“There must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” — 1 Corinthians 11:9
God so intervened in the thinking and passions of a select number of men throughout history that they wrote, in their original writings, the very words that God himself wanted them to write.
Therefore, the Bible, and the Bible alone, since it has been inspired of God, is authoritative and without error.
The authority and inerrancy of the Scripture is absolutely necessary. First, as Paul explained to the Corinthians, it is necessary that God himself teach us of himself or else we can never know him — “No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11).
This is exactly what the Bible is. It is the result of the Spirit of God moving men with God’s thoughts — “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).
Second, if the Bible is in fact in error in any of its parts, then all of its parts are called into question. One error means that there could be many more. If you read a newspaper that is known to have errors in it, you will not trust anything that you read in it. So the position that the Bible contains the word of God but also has errors is most untenable.
In fact, it is unlikely that a person can even be a Christian who does not believe the complete inerrancy of the Bible. The founding truths about God, ourselves, sin, life, morals, Jesus Christ, eternity, salvation and origins that make Christianity what it is are learned only from the Bible. That is why the divine authority and complete inerrancy of the Scripture has been the consistent and prevailing view of Christians throughout history.
Historic challenges to the teaching of the Bible proved who really believed the Bible and separated the chaff from the wheat. For instance, the age of reason elevated human reasoning over divine revelation. Therefore, whatever in the Bible that did not seem to make sense to the modern mind of that day was discarded.
Of course, divine revelation is reasonable to the spiritually enlightened mind. So, Christians maintained allegiance to the Scriptures in spite of elitist scorn and hostility. However, some professing churches and Christian leaders accepted mere human reasoning over divine revelation. This made them heroes to the skeptics of that day.
Today their way of thinking and their churches are in the dustbin of history. But the Bible remains. Then in the 19th century German higher criticism deconstructed the Bible and rejected its miracles. Christians, as always, maintained the veracity of miracles because with God all things are possible. Some professing Christian thinkers, however, accepted German higher criticism and were welcomed at prestigious universities. In time German higher criticism itself was ultimately deconstructed and found to be itself full of errors. But the Bible remains.
Homosexuality is a primary issue today to prove who really believes the Bible. Apparently as many as 53 percent of Americans now support gay marriage. There are even professing Christians who subtly or overtly give support to the homosexual lifestyle. But the Bible itself is very clear that homosexuality is a sin (Matthew 19:4-6; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10). It is a sin for which Christ died on the cross and can be forgiven. There will be many former homosexuals in heaven. Nevertheless, it is a sin.
The short-lived argument that the New Testament doesn’t really condemn homosexuality was a bit embarrassing to its proponents. No, the argument is not whether or not the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin. The argument is whether or not you believe it. You can get along a lot better and easier in our present culture if you do not believe it. You may even be applauded.
So, as in times past, there may be professing believers who follow the easy, popular position. But a Christian just cannot within himself go against what the Bible teaches. Genuine believers will be recognized by their refusal to support homosexuality.
Mark Judy holds earned master’s and doctorate degrees and has been a pastor for 27 years, the last 19 years at Hancock Reformed Baptist Church in Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.