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The Authority of the Scriptures

Mark Finley
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During this seminar we will explore the role of Scripture in the life and witness of the church. We will probe such questions as, Is the authority of the Scripture absolute? How does one harmonize individual conscience with the authority of Scripture? How can we apply the role of Scripture in our personal lives? We will also carefully examine one of Satan's most subtle last-day strategies to undermine the authority of Scripture and erode confidence in the Word of God. This seminar will provide you with practical principles to discern deceptions and understand scriptural truth. 

Presenter

Mark Finley

Assistant to President for Evangelism at the General Conference

Sponsor

Conference

Recorded

  • August 3, 2017
    3:30 PM
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Where delighted that each of you are here to study on the authority of scriptures Larry bogus a dear friend President of the West Virginia conference and Mike you with the secretary of the conference introduced the class I have a special affinity for them because we just have hosted all the pastors at the West for gene from West Virginia conference at our Living Hope School of evangelism and they came for a number of days and we studied evangelism and its practices at the Living Hope School of evangelism we have three kinds of seminars that take place we have what we call the Sunday seminar where area churches come in they study from nine to five o'clock on things like lay Bible instruction maybe one Sunday another Sunday they'll study health of Angelus of another Sunday how to reach former Seventh Day Adventists and so we have that particular seminar then we have a five to seven day seminar where pastors bring their lay people or pastors command and we study principles of church growth and evangelism then every summer we have an academic program where we teach graduate students the. Varying topics they are taking a master's degree in religion and specifically in evangelism and these students this summer I was studying with them the book of Acts I was telling some of you earlier I told my students this summer. There are only two questions on the final exam that's all in the book of Acts Just two questions I told this the first day of class question number one. Tell me in specific detail what's in every chapter of the book of Acts. Question number two tell me what that means in your life and how that's going to change your ministry so one of my students was a C.P.A. and he said the last exam I took that was this tough was my C.P.A. exam and it took me four hours to. Write it so I will not give you that exam at the end of this class. When I attend a seminar I like to know a little bit about the seminar itself and I have really three objectives in this particular seminar objective number one is to create greater confidence in your heart in the Word of God Whatever your confidence is when you came into class I want you to leave with greater confidence in both the integrity the clarity the purity and the authority of the Word of God Second thing is I want you to have some general understanding of the issues that the Seventh Day Adventist Church is facing today in the authority of the Word of God we are facing some incredibly complex and very important issues Thirdly I want to try to put in your hands a few effective tools so that your own Bible study will be more effective for you so with that background let's dive right into our subject most of you when you came in received a study guide and I'm going to ask Mike to go to the back of a room so that as people come in they can get one is there anybody that does not have a study guide it will be very helpful to you as you go through the seminar together and move quite quickly as we go through the material but if you have a study guide in your hand you will be able to follow along some of you may want to write different notes in your study guide the study guide is not an exhaustive manual on what we're going to present today but it does give you an outline and I will point out certain things in the study guide as we go. The authority of Scripture has become a major issue today not only in Christianity in general but surprisingly enough in the seventh Avenue Church now. The question that some people can raise is this isn't the Bible as the basis of authority rather a given in the advantage church why would we even have a seminar on the authority of the Bible it's really remarkable that a denomination that's is based on the Bible as its foundation of faith and the reason for its existence is even conducting a seminar in the authority the Bible but we find that there are inroads being made and questions are being asked on the authority in the role of the Bible that are pretty serious for example should the Bible be the final authority on matters of life style matters of Billy or in matters in all matters of belief is the Bible reliable only when it speaks about subjects of salvation or its statements on creation morality marriage divorce history science are they authoritative What role does social or cultural factors play in shaping the Biblical text in other words is the Bible largely a cultural document that reflects the culture of its time we need to take a look at some of those questions now more importantly what difference does all this make in the life of the church how does the authority of Scripture really impact our lives is this an academic exercise or does it make practical difference in how we view Scripture now we're going to look at all of this in seven different parts we're going to look at the Bible's own claims for its authority what does the Bible say about its own authority then we're going to look at Jesus' claims on the authority of scripture We'll look at that at the second part then we'll look at the Protestant Reformation and its claims on the authority of scripture We'll look at. Early Adventists and their belief in the authority of scripture and then we'll look at history science and lifestyle and how that relates impacts the authority of