The Sufficiency of Scripture: Is God’s Word Enough, Part 6

For all who have read these recent posts I will remind that the documentation of quotes has been lost. Therefore, many of the quotes are not properly attributed to those who made them.

Hoky BibleI recently began a series of articles dealing with the sufficiency of Scripture. I began by giving a definition and description of sufficiency. By way of introduction and reminder, the following is our definition: Sufficiency means that something is enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end. It refers to something being what is necessary or desirable for a specified need. Simply put, if something is sufficient it is just what the doctor ordered.

Scripture’s Testimony Concerning Sufficiency: Is the Bible Enough? –

As we have spent much time discovering, the modern-day Church has rejected Scripture’s authority and its sufficiency to speak to every area of life. They have rejected Scripture’s sufficiency and have added man’s wisdom in the form of mere reason. They have rejected Scripture’s sufficiency and added mystical experiences. They have rejected Scripture’s sufficiency and added occult and pagan practices. These things, when placed alongside the teaching of Scripture serve to give witness to the sufficiency of Scripture.

Paul told Timothy this day would come: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). This fulfilled prophecy in itself expresses the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, for that is exactly what has occurred. The time has come when very few will endure sound doctrine, and their ears can definitely find someone to tickle them in every city.

Our last discussion focused on modern-day attacks against the sufficiency of Scripture. In this final section we will attempt to discover some of what Scripture has to say as to whether it is sufficient for all things pertaining to faith and conduct. However, before we go any further it is my belief that an attack against the authority and sufficiency of Scripture is an attack against the very character and attributes of God. Since the approach of these articles has been to assume that the word of God is the inspired, infallible, authoritative word spoken by God to man we will speak freely along these lines without attempting to prove these presuppositions.

Scripture clearly teaches that God has foreordained the content and course of all things, people and events, in history. In the Greek language the word foreordained speaks of the fact that God planned all things before the foundation of the world, and this plan extends to all aspects of His creation. Once God established the plan for the ages he then decreed that it be done just as He planned it. Therefore, all He planned was certain to be done just as planned. Moreover, God prepared select men and nations to actively participate in carrying out His plan; some in a positive manner – those known as the elect – and others in a negative manner – such as Babylon. Since God chose certain men and nations to carry out His plan these must be instructed in how to do so. God chose to do so by speaking to those elect and, in turn, having that message recorded in written form in order that those who would follow after would have a record of direction to enable them to effectively carry out His plan. Therefore, to say that the message and direction is not sufficient to direct the chosen in how to live is to say that God’s plan is insufficient and thus to say that God Himself is insufficient, not authoritative, and not sovereign. The attack upon the authority and sufficiency of Scripture is an attack upon the nature and attributes of God Himself.

Let us examine one of the most definitive verses in all of Scripture in addressing this subject of the sufficiency of Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed (author’s preferred interpretation) 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” (NASB).

To begin with Paul states that “All Scripture is God-breathed”. Without going in-depth to examine this we will simply allow Warfield’s explanation suffice:

“The ‘breath of God’ is in Scripture just the symbol of His almighty power, the bearer of His creative word…And it is particularly where the operations of God are energetic that this term…is employed to designate them – God’s breath is the irresistible outflow of His power. When Paul declares, then, that ‘all scripture’ is the product of the Divine breath, ‘is God-breathed,’ he asserts with as much energy as he could employ that Scripture is the product of a specifically Divine operation.”

Scripture, being the very out-breathing of God, is sufficient for all of life. It is profitable; all of it. The Greek word is ophelimos and means “profitable, useful, or beneficial.”It is preceded by the word kai which is most commonly translated as “and”, but in this passage it has the force of “also”. Therefore, it could be translated “God-breathed, also profitable” with the idea that not only are they God-breathed, but because they are they are profitable as well.

