Did God Really Say That?

October 17, 2008

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

The October issue of the Christian Chronicle includes a book review discussing the upcoming release by the ACU Press of a new commentary titled “The Transforming Word One-Volume Bible Commentary”. Jay Guin has just blogged his concern about the wisdom of publishing a commentary that raises more questions than it answers about the inerrancy of scriptures. Jay summarizes:

The Transforming Word has several sections discussing the documentary hypothesis, the synoptic “problem,” challenges to the authorship of Isaiah, and archaeological dating issues in the Old Testament, creating doubts about the inerrancy of the scriptures without providing a full discussion or resolution of the questions posed.

Jay questions the wisdom of raising those questions without providing the full discussion necessary to put the questions in context.

You see, it’s about being strategically smart. It’s taking the time and trouble to figure out what’s really important — to Jesus and to the God’s will for the Churches of Christ. And I’m pretty sure that lessons that question Biblical inerrancy are not very high on God’s list of priorities for the Churches of Christ today.

Strategical smartness might be a worthy principle, but it is merely a pragmatic concern. My concern is more fundamental. The inerrancy of scripture is the very foundation of Christianity. Without a final authority for our faith, we can never be quite sure of what we believe. At best we would only be able to point to what the scriptures say, which might or might not be accurate. We would be left to guess what God would have us to know.

The question “Did God really say that?” has been a primary tool of Satan from the beginning. In the garden of Eden, Satan persuaded Eve to doubt whether God had really commanded them not to eat the fruit of a particular tree. Once Eve entertained that doubt, she became vulnerable to temptation. The fruit looked good, and reportedly brought some pretty heady benefits. Once Satan had her doubting the command, her resistance to temptation was weakened. So she ate. The fall of man began with questioning the reliability of the message from God.

In the wilderness, the fasting Jesus fought temptation with “It is written…”. The scriptures settled the matter, and put an end to discussion. That should be how we use the scriptures too.

One comment

  1. I share your fundamental concern. If the Scriptures cannot be trusted, we do not have a reliable source testifying to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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