scripture. Then I want to take a very serious look at some limitations in certain methods of Bible study that are being promoted today we're going to take a look at some of the limitations in those methods and I want to understand some of the pitfalls of them and then lastly we'll look at some of the principles for genuine Bible study and how to get the most out of the Bible. If you have your Bible with you I really hope that you'll be able to follow along because we're going to look at a lot of text it's it's hard to really get into the authority the Bible and not get into the Bible right so let's look at Section one and you'll find this in your study guide the Bible's claims regarding its own authority in more than three thousand places the Bible claims to be inspired by God expression after expression like this in the Lord said God spoke through the prophets the Lord declared they are very common Let me give you some examples take your Bible and turn to Isaiah Chapter forty three through forty five these are very common expressions in fact they appear more than three thousand times in the Bible. Isaiah forty three were looking at the Bible's own claims about its authority Isaiah forty three Verse one but now says the Lord so when I say our wrote Isaiah forty three who did he believe God was speaking through to he he believed that God was speaking he didn't believe that these were his words he didn't believe that they were merely shaped by a Israeli culture but now the US says the Lord look at eyes they have. Forty four Verse two Thus says the Lord who made you again same expression you look at Isaiah Chapter forty five Thus says the Lord is annoying to it so when the Bible writers wrote they believed that they were writing down the authoritative word the eternal Word of God. Now when you find this both in the old A New Testament take your Bible and turn to second Peter chapter one it's a very familiar passage but I want to look at it with new eyes I want to look at it with a fresh look today second Peter chapter one. And we're going to look at verse twenty one you recognize that the New Testament was written in the Greek language. And there is an expression in second Peter chapter one verse twenty one that. Is often overlooked now the text as it reads in the New King James version in King James says something very much like this it says in second Peter chapter one verse twenty one for prophecy never came by the will of man but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit so obviously what Peter is saying is that the writers of the Bible. Did not write merely with the context of their own background or the context of their own will that they were guided directed and moved by the Holy Spirit but there is a nuance in that passage that sometimes we overlook you see look at verse twenty one again for prophecy never came by the will of man but holy men of God So you see the expression of God Do you see that in text only see that in the text of God OK The question. Is does the expression of God modify man words says holy men of God or does that expression or should that expression come after the word spoke I believe that it should come after the word spoke of in that passage is better translated from and if you do it that way it's much stronger in the text so let me read it that way knowing this first that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation that's worse twenty four prophecy never came by the will of man but holy men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit see the Greek expressions much better because these holy men speak from God In other words they're an authoritative eternal voice that comes from God So when you and I pick up the Bible. Based on the Bible's own claims we are looking at a document that is not largely the product of human culture it's not largely the product no notice my phrasing is very careful I do not say there are no cultural influences in the Bible. Did each Bible writer right from the context of their background certainly did each for a Bible writer reflects their culture certainly but it's like this here's my jacket so my jacket is going to represent culture if I put on a jacket that is dark blue Am I the still the same person and I still MARK FINDLAY. But if I put on a jacket that's grey do I look a little bit different but I still mark Finley if I put on apply to check it. In my still mark Finley So you read Isaiah. He reads a lot. Well different than Amos you read some David is a poet and a musician and you read the musical nature of the songs you read Amos does a sheep Surtur he he reads a little differently you read Paul a theologian who's going to read a little differently than Peter. That does not deny the authenticity of the Bible it rather increases its authenticity because men to frighting from different cultural backgrounds. Reveal the will of God say second Timothy chapter three verse sixteen and seventeen second Timothy chapter three verse sixteen and seventeen. The Bible itself authenticates itself by declaring that it is the authoritative word of God second Timothy chapter three verse. Sixteen You know it well. And here the Bible itself is its own author and it gives its seal of authority second Peter chapter three verse sixteen says this. All scripture now that's going to be important later in our study all Scripture is inspired given by inspiration of got any is profitable for doctrine so from Genesis to Revelation scripture is authoritative the New Testament is no more or less inspired than the Old Testament all scripture from Genesis to Revelation now the evidences of the inspiration of the Bible from archaeology from prophecy and from history are overwhelming you can look at archaeology it will look at later if there are more than one hundred places in archaeology that have been confirmed one hundred places and. Names of people that we confirmed in archaeology found in the Bible you look at the prophecies of the Bible the history of the Bible written over fifteen hundred years forty different authors you have the cohesive element where the Bible written by well over forty different authors you see the Bible there's a unity in the Bible you know if you go