The fact that they are God-breathed seems to force the conclusion that they are both authoritative and sufficient for all of life. Yet that is not the whole of these verses. Paul goes further in explaining what profit they hold. They are profitable for teaching those things which man cannot know by reason alone and are not accepted by the unregenerate mind. It reproves all of our wrong-doings and wayward thoughts. It gives man what is needed to correct the same, and simultaneously trains a once lost, sinful man in the ways of righteousness. That is the definition of sufficiency.

Paul goes on to explain that the purpose for doing all of these is that the man of God would be adequately equipped for every good work. What are those good works for which a man of God must be equipped? Ephesians 2:10 gives some insight; “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” God has created the elect to carry out certain good works that He has prepared for each one who believes on Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that the word He left for us, with which to instruct us for those works, is capable of completing the task for which the Almighty God has created it. God’s word is sufficient for God’s people.

The majority of those who, in practice, deny the sufficiency of God’s word would never admit to believing that Scripture is insufficient. Neither would most of these men deny the sufficiency of Christ. In his excellent book, Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology, Ed Bulkley addresses this problem. He states; “When you say the Scriptures are not enough, you are in fact saying that Christ is not enough, for the Bible is about Christ from cover to cover.” Elsewhere he states, “To claim the belief that Christ is sufficient while saying that the Bible is deficient simply will not work, for the two are inseparable foundations: It is through the written Word of God that we come to understand the living Word of God.” He then turns our attention to 2 Peter 1:2-4, thus we will next examine this passage.

Peter states:

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord: seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

Peter establishes that the grace and peace that all men need and long for are revealed through “the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (v. 2). Though not specifically stated here this knowledge is found in the written word of God alone and not by some private revelation or mystical experience, for Peter states elsewhere that “no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (1:21). Any private revelation or mystical experience should fall under the category of “prophecy” and therefore “is (not) a matter of one’s own interpretation.” It must also be seen that “no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (v.21). Therefore, any revelation that is apart from Scripture would not conflict with any other portion of Scripture either by content or delivery. Neither of these may be trusted as true of today’s private revelations if they are tested by the clear teachings of Scripture as has been commanded (1 Jn. 4:1).

Furthermore, Peter states that this grace and peace have at least the potential to be multiplied in those who placed their faith in Christ. Peter states that this is possible due to the fact that “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness.” “Everything” is all-inclusive. Nothing that is an essential need to the Christian’s ability to walk worthy of our calling has been left neglected or unattended by God. And He provided for our every need “through the knowledge of Him” (v.3) and that knowledge is only obtained by the written word of God.  “God has provided answers in His Scriptures for every possible spiritual/mental/emotional problem that man has ever and could ever experience.”

In the book of Acts Paul offers another profound proclamation of the sufficiency of God’s Holy Word. He states;

“I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable…for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God…And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:20, 27, 32).

This is an even more direct and comprehensive statement concerning the sufficiency of Scripture than that of Peter’s in the previous verses. As MacArthur states, “Paul did not view any portion of God’s revelation as unimportant or insufficient to spiritual growth. Nor did he view any of it as incapable of dealing with life’s problems.”

In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 God gives a basic summary of doctrine for His people Israel. His written word found in the Law was sufficient for all issues of life and godliness for His people. The commands given in this passage express the fact that the Law of God was to occupy the center of life, thought and conduct for His people.

In Psalm 119:9 the question is asked, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” The answer to follow is, “By keeping it according to Your word.” Therefore, if known and obeyed, God’s word is sufficient to keep one from living an impure life.

Again in verse 105 the Psalmist states, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The clear imagery given here is that God’s word gives sufficient light to walk the path of life in a dark world so that the follower of God should not stumble off the path of righteousness.

Returning to Psalm 119 we find that this Psalm is rife with descriptions of the sufficiency of God’s word for faith and conduct. Beginning in verse 1 and continuing through verse 8 we see descriptions of those whose lives are identified as “blessed”. The Psalmist states; “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the Lord” (v.1). Those who live in obedience to God’s written word, in this case the Law, his way, way of living, is said to be blameless and in turn abundantly blessed. And so he continues through the next 7 verses.

