UPDATE: Our thanks to Bob Allen at Associated Baptist Press for covering this story.
On June 24, 2012 Dr. Wm. Richard Kremer of Garden Lakes Baptist Church in Rome, GA. preached a powerful message on Biblical inerrancy. So few pastors have spoken out against the fallacy of the Shorter administration’s Personal Lifestyle Statement, we felt compelled to contact Dr. Kremer and ask his permission to share this message with our readers. He graciously agreed and sent us the manuscript of the sermon as well. Dr. Kremer points the Way to Truth and Light.
You may also watch the sermon by clicking here.
Thank you, Dr. Kremer, for your wisdom, your courage and for speaking the truth.
Is the Bible Inerrant? Mark 16: 1-8; Luke 24: 1- 9
Few words in the last thirty years have caused more mischief than the little adjective “inerrant.” “Inerrant” would seem to be a perfectly fine word that when applied to the Scriptures appears to guarantee the authenticity and accuracy of the Bible. Yet I tell you plainly, the word “inerrant” has been misused and manipulated. Indeed, it would be fair to say that the sundering and destruction of the Southern Baptist Convention could be attributed to the manipulation of this single word – inerrant. This word has in fact done horrendous damage to the character of the Bible – and ruined countless lives. The cause of Christ is being damaged by its use even now. Yet “inerrant” continues to be employed frequently with reference to the Bible, usually by those who do not understand its implications. Not surprisingly, Shorter University’s new “Statement of Faith,” begins with the declaration, “We believe the Bible . . . is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.” My question to those who penned that document is, “What do you mean by that term?”
Some years ago, the late Adrian Rogers, one of the architects of the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC, was asked exactly that question: “What does inerrancy mean?” He answered: “It means the Bible is truth without mixture of error historically, philosophically, scientifically and theologically.” The conservative scholar Paul Feinberg has offered a fuller exposition. He said that inerrancy is the claim that “when all of the facts of are known, the Scriptures in their original autographs and properly interpreted will be shown to be without error in all that they affirm to the degree of precisions intended, whether that affirmation relates to doctrine, history, science, geography, geology, etc.” Give these gentlemen their due: they were at least crystal clear in their definitions. But they were making claims about the Bible that the Bible does not make for itself.
Simply put, the Bible is not a history book. It certainly contains history – a lot of history, in fact – but the Bible’s history concerns the history of humanity’s encounter with God and with the revelation of God in Christ. The Bible does not intend to offer a chronicle of historical events in the same way an account of the American Civil War is a history book. The Bible is not a philosophy book. It contains philosophy – the book of Ecclesiastes, for example, has been hailed as one of the most incisive philosophical statements ever penned. But the Bible’s purpose is not to articulate any particular philosophy. The Bible is not a science book. Those who assert that the Bible is correct in its teachings on geology grossly misinterpret the Bible’s purpose. The writers of the Scripture had no idea that some endeavor of inquiry called geology existed! The Bible makes but one clear and profound statement about the world: that God is the origin of all creation — in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth — and all reality owes God a debt for the gift of its existence. But the Bible has absolutely no interest in offering a scientific explanation for how God brought this heaven and earth into being. The Bible says WHO created the universe. It offers no explanation as to HOW this process of creation occurred. Anyone who doubts the veracity of this observation need only examine the first two chapters of Genesis. In the creation account of Genesis, chapter one, God creates everything in the world, then creates humanity last. In Genesis, chapter two, God creates humanity first, then creates the remainder of the natural order. The brilliant editor who brought those two accounts into one sacred text was fully aware of the discrepancies in the accounts – but he did not care! He was not offering a scientific explanation for how reality came to be; he was simply offering the theological observation that all that is owes its life unto God. When you try to turn the Bible into a scientific text, you misuse God’s word.