out here in the streets of Houston and you say here in Houston to ten different people what happens when you die one person is when you die well nothing you're in the grave man that's it somebody else says when you die well you. You're reincarnated somebody else says when you die there's a there's a soul that wings its way to heaven you meet an Adventist going to A.S.I. and they say when you die what happens will you rest until Jesus comes right you can go out and here you have people living at the same time in the same city with the same background but they have all different views and you look at the Bible Genesis to Revelation written over fifteen hundred years of time by forty different authors coming from different backgrounds coming from different cultures yet when they write about death. You see the same message they read about heaven same message second coming of Christ same message there is. The prophecy of the Bible the history of the Bible the archaeology of the Bible the cohesive unity of the Bible the ageless door ability of the Bible there are powerful indicators. Look over the study guide point three Top of page two. Bible writers present in exalted view of the Word of God for the Bible writers the Bible is the voice of God speaking through the human agent as an authoritative voice to the people of God according to to Proverbs thirty verse five it's pure John seventeen seventeen it's true. Hebrews four twelve it's. Powerful John ten verse thirty five it cannot be broken Isaiah forty verse eight it stands for ever. Now both in the Old and New Testament point for page two both in the old the New Testament serious warnings are given regarding diminishing the role of scripture in the life of the church or in the life of our daily lives look for example at Deuteronomy Chapter four verse two Deuteronomy four verse two. And here you'll notice there are some very strong warnings in Scripture given and this applies not only to the immediate text of the book of Deuteronomy but it applies to scripture in general Deuteronomy four verse two and you'll notice this dire warning that God gives to Israel you shall not add to the word which I command you now take anything from it that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you so here the authority of scripture is exalted by the Bible writers and there is the clear. Command not to take anything from scripture you find this is well in the Book of Revelation chapter twenty two verses eighteen and nineteen Revelation chapter twenty two and you're looking there at verse eighteen and verse nineteen you find us well throughout Scripture Bible writers exalt the authority of scripture. And. They urge us against reducing the that authority Revelation twenty two verses eighteen and nineteen For I testify to everyone who heard the hears the words of the prophecy of this book. Certainly applies to Revelation but it's certainly a pause to all the Bible if anyone adds to these things God will add to them the plagues that are written in this book anyone takes away from the words of this book gotta take away the words of prophecy got to take its name from the word and takes away from the word of prophecy got to take his part from the Book of Life so we've seen that three thousand places the Bible declares it's inspired we've seen the emphasis in Scripture itself on the authority of scripture that when the Bible writers wrote. There was this blending of the human and the divine. There are those who see the human aspects of the Bible and assert that it's largely culturally conditioned and must be understood against the backdrop of the culture of its times they downplay the divine supernatural element in Scripture and focus on the human. Now it's true that human beings wrote the Bible in the context their own background experience but that does not deny as we've said earlier the divine aspect I want you to look at the way the Psalmist puts it in some one nineteen verse eight hundred ninety Psalm one nineteen. And we're going to look at verse eighty nine and ninety. Because I want to delve into this blending of the human and divine in Scripture with you. Psalm one nineteen verse eighty nine and ninety. Notice what the Scripture says Psalm one hundred nineteenth you are looking at the eighty ninth birthday for every at your word is settled in heaven your faithfulness endures to all generations he was stablished the truth the earth and it abides. I'm interested in this phrase forever your word oh lord is settled in heaven the Word of God comes to us from the mind of God written by human agents in the background of their own experience and culture but that does not deny the divine authority of God's word. Now there are three key statements in the writing of Ellen White on the blending of the human and divine I've given you one of them in your outline but I want to read to you extensively from all of them the one that I have given you is first selected messages page twenty one to come to that Secondly that's on the next page of your outline but I want to read to you two statements that I have not given you but you can copy down the reference fifth volume of the testimony said Page seven forty seven. What about this divine human element in the Bible. I'm reading from the fifth I am of the testimonies the union of the divine in human manifest in Christ exists also in the Bible. Now that's fascinating isn't it was Jesus conceived of the Holy Spirit was he. Was Jesus born in the womb of Mary so you have in Jesus the combination of what the human in the vine does the humanity of Christ make him any less divine. Not at all does the humanity of the Bible make it any less divine or authoritative not at all no listen as I continue the truce revealed. The truth revealed are all given by inspiration of God that's in the Bible yet there expressed in the words of man and adapted to human needs thus it may be said of the. Book of God as it was of Christ that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and this fact so far from being an argument against the Bible should strengthen thing in it as the Word of God So the fact that in the Bible we have the blending of the human and the Divine does not depreciate