Theologian R.C. Sproul tells about having a sign on his desk that read:
You are required to believe, to preach, and to teach what the
Bible says is true, not what you want the Bible to say is true.
It’s possible that you have come across passages in the Bible that you wish were not in there, and not part of God’s inerrant and inspired Word. Perhaps those passages have to do with women preaching to men in a worship service, sexuality or gender issues, or any number of topics that you may hold dear. Sproul states “When there’s something in the Word of God that I don’t like, the problem is not with the Word of God. It’s with me.” Are you willing to come under the authority of God’s Word, even if it teaches something you disagree with?
There is certainly the temptation at times to skip over difficult passages in the Bible. On a recent family vacation, a nephew told me of reading Old Testament passages in Sally Lloyd-Jones’ Jesus Storybook Bible to his four-year-old daughter. He indicated that some of those stories were difficult to read and answering his daughter’s questions about them were tough. He was tempted to avoid those passages, but he didn’t.
At the Sing! Getty Worship Conference, I submitted a question for a live Ask Pastor John session with Tony Reinke and John Piper. My question was:
“Pastor John, as the LGBT movement strives to become more mainstream, I’ve seen more and more believers giving in to the culture, attending pride parades, hanging rainbow flags outside their homes, posting on social media, etc. all in the name of “choosing love”. How should we respond to such actions from believers that we know?”
As it relates to our topic of coming under the authority of the Bible, Piper responded (my paraphrase):
- Go to the Bible to see what it says about this issue. Decide whether you are going to believe the Bible.
- People who are caving are ashamed about what the Bible says about social issues.
I’m directing this article to believers, those who consider themselves to be Christians. You could be a believer and still not be willing to come under the authority of Scripture. In his book Final Word: Why We Need the Bible, John MacArthur tells us that “Perhaps no doctrine has been as consistently assaulted from within the church as the inerrancy of Scripture.”. He goes on to say, “God wrote a Book—just one Book—and He was able to say everything He wanted to say. He said it without error, without flaw, and without anything omitted or unnecessarily included.” He writes that “We must uphold the standard of God’s truth, proclaiming its inerrancy, authority, sufficiency, perspicuity (clarity), and integrity.”
Some say that the meaning of Scripture is fluid, and must be adapted to our world today. But MacArthur writes “Time has no influence on God’s Word. Changing philosophies, worldviews, and cultural norms have no effect on it, either. It is utterly unchanging and can never pass away.” Others state that truth is relative or that there is no absolute truth. MacArthur rightly says “Truth cannot be subjective; there is no such thing as your truth or my truth. Truth is forever fixed. Authentic Christianity has always held that Scripture is absolute, objective truth.”
There is much, much more that we could say about the Bible, but the question remains:
Will you come under the authority of Scripture?