How Heterodoxy Becomes Orthodox Through Psychological Operations, i.e. how heresy infiltrates God’s People
What is the true nature of the historical-critical method of liberal biblical scholars that has been so whole-heartedly adopted by critical, evangelical scholars? How can one place its true nature on a practical level of understanding for the average reader of the Scriptures? How should the layperson or serious Bible student understand the impact of historical criticism on their understanding of Scripture? These questions go to the very heart of understanding historical criticism in its impact, both ideological and psychological, on the Bible interpreter when it is applied to the exegesis of the biblical text. Indeed, few exegetes understand this very important principle that is involved in historical criticism. Historical Criticism is the gold-standard for “magic” used by liberal and evangelical critical scholars to make the biblical text conform to modernistic, popular fads that now rule the biblical scholarly world. Indeed, true magic does exist, and it is found in historical criticism!
In its essential nature, historical criticism is a psychological operation that is conducted on the mind to control thinking and/or behavior. Psychological operation may be defined as planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences in order to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of groups, and individuals. Its aim is to control people’s thinking in a desired way for a desired outcome. Integral to perception management, psychological operations are designed to induce or reinforce attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator’s objectives.
The British were one of the first major military powers to use psychological warfare in both World Wars in a very scientific manner through, although many of the principles used to go back to ancient times. The British Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) may be considered the most prominent of such endeavors. Indeed, this institute may be considered the leading center for manipulating belief and behavior. They have perfected the science of manipulating minds.
A central concept of any psychological operation is to use accepted terms but to change their meaning to one that is desired by someone conducting the operation. The essence of a psychological operation is to confuse meaning of words and infiltrate the mind with conflicting concepts to change one’s thinking toward a desired goal of those who are conducting the operation. It uses misleading language to manipulate any person to produce in them a desired outcome. Each word claims to be something that in reality it is not or at least not to be understood in its original, traditional sense. It creates confusion in the person regarding the original intent of the term so as to establish a desired, changed definition or understanding, i.e. infiltrate the mind with conflicting concepts so as to produce the desired change in thinking.
A prominent example of this change in definitions is found in the book 1984, written in 1949 by famed British writer George Orwell (whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair), the writer warned of the manipulation of words and their meanings as an important key to controlling what people think about someone or something. He called “newspeak” defined by Merriam-Webster as a noun, often capitalized, for propagandistic language marked by euphemism, circumlocution, and the inversion of customary meanings. Newspeak was a language “designed to diminish the range of thought,” in the novel 1984. Words were imbued with meaning in “Newspeak” that were totally emptied of their original meaning to serve the purposes of those in control. Also employed is “doublethink,” another term that Orwell popularized through his work, although he did not use the terms. “Doublethink” used terms that could be used in conflicting ways so language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words from its normative, original sense. Its goal is to confuse the meaning of words for a desired outcome.
Why bring up such a subject? Because one can only truly understand the nature of historical criticism by viewing it in this manner. At its heart, historical criticism is neither “historical” or “critical” in the traditional sense of the term. It may be viewed like the popular commercial cereal “Grape Nuts.” The product is neither grapes nor nuts. It is plant based instead. In a way, the term is Doublespeak and Newspeak. So also is the term “historical criticism.” It does not genuinely believe Biblical revelation contains history in the sense of what actually happened in a time-space continuum. Instead, historical criticism is post-modernistic that asserts all history is by nature a subjective interpretation of surviving traces of events. Hence, Scripture does not convey what actually happened. Even when the Bible presents itself in its plain, normal sense as conveying historical information, historical criticism a priori rejects its history outright. It is already biased against history in any traditional sense of the term. So it is not “historical” in the normal understanding of the term “history” or “what happened in the past.”
Moreover, it is not criticism, for “criticism” for criticism, in its traditional, normative sense, refers to applying criteria to any of various methods of studying texts or documents for the purpose of dating or reconstructing them, evaluating their authenticity, analyzing their content or style. In other words, criticism to be truly “criticism” seeks an objective outcome of true understanding of any literature. Historical criticism does not seek an objective, authentic (i.e. true to the text) outcome of the biblical writings. The goal of its criticism is to change the plain, normal sense of the text to an already predetermined outcome that is acceptable to the critic’s whims and/or desires. What is “acceptable” to him or her, rather than evaluating any text for what it truly is. The historical critics goal to interpret the biblical text according to the current fads of the time. Traditional meaning or understanding is not its goal. The goal is conformity of the text to the subjective “sensibility” of the critic.
Herein lies the “magic” of historical criticism. When the text of Scripture offends current sensibilities or perceptions, i.e. “fads” and “popular ideas” of the critics day, the biblical critic can apply historical criticism in any way desired to the text to guarantee the interpretive outcome. For instance, Genesis 1-3 presents itself as historic events in a time-space continuum as recording the creation of the universe as well as the earth. Yet, modern historical-critics, having been conditioned by current scientism override the plain, normal sense of Scripture and dismiss the account as either non-historical, figurative, or false. Such an action is hardly objective or seeking to understand the literature as the original author expressed in the text. Another instance would be found in Matthew 23 wherein Jesus excoriated the Pharisees of his day in what is now considered “politically incorrect” and shocking terms. In light of holocaustic hermeneutics, i.e. the post-World War II prevalent thinking of the day even evangelical critics are dismissive of this chapter as being historically inaccurate. Jesus’ words are dismissed as not spoken by him since one might the accusation of being “anti-semitic” through acceptance of the chapter as genuine. Instead, the cause of these tensions between Jesus and the Pharisees is attributed to an alleged conflict between Matthew’s assumed community and the Jews of Matthew’s day in the synagogue. Indeed, Westerholm attributes these sayings in the following terms, “The Gospels’ depiction of Pharisees reflect both memories from the career of Jesus and subsequent development in the Christian communities.” Donald Hagner similarly writes, “It is a tragedy that from this ch.in Matthew [ch. 23] that the word ‘Pharisee’ has come to mean popularly a self-righteous, hypocritical prig. Unfortunately, not even Christian scholarship was able over the centuries to rid itself of an unfair bias against the Pharisees.” R. J. Wyatt suggests that the only accurate way to understand the Pharisees is to bring in rabbinic literature’s and Josephus’s information about them as an equal contribution to the Gospels. Here, second temple Judaistic literature is brought into equal authority with the Gospels in determining what the Pharisees were actually like in history. Apparently, the Gospels only give part of the perception in Wyatt’s mind.
Interestingly, Hagner admits in another one of his works, The Jewish Reclamation of Jesus, that historical criticism invented by German and British scholars was used by modern Jewish interpreters to remove this bias against the Pharisees that the Gospels portrayed in Jesus’ actions and of Jesus’ negative attitude toward Judaism in general as indicated in the Gospels: “[t]o the extent that the conclusions of nineteenth-century critical scholarship supported Jewish claims concerning Jesus, they were gladly accepted. Jesus became the reformer of Judaism; Paul, the creator of Christianity. In short, for Jewish modern scholarship the modern period is best characterized as the phrase, ‘the Jewish reclamation of Jesus.’” How could Jesus be now seen by both modern Christian scholars as well as Jewish scholars in a more acceptable, less hostile attitude toward Judaism that is portrayed in the Gospels? Liberal application of historical-critical ideologies to erase the plain, normal sense of the Gospels. Historical criticism is what enables the Gospel portrayal of Jesus and his attitudes’ toward Judaism to be radically modified by the motivations of second temple Judaism as well as the New Perspective on Paul accomplished by E. P. Sanders, James D. G. Dunn, N. T. Wright, all of whom seek to make Jesus more acceptable to Jewish sensibilities, to mention only a few.
Historical criticism magically makes the politically incorrect problem disappear by being dismissive of the historical accuracy of the Gospels in recording the words and deeds of Jesus. Hence, it is neither historical or critical in the traditional sense of the terms. Historical critics, liberal and evangelical, constantly use this magic of historical criticism to remove anything in the Biblical record that affronts their biases and subjective sensibilities. Should a critic dislike the creation account of Genesis 1-3, especially in light of current evolutionary fads that predominate in academic university, historical criticism can be judiciously applied to negate the plain, normal sense of the biblical creation account. The same thing goes for Job, Jonah, prophetic announcements in Isaiah, etc. Importantly, historical criticism is ideologically based in philosophies of the Enlightenment, deism, romanticism, evolution, existentialism. It is far from neutral. Historical criticism is the preferred psychological operation that is employed on the biblical text to remove any plain, normal sense that would offend the sensibilities of the interpreter. This basis provides the predominant reason that liberal critics apply it so generously to the biblical text because their personal biases and sensibilities reject the obvious or plain, normative assertions or implications of the text. This also most likely explains why evangelical critical scholars so whole-heartedly embrace it since they operate in a world of academia that would reject them if these evangelical critical scholars embraced the natural sense of the text, for academia would have little patience with them, thereby risking professional reputations as scholars. Historical criticism can be applied to remove anything that the interpreter finds objectionable due to subjective bias against the text, all the while the interpreter can maintain the façade of his interpretation being critically proper and having the outward appearance of “neutral” or “scientific,” when, it, in fact, both he/she and historical criticism is hopelessly biased before any genuine criticism of the biblical text has begun.
THE GOAL OF THE ICBI STATEMENTS ON INERRANCY AND HERMENEUTICS
Historically, the overarching goal of The ICBI Statements of on Inerrancy (1978) and Hermeneutics (1982) was to prevent this psychological operation and assault of historical criticism on the biblical text. These documents arose as hard-won victories, as well as warnings to future generations of evangelicals, from previous decades of attacks on the trustworthiness of the Bible. Significantly, these documents affirm “grammatico-historical” rather than “historical-critical” hermeneutics as employed by these critically trained evangelicals. Why? Because the authors and those who signed their affirmation to these documents knew the ruinous impact that historical-critical ideologies had upon God’s Word in church history. However, these British and European critically trained evangelicals who now advocate the adoption of some form of historical-criticism have effectively annulled the ideas framed in these two hard-won documents because they have forgotten history, especially the reasons why these articles were formulated.
First, the ICBI developers knew that historical criticism dehistoricizes the plain, normal reading of the text. Article XVIII reads:
We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture. We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.
What is the true essence of this term “historical criticism” which arose from the days of Spinoza? It is the ingredient that is used to make the Bible say whatever the researcher wants it to say. It is the acid dissolvent that destroys the plain, normal sense of Scripture and, in turn, can make the Bible reflect any prejudice of the interpreter that is imposed on the text. When Bible “scholars” want to make the Bible say something that it does not naturally say, they apply judiciously and generous portions of historical criticism to accomplish that magic! When Bible “scholars” are a priori in conflict, either presuppositionally or subjectively, by something in the OT or NT, i.e. find it unacceptable to them for a variety of their own prejudices, it allows the scholar to remake anything in Scripture to their own liking–either by negating it entirely or manufacturing an entirely different sense or meaning for a particular portion of Scripture. It allows the Bible to be REMOLDED into something acceptable to the “critical” scholar’s whims. The philosophical pedigree of historical criticism guarantees that magic of transforming the Bible into something more acceptable to the modern, critical mind. This has been most prominent in “historical Jesus” research in which historical-critical criteria are the tools that German- and British-trained critical scholars use (borrowed from Spinoza) to find a Jesus that their critical presuppositions have already decided on in order to determine how they think He must really, truly be—a Jesus they find acceptable to them. These authenticity criteria tools are the “solvent” that allows critical scholars to dissolve the canonical Gospels and the information therein in order to find a Jesus that they prefer through the genius of an a priori application of historical criticism. However, no two critical scholars agree on the same list of criteria or their exact definition and nature—proof positive that great evangelical confusion exists over terminology and the practice of interpretation
In contrast, the goal of the grammatico-historical method is to find the meaning which the authors of Scripture intended to convey and the meaning comprehended by the recipients. Special allowance/provision is made for (1) inspiration, (2) the Holy Spirit, and (3) inerrancy. It may be understood as the study of inspired Scripture designed to discover under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the meaning of a text dictated by the principles of grammar and the facts of history.
“Grammatico-historical” criticism, advocated by the both the Reformers as well as the signers of the ICBI statements of 1978 and 1982, allows the Bible to say what it naturally says plainly and normally without an a priori agenda as with historical-critical ideologies. As more recent evangelicals receive their education from schools that advocate some form of historical criticism, an unstable blending of these two approaches is occurring. Much confusion exists in current evangelical circles regarding grammatico-historical and historical-critical approaches to exegesis. These two hermeneutical disciplines are distinct and must not be confused by evangelicals. In contrast to the Reformation roots of the grammatico-historical method, the historical-critical hermeneutic has its roots in deism, rationalism, and the Enlightenment. Edgar Krentz, favorable to the practice, readily admits in his The Historical-Critical Method that “Historical method is the child of the Enlightenment.” Maier, opposed to historical criticism, argued, “historical criticism over against a possible divine revelation presents an inconclusive and false counterpart which basically maintains human arbitrariness and its standards in opposition to the demands of revelation.”
The Magic of Genre Criticism as a Sub-Discipline of Historical Criticism
Another way that historical criticism, used especially by critical evangelical scholars, is assaulting the Scripture through genre criticism. The word “genre” is French term for “style of literature types.” Very basically, two literary types exist: either that which is prose (plain, normal understanding)/to be understood in some literal sense) or that which is poetry (to be understood in some non-literal, or symbolic, figurative sense). Thus, literal or figurative. Other terms can be used, but these two basics are the dividing line in genre. Critical evangelical scholars, borrowing heavily from their critical counterparts for academic recognition and influence, often use technical terminology in genre criticism that signals their desire to dehistoricize the Gospels, such as “midrash” or “apocalyptic Judaism” genre. In 1982, Robert Gundry in his Matthew, A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art, is famous for using “midrash” genre to dismiss much of the historical content of Matthew 1-3. Much of the contents of these infancy narratives struck Gundry a historically objectionable or untrue, i.e. he believed that these events surrounding Jesus’ life did not happen in the time-space continuum of history since they had no extra-biblical confirmation in outside historical sources other than Matthew. Gundry used the “magic” of genre to remove his bias against the infancy narratives. Here are some examples of Gundry’s use of the “magic” of genre or style to dehistoricize the text of Matthew 1-3 that he found objectionable:
(1) “Clearly, Matthew treats us to history mixed with elements that cannot be called historical in a modern sense. All history writing entails more or less editing of materials. But Matthew’s editing often goes beyond acceptable bounds . . . Matthew’s subtractions, additions, and revisions of order and phraseology often show changes in substance; i.e., they represent developments of the dominical tradition that result in different meanings and departures from the actuality of events” (p. 623). 
(2) “Comparison with the other gospels, especially with Mark and Luke, and examination of Matthew’s style and theology show that he materially altered and embellished historical traditions and that he did so deliberately and often” (p. 639).
(3) “We have also seen that at numerous points these features exhibit such a high degree of editorial liberty that the adjectives ‘midrashic’ and ‘haggadic’ become appropriate” (p. 628). Midrash means it did not happen in history as it was presented in the Gospels.
(4) “We are not dealing with a few scattered difficulties. We are dealing with a vast network of tendentious changes” (p. 625). This means it did not happen in history as it was presented in the Gospels.
(5) “Hence, ‘Jesus said’ or ‘Jesus did’ need not always mean that in history Jesus said or did what follows, but sometimes may mean that in the account at least partly constructed by Matthew himself Jesus said or did what follows” (p. 630). This means it did not happen in history as it was presented in the Gospels.
(6) “Semantics aside, it is enough to note that the liberty Matthew takes with his sources is often comparable with the liberty taken with the OT in Jubilees, the Genesis Apocryphon, the Targums, and the Midrashim and Haggadoth in rabbinic literature” (p. 628). This means it did not happen in history as it was presented in the Gospels.
(7) “These patterns attain greatest visibility in, but are by no means limited to, a number of outright discrepancies with the other synoptics. At least they are discrepancies so long as we presume biblical writers were always intending to write history when they used the narrative mode”
(8). “Matthew selects them [the Magi] as his substitute for the shepherds in order to lead up to the star, which replaces the angel and heavenly host in the tradition” (p. 27). The Magi, the star and the heavenly hosts did not happen as is presented in the Gospels.
(9). “That Herod’s statement consists almost entirely of Mattheanisms supports our understanding Matthew himself to be forming this episode out of the shepherd’s visit, with use of collateral materials. The description of the star derives from v. 2. The shepherds’ coming at night lies behind the starry journey of the magi” (p. 31).
(10). “He [Matthew] changes the sacrificial slaying of ‘a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,’ which took place at the presentation of the baby Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:24; cf. Lev 12:6–8), into Herod’s slaughtering the babies in Bethlehem (cf. As. Mos. 6:2–6” (pp. 34, 35). This means these did not happen in history as it was presented in the Gospels.
What proof did Gundry have for these assertions? None. He found these areas personally objectionable to his own subjective sense of “history,” so he used the magic of genre to dismiss the biblical text. When one examines the text of Matthew, the context clearly presents these as events that happened historically in the time-space continuum. The reader of this article is highly encouraged to examine the surrounding context of Matthew 1-3. Contextual clues and markers abound in these chapters to give every impression in the plain, normal reading of the text that historical events were being related by the writer Matthew (genealogical records of births in the time-space continuum in Matthew 1:1–17; historical events of the Jewish Babylonian deportation are mentioned in Matthew 1:17; the account of Jesus’ birth into human existence is recounted in Matthew 1:18-25, including engagement of Jewish couples as well as the scandal of birth out of wedlock that occurred in the culture in Matthew; historical figures are mentioned who interacted with the birth of the child, such as Herod and the Magi from the East are detailed, including the child’s early childhood and flight down into the country of Egypt in Matthew 2:1-23, with many temporal markers noted such as “when Jesus was born,” “days of Herod,” “magi arrived from the East,” “the exact time the star appeared,” “after coming into the house,” “they left for Egypt,” “when Herod died,” etc. etc. etc. No clear signals exist to the reader of the text that anything in the overall text should not be understood as non-historical. Unfortunately, this did not deter Gundry from being quite dismissive of the text historically. Why? Perhaps the text just didn’t existentially “feel” somehow right to him subjectively. However, genre and historical criticism allowed him to dismiss history and appear to readers of the commentary that he had objectivity on his side. He did not.
Similarly, Craig Blomberg, used genre criticism when he found something in the text of Matthew as personally somehow objectionable, i.e. Jesus’ command to Peter of the coin in the fish’s mouth is not historical, it did not happen (Matt. 17:24–27). Craig Blomberg asserts in reference to the story of the coin in the fish’s mouth in Matthew 17:24–27, “It is often not noticed that the so-called miracle of the fish with the coin in its mouth (Matt 17:27) is not even a narrative; it is merely a command from Jesus to go to the lake and catch such a fish. We don’t even know if Peter obeyed the command. Here is a good reminder to pay careful attention to the literary form.” To him, this story is not literal, it is figurative. In other words, even if from the early church to the 21st century, the orthodox church understood this as an actual event that happened with Jesus and Peter, Blomberg knows the read nature of the text since he is an evangelical critical scholar who is well respected in academia. The very weight of his reputation must mean that he is correct, at least one assumes. How the reader of Matthew would discern this lack of historicity here is not made clear by Blomberg. However, his “magic” use of historical criticism obfuscates his arbitrary, selective judgment, the reader of his assertions. No substantive evidence is provided, just psychological impact Blomberg’s reputation has is all that suffices for such arbitrary decisions. The reader of this article is highly encouraged to examine the context surrounding Matthew 17:24-27. The narrative in Matthew 17 is presented with historical markers, “When they came to Capernaum,” “those who collected the two-drachma tax said to Peter,” Jesus issues a command to go depart and fish, Jesus predicts a coin is predicted to be found. The only thing lacking is a resolution statement that says “and Peter fished and found the coin and paid the tax.” All the other events in Matthew 17, both before and after, are presented as historical developments in the life of Jesus, why should this one be different? Because they somehow subjectively impacted Blomberg negatively. He warns the reader of his assertions to pay attention to the literary form. This is good advice for Blomberg that Blomberg himself does not follow. Both before and after, the genre is relating historical events. No signal is given to the reader that this event in the midst of Matthew 17 should not be taken otherwise. It flows naturally in Matthew’s relating of the events before as well as in Matthew 18. The reasonable conclusion is that Blomberg is arbitrary, capricious in his exegetical assertions, and without any true warrant or substance in his assertions in any close examination of the context of the narrative in Matthew 17. Moreover, Blomberg defended Robert Gundry’s midrashic approach to the Gospels in the following terms, so part of the magic of historical criticism is the “group-think” of the psychological operation that critical evangelical scholars employ. They are a very united voice for each other, defending each other’s decisions. They move as a group, and only rarely disagree with each other for academic respectability among them is a strong motivating factor against criticism:
Is it possible, even inherently probable, that the NT writers at least in part never intended to have their miracle stories taken as historical or factual and that their original audiences probably recognized this? If this sounds like the identical reasoning that enabled Robert Gundry to adopt his midrashic interpretation of Matthew while still affirming inerrancy, that is because it is the same. The problem will not disappear simply because one author [Gundry] is dealt with ad hominem . . . how should evangelicals react? Dismissing the sociological view on the grounds that the NT miracles present themselves as historical gets us nowhere. So do almost all the other miracle stories of antiquity. Are we to believe them all?