In Joshua 1:8 God gives a direct command to Joshua;

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

We see in this verse that Israel had only one way by which she as a nation would be prosperous and successful; she was to hold strong to God’s law – the written word. According to His command they were to constantly be teaching the law – “shall not depart from your mouth” – and continually “mulling it over” in their minds – “meditate on it day and night.” By doing these things God’s word would cause them to receive the promised blessings and have abundant success and prosperity. All of this was based on God’s sufficient word.

Perhaps the definitive Old Testament passage concerning the sufficiency of God’s word is found in Psalm 19. For the sake of brevity we will look only at verses 7-11. David writes:

“The law of the Lord is perfect restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.”

David here describes the absolute sufficiency of Scripture for the believer. He says that “the law of the Lord is perfect” meaning “faultless”. Unger states that it is “completely reliable as a moral and spiritual guide for God’s people, and ‘complete’ in the sense of being all we need to save us and lead us on in fellowship with God.” It is “restoring to the soul”, meaning it draws us back, “from the incessant downward pull of sin.”

God’s law is “sure”, literally “firm, faithful”, with the result that it makes “wise the simple”. In other words the foolish one who is ever susceptible falling into sin is given the wisdom to avoid such susceptibility.

The word is right, “in line with God’s will”. “It brings ‘rejoicing to the heart’… (literally) ‘making the heart glad’.” He states that it is pure expressing that God’s word has absolutely no “taint” which would direct one toward sin.

As MacArthur states, “Scripture’s purity and clarity produces the benefit of ‘enlightening the eyes’.” In other words the teaching of Scripture clearly directs us to live properly in the midst of moral and spiritual darkness by its pure, untainted illumination.

Verse 9 states that “the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.” Scripture provokes the fear of God. In doing so men are caused to turn to God in reverential praise and worship of Almighty God. It is clean, without blemish, defect or impurity and lasts forever. God’s word is “living and active”; it endures forever and it is sufficient, even to this day, to direct and protect God’s children.

God’s judgments are true and righteous. There is no error, His word hits dead on the mark every time. God’s word is “inerrant and absolutely trustworthy.”

Verses 10 and 11 declare the immeasurable value of God’s word. The value of gold is the standard of value in this world. No matter the state of the economy, one who is heavily invested in gold is secure as far as this world’s monetary system goes. Scripture’s value far exceeds all of the gold in any bank or combination of banks. It’s sweetness to the soul is infinitely greater than the delicacies of honey.

Finally, verse 11 describes the protection and rewards afforded to the one who lives by the word of the Lord. Scripture is the greatest source of spiritual protection for the follower of Christ. Scripture serves to warn the servant of God of the effects and dangers of sin and disobedience to God. Scripture serves to protect God’s servants in the face of temptation to sin and ignorance of the true way of living. Scripture also brings rewards, eternal rewards, to the one who is faithful to live according to them.

Conclusion

There is an abundance of other Scripture passages that express the sufficiency of Scripture; Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 2:15, Proverbs 30:5-6, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, and Matthew 4:4 just to name a very few. To exhaust the passages that express this fact would take a vast amount of time and energy, and still then one would not be able to do justice to the subject.

Satan has attempted to destroy any trust in the authority and sufficiency of Scripture since his opening lines in Genesis, “Indeed has God said…?” His assault against Scripture has raged continually since, and has found many an ally in humanity over the millennia. Yet, his attacks have done nothing to diminish the fact that Scripture is sufficient in all areas of faith and conduct. God’s word speaks to the heart of man and is the instrument that the Holy Spirit uses to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (Jn. 16:8). That is why men so easily join Satan in his attempted destruction of it. Scripture gives us the whole disgusting description of who we are and holds up God’s righteousness before our eyes, thus acting as a mirror showing us who we really are in the eyes of a holy God. It is the only sufficient guide for life. It acts as the guidebook for Christian living. Its sufficiency is based upon God’s nature and attributes, therefore it is trustworthy, authoritative, and worthy of honor.