from the Word of God but it rather strengthens our faith in the word because we see God working through the human agent to exalt his own name now listen to those who pronounce upon the inspiration of the Scriptures accepting some portions as divine while they reject others as human overlook the fact that Christ the divine partook of human nature that he might reach humanity in the work of God for man's redemption divinity and humanity are combined so God in Christ God in Christ reveals himself as the divine human Savior the world God in the Bible reveals himself as the Word become flesh the divine human is manifest in the Bible Now let's look at the statement in first selected messages page twenty I have given it to you here and let's read it together reading together from your study guide first selected messages. The Bible is not given to us in Grand super human language Jesus in order to reach man where he is took humanity the Bible must be given in the language of man everything that is human is in perfect different meanings are expressed by the same word there is not one word for each distinct idea the Bible was given for practical purposes. Now I'm interested in this these two statements the Bible must be given in the language of men everything that is human is in perfect. Does that mean that there are imperfections in the Bible. It does it does now let me explain that to you before you get nervous. If you look at the original manuscripts you will find for example I'll give you Isaiah fifty three if you look at Isaiah fifty three and the scribe O. manuscripts you may have in Isaiah fifty three nine words that have little different spellings in them you may have a word that's left out do Seventh Day Adventists believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible what is that do we believe that God in heaven dictated to Isaiah every single word we do not believe that doing so there are some scribe Oh imperfections but when you take every manuscript Isaiah fifty three there is no difference in content when it comes to that which is being communicated so you can take it so there may be a little different spelling a nuance there may be a word that you don't see in one manuscript that's what one White means when there is imperfections but there is nothing in scripture you can look at the greatest linguists in the Bible you can look at the Dead Sea Scrolls and see you it's very interesting in the Dead Sea Scrolls now we've found about approximately twelve different manuscripts of Isaiah But you know the second most popular manuscript that the Quran community the A scenes copied the Book of Daniel the Book of Daniel and so you can look at those comparisons. In the copying of the scrolls see the same message there may be a little variant in spelling from time to type so that's what she means here now next reference that I want to give you is the great controversy in the introduction of great controversy there is a marvelous section on the inspiration of the Bible and you find that great conversely Roman numeral six you know when you have the introduction of great Conversely you don't have the page numbers yet beginning and so. Written in different ages by men who differed widely in rank in occupation and in mental and spiritual endowments the books of the Bible Ellen White says present a wide contrast in style as well as a diversity in the nature of the subjects unfolded they had different forms of expression by different writers often the same truth is more strikingly presented by one man and another often several writers present a subject under varied aspects and relations there may be appear to be to the superficial careless and prejudiced reader a discrepancy or contradiction but the thoughtful reverence studen with clear insight discerns the underlying harmony of the Word of God isn't that good news. Now the Bible is the product of the divine in the human God spoke to the prophets in visions and dreams he impressed the minds of righteous men throughout Biblical history inspiring them through His Holy Spirit with Divine truths but as they wrote down these eternal God given truths in human language guided by the Spirit the community of believers in the old the New Testament accepted these words as the eternal authoritative voice of God they accepted them as the revealed will of God for the people of God Now the highest authority is God him said. Of the highest authority is God Himself so that leads me to the second section and it's this. Jesus is a revelation of God. And Jesus is God made flesh if you want to know what God is like you look at Jesus. Now where did Jesus turn for his source of authority. Well let's look to see where Jesus turned to his source of authority when he was tempted in the wilderness where did he turn from his source of authority. Matthew Chapter four verse four what does it say there Matthew four verse four man shall not live by bread alone but by what every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God If you look for example you know Jesus let's go to Luke for verse eighteen. Jesus looked to his source of authority to. The Word of God. You go to Luke Chapter four Firstly the eighteen How did Jesus. Find authority for the basis of his ministry for the basis of Jesus' ministry he turned to the book of Isaiah and he found in I say is prophetic utterances his basis for the authority of his ministry Luke four verse eighteen. Jesus stands up in the synagogue in Capernaum look at verse seventeen as well. And Jesus stands up there in the. Synagogue and he says. And he Any was handed the book of Isaiah and when he had opened the book he found the place where it was written the spirit of the Lord is upon me because he's anointed me. To preach the Gospel to the poor he sent me to heal the broken hearted to preach deliverance to the captives and the recovery of the sight to the blind to set at liberty those who are oppressed to preach the acceptable year of the Lord so Jesus found in his own. Ministry the foundation for that ministry the prophetic authority for that ministry found it in the book of Isaiah remember when Jesus was on the M A S road and he was walking that eight mile trek on the M