Michael Licona, in his work The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, used a genre based criticism known as bios as a means of de-historicizing parts of the Gospel (i.e. the resurrection of the saints after Jesus crucifixion in Matthew 27:51–53 is non-literal genre or apocalyptic rather than an actual historical event). Although Michael Licona’s work defends Jesus’ bodily resurrection, the assumption of genre hermeneutic known as apocalyptic or eschatological Jewish texts whereby Licona dismisses the historicity of Matthew 27:51-53 (and its recording of the resurrection of saints) results effectively in the complete evisceration and total negation of His strong defense of Jesus’ resurrection. His logic is self-defeating for his main assertion of Jesus’ resurrection.
Licona argued “Bios offered the ancient biographer great flexibility for rearranging material and inventing speeches . . . and they often included legend. Because bios was a flexible genre, it is often difficult to determine where history ends and legend begins.” Licona labels it a “strange little text” and terms it “special effects” that have no historical basis. Apparently, his subjective bias reacted negatively to this text as a historical event. His apparent concern also rests with only Matthew as mentioning the event. He concludes that “It seems best to regard this difficult text in Matthew a poetic device added to communicate that the Son of God had died and that impending judgment awaited Israel.” Hence, once again the “magic” of historical criticism and genre removes the problem for Licona. If the events in Matthew 27:51-53 are held that way, nothing—absolutely nothing—stops critics from applying a similar kind of logic to Jesus’ resurrection and reject its historicity. Licona’s logic here is self-defeating and undermines his entire work on defending the resurrection. Would the average reader have detected this in reading Matthew 27 as the narrative unfolds? One would hope that Licona would take the events both before and after the resurrection of the saints as historically happening in Matthew, such as Jesus’ cry from the cross, the ripping of the temple veil that happened prior to the event he rejects, as well as the soldier’s exclamation regarding Jesus afterward as historical. Somehow, however, the story in the middle strikes him subjectively strange, and he uses the magic of historical criticism and genre to make it more reasonable to him by dismissing the resurrection of the saints as historical. Problem solved? No. For all these events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion both before and after are connected by a series of “and,” i.e. this happened, “and” this happened, “and” this happened. It is highly, highly dubious to suggest any reader of Matthew 27 would have taken this resurrection of the saints event as any different in “genre” than the surrounding historical events delineated to the reader.
Another example is Darrell Bock and Robert Webb. They use the “magic” of historical criticism to appear as critical scholars who defend the Gospel by assuming a distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, a distinction made popular by radical liberalism. IF such a distinction were true, and it is NOT, then nothing in the Gospels could be trusted. Under the guise of defending the Gospel accounts, they actually accomplish the opposite, i.e. cast grave suspicion on its historical veracity. Here are some of their assertions:
(1) Jesus’ resurrection “probably” happened is the best we can say about this event and others historically because evangelicals must operate under post-modernistic historiography as a premise.
My Reply: (a) If they “probably” happened, then they might not have happened! Please tell us which ones, in your “evangelical critical opinion, might not have happened or did not happen or what aspects of them did not occur; (b) probability in the mind of the beholder!; (c) What enemies or even skeptics would be convinced by such logic—please name those you won over by your “logic.”
(2) The Gospels only give us the “footprints” of Jesus or the “surviving traces” of his life:
My Reply: (a) If all we have is “footprints” then what can you tell about Jesus? Not much! (b) Is the word that these “critical evangelicals” use, i.e. “surviving traces” in reference to the Gospel text a term that honors the Word of God, and in this instance, canonical Gospels? (c) Who judges what is a surviving trace and what is not? Are these more “inspired” than other elements in the Gospels?
(3) The Jesus of the Bible and the Jesus of history are not necessarily the same. This category is fully legitimate for evangelicals to assert.
My Reply: Then tell us how Jesus was different in history and in faith? Only God’s Holy Spirit is capable of truly presenting a matter as to how it actually was in a time-space continuum; (b) Since when are Faith and history in conflict, unless one capitulates to alien, philosophical and unbiblical assumptions?
(4) We must search for the historical Jesus to find out how Jesus was actually in history and what he really said and did.
My reply: (a) NO WE DON’T. The Gospels tell us that; (b) This tacitly, if not very explicitly, blasphemes God’s Spirit in the process of inspiration of the Gospel text.
(5) All history is interpretation. The Gospels are historical interpretations. The Gospels contain surviving traces of Jesus’ life but, they have been placed into historical narratives that have been interpreted according to the writers’ perspectives. In order to discover the “surviving traces” of Jesus’ life, we must apply criteria of authenticity based in critical methods to determine if the events actually happened as they are portrayed.
My Reply: The God of Scripture does not “interpret.” He is the ground of all reality. Therefore, the Gospels are the objective account of Jesus’ life without “spin” or bias but God’s account of what really happened as well as what he reveals through special revelation.
(6) A scale of probability, possibility or not historically verifiable must be used for the 100s of Gospel events.
My reply: (a) Please produce the “critical evangelical” study Bible with various color shades to show where each one of the 100s of Gospel stories fall into their scale. The pages would mostly be white with nothing verifiable in their logic.
Conclusion of the “Magic” of Historical Criticism
Admittedly, Part of this I article has been brief. Historical Criticism is a psychological operation designed by men to cast doubt the Word of God. That is its very intent historically and presuppositionally. It can never lose that detrimental impact no matter how hard critical evangelical scholars try to reform or deform it. Whose critical evangelical scholars form of it should we accept since they ALL disagree on its characteristics when they modify it?
A few more point needs to be said. First, conservative evangelicals like myself who hold to inerrancy, i.e. the writer of this article, believe in criticism of the Bible, but it is the kind, quality, and presuppositions of criticism that is employed that must be the central question. Please do not use the aged canard or straw man that evangelical critical scholars use that conservative evangelicals like myself don’t believe in criticism of the Bible. This charge is specious.
Second, who would be convinced of the surety of the Gospels or God’s Word? While giving the assertion of affirming God’s Word, these evangelical critical scholars instead assault it and undermine it. I can think of no better way of undermining God’s Word in the eyes of God’s people than what is being perpetrated through critical evangelical scholars use of historical criticism.
Finally, perhaps most strategically, the son of Thunder, John the Apostle and an eyewitness to Jesus’ life, ministry, resurrection, and ascension, gives believers a clear indication of what to think of historical criticism and its magic or any other type of criticism. John is clear that the Holy Spirit is the Witness to the truth of God’s Word. The genuine impact of the Holy Spirit on a truly born again person is an affirmation, not doubt, of God’s Word as composed by the Apostles who were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 2 Peter 1:19-21.
John 14:26 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
John 16:13-14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 But when that one, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak from himself, but whatever he hears, he will speak; and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 That one will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
1 John 2:19-22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, so that they would be revealed that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, even the one who denies the Father and the Son.
Historical Criticism and its “magic” casts doubt on God’s Word. For a genuine, born again believer, the Holy Spirit affirms God’s Word. His precious Spirit does not cast doubt. Would God’s Spirit be involved in such a process as critical, evangelical scholars involve themselves in historical criticism as detailed here that raises up speculation and doubt? The net result of Historical criticism is that it subtlety and not so subtly blasphemes God’s Spirit and His written testimony in His Word that He inspired. I call on evangelical, critical scholars for personal, spiritual introspection of what they are sowing in the seeds of their use of historical criticism. If critical, evangelical scholars deem this statement to be “unscholarly,” then this present writer affirms the Lordship of Jesus Christ over any form of pseudo-scholarship and encourages critical, evangelical scholars to seek another line of work than ministry for the Word of God, for too much damage is done within the church through advocacy of historical criticism from those professing to know the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
How “Errancy” Masquerades as “Inerrancy”
As the above has expressed, psychological operations are a central force in the historical-critical method, i.e. ideology. It is neither “historical” since its assumption of pot-modernistic historiography (i.e. post-modernism) does not believe that real knowledge of history is possible, or even desirable, since only surviving traces of events remain, nor is it critical since it seeks a preconceived, a priori outcome since its focus is not upon “truth” but upon preconceived conclusions that it desires to reach. The essence of any psychological operation is to change definitions and affect the mind of those who would be the object of that operation. Such an operation has occurred especially in the area of the orthodox definition of inerrancy as defined by the Chicago Statements on Inerrancy (1978) and Hermeneutics (1982) by critically-trained neo-evangelicals who now hold sway in academia.
Such operations are vastly more effective than outright assaults on ideas and concepts. Outright assaults often, if not almost exclusively, receive immediate opposition and rejection of any opposing idea that attempts replacement. Psychological operations against current thinking are much more effective because they are (1) more subtle and careful, indirect rather than direct. To replace an idea effectively time must be taken to replace concepts without awareness of that process being realized. This is the “magic” of historical-critical ideologies. (2) Another reason is that historical-criticism, at heart, is parasitic, adaptive and pliable in its approach. That is, historical criticism’s indirect assault on the biblical text is adoptive of standard, even orthodox terminology but changes those meanings elusively over time, i.e. it is in no hurry, for the goal or ends justifies the means of changing normative terminology into that which is acceptable to the preconceived notions of the interpreter.
Importantly, a subtle and gradual movement away from orthodox concepts of the integrity of the Scripture in terms of its historical accuracy and meaning is occurring among evangelicals, especially by what is now known as evangelical, critical scholars. A significant portion of evangelicalism no longer adheres to the nascent beliefs of the Christian church of the plenary (complete), verbal (word for word) inspiration (God-breathed) of Scripture and its resultant concomitant inerrancy. This is not the first time that the church has drifted away from these foundations. This writer has catalogued such a drift that historically occurred in his article, “Those Who Do Not Learn From The Lessons of History: Inerrancy Under Fire.” It catalogues the eerily similar drifts among Christian denominations in the early part of the 20th Century when one examines current events among critical, evangelicals scholars in the 21st Century. Similar historical events that caused the former drift away from the inerrancy and inspiration of the biblical texts now are shaking the foundations of orthodox belief once again.
How Inerrancy No Longer Means What It Says
In order to understand this momentous shift that is now re-occurring in the church, especially in terms of orthodox views of inerrancy, must revisit history, for God’s people so quickly forget. In 1978 and 1982, evangelicals met under the auspices of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. Its purpose was “the defense and application of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy as an essential element for the authority of Scripture and a necessity for the health of the church. It was created to counter the drift from the important doctrinal foundation by significant segments of evangelicalism and the outright denial of it by other church movements.” ICBI reflects a long history, stretching back to The Fundamentals written in 1915 and reflex the thinking of the vast majority of conservative, orthodox theologians well back into the 20th Century that saw so much denial toward the dehistoricizing of the plain, normal sense of Scripture. This article is strategic for this discussion of the “magic” of historical criticism since historical criticism’ aim is not to understand the text in its plain, normal sense but to make it pliable to contemporary trends of scholarship, no matter what the era or time. In contrast, grammatico-historical criticism seeks to discover the meaning of the text that the text conveys, plainly, normally, i.e. letting the text and its context convey the meaning rather than imposing foreign philosophical concepts upon the text.
INERRANCY AFFIRMS THE PLAIN, NORMAL SENSE OF SCRIPTURE: WHEN THE PLAIN SENSE OF SCRIPTURE MAKES SENSE SEEK NO OTHER SENSE
Article XVIII becomes very pertinent to this discussion of the “magic” of historical criticism that is now being advocated by evangelical critical scholars. History is being forgotten. Article XVIII states:
We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary form and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture. We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.
In commenting on this article, R. C. Sproule, one of the founding and principle members of ICBI, made the following comments in his Explaining Inerrancy: A Commentary, that explained the committee’s reasoning what grammatico-historical exegesis’ goal is (“We affirm” and what it also was trying to prevent (“We deny”)
Article XVIII touches on some of the most basic principles of biblical interpretation. Though this article does not spell out in detail a vast comprehensive system of hermeneutics, it nevertheless gives basic guidelines on which the framers of the confession were able to agree. The first is that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis (italics added—not in original]. Grammatico-historical is a technical term that refers to the process by which we take the structures and time periods of the written texts seriously as we interpret them. Biblical interpreters are not given the license to spiritualize or allegorize texts against the grammatical structure and form of the text itself [italics added—not in the original].
In this first part is revealed that ICBI, and its heritage reflected in The Fundamentals going back into history of the twentieth century attacks on the biblical text, rejected historical critical hermeneutics for that very reason that it disregarded the historicity of what the text was communicating. ICBI rejected historical-criticism’s attempt to dehistoricize the plain, normal reading of the text. Sproule continued,
The Bible is not to be reinterpreted to be brought into conformity with contemporary philosophies but is to be understood in its intended meaning and word usage as it was written at the time it was composed. To hold to grammatico-historical exegesis is to disallow the turning of the Bible into a wax nose that can be shaped and reshaped according to modern conventions of thought. The Bible is to be interpreted as it was written, not reinterpreted as we would like it to have been written according to the prejudices of our own era.
Here ICBI emphasized the (1) grammatico-historical exegesis in direct contrast to the historical-critical method, either combined with grammatico-historical or modified in its more radical form, now maintained by neo-evangelicals. Why did they commend the grammatico-historical approach? Because the men who expressed these two watershed statements had experienced the history of interpretive degeneration among mainstream churches and seminaries (“As go the theological seminaries, so goes the church”) in terms of dismissing the Gospels as historical records due to historical-critical ideologies. Any attempt at dismissing the grammatico-historical, plain sense of Scripture is contrary to the orthodox inerrancy view.
Evangelical Historical Critics Embrace Historical Criticism to Remove the Plain, Normal Sense Involved in Orthodox Inerrancy
Many critical-evangelical scholars, especially the large number of those trained in British and Continental European Schools, believe that Historical Criticism can be “modified” in some way to produce positive results for understanding Scripture, both in the OT and NT, i.e. the negative presuppositions can be removed to allow for miraculous. Evangelicals modify or call for modifying the “definition” of HC to make it compatible to evangelical sensibilities as follows. I. Howard Marshall, mentor to many evangelical critical scholars today that are achieving such prominence, such as Craig Blomberg and Darrell Bock, in his “Historical Criticism,” article introduced evangelicals influenced by him to his take on the discipline in 1977, “the study of any narrative which purports to convey historical information in order to determine what actually happened and is described or alluded to in the passage in question.” Marshall goes on to note, “Because the Bible is a divine-human book, it must be treated as both equal to and yet more than an ordinary book. To deny that the Bible should be studied through the use of literary and critical methodologies is to treat the Bible as less than human, less than historical, and less than literature.” This stands in direct contrast to ICBI 1978 that affirmed that that warned against dehistoricizing the plain, normal sense of Scripture due to human authorship as noted in Article IX: “We deny that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or otherwise, introduced distortion or falsehood in God’s Word.” Furthermore, his view of the authorship of NT books allowed false attribution, i.e. pseudepigraphy. Marshall expressed his view on “pseudonymous” writings in the New Testament: In order to avoid the idea of deceit, he coined the words “allonymity” and “allepigraphy” in which the prefix pseudos (“false”) is replaced with allos (“other”) which gives a more positive concept to the writing of a work in the name of another person.
Craig Blomberg, in his article on “The Historical-Critical/Grammatical” hermeneutic in the work, Biblical Hermeneutics Five Views, asserts that historical criticism can be “shorn” of its “antisupernatural presuppositions that the framers of that method originally employed” and eagerly embraces “source, form, tradition and redaction criticism” as “all essential [italic and bold added—not in the original] tools for understanding the contents of the original document, its formation and origin, its literary genre and subgenres, the authenticity of the historical material it includes, and its theological or ideological emphases and distinctives.” Blomberg advocates “The Historical-Critical/Grammatical View” of hermeneutics for evangelicals that constitutes an alarming, and especially unstable, blend of historical-critical ideologies with the grammatico-historical hermeneutic. Blomberg argues for a “both-and-and-and-and” position of combining grammatico-historical method with that of historical-critical ideologies. As will be seen, Blomberg’s utilization of historical criticism causes him to start changing his own understanding of the term “inerrancy.”
He labels the “The Historical-Critical/Grammatical” approach “the necessary foundation on which all other approaches must build.” However, history is replete with negative examples of those who attempted this unstable blend, from the neologians in Griesbach’s day to that of Michael Licona’s book currently under discussion (see below). Baird, in his History of New Testament Research, commented: “The neologians of the 18th century did not deny the validity of divine revelation but assigned priority to reason and natural theology. While faith in God, morality, and immortality were affirmed, older dogmas such as the Trinity, predestination, and the inspiration of Scripture were seriously compromised…The neologians…appropriated the results of the historical-critical work of Semler and Michaelis.” Little difference exists between today’s evangelical historical critics and the neologians of Griesbach’s day in terms of intent to combine popular methods of their day with faith.
Interestingly, Blomberg blames books like Harold Lindsell’s Battle for the Bible (1976) and such books as The Jesus Crisis for people leaving the faith because of their strong stance on inerrancy as a presupposition. In an online interview conducted by Justin Taylor in 2008, Blomberg responded this way to books that hold to a firm view of inerrancy. The interviewer asked, “Are there certain mistaken hermeneutical presuppositions made by conservative evangelicals that play into the hands of liberal critics?” Blomberg replied,
Absolutely. And one of them follows directly from the last part of my answer to your last question. The approach, famously supported back in 1976 by Harold Lindsell in his Battle for the Bible (Zondervan), that it is an all-or-nothing approach to Scripture that we must hold, is both profoundly mistaken and deeply dangerous. No historian worth his or her salt functions that way. I personally believe that if inerrancy means “without error according to what most people in a given culture would have called an error” then the biblical books are inerrant in view of the standards of the cultures in which they were written. But, despite inerrancy being the touchstone of the largely American organization called the Evangelical Theological Society, there are countless evangelicals in the States and especially in other parts of the world who hold that the Scriptures are inspired and authoritative, even if not inerrant, and they are not sliding down any slippery slope of any kind. I can’t help but wonder if inerrantist evangelicals making inerrancy the watershed for so much has not, unintentionally, contributed to pilgrimages like Ehrman’s. Once someone finds one apparent mistake or contradiction that they cannot resolve, then they believe the Lindsells of the world and figure they have to chuck it all. What a tragedy!
To Blomberg, apparently anyone who advocates inerrancy as traditionally advocated by Lindsell is responsible for people leaving the faith.
Darrell Bock, another student of Marshall, concurs with Marshall’s definition of historical criticism, whom Bock also studied under at Aberdeen, “I need to introduce these methods because of their importance to the contemporary discussion about Jesus, as well as the potential merit their judicious use brings to an understanding of the Gospels. Any approach that helps us to understand better the nature of the Gospels and how they might work is worth considering.” Bock fails to define or explain what he means by “a judicious use,” so one is left wondering what such use may involve. He hints at the use of form criticism for evangelicals, however, with his statement, “In the hands of a skilled exegete who uses the tools of interpretation in a way that fits what they are capable of, Form Criticism can be a fruitful aid to understanding and exposition.” The Jesus Crisis has already catalogued the bankruptcy of this hubris in that no evangelical scholar who practices historical criticism has been able to separate the skeptical nature of the discipline in exegetical decisions.
