March Madness Hope and Queen Esther: A Summary of Esther 8


rust-king-iron-bronzeEsther 8 ushers in the beginning of a final resolution to the story. Things have definitely started looking up for the Jews, but Haman’s death is only the beginning of their salvation, not the end. Much is still uncertain in Susa other than Haman’s decree that didn’t die with him. Esther senses the momentum she and her people have gained, and alongside Mordecai, who is elevated to Haman’s previous position, she pleads with the king for the salvation of her people.

Unlike her previous meetings with the king, Esther is not emotionally reserved this time around as she falls at his feet and weeps for her people. However, her cunning remains as she asks the king to save the Jews for her sake, not their own. The Jews’ only hope is not in the king’s kindness or mercy, but in his affection for the queen.

King Xerxes once again finds favor with Esther and gives Mordecai authority to write a second decree to combat Haman’s. Haman’s decree could not be revoked because it carried the authority of the king. So, a competing decree which nearly perfectly mirrored the first allowed the Jews to defend themselves against anyone who would come against them. The chapter ends as the kingdom’s fastest horses are sent out in blazing speed to take the new edict to the ends of the empire. The Jews who were once fasting and weeping are now feasting and rejoicing as they prepare themselves for battle against their enemies.

Mediation is an important theme in this chapter alongside God’s sovereignty in bringing about an ironic reversal of fates. Esther serves her people maybe not as the mediator they were looking for, but exactly the mediator they needed. Esther won favor with the king and won salvation from his decree of death.

Jesus is a better Esther. He stands in the place of his people and mediates for them before the King. Esther provides March Madness hope. When your favorite college basketball team wins another game in the NCAA tournament, they give you hope that they may win it all. But this hope is fragile. It is hope in a chance to win. The hope Jesus brings his people as their mediator is not like March Madness hope.

Jesus won favor with God the King through his sinless life and substitutionary death. But while Esther’s mediation gave her people a chance for survival, Jesus’ mediation gave his people a certainty of salvation.


17498999_1870940272931412_6999370580315029592_nMathew Gilbert is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew and his wife, Erica, live in Tupelo with their two boys, Jude and Jack.

Thy Word is Truth: 13 Reasons to Trust the Bible


BibleChristianity and the church stand or fall on the reliability of Scripture. As a reformed-ish Southern Baptist, I hold to the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. This means when I read, study, teach, or preach the Bible, I believe I am seeing, hearing, speaking, and proclaiming the very word of God. The entirety of my faith and knowledge of God, truly the only way that I know God, flows from the river of the Bible. This grand Book is more than a masterpiece of human literature (though not less). The evangelical view of the Bible is that it is God’s self-revelation, and therefore entirely authoritative for the Christian’s life and the church’s practice.

Along with this view is the clear implication that if the Bible is not true, or if it is manipulated, then the entirety of the Christian faith falls apart. While the existential work of Jesus in his life, death, and resurrection are the rockbed of Christianity, the truth of which would not be diminished if the Bible did not exist, the testimony to this historical reality is absolutely crucial for the work of Christ to benefit us. The only way for us to know God is for God to reveal himself to us. He does so through the person of Christ and the Scriptures.

Without the Scriptures, we would have no ground to stand on, and truly, we would have nothing to say, and our faith would be non-existent. But because we believe God has clearly spoken in the Bible, we cannot keep quiet. The ultimate question for all Christians is this: Can you trust the Bible?

In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, reformer John Calvin once wrote, “So far as human reason goes, sufficiently firm proofs are at hand to establish the credibility of Scripture.” He proceeded to give thirteen reasons the Scriptures are worthy of our full trust and devotion. Hopefully this summation of his discussion will help give you greater confidence in the message of the Book you will read and share this week.

1. The Superiority of the Message

Calvin stated, “Scripture is superior to all human wisdom.” According to Calvin, Scripture is uniquely majestic and impressive. Contrary to popular criticisms, the Bible is not contradictory, which makes its unifying message both awe-inspiring and divine. The “heavenly” nature of Scripture is found in the fact that over the course of thousands of years, through various cultures, and from the pens of a great variety of men, the Bible carries a unifying message and theme. This is simply amazing.