You might be wondering, ‘Dr. Kremer, why does it matter? Why even bring this topic to the fore?’ Because it matters how you use the Bible. I don’t want young people thinking they have to discard their faith because some scientist has made a discovery that seems to contradict some Biblical principle. I don’t want a scientist having to put his/her brain on ice because his/her discoveries contradict what the Bible allegedly teaches about one scientific discipline or another. A recent science professor at a local university had to leave his faculty post, complaining that the administration had instructed him on what theories concerning creation he ought to teach – even though there was no empirical data to support their claims. Why would administrators with no scientific training be trying to teach scientists how to teach science? Because, they think of the Bible as a scientific book that reveals to us the age of the earth as only six thousand years old. (Looking out on the congregation, I suspect some of ya’ll are older than that!) Essentially, this college administrator was instructing his scientist to turn a blind eye to the fossil records, to ignore the evidence of geological shifts and continental drifts, to pay no attention to the pottery shards – all of which make the point that six thousand years is but a sliver of human existence on this earth, much less the history of the earth as a whole. Again, let’s be clear on this point: when you try to turn the Bible into a science book, you misuse God’s Word.
Why do people try to regard the Bible as a science text or a philosophy book or a history book? It is because they hold to a particular view of Biblical inspiration, a perspective that says the Bible came into being through plenary verbal inspiration. Succinctly expressed, the doctrine of plenary verbal inspiration says, “God said it, and humanity wrote it down.” (Incidentally, that is how Muslims view the Koran as having come into being.) There are a few passages in the Bible that suggest plenary verbal inspiration. For example, God dictates to Moses the Ten Commandments and Moses writes them down. But think of something as simple as Psalm 16. God would have to be pretty egotistical to be dictating to David, “Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever!” Can you imagine God dictating unto David in Psalm 121: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Surely God is not so insecure as to bother dictating words of praise about Himself for us to write down? When the Psalmist exclaims “The Lord is my shepherd,” he is giving evidence that he has experienced the living God profoundly in the midst of his life. His spirit swells up with joy so he can share his experience of God with others. He is not simply recording a speech that God dictates into his head
Go back to the argument that scholar Feinberg offered regarding inerrancy: the Bible is inerrant in its original autographs. That’s very convenient. For no one has never seen the Bible’s original autographs. Do you know why? They don’t exist! There is not some dusty original Biblical manuscript hiding in some obscure cave in Israel. The Bible came into being over a period of centuries. Its pages originated in diverse places and in diverse times. The Old Testament existed in oral tradition for centuries, passed down from generation to generation before it was ever recorded in print. When it was printed it was preserved in a variety of places in a variety of versions. There is no such thing as an original autograph for the Bible, and to claim such a manuscript is the basis for the inerrancy of Scripture is intellectually dishonest. ‘
So, when the Shorter University statement of faith declares, “We believe in the inerrant and infallible Word of God,” is that true? Yes – yes, in a way. For when the Bible is talking about the character of God, the Bible is indeed inerrant. When the Bible is talking about the nature of redemption, the Bible is absolutely infallible. When the Bible is presenting the revelation of God in Christ, we can trust that information with perfect confidence – for such is precisely the Bible’s purpose. It is for these matters the Bible is intended to be used and consulted. The Bible is a book about redemption, and on this point the Bible is indeed inerrant. During one of our Vacation Bible School convocations a couple of weeks ago, our children’s minister Susan West-Colding asked the children why we did a pledge to the Bible. A young voice answered, “Because it tells us about God.” Yes! Yes! The Bible tells us about God, tells us about redemption, tells us about the love of Christ and how to live in right relationship with the divine. On that score the Scriptures are pristine and true.
But these subjects are concerned with an entirely different ambit than geology or geography!