Graham N. Stanton writes about the unifying factor historical criticism has been as a reproachment between Protestants and Roman Catholics in hermeneutical approaches, “[t]here is now considerable agreement among Protestants and Roman Catholic scholars about the appropriate tools and methods to be used in exegesis. Stanton continues, “Presuppositions adopted either consciously or unconsciously by the interpreter are far more influential in New Testament scholarship than disagreements over method.” Here Stanton reveals that the thin-line between Romanism and Protestantism holds merely at the line of presupposition. If those presuppositions disappear, then so will the hermeneutical and exegetical differences.
Peter H. Davids also extols the virtue of historical criticism practiced by evangelicals, “The sum of this discussion is that critical study of Scripture can clarify the message that the authors were trying to communicate either by showing how the author came to produce his or her work (through examining sources) or by clarifying the content in which the message was communicated. And while critical methodologies have undoubtedly led to a doubting of biblical authority by some, that is not their necessary conclusion, but one resulting from assumptions connected to them or perhaps even a misuse of them.”
Donald Hagner, like his evangelical counterparts, admits the danger inherent in historical criticism when it is practiced, “The way out of the quandary [concerning critical method] is neither to continue to use the historical-critical method as classically conceived nor to abandon it outright because of its destructive past, but rather to modify it so as to make it more appropriate to the material being questioned . . . . The historical-critical method is indispensable to any adequate and accurate understanding of the Bible, but only where it is tempered by an openness to the possibility of supernatural causation in the historical process. Without this tampering of method it is clearly inappropriate and ineffective, given the fact that the Bible is after all the story of God acting in history. In short, without this tampering, the method can only be destructive. One of the great challenges facing evangelical scholarship is precisely that of modifying the historical-critical method so that it becomes productive and constructive.” Hagner does not indicate whether biblical critics as a whole, such as those in the Society of Biblical Literature, would accept this evangelical “tampering” or whose tampered version of historical criticism would be adopted among evangelicals as a whole.
Errancy Now Masquerades As Inerrancy Among Critical Evangelical Scholars
These evangelical quotes about their adoption and definition, or perhaps better, the redefinition of historical criticism to accommodate evangelical beliefs, bring to focus the destructive skepticism that this ideology contains. Because critical evangelical scholars seek to adopt some form of historical criticism, the inevitable result is skepticism regarding biblical revelation. This is the unavoidable fruit of such recombination or hybridization of the grammatico-historical and historical-critical. The skepticism of historical criticism will always manifest itself in their exegetical decisions that drive their modified hermeneutic that encompasses some form of historical criticism. The core of the critical evangelical scholars’ attempt to redefine inerrancy is the driving reason why new versions, heterodox version of “inerrancy,” now are emerging. In other words, historical criticism cannot encompass any orthodox view of inerrancy. Inerrancy views must be shifted to accommodate the skepticism of historical criticism, with the resulting heterodox views of errancy among evangelical critical scholars that masquerade as under the false rubric of “inerrancy.” That is, they have changed the definition of inerrancy to errancy to accommodate the skepticism of historical criticism. The following are merely a few examples of the critical evangelical scholars who now stand in prominence in the Evangelical Theological Society, which Society has “inerrancy” as its sole core statement.
CRAIG BLOMBERG’S VIEW OF INERRANCY IS REALLY ERRANCY
The Good News: Blomberg Says He Believes in “Inerrancy”
One of his most recent works, Can We Still Believe the Bible? constitutes an outstanding example of the psychological operational change in understanding of inerrancy that is now occurring among evangelicals through adoption of historical criticism that ICBI in 1978 opposed as Article XVIII affirms: “We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary form and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.” Blomberg’s take on these issues in relationship to inerrancy does not correspond to the definition of “inerrancy” that hundreds of evangelical scholars formulated in 1978 and 1982. While Blomberg says he believes in “inerrancy,” one is left wondering after reading his very recent works, what he means by the term, for his statements indicate he does not hold to an orthodox definition of the term as expressed by ICBI in 1978 and 1982.
His publisher, Baker Books, hails the book in the following terms, “Challenges to the reliability of Scripture are perennial and have frequently been addressed. However, some of these challenges are noticeably more common today, and the topic is currently of particular interest among evangelicals. In this volume . . . Craig Blomberg offers an accessible and nuanced argument for the Bible’s reliability in response to the extreme views about Scripture and its authority articulated by both sides of the debate. He believes that a careful analysis of the relevant evidence shows we have reason to be more confident in the Bible than ever before. As he traces his own academic and spiritual journey, Blomberg sketches out the case for confidence in the Bible in spite of various challenges to the trustworthiness of Scripture, offering a positive, informed, and defensible approach.” He dialogues in questions of textual criticism, canon issues, translations, inerrancy, genre interpretation, and miracles, offering various solutions to various problems that center in these topics. This book is highly commended by Scot McKnight (Northern Seminary), Darrell Bock (Dallas Theological Seminary), Paul Copan (Palm Beach Atlantic University), Craig S. Keener (Asbury Theological Seminary) and Leith Anderson (National Association of Evangelicals). Bock himself encourages the reader to “read and consider anew how to think about Scripture” on the back cover.
Blomberg immediately tips his hand regarding the true nature of this work when the dedication page says, “To the faculty, administration, and trustees of Denver Seminary who from 1986 to the present have created as congenial a research environment as a professor could hope for, upholding the inerrancy of Scripture without any of the watchdog mentality that plagues so many evangelical institutions.” (p. v). So clearly he relates these issues to the topic of inerrancy throughout his work. This statement also reveals the dual nature of this work in that it not only reveals Blomberg’s aberrant take on inerrancy. While Blomberg says he believes in inerrancy, he works hard to redefine any orthodox understanding of it.
The Bad News: Craig Blomberg Denies Orthodox View of Inerrancy in Practice
Perhaps the term most summarizing the book is “angry rant” against anyone who would disagree with his take on these subjects in his work. He less than subtly decries “A handful of very conservative Christian leaders who have not understood the issues adequately” as having “reacted by unnecessarily rejecting new developments (pp. 7-8). The scholars that Blomberg depreciates come from a wide variety of theological positions on Scripture, but what binds them together is their unity of agreement on ICBI statements of 1978 on Inerrancy and 1982 on Hermeneutics. In his logic, disagreeing with Blomberg or perhaps also those in his fraternity of critical, evangelical scholarship means being too labeled ignorant as well as Nazi-like since he tells of a teacher’s warning to avoid “the far left or the far right” as being related to “Nazism and Communism.” This also indicates that Blomberg thinks that he has found the proverbial Goldilocks position of perfect middle ground of understanding of biblical issues, especially inerrancy.
One is reminded in reading Blomberg’s work verbiage here of that of Jack B. Rogers, and Donald K. McKim took a similar position in 1979 when they wrote about the 20th Century, “In this century both fundamentalism and modernism sometimes took extreme positions regarding the Bible,” except that Rogers and McKim refrained from name-calling.
In terms of Blomberg’s conception of inerrancy, he attacks “extremely conservative Christians” who continue to insist on following their modern understandings of what should or should not constitute errors in the Bible and censure fellow inerrantists whose views are less anachronistic.” Blomberg identifies himself as a “fellow inerrantist” but hints that other conservative views are “anachronistic” on inerrancy.
Blomberg’s understanding of inerrancy, however, involves an unusual take on what he terms “genre.” He relates something that immediately causes the reader to take pause: “Most important, simply because a work appears in narrative form does not automatically historical or biographical in genre. History and biography themselves appear in many different forms, and fiction can appear identical to history in form.” He relates that “the way in which the ancients wrote history is clearer now than ever before. Once again the result is that we know much better what we should be meaning when we say we ‘believe the Bible,’ and therefore such belief is more defensible than ever.”
These statements stand in direct contradiction to the ICBI statements on inerrancy as well as hermeneutics. First, Blomberg here is at odds with ICBI on inerrancy when it states in Article XVIII emphatically that “We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claim to authorship. This, however, is exactly where Blomberg goes in his work a very recent chapter that he contributed to
The official ICBI commentary on this Article adds, “It is never legitimate, however, to run counter to express biblical affirmations” (emphasis added). Further, in the ICBI commentary on its 1982 Hermeneutics Statement (Article 13) on inerrancy, it adds, “We deny that generic categories which negate historicity may rightly be imposed on biblical narratives which present themselves as factual. Some, for instance, take Adam to be a myth, whereas in Scripture he is presented as a real person. Others take Jonah to be an allegory when he is presented as a historical person and [is] so referred to by Christ” (emphasis added). Its comments in the next article (Article 14) add, “We deny that any event, discourse or saying reported in Scripture was invented by the biblical writers or by the traditions they incorporated” (emphasis added). Clearly, the CSBI Fathers rejected genre criticism as used by Robert Gundry, Mike Licona, and many other evangelicals.
He attacks “ultraconservatives” who do not abide by his assessment in the following terms, “once again, unfortunately, a handful of ultraconservatives criticize all such scholarship, thinking that they are doing a service to the gospel instead of the disservice that they actually render.” Apparently, anyone who would be firm in commitment to the integrity of Scripture constitute the real enemy to evangelical critical scholarship.
Because of limited space in a review, Chapter 4, “Don’t These Issues Rule Out Biblical Inerrancy” (pp. 119-146) and Chapter 5, “Aren’t Several; Narrative Genres of the Bible Unhistorical” (pp. 147-178) deserve special scrutiny for anyone who would affirm belief, and especially inerrancy, in the Bible. Blomberg here addresses the “fundamentalist-modernist controversy.” He claims that the idea of inerrancy as understood by American efforts is largely an American phenomena: “Other branches of evangelicalism, especially in other parts of the world not heavily influenced by American missionary efforts, tend to speak of biblical authority, inspiration, and even infallibility, but not inerrancy.” He relates that some have “consciously rejected inerrancy as too narrow a term to apply to Scripture.” He relates that these misunderstandings about inerrancy emerge especially “among those who are noticeably more conservative or those who are noticeably more liberal in their views of Scripture than mainstream evangelicalism.” He mentions the following who, in his misunderstood inerrancy because they are too conservative: “from the far right of the belief, have evangelical spectrum, Norman Geisler, William Roach, Robert Thomas, and David Farnell attack my writings along with similar ones by such evangelical stalwarts as Darrell Bock, D. A. Carson, and Craig Keener as too liberal, threatening inerrancy, or denying the historicity of Scripture.” In response to this, the writer of this review would urge the reader to examine the latest book from Geisler and Farnell, The Jesus Quest The Danger From Within (Xulon, 2014) to make up their own mind as to the interpretative approaches of Blomberg and these scholar especially in terms of inerrancy (we report, you decide). Blomberg addresses the effect that creeds and confession of Christendom especially in terms of inerrancy.
He relates that “[t]here are two quite different approaches [to inerrancy], moreover, that can lead to an affirmation that Scripture is without error.” These two approaches are “inductive approach” that “begins with the phenomena of the Bible itself, defines what would count as an error, analyzes Scripture carefully from beginning to end, and determines that nothing has been discovered that would qualify as errant.” The “deductive approach” that begins with the conviction that God is the author of Scripture, proceeds to the premise by definition that God cannot err, and therefore concludes that God’s Word must be without error.” He reacts negatively against the deductive approach of “evidentialists and “presuppositonalist” by noting that these two terms “ultimately views inerrancy as a corollary of inspiration, not something to be demonstrated from the texts of Scripture itself. If the Bible is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16), and God cannot err, then the Bible must be errant. Hence, the inductive approach to Blomberg requires that the Bible prove that it is inerrant through critical investigation of the texts themselves rather than the others that just assume the texts are inerrant. Thus, he shifts the burden of proof from the Bible to that of the scholar. It is the critical investigator that must establish whether the text is truly inerrant. Importantly, Blomberg believes that the real debate on inerrancy is one of “hermeneutics.” Thus, under this logic, one could hold to inerrancy but believe that a particular event in Scripture is really symbolic and not to be taken as literally an event in the time-space continuum (creation in six days). As a result, “Genesis 1 can be and has been interpreted by inerrantist as referring to a young earth, and old earth, progressive creation, theistic evolution, a literary framework for asserting God as the creator of all things irrespective of his methods, and a series of days when God took up residence in his cosmic temple for the sake of newly created humanity in his image. Once again, this is a matter for hermeneutical and exegetical debate, not one that is solved by the shibboleth of inerrancy.” (p. 126). One must note, however, that Blomberg reveals his startling differences with inerrancy as defined by ICBI in 1978: “We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture. We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship. “Here Blomberg’s position is neither grammatical, historical, or literal, for Blomberg argues, “defenders of inerrancy do not reflect often enough on what it means to say that nonhistorical genres are wholly truthful.” He also reflects a deja vue mantra of Rogers and McKim, who wrote in 1979, “But often without realizing it; we impose on ancient documents twenty-first century standards that are equally inappropriate.” Rogers and McKim said, “To erect a standard of modern, technical precision in language as the hallmark of biblical authority was totally foreign to the foundation shared by the early church” (Rogers and McKim, The Authority and Intepretation of the Bible An Historical Approach, p. xxii). Blomberg also supports elements of speech-act theory also maintains that “Vanhoozer’s work is indeed very attractive, but it is scarcely at odds with the Chicago Statement.” One wonders at this statement of Blomberg, since Van Hoozer denies the grammatico-historical approach, and as Geisler/Roach conclude, “[Van Hoozer] also claims to affirm much of the ICBI statement as he understands it. But that is precisely the problem since the way he understands it is not the way the framers meant it, as is demonstrated from the official commentaries on the ICBI statements.”
The practical result is genre can be used to deny anything in the bible that the interpreter finds offensive as a literal sense. The allegorical school did such a thing; the Gnostics did it to Scripture, and now Blomberg applies his updated version of it with genre being applied to hermeneutics. Blomberg’s use of genre, to this present review, smacks of an eerie similarity to Rogers’/McKim’s deprecation of literal interpretation when they noted Westerner’s logic that viewed “statements in the Bible were treated like logical propositions that could be interpreted quite literally according to contemporary standards” (Rogers and McKim, The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible, xviii). In Chapter 5, Aren’t Several Narrative Genres of the Bible Unhistorial,” his use of hermeneutics continues to be the means by which he can redefine what normal definition of inerrancy would be, and he uses it to deny the plain, normal sense of Genesis 1-3 (p. 150), while advocating that we must understand the author’s intent in such passages, with the key question from Article 13 of ICBI, “standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose.” Applying a completely wrong understanding of this clause of ICBI as well as the original intent of the founders of ICBI, Blomberg advocates that idea that “the question is simply one about the most likely literary form of the passage.” From there, he proceeds to allow for non-literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3 that are, in his view, fully in line with inerrancy, e.g. Adam and Eve as symbols for every man and woman, evolutionary and progressive creation, a non-historical Jonah, the possibility of three Isaiah’s (p. 162), Daniel as Apocalyptic genre rather than prophetic, fully embracing of midrash interpretation of the Gospels (non-literal) as advocated by Robert Gundry as not impacting inerrancy as well as pseudepigraphy as fully in line with inerrancy in NT epistles under the guide of a “literary device” or “acceptable form of pseudonymity. He argues that we don’t know the opinions of the first century church well-enough on pseudepigraphy to rule it out: “[B]arring some future discovery related to first-century opinions, we cannot pontificate on what kinds of claims for authorship would or would not have been considered acceptable in Christian communities, and especially in Jewish-Christian circles when the New Testament Epistles were written. As a result, we must evaluate every proposal based on its own historical and grammatical merits, not on whether it does or does not pass some pre-established criterion of what inerrancy can accept.”
The response of other critical evangelical scholars to Blomberg’s book has been warm and embracing. In a “blog tour for Blomberg’s book, critical evangelical scholar at Dallas Theological Seminary, Darrell Bock warmly embraces Chapter 4 (“Don’t These Issues Rule Out Biblical Inerrancy”) that is currently under discussion in this article:
Craig Blomberg’s fourth chapter in Can We Still Believe the Bible, examines some objections to inerrancy from both the right and the left. Yes, there is a position to the right of holding to inerrancy. It is holding it in a way that is slow to recognize solutions that fit within the view by undervaluing the complexities of interpretation. People are far more familiar with those who challenge inspiration and doubt what Scripture declares on the left, but others attempt to build a fence around the Bible by being slow to see where legitimate discussion exists about how inerrancy is affirmed. To make the Bible do too much can be a problem, just as making it do too little.
President of the Evangelical Theological Society for 2013-2104, Robert W. Yarborough also praised Blomberg’s book in his Presidential Address in the following glowing terms, placing it at the top of his list of new books,
Excellent recent books demonstrate the cogency and vitality of a reverent and indeed an inerrantist stance. Two such books were made available to me in pre-publication form for this address.
Craig Blomberg, Can We Still Believe the Bible? The first is by Craig Blomberg, Can We Still Believe the Bible? An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions. Blomberg takes up six issues that he finds foundational to an affirmation of the Bible’s comprehensive credibility like that affirmed by this society. In each of these categories, Blomberg cites the literature of those who reject a high view of the Bible’s veracity or authenticity. As he points out, those critical of the Bible’s truth do not return the favor, stonewalling evangelical arguments and publications as if that class of scholarship did not even exist. Blomberg calls attention to the best studies he can find that reject his viewpoint. He then argues for the position from his inerrantist standpoint. He notes, “Not a single supposed contra- diction” in Scripture “has gone without someone proposing a reasonably plausible resolution.” He also notes the irony that some are abandoning inerrancy today when “inerrantists have the ability to define and nuance their understanding of the doctrine better than ever before.” This book is refreshing and important not only because of its breadth of coverage of issues, viewpoints, and literature. It is evenhanded in that both enemies of inerrancy and wrong-headed friends are called on the carpet. Blomberg revisits incidents like Robert Gundry’s dismissal from this society and the kerfuffle over a decade ago surrounding the TNIV and inclusive language. He does not mince words in criticizing those he sees as overzealous for the inerrancy cause. Nor is he bashful in calling out former inerrantists who, Blomberg finds, often make their polemical arguments against what they used to believe with less than compelling warrant. I predict that everyone who reads the book will disagree strongly with the author about something. At the same time, the positive arguments for inerrancy are even more substantial. It is clear that Blomberg is not content with poking holes in non-inerrantist arguments. He writes, “I do not think one has to settle for anything short of full-fledged inerrantist Christianity so long as we ensure that we employ all parts of a detailed exposition of inerrancy, such as that found in the Chicago Statement.”
Or again: “These Scriptures are trustworthy. We can still believe the Bible. We should still believe the Bible and act accordingly, by following Jesus in discipleship.” I am skimming some of his concluding statements, but the real meat of the book is inductive demonstration of inerrancy’s plausibility based on primary evidence and scholarship surrounding that evidence. If only a book of this substance had been available when I was a college or grad school student!
One is left wondering what view of inerrancy not only Blomberg affirms, but also what form Bock and Yarborough affirm since they so warmly embrace Yarborough’s book. Clearly ICBIs view of inerrancy does not appear to be what they affirm when they make such comments. Perhaps a better title for this Baker book should be Can We Still Believe Evangelical Critical Scholars? Why? Critical evangelical scholars, like Blomberg, say that they believe in inerrancy, but Blomberg’s book leave much doubt as to whether they really do believe it the way the church has traditionally maintained that doctrine throughout the millennia. Indeed, the present review challenges all to re-read Rogers’ and McKim’s work (1979), as well as Rogers, Biblical Authority (1977) to discover startling parallels in many thoughts between their position and that of critical evangelical scholars like Blomberg today. It is painfully obvious in this book that Paul’s warning of not to be taken captive by philosophy has been totally overlooked, ignored and disregarded by Blomberg (Col. 2:8–See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.) as well as Paul’s warning to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5—“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
JOHN H. WALTON’S AND D. BRENT SANDY’S VIEW OF INERRANCY IS REALLY ERRANCY
The Good News: Walton and Sandy Say They Believe in “Inerrancy”
The present writer has extensively reviewed John D. Walton and D. Brent Sandy, The Lost World of Scripture previously. The writers state that their “specific objective is to understand better how both the Old and New Testaments were spoken, written and passed on, especially with an eye to possible implications for the Bible’s inspiration and authority.” (p. 9). They add, “part of the purpose of this book is to bring students back from the brink of turning away from the authority of Scripture in reaction to the misappropriation of the term inerrancy” (p. 9).