Calvin marvels at the fact that though the language of Scripture is plain enough to be understood by all, its majesty is found in the “grandeur of subjects,” not language. In other words, we do not stand in awe of Scripture because it possesses the literary eloquence of a Victorian novel, but because “the force of the truth of Sacred Scripture is manifestly too powerful to need the art of words.”

2. The Decisive Content of Scripture

Calvin admits that great portions of Scripture, especially the prophets, possessed an eloquence of speaking that “yields nothing to secular writers.” But, no matter the style, whether beautiful poetry or rugged prophecy, the “majesty of the Spirit will be evident everywhere.”

3. The Great Antiquity of Scripture

The message of the Bible extends backward of some thousands of years. It is no mere coincidence that the message of Scripture has been passed down so many years. We are well to marvel at such antiquity.

4. The Truthfulness of Scripture (as shown by Moses)

Calvin argues that Moses is a great example of the truthfulness of Scripture due to how personally involved he was in his writings in the Pentateuch. For example, the best way for Moses to leave a personal legacy would be for him to establish the priesthood from his sons. But he doesn’t do this. The priesthood is established through Aaron. Why? Because that was the word of the Lord.

5. & 6. The Strengthening Nature of Miracles

There are numerous miracles recorded in Scripture. We often take them for granted. But for Calvin, they serve as a source to strengthen Scripture’s own claim to inerrancy. Moses and other writers would have a lot of nerve to testify to a miracle that didn’t happen to those who would know whether or not the event was true or not. For people who came out against Moses so often, testifying to a false miracle would have definitely incurred the wrath of Israel.

7. & 8. The Fulfillment of Prophecies

Calvin also argues that it is hard to argue against something that existentially proves itself to be valid and true. This is especially true when the fulfilled prophecy is contrary to what Calvin calls “human expectation.” He asks, “When David was anointed by Samuel, what visible reason was there for the transference of the kingly power?” None of us would naturally assume that lowly David would be not just the next king, but the king from who the ultimate King would come. However, this is the testimony of Scripture, and when such un-expectations are fulfilled, we must marvel at its reliability.

9. The Transmission of the Law

Similar to his argument from antiquity, Calvin finds tremendous support for the reliability of Scripture in the fact that it was continuously passed down. We must never neglect texts that survive thousands of years. And when texts have been preserved thousands of years and continuously held as authoritative and divine, we would do well to take notice and find reason for reliability.

10. The Preservation of the Law and Prophets

Piggy-backing on his point on transmission, Calvin shows why these texts have survived for millennia. The Scriptures have survived numerous attempts to stomp out Christianity and its sacred writings. This is not an accident, as it is evidence for God’s hand in the preservation of his word. The Scriptures have survived ungodly monarchies, invasions, exiles, dictators, and various persecutions. With Calvin, we should “ponder here how much care the Lord has taken to preserve his Word.”

11. The Character of the New Testament

Calvin says that the New Testament is both simple and heavenly in its character. Calvin claps a thunderbolt of argumentation down on critics of the Scriptures. He essentially says that you cannot honestly come away from the New Testament, particularly John, Paul, and Peter, and deny its heavenly nature. He strongly declares with maybe not-so-convictional-kindness, “Let these dogs deny that the Holy Spirit came down upon the apostles; or even let them discredit history. Yet the truth cries out openly that these men who, previously contemptible among common folk, suddenly began to discourse so gloriously of the heavenly mysteries must have been instructed by the Spirit.

12. The Unvarying Testimony of the Church

While the consensus testimony of a body like the Church should not be the primary defense for the reliability for a doctrine, it should definitely not be ignored. Calvin writes, “Since the publication of Scripture, age after age agreed to obey it steadfastly and harmoniously. By countless wondrous means Satan with the whole world has tried either to oppress it or overturn it, to obscure and obliterate it utterly from the memory of men–yet, like the palm, it has risen ever higher and has remained unassailable.”

A bombardment of human arguments against the reliability of Scripture has hit the church, yet it stands firm in its 2,000 year submission to the Bible. The church has remained uninhibited. The church stretches across both time and cultures, but all hold to the supremacy, sufficiency, and authority of Scripture. In the words of Calvin, “Such agreement of minds, so disparate and otherwise disagreeing in everything among themselves, ought to move us greatly, since it is clear that this agreement is brought about by nothing else than the divine will.”