Ponder for a moment the texts I read to you this morning. Think on the four versions of the resurrection. There is not a lot of difference among them as to who goes to the tomb: Matthew says “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary,” Mark says, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome. Luke adds the name of Joanna to the list. John mentions only Mary Magdalene. But who meets the women there? Matthew says an angel met them inside the tomb. Mark mentions no angel but speaks of a young man dressed in a white robe. Luke says that two men dressed in dazzling apparel were there to greet them. John testifies that Mary Magdalene didn’t even enter the tomb, and the only one who met her there was Jesus. In Mark’s account the women leave the empty tomb and don’t tell anyone what they have heard. In Luke’s account they go straightway and tell their news, but the apostles don’t believe them.
My point to you is this: it is precisely these small details of difference that undermine the concept of inerrancy. If God were dictating to writers the record of something as important as the resurrection, God wouldn’t be dictating differing versions to different writers. God wouldn’t have been giving conflicting accounts. Each writer reflects the different traditions, witnesses and influences to which he was exposed. The truth is, none of these accounts may have matters exactly right. But all four accounts are exactly right on their main point: God raised Jesus from the dead! All four accounts are right in saying that our God is a God of resurrection power, and that we live in hope because our God through Christ has defeated death. The fact that one version of the resurrection speaks of one angel and one version speaks of one man and one version speaks of two men and one version speaks of none — such niggling differences do not matter to the authenticity and importance of the message. The message is, our God is a God of resurrection power through whom we have hope beyond death. On this point the Scriptures are infallible.
I tell you plainly, you can find differences in the Scriptures, even with regard to the same event. For example, in Matthew’s version of Jesus’ healing of the centurion’s slave, the centurion himself comes to Jesus to ask for healing help. In Luke’s version of the same healing, the Jewish elders come on behalf of the centurion to ask Jesus for help with regard to his slave. What really matters to the centurion’s slave is that Jesus had compassion on him and healed him. According to Mark, Jesus is leaving Jericho when he encounters blind Bartimaeus. In Luke, Jesus is entering Jericho when he encounters blind Bartimaeus. All that matters to blind Bartimaeus is that Jesus gave him his sight! What matters to us is that Jesus gives us our sight and has compassion on us in our weakness and in our need.
The Bible is not a science book. The Bible is not a history book. The Bible is not a philosophy book. The Bible is a book that tells us about God. Moreover, the Bible never claims perfection for its words. The Bible claims perfection only for the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ. Indeed, the pledge that many of us have been making to the Bible since we were children in VBS years (or even decades ago) still holds true. “I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word. I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path and will hide its words in my heart, that I might not sin against God.” That’s the Scriptures’ purpose and power. When we have lost our way in life, the Word illumines our path. When we are not sure how we should conduct ourselves, the Word is our lamp and our guide. When we are desperate for a word of encouragement, the Word offers us the way and words of life. And if we follow these words and hide them in our heart, they will lead us rightly. Of that we can be certain.
Dr. Wm. Richard Kremer
June 24, 2012
This is really, really good — and I’m not even a Baptist.
The further I go, the more I see and hear good stuff about Garden Lakes Baptist.
Who would have guessed that the pastor at the church where Alan Wingard is minister would speak out against Shorter? Go Figure!
John, what’s the significance of Alan Wingard? Thanks.
Dear “Wish you were Silent John”,
Even a clock that is stopped is right twice a day. I am awaiting the day when you are right.
Many fine people attend Garden Lakes Baptist, and many fine people work at Garden Lakes Baptist. So, I have a simple question for you. Are you suggesting that a pastor should ignore the sermon that The Spirit laid on his heart, moved him to write and share with his congregation, in regards to relevant current events, events which have made us all examine our own faiths, simply because someone with ties to Shorter works there? I’m sure you would find many viewpoints if you were to sample the congregation, so it’s not as if he was strictly “preaching to the choir.”
Given the length of time between when this debacle first began, and when this courageous pastor spoke out (yes, I say courageous because I dare to venture a guess this stance does not hold him in high standings with many GBC people), I can only surmise that he has been watching events unfold to see and learn both sides of the story, and when further moved by The Spirit, spoke out accordingly.
I bid you peace.