A S road with those disciples and as he did the Bible talks about the fact that their eyes were hold. And where did Jesus go to prove that he was the Messiah. Remember what the Bible says it says he opened to their understanding from the prophets and the Psalms and the Law of Moses all things concerning Him Jesus found his prophetic authority as the divine Messiah in the Old Testament scrolls so Jesus looked to the Bible Peter of them been millin in the book understanding Scripture an Adventist approach paid seventy seven puts it this way and it is Christ of whom the Spirit given scriptures testify who puts his seal of divine authority on the God breathed scriptures and one of the greatest testimonies to the authority of scripture is the testimony of Jesus himself Jesus' life was governed by the authority of Scripture since there is no higher authority than God himself to agree with that there is no higher authority than God since there is no higher authority than God Himself His seal on the Scriptures authority is the highest commendation possible so we've looked at the authority of the Bible as outlined in Scripture. We've looked at the authority of the Bible as demonstrating the life of Christ now let's move from there to the authority of the Bible in the light of the Reformation We'll look at the authority of the Bible in the light of the reformation of the Protestant Reformers such as Hasse Jerome Tindall Luther swing Lee Calvin clearly recognized that the only thing that would break the stranglehold of people tradition and dog was the clear teaching and powerful proclamation the Word of God They knew that the dog in traditions and the stranglehold of the papacy would not be broken if the authority of the church was greater than the authority of God the A word of God And so the the authority of the scriptures rather than the authority of the church was at the heart of Reformation theology. Luther appealed to the authority of the Bible above the authority of the priests the prelate sore or the papacy now in June of fifteen twenty. A papal bull came out condemning forty one of Luther's teachings and Luther argued against it and I want to read you Luther's argument he says this scripture of alone is the true Matt lord and master of all writings and doctrine on the earth if that is not granted what is Scripture good for the more we reject it the more we become satisfied with man's books and human teachings. What Luther said should echo and react to what our hearts today. If the Bible is not the basis of our authority what tends to happen is we shift to theologians and those theologians and the books that they have written reap. Place the clear plain teachings of the Word of God. Now let me be Let me go a little bit on the to the edge here. When you're seventy two years old you can become a little edgy. Do you listen to three A.B.N. or hope channel more than you read the Bible. Do you read literature about the Bible more than you read the Bible. You see if you allow as good as it is Adventists media. And the luminaries on Adventist media to shape your theological understanding. You are like no I can't see that. I was going to say You're like the cow eating grass. Then the person gets the milk. The nutrients are in the vegetables not that the what was that ost ratio about. Second hand that's it you've got it second hand you can get the truth secondhand you see and it's always dangerous to get your truth secondhand isn't. I am not suggesting that we shouldn't watch I've been a stellar visionless Navitas radio I monitor a few times where I'm not suggesting either that we shouldn't read good books but what I am suggesting is that when anything takes the place of the Word of God that becomes your authority figure in your life and that God is still speaking through his word to mine the Word of God The reformers believed in the authority clarity and certainty in the life changing power of Scripture they rejected all human attempts to reduce scriptures authority they were convinced now this is a principle of the Reformation the reformers were convinced that the Holy See. Spirit speaking through the Word was the best interpreter of the word not theologians that's what the reformers believed they were convinced that the Holy Spirit speaking through the words of Scripture in its totality was the final authority and best interpreter of his own words the reformers forcefully taught that the Holy Spirit would make the words of Scripture plain to all those who approach the Bible with an honest heart now. There are. And I've listed it here in your study guide there are three concepts that all must be blended together when it comes to scripture in its authority we call them soulless script Dora the primacy of scripture in toto spirit daughter any one of those alone is not sufficient enough that may surprise you. See in Sola Scriptura and Luther emphasized this powerful that means the Bible in the Bible only in other words of the Bible is a period to tradition so let's script tour it is true only if you put it with total script or because total script or is the total impact of scripture so so the script or says the Bible in the Bible ONLY Yes certainly but you can look at a Bible text and I can say sola scriptura Romans fourteen five let nobody judge you on this on the on the day to worship you see let every man be fully persuaded so mind I can say so the script oughta and I can say cautions to verse fifteen fourteen and fifteen and talk about the Sabbath day there or Romans fourteen five one main esteems one day above another another esteems everyone it like I can say so the Chris rip Torah and be a Baptist and read to you about the parable the rich man who asked for its right. So you have to blend soul. Script or the Bible in the Bible only with the primacy of scripture with it with the total scripture everything in scripture so if I want to say in the Bible what I do I try to look at all of Scripture as a whole and look at what Scripture says about that topic that's where the primacy of scripture comes in so so the scripture of the Bible in the Bible only total script to all of the Bible and. The primacy of Scripture has to do with placing the Bible