They assert that as Wheaton University professors, they work “at an institution and with a faculty that take a strong stand on inerrancy but that are open to dialogue” and that this openness “provided a safe context in which to explore the authority of Scripture from the ground up.” John Walton wrote the chapters on the Old Testament while D. Brent Sandy wrote the chapters on the New Testament. W/S have written this book especially for “Christian students in colleges, seminaries and universities” with the hopes that they will find their work “useful,” as well as writing for “colleagues who have a high view of Scripture, especially for those who hold to inerrancy.” The book is also “not intended for outsiders; that is, it’s not an apologetic defense of biblical authority. Rather, “we’re writing for insiders, seeking to clarify how best to understand the Bible.” The writers also assure the readers that they have a “very high view of Scripture; “[w]e affirm inerrancy” and that they “are in agreement with the definition suggested by David Dockery that the ‘Bible properly interpreted in light of [the] culture and communication developed by the time of its composition will be shown to be completely true (and therefore not false) in all that it affirms, to the degree of precision intended by the author, in all matters relating to God and his creation” (David S. Dockery, Christian Scripture; An Evangelical Perspective on Inspiration, Authority and Interpretation (Nashville: B & H, 1994, p. 64).
The Bad News: Walton’s and Sandy’s View of Inerrancy is Really Errancy.
The central thrust of the book is that the world of the Bible (both Old and New Testament) is quite different from modern times: “Most of us a probably unprepared . . . for how different the ancient world is from our own . . . We’re thousands of years and thousands of miles removed. It means we frequently need to put the brakes on and ask whether we’re reading the Bible in light of the original culture or in light of contemporary culture. While the Bible’s values were very different from ancient cultures’, it obviously communicated in the existing languages and within cultural customs of the day.” (p. 13). Such a recognition and the “evidence assembled in this book inevitably leads to the question of inerrancy.” (p. 13). [T]he truth of the matter is, no term, or even combination of terms, can completely represent the fullness of Scripture’s authority” (p. 13). W/S then quote the Short Statement of the Chicago Statement on Biblical inerrancy of 1978 (p. 14). This creates the impression that they are in agreement with the statement. However, this is deceptive because book constitutes an essential challenge to much of what the Chicago Statements asserted. This uneasiness with the Chicago Statement can also be seen in those who are listed as endorsers of the work, Tremper Longmann III who chairs the Robert H. Gundry professor of Biblical Studies, as well as Michael R. Licona who recently, in his The Resurrection of Jesus, used genre criticism to negate the resurrection of the saints in Jerusalem in Matthew 27:51-53 at Jesus crucifixion as apocalyptic genre rather than indicating a literal resurrection, and Craig Evans, Acadia Divinity College, who is not known for his support of the Chicago Statements.
The book consists of 21 propositions that seek to nuance biblical authority, interpretation and an understanding of inerrancy, with the essential thought of these propositions flowing basically from 2 areas: (1) their first proposition, “Ancient Near Eastern Societies were hearing dominant (italics added) and had nothing comparable to authors and books as we know them” [in modern times since the printing press] while modern societies today are “text dominant” and (2) speech-act theory that they frequently refer to in their work (pp. 41-46, 48, 51, 200, 213-218, 229, 288). They qualify their latter acceptance of speech-act theory:
We do not agree with many of the conclusions with speech act theory, but we find its foundational premise and terminology helpful and have adopted its three basic categories. The communicator uses locutions (words, sentences, rhetorical structures, genres) to embody an illocution (the intention to do something with those locutions—bless, promise, instruct, assert) with a perlocution that anticipates a certain response from the audience (obedience trust, belief) (p. 41).
They go on to assert that God accommodated his communication in the Scripture: “[a]ccomodation on the part of the divine communicator resides primarily in the locution, in which the genre and rhetorical devices are included.” (p. 42). And,
[G]enre is largely a part of the locution, not the illocution. Like grammar, syntax and lexemes, genre is a mechanism to convey an illocution. Accomodation takes place primarily at the louctionary level. Inerrancy and authority related to the illocution; accommodation and genre attach at the locution. Therefore, inerrancy and authority cannot be undermined, compromised or jeopardized by genre or accommodation. While genre labels may be misleading, genre itself cannot be true or false, errant or inerrant, authoritative or nonauthoritative. Certain genres lend themselves to more factual detail and others more toward fictional imagination.” (p. 45).
While admittedly the book’s propositions entail many other ideas, from these two ideas, an oral dominated society in ancient times of the OT and NT vs. a written/text dominant society of modern times and the implications of speech-act theory cited above, flow all that W/S develop in their assertions to nuance their take on what a proper view of inerrancy and biblical authority should be. The obvious implication of these assertions is that Robert Gundry, who was removed from ETS due to his dehistoricizing in 1983, was wronged because value judgments about genre do not impact the doctrine of inerrancy. Gundry was perfectly in the confines of inerrancy to dehistoricize because, according to W/S, it was ETS that misunderstood the concept of inerrancy as not genre driven. It is the illocution (purpose or intent), not the wording that drives inerrancy. Gundry’s theorizing of a midrashic genre, according to this idea, had nothing at all to do with inerrancy. Gundry believed sincerely in inerrancy but realized the midrashic, not historical, nature of Matthew 2.
Walton’s and Sandy’s work are reminiscent of Rogers and McKim, in their now famous, The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible (1979), An Historical Approach, who made a similar error in their approach to Scripture. They also spoke of “the central Christian tradition included the concept of accommodation;” that today witnesses a “scholastic overreaction to biblical criticism;” “the function and purpose of the Bible was to bring people into a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ”; “the Bible was not used as an encyclopedia of information on all subjects;” and “to erect a standard of modern, technical precision in language as the hallmark of biblical authority was totally foreign to the foundation shared by the early church.” (R/M, xxii). W/S similarly assert in their implications of an oral society that “The Bible contains no new revelation about the material workings and understanding of the Material World” (Proposition 4, pp.49-59) so that the
Bible’s “explicit statements about the material world are part of the locution and would naturally accommodate the beliefs of the ancient world. As such they are not vested with authority. We cannot encumber with scriptural authority any scientific conclusions we might deduce from the biblical text about the material world, its history or its regular processes. This means that we cannot draw any scientific conclusions about such areas as physiology, meteorology, astronomy, cosmic geography, genetics or geology from the Bible. For example, we should believe that God created the universe, but we should not expect to be able to derive from the biblical texts the methods that he used or the time that it took. We should believe that God created humans in his image and that through the choices they made sin and death came into the world. Scientific conclusions, however, relating to the material processes of human origins (whether from biology in general or genetics in particular) may be outside the purview of the Bible. We need to ask whether the Bible is making those sort of claims in its illocutions” (p. 55).
The Bible’s claims regarding origins, mechanics or shape of the world are, by definition of the focus of its revelation, mechanics or shape of the world are, by definition of the focus of its revelation in the theological realm. (p. 55).
According to W/S, what the Bible says plainly in the words of Genesis 1 may not be what it intends. Immediate special creation cannot be read into the text; rather the door is open for evolution and the acceptance of modern understandings of science. Thus, Genesis 1 and 2 may well indicate God’s creation but not the means of how he created, even when the locutions say “evening and morning”; “first day” etc. Much of what is in Genesis 1 reflects “Old World Science”: “one could easily infer from the statements in the biblical text that the sun and moon share space with the birds (Gen. 1). But this is simply a reflection of Old World Science, and we attach no authority to that conclusion. Rather we consider it a matter of deduction on the part of the ancients who made no reason to know better.” (p. 57). For them, “[t]he Bible’s authority is bound into theological claims and entailments about the material world. For them, since the Bible is not a science textbook, its “authority is not found in the locution but has to come through illocution” (p. 54). Genesis 1-2, under their system, does not rule out evolution; nor does it signify creation literally in six “days.” Such conclusions press the text far beyond its purpose to indicate God’s creation of the world but not the how of the processes involved. They conclude, “we have proposed that reticence to identify scientific claims or entailments is the logical conclusion from the first two points (not a science textbook; no new scientific revelation) and that a proper understanding of biblical authority is dependent on recognizing this to be true” (p. 59). They assert that “it’s safe to believe that Old World Science permeates the Old Testament” and “Old World Science is simply part of the locution [words, etc.] and as such is not vested with authority” (p. 300).
Apparently, W/S believe that modern science has a better track record at origins. This assumption is rather laughable. Many “laws” of science for one generation are overturned in other generations. Scientific understanding is in constant flux. Both of these authors have failed to understand that modern science is predominated overwhelmingly by materialistic philosophies rather than presenting any evidence of objectivity in the area of origins. Since Science is based on observation, testing, measurement and repeatability, ideas of origins are beyond the purview of modern science too. For instance, the fossil record indicates the death of animals, but how that death occurred and what the implications of that fossil record are, delves more into philosophy and agendas rather than good science. Since no transitional forms exist between species in the fossil record, evolution should be rendered tenuous as an explanation, but science refuses to rule it out due to a dogmatic a priori.
While W/S quote the ICBI “short statement” their work actually is an assault on the articles of affirmation and denial 9f the 1978 Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. In article IX, it noted that “We affirm that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the biblical authors were moved to speak and write” and Article XII, “we deny that biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.” Article XI related, “far from misleading us; it is true and reliable in all matters in addresses.”
Another area that is troubling is in their theorizing of text-canonical updating. W/S adoption of multiple unknown redactor/editors who updated the text over long periods of time in terms of geography, history, names, etc. actually constitutes an argument, not for inerrancy, but for deficiency in the text of Scripture and hence an argument for errancy, not inerrancy. Due to the OT being an oral or ear dominated society, W/S also propose a text-canonical updating hypothesis: “the model we propose agrees with traditional criticism in that it understands the final literary form of the biblical books to be relatively late and generally not the literary product of the authority figure whose words the book preserves (p. 66). This while Moses, Isaiah, and other prominent figures were behind the book, perhaps multiple, unknown editors were involved in any updating and final form of the books in the OT/NT that we have. For them, in the whole process of Scripture, “[t]he Holy Spirit is behind the whole process from beginning to end” in spite of the involvement of unknown hands in their final development (p. 66). W/S negate the central idea of inerrancy that would center around original autographs that were inerrant, or that such autographs even existed: “Within evangelical circles discussing inerrancy and authority, the common affirmation is that the text is inerrant in the original autographs . . . since all copies were pristine, inerrancy could only be connected with the putative originals (“p. 66). Modern discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has made it “clear that there was not only one original form of the final literary piece” of such books as Samuel and Jeremiah (p. 67). Which version is original cannot be determined. Under W/S it does not make any difference because “in the model that we have proposed here, it does not matter. The authority is associated with Jeremiah, no matter which compilation is used. We cannot be dependent on the ‘original autographs,’ not only because we do not have them, but also because the very concept is anachronistic for most of the Old Testament” (p. 67). For W/S, “inerrancy and authority are connected initially to the figure or the authoritative traditions. We further accept the authority represented in the form of the book adopted by faith communities and given canonical status” (p. 67). “Inerrancy and authority attach to the final canonical form of the book rather than to putative original autographs” (p. 68). Later on in their work, W/S assert that “inerrancy would then pertain to the role of the authorities (i.e. the role of Moses or Isaiah as dominant, determinative and principle voice), not to so-called authors writing so-called books—but the literature in its entirety would be considered authoritative” (p. 281). For them, “[a]uthority is not dependent on the original autographs or an author writing a book. Recognition of authority is identifiable in the beliefs of a community of faith (of whom we are heirs) that God’s communications through authoritative figures and traditions have been captured and preserved through a long process of transmission and composition” (p. 68). For them, Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch “does not decide the matter” regarding its authority, for many may have been involved in the final form of the first five books of Moses (p. 69). The final form involved perhaps many unknown editors and updaters: “Our interest is in the identity of the prophet as the authority figure behind the oracles, regardless of the composition history of the book” (p. 72). Thus, while Moses, Jeremiah, for instance, were the originator of the tradition or document and names are associated with the books, this approach of many involved in the product/final form of the book and variations, “allows us to adopt some of the more important advances that critical scholarship has offered” (p. 74). For them, unknown editors over long periods of time would have updated the text in many ways as time passed. They argue “it is safe to believe that some later material could be added and later editors could have a role in the compositional history of a canonical book” (p. 299). Their positing of such a scheme, however, is suggestive that the text had been corrected, updated, revised all which smacks of a case for errancy more than inerrancy in the process.
Again, orthodox views of inerrancy, like the 1978 Chicago Statement, were not so negative about determining the autographs as article X related, “We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographs of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy.”
W/S also assert that “exacting detail and precise wording were not necessary to preserve and transmit the truths of Scripture” (p. 181) because they were an “ear” related culture rather than a print related culture (Proposition 13).
In reply to W/S, while this may be true that the New Testament was oral, such a statement needs qualification by W/S in their propositions throughout. No matter what the extent of orality in the OT and NT as posed by W/S, the reportage in these passages is accurate though it may not be, at times precise. While they are correct that “exacting detail and precise wording were not necessary to preserve and transmit the truths of Scripture, two competing views need to be contrasted in that oral reportage that was written down in the text of Scripture: an orthodox view and an unorthodox view of that reportage. This important distinction is lost in W/S’s discussion (see Norman L. Geisler, “Evangelicals and Redaction Criticism, Dancing on the Edge”  for a full discussion):
|ORTHODOX VIEW||UNORTHODOX VIEW|
|REPORTING THEM||CREATING THEM|
|SELECTING THEM||CONSTRUCTING THEM|
|ARRANGING THEM||MISARRANGING THEM|
|PARAPHRASING THEM||EXPANDING THEM|
|CHANGE THEIR FORM (Grammatical Change)||CHANGE THEIR CONTENT (Theological Change)|
|CHANGE THEIR WORDING||CHANGE THEIR MEANING|
|TRANSLATE THEM||MISTRANSLATE THEM|
|INTERPRET THEM||MISINTERPRET THEM|
Article XIII of the 1978 Chicago Statement was careful to note that inerrancy does not demand precision at all times in reportage. Any criticism of the Chicago Statements in this area is ill-advised, “We further deny that inerrancy is negated by biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reportage of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations. W/S’s caveat on harmonization needs qualification: “it is not necessary to explain away the differences by some means of harmonization in order to it fit modern standards of accuracy” (p. 151). While anyone may note many examples of trite harmonization, this does not negate the legitimacy or need for harmonization. Tatian’s Diatessaron (c. 160-175) is a testimony to the ancient church believing that the Gospels could be harmonized since they were a product of the Holy Spirit. From the ancient Christian church through to the time of the Reformation, the church always believed in the legitimacy and usefulness of harmonization. It was not until modern philosophical presuppositions (e.g., Rationalism, Deism, Romanticism, etc.) that created the historical-critical ideology arose that discredited harmonization. The orthodox position of the church was that the Gospels were without error and could be harmonized into a unified whole. The rise of modern critical methods (i.e. historical criticism) with its accompanying low or no views of inspiration discredited harmonization, not bad examples of harmonization. For harmonization during the time of the Reformation, see Harvey K. McArthur, “Sixteenth Century Gospel Harmonies,” in The Quest Through the Centuries: The Search for the Historical Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress,1966) 85 -101).
On page 274, W/S assert “[o]ur intention is to strengthen the doctrine of biblical authority through a realistic application of knowledge of the ancient world, and to understand what inerrancy can do and what it can’t do.” They believe that the term inerrancy is a term that “is reaching its limits” and also that “the convictions it sought to express and preserve remain important” (p. 274). “Inerrancy” is no longer the clear, defining term it once was and that “has become diminished in rhetorical power and specificity, it no longer serves as adequately to define our convictions about the robust authority of Scripture” (p. 275). They cite several errors of inerrancy advocates in the past. Most notably are the following: inerrancy advocates, “have at times misunderstood ‘historical’ texts by applying modern genre criteria to ancient literature, thus treating it as having claims that it never intended.” Apparently, this position allows W/S to read the findings of modern “scientism” into the ancient text that often conflicts with today’s hypothesis of origins (i.e. creation). “They have at times confused locution [words, sentences, rhetorical structures, genres] and illocution [the intention to do something with those locutions—bless, promise, instruct, assert”]. Inerrancy technically applies on to the latter, though of course, without locutions, there would be no illocution.” W/S here confuse inerrancy with interpretation and understanding of a text with this supposition. Each word is inspired but the understanding or interpretation of those words may not be considered “inerrant” but a process of interpretation of those words in the context in which those words occur. If Genesis 1 says “evening and morning” and “first,” “second” day, it is tenuous to imply that these terms are so flexible in interpretation to allow for long periods of time to accommodate evolutionary hypotheses. “They have been too anxious to declare sections of the Old Testament to be historical in a modern sense, where it may not be making those claims for itself.” Here, this principle allows W/S to negate any part of the Old Testament that does not accord with modern sensibilities. It creates a large opening to read into the text rather than allow the text to speak for itself. They assert that positions such as “young earth or premillennialism may be defensible interpretations, but they cannot invoke inerrancy as a claim to truth” (p. 282). For W/S, “the Israelites shared the general cognitive environment of the ancient world . . . . At the illocutionary level, we may say that traditions in the early chapters of Genesis, for example, served the Israelites by offering an account of God and his ways and conveying their deepest beliefs about how the world works, who they are and how it all began. These are the same questions addressed by the mythological traditions of the ancient world, but the answers given are very different” (p. 303-304).
One other area where the elasticity of W/S’s concept of history centers in that they allow for the hyperbolic use of numbers in the Old Testament: “It is safe to believe that the Bible can use numbers rhetorically with the range of the conventions of the ancient world” (p. 302). For them, “w]e may conclude that they are exaggerated, or even that contradictory amounts are given in sources that report the same event” (p. 302). These may well be inaccuracies or contradictions according to our conventions, but that doesn’t meant that they jeapordize inerrancy. Again, numerical quantity is locution. Authority ties to the illocution and what the narrator is doing with those numbers” (p. 302). Whatever he is doing, he is doing wit the accepted conventions of their world” (p. 302).
Finally, W/S argue that “our doctrine of authority of Scripture has become too enmeshed in apologetics . . . . If we tie apologetics and theology too tightly together, the result could be that we end up trying to defend as theology what are really just apologetic claims we have made” (p. 306).
Finally, W/S contend: “ill-formed versions of inerrancy have misled many people into false understandings of the nature of Scripture, which has led to poor hermeneutics for interpreting Scripture and to misunderstandings of Bible translations. Even more serious, certain views of inerrancy have led people away from the Christian faith. Such views can also keep people from considering more important matters in Scripture. If there is a stumbling block to people coming to the faith, should it not be Christ alone rather than a wall that we inadvertently place in the way of spiritual pilgrimages?” (p. 308). This reviewer has one reply to the illogic of W/S. If the documents are cannot be trusted in their plain, normal sense (e.g. creation), then how can their testimony about Christ be trusted? If the documents have as much flexibility as hypothesized by W/S, how can they be trusted to give a reliable, accurate and faithful witness to Him? While W/S have wrapped their work in an alleged improvement of current concepts of inerrancy and its implications, they have actually presented a system that is (1) quite inferior to that of the ICBI statements of 1978 and 1982 and (2) one that really is designed to undermine the years of evangelical history that went into the formulation of those documents against the onslaught of historical-critical ideologies that W/S now embrace. They treat that history and reasons of the formulation of ICBI statements in a dismissive fashion that is perilous for those who do not remember the events of the past are doomed to repeat its mistakes as evidenced in this work of W/S. A better title for this book would have been “The Lost World of Inerrancy” since W/S’s system undermines the very concept. One is left wondering what form of “inerrancy” is really advocated by Walton and Sandy. It is not any stretch to say that their view really masquerades “errancy” in the form of “inerrancy.”