Hey John, can you make any other comments aside from the snarky, sarcastic variety? How about an insightful or thoughtful comment on the context of the sermon rather than another personal attack? Ad hominem anyone?
2 Peter 1:21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…”
I think it is terrible for a pastor to write something such as this. He will be held accountable for every word he has written. God help him. People do not like the Bible because they do not like what it says. Come on pastor. Stand up for something and stop trying to be a people-pleaser. Wake up folks.
Rich, after reading both the sermon and your comment I wonder if you even read the sermon in its entirety. What you’re doing with those scriptures is called “eisegesis,” not “exegesis.” Eisegesis is when the person reading the scriptures, in this case you, inserts their own beliefs into the words on the page. Conversely, exegesis takes place when one looks into the scripture and derives the meaning from what’s written, not what one wants it to mean.
The 2 Timothy scripture is one that Dr. Kremer would most likely agree with. In his sermon he actually makes the statement, “For when the Bible is talking about the character of God, the Bible is indeed inerrant. When the Bible is talking about the nature of redemption, the Bible is absolutely infallible. When the Bible is presenting the revelation of God in Christ, we can trust that information with perfect confidence – for such is precisely the Bible’s purpose.”
If you’ll read the scripture again, you’ll see that it says that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Ask yourself: Does this verse make claims that the actual words themselves were handed directly to those who documented the scriptures? NO! It doesn’t, it says that the scriptures were inspired…not perfect, exact, or even authoritative. I suggest you go back and read the whole sermon and think on it before you comment out of fear that changing your ideas and beliefs when given solid evidence will be an excuse for God to keep you out of heaven.
Notice that you have used two Scripture verses without any context in your comment. Did you actually read/listen to this sermon with a mind open to reasoning that you had perhaps never thought about? Have you ever studied the subject of how the canon of Scripture came to be (as we know it)? I suggest, at the very least, you take some time to study this subject (from a variety of angles — not relying merely on the writings of one particular person or group) before making such statements about what the Bible means and how it is to be taken.
You think it’s bad to tell the truth? So sad.
Not to mention that the two quotes you give are related to the issue but do not come close to proving your point.
This is wonderful…it’s the first thing I’ve read in a long time that really gets to the logical heart of this particular subject. I have been so confused for so long as to why there has been such a move towards the belief in inerrancy in the Southern Baptist Convention since the mid 70’s. The only thing I can possibly figure is that it’s a smart political move; we say the Bible’s inerrant, and then anyone who argues with us doesn’t have the Word of God on their side. Figuring out a way to not give your foes a leg to stand on is quite brilliant politically…twisting the purpose of the Bible to do just that is highway robbery.
Bist du da, John_of_Slience? Kommentare?
This is a really good sermon. I’m so glad I read it!
I don’t think any person of the Christian faith would argue that the Bible was inspired by God. That’s what makes the “Good Book” so special and relevant to our faith. I agree with Dr. Kremer, however… considering that the Bible was only printed after literally HUNDREDS of years of it being passed down by spoken word, one can only assume that even if the people who were originally inspired did truly get each and every word directly from God, the hundreds upon hundreds of people who told these stories for the years after they were first given would have messed up details. We are all human, after all.
So was the Bible inspired by God? Yes, 100%. Is it completely accurate in every single minuscule detail? No probably. Does it still have a lasting effect on those who read it, and does it guide us all to live in a way that is better for both us and our fellow man? Absolutely. That is what our Good Book is supposed to do, and it matters not if the historical, geological, or geographical details are completely correct.
Allright, I will give a follow up to my previous comments.
1. Jesus believed the Bible to be true. In Matthew 19:4,5 he quoted Genesis 2:24 as a fact.
2. Luke 11:51 – Jesus believed that Abel was a real person.
3. Luke 17:26-27 – Jesus believed Noah was a real person and that there really was a flood that destroyed the world.
4. John 8:56-58 – Jesus believed that there really was a man named Abraham who was father to the Jews.
5. Luke 10:12 – Jesus believed that there was an ancient city called Sodom.
6. Luke 17:28-32 – Jesus believed there was a man named Lot who fled Sodom to escape the destruction and that Lot had a wife that should be remembered.