Scripture alone is adequate to teach us the way of righteousness, for, as it informs us, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds” (Jer. 17:9-10). It points us to the One true way of salvation, and is adequate to teach how to enter into that salvation.

Though man has repeatedly attempted to denigrate, castigate, and eliminate God’s word it has proven indestructible. In truth, what else should we expect from those who could not understand the truths written in the pages of the Holy word without the illuminating work of God’s Holy Spirit? Men try to destroy what they fear most, and they most fear a righteous God who has revealed to them their sin and future judgment.

Is God’s word sufficient? Has the question been answered in these articles? That may be debatable. However, one thing is not; Scripture proves itself to be both authoritative and sufficient. God’s word is the final authority on all things “pertaining to life and godliness.” It is and always will be the all-sufficient guide by which Christians are led into holiness, spiritual maturity, and right relationship with the God who created, loves and chose them for His own. May God bless His word, and all of us who attempt to understand and live by it.

To God be the glory forever, and ever, Amen.

 

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The Sufficiency of Scripture: Is God’s Word Enough? Part 1

ImageWhat follows is a portion of a presentation that I made several years ago.  The topic is a “life and death” issue, figuratively speaking, for the Church today.  Unfortunately, some of my documentation has been lost and some quotes are not attributed to the original authors.  Some may criticize for moving forward with publishing it for that reason, but I believe that what I wrote years ago is still fresh for today and needs to be reviewed by others.  For those whom I quote and have lost the proper notations, please forgive me.

I have played the great game of basketball from the time I was in the fifth grade all the way through my college years. One thing that all teams, leagues, conferences and divisions had in common was a single book; the official rulebook of basketball. During any game the rules written in that book governed the competition and were binding for everyone involved whether it is the coaches, players, scorekeepers, or referees. No one involved would dare question that book for it is the final authority for all things basketball. It is also sufficient to answer any question, settle any dispute, and completely govern the game.

In each game there were at least two men, sometimes three, who were to oversee each contest to make sure the rules of the rulebook, were understood and obeyed. These were the referees. Anytime there was any question concerning error or infraction concerning the rulebook these men would have the final say in deciding the answer, because these men had the rulebook memorized (theoretically and ideally). In my recollection of the years I spent playing basketball there is not one time that I can point to when my opinion was allowed to make the final decision when there was a violation of the rulebook. That is because the rulebook had already decided the outcome, and the referees would simple make a declaration of the rules already established. Even some 20 years after I played my last college game it is still that rulebook that governs the game of basketball. Not much has changed.

For thousands of years there has been one thing that was the final authority on all things, period; “Then God said…” (Gen. 1:3). Yet, seemingly no sooner had those words been uttered that another voice was heard casting doubt on the authority of the word of God; “Indeed, has God said?”(Gen. 3:1) Or in other words, “Is what He said really accurate?” And so the battle over the authority of God’s word began.

Such a battle has raged since that first question in the Garden with various waves of victory and loss of ground for those who would hold to the authority of Scripture. Along with that battle over authority must necessarily be included the question of sufficiency, for sufficiency is inextricably linked to authority. If the word of God is THE authority, then it must also be sufficient. This has been the orthodox understanding of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments as well as in both the religion of the Jews and of the Christian Church. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss various aspects of the sufficiency of Scripture, and will do so with the presupposition that Scripture is the inspired, infallible, authoritative word spoken by God to man.

I will attempt to offer a simple definition of sufficiency, a brief description of the millennia long battle over the authority and sufficiency of the word of God, the recent developments in the battle and its effects upon the Church, and will close with an overview of what Scripture has to say concerning its status as sufficient providing the answer to the question; “Is God’s Word enough?” It is not within the scope of this article to delve into every deep crevasse that such a battle creates. However, it is my desire to discuss the issue as thoroughly as time and space allow.

