Saturday, May 28, 2016

Who Controlled the Writing of the Word of God?

2Pe 1:21  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

One thing I have learned in 37 years of preparing Bible lessons and sermons is that most doctrines relate in some way to the attributes of God.  If we get the doctrines of the person and nature of God wrongly we many times will develop shortcomings in other areas of the Bible.  Most notably when we see the Lord as anything other than absolutely sovereign in all things or that he hasn’t ordained every detail of history to work out exactly as he has determined before the world began.   If instead one assumes that man or Satan or nature can act independently of his decrees so that at times things happen that he does not want to happen but was unable to control, we find ourselves unable to deal biblically with his providence because we don’t see trials as providence but bad things overcoming the providence of a loving but weak God.

When we deny God’s sovereignty in every detail we also set ourselves up for weakness in another area; the infallible, inspiration of the Bible.  To be fair there are plenty of people who deny God is sovereign in all things that do believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, but their doctrine of God makes them inconsistent.  Many more, because they don’t really believe God can do what the Bible says he can do assume that the Bible is merely a few men’s attempt to write down some things they experienced but we should not think that God actually led them to write down only what he wanted them to, no more and no less.  This second group is consistent, the first group is not.  Let me try to explain.

While the Calvinist states that all men are dependent on the Lord initiating and effectually calling, saving and justifying them and that left to their own devises no man can be saved, the Arminian argues that all men have a morally free will that can tell God no or choose to believe but that it is the individual and not God that makes the final determination.  This is an old debate and I will not address it in this article but let me say that this position causes another problem.

If man can resist the sovereign leading of God then who is to say that the writers of the Bible didn’t add a few of their own thoughts while writing their books?  If they didn’t add words how do we know that they didn’t delete a few ideas that they didn’t like?  Once you take a position that God cannot force anyone to do his will, even by making him willing, you undermine the infallible, inspiration of the entire Bible.  You can’t have it both ways; we can resist the Holy Spirit’s sovereign role in saving the elect one moment but that God can absolutely make sure we do just what he wants us to do the next moment. 

It is a little like the atheist who wants to live with a moral worldview that he owes to the God of the Bible while he denies the very God who has given us our sense of morality.  So the Arminian wants to believe that God is sovereign to move men to write down his infallible words and make it to Heaven someday but refuses to believe that he is powerful enough to overrule the affairs of men and angels.  But the fact of the matter is that the only way God can know how the history of man was going to end thousands of years into the future is if he is in total control of every detail, at all times and in all things.  This is the God we worship when we gather at church and I don’t think worship that robs him of his power and glory is worship worthy of our Lord.

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