7. Luke 13:28 – Jesus believed that there were men of old named Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
8. John 6:31,49, 58 – Jesus believed that there once was a substance called manna that was a bread-like substance that came from heaven to feed the Jews in the wilderness.
9. John 3:14 – Jesus believed that Moses really did put a brass serpent on a pole and lifted it up.
10. Matthew 12:39-41 – Jesus believed that there really was a man named Jonah who was three days and three nights in the belly of a whale.
11. Matthew 24:15 – Jesus believed there was once a man named Daniel who was a prophet.
So you see, Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior of the Christians, believed the Old Testament was true. He did not speak of it the way this pastor is speaking.
Matthew 19:7-8 – Jesus believed in the writings of Moses and used them as the basis for His teachings. In His famous, Great Commandments, He states that to love God and love your neighbor is the foundation for all the law and all of the prophets. What do you think He was speaking of? He was speaking of Holy Scripture.
He said He was not come to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them. He obviously believed in them.
In Matthew 22:29, He reviled the Sadducees because they did not know the Scriptures very well. “You do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”
I do not mean to offend anyone, and I know everyone’s blood is all worked up over what is going on at Shorter, but this low view of Scripture among some pastors troubles me. I don’t have an ax to grind. I didn’t go to Shorter. I happened to see this article on someone’s facebook page. I just think you all are making a big mistake. That’s all. God bless.
Thank you for the respectful way in which you share your convictions. Your spirit is not offensive. I will be the first to admit that I am biased in this whole Shorter controversy, but I do think I am being honest when I say that in the Shorter which I cherish, you and Dr. Kremer would have been able to have had good, meaningful, respect-filled dialogue—and I would learn much from both of you in such a dialogue.
The scriptures in question in regards to the Shorter lifestyle agreement are all Pauline scriptures that succeed the time of Jesus. Jesus never would have commented on the validity of THOSE scriptures because they weren’t around when he was doing his ministry.
My point is this: People use Paul’s writings out of context and in a way they were never intended. Paul was a pastor, not a theologian, and I think that were he around today, he would be appalled at how his writings have been used to condemn others by those who are both unqualified and uneducated on the context and history of the scriptures. Jesus’ gospel was one of love…not superiority. In our quest to be more like Christ we have, instead, become more like the Pharisees. We think we know everything there is to know about life, God, and people because we have the Bible. Rather than using it to inform us in a way that Dr. Kremer was suggesting, however, we have used it as a cudgel to beat down any who find error in its teaching (and YES, there are errors…i.e. slavery, womens’ rights, polygamy, etc.). We pile expectations on people built not on Biblical principals, but on our own tradition and end up making them “twice as much a child of hell as [we] are” (Matt. 23:15).
I rated this “very poor” only because “pathetic” was not a choice. This sermon merely repeats the tired argument of liberal theologians. If I were a member at Garden Lakes I’d be looking for a new church home.
Obviously you and I are going to agree to disagree about the sermon; but I would like to ask you a question or two.
Do you believe that only people who believe exactly as you do are going to be welcomed into the gates of Heaven? And, do you only want to hear a pastor preach a sermon that mirrors your thoughts exactly, without ever having to be challenged?
Not trying to pick a fight, just simply curious.
I do not believe everyone has to believe exactly as I do in order to be welcomed into Heaven. However, it is necessary for a person to agree with Jesus in order to be welcomed into Heaven. He said a person must be “born again” to enter the kingdom of Heaven (John 3:3). As to your second question; I personally would not mind being challenged by a pastor’s sermon. That, I believe, is one of the roles of a pastor. The sermon in question, however, focused on a very important issue: the inerrancy of Scripture. It’s clear from the sermon above that the pastor does not hold to biblical inerrancy. I personally could not be a member of a church where the pastor has questions about the truthfulness of Scripture. This in itself raises other thorny issues, such as: Which sections of the Bible are in error? Who is the arbiter of truth at this point? There is more at stake here than the personal lifestyle policy at Shorter.