Definition and Description of Sufficiency

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) defines the word “sufficient” by the following: “1.a: enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end…b: being a sufficient condition.  2….being what is necessary or desirable.”  Thus, we may picture the word “sufficient” with the following simple illustration: the two-inch round peg is sufficient to fill the two-inch round hole.  To use another phrase, the round peg is just what the doctor ordered; it is exactly what is needed to meet the need at hand.  Some synonyms given are, “enough, adequate, competent.”

Dr. James T. Draper has offered a simple, yet adequate definition and description of the sufficiency as it relates to Scripture. He states:

“The ability of the Word of God to address every area of human existence is called the sufficiency of the Scriptures…An inerrant Bible is an authoritative Bible. Just as the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture logically leads to belief in its authority, even so the doctrine of the authority of the Bible necessitates the confidence that the Scriptures are sufficient. Christians did not arrive at the doctrine of the sufficiency of the Bible simply by way of logical reasoning; we believe that the Bible is the road map for living because it is what the Bible claims about itself.”  Added to this, another definition offered by John MacArthur; “the Bible is an adequate guide for all matters of faith and conduct. Scripture gives us every truth we need for life and godliness.”

Based on the preceding discussion I will begin this study by stating that it is my belief, as well as that of orthodox Christianity at least since the Reformation, that Scripture is sufficient, totally adequate, and competent to meet the needs of every individual Christian in every circumstance of life (see 2 Peter 1:2-3).  Nothing else is needed to guide us in our everyday living.  These definitions along with their corresponding descriptions will serve as our standard for the understanding and study of this most important subject.

To be continued.

Are You Epistemologically Self-Conscious? | Jason Lisle’s Blog

Jason Lisle does an excellent job of presenting some fundamental facts about Christian Epistemology, how we know anything.  Christians would be well served if we would take the time to learn the foundational principles of logic and knowing in order to better present and defend the Christian/Biblical worldview.

Do yourself a favor and read this article.

Are You Epistemologically Self-Conscious? | Jason Lisle’s Blog.

The Words of the Gospel of Eternal Life | 1024project.com

The Words of the Gospel of Eternal Life | 1024project.com.

I would like to introduce you to the 1024project.com if you have not yet discovered it on your own.  I am one of the founding members and would like to invite you to sample some of the sites work.  The above article is by one of the other founding members, Dr. Mike Stallard.  I hope you enjoy reading it.

Below is a brief description of the 1024project:

1024projectlogo

What is the 1024 Project?

The 1024 Project is a collaboration of Christian leaders, based on Hebrews 10:24 – “and let us consider ways to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” One way we can accomplish this mandate is by working together to provide encouraging and edifying resources on issues that arise in the lives of individual believers and in corporate church life. The 1024 Project is a clearinghouse of teaching, resources and information from likeminded leaders of Biblical churches, who are committed to Two Key Distinctives:

First, the Bible (the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament) is the inspired, inerrant (in the original manuscripts), revealed word of God, and is authoritative and sufficient for the equipping of saints for every good work.

Second, the Bible provides the model for its own interpretation, and should be understood in its natural (literal grammatical-historical) sense, considering context and the progress of revelation. The 1024 Project and its members are committed to the consistent application of the literal grammatical-historical method for understanding the entire Bible.

These Two Key Distinctives have some obvious implications. One implication worth noting here is that the 1024 Project means by “considering context and the progress of revelation” that the earlier Biblical texts provide grounding and definition for later Biblical texts, and not the other way around (the OT is not to be reinterpreted by the NT, rather the NT is to be understood in light of the OT). Consequently, hermeneutic models that advocate NT primacy, like the canonical or complementary approaches, do not consider context and progress of revelation in keeping with the literal grammatical-historical hermeneutic.