13. The Testimony of the Martyrs’ Blood

Calvin’s final reason for the reliability of Scripture is that it is soaked with the blood of martyrs. He writes, “It is no moderate approbation of Scripture that it has been sealed by the blood of so many witnesses, especially when we reflect that they died to render testimony to the faith; not with fanatic excess, but with a firm and constant, yet sober, zeal toward God.” Pascal’s words are apropos: “I believe the witnesses that get their throats cut.” It is one thing to claim to believe a text is inerrant and inspired by God. It is quite another to die for said belief. Countless men and women throughout the history of the church have given and lost their lives for the Scriptures. Though not the primary reason for the Bible’s reliability, it is worth recognizing that people do not intentionally lose their lives for falsehoods. People have been losing their lives for the Bible since the beginning of the church.

Even with these reasons and many more that could accompany them for the reliability of Scripture, I cannot emphasize enough that these facts will not grant you a saving knowledge of God. In the words of Calvin, “yet of themselves these are not strong enough to provide a firm faith, until our Heavenly Father, revealing his majesty there, lifts reverence for Scripture beyond the realm of controversy.” So, if you struggle to trust the Bible or have friends who hesitate to embrace Christ because of doubts over Scripture, you can reason for Scripture’s reliability, but ultimately we must rely on God’s grace to grant true saving faith and confidence in the Bible.

Take courage in your evangelism and defense of Scripture, because as Calvin reminds us, “But those who wish to prove to unbelievers that Scripture is the Word of God are acting foolishly, for only by faith can this be known.”


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church East Bernstadt. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba.

Sanctification and False Teachers


20131112 Warning ContentsThe profitable function of Scripture bears witness to its divine nature. In 1 Timothy 4:8, Paul writes that “Bodily training is a little profitable, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” This godliness that has value in every way is explained as coming directly from Scripture in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Godliness or holiness is forged in the fire of Holy Writ.

God-breathed Scripture is the tool that is used by the Holy Spirit to continually shape us and morph us into the image of Jesus Christ, who is the very image of God. Paul has written elsewhere, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). This means that one striking purpose of our salvation is to be like Christ. Paul is going to show Timothy how Scripture is holistically useful and profitable in his life in order for him to be complete as a man of God—to be like Christ.

So, Scripture is not only supreme in our lives, but it is also sufficient for our sanctification. Paul looks into Timothy’s situation that is filled with false teachers and believers with itching ears who want their sinful passions suited and grounds him in the supreme and sufficient Scripture. Through our Spirit-wrought regeneration and initial saving faith in Christ, which primarily comes through the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:15), we are converted, justified, and adopted. However, we are commanded to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). Paul tells Timothy that the primary way for him to do this, in order to be complete, and equipped for every good work, is through Scripture. Paul views Scripture as being useful text by text. Paul gives four ways that Scripture is “profitable” for our sanctification in verses 16-17.

The question I want to pose is this:

Is it possible to be sanctified, to grow in Christ, from the ministries of false teachers?

I have heard many well-meaning Christians say they may not agree with everything Joel Osteen says, but he is just so inspirational. There are many well-meaning Christians who say they are greatly helped by Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, and others who so blatantly disregard or deny clear doctrinal truth. In the coming years, more and more popular pastors and Christian leaders will (regrettably so) cave on ethical issues like gay “marriage.” Will Christians be able to grow in Christlikeness from the preaching of pastors who ignore, belittle, disregard, or deny God’s word?

Teaching God’s Word

All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching. The Bible is our supreme source of knowledge and the sole basis through which we glean doctrinal truth. The way for Timothy to recognize and expose false teaching is for him to allow himself to be taught by Scripture. Our hope in Christ is dependent on the fact that the Scripture teaches us in all things true and holy (Rom. 15:4). All of our beliefs about Christ must be based solely on Scripture. In our day, as in the past, the doctrine of the atonement known as penal substitution has been challenged. Did Jesus really bear the wrath of God on the cross in the place of sinners? Or is this a theory developed in the Reformation that teaches so-called, “divine child-abuse?”

The way for us to discern this doctrine is to run to Scripture and immerse ourselves in it. The teachings of Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, and others must stand against the word of God. They can truthfully be labeled false teachers because of their denial of doctrinal truths that Scripture teaches us. It is the standard of doctrinal truth and the litmus test for doctrinal error. All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching. We would do well to teach it without fail in our church and in our homes.