Thank you for your kind reply. Upon further review, my first statement about the sermon being “pathetic” was harsh. It’s merely inaccurate.
I am grateful that such a thoughtful message was shared. So few people are able to look biblical contradictions in the eye and keep their complete and unshakable faith in God’s Word. I know that the Bible is sacred, and contains the message of how to know and live more like our Savior. I also know that errors in translation, errors from multiple eye witness accounts, and errors from oral tradition have changed many details. I have been emotionally and spiritually bludgeoned by those who hold the “completely, totally inerrant” biblical view. Not only do they seem to have a mere surface knowledge of the scriptures, for a thorough reading would reveal many major and minor scriptural disagreements, but a close minded view of life and love. Hopefully this pastor can share a new voice that includes acceptance of the Bible as it stands, and a willingness to have a loving dialogue with those who come from different viewpoints in Christianity.
Kremer is a grand fellow. Rome, Ga has a jewel in this former pastor of St. Johns in Charlotte, native of Montgomery.
Richard was a Rhodes Scholar nominee at UGA where he ran track, a Prince of a fellow.
His wife is daughter of former Attorney for the S.C SBC–70’s; and her grandfather former attorney General for the State of S.C.
In 1992 Candidate Bill Clinton asked to sing in the choir at St Johns before the N.C. Primary. Richard wrote a column for his church newsletter why he had reservations. The Charlotte Observer picked it up.
The 42nd President of the United States attended the service, but sat in the congregation.
Chock full of integrity is Richard Kremer; in the vein of George W. Truett, Stewart Newman and the the best of the Baptist Tradition.
Hope his next presentation references Giberson and Stephens and The Anointed. That was a tease. He’s done fine without my suggestions.
Glad you brought him to this site.
Dr. Kremer’s position on inerrancy and inspiration leave us with no non-arbitrary means of determining when the Bible is actually correct and no means of trusting any truths we may glean from its passages. His position is utterly contradictory: http://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/pastor-blasts-biblical-inerrancy/
Rev Tony Breeden
So what if the doctrine of inerrancy provides you with a way to label statements in the Bible is true? Just because you can arrive a decision procedure for labeling statements as true s doesn’t mean that that procedure is actually good at identifying true statements. It’s still just your opinion with no basis in reality.
Here is a little somethng for Rev Breeden to consider, along with reading Giberson and Stephens on the Anointed. Would love to see that review on his blog.
In meantime great sentence from page 626 of Diarmaid McCulloch’s magisterial history of Christianity on Tyndale’s Bible:
Thought I had it near at hand. Will have it for you soon. Masterful use of the word coruscate and how the English Language had more flavors in common with the Hebrew than Latin and Hebrew.
And of course there is the great Nicolson work God’s Secretaries. But I doubt, Rev Breeden, you have read that one either.
Tyndale and the Bible from which 90 percent of the KJV is taken. Hope this comment can be posted in tandem with my immediate past submission.
Here is Diarmaid McCulloch on the mystery and beauty of language that concocts the Grand, but errant Holy Bible.
Page 626 of DM’s magisterial history of Christianity. Great reading for Nelson Price and President Dowles
Tyndale brought not just evangelical fervour and exceptional skill in Greek and Hebrew to task (of translating the Bible to English), but exceptional ear for languages, perhaps borne of his childhood spent in English western borderlands, where the sound of Welsh was about as familiar as English. He understood that English might actually be closer to Hebrew than Latin in its rhythm and driving narrative force, and the results coruscate with life and energy.
