It seems like the issues just keep coming. In 2015 the issue was marriage; now in 2016 the issue is bathrooms. I shutter to even think of what the 2017 issue could be. There is pressure to compromise on every side. Increasingly, leaders in many areas of our culture insist that all must get on board with the new moral revolution even if “sincerely held religious beliefs” are in conflict with it. We are basically being told, “If your religion goes against the program, then you need to change your religion and get with the program – or else.” As usual, there are churches and denominations surrendering on these issues by the droves. As usual, there are voices even within evangelicalism who advocate “moderating” positions in order to be more acceptable. All of this leads to two very logical questions…
Why have many “Christian” churches and denominations already surrendered to the new moral revolution?
Why is our church/denomination so strongly insisting it will never surrender on these issues?
The answer to these questions is really surprisingly simple and straightforward: the inerrancy and authority of the Bible. We either believe the Bible or we don’t. We either live by what the Bible says or we don’t. Here is what the church I serve and our denomination (Southern Baptist Convention) believe about the Bible…
I. The Scriptures
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
We believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God to mankind. Therefore the Bible is authoritative for all issues of living and believing in this world. The inerrancy and authority of the Bible are intertwined. If we do not believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, the logical conclusion is that it is not authoritative and we can make it mean whatever we wish to make it mean in order to “fit with the times.” However, if we do believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, then the logical conclusion is that it is authoritative and we live by what it teaches – no matter if it’s cultural acceptable or not.
It is no coincidence that the churches/denominations who have (or soon will) surrender to the new moral revolution long ago surrendered on the issue of inerrancy. Their seminaries trained generations of pastors in the “modern” approaches to the Bible. The result was increasing numbers of pastors in the pulpit who really didn’t believe the Bible; soon we had churches filled with people who didn’t believe it either. Once the Bible wasn’t viewed as the inerrant Word of God, it was no longer really authoritative. The resulting state of so much of mainline Protestantism is the direct result of the long ago loss of Biblical inerrancy and Biblical authority. Once that is gone, surrender to the new moral revolution is really the only option.
There is also another line of attack we are seeing today: the Bible doesn’t really say what it plainly says. Knowing that many evangelicals hold to Biblical inerrancy as a core belief, some very smart voices have arisen to argue that we have misunderstood the Bible. For instance, they argue that Romans 1:26-27 isn’t referring to homosexual relationships as we know them today. This enables people to say, “I believe the Bible is the Word of God and I support same-sex marriage.” Arguments such as these do not hold up to serious theological scrutiny. These arguments undermine the authority of scripture just as much as saying the Bible isn’t true. They are simply attempts to find a way around what the Bible says so that one does not have to live according to what the Bible says.
Here is the absolute bottom line…
“and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15–17, NASB95)
Why is our church/denomination so insistent that we will NEVER compromise to the new moral revolution? The innerancy and authority of the Bible. We believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. We believe that it means what it plainly says. We believe that Christians are obligated to believe what it says and live as it says.
The inerrancy and authority of scripture is at the core of what we believe as Christians. It isn’t something that we can just discard because everyone says we should. It isn’t something that we can change because we are made to pay a price for our beliefs. This is what the cultural elites do not understand. They look at Bible believing Christians and believe that we will inevitably cave in when enough pressure is brought to bear. They do not understand that the inerrancy and authority of the Bible is the very core of who we are.
We either believe the Bible or we don’t. We either live by what the Bible says or we don’t. We are quickly finding out who does.