Over at the Exploring our Matrix website the owner has published an article stating his views of the authority of the Bible. It is very erroneous and heretical to say the kindest things about it. This article will examine a few of those statements and point out their heresy.
The link to the article in question will be first, then as usual, the quoted words will be in bold.
1. “The Bible is not inherently authoritative, any more than the Qur’an is, or the Code of Hammurabi, or any other text you might think of.”
This is patently not true as the Qur’an and the code of Hammurabi hold no divine authority and are mere human in origin. Both hold or had held legal authority but the latter expired when that King was replaced by others who altered his laws.
The Bible is authoritative because it is divinely authored and holds the ultimate standard for all men to follow. Whether legally, morally, religiously it remains above all human works and laws. I like what the late Dr. Metzger had to say about the Bible. His words are found in The Case For Christ page 69:
“When the pronouncement was made about the canon, it merely ratified what the general sensitivity of the church had already determined. You see, the canon is a list of authoritative books more than it is an authoritative list of books. These documents didn’t derive their authority from being selected; each one was authoritative before anyone gathered them together.”
The early church knew that the biblical books were authoritative long before any conference made any decisions about what should be included in the canon. So YES the Bible is inherently authoritative because God wrote them and gave each book authority.
People do not give the books authority, they do not have such power and when others claim the opposite they are merely trying to remove God from authorship in order for them to insert their personal views in place of Biblical teachings and commands.
2. “If you do not make the effort to understand the nuances of the languages in which the Bible was written, and the cultural background assumed by the Bible’s authors and readers, then inevitably you will end up not reading the Bible, but instead reading your own concerns and culture into the Bible”
Though eisegesis* is a problem it is not always done. When people make the above quoted statement they are usually looking for excuses for putting their own ideas into a passage. In other words, they accuse others of doing what they are actually doing.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say we have to use the cultural background when reading the Bible. To do so is saying that culture supersedes God’s word and His word is subject to the current culture in which the Bible is read. If that were the case then the Biblical teachings and rules do not matter and God wasted His time in writing the Bible.
It is also saying that secular ideas trump God’s word and that is very wrong.
3. “A text in human language cannot contain all the wisdom and insights of its human authors, to say nothing of divine wisdom and insight. And so the Bible should never be considered more authoritative than a human mind”
This is more Gnostic than anything else. He is saying there is a secret wisdom and knowledge that only a few can access and that is not so. God put it all in the Bible so all people can access it and understand it. What the author of the quote wants to do is remove the authority of the Bible so he can input his own fallible, subjective ideas into the text.
He is causing confusion because he is opening the door for all people to do that and He removes God and His ways from the picture. Confusion, as the Bible says, is not of God. God wrote in Is. that His thoughts are not our thoughts and that His thinking is above ours thus the Bible is more authoritative than the human mind. The human mind is sinful and fallible while the Bible is not.
4. “Counterbalancing that last point, inasmuch as a collection of human minds is typically wiser than any one individual, any reading of the Bible that flattens its diversity of viewpoints reduces the wisdom embedded in it.”
This is saying that discussion is better than personal study. Not always as the majority doesn’t rule in God’s kingdom. This quote takes away from the authority of scriptures and removes the truth it teaches while making the bible subject to human decisions.
The Jesus Seminar** group does this as they use black and white marbles in deciding if Jesus said something or not. In other words, the author of that quote and the Jesus seminar think that the Bible is subject to them or other humans. That is not the case. if it were then we have no salvation and no hope plus no ultimate moral guide to judge men’s actions against rendering good and evil moot.
In other words, no one could condemn Hitler or His actions because his ways are just as right as anyone else’s.
5.“If you do not read the Bible, and understand the meaning of its words in their original context within the texts, and of the texts within their historical context, then you cannot say that the Bible is authoritative to you in any meaningful sense at all.”
If God wrote in this manner then only the ‘elite’ would be able to have the time and knowledge to understand God’s word. God didn’t write that way because His word is for all people not filtered through a self-appointed elite but written so all can understand what God wants them to do.
The above quote is basically saying that the Bible is for the academic only and that is just not so. This mentality fuels a superiority complex that is sin and not of God and tells everyone that the author of that quote is in error.
The author of that quote is just trying to establish his rules over God’s and that is spiritual treason.
6. “The Bible only has as much authority as you grant it, and inevitably, there will be things in it to which you will not be willing to delegate authority.”
Simply untrue. The author of that quote is looking for justification for ignoring God’s words. God lamented about this mentality when He said, “Why do you call me Lord when you do not do the things I say?”
The Bible is authority regardless of what people do. Those who do not grant the Bible its rightful place are called unbelievers while those who do follow the Bible are called believers. The author of that quote is just playing a game of semantics, he wants to consider himself a believer/christian while disobeying and not believing God and His word.
Space here is limited to deal more thoroughly with the sins and injustice committed by the author of the quoted article. He holds positions as a professor and sunday school teacher but such positions do not mean that he is of God, teaching the truth, or correct.
He is deceived and those believers who read His words need to be cautious as he mixes in a lot of good things with a lot of error then follows the error to the wrong conclusions. God did not grant humans authority over the Bible. They do not have the power to say this is God’s word and that isn’t.
If God had, then all humans would be subject to the ideas and thoughts of fallible, sinful biased, etc., men. No one would have the truth and no one would have authority and confusion would reign.
This is the objective of the author as he tries to remove the Bible’s authority over life in order to pursue his own selfish and heretical ways. He doesn’t like certain passages in the Bible thus he wants to feel good when he ignores them.
His article examples the wrong kind of pride, it is the same one that brought satan down, and it shows his desire to remove God from authority and place himself on God’s throne. Man is to humble themselves to God and obey His word not place themselves above both and try to rule God.
There are many false teachers in the world today and the believer must be careful as they read their words or listen to their sermons. They may hold the right credentials but God never said to accept their credentials or use them to determine if they are of God or not.
We use God’s word to help determine who is speaking the truth and who i snot. Paul said, if any man or angel (this lets Mormonism out as Christian) brings a different gospel than the one brought by Jesus and the disciples… Thus we have a starting point in knowing who is telling the truth or not.
Jesus used scriptures when He discussed with those opposed to Him showing us that scripture is the authority for the world. To say that the Bible is not authority is rendering a person defenseless, which is what satan wants. The Bible is authority no matter what anyone else claims. They do not want it to be because they want their own sinful ways not God’s.
* the interpretation of a text (as of the Bible) by reading into it one’s own ideas (Mirriam Webster dict.)
**The Jesus Seminar is a group of academic theologians who study Christian writings from the 1st to 3rd century CE, from a religiously liberal perspective. They are composed of members with “Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and independent” backgrounds. 1 Their initial goal was to determine what Jesus really said. Their second goal was to describe what Jesus really did. (http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jsem.htm)