The Bible is distinctively Christo-centric. Jesus is the crux and the focal point of the Bible. Scripture teaches us about Christ and the means through which to be reconciled to God through him. Indeed, Scripture teaches us to make us wise for salvation (2 Tim. 3:15). Because the Bible is sufficient to teach us, we must guard against adding anything to it. The greatest thing that the Bible teaches us is the truth, content, and proper response to the gospel. However, in the 21st century American church, we have belittled the gospel by not speaking of it in the terms that Scripture uses. It is tremendously tempting to create euphemisms to speak of sin and salvation. We speak of mistakes rather than sin. We talk about inviting Jesus into our hearts rather than repentance and faith. False teaching and false believing flourish when well-meaning Christians use cliché when speaking of biblical reality rather than biblical language.

Do we really think we are capable of presenting the gospel in a way that is superior to the God-breathed Scripture?

Glorious Purpose of Scripture

Paul ends this text (2 Tim. 3:16-17) with the purpose of the Scripture’s nature and function in Timothy’s life and in our lives. Scripture is supreme in nature and sufficient in function in order that Timothy would be complete, equipped for every good work. This is the profitable effect of Scripture. Paul says to Timothy, “My beloved child, you belong to God, so continue in the all-supreme and all-sufficient Word of God and you will be complete.” And this is for us in the 21st century. Scripture works godliness in us by the power of the Spirit. Meditation on and memorization of Scripture is the means of grace through which godliness is wrought in us in every area of our lives that we who belong to God may be complete.

This Spirit-wrought profitable effect of God-breathed Scripture is for men and women of God to be equipped for every good work. The Greek word indicates completeness and can be understood as being “super-equipped.” I have found no better description of this phrase than in the words of John Piper. Piper writes,

The Scripture, day after day, reveals to us the greatness and the beauty and the power and the wisdom and the mercy of all that God is for us in Christ so that by the power of the Spirit we find our joy in him, and the ways of sin become distasteful—indeed ugly and repugnant. Yes the Bible gives us many specifics as pointers how to live. But most deeply the way the Bible equips us for every good work is by changing what we find satisfaction in so that our obedience comes from within freely, not by coercion from without. It does this when we read it and meditate on it and memorize it and meditate over it every day.

Through our daily dose of Scripture we are fully equipped through our satisfaction in the God that we see and savor that we can defeat sin and endure suffering to the glory of God. We need teaching that is infused with the power of God’s word.

Stunted Spiritual Growth

Paul is clear that sanctification comes through the teaching of the God-breathed Scriptures. Spiritual growth is stunted from the false teaching of those who deny the essential doctrines within the primary means for sanctification. Christian, you will not grow in Christlikeness from the ministries of false teachers. You will not grow in Christlikeness through preaching that is devoid of the word of God. To be blunt, charismatic preachers like Osteen and the rest may entertain and inspire you, but they will do more for the detriment of your soul than anyone else. The most dangerous kind of predator is the one that attacks in camouflage

Evaluate your preaching pastor. Is he preaching the word of God as it was intended by God? Your soul is on the line. Sit under teaching, of course. But sit under teaching that is consistent with the God-breathed Scriptures. Beware false teachers who belittle God’s word. You will only grow in Christ through the nourishment that comes from Christ-centered, Bible-saturated teaching.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

The Living and Powerful Word of God: Meditations on James 1:21


img5I have never understood the tendency to separate the Spirit of God from the word of God. This unnecessary and unbiblical dichotomy affects preaching, Bible study, and daily Christian living. Christians rave about the power of the Spirit, but practically scoff at the power of the word. Some even prefer their pastors to not prepare sermons and fully “rely on the Spirit” in preaching. This is not only the case in charismatic circles. Even in well-meaning Baptist churches, prayer for the Spirit to move is viewed in connection to worship music or an invitation at the end of a service. There are surprisingly many Christians who believe that expository preaching and careful study of the Bible is unnecessary for the Christian life. Instead, they argue that we need to “experience” the Spirit of God and rely on the Spirit of God instead of the word of God.

In the face of this errant separation of Spirit and word is the witness of Scripture.The Bible conveys a direct connection between the Spirit of God and the word of God. God desires worshipers who worship in Spirit and truth. The Bible speaks of the Spirit granting the new birth (John 3:3-8; 6:63). When the Spirit is sent, he dwells within believers. At the same time, when the word of God comes in the gospel, it is implanted in us (Jam. 1:21). This relationship between the Spirit of God and the word of God greatly aids our understanding of the role of the word of God in our lives. The word of God is not mere text or lifeless revelation. It is a living and moving, breathing and working power that is a vehicle for life and a catalyst for faith.