Hidden Facts of Our Founding Fathers

In March of 2012 I wrote an article (March « 2012 « They Call Me Pastor) dealing with the abrasive tone that some in the discernment branch of the Christian community have adopted in the last several years.  In this article I specifically addressed Brannon Howse and Chris Pinto as they attacked fellow Christian and evangelist Kirk Cameron.  At the heart of that article was the desire to direct the readers’ attention to an article written by John Eidsmoe, a man who is both an expert in the Law and the founding of our nation, and who has the mind of a theologian.

That post generated more debate than any that I had done before or have done since.  Many of the comments were quite abrasive themselves and were directed at my gall for having published anything that was deemed as negative towards Brannon Howse.  Many also sought to defend Mr. Pinto’s view of our history, a view that I am more convinced now than ever before to be not only erroneous, but at the very least based on ignorance and at the worst an outright and purposeful deception.

Amidst the negative and rude comments were also those who offered support, agreement, and even direction for further study.  One of those who offered support and direction was a man by the name of Bill Fortenberry (website here).  Bill is an interesting fellow with an ability to research like none I’ve ever personally witnessed apart from that of John Eidsmoe.  Mr. Fortenberry was in the process of dealing head on with Mr. Pinto’s false view of our founding by writing on his personal website concerning the misleading nature of Mr. Pinto’s documentary, “Hidden Faith of Founding Fathers.”  From his interactions with Mr. Pinto and his research into the matter, Mr. Fortenberry has produced a very well researched and fully documented little book (158 pages not including the footnotes and links to quotes and original source material) entitled Hidden Facts of the Founding Era.  I have recently completed reading his work and would like to recommend that anyone wishing to know the truth about the matter – READ THIS BOOK.  Allow me to explain.

Mr. Fortenberry has taken the falsehoods found in Mr. Pinto’s work and systematically destroyed them with the facts.  He examines each section of the film, beginning with the accusations against Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and Washington, compared what each man stated in his own words with the comments from Mr. Pinto, and refuted wholly and completely the half-truths, misstatements of fact, and (seemingly) bold-faced lies that are presented as truth in the documentary.  After reading this book anyone still wishing to hold out as truth the message of Mr. Pinto’s film will find him/herself on the same level of the congresswomen who recently complained to a constituent that he was confusing her with facts.  It is not my intention to go into a detailed account of the contents of Mr. Fortenberry’s book because I want you to buy it from him and read it yourself.  It can be found here in both electronic and hardcopy formats.  In fact, if you are an Amazon Prime member, the book is free to you on Amazon.  The hardcopy book is very inexpensive – $7.50 – while the e-book is only $2.99.

The genius of Mr. Fortenberry’s work is seen most clearly in the footnotes.  Most if not all of them lead to websites where source documents, a.k.a, original writings containing the actual quotes from the founding era, can be examined by the readers themselves.  This practice is something that Mr. Pinto admittedly did not use consistently throughout his research.  That is not to say he didn’t search original source documents at all, whether he did or didn’t I do not know.  However, he did use information from sources that were at best second-hand, some even being written one hundred years after the founding era, and at worst were wrong in their statements.  When I was in college my professors taught me not to do that.  “Original source material; no second-hand quotes” they would say time and time again.  As the country folk where I grew up would say, “Get it from the horse’s mouth.”  Mr. Pinto didn’t practice that consistently and Mr. Fortenberry did.

There is another practice that Mr. Fortenberry utilized more consistently than Mr. Pinto in his research, which was to examine the writings of those closest to the men and occurrences about which the discussion centered.  By this I mean closest in relationship and closest in time.  It is safer to take as fact the accounts from those who were more intimate with the person or event than those who would come later and write from a historical perspective that may or may not be accurate.  Mr. Fortenberry focused on those who were most knowledgeable of the actual people and events based on either the proximity in time or intimacy with those who would have been.  Mr. Pinto utilizes more those who came later and were not as intimately associated with either the facts or the persons about whom he testified.  Mr. Pinto’s poor research and ignorance of the facts are compounded by the fact that he also uses sources that are questionable at best – see Mr. Fortenberry’s book for this argument.

