When Jesus Spits: Decoding Weird Stuff

ephathaPerhaps this may turn out to be nothing more than a wild-goose chase.  You know, nothing more than an empty pursuit.

But twice now Mark’s Gospel has Jesus spitting, as he performs a miracle.  First, in the healing of a deaf and mute man (7:31-37) and, then, the healing of a blind man at Bethsaida (8:22-26), an account unique to Mark’s Gospel.

You see, I’ve been reading through Mark’s Gospel, one pericope after the other, seeing what’s there and how each fits Mark’s larger purpose.  Let’s just consider the first spitting incident (7:31-37).  To make sense of this pericope, I first considered geography; and then what came before and what follows.  Perhaps I needed to broaden my gaze.  At any rate, I decided to simply assert that it was something indigenous to the region of the Decapolis, where all this took place.

Moreover, Mark has Jesus putting his fingers in a man’s ears, spitting, and then touching the man’s tongue.  Why so graphic?  Why so hands-on? (pun not intended)  Why not simply speak, as he did for the paralytic in 2:12, whose deformity was evident to the eyes?  What’s the difference?

Pointing to Mark’s opening of his Gospel (1:1-11), N.T. Wright notes Mark’s high Christology from the get go.  This can be adduced, for example, in the citing of the passage from Isaiah 40, which is speaking of YHWH, and applying it to Jesus; and then the declaration of the voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”  According to Wright, by citing Isaiah 40, Mark’s Jesus is pointing to God in order to explain his own actions.

If, indeed, in Jesus Israel’s God has arrived at last, to rescue his people and launced the new creation, then this hands-on episode fits this larger story–quite well.

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Awesome Bibles but Awkward Bible Translation

ESV EditionsJust received an email titled A Bible to Help Kids Love God’s Word. I love the title.  Awesome concept.  But the Bible translation is another issue.

We talking English Standard Version (ESV).  I don’t believe another Bible publishing house puts out as many editions of their Bible translation as Crossway does for the ESV.  I’ve seen them.  Many are awesome.

Recently I picked up the ESV Reader’s Bible.  Great looking Bible.  I loved holding it.  Awesome font and binding.  But then I was reminder that it was the ESV translation.  I had to put it back on the shelf and sigh.

Again, awesome editions to choose from, but the reading experience is not the smoothest.  In fact, it can be quite frustrating at times (speaking from reading experience here).

Posted in Bible Translations, English Standard Version, ESV | Tagged , | 3 Comments

A Website Devoted to Biblical Inerrancy

You can check it out here.  The folks behind it are all too familiar.  Nothing new.  Simply making sure that the line they have drawn on the theological sands remains there–visible for all to see.

But is it worth it?  Well, it depends on who you ask.  As for my position, I believe this matter of inerrancy has been imposed on Scripture.  It does not naturally arise from Scripture.  It’s adherents must first have put it there to see it there.

Posted in Biblical Inerrancy, Inerrancy | Tagged | 17 Comments

Overcoming the “Other” in All of Us

Tomorrow, at a ceremony in honor of Black History month, I’m to give the opening prayer.  Already, my mind has been at work–what will I say in this prayer?  God knows I want to be respectful and mindful of all who will be in attendance.

But I’m also burdened with the need to highlight the problem with the “other” in our culture.  What do I mean?

The “other” is another way of saying, “Not us, but “them.”  It’s what our culture has been using for centuries and decades to divide humanity.  It’s our stereotypes.  Our prejudices.  Our suspicions.  Our slights.

Or as one friend of mine has framed the matter, “Otherness emanates from our response to the illusion of separation.”

But are we so different than the “other”?

Furthermore, it is what caused a 57-year-old Indian man to be assualted by a police officer in Madison, Alabama, because a neighbor called and described him as a “skinny black man, looking suspicious.”

This is just one example of our behavior and reaction toward the “other.”

Our culture will never be healed of its ongoing racial and socioeconomic divide until we overcome this unfortunate and deeply ill-conceived ideology of the “other”–which is in all of us.

Posted in Black History Month, Racism | Tagged , | 2 Comments

John Stott on the Meaning of Self-Denial during Lent

lent“We should not suppose that self-denial is giving up luxuries during Lent or that ‘my cross’ is some personal and painful trial. We are always in danger of trivializing Christian discipleship, as if it were no more than adding a thin veneer of piety to an otherwise secular life. Then prick the veneer, and there is the same old pagan underneath. No, becoming and being a Christian involves a change so radical that no imagery can do it justice except death and resurrection – dying to the old life of self-centeredness and rising to a new life of holiness and love.” -John Stott

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