DIMINISHED BIBLICAL AUTHORITY

 

When a culture abandons God, that culture first has to attack His Word, the Bible*, which not only reveals His plan of salvation, but provides the necessary Truths for a society to live in harmony with God and with itself.  America has been an object lesson to the rest of the world of a people who, recognizing God as the source of blessings has prospered in every way imaginable.  And, on Sunday mornings across this country, people got up, dressed, and went to church, carrying their Bibles under their arms. From those Bibles, the preacher expounded on God’s plan and blessing to all who give Him glory…and America did just that.

Things began to change over the last forty years.  Like a land slide that begins with a small pebble, graduating to larger boulders until the entire foundation gives way, so it has been with the Bible. It began with prayer and Bible reading being removed from schools and has escalated until its very influence over our society is being erased.

Until recently, even in an everyday conversation, a person would inadvertently quote a passage out of the Bible.  They gained their knowledge of it either by reading it as far back in their lives as Vacation Bible School.  However, the generation reaching the upper levels of high school today is the first that has not been exposed to the Bible’s content.  They have neither read it, heard their parents quote it, or attended church where they would have been exposed to it.  They are the generation that will put the Bible on the bookshelf next to the fiction and go about their business.

When I refer to the Bible, what do I mean?  The Bible contains the Old and New Testaments. It contains sixty-six books, 39 of the OT and 27 of the NT.  The Old Testament books are: 

Genesis

2 Kings

Isaiah

Nahum

Exodus

1 Chronicles

Jeremiah

Habakkuk

Leviticus

2 Chronicles

Lamentations

Zephaniah

Numbers

Ezra

Ezekiel

Haggai

Deuteronomy

Nehemiah

Daniel

Zechariah

Joshua

Esther

Hosea

Malachi

Judges

Job

Joel

Ruth

Psalms

Amos

1 Samuel

Proverbs

Obadiah

2 Samuel

Ecclesiastes

Jonah

1 Kings

Song of Solomon

Micah

 

The New Testament books are:

Matthew

Colossians

1 John

Mark

1 Thessalonians

2 John

Luke

2 Thessalonians

3 John

John

1 Timothy

Jude

Acts

2 Timothy

Revelation

Romans

Titus

1 Corinthians

Philemon

2 Corinthians

Hebrews

Galatians

James

Ephesians

1 Peter

Philippians

2 Peter

 

It is not this author’s intention to discuss the history of the Bible, how we got the various translations and so on.  However, we can take a reference point with what is referred to the King James Version of the Bible, completed in 1611.  It has been the standard for over three hundred years.  Other translations have come along over the past seventy five years that are aligned more with the language of the day.

The content of the Bible is what is critical. And, that’s what is being challenged.  Let me explain.

·         If the Bible declares that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, but someone says Jesus is a Son of God, the meaning has been changed.

·         If the Bible declares that Jesus is from everlasting to everlasting, that is, he has always existed, but someone says Jesus is the first of God’s creation, the meaning has been changed.

There are key elements in the Bible that are what I call non-negotiable.  They cannot be changed without redefining the entire Christian Faith.  One is what is referred to as the Gospel of Christ.  Here it is:

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-5)

 

There are three important points mentioned here that are the bases of the Christianity.  One, Christ died for our sins.  Two, Christ was buried.  Three, Christ rose the third day.  Without these three points, Christ and all He claimed becomes nothing more than a fable.

The other non-negotiables are what is referred to as ‘cardinal doctrines’.  Their substances are essential to Christ’s ministry and message. There are seven:

·         The deity of Christ Jesus was the Son of God,
                                    Jesus was God in the flesh
                                    Jesus is the third person of the Trinity (triune God). God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

 

·          The virgin birth of Jesus – Jesus was born of a virgin.
Isaiah 7:14  Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

·         His sinless life- Jesus never sinned.
Hebrews 4:15  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

 

·         His vicarious death on the cross (His substitutionary atonement) – Jesus died for our sins.  
1 Peter 2:24 … who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

 

·         His rising from the grave the third day – Jesus rose from the grave on the third day.
1 Corinthians 15:4  and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

 

·         Salvation is by grace thru faith, PERIOD – We are saved by grace, not by works.
Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  (9)  not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

·         The eternal security of the Believer – The same Lord that saves us keeps us for all eternity.
 
John 3:15-16  says whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  (16)  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It is not the scope of this work to go through each of these.  Suffice it to say, these doctrines are under attack by those who want to discredit the Bible in order to lead people away from it.

Let’s look at some areas where the Bible is being attacked.

Gender neutral versions – References to man, men, referring to Jesus as He and Him, referencing God in the male gender, i.e. He, Him, are being changed to terms such as person, persons, them, etc.  However, God’s Word is very clear on this subject.  Jesus was the SON of God.  He was a man (male). He was the God / Man.  In every reference to God and Jesus, it is always in the masculine.

On content – A popular move is an attack on the Bible’s content.  That is, instead of there being 66 books, there should be 67 or 56 and so on.  Book included should not be there, and there are books that should have been included.  What this does is draw question to the overall reliability of the Bible.

Although this discussion has been going on for hundreds of years, it is impacting more people today with TV networks like the History channels and Discovery constantly bombarding the listener with this nonsense.

The infusion of other works – For decades, there have been counterfeit works that some have held equal in importance to the Bible.  The Book of Mormon, The New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witnesses) to name a few.  And now, with the rise of Islam in America, along with a President that leans toward the Islamic persuasion, the Koran is receiving notice, some putting it at the level of the Bible in authority.

However, none of these writings stand equal to the authenticity of the Bible.  The Bible is God’s Holy Word.  These other works were penned by sinful men needing God’s saving grace.  Joseph Smith (Mormonism), Charles Russel (Jehovah’s Witnesses), and Mohamed (Islam) were all sinners who chose to rebel against God. These ‘extra biblical’ works are counterfeits to the true, authoritative Word of God, the Bible*. The Bible is the ONLY God ordained, God breathed revelation on earth!

Why are men attacking the authority of the Bible?  The answer is very simple. If one is determined to cheat at baseball, they will disregard the rule book.  If one wants to break the rules in chess, the last thing they want to do is consult the book on chess.  Those who want to sin without consequences, who want to do whatever they believe is right in their own eyes, do not want the guide, the rule book, the standard, that is, the Bible around to correct them.

Men by nature love their sin and hate God. If you want to shut God up, get rid of the Bible, God’s Holy Word.

 “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.”   (Matthew 5:18 NLT)

 

America might reject the Bible to its own demise, but man can never cancel out God’s Holy Word.

 

 

 

 


* ‘Word of God’ refers to the Bible only, in all instances in this work. No other source is assumed in that phrase. The Bible is God’s inerrant, infallible, and complete and sole Word to mankind. No other work on earth appends too or replaces the Bible.

** All Bible references are from the New King James Version (NKJV) unless otherwise noted.