CONCLUSION TO THE MAGIC OF HISTORICAL CRITICISM
The present writer could multiply the examples of critical evangelical scholars who “say” that they believe in “inerrancy.” However, their practice and assertions in biblical interpretation really support unorthodox errantist views. The present writer has reviewed the following additional works and invites the reader to examine his reviews of these works, for all of the following scholars assert a belief in inerrancy, but their works actually affirm errancy:
(1) Christopher M. Hays and Christopher B. Ansberry, Evangelical Faith and The Challenge of Historical Criticism. London: SPCK, 2013 cf. F. David Farnell, “A Review of” in MSJ 25.1 (Spring 2014), 107- 113. Sadly, Ansberry is a Master’s College graduate who should have known better through his training.
(2) James K. Hoffmeier and Dennis R. Magary, Eds. Do Historical Matters Matter To Faith?, A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Post Modern Approaches to Scripture. James K. Hoffmeier and Dennis R. Magary, Eds. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012 cf. F. David Farnell, “A Review of” in MSJ 24.2 (Fall 2013) 149-157. Sadly, this work constitutes a MASSIVE ASSAULT ON ORTHODOX INERRANCY.
Evangelicals are in very deep difficulty at the beginning of the 21st Century. Many critical evangelical scholars say that they believe in “inerrancy,” while their views assault tradition views of inerrancy. Importantly, from this point in evangelical history, when someone says that they believe in inerrancy, one must now ask, “what do you mean by the term ‘inerrancy’ since the orthodox definition of inerrancy has now been hijacked and changed.
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WHAT IS A MIRACLE? It is an event that goes beyond all known human and natural powers and is generally attributed to some supernatural power. Why should YOU be interested in miracles?
“Miracles, by definition, violate the principles of science.”—RICHARD DAWKINS.
“Belief in miracles is entirely rational. Far from being an embarrassment to religious faith, they are signs of God’s love for, and continuing involvement in, creation.”—ROBERT A. LARMER, PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY.
SHOULD YOU believe in miracles? As we can see from the above quotations, opinions vary considerably. But how could you convincingly answer that question?
Some of YOU may immediately answer, “Yes, I believe.” Others might say, “No, I don’t believe.” Then, there are some who may say, “I don’t know, and I really don’t care! Miracles don’t happen in my life!” Really, why should YOU be interested in miracles? The Bible promises its readers that in the future some miracles far beyond all ever recorded or experienced is going to occur and will affect every living person on earth. Therefore, would it not be worth some of your time and energy to find out whether those promises are reliable? What does God’s Word really teach about miracles of Bible times, after that, our day, and the future?
Andrews, an author of over 100 books, has chosen the 40 most beneficial Proverbs, to give the readers an abundance of wise, inspired counsel to help them acquire understanding and safeguard their heart, “for out of it are the sources of life.” (4:23) GODLY WISDOM SPEAKS sets things straight by turning the readers to Almighty God. Each Proverb is dealt with individually, giving the readers easy to understand access to what the original language really means. This gives the readers what the inspired author meant by the words that he used. After this, the reader is given practical guidance on how those words can be applied for maneuvering through life today. GODLY WISDOM with its instruction and counsel never go out of date.
Yes, God will be pleased to give you strength. He even gives “extraordinary power” to those who are serving him. (2 Cor. 4:7) Do you not feel drawn to this powerful Almighty God, who uses his power in such kind and principled ways? God is certainly a “shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:30) You understand that he does not use his power to protect you from all tragedy now. He does, however, always use his protective power to ensure the outworking of his will and purpose. In the long run, his doing so is in your best interests. Andrews shares a profound truth of how you too can have a share in the power of God. With THE POWER OF GOD as your guide, you will discover your strengths and abilities that will make you steadfast in your walk with God. You can choose to rise to a new level and invite God’s power by focusing on The Word That Will Change Your Life Today.
Herein Andrews will answer the “why.” He will address whether God is responsible for the suffering we see. He will also delve into whether God’s foreknowledge is compatible with our having free will. He will consider how we can objectively view Bible evidence, as he answers why an almighty, loving and just God would allow bad things to happen to good people. Will there ever be an end to the suffering? He will explain why life is so unfair and does God step in and solve our every problem because we are faithful? He will also discuss how the work of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit should be understood in the light of wickedness. Lastly, Andrews will also offer biblical counsel on how we can cope when any tragedy strikes, …
GOD knows best. Nobody surpasses him in thought, word, or action. As our Creator, he is aware of our needs and supplies them abundantly. He certainly knows how to instruct us. And if we apply divine teaching, we benefit ourselves and enjoy true happiness. Centuries ago, the psalmist David petitioned God: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me” (Psalm 25:4-5) God did this for David, and surely He can answer such a prayer for His present-day servants.
Whom do we lean upon when facing distressing situations, making important decisions, or resisting temptations? With good reason, the Bible admonishes us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways know him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6) Note the expression “do not lean upon your own understanding.” It is followed by “In all your ways know him.” God is the One with a truly sound mind. Thus, it follows that whenever we are faced with a decision, we need to turn to the Bible to see what God’s view is. This is how we acquire the mind of Christ.
Yes, God will be pleased to give you strength. He even gives “extraordinary power” to those who are serving him. (2 Cor. 4:7) Do you not feel drawn to this powerful Almighty God, who uses his power in such kind and principled ways? God is certainly a “shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:30) You understand that he does not use his power to protect you from all tragedy now. He does, however, always use his protective power to ensure the outworking of his will and purpose. In the long run, his doing so is in your best interests. Andrews shares a profound truth …
All of us will go through difficult times that we may not fully understand. The apostle Paul wrote, “in the last days difficult times will come.” (2 Tim. 3:1) Those difficulties are part of the human imperfection (Rom. 5:12) and living in a fallen world that is ruled by Satan (2 Cor. 4:3-4). But when we find ourselves in such a place, it’s crucial that we realize God has given us a way out. (1 Cor. 10:13) Edward Andrews writes that if we remain steadfast in our faith and apply God’s Word correctly when we go through difficult times, we will not only grow spiritually, but we will …
Why should you be interested in the prophecy recorded by Daniel in chapter 11 of the book that bears his name? The King of the North and the King of the South of Daniel are locked in an all-out conflict for domination as a world power. As the centuries pass, turning into millenniums, first one, then the other, gains domination over the other. At times, one king rules as a world power while the other suffers destruction, and there are stretches of time where there is no conflict. But then another battle abruptly erupts, and the conflict begins anew. Who is the current King of the North and the King of the South? Who are the seven kings or kingdoms of Bible history in Revelation chapter 17? We are living in the last days that the apostle Paul spoke of, when he said, “difficult times will come.” (2 Tim. 3:1-7) How close we are to the end of these last days, wherein we will enter into the Great Tribulation that Jesus Christ spoke of (Matt. 24:21), no one can know for a certainty. However, Jesus and the New Testament authors have helped to understand the signs of the times and …
The theme of Andrews’ new book is “YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.” As a Christian, you touch the lives of other people, wherein you can make a positive difference. Men and women of ancient times such as David, Nehemiah, Deborah, Esther, and the apostle Paul had a positive influence on others by caring deeply for them, maintaining courageous faith, and displaying a mild, spiritual attitude. Christians are a special people. They are also very strong and courageous for taking on such an amazingly great responsibility. But if you can make a difference, be it with ten others or just one, you will have done what Jesus asked of you, and there is no more beautiful feeling. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE with joy.
Many have successfully conquered bad habits and addictions by applying suggestions found in the Bible and by seeking help from God through prayer. You simply cannot develop good habits and kick all your bad ones overnight. See how to establish priorities. Make sure that your new habits work for you instead of your old bad habits against you. It is one thing to strip off the old habits, yet quite another to keep them off. How can we succeed in doing both, no matter how deeply we may have been involved in bad habitual practices?
It may seem to almost all of us that we are either entering into a difficult time, living in one, or just getting over one and that we face one problem after another. This difficulty may be the loss of a loved one in death or a severe marriage issue, a grave illness, the lack of a job, or simply the stress of daily life. As Christians, we need to understand that God’s Word will carry us through these times, as we maintain our integrity whether in the face of tremendous trials or the tension of everyday life. We are far better facing these hurdles of life with the help of God, who can make the worst circumstances much better and more bearable.
The world that you live in today has many real reasons to be fearful. Many are addicted to drugs, alcohol, bringing violence into even the safest communities. Terrorism has plagued the world for more than a decade now. Bullying in schools has caused many teen suicides. The divorce rate even in Christian households is on the rise. Lack of economic opportunity and unemployment is prevalent everywhere. Our safety, security, and well-being are in danger at all times. We now live in a prison of fear to even come outside the protection of our locked doors at home. Imagine living where all these things existed, but you could go about your daily life untouched by fear and anxiety. What if you could be courageous and strong through your faith in these last days? What if you could live by faith not fear? What if insight into God’s Word could remove your fear, anxiety, and dread? Imagine a life of calmness, peace, unconcern, confidence, comfort, hope, and faith. Are you able to picture a life without fear? It is possible.
John 3:16 is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible. It has also been called the “Gospel in a nutshell,” because it is considered a summary of the central theme of traditional Christianity. Martin Luther called John 3:16 “The heart of the Bible, the Gospel in miniature.” The Father had sent his Son to earth to be born as a human baby. Doing this meant that for over three decades, his Son was susceptible to the same pains and suffering as the rest of humankind, ending in the most gruesome torture and execution imaginable. The Father watched the divine human child Jesus grow into a perfect man. He watched as John the Baptist baptized the Son, where the Father said from heaven, “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) The Father watched on as the Son faithfully carried out his will, fulfilling all of the prophecies, which certainly pleased the Father.–John 5:36; 17:4. …
This commentary volume is part of a series by Christian Publishing House (CPH) that covers all of the sixty-six books of the Bible. These volumes are a study tool for the pastor, small group biblical studies leader, or the churchgoer. The primary purpose of studying the Bible is to learn about God and his personal revelation, allowing it to change our lives by drawing closer to God. The Book of James volume is written in a style that is easy to understand. The Bible can be difficult and complex at times. Our effort herein is to make it easier to read and understand, while also accurately communicating truth. CPH New Testament Commentary will convey the meaning of the verses in the book of Philippians. In addition, we will also cover the Bible background, the custom and culture of the times, as well as Bible difficulties. …
SECTION 1 Surviving Sexual Desires and Love will cover such subjects as What Is Wrong with Flirting, The Pornography Deception, Peer Pressure to Have Sexual Relations, Coping With Constant Sexual Thoughts, Fully Understanding Sexting, Is Oral Sex Really Sex, …SECTION 2 Surviving My Friends will cover such subjects as Dealing with Loneliness, Where Do I Fit In, Why I Struggle with Having Friends, …SECTION 3 Surviving the Family will cover such subjects as Appreciating the House Rules, Getting Along with My Brothers and Sisters, How Do I Find Privacy, … SECTION 4 Surviving School will cover such subjects as How Do I Deal With Bullies, How Can I Cope With School When I Hate It, … SECTION 5 Surviving Who I Am will cover such subjects as Why Do I Procrastinate, … SECTION 6 Surviving Recreation will cover such subjects as … SECTION 7 Surviving My Health will cover such subjects as How Can I Overcome My Depression, …
Who should read THIRTEEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP LIVING? Anyone who is struggling in their walk as a young person. Anyone who has a friend who is having difficulty handling or coping with their young life, so you can offer them the help they need. Any parent who has young ones. And grade school, junior high or high school that wants to provide an, in touch, anti-suicide message to their students. … Many youths say that they would never dream of killing themselves. Still, they all have the deep feeling that there are no reasons for going on with their lives. Some have even hoped that some sort of accident would take their pain away for them. They view death as a release, a way out, a friend, not their enemy. …
The purpose of Waging War is to guide the youth of this program from start to finish in their therapeutic efforts to gain insight into their patterns of thinking and beliefs that have led to the current outcomes in their life thus far and enable them to change the path which they are on. Waging War is a guide to start the youth with the most basic information and work pages to the culmination of all of the facts, scripture, and their newly gained insight to offer a more clear picture of where they are and how to change their lives for the better. Every chapter will have work pages that Freeman has used and had found to be useful in therapy, but most importantly, this workbook will teach the Word to a population that does not hear it in its’ most correct form. What is the significance of controlling ones’ thoughts and how does that apply to you? Doubts, fears, and insecurities come from somewhere, especially when they are pervasive. Understanding this idea will help one to fight those thoughts and free them from the shackles their mind puts around their hearts, preventing them from achieving their dreams and the plans God had intended for them when they were created.
There are many reasons the Christian view of humanity is very important. The Christian view of humanity believes that humans were created in the image of God. We will look at the biblical view of humanity. We are going to look at the nature of man, the freedom of man, the personality of man, the fall of man, the nature of sin and death, as well as why God has allowed sin to enter into the world, as well as all of the wickedness and suffering that came with it. Andrews will answer the following questions and far more. How does the Bible explain and describe the creation of man and woman? Why is it imperative that we understand our fallen condition? What does it mean to be made in the image of God? …
In FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART – SO I AM, Edward D. Andrews offers practical and biblical insights on a host of Christian spiritual growth struggles, from the challenge of forgiveness to eating disorders, anger, alcoholism, depression, anxiety, pornography, masturbation, same-sex attraction, and many others. Based on Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV): “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he,” Andrews’ text works from the position that if we can change the way that we think, we can alter the way we feel, which will modify the way we behave. FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART – SO I AM offers far more than self-help to dozens of spiritual struggles, personal difficulties, and mental disorders. It will benefit Christian and non-Christian alike. The Scriptural advice and counsel coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy will be helpful even if every chapter is not one of your struggles. For As I Think in My Heart enables readers to examine the lies and half-truths …
THERE IS A GENUINE HAPPINESS, contentment, and joy, which come from reading, studying and applying God’s Word. This is true because the Scriptures offer us guidance and direction that aids us in living a life that coincides with our existence as a creation of Almighty God. For example, we have a moral law that was written on our heart. (Rom. 2:14-15) However, at the same time, we have a warring against the law of our mind and taking us captive in the law of sin, which is in our members. (Rom. 7:21-25) When we live by the moral law, it brings us joy, when we live by the law of sin; it brings about distress, anxiety, regrets to both mind and heart, creating a conflict between our two natures. In our study of the Bible, we can interact with a living God who wants a personal relationship with us. And in APPLYING GOD’S WORD MORE FULLY, we will learn how to engage His words like never before. Andrews helps his readers …
THERE IS ONE MAJOR DIFFERENCE between Christian living books by Andrews and those by others. Generally speaking, his books are filled with Scripture and offer its readers what the Bible authors meant by what they penned. In this publication, it is really God’s Word offering the counsel, which is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17) From the moment that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, humans have been brought forth in sin, having become more and more mentally bent toward evil, having developed a heart (i.e., inner person) that is treacherous, and unknowable to them, with sin’s law dwelling within them. Sadly, many of us within the church have not been fully informed …
A clean conscience brings us inner peace, calmness, and profound joy that is seldom found in this world under the imperfection of fallen flesh that is catered to by Satan, the god of the world. Many who were formerly living in sin and have now turned their life over to God, they now know this amazing relief and are able today to hold a good and clean conscience as they carry out the will of the Father. WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD, has been written to help its readers to find that same joy, to have and maintain a good, clean conscience in their lives. Of course, it is incapable of covering every detail that one would need to consider and apply in their lives …
This book is primarily for WIVES, but husbands will greatly benefit from it as well. WIVES will learn to use God’s Word to construct a solid and happy marriage. The Creator of the family gives the very best advice. Many have been so eager to read this new publication: WIVES BE SUBJECT TO YOUR HUSBANDS. It offers wives the best insights into a happy marriage, by way of using God’s Word as the foundational guide, along with Andrews’ insights. WIVES learn that marriage is a gift from God. WIVEStake in information that will help them survive the first year of marriage. WIVES will be able to make Christian marriage a success. WIVES will maintain an honorable marriage. WIVES will see how to submit correctly to Christ’s headship. WIVES will learn how to strengthen their marriage through good communication. …
This book is primarily for HUSBANDS, but wives will greatly benefit from it as well. HUSBANDS will learn to use God’s Word to construct a solid and happy marriage. The Creator of the family gives the very best advice. Many have been so eager to read this new publication: HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES. It offers husbands the best insights into a happy marriage, by way of using God’s Word as the foundational guide, along with Andrews’ insights. HUSBANDS learn that marriage is a gift from God. HUSBANDS take in information that will help them survive the first year of marriage. HUSBANDS will be able to make Christian marriage a success. HUSBANDS will maintain an honorable marriage. …
Technological and societal change is all around us. What does the future hold? Trying to predict the future is difficult, but we can get a clue from the social and technological trends in our society. The chapters in this book provide a framework as Christians explore the uncharted territory in our world of technology and social change. Some of the questions that Anderson will answer are: What are the technological challenges of the 21st century? How should we think about the new philosophies like transhumanism? Should we be concerned about big data? What about our privacy in a world where government and corporations have some much information about us? How should we think about a world experiencing exponential growth in data and knowledge? What social trends are affecting baby boomers, baby busters, and millennials?
Government affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to politics and government. This book provides an overview of the biblical principles relating to what the apostle Paul calls “governing authorities” (i.e., government) with specific chapters dealing with the founding principles of the American government. This includes an examination of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers. The thirteen chapters in this book not only look at the broad founding principles but also provide an in-depth look at other important political and governmental issues. One section explains the history and application of church and state issues. Another section describes aspects of political debate and discourse. A final section provides a brief overview of the Christian heritage of this nation that was important in the founding of this country and the framing of our founding documents.
Economics affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to money, investment, borrowing, and spending. They also need to understand the free enterprise system and know how to defend capitalism. Chapters in this book not only look at broad economic principles, but a section of the book is devoted to the challenges we face in the 21st century from globalization and tough economic times. A section of the book also provides an in-depth look at other important social and economic issues (gambling, welfare) that we face every day …
Do you desire to follow Jesus Christ and transform the culture around you? Are you sure you know what it means to be a disciple and follow a dangerous revolutionary who often comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable? Jesus Christ is not the mild status quo rabbi you may have been taught in your local church. He is dangerous and anyone who follows him is on a dangerous journey. The demands he places upon you and the challenges you will encounter are necessary on the journey. The journey with Jesus Christ is not for the fainthearted. If you are really serious about joining Jesus Christ in the transformation of the culture around you, here is a raw outlook on what to expect on this DANGEROUS JOURNEY.
Each of the twenty-five chapters in the POWER THROUGH PRAYER provides helpful methods and suggestions for growing and improving your prayer life with God through the power of prayer. So, what can we expect if we make prayer a part of our life? Prayer can give you a peace of mind. Prayer can comfort and strength when facing trials. Prayer can help us make better life choices. The Bible says: “If any of you lacks wisdom [especially in dealing with trials], let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5) Prayer can help to avoid temptation. Prayer is the path yo forgiveness of sins. Your prayers can help others. You will receive encouragement when your prayers are answered.
DOZENS OF QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED: Why is prayer necessary? What must we do to be heard by God? How does God answer our prayers? Does God listen to all prayers? Does God hear everyone’s prayers? What may we pray about? Does the Father truly grant everything we ask for? What kind of prayers would the Father reject? How long should our prayers be? How often should we pray? Why should we say “Amen” at the end of a prayer? Must we assume a special position or posture when praying? There are far more than this asked and answered.
What forms of prayer do you personally need to offer more often? Who benefits when you pray for others? Why is it important to pray regularly? Why should true Christians pray continually? To whom should we pray, and how? What are the proper subjects for prayer? When should you pray? Does God listen to all prayers? Whose prayers is God willing to hear? What could make a person’s prayers unacceptable to God? When Jesus says, “whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith,” an absolute guarantee that we will receive it? HOW TO PRAY by Torrey and Andrews is a spiritual gem that will answer all of these questions and far more. HOW TO PRAY is a practical guidebook covers the how, when, and most importantly, the way of praying. An excellent devotional resource for any Christian library.