Finally, at the conclusion of his book Mr. Fortenberry has done us a great service.  He has taken the time to examine many of the Articles of the Constitution and demonstrated from Scripture where the Founders developed their ideas concerning a self-governing, free society.  For those who believe that our freedoms and laws were developed from enlightenment thought I would suggest you curb your enthusiasm for such an idea and examine Mr. Fortenberry’s book.

All-in-all I must highly recommend Mr. Fortenberry’s book to all who would like to take a closer look at the question of whether many of our Founding Fathers were Christian, and if we were founded on Christian principles.  His extensive research and source documentation is a tribute to a man who loves the truth, the Author of Truth, and the country that He providentially brought into existence.  His work far outshines the product delivered by Mr. Pinto.

Hidden-Facts-Cover-2-smallI pray this helps.

Concerning Presuppositional Epistemology and Apologetics

I had this questioned posed by one who had read the interview with Dr. Cone: “Just read your blog…could you please define presuppostitional as it relates to epistemology and apologetics ??  This is a new term for me.”  What follows is my attempt to answer this question.  Since I am still relatively new to this subject, presuppositionalism, any correction will be welcomed, especially as it relates to my attempt to explain circular reasoning.

The term “presuppositional” refers to the idea that all belief systems begin with circular reasoning based on self-authenticating (unprovable) truths or statements of “truth.”  In apologetics it refers to the position that believers must begin with the belief in the biblical God. This is how the Bible approaches the entirety of its contents…”In the beginning God…”  There is no attempt to prove His existence, etc.  The same can be seen in the book of Ecclesiastes.  The other various approaches to apologetics depend on logic and the ability to “prove” that the biblical God exists.  There are at least two problems with this approach.  First, logic, reason, and proof or evidence clearly demonstrate that the earth and all reality has been created by an intelligent mind.  That’s as far as it goes.  It cannot bring one to the conclusion that THE Creator is the biblical God.  That takes faith and that faith is found in hearing the word of God.  Second, if God can be absolutely proven by human reason and evidence, then God Himself is subject to that evidence making Him subservient to that evidence (the evidence is greater than God) and thus He is not the God of the Bible.  Along with that, the evidence, no matter how demonstrative, has to be believed by faith.  There is no way around faith in any belief system.

The rationalist begins with the presupposition that there is such a thing as logic and reason and that they are commodities that are attainable by humanity.  Therefore, the rationalist believes that he can understand everything based on his ability to reason logically, and his ability to reason is proven by the fact that he can understand the nature of reality because logic exists.  Also, the Christian believes in the biblical God because the Bible tells me so, and believes the Bible because it is the word of God.  Both of these exhibit circular reasoning based upon presuppositions that are held.

Epistemology is a somewhat more difficult thing for me to explain, but I believe that it is something like the following: Epistemology is the study of knowledge, where does it originate, how do we have or obtain it, how do we know what we know?  A presuppositionalist believes that knowledge is from God; that truth is from God as the source of all Truth.  Or as Francis Schaeffer would say, true truth is from God.  I don’t really know how the non-believer approaches epistemology other than it is a product of evolution, environment and culture.  This idea is absolutely full of problems one of which would be the development of the first language and every subsequent language – no communication would be possible if evolution is true.

I pray this helps.

Our Reply to Sundry Critics and Enquirers

In his day Charles Spurgeon, the great Prince of Preachers, began to identify what has come to be known as The Downgrade.  This was a reference to the gradual loss of sound doctrine and personal holiness among the churchmen that had begun with the Act of Uniformity of 1662.  This move by King Charles II and his court effectively put an end to Puritanism in the Church in England and Wales. In March of 1887 Spurgeon published an anonymous article written by a close friend. This reply is to the many who had both supported and criticized him for publishing the article, and the subsequent articles written concerning it.  I thought it was an interesting read.  Enjoy!     Our Reply to Sundry Critics and Enquirers.