The Word of God Saves?

James says something that is radically contrary to modern rejection of the Bible. If you question the relevancy of the Bible, heed this word: “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (Jam. 1:21, emphasis added). Notice in verse 21 how the implanted word of God is “able to save your souls.” How necessary then is the word of God for our lives? It is absolutely crucial. It is vital for your salvation, for your perseverance in the faith. The word of God saves us. How are we to “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”? How are we to be doers of the word and not just hearers? How are we to practice true and pure religion? We must receive the implanted word of God!

Our souls depend on the implanted word and our reception of it. Rejecting the word of God is like rejecting the very oxygen you need to live and breathe. The gospel demands the life-giving external word of God. Christians suffocate when they stop receiving the word of God. A closed Bible on a shelf is like a closed mouth and nose refusing to breath. When you miss a day of receiving the word of God, you should feel short of breath.

Receive the External Word

But how do we receive the implanted word of God? The implanted word is the message of the gospel that we received at the point of believing in Jesus. God plants the gospel in our hearts in the new birth. This implanted word fuels a desire for the external word of God, which is the Scriptures (Genesis-Revelation). We receive the implanted word through our reception of the external word. The power of the implanted word (the gospel) to save us feeds on our reception of the external word. It is through this transaction that the word of God powerfully works to save our souls.

Receive With Meekness

Now that we have seen that Christians are to receive the implanted word by receiving the external word, we will look at the manner James urges us to receive the word. This is a crucial lesson in Bible study and sitting under preaching. The context of this passage is of hearing the word. James says we should hear the word of God in specific ways; ways that oppose hasty and angry speech and attitudes. We should hear and receive the word of God with meekness. This means we should approach the Bible with humility and be quick to submit to it. When we open our Bibles to receive God’s word, we must do so with a trusting heart. We must ask God to help us to understand and delight in what we read. We must ask God to grant us the grace to willingly and gladly submit to his word. When we approach the Bible in this way, we receive it with meekness.

So, instead of rejecting portions of the Bible you personally find difficult to understand or accept, humbly trust God to teach you and meekly submit to God’s goodness and glory when you fail to grasp a certain biblical text. Remember, the thriving of your life as a Christian is not dependent on your level of understanding, but on an already implanted word (the gospel) that abides in you and is working for the completion of your salvation.

Implications

There are at least four important implications to draw from this passage.

Firstly, we can rest in the power of the gospel. The gospel is not a weak and fleeting power that is here today and gone tomorrow like a visiting political power. No, the gospel is the power of God to save (Rom. 1:16). The gospel takes root in your heart and creates the new birth. Stop trying to earn your own righteousness. Stop trying to give yourself life. Instead, rest in the work of Christ who died to give you new life through the word of his gospel.

Secondly, we need the gospel every day. It is the message of the gospel that was implanted at the new birth. It is this implanted word that fuels faith. In order to sustain your faith on a daily basis as you actively “put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness.” All sin-killing efforts are fueled through meek reception of the word of God.

Thirdly, we must have the gospel on our lips every day. If the gospel is the means of the new birth, then we must actively seek to evangelize our lost friends, family, and even those we do not know. All men and women are both born in sin and dead in sin. Because of this, our only hope of life with God is rebirth. Rebirth comes through the word of the gospel. So, we must go with gospel everywhere we go. In the words of Paul, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17).

Fourthly, we cannot afford to neglect the word of God. James says the implanted word of God is “able to save your souls” (Jam. 1:21). So, the best thing we can do for our souls is to open the word of God and feed our hungry souls the bread of life.


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife Erica and their dog, Simba.

The Direct Link Between the Inerrancy of Scripture and the Sovereignty of God


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Cornelius Van Til writes of B.B. Warfield’s view of Scripture: “For him the classical doctrine of the infallible inspiration of Scripture was involved in the doctrine of divine sovereignty.” Warfield was professor of theology at the old Princeton. He was one of the last great Presbyterian theologians at Princeton before theological liberalism swept its halls. Warfield was born in Lexington, KY in 1887 and he died in Princeton, NJ in 1921. Warfield is easily one of the greatest Reformed theologians of the 20th century and also one of the most influential Reformed theologians of all time. He is most noted for his defense of the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture—a battle that rages on into the 21st century, approaching one hundred years after Warfield’s death.