Christian Apologetics and Evangelism
Some of the questions asked and answered in THE YOUNG CHRISTIAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE are “You claim the Bible is inspired because it says it is, right (2 Tim. 3:16)? Isn’t that circular reasoning?” “You claim the Bible was inspired, but there was no inspired list of which books that is true of. So how can we know which ones to trust?” “With so many different copies of manuscripts that have 400,000+ variants (errors), how can we even know what the Bible says?” “Why can’t the people who wrote the four Gospels get their story straight?” These questions and many more will be asked and answered with reasonable, rational, Scriptural answers.
Was the Gospel of Mark Written First? Were the Gospel Writers Plagiarists? What is the Q Document? What about Document Q? Critical Bible scholars have assumed that Matthew and Luke used the book of Mark to compile their Gospels and that they consulted a supplementary source, a document the scholars call Q from the German Quelle, or source. From the close of the first century A.D. to the 18th century, the reliability of the Gospels was never really brought into question. However, once we enter the so-called period of enlightenment, especially from the 19th century onward, some critical Bible scholars viewed the Gospels not as the inspired, inerrant Word of God but rather as the word of man, and a jumbled word at that. In addition, they determined that the Gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, saying the Gospels were written after the apostles, denying that the writers of the Gospels had any firsthand knowledge of Jesus; therefore, for these Bible critics such men were unable to offer a record of reliable history. Moreover, these critical Bible scholars came to the conclusion that the similarities in structure and content in the synoptic (similar view) Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), suggests that the evangelists copied extensively from one other. Further, the critical Bible scholars have rejected that the miracles of Jesus and his resurrection ever occurred as recorded in the Gospels. Lastly, some have even gone so far as to reject the historicity of Jesus himself.
Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or the church, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” Ours is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the truthfulness of his Word, the Bible. A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION of REASONABLE FAITH is on healing for the elements of emotional doubt. However, much attention is given to more evidenced-based chapters in our pursuit of overcoming any fears or doubts that we may have or that may creep up on us in the future.
How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating JESUS CHRIST The Great Teacher You may wonder, ‘But how can we imitate Jesus?’ ‘He was the perfect, divine, Son of God.’ Admittedly, you cannot be a perfect teacher. Nevertheless, regardless of your abilities, you can do your best to imitate the way Jesus taught. JESUS CHRIST The Great Teacher will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods. What a privilege it is to be a teacher of God’s Word and to share spiritual values that can have long-lasting benefits!
How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Preacher, Teacher, Apologist. You may wonder, ‘But how can we imitate Paul?’ ‘He was an inspired author, who served as an apostle, given miraculous powers.’ Admittedly, Paul likely accomplished more than any other imperfect human. Nevertheless, regardless of your abilities, you can do your best to imitate the way Paul taught. THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Preacher, Teacher, Apologist will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods. When it comes to teaching, genuine Christians have a special responsibility. We are commanded to “make disciples of all nations . . . , teaching them.” (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8)
How true is the Old Testament? For over two centuries Biblical scholars have held to the so-called documentary hypothesis, namely, that Genesis – Deuteronomy was not authored by Moses, but rather by several writers, some of whom lived centuries after Moses’ time. How have many scholars questioned the writership of Isaiah, and are they correct? When did skepticism regarding the writership of Isaiah begin, and how did it spread? What dissecting of the book of Isaiah has taken place? When did criticism of the book of Daniel begin, and what fueled similar criticism in more recent centuries? What charges are sometimes made regarding the history in Daniel? Why is the question of the authenticity of the books of Moses, the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Daniel an important one? What evidence is there to show that the books of Moses, the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Daniel is authentic and true? Do these critics have grounds for challenging these Bible author’s authenticity and historical truthfulness? Why is it important to discuss whether Old Testament Aurhoriship is authentic and true or not?
Who wrote the first five books of the Bible? Was it Moses or was it others centuries later? If Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, then how was his own death and burial written in Deuteronomy Chapter 34? Many mainstream Bible scholars argue that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch since he likely existed many centuries earlier than the development of the Hebrew language. When was the origin of the Hebrew language? Popular scholarship says that if Moses had written the Pentateuch, he would have written in the Egyptian language, not the Hebrew. Moreover, most of the Israelites and other people of the sixteenth century B.C.E. were illiteral, so who could have written the Torah, and for whom would it be written because the people of that period did not read?
Finally, analysis of the first five books demonstrates multiple authors, not just one, which explains the many discrepancies. Multiple authors also explain the many cases of telling of the same story twice, making the same events appear to happen more than once. The modern mainstream scholarship would argue that within the Pentateuch we see such things as preferences for certain words, differences in vocabulary, reoccurring expressions in Deuteronomy that are not found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, all evidence for their case for multiple authors.
What does the evidence say? What does archaeology, linguistic analysis, historical studies, textual analysis, and insights from Egyptologists tell us? Again, who wrote the first five books of the Bible? Was it Moses or was it others centuries later? Andrews offers his readers an objective view of the evidence.
Agabus is a mysterious prophetic figure that appears only twice in the book of Acts. Though his role is minor, he is a significant figure in a great debate between cessationists and continualists. On one side are those who believe that the gift of prophecy is on par with the inspired Scriptures, infallible, and has ceased. On the other side are those who define it as fallible and non-revelatory speech that continues today in the life of the church. Proponents of both camps attempt to claim Agabus as an illustration of their convictions. This study defends the position that Agabus’ prophecies are true in every detail. Beginning with a survey of major figures in the debate, the author conducts an exegetical analysis of passages where Agabus appears in defense of the infallible view.
Islam is making a significant mark on our world. It is perhaps the fastest-growing religion in the world. It has become a major obstacle to Christian missions. And Muslim terrorists threaten the West and modern democracies. What is the history of Islam? What do Muslims believe? Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Why do we have this clash of civilizations? Is sharia law a threat to modern democratic values? How can we fight terrorists in the 21st century? These are significant questions that deserve thoughtful answers. This book provides practical, biblical answers so Christians can understand Islam, witness to their Muslim friends, and support efforts by the government to protect all of us from terrorism.
IS THE QURAN THE WORD OF GOD? Is Islam the One True Faith? This book covers the worldview, practices, and history of Islam and the Quran. This book is designed as an apologetic evangelistic tool for Christians, as they come across Muslims in their daily lives, as well as to inform them, as a protection again the misleading media. The non-Muslims need to hear these truths about Islam and the Quran so they can have an accurate understanding of the Muslim mindset that leads to their actions. Islam is the second largest religion in the world. Radical Islam has taken the world by storm, and the “fake media” has genuinely misled their audience for the sake of political correctness. This book is not a dogmatic attack on Islam and the Quran but rather an uncovering of the lies and describing of the truths. The reader will be introduced to the most helpful way of viewing the evidence objectively. We will answer the question of whether the Quran is a literary miracle, as well as is there evidence that the Quran is inspired by God, along with is the Quran harmonious and consistent, and is the Quran from God or man? We will also examine Islamic teachings, discuss the need to search for the truth, as well as identify the book of truth. We will look at how Islam views the Bible. Finally, we will take up the subjects of Shariah Law, the rise of radical Islam, Islamic eschatology, and how to effectively witness to Muslims.
The average Christian knows somewhat how dangerous radical Islam is because of the regular media coverage of beheadings of Christians, Jews, and even young little children, not to mention Muslims with which they disagree. However, the average Christian does not know their true beliefs, just how many there are, to the extent they will go to carry out these beliefs. Daily we find Islamic commentators on the TV and radio, offering up misleading information, quoting certain portions of the Quran while leaving other parts out. When considering Islamic beliefs, other Islamic writings must be considered, like the Hadith or Sunnah, and the Shariah, or canon law. While Islam, in general, does not support radical Islam, the vast majority do support radical beliefs. For example, beheadings, stoning for adultery or homosexuality, suicide bombings, turning the world into an Islamic state, and far too many other heinous things. THE GUIDE TO ISLAM provides Christians with an overview of Islamic terminology. The reader will learn about Muhammad’s calling, the history of the Quran, how Islam expanded, the death of Muhammad and the splinter groups that followed. In addition, the three sources of their teaching, six pillars of belief, five pillars of Islam, the twelfth Imam, and much more will be discussed. All of this from the mind of radical Islam. While there are several books on Islam and radical Islam, this will be the first that will prepare its readers to communicate effectively with Muslims in an effort toward sharing biblical truths. …
If you have the desire to become better equipped to reach others for the lost or to strengthen your faith, Judy Salisbury’s guide—written specifically to meet the needs of Christian women today—offers you a safe, practical, and approachable place to start. In her lively, … If you have the desire to become better equipped to reach others for the lost or to strengthen your faith, Judy Salisbury’s guide—written specifically to meet the needs of Christian women today—offers you a safe, practical, and approachable place to start. In her lively, straightforward style, Salisbury covers such issues as: Does God exist? Can I trust the Bible? Does Christianity oppress women? Can we know truth? Why would God allow evil and suffering? Was Jesus God and did He really rise from the dead? How does or should my faith guide my life?
A Time to Speak: Practical Training for the Christian Presenteris a complete guide for effective communication and presentation skills. Discuss any subject with credibility and confidence, from Christian apologetics to the sensitive moral issues of our day, when sharing a testimony, addressing a school board, a community meeting, or conference. This exceptional training is the perfect resource for Christians with any level of public speaking ability. With its easy, systematic format, A Time to Speak is also an excellent resource for home-schooled and college students. The reader, in addition to specific skills and techniques, will also learn how to construct their presentation content, diffuse hostility, guidance for a successful Q&A, effective ways to turn apathy into action, and tips on gaining their speaking invitation.
Historical Criticism of the Bible got started in earnest, known then as Higher Criticism, during the 18th and 19th centuries, it is also known as the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation. Are there any weakness to the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation (Historical Criticism), and why is historical criticism so popular among Bible scholars today? Its popularity is because biblical criticism is subjective, that is, based on or influenced by personal feelings or opinions and is dependent on the Bible scholar’s perception. In other words, biblical criticism allows the Bible scholar, teacher, or pastor the freedom to interpret the Scriptures, so that God’s Word it tells them things that they want to hear. Why is this book so critical for all Christians? Farnell and Andrews will inform the reader about Biblical criticism (historical criticism) and its weaknesses, helping you to defend God’s Word far better.
Biblical criticism is an umbrella term covering various techniques for applying literary historical-critical methods in analyzing and studying the Bible and its textual content. Biblical criticism is also known as higher criticism, literary criticism, and historical criticism. Biblical criticism has done nothing more than weaken and demoralize people’s assurance in the Bible as being the inspired and fully inerrant Word of God and is destructive in its very nature. Historical criticism is made up of many forms of biblical criticism that are harmful to the authoritative Word of God: historical criticism, source criticism, form criticism, redaction criticism, social-science criticism, canonical criticism, rhetorical criticism, structural criticism, narrative criticism, reader-response criticism, and feminist criticism. Not just liberal scholarship, but many moderate, even some “conservative” scholars have …
APOLOGETICS: Reaching Hearts with the Art of Persuasion by Edward D. Andrews, author of over seventy books, covers information that proves that the Bible is accurate, trustworthy, fully inerrant, and inspired by God for the benefit of humankind. The reader will be introduced to Christan apologetics and evangelism. They will learn what Christian apologetics is. They will be given a biblical answer to the most demanding Bible question: Problem of Evil. The reader will learn how to reach hearts with are the art of persuasion. They will use persuasion to help others accept Christ. They will learn to teach with insight and persuasiveness. They will learn to use persuasion to reach the heart of those who listen to them.
REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is going to challenge your objectivity. Being objective means that personal feelings or opinions do not influence you in considering and representing facts. Being subjective means that your understanding is based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or ideas. If the reader finds these insights offense, it might be a little mind control at work from years of being told the same misinformation repeatedly, so ponder things objectively. We can also have preconceived ideas that have been a part of our thinking for so long; we do not question them. Preconceived is an idea or opinion that is formed before having the evidence for its truth. If we are to be effective, we must season our words, so that they are received well. Then there is the term preconception, which means a preconceived idea or prejudice. Seasoned words, honesty, and accuracy are distinctive features of effective apologetic evangelism.
Use of REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES should help you to cultivate the ability to reason from the Scriptures and to use them effectively in assisting others to learn about “the mighty works of God.” – Acts 2:11. If Christians are going to be capable, powerful, efficient teachers of God’s Word, we must not only pay attention to what we tell those who are interested but also how we tell them. Yes, we must focus our attention on the message of God’s Word that we share but also the method in which we do so. Our message, the Gospel (i.e., the good news of the Kingdom), this does not change, but we do adjust our methods. Why? We are seeking to reach as many receptive people as possible. “You will be my witnesses … to the End of the Earth.” – ACTS 1:8.
Why should we be interested in the religion of others? The world has become a melting pot of people, cultures, and values, as well as many different religions. Religion has the most significant impact on the lives of mankind today. There are only a few of the major religions that make up billions of people throughout the earth. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. God’s will is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) God has assigned all Christians the task of proclaiming the Word of God, teaching, to make disciples. (Matt. 24:15; 28:19-20: Ac 1;8) That includes men and women who profess a non-Christian religion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam to mention just a few. If there are Hindus, Buddhist or Muslims are in your community, why not initiate a conversation with them? Christians who take the Great Commission seriously cannot afford to ignore these religions. …
Evangelism is the work of a Christian evangelist, of which all true Christians are obligated to partake to some extent, which seeks to persuade other people to become Christian, especially by sharing the basics of the Gospel, but also the deeper message of biblical truths. Today the Gospel is almost an unknown, so what does the Christian evangelist do? Preevangelism is laying a foundation for those who have no knowledge of the Gospel, giving them background information, so that they can grasp what they are hearing. The Christian evangelist is preparing their mind and heart so that they will be receptive to the biblical truths. In many ways, this is known as apologetics. Christian apologetics [Greek: apologia, “verbal defense, speech in defense”] is a field of Christian theology which endeavors to offer a reasonable and sensible basis for the Christian faith, defending the faith against objections. It is reasoning from the Scriptures, explaining and proving, as one instructs in sound doctrine, many times having to overturn false reasoning before he can plant the seeds of truth. …
MOST Christian apologetic books help the reader know WHAT to say; THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST is HOW to communicate it effectively. The Christian apologist’s words should always be seasoned with salt as he or she shares the unadulterated truths of Scripture with gentleness and respect. Our example in helping the unbeliever to understand the Bible has been provided by Jesus Christ and his apostles. Whether dealing with Bible critics or answering questions from those genuinely interested, Jesus referred to the Scriptures and at times used appropriate illustrations, helping those with a receptive heart to accept the Word of God. The apostle Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving” what was biblically true. (Ac 17:2-3) The material in THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST can enable us to do the same. Apologist Normal L. Geisler informs us that “evangelism is planting seeds of the Gospel” and “pre-evangelism is tilling the soil of people’s minds and hearts to help them be more willing to listen to the truth (1 Cor. 3: 6).”
THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK is a practical guide (for real-life application) in aiding all Christians in sharing biblical beliefs, the Good News of the Kingdom, how to deal with Bible critics, overturning false beliefs, so as to make disciples, as commanded by Christ. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8) Why do Christians desire to talk about their beliefs? Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:14) This is the assignment, which all Christians are obligated to assist in carrying out. Jesus also said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39) Jesus commanded that we “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” and “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20) If one failed to be obedient to the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20, he or she could hardly claim that they have genuine faith. All true Christians have a determination to imitate God, which moves us to persist in reflecting his glory through our sharing Bible beliefs with others.
“Absorbing, instructional, insightful. Judy Salisbury’s book Divine Appointments embodies examples of truly speaking the truth in love. The stories she weaves together provide perfect examples of how to relate to others through conversational evangelism… Divine Appointments is an apt companion to any apologetics book, showing how to put principles into practice. It’s an apologetics manual wrapped in a warm blanket. Snuggle up with it.”— Julie Loos, Director, Ratio Christi Boosters
The reader will receive eight small introductory books in this one publication. Andrews’ intention is to offer his reader several chapters on eight of the most critical subject areas of understanding and defending the Word of God. This will enable the reader to lay a solid foundation for which he can build throughout his Christian life. These eight sections with multiple chapters in each cover biblical interpretation, Bible translation philosophies, textual criticism, Bible difficulties, the Holy Spirit, Christian Apologetics, Christian Evangelism, and Christian Living.
“‘Deep’ study is no guarantee that mature faith will result, but shallow study guarantees that immaturity continues.”(p. xiii)—Dr. Lee M. Fields.
The Culture War. How the West lost its greatness and was weakened from within outlines how the West lost its values, causing its current decline. It is a forceful attack on the extreme liberal, anti-religious ideology which since the 1960’s has permeated the Western culture and weakened its very core. The West is now characterized by strict elitist media censorship, hedonism, a culture of drug abuse, abortion, ethnic clashes and racial divide, a destructive feminism and the dramatic breakdown of the family. An ultra-rich elite pushes our nations into a new, authoritarian globalist structure, with no respect for Western historical values. Yet, even in the darkest hour, there is hope. This manifesto outlines the remedy for the current malaise and describes the greatness of our traditional and religious values that once made our civilization prosper. It shows how we can restore these values to bring back justice, mercy, faith, honesty, fidelity, kindness and respect for one another. Virtues that will motivate individuals to love one another, the core of what will make us great again.
EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE FIRST CENTURY will give its readers a thrilling account of first-century Christianity. When and how did they come to be called Christians? Who are all obligated to be Christian evangelists? In what way did Jesus set the example for our evangelism? What is the Kingdom of God? What was their worship like and why were they called the Truth and the Way? How did 120 disciples at Pentecost grow to over one million within 70-80-years? What was meant by their witness to the ends of the earth? How did Christianity in its infancy function to accomplish all it did? How was it structured? How were the early Christians, not of the world? How were they affected by persecution? How were they not to love the world, in what sense? What divisions were there in the second and third centuries? Who were the Gnostics? These questions will be answered, as well as a short overview of the division that grew out of the second and third centuries, pre-reformation, the reformation, and a summary of Catholicism and Protestantism. After a lengthy introduction to First-Century Christianity, there is a chapter on the Holy Spirit in the First Century and Today, followed by sixteen chapters that cover the most prominent Christians from the second to fourth centuries, as well as a chapter on Constantine the Great.
Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or congregation, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” OURS is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the truthfulness of his Word, the Bible. A half brother of Jesus warned us against doubting: “the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (Jam. 1:6) When insidious doubts begin to creep into the mind and the heart, it is only a matter of time before a CRISIS OF FAITH gives way spiritual shipwreck. Since we have been warned that “some will fall away from the faith,” we should be ready “to save some,” even ourselves. …
The intention of this book is to investigate the biblical chronology behind Jehovah’s Witnesses most controversial doctrinal position that Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven in October 1914. This biblical chronology of the Witnesses hinges upon their belief that the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, which they say occurred in 607 B.C.E. The Witnesses conclude that Chapter 4 of the book of Daniel prophesied a 2,520 year period that began in 607 B.C.E. and ended in 1914 C.E. They state, “Clearly, the ‘seven times’ and ‘the appointed times of the nations’ refer to the same time period.” (Lu 21:24) It is their position that When the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, the Davidic line of kings was interrupted, God’s throne was “trampled on by the nations” until 1914, at which time Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven. …
In order to overcome and church problems, we must first talk about the different problems of the church. Many of the church problems today stem from the isms: liberalism, humanism, modernism, Christian progressivism, theological liberalism, feminism, higher criticism, and biblical criticism. Moreover, many are simply not a biblically grounded church regardless of how much they claim to be so. The marks of a true Christian church would be like the different lines that make up a church’s fingerprint, a print that cannot belong to any other church. The true Christian church contains their own unique grouping of marks, forming a positive “fingerprint” that cannot belong to any other church. William Lange Craig wrote, “Remember that our faith is not based on emotions, but on the truth, and therefore you must hold on to it.” What truth? Jesus said to the Father in prayer, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Are you doing the will of the Father? Is your church doing the will of the Father? – Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 2:15-17.
