Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Second Anathema Against Biologos

Another - and independent - reason that I do not consider Biologos "one of us," (see the first anathema here) is its policy of permitting and promoting articles that deny inerrancy, such as the work of Kenton Sparks. Again, I realize that true believers can be misled by false teachers, but it is a serious departure from the fundamentals of the faith to deny that Scripture - in the original autographs - is inerrant. To deny that is, in effect, to reject the Word of God.

Sparks goes so far as to say:
The factual contradictions within Scripture or between Scripture and extrabiblical sources cited in my previous blog are not, in my view, the most serious difficulties that Christians face in the Bible. More troublesome are those cases where a biblical text espouses ethical values that not only contradict other biblical texts but strike us as down-right sinister or evil.

The idea that there are true factual contradictions within Scripture (in the original autographs) is a serious error. Many folks, however, who hold to such an opinion stop there. They allege that there are trivial factual errors and nothing more. This is still a serious error: Scripture is the Word of God, and God does not make even trivial factual errors.

Scripture tells us that the hairs of our head are numbered.

Matthew 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Luke 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

God does not just have infinite cognitive power, he's attentive to details.

And that also extends to the Word of God:

Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

Likewise, and perhaps most critically, God's word cannot be broken, thus we can rely on it:

John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

Similarly we see that God's word is pure:

Psalm 119:140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

In that last verse, "tried," has the sense of "refined," something without any impurities.

Nevertheless, while claims that there were trivial factual errors (to be clear, things like using round numbers are not errors) in the original is a serious error, to allege that the original Scriptures contradict one another with respect to moral teaching is essentially heretical.

Scripture itself plainly teaches:

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Sparks concludes the portion of his article to which I've linked above with the claim: "Even more in our day than his, it is clear that Biblicistic inerrancy is an intellectual disaster." May I respectfully but strenuously insist that it is clear that the rejection of inerrancy is a spiritual disaster.

I also don't agree with Sparks that inerrancy is an intellectual disaster. I'm not one of those people who say, in tones that sound pious, that we must sacrifice the intellect to maintain the faith. The use of the intellect is perfectly compatible with the doctrine of inerrancy. In fact, on the contrary, the attitude that Sparks displays in his article of refusing to let "Evangelicals" explain why apparent contradictions are only apparent contradictions, and not actual contradictions, is one of intellectual laziness - a true intellectual disaster. The result is that Sparks is making shipwreck both of the faith he apparently professes and of his own intellect.



Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your position TF.

In the first article he writes: despite the lengthy evolutionary process.

The moment I read something like that I get guarded real fast.

That simply is not the foundation of the Word of God and these present heavens and earth were founded on.

For one thing, there is the fact when reading Exodus, it is God who establishes the "time" keeping whereby He and all the Hebrews were to follow explicitly certain celebrations and customs and duties, lest they lose their inheritance with God. Jesus Himself submitted to this cycle!

That alone, to me, establishes the Biblical 6/1 or 7 days of creation, a 6 days of work, a 1 day of rest, cycle.

The accuracy with which we can go back in time on paper and see just how accurate and exacting the Words of God are should lay to rest any notion of creation following an evolutionary process. Consider these verses:

Gen 8:13 In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry.
Gen 8:14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out.
Gen 8:15 Then God said to Noah,


Exo 12:1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
Exo 12:2 "This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.
Exo 12:3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household.

As far as I am concerned those verses, with a little enlightening help from the Holy Spirit, debunk any notion of there being any evolutionary process creation is following, or evolving, to get us to Genesis 8:13-15 or Exodus 12:1-3 to begin following God's civil counts.

The only power that brings this to it's end effects is found in verses such as these:

Col 2:16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
Col 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.


Anonymous said...


in his second article of this seven part "scholarly" piece is confusion.

Those verses from Matthew 5 that he puts up against those verses in Deuteronomy 20 seems to conflict except when you take into account that the Jews Jesus was physically sent to were holding to a hybrid textual persuasion, the Talmud.

It is my belief that what Moses was addressing and what Jesus was addressing were in no way contradictory. One dealt with raw human nature. And the other was dealing with raw rebellion against the Law of Righteousness prescribed to help us see raw human nature under condemnation because of the transgression of Adam.

Remember, the Law is right, holy and good. When it comes alive within us it does its perfect work which is to open up our wretched eyes to see our wretched natures so as to stop condemning wretched sinners and get down to the business of proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Only wretched sinners can be saved. And I just don't know how many of them make it to Heaven in relation to those who do not. Let's be clear, you will only have wretched sinners in Heaven for eternity and in Hell for eternity. This is the Work of God, Election and Calling, not man!

So, again, I have to echo with you TF your position that any slight idea of an errant portion of Scripture is error extreme and extreme of the slightest deadly kind; it's dangerous.

No one having the Spirit of Christ or the power that works within us, the Holy Spirit, would agree with any such idea and should quickly affirm these your words cited, repeated from above: "They allege that there are trivial factual errors and nothing more. This is still a serious error: Scripture is the Word of God, and God does not make even trivial factual errors."

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"I wholeheartedly agree with your position TF."

Me three. Ditto to TF and Natamllc.

Anathema to BioLogos.