According to Warfield, God’s very character and nature is at stake in the battle for the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture. This has proved true over the centuries. Those camps that have denied the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture typically have a small view of God’s sovereignty. Theological liberals have a limited understanding of God’s sovereignty and they do not believe God’s Word is perfect and without error. In fact, it would be strange to hold a high view of God’s sovereignty and a low view of God’s self-revelation. Van Til continues, “God could not be sovereign in his disposition of rational human beings if he were not also sovereign in his revelation of himself to them.” What Van Til is observing in Warfield’s theology of the Bible is that if we abandon God’s sovereignty in perfectly revealing himself to man, we must also abandon God’s sovereignty in all things. Either God is sovereign or he is not. There is no middle ground here.

If he is an all-sovereign being, then he is sovereign in all realms. I had a conversation with a fellow member of my local church recently where we both marveled at the grand sovereignty of God in salvation. We were astonished as we shared stories of God saving five year-olds, fifty-five year-olds, and ninety-five year-olds. There have been times when I have taught the gospel like a man on fire with no response. However, there have been times when I have struggled to make sense of what I was teaching, yet a child trusted Jesus or found deep encouragement in my words. My words were jumbled, I stammered, and even gave a poor illustration, but God worked in, through, and despite them to draw sinners to himself. None of us question God’s sovereignty in these cases.

We should equally cherish God’s sovereignty with regard to his knowledge and revelation. When was the last time you sat in total amazement that God chose to reveal himself to unworthy sinners? Have you ever marveled at the fact that when you read your Bible you hold in your hands a book that was inspired by God? I asked these same questions to a small group of K-3rd graders. One kindergartner responded, “Well, that is all very interesting, but I can’t read!” Even the little boy in the group still learning to read was somewhat amazed that God has spoken. He just has to settle for having the Bible read to him right now!

The point is that when we contend that God has chosen to reveal himself in a redemptive way, it is an attack on God’s being and character when we also say that such revelation is flawed, no matter how we sugar coat our accusations of the Bible. This realization led Van Til to write, “As one deeply interested in the progress of the doctrine of God’s sovereign grace, Warfield put all his erudition to work for the vindication of an infallible Bible.” Warfield’s arduous work to defend the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, which has since been surpassed by none, is the product of his commitment to the sovereignty of God.

If you are like me and find incomparable joy in God’s sovereignty over all things, then firm up your commitment to the inerrancy of Scripture. Cultural attacks on traditional Christian values dealing with the family, marriage, gender, sex, sexuality, the origin of the universe, the dignity of man, and morality in general are either directly or indirectly attacks on the Word of God. And if Warfield and Van Til are correct, which I believe they are, then these cultural attacks from political and theological liberals, are attacks on the nature and being of God more than they are attacks on conservative, evangelical Christians. If you are going to survive as a Christian in the ever-changing landscape of American society, you must have confidence in the self-revelation of the God who saves and reigns as rightful Lord over his creation.

Like Warfield and Van Til, let us marvel at the sovereignty of God by upholding the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. I pray that my generation would continue in the Reformed tradition of a high view of God and a high view of the Bible and that we would boldly affirm the inerrancy of Scripture and see this affirmation as a celebration of the sovereignty of God.

In the end, the goal of both God’s self-revelation in Scripture and the defense of the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture is truthful, spiritual, and passionate worship of the God who saves. In the words of B.B. Warfield,

The religion of the Bible thus announces itself, not as the product of men’s search after God, if haply they may feel after Him and find Him, but as the creation in men of the gracious God, forming a people for Himself, that they may show forth His praise.

What is important to recognize is that the Scriptures themselves represent the Scriptures as not merely containing here and there the record of revelations—“words of God,”—given by God, but as themselves, in all their extent, a revelation, an authoritative body of gracious instructions from God; or, since the alone, of all the revelations which God may have given, are extant—rather as the Revelation, the only “Word of God” accessible to men, in all their parts “law,” that is, authoritative instruction from God.[1]

 

 

[1] Quotes taken from Warfield’s “The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible”


396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY. with his wife Erica.