Evangelist Norman Robertson claims that “Tithing is God’s way of financing His kingdom on the earth.” He asserts that “It is His system of economics which enables the Gospel to be preached.” Not bashful about telling his followers of their duty to give, he flatly states: ‘Tithing isn’t something you do because you can afford it. It is an act of obedience. Not tithing is a clear violation of God’s commandments. It is embezzlement.’ Most likely you accept that giving should be part of Christian worship. However, do you find continuous demanding appeals for money disturbing, perhaps even offensive? FLEECING THE FLOCK by Anthony Wade is an exhaustive examination of all of the popular tithing arguments made from the pulpit today. …
DECEPTION IN THE CHURCH by Fred DeRuvo asks Does It Matter How You Worship? There are 41,000 different denominations that call themselves “Christian” and all would claim that they are the truth. Can just any Christian denomination please God? Can all be true or genuine Christianity if they all have different views on the same Bible doctrines? DeRuvo will answer. He will focus on the largest part of Christianity that has many different denominations, the charismatic, ecstatic Signs and Wonders Movements. These ecstatic worshipers claim … DeRuvo will answer all these questions and more according to the truth of God’s Word.—John 8:31-32; 17:17.
Plunkett exposes the errors corrupting the Christian church through the Word of Faith, New Apostolic Reformation, and extreme charismatic movements. LEARN TO DISCERN, by author Daniel Plunkett highlights how an encounter with a rising star in the Word of Faith / “Signs and Wonders” movement was used by God to open his eyes to the deceptions, false teachings, and spiritual abuses running rampant in the charismatic movement today. These doctrines are thoroughly explored as taught by some of today’s most prominent speakers and evangelists and contrasted with the clear teachings of Scripture. LEARN TO DISCERN is an invaluable resource …
Translation and Textual Criticism
The King James Bible was originally published in 1611. Some have estimated that the number of copies of the King James Version that have been produced in print worldwide is over one billion! There is little doubt that the King James Version is a literary masterpiece, which this author has and will appreciate and value for its unparalleled beauty of expression. This book is in no way trying to take away from what the King James Version has accomplished. The King James Version is a book to be commended for all that it has accomplished. For four centuries, when English-speaking people spoke of “the Bible,” they meant the King James Version. The question that begs to be asked of those who favor the King James Bible is, Do You Know the King James Version? What do most users of the King James Bible not know about their translation? Whether you are one who favors the King James Version or one who prefers a modern translation, Andrews will answer the questions that have long been asked for centuries about the King James Bible and far more.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO BIBLE TRANSLATION (CGBT) is for all individuals interested in how the Bible came down to us, as well as having an insight into the Bible translation process. CGBT is also for those who are interested in which translation(s) would be the most beneficial to use. The translation of God’s Word from the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek is a task unlike any other and should never be taken lightly because it carries with it the heaviest responsibility: the translator renders God’s thoughts into a modern language. It is CGBT’s desire to take challenging and complex subjects and make them easy to understand. CGBT will communicate as clearly and powerfully as possible to all of its readers while also accurately communicating information about the Bible. …
We have come a long, long way from the time that the KJV was The Bible in English and the many translations available today. Finding the right Bible for the right person can be daunting, with almost too many choices available. However, it is still possible to divide the options into two broad categories: literal translations and dynamic equivalents. What is the difference, and why should you care? Bible publishers used to say that literal translations are good for study purposes, and dynamic equivalents are better for reading. So literal translations were advertised with terms like “accurate,” “reliable,” and, of course, “literal.” For dynamic equivalent translations, terms like “contemporary,” “easy to read,” and “written in today’s English” were used. Naturally, publishers do not advertise the negatives, so they did not point out that the literal translations might be a little harder to read, or that the dynamic equivalents might not be entirely faithful to the original languages of the Bible. However, more recently, some scholars have been taking this analysis in a new direction, assessing literal translations as less desirable than dynamic equivalents even for accuracy and reliability.
There are more than 150 different Bible translations in the English language alone. Some are what we call literal translations, which seeks to give the reader the exact English equivalent of what was written in the original language text, thus allowing the reader access to the actual Word of God. Then, there are dynamic equivalents, where the translator determines what the author meant by the original language text, and this is what they give the reader. There is also a paraphrase translation, which is an extremely interpretive translation. Exactly what are these differences? Are some translations better than others? What standards and principles can we use to determine what makes a good translation? Andrews introduces the readers to the central issues in this debate and presents several reasons why literal translations are superior to dynamic equivalent and paraphrase translations. We do not need to be a Bible scholar to understand these issues, as well as the importance of having the most accurate and faithful translation that is reflective of the original text. …
THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (TTNT) is an introduction, intermediate and advanced level coverage of the text of the New Testament. Andrews introduces the new and relatively new reader to this subject in the first few chapters of the TTNT. Andrews deepens his handling of the material, while still making it easy to understand in the next few chapters of the TTNT, all the while being very informative in both sections. All of this prepares the reader for Wilkins’ advanced chapters. THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT was copied and recopied by hand for 1,500 years. Regardless of those scribes who had worked very hard to be faithful in their copying, errors crept into the text. How can we be confident that what we have today is the Word of God? Wilkins and Andrews offer the reader an account of the copying by hand and transmission of the Greek New Testament. They present a comprehensive survey of the manuscript history from the penning of the 27 New Testament books to the current critical texts. What did the ancient books look like and how were documents written? How were the New Testament books published? Who would use secretaries? Why was it so hard to be a secretary in the first century? How was such work done? What do we know about the early Christian copyists? What were the scribal habits and tendencies? Is it possible to establish the original text of the NewTestament? …
INTRODUCTION TO THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT is a shortened 321 pages of Andrews and Wilkins 602 page TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT without losing the value of content. The foremost thing the reader is going to learn is that the Greek New Testament that our modern translations are based on is a mirror-like reflection of the original and can be fully trusted. The reader will learn how the New Testament authors made and published their books, the secretaries in antiquity and their materials like Teritus who helped Paul pen the epistle to the Romans, and the book writing process of the New Testament authors and early copyists. The reader will also discover the reading culture of early Christianity and their view of the integrity of the Greek New Testament. The reader will also learn how textual scholars known as paleography determine the age of the manuscripts.
The reader will learn all about the different sources that go into our restoring the Greek New Testament to its original form. Then, Andrews will cover the ancient version, the era of the printed text, and the arrival of the critical text. After that, the reader will be given a lengthy chapter on examples of how the textual scholar determines the correct reading by his looking at the internal and external evidence. Finally, and most importantly, the reader will find out the truth about the supposed 400,000 textual errors within the Greek New Testament manuscripts. The last chapter will be faith-building and enable you to defend the Word of God as inerrant.
THE READING CULTURE OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY provides the reader with the production process of the New Testament books, the publication process, how they were circulated, and to what extent they were used in the early Christian church. It examines the making of the New Testament books, the New Testament secretaries and the material they used, how the early Christians viewed the New Testament books, and the literacy level of the Christians in the first three centuries. It also explores how the gospels went from an oral message to a written record, the accusation that the apostles were uneducated, the inspiration and inerrancy in the writing process of the New Testament books, the trustworthiness of the early Christian copyists, and the claim that the early scribes were predominantly amateurs. Andrews also looks into the early Christian’s use of the codex [book form], how did the spread of early Christianity affect the text of the New Testament, and how was the text impacted by the Roman Empire’s persecution of the early Christians?
Edward D. Andrews boldly answers the challenges Bart D. Ehrman alleges against the fully inerrant, Spirit-inspired, authoritative Word of God. By glimpsing into the life of Bart D. Ehrman and following along his course of academic studies, Andrews helps the reader to understand the biases, assumptions, and shortcomings supporting Ehrman’s arguments. Using sound reason, scholarly exegesis, and the Historical-Grammatical method of interpretation, as well as New Testament textual criticism, Andrews helps both churchgoer/Bible students, as well as scholars, overcome the teachings of biblical errancy that Ehrman propagates.—Easy to read and understand. …
CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM goes back to the early seventeenth century with a Christian theological debate between the followers of John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius, and continues today among some Protestants, particularly evangelicals. The debate is centered around soteriology, that is, the study of salvation, and includes disputes about total depravity, predestination, and atonement. While the debate has developed its Calvinist–Arminian form in the 17th century, the issues that are fundamental to the debate have been discussed in Christianity in some fashion since the days of Augustine of Hippo’s disputes with the Pelagians in the fifth century. CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM is taking a different approach in that the issues will be discussed as The Bible Answers being that it is the centerpiece.
A comprehensive book on HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE by observing, interpreting, and applying, which will focus on the most basic Bible study tools, principles, and processes for moving from an in-depth reading of the Scriptures to application. What, though, if you have long felt that you are not studiously inclined? Realize that the primary difference between a serious Bible student and a less serious Bible student is usually diligence and effort, not being a gifted student. Being a gifted Bible student alone is not enough. Efficient methods of Bible study are worth learning, for those seeking to become serious Bible students. The joy missing from many Bible students is because they do not know how to study their Bible, which means they do not do it well. Perhaps you dislike Bible study because you have not developed your study skills sufficiently to make your Bible study enjoyable. Maybe you have neglected your Bible study simply because you would rather be doing something else you enjoy.
How can we find more enjoyment in studying the Bible? How can we make our study periods more productive? What circumstances contribute to effective personal study? How can we derive real benefit and pleasure from our Bible reading? From what activities can time be bought out for reading and studying the Bible? Why should we watch our spiritual feeding habits? What benefits come from reading and studying the Scriptures? There is a great and constantly growing interest in the study of the English Bible in these days. However, very much of the so-called study of the English Bible is unintelligent and not fitted to produce the most satisfactory results. The authors of this book already have a book entitled “HOW TO STUDY: Study the Bible for the Greatest Profit,” but that book is intended for those who are willing to buy out the time to put into thorough Bible study.
Why is personal and family Bible study so important in our life now? How can we apply the Word of God in our lives? How can we use the Bible to help others? How can we effectively use the Scriptures when teaching others? How can we make decisions God’s way? How can Bible principles help us to decide wisely? Why should we have faith in God and his word? The Psalmist tells us, God’s Word “is a lamp to my foot, and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Since the Bible is a gift from God, the time and effort that we put into our personal Bible Study is a reflection of how much we appreciate that gift. What do our personal Bible study habits reveal about the depth of our appreciation of God’s Word? Certainly, the Bible is a deep and complex book, and reading and studying are not easy at times. However, with time and effort, we can develop a spiritual appetite for personal Bible study. (1 Peter 2:2)
Correctly interpreting the Bible is paramount to understanding the Word of God. As Christians, we do not want to read our 21st-century worldview INTO the Scriptures, but rather to takeOUT OF the Scriptures what the author meant by the words that he used. The guaranteed way of arriving a correct understanding of God’s Words is to have an accurate knowledge of the historical setting, cultural background, and of the people, governments, and religious leaders, as well as the place and time of the New Testament writings. Only with the background, setting, and context can you grasp the author’s intended meaning to his original readers and …
The life of Christ is an exhaustless theme. It reveals a character of greater massiveness than the hills, of a more serene beauty than the stars, of sweeter fragrance than the flowers, higher than the heavens in sublimity and deeper than the seas in mystery. As good Jean Paul has eloquently said, “It concerns Him who, being the holiest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the holy, lifted with His pierced hands empires off their hinges, turned the stream of centuries out of its channels, and still governs the ages.” …
Stalker’s Life of St. Paul became one of the most widely read and respected biographies of the Apostle to the Gentiles. As an insightful compendium on the life of Paul, this work is of particular interest to pastors and teachers who desire to add realism and vividness to their account of one of the greatest Christians who ever lived. Stalker’s work includes a section at the back entitled “Hints for Teachers and Questions for Pupils.” This supplement contains notes and “further reading” suggestions for those teaching on the life of St. Paul, along with a number of questions over each chapter for students to discuss. In addition, seventeen extra chapters have been added that will help the reader better understand who the Apostle Paul was and what first-century Christianity was like. For example, a chapter on the conversion of Saul/Paul, Gamaliel Taught Saul of Tarsus, the Rights, and Privileges of Citizenship, the “Unknown God,” Areopagus, the Observance of Law as to Vows, and much more.
With solid scholarship and exceptional clarity, beginning in Gethsemane, Stalker and Andrews examine Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. Their work is relevant, beneficial and enjoyable because they cover this historical period of Jesus’ life in an easy to understand format. Stalker’s expressive and persuasive style provides a great resource to any Bible study of the events leading to the death of Jesus Christ. THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST is an academicish book written with a novelish style.
Delving into the basics of biblical interpretation, Edward D. Andrews has provided a complete hands-on guide to understanding what the author meant by the words that he used from the conservative grammatical-historical perspective. He teaches how to study the Bible on a deep, scholarly level, yet making it understandable to all. He has sought to provide the very best tool for interpreting the Word of God. This includes clarification of technical terms, answers to every facet of biblical interpretation, and defense of the inerrancy and divine inspiration of Scripture. Andrews realizes that the importance of digging deeper in our understanding of the Bible, for defending our faith from modern-day misguided scholarship. Andrews gives the reader easy and memorable principles and methods to follow for producing an accurate explanation that comes out of, not what many read into the biblical text. The principal procedure within is to define, explain, offer many examples, and give illustrations, to help the reader fully grasp the grammatical-historical approach. …
Anybody who wants to study the Bible, either at a personal level or a more scholarly level needs to understand that there are certain principles that guide and govern the process. The technical word used to refer to the principles of biblical interpretation is hermeneutics, which is of immense importance in Biblical Studies and Theology. How to Interpret the Bible takes into consideration the cultural context, historical background and geographical location in which the text was originally set. This enables us to obtain clarity about the original author’s intended meaning. Linguistic and literary factors are analyzed so that the various genres of Scripture are examined for their true meaning. The importance of having sound principles of interpretation cannot be overstated as …
Once upon a time, Postmodernism was a buzzword. It pronounced Modernism dead or at least in the throes of death. It was a wave that swept over Christendom, promising to wash away sterile, dogmatic and outmoded forms of church. But whatever happened to postmodernism? It was regarded as the start of a major historical transition to something new and promising and hailed as a major paradigm shift. Is it a philosophy that has passed its “sell-by” date? No! The radical fringe has become the dominant view and has been integrated into all aspects of life, including the Christian church. With the emergence of multicultural societies comes interaction with different belief systems and religions. Values like tolerance and a dislike of dogmatism have become key operating concepts, which reflect a change in worldview. …
In an age obsessed with physical and psychological health the author emphasizes the importance of spiritual well-being as an essential element of holistic health for the individual Christian and for Christian communities. This work constitutes a template for a spiritual audit of the local church. It offers an appointment with the Great Physician that no Christian can afford to ignore. Developing Healthy Churches: A Case-Study in Revelation begins with a well-researched outline of the origins and development of the church health movement. With that background in mind the author, aware that throughout the history of the church there have been a number of diverse views about how Revelation ought to be interpreted, presents the reader with four distinct interpretive models. These are the idealist, preterist, historicist, and futurist. Beville explains these interpretive approaches simply and critiques them fairly.e …
This is a comprehensive study of euthanasia and assisted suicide. It traces the historical debate, examines the legal status of such activity in different countries and explores the political, medical and moral matters surrounding these emotive and controversial subjects in various cultural contexts. The key advocates and pioneers of this agenda-driven movement (such as the late Jack Kevorkian, popularly known as “Dr. Death” and Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International) are profiled. Not only are the elderly and disabled becoming increasingly vulnerable but children, psychiatric patients, the depressed and those who are simply tired of life are now on a slippery slope into a dystopian nightmare. The spotlight is brought to bear on the Netherlands, in particular, where palliative care and the hospice movement are greatly underdeveloped as a result of legalization. These dubious “services” are now offered as part of “normal” medical care in Holland where it is deemed more cost-effective to be given a lethal injection. The vital role of physicians as healers in society must be preserved and the important but neglected spiritual dimension of death must be explored. Thus a biblical view of human life is presented. …
Journey with Jesus through the Message of Mark is an insightful and engaging survey of Mark’s Gospel, exploring each major section of the text along with key themes. It is a work that can be enjoyed by laypersons as well as pastors and teachers. Pastors will find the abundant use of illustrations to be helpful in preparing their own messages and as such, it will find a welcome place in the preacher’s library. Simply, powerfully, with great precision, and exegetical accuracy, Kieran Beville masterfully brings us on a life-transforming journey. Readers will be both inspired and challenged as they hear the words of Jesus speaking afresh from the page of Scripture and experience the ministry of Jesus in a spiritually captivating way. The author has a pastor’s heart, a theologian’s mind, and a writer’s gift. His style is gripping, as he beautifully explains and illustrates Mark’s Gospel. Kieran Beville has done a great service to the church, and especially to true believers, who desire to grow in grace, increase in their knowledge of truth, and experience the intimacy, joy, and underserved and unspeakable privilege of walking, as disciples, with Jesus. This book is ideal as a study companion for Mark’s Gospel. One can read a section from the gospel and then read the corresponding section to receive a fresh viewpoint and a practical application. …
What are angels & demons? Can angels help us? What does the Bible say about angels? What is the truth about angels? Can Angels affect your life? Who were the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2? Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:2? Who is Michael the archangel? Can Satan the Devil control humans? How can we win our struggle against dark spiritual forces? How can you resist the demons? Do evil spirits exercise power over humankind? Is Satan really the god of this world and just what does that mean? What did Jesus mean when he said, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one [i.e., Satan]”? Andrews using the Bible will answer all of these questions and far more. …
Donald T. Williams learned a lot about the Christian worldview from Francis Schaeffer and C. S. Lewis, but it was actually Tolkien who first showed him that such a thing exists and is an essential component of maturing faith. Not only do explicitly Christian themes underlie the plot structure of The Lord of the Rings, but in essays such as “On Fairie Stories” Tolkien shows us that he not only believed the Gospel on Sunday but treated it as true the rest of the week and used his commitment to that truth as the key to further insights in his work as a student of literature. “You can do that?” Williams thought as a young man not yet exposed to any Christian who was a serious thinker. “I want to do that!” His hope is that his readers will catch that same vision from this book. An Encouraging Thought elucidates the ways in which Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are informed by and communicate a biblical worldview. This book will help readers appreciate the ways in which a biblical worldview informs Tolkien’s work, to the end that their own faith may be confirmed in strength, focused in understanding, deepened in joy, and honed in its ability to communicate the Gospel.
The Bible describes the events that will occur before and after the destruction of Gog of Magog. Who is Gog of Magog mentioned in the book of Ezekiel? Why should we be interested in the prophecy recorded in Daniel chapter 11? Find out in a verse-by-verse explanation of Daniel Chapter 11, as you discover who the kings of the North and the South are from before Jesus’ day throughout the last days. You will benefit from paying attention to Daniel’s prophecy about the battle between the two kings? Taken together, the Bible books of Daniel and Revelation not only identify eight kings but also show the sequence in which they would appear. We can explain those prophecies.
People grow old, get sick, and die. Even some children die. Should you be afraid of death or of anybody who has died? Do you know what happens if we die? Will you ever see your dead loved ones again? “If a man dies, shall he live again?” asked the man Job long ago. (Job 14:14) Did God originally intend for humans to die? Why do you grow old and die? What is the Bible’s viewpoint of death? What is the condition of the dead? Are the dead aware of what is happening around them? What hope is there for the dead?