as the prime arbitrary of all doctrine and teachings the former's believe that the Holy Spirit speaking through the words of Scripture in its totality not one part was the final authority in the best interpreter of scripture. Now we've looked at the Bible. And it's a claims about its authority we've looked at Jesus and his claims of the Bible and already we've looked at the process of reform is in their claims to biblical authority Now what about the authority of the Bible in areas of science in history the Bible is not primarily a history book. But where it speaks on history it's accurate to. See the purpose of the Bible is not to give you a history of the Middle East the purpose of the Bible is to reveal the great controversy. From even last even regain the purpose of the Bible is to reveal Jesus in all of his magnificence all of his beauty and all of his love and all of his goodness and all of his grace that's why Jesus said in John five verse thirty nine you search the Scriptures. But they are they that testify of me so the prime purpose of the Bible is not a history book but where the Bible touches on history it's accurate the prime purpose of the Bible. Is not at all. A. Scientific manual but where the Bible touches on science it indeed is accurate so throughout the scripture. It is surprisingly accurate when it touches on subjects of history and touches on subjects of science let me give you some examples of that first Bible touching on varying historical events. The Bible described David for example as the king of Israel many of the modern scholars now you know if you know anything about the background of the Israel you know there are two major universities scholarly universities Tel Aviv and Hebrew University Tel Aviv is a more liberal university that downplays the historicity of the Old Testament Hebrew University is much more conservative. So the scholars from Tel Aviv basically for many years said they had a revisionist history of the Old Testament which they basically were saying that that David certainly was not the king of a monarchy they denied that they certainly would deny the David and Goliath story. The archaeologists were digging up in a place called Dan digging in something called Tell Dan And you know in archaeology tell is not T E L L It's T E L Tell us a mound because he's ancient civilizations as they as they are destroyed they build up on they build these mounds of the archaeologists are digging in this tell day and they come across what's called an inscription to David King of Israel so the history City of David is in. Deed confirmed by archaeology. You see that too and Courbet Kafa where Dr hostiles team from Southern admonition of versity along with Hebrew University Esk of ated and they ask evaded the Israeli site where the Israelis camped when they were going to when David was going to fight the David when he's going to fight you know one way we know that that was an Israeli site when you Escovedo the fewest insights they've got about fifteen percent pig bone when you when you ask of eight the Israeli sites they have no pig bone no except one Israeli site they found one tenth of a percent pig bones so they even had people that a pasta size they're the most going to ate the pork behind the tree or something but anyway. So the Bible when it touches on history David accurate. The Bible talks about pilot you go to sesa Rhea you find the pilot inscription we can find the name a pilot in history you go to for example talks about K I F A says the high priest the Israeli archaeologists were digging in they dig up a road and they find the inst family tomb of K I S So we have one hundred names of people and places that the Bible has talked about that are indeed historically accurate. Now what about the issue of origin it's when the Bible speaks about science it's interesting. Let me share with you a few things that Ellen White talks about see if you deny if you deny the first eleven chapters of The Book of Genesis and you say you know what that's scientific and Moses was just writing in the context of his culture and he was writing language that people might understand. But that is not really an accurate portrayal if that is your position how do you pick and choose which parts of the Bible are inspired which parts are not I mean are the miracles not inspired you going to throw those away what about the story of the Red Sea crossing is that not inspired What about the manifold daddy going to take that away you say that's culturally condition once you begin to pick and choose which parts of the Bible are inspired which parts or not you leave yourself on a chart list see like a boat floating with no anchor and you reduce the Bible to a human document that is inspiring but not inspired becomes an incredibly dangerous direction to go but there's something deeper than that. The question of origins in the creation of the world is much more than an issue of science it has to do with God our Creator it has to do with the purpose of life it has to do with our worth our self-esteem our you turn a destiny you see if we have evolved and if you can't trust the history city of the first eleven chapters of Genesis if they don't have authority if you rule those out. Then. If we evolved if we're no longer no more than a biological anomaly no more than an enlarged protein molecule if we're no longer more than it is Vance the animal we have little hope of living a very meaningful life here because it's survival of the fittest we just you better step on everybody you can to get to the highest position because there's nothing after this see once you begin to deny that his to risk now I recognize I well recognize that there are those that would say you're taking this too extreme because. We believe God created the world but we don't believe he did it in seven days. They would say we believe that you can they accept God the Creator he created it but he let natural forces develop over millions and millions and millions of years if that is true which I don't believe for one minute but if that is true how do you explain clear biblical texts some thirty three Verse six to nine God spoke and it was done God commanded and it stood fast how