Unbeknownst I imagine Jerry Vines himself has made use of that energy coruscating through the KJV. With Kremer I just think he ought to be a little more honest about its mystery and force.
@Stephen Fox: My argument stands whether I’ve read your prefered library or not. I’m quite well read of my opponents and remain unwavering in my commitment to the Bible as my ultimate authority. Answer my argument at the link provided if you’re able. In the meantime, ask yourself: what do you hold as your ultimate authority?
Rev Tony Breeden
REv Tony: We are talking about the future of a Liberal Arts Institution. Your argument is your dogma. Liberal arts is about thinking, The Enlightenment and a deeper understanding of Scripture and how it has effected humanity. It grows from the idea that an unexamined life is not worth living.
Many of us think Jesus shared that sentiment.
I guess you have Sunday School at your Church. Why? So they can repeat what you shout out; or do you allow thinking at your church.
I have offered some suggestions germane to this discussion. In particular I invite you to take a look at the pilgrimage of the Young fundamentalist from Prince Ave BC in Athens Ga.. where the University is. He starts thinkin and can’t stop.
If not you I hope some bright children in your Church may be allowed to do the same.
And that perspective on the Anabaptists in Diarmaid McCulloch’s magisterial history of Christianity (page 622 and following); I do not apologize for recommending them to you. Bring this exchange to some children in your church. Take the risk.
Let me throw in a quick perspective from a member of the reality-based community (i.e. an atheist). I shake my head in disbelief at all of the energy that bright men like Kremer waste in trying to square the circle. If none of you were raised under the shadow of this superstition, then you wouldn’t give a second’s consideration to all of the pre-scientific notions in it. With a straight face the reader is supposed to accept absurdities like the immaculate conception and the resurrection, despite there not being one shred of credible evidence for it (we’re not counting anonymously written accounts of uncertain origin as evidence I hope). Likewise we are supposed to take moral instruction from a book that contains such gems as “slaves obey your masters” (Colossians 3:22) without one word condemning the institution.
From Clement to Kremer, this book has been nothing but a drain on the intellectual capacities of millions of bright people in the Christian world. I hope someday soon we can stop the pointless exercise of trying to square the Bible with reality and apply all our talents to something useful.
I believe in the Sovereignty of God. Do I believe that God dictates His praise? Absolutely! God commands it of us. So, it is no stretch to believe He would also dictate it. I stopped reading this sermon at the point that is questioned.
People do and will have varying opinions on details such as this, but if you stop reading as soon as you encounter a statement with which you disagree, you are choosing remain ignorant of the full context in which such words are spoken, as well as ignoring the possibility that the author/speaker may have insights that you had simply never thought of.
Almost all Christian doctrines are based on the New Testament of the Bible. But, how do Christians know that these 27 books are the inerrant, inspired words of God, as Christians tell us?
Answer: A bunch of fallible, scientifically illiterate Churchmen in the second, third, and fourth centuries said so! That’s it!
When and where did God say that a bunch of old Churchmen have the authority to determine what is and what is not his Word? When and where did God say that Saul/Paul of Tarsus was speaking on his behalf? Or the writers of the Gospels? Or James? Or Peter? Or any other writer of the New Testament? Even if the apostles themselves had voted unanimously for the 27 books of the current New Testament to be designated as the “Word of God”, that still would not prove that God had authorized them to do so. We have no evidence that the Eleven achieved a state of perfection and omniscience on Pentecost. They, like every other human being, were fallible. So where is the evidence that God left a list of what should and what should not be considered his Word in a new testament?
Answer: No where!
We have no evidence from the Bible or anywhere else that God gave Christians a list of what is and what is not his Word! Christians have created an “inerrant, inspired, you-are-damned-to-Hell-if-you-don’t-believe-it” Holy Book based solely on the opinions of men living almost 2,000 years ago.
Bombshell: Christians have zero evidence that proves the New Testament of the Bible to be the Word of God; the inerrant message of the Creator of the Universe to mankind. Zero!