Collect of the Day
O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Presupposing that there are errors in the text of the Bible is a reflection of liberal bias, a presupposed axiom on the part of liberals. But is it so? The late Dr. Gordon H. Clark argued that all knowledge begins with Scripture as special revelation. Since all the "sciences" begin with unproven axioms, why forbid the Christian worldview the same privilege? The historical-critical method of biblical interpretation presupposes that the Bible is merely a human product of the cultural millieu of the Ancient Near East. Biblical Christianity presupposes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, literally breathed out by God the Holy Spirit. (2 Timothy 3:16). The word for "inspired" here is "theopneustos" in Koine Greek. (Click on the Strong's number in the Interlinear Bible in the link to see the lexical information for the word).
The John Ankerberg Show outlines the errors made by previous generations of the higher critics. You can click here to listen to the program where two scholars discuss these issues: How Was the Old Testament Written? One of the scholars represents the conservative and Evangelical position, while the other represents the position of the higher critics.
The real issue here is not "science" but the presuppositions of the critics. Dr. Gordon H. Clark showed conclusively, using logic and even the words of atheist philosophers themselves, that induction in the realm of science is always false. So if we find an alleged contradiction in the Bible from the inductive method, the critics presuppose that the Bible is errant and fallible. But if a solution is then found to that inductive evidence that supposedly supports the axiom that Scripture is full of errors in history, science, mathematics, etc., then apparently that induction on that point was fallaciously used to substantiate a deductive generalization or a universal conclusion that the Bible errs. But, as this program demonstrates, such a view is not based on "science" at all. On the contrary, it is a presupposed bias against the divine origin of the Bible. In short, to disbelieve the Bible is not science at all. It is the result of skepticism. Rationalism always leads to skepticism, according to Dr. Gordon H. Clark.
An example of such bias on the part of the critics is one that Clark mentions in his writings; the critics assume that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch because writing had not yet been invented. That has been proved false. Another one is that the Hittite nation never existed except in the Bible. That has been proved false, also. The documentary theory of the Old Testament, designated by the letters J E D P, presupposes hypothetical documents behind the finished product we read today. By capricious and arbitrary presuppositions, the critics assigned certain portions of the Pentateuch to the Jehohist (Yahwist) editors, certain portions to the Elohist editors, the Deuteronomist editors, and certain portions to the Priestly writers. There is absolutely no hard historical evidence for these divisions other than that there are "apparent" contradictions in the text. This is not science, but skeptical presuppositionalism.
When I was a student at Asbury Theological Seminary the popular view taught there in regards to the Old Testament was nothing short of neo-orthodoxy. The reason for this is that Lawson Stone and other professors at Asbury did their Old Testament studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, a hotbed for liberal and neo-orthodox theology. I was told that Genesis 1-11 was an "inspired story" and that saga and myth are not fables or myth in the sense of fairy tales because they are inspired by God. But what is the practical difference between an inspired myth and an actual myth? Apparently none, since Genesis 1-11 is not accurate history in the sense of modern conceptions of historiography. This is a duplicitous way of saying that the historical accounts of creation and the earliest origins of mankind in Genesis 1-11 are not factual or historical. It is an affirmation of fallibility and errancy in certain portions of Scripture. But one has to ask, how do we decide which portions of Scripture are in error and which are not?
I could go on and on about the liberalism I encountered at Asbury in the mid-1990s. I suspect things are even worse there now. The fact is that Asbury is not really an "Evangelical" seminary any longer, despite their doctrinal statement on the website. Asbury is for all practical purposes a liberal seminary. Their modus operandi there is literary criticism or "English Bible." The reason for this shift from biblical inerrancy to "inspired" saga, legend, and "myth" is that they no longer believe the Bible is true. (Asbury is a Wesleyan holiness and Arminian seminary which originated as a response to the Modernist-Fundamentalist controversies of 1925). How the mighty have fallen.
I suspect a similar bias at Westminster, Philadelphia and Westminster, California. I could be wrong, but judging from the writings of Tremper Longman, III, a former professor of Old Testament at Westminster, PA, the infection of higher criticism has become entrenched there as well. One can draw inferences from Dr. Michael Horton's assertions of the Bible as "inspired myth" in his recent systematic theology as well. Dr. Bruce Waltke, once a staunch defender of biblical inerrancy, changed his view to accept the doctrine of theistic evolution. Waltke was forced to resign from Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida because of his new acceptance of historical errors in Genesis 1-11 and his denial of creation by divine fiat. The logical implication of denying creation ex nihilo and by divine fiat is that Adam was not a historical person and creation is basically an etiological "myth" meant to explain the origins of mankind and the universe.
From all appearances, biblical inerrancy is under attack in a majority of so-called "Evangelical" seminaries, and this is nothing new. If there is to be a revival of biblical Christianity in the churches, there must be a return to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. There was no one who was more adamant about biblical inerrancy than the late Dr. Gordon H. Clark. You can listen to his lecture on biblical inerrancy here: The Inerrancy of the Bible. Harold Lindsell rightly pointed out that where ministers are trained in liberal seminaries those defections are then spread at the Evangelical institutions where they return to teach. [Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), pp. 83-87].
These are a few of the reasons I have decided to declare a polemical and apologetical war on Van Tilianism. I view it as more in line with neo-orthodoxy than with classical Calvinism or the Old Princeton theology in regards to the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture.
Sincerely in Christ,
Charlie J. Ray