do you explain Hebrews eleven one that says that God created the world out of nothing how do you go back and look at the days in Genesis where you know the word for day in Genesis is yom but every time in the Hebrew language a numeral precedes the word day it's a twenty four hour period first day second day third day how do you explain that the Hebrew language there so to me to have a revisionist history of Genesis. Leads you down a path that you deny the the inspiration of in the authority of scripture How do you as a Seventh Day Adventist say that God used the longer periods of time to create the world and still have any authority of the Fourth Commandment the Sabbath which quotes back to the seven day creation see once you go down that direction now. Let me read you some statements in Ellen White Here is your logical conclusion once you begin. Doubting the authority of scripture. And make it culturally conditioned you are going to doubt as well the Genesis account that is going to lead you to doubt the flood story. And then how do you deal with Jesus' references. In the flood story once you go down that road it's also going to lead you to doubt the clear statements of Ellen White in the gift of prophecy because how do you harmonize. The clear statements of L N one So what that does is it lesion a real sea of uncertainty Let me read you a couple statements this is councils to parents and teachers page thirteen the divine mind in hand have preserved through the ages the record of creation in its purity. The divine mind and hand have preserved through the ages the record of creation INS purity it is the Word of God a load that gives to us in authentic account of the creation of the world. That to me is an incredibly powerful statement it is the Word of God alone that gives us an authentic account of the creation of the world I gave that that you have that reference there in your. In your study guide Now the next reference. Is. One that I have given you in part it's patriarchs and prophets page one thirteen but there are two or three paragraphs in that that I want to read for you that are larger and more comprehensive than what you have so this is the same page Beatrix and prophets one thirteen it says this. Those who doubt the reliability of the records of the Old or New Testaments will be led to go a step further and doubt the existence of God. This is dangerous and then having lost their anchor their left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity these persons have lost the simplicity of faith. The Bible. There should be a settled belief in the divine authority of God's Holy Word. The Bible is not to be tested by man's ideas of science human knowledge is an on reliable guide we can take the word of God it in the simplicity of Biblical faith. Accept it as authoritative Now there are three basic approaches that are being suggested by some on the Word of God today and I want to review those basic approaches. And I want to look at the two of them in particular and their weaknesses and give you a third alternative those three basic approaches that you will hear within the advantage shirt Our number one the principled approach. And I'll define that and then I want to talk about its weaknesses the second one you'll hear people say as I take the Bible literally as it reads that also has weaknesses and I want to share with you and then to give you a third approach the principled approach says this When you read the Bible don't look at what it literally says but look for the principles behind that now that sounds good but yet it poses some problems and let me tell you what the problems it poses if I take the principled approach I've stood on the platforms of the world for thief T. years preaching of Angelus to sermons and I've had wonderful evangelical Christians come to my meetings and wonderful Baptists Christians and after my sermon on the Sabbath this is what they will say to me we take the principled approach and the principle in the Ten Commandments is worship so therefore it doesn't make any difference what they worship on either. Young people come to me and I preach very clearly on morality that sexual relationships between one man and one woman after marriage they say to me we take the principled approach and that is that we love one another and therefore we can live together before marriage. I can go down on the lifestyle issues and we can talk about homosexuality we can talk about a variety of lifestyle issues they'll be those that say love binds us together that's what God is to about we take the principled approach that approach although it has some value is extremely dangerous there are people that say we take the principle approach when it comes to health and sure. The Bible is culturally conditioned and therefore the issues on pork and not realistic so the principled approach is a dangerous approach we need to take into consideration the principles now there are others who are on the different end of the spectrum who say to me I take the literal approach whatever the Bible says that's it. Well you may say that but you don't do it. You don't do it. What do you mean by that. If you took the literal approach. When the Bible says if your hand offends you cut it off. If your eye offends you put it out. Do you take the literal approach. You want me to tell you how I understand those texts How do I understand the text that says what you or I if your wife and you put it out. Let me ask you this question can your I offend you have any positions in the house here. Give me an anatomy and physiology description of the eye. The eye has a retina the eye has a. Cornea yet the eye is a physical element the I can't defend what is the defense the brain. In you because you can pluck out the right eye but you can still a problems with the left one right so that So what is Jesus saying there he's not saying put out your eye because that's not going to offend you the guy is a physical entity was he saying if the eye of your mind is offended you deal with that thing deal with that thing see if you're here and defend you in other words if in your brain you are abusing somebody with your hand because all sin originates where the heart