Herein Andrews will give the reader exactly what the Bible offers on exposing who the Antichrist and the Man of Lawlessness are. If we look at the texts that refer to the antichrist and the man of lawlessness, we will have lines of evidence that will enable us to identify them. Why is it important that we know who the antichrist and the man of lawlessness are? The antichrist and the man of lawlessness have had a greater impact on humanity and Christianity over the past centuries than many know. Moreover, the influence on the true worshipers of Christianity today has been even more significant and will only go from bad to worse as we come closer to the second coming of Christ. …
Throughout the Scriptures, God is identified as the Creator. He is the One “who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it.” (Isa 45:18) He is the One “who forms mountains and creates the wind” (Am 4:13) and is the One “who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them.” (Ac 4:24; 14:15; 17:24) “God . . . created all things.” (Eph. 3:9) Jesus Christ tells us that it is the Father who “created them [humans] from the beginning made them male and female.” (Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6) Hence, the Father is fittingly and uniquely called “the Creator.” (Isa 40:28) It is because of God’s will that we exist, for He has ‘created all things, and because of his will they existed and were created.’―Revelations 4:11 …
Eschatology is the teaching of what is commonly called the “Last Things.” That is the subject of Andrews’ book, which will cover, Explaining Prophecy, Explaining Clean and Pure Worship, The New Testament Writers Use of the Old Testament, Explaining the Antichrist, Explaining the Man of Lawlessness, Explaining the Mark of the Beast, Explaining Signs of the End of the Age, Explaining the Rapture, Explaining the Great Tribulation, Explaining Armageddon, Explaining the Resurrection Hope, Explaining the Millennium, Explaining the Final Judgment, Explaining the Unevangelized, Explaining Hell
The information herein is based on the disciples coming to Jesus privately, saying, “Tell us, (1) when will these things be, and (2) what will be the sign of your coming, and (3) of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) What will end? When will the end come? What comes after the end? Who will survive the end? These questions and far more will be answered as Andrews delves into The SECOND COMING of CHRIST. In chapters 1 and 2, we must address why Jesus is saying there would be an end to the Jewish age. In chapter 3, we will take a deep look at the signs that establish the great tribulation is closing in, and when is it time to flee. In chapter 4, we will go over the signs of the end of the Jewish age. In chapter 5, we will walk through the events leading up to the end of the Jewish age from 66 – 70 C.E., and how it applies to our Great Tribulation in these last days. In chapter 6, we will cover the second coming of Jesus where the reader will get the answers as to whether verses 3-28 of Matthew Chapter 24 apply to Christ’s second coming. We will close out with chapter 7, and how we should understand the signs, and how we do not want to be led astray, just as Jesus warned even some of the chosen ones would be misled. We will also address what comes after the end.
What Really Is Hell? What Kind of Place is Hell? What Really Happens at Death? What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? How Does Learning the Truth About Hell Affect You? Who Goes to Hell? What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment? Does God Punish People in Hellfire? Do the Wicked Suffer in Hell? What Is the Lake of Fire? Is It the Same as Hell or Gehenna? Where Do We Go When We Die? What Does the Bible Say About Hell? Andrews Shares the Truth on WHAT IS HELL From God’s Word.
Miracles were certainly a part of certain periods in Bible times. What about today? Are miracles still taking place? There are some very important subjects that surround this area of discussion that is often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve every problem if we are faithful? Does the Bible provide absolutes or guarantees in this age of imperfect humanity? Are miracles still happening today? Is faith healing Scriptural? Is speaking in tongues evidence of true Christianity? Is snake handling biblical? How are we to understand the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? The work of the Holy Spirit. Andrews offers his readers very straightforward, biblically accurate explanations for these difficult questions. If any have discussed such questions, without a doubt, they will be very interested in the Bible’s answers in this easy to read publication.
Today there are many questions about homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and Christians. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences justify homosexuality? What is God’s will for people with same-sex attractions? Does the Bible discriminate against people with same-sex attractions? Is it possible to abstain from homosexual acts? Should not Christians respect all people, regardless of their sexual orientation? Did not Jesus preach tolerance? If so, should not Christians take a permissive view of homosexuality? Does God approve of same-sex marriage? Does God disapprove of homosexuality? If so, how could God tell someone who is attracted to people of the same sex to shun homosexuality, is that not cruel? If one has same-sex attraction, is it possible to avoid homosexuality? How can I as a Christian explain the Bible’s view of homosexuality? IT IS CRUCIAL that Christians always be prepared to reason from the Scriptures, explaining and proving what the Bible does and does not say about homosexuality, yet doing it with gentleness and respect. Andrews will answer these questions and far more.
If you’ve struggled in the world of difficulties that surround you, you’re not alone. Maybe you have looked for help, and you have been given conflicting answers. 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS: Coming-of-Age In Christ, can help you. Its advice is based on answers that actually work, which are found in the Bible. God’s Word has helped billions over thousands of years to face life’s challenges successfully. Find out how it can help you! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS includes seven sections, with several chapters in each. It includes the following sections: Sexual Desires and Love, your friends, your family, school, recreation, your health. You need advice you can trust! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS will give you that. This author has worked with thousands of youths from around the world. The Bible-based sound advice helped them. Now you can discover how it can help you.
Young ones and teens, you are exposed to complex problems that your parents may not understand. Young Christians, you are bombarded with multiple options for solving everyday problems through social media. Where do you turn to find answers? Where can you look to find guidance from Scripture? In order to provide a Christian perspective to problem-solving, the author of this devotional book decided to take a different approach. Terry Overton was determined to find out what problems middle school children and teens were worried about the most. While visiting her grandchildren one weekend, she asked her granddaughter to send topics to her so that she could write a devotional about the topic. In a matter of weeks, not only did her granddaughter send her topics, but the other grandchildren and their friends sent topics of concern. Once the author wrote a devotional for a topic, it was sent to the teen requesting the devotional. Soon, these requests were happening in real time. Students sent text requests about problems happening in school and asked what the student should do? How should this be handled?
This devotional book follows the author’s own faith journey back to God. Significant life events can shake our world and distort our faith. Following life’s tragedies, a common reaction is to become angry with God or to reject Him altogether. Examples of tragedies or traumas include life-changing events such as physical or sexual assault, destruction of one’s home, the tragic death of a loved one, diagnoses of terminal diseases, divorce, miscarriages, or being a victim of a crime. Tragedies or traumas can cause feelings of anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt.
Throughout the book, common themes emerge to support caregivers. The reader will find interesting Bible Scriptures, offering a Christian perspective, for handling issues that may arise. These inspiring passages will assist the caregiver in finding peace and faith as they travel their journey as a caregiver. Although caregivers may not know how long they will play this role, they take on the responsibility without any question. Taking care of others is often mentioned in the Bible and, as noted in this devotional, this self-sacrificing, highly valued, and often challenging service will ultimately be rewarded.
Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, spoke of the “air,” when he said that Satan was “the ruler of the authority of the air.” (Eph. 2:2) In that, very same verse Paul said the “air” is “the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience.” If we breathe in this “air,” we will begin to adopt their attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct.
Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, spoke of the “air,” when he said that Satan was “the ruler of the authority of the air.” (Eph. 2:2) In that, very same verse Paul said the “air” is “the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience.” If we breathe in this “air,” we will begin to adopt their attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct.
BREAD OF HEAVEN helps the reader to have a greater understanding of the timeless truths of Scripture and a deeper appreciation of the grandeur of God. It offers meditations on selected Scriptures which will draw the reader’s attention upwards to the Savior. Kieran Beville’s daily devotional combines down-to-earth, unstuffy humanity in today’s world with a biblical and God-centered approach, and draws on rich theology in a thoroughly accessible way. He addresses not just the intellect and the will but gets to the heart, our motivational center, through the mind. If your Christian life could benefit from a short, well-written daily blast of Christ’s comfort and challenge, get this book and use it! These short Bible-based meditations are fresh and contemporary. Beville gives to the twenty-first-century reader what earlier authors have given to theirs. Here is practical wisdom that is a helpful guide to stimulate worship and set you thinking as you begin each day with God.
The Conversation: An Intimate Journal of the Emmaus Encounter is a unique and riveting reconstruction from the unnamed disciple’s account found in Luke 24 regarding his journey with Cleopas on the road to Emmaus after witnessing Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, along with hearing claims of His empty tomb. Suddenly, a Stranger begins walking with them. With their eyes “prevented” from recognizing Him as the risen Lord Jesus Christ—Yeshua the Messiah, their new, wise Traveling Companion correlates the Old Covenant Scriptures, by way of Moses and the prophets, with what they witnessed.
This “journal” is your opportunity to eavesdrop and learn what that conversation might have been like, as pertinent prophecies unfold revealing evidence that the Messiah’s suffering, death, burial, and resurrection were, in fact, specifically foretold.
Unique and life-changing, More Than Devotion, through a melding of accounts from both the Old Covenant and New, proves that our trustworthy God truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All fifty convicting devotions draw from a rich scriptural context, concluding with a practical, achievable call to action, plus journaling space for personal reflection. New believers and veteran followers of our Lord can grow in the innermost areas of their lives and enjoy a more intimate walk with the Savior.
Stella Mae Clark thought she had a wonderful life. She idolized her father, a military man who raised her to love Christ with all of her heart. She had a mother who loved her father and their example of true love gave her the sparkle in her eyes. That is until the unimaginable happens and her life is completely shattered. One decision at the age of sixteen would again turn her world completely upside down. Stella Mae makes the decision to leave her life and her family behind to seek refuge from her painful past. She desperately seeks solace, answers, and for something to fill the aching void within her heart. Just as she thinks she has settled into a new life with Christ, tragedy once again strikes and shatters any hope she had for a normal life. She abandons Christ and turns to a life of sin before it ultimately consumes her and breaks her down. Will it take nearly losing her life to find her way back to God or will her shame and regret keep holding her back? Join Stella Mae on her journey to find meaning and purpose in the midst of all her tragedy as she seeks to find the One her heart has been missing. The story of her past is one of loss, shame, heartbreak, and fear. With the help of those who see her for more than her past, she is able to become the person she always wanted to be and a new creature.
AN APOCALYPTIC NOVEL: As you are no doubt are aware, Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye in 1995 wrote a novel entitled “Left Behind.” Jerry and Tim had some prior success with a major publisher and were able to get their novel published. The Left Behind novel was published by Tyndale House beginning in 1995 within a multiple volumes Left Behind series resulting in sales exceeding 60 million books. In 1992 Don Alexander wrote the storyline embedded in Left Behind. He copyrighted the novel in 1992 under the title “Oren Natas” [who is the Anti-Christ in his storyline]. The entire novel is contained in a single volume. It is a novel written depicting a colorful and witty cast of characters who live through all the “end time” Bible prophecies.
A routine classified telepathic interrogation of a potential terrorist, followed by an assignment that doesn’t go as planned thrusts Tabatha – the world’s only telepathic human – into the public eye. The exposure leads an evil neuro-scientist requesting a meeting with her in hopes of luring her to his cause as well as unveiling a deadly creative work that has spanned three decades of research and development.
ONLINE REVIEW: “Very fun read. Fast paced and honest. Tons of evolution occurs during the process thru the story. Wonderful girl trying to become an adult Christian in a world that also pits her superpowers against terrorists with the help of her own special forces team. Buy this book and just enjoy!”
In June 1985, an excavation project was undertaken by The British Antiquities Volunteers (BAV) at a plot of rocky land where the Kidron and Hinnom Valleys meet near the eastern side of Old Jerusalem. That year many hundreds of (mostly redundant) ‘small finds’ were recovered in the Judean desert but none of such significance as a handful of scrolls retrieved from a buried Roman satchel (presumed stolen) at this site. The discovery has since come to be known as ‘The Diary of Judas Iscariot.’ In The Diary of Judas Iscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings of Judas, a disgruntled disciple, as he accompanies Jesus of Nazareth during His ministry, and uses this fable and allegory to explore some of the ways a person might resist becoming a Christian.
Kevin Trill struggles with the notion that he may have missed the Rapture. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a solid gold pocket watch, he sets off towards Garbor, a safe haven for those who haven’t yet taken the mark of the beast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up with an unlikely trio who befriends him. Together, they set out towards Garbor. Unfortunately, however, they are soon faced with their first major catastrophe, which sparks debate among them as to whether or not they really are in the Great Tribulation. On their journey, the group meets up with many people, some of them good and some of them evil. …
There grew an element in the valley that did not want to be ruled by the Light of the Word. Over time, they convinced the people to reject it. As they started to reject this Light, the valley grew dim and the fog rolled in. The people craved the darkness rather than the Light because they were evil. They did not want to embrace the Light because it exposed their wickedness. They rejected the Light of the Word and ruled themselves. Those few who had embraced the Light and hated the darkness were killed. Since that time anyone who embraced the Light of the Word, pursued or talked about it were arrested. Those arrested were sentenced to death by stoning. The last prophet gave a prophecy before he was martyred. “The whisperer will come and empower three witnesses that will make manifest the works of darkness and destroy it, and deliver my people from the grip of darkness to the freedom found in the light.” All the Children of the Light were killed off or went into hiding living among the Children of Darkness in secret, not mentioning the Light for fear of death. Generations grew up being ignorant of the Light of the Word and never knowing the difference. No one ever mentioned the Light or dared to even talk about the Light. …
 http://orwell.ru/library/novels/1984/english/en_app (accessed on 4/22/2014).
 For example, see S. Westerholm, “Pharisees,” Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Eds. Joel N. Green and Scot McKnight (Downers Grove, ILL: InterVarsity, 1992), 613.
 D. A. Hagner, “Pharisees,” Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. Gen. Ed. Merill C. Tenney (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975): 4:750.
 R. J. Wyatt, “Pharisees,” NISBE. Ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986): 3:823.
 Donald A. Hanger, The Jewish Reclamation of Jesus (Eugene,OR: Wipf and Stock, 1997), 71; see also 92-94.
 See F. David Farnell, “The Problem of Philosophy in New Testament Studies,” and Searching for the Historical Jesus: The Rise of the Searches,” The Rise of the Three Searches,” in The Jesus Quest. Eds. Norman L. Geisler and F. David Farnell (Maitland, FL: Xulon, 2014), 86-142; 361-420.
 See Norman L. Geisler, “The Philosophical Roots of Modern Biblical Criticism, The Jesus Quest The Danger From Within. Eds. Norman L. Geisler and F. David Farnell (Maitland, FL: Xulon, 2014) 65-85.
 See F. David Farnell, “Historical Criticism vs. Grammatico-Historical Criticism: Quo Vadis Evangelicals?,” The Jesus Quest, 503-520.
 See Robert L. Thomas, “Current Hermeneutical Trends: Toward Explanation or Obfuscation?, JETS 39 (June 1996): 241-256.
 Edgar Krentz, The Historical-Critical Method (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975), 55.
 Gerhard Maier, The End of the Historical-Critical Method (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1974), 25.
 The list of 9–13 as well as page numbers cited are from Robert Gundry, Matthew A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982) as well as A Commentary on His Handbook for A Mixed Church under Persecution (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994). The latter note: an updated version of the 1982 commentary.
Blomberg, “A Constructive Traditional Response to New Testament Criticism,” 354 fn. 32
 Craig L. Blomberg, “New Testament miracles and Higher Criticism: Climbing Up the Slippery Slope,” JETS 27/4 (December 1984) 436.
 Michael R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus, A New Historiographical Approach (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2010).
 Ibid., 34.
 Ibid., 548.
 Ibid., 552.
 Ibid., 553.
 See F. David Farnell, “Philosophical and Theological Bent of Historical Criticism,” The Jesus Crisis, 85-131.
 Or, Advocate. Or, Comforter. Gr., ho … parakletos, masc.
 For examples of this dangerous drift among evangelicals, see F. David Farnell, “Part Four: Beware of ‘Critical’ Post-Modern History,” in The Jesus Quest The Danger from Within, Eds. Norman L. Geisler and F. David Farnell (Maitland, FL: Xulon, 2014), 359-520. See also F. David Farnell, “Can We Still Trust Critical Evangelical Scholars,” http://inerrantword.com/180015375/blog/180004060/220000031/Can_We_Still_Trust_Critical_Evangelical_Scholars (accessed on May 4, 2014).
 F. David Farnell, “Those Who Do Not Learn From the Lessons of History,” defendinginerrancy.com http://defendinginerrancy.com/learn-lessons-history/ accessed on 8/29/2014) and “Can We Still Trust Critical Evangelical Scholars” (http://defendinginerrancy.com/can-still-trust-critical-evangelical-scholars/ accessed on 8/29/2014).
 ICBI Catalogue, International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, 1983; R. C. Sproul, Explaining Inerrancy (Orlando, FL: Ligonier, 1996 [1980 International Council on Biblical Inerrancy].
 Sproule, 54.
 Sproule, Explaining Inerrancy, 54.
 For instance, Craig Blomberg advocates a combining of historical-criticism and the grammatico-historical in while other evangelicals like Bock
 J. Gresham Machen, The Christian Faith in the Modern World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1936) 65.
 I. Howard Marshall, “Historical Criticism,” in New Testament Interpretation. Ed. I. Howard Marshall (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977) , p. 126.
Marshall, “Historical Criticism,” p. 126.
 See I. Howard Marshall, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (2004), 84.
 Craig L. Blomberg, “The Historical-Critical/Grammatical View,” in Biblical Hermeneutics Five Views (Downers Grove: IVP, 2012): 27-47.
 Blomberg, “The Historical-Critical/Grammatical View,” 46-47.
 Craig L. Blomberg, “The Historical-Critical/Grammatical View,” in Biblical Hermeneutics Five Views (Downers Grove: IVP, 2012): 27-47.
 Blomberg, “The Historical-Critical/Grammatical View,” 28.
 Ibid.,” 47.
 For Griesbach and his association with Neologians as well as its impact on his synoptic “solution,” see F. David Farnell, “How Views of Inspiration Have Impacted Synoptic Problem Discussion,” TMSJ 13/1 (Spring 2002) 33-64.
 William The History of New Testament Research: From deism to Tübingen (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1992) 116.
 See http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2008/03/26/interview-with-craig-blomberg/ Accessed on 5/25/2013.
 [italics added—not in original]. See Darrell L. Bock, Studying the Historical Jesus A Guide to Sources and Methods (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002), 139.
 Darrell L. Bock, Form Criticism, in New Testament Criticism and Interpretation. Eds. David Alan Black and David S. Dockery (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 192.
F. David Farnell, “Form and Tradition Criticism,” The Jesus Crisis, 185-232.
 Graham H. Stanton, Presuppositions in New Testament Criticism,” in New Testament Interpretation, 60.
 Peter Davids– “Authority, Hermeneutics and Criticism,” in New Testament Criticism and Interpretation. Eds. Black and Dockery (1993), pp. 31-32.
 Donald Hagner, “The New Testament, History, and the Historical Critical Method, in New Testament Criticism and Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013), 86, 88.
 For a more extensive review of this work, see F. David Farnell, “Review of Craig Blomberg’s Can We Still Believe The Bible? An Evangelical Engagement With Contemporary Questions.” MSJ 25.1 (Spring 2014) 99-104.
 Craig Blomberg
 Jack B. Rogers and Donald K. McKim, The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible, An Historical Approach (New York et al: Harper & Row, 1979), xxiii.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe?, p. 10.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe?, p. 10-11.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 11.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe?, p. 11.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 11.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 119.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 119.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 119.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 120.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 120-21.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 121.
Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 121.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 121.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 125.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 126.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 126.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 128.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 136. The reader is referred here to Geisler/Roach evaluation of Van Hoozer for a different perspective, “Kevin Vanhoozer on Inerrancy,” in Inerrancy Defended (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011) p. 132-159.
 Geisler and Roach, Defending Inerrancy, 159.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 150.
Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 150.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 152.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 151-153.
Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 160.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 128.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 163-164.
Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 165-168.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 168-172.
 Blomberg, Can We Still Believe, p. 172.
 http://canwestillbelieve.com/ accessed on October 7, 2014; See also Bock’s Blog, http://blogs.bible.org/bock/darrell_l._bock/craig_blombergs_can_we_believe_the_bible-_chapter_4 accessed on October 7, 2014.
 Robert Gundry – Defending Inerrancy, http://defendinginerrancy.com/robert-gundry-declares-peter-apostate/ (accessed October 28, 2015).
 F. David Farnell, “A review of John H. Walton and D. Brent Sandy. The Lost World of Scripture, Ancient Literary Culture and Biblical Authority (Downers Grove: IVP, 2013,” MSJ 25.1 (Spring 2014), 121-129.
 John H. and D. Brent Sandy. The Lost World of Scripture, Ancient Literary Culture and Biblical Authority (Downers Grove: IVP, 2013), p. 9.
 Walton and Sandy, The Lost World of Scripture, p. 10.
 Walton and Sandy, The Lost World of Scripture, p. 10.
Walton and Sandy, The Lost World of Scripture, p. 9..
 Walton and Sandy, The Lost World of Scripture, p. 9
 Walton and Sandy, The Lost World of Scripture, (italics added) (p. 19, see also pp. 17-28).