is a sefl deceitful of all things and yes we wicked so the literalistic approach. Do we read the Bible literally. We are to read the Bible literally. And take the Bible for what it reads but where there are obvious symbols involved we apply those symbols. The principle approach is a backdrop for us that guides us but do you know that early Adventists neither took the principled approach or the literalistic approach in what they took the comparative approach and I want to share that with you what's the comparative approach Here's the comparative approach to Scripture the comparative approach recognizes the principles in the Bible it accepts the literal statements of the Bible guided by the totality of scripture. It takes everything the Scripture says on a given topic and it puts that together. The literal approach tends to look at a text rather than the totality of scripture the principled approach tends to be varied and it's very hard to define where the comparative approach says yes you've got to look at culture yes you've got to look at language but the Bible is the Living Word of God that has authority the comparative approach says we look at the totality of Scripture and we believe that Scripture is God's mind. Beaking to us and we want to see it in its totality now Ellen White speaks of about William Miller and early Adventists and I want you to take a look at this I have it in your. I have it in your notes and she's describing William Miller in his approach to Scripture and she says when he found anything obscure it was his custom to compare it with every other text which seemed to have any reference to the matter under consideration every word was permitted to have its proper bearing upon the subject of the text and if his view of it harmonized with every collateral passage it ceased to be a difficulty Thus whenever he met with a passage hard to be understood he found an explanation in some other portion of the scriptures as he studied with earnest prayer for Divine in the light in men that which had appeared dark to his understanding was made clear so early Adventists did not take a superficial view of the Bible they saturated their mind with the text of Scripture and with that text they brought together the comparison of various texts and as they did they understood Scripture Now let's look at a summary and conclusions and then I may give you a chance to ask some questions. First summary and conclusions what are they here they are the Bible in the Bible alone alone in its entirety is the source of final authority for each one of us individually in the church corporate when the church moves away from the authority of the Bible to the authority of theologians or prelate. The church is on thin ice. When. Individuals purport. That the culture. Well background of scripture conditions the Bible. To such an extent that the human overshadows the divine we're in incredibly thin ice. When scores of church members. Get their primary field logical teaching. From T.V. ministries or from the books of theologians we are on incredibly thin ice you remember this amazing statement by Alan Whiting great controversy none but those who have fortified their minds with the truths of the Bible will stand through the what Final Crisis so the Bible in the Bible alone in its entirety is the source of final authority for each one of us individually in the church Number two the Bible is its own Expositor in the Holy Spirit is its interpreter when we review all the clear text on a given topic the meaning becomes clear in number three I think is probably one of the most important and it's this. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. And the most important things in Scripture are made the most plain to the prayerful seeker. The Bible is not primarily a book for me to prove that I am right you are wrong it's not primarily a book. For you to read for me to read and argue theology with our friends and neighbors. The Bible provides to us the clearest revelation of who Jesus is. And every chapter of the Bible every verse of the Bible tells me something about Jesus and as I read scripture I am led again and again to my needs I'm amazed by his love and I'm charmed by. His Grace I marvel at his goodness scripture provides for you and me an authoritative Revelation of Jesus and His truth for and time the Word of God. Is the authoritative revelation of His will and the central theme of that word is is Jesus and is a men's love revealed for us in the cross in the light of the great controversy between good and evil there is no clearer revelation of God's love than God's word for without it the supreme revelation of God's love in Christ would be lost I want you to think about this if we did not have the Bible what would you know about Jesus. If we did not have the Bible what would you know about Jesus if we did not have the Bible what would you know about the plan of salvation where would your source of that be how would you understand the great controversy. In the light of the great conversely between good and evil there is no clear revelation of God's love than God's word for without it the supreme revelation of God's love in Christ would be lost. Without it his plans to triumph over evil and all hope for today tomorrow and forever would be gone and so my friend I think God that he still speaks with authority in the twenty first century and I know for this man I would rather trust my life in myself ation that the authority of this book than the authority of human teachings Well you probably have some questions and. I will not venture to tell you that I can answer every one of them but I'll give a try Yes sir Father in heaven thank you for a group of eager students. Who are desirous of making the Bible the major authority of their life Father help us to such. Our mind with the authority of scripture they have shaped our actions. Our decisions. Made fill our hearts the joy of Jesus Christ. This media was produced by audio verse forty S. Aves layman's services and industries. If you would like to learn more about. Please. Or if you would like to listen for free online sermons leave as a. Body of verse.

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