Revolt against the Authority of the Bible

Concerning the authority of the Holy Scriptures there has bean much debate. Let us have a look on what is written about the Power of God’s Word and its authority in a well-known encyclopedia of the Bible.

The Power of God’s Word.

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...
The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bible remains the most extensively printed, widely translated, and frequently read book in the world. Its words have been treasured in the hearts of multitudes like none other. All who have received its gifts of wisdom and promises of new life and power were at first strangers to its redemptive message, and many were hostile to its teaching and spiritual demands. In every generation its power to challenge persons of all races and lands has been demonstrated. Those who cherish the Book because it sustains future hope, brings meaning and power to the present, and correlates a misused past with the forgiving grace of God, would not long experience such inner rewards if Scripture were not known to them as the authoritative, divinely revealed truth. To the evangelical Christian, Scripture is the Word of God, given in the objective form of propositional truths through divinely inspired prophets and apostles, and the Holy Spirit is the giver of faith through that Word.

Carl F. H. Henry

Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 300). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Bible, Authority of the.

View that the Bible is the Word of God and as such should be believed and obeyed.

Image from the Book of Kells, a 1200 year old ...
Image from the Book of Kells, a 1200 year old book. Category:Illuminated manuscript images (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Western civilization is in a severe “authority crisis” which is not confined solely to the realm of religious faith, nor is it specially or uniquely threatening to Bible believers. Parental authority, marital authority, political authority, academic authority, and ecclesiastical authority are all being deeply questioned. Not only particular authorities — the Scripture, the pope, political rulers, and so on — but the concept of authority itself is vigorously challenged. Today’s crisis of biblical authority thus reflects the uncertainties of civilizational consensus:

Who has the power and the right to receive and to require submission?

Revolt Against Biblical Authority.

As the sovereign Creator of all, the God of the Bible wills and has the right to be obeyed. Judge of men and nations, the self-revealed God wields unlimited authority and power. All creaturely authority and power is derived from that of God. The power God bestows is a divine trust, a stewardship. God’s creatures are morally accountable for their use or misuse of it. In fallen human society God wills civil government for the promotion of justice and order. He approves an ordering of authoritative and creative relationships in the home by stipulating certain responsibilities of husbands, wives, and children. He wills a pattern of priorities for the church as well: Jesus Christ the head, prophets and apostles through whom redemptive revelation came, and so on.

The inspired Scriptures, revealing God’s transcendent will in objective written form, are the rule of faith and conduct through which Christ exercises his divine authority in the lives of Christians.

Revolt against particular authorities has in our time widened into a revolt against all transcendent and external authority. The widespread questioning of authority is condoned and promoted in many academic circles.
Philosophers with a radically secular outlook have affirmed that God and the supernatural are mythical conceptions, that natural processes and events comprise the only ultimate reality. All existence is said to be temporal and changing, all beliefs and ideals are declared to be relative to the age and culture in which they appear. Biblical religion, therefore, like all other, is asserted to be merely a cultural phenomenon. The Bible’s claim to divine authority is dismissed by such thinkers; transcendent revelation, fixed truths, and unchanging commandments are set aside as pious fiction.

In the name of humanity’s supposed “coming of age,” radical secularism champions human autonomy and creative individuality. Human beings are lords of their own destiny and inventors of their own ideals and values, it is said. They live in a supposedly purposeless universe that has itself presumably been engendered by a cosmic accident. Therefore human beings are declared to be wholly free to impose upon nature and history whatever moral criteria they prefer. In such a view, to insist on divinely given truths and values, on transcendent principles, would be to repress self-fulfillment and retard creative personal development. Hence the radically secular view goes beyond opposing particular external authorities whose claims are considered arbitrary or immoral; radical secularism is aggressively hostile to all external authority, viewing it as intrinsically restrictive of the autonomous human spirit.

Any reader of the Bible will recognize rejection of divine authority and definitive revelation of what is right and good as an age-old phenomenon. It is not at all peculiar to the contemporary person “come of age”; it was found already in Eden. Adam and Eve revolted against the will of God in pursuit of individual preference and supposed self-interest. But their revolt was recognized to be sin, not rationalized as philosophical “gnosis” at the frontiers of evolutionary advance.

If one takes a strictly developmental view, which considers all reality contingent and changing, where is the basis for humanity’s decisively creative role in the universe? How could a purposeless cosmos cater to individual self-fulfillment?

Only the biblical alternative of the Creator-Redeemer God, who fashioned human beings for moral obedience and a high spiritual destiny, truly preserves the permanent, universal dignity of the human species. The Bible does so, however, by a demanding call for personal spiritual decision.
The Bible sets forth the superiority of humans to the animals, their high dignity (“little less than God”—Ps 8:5) because of the divine rational and moral image that all bear by reason of creation.

English: Print 3330 in volume 27 of the Bowyer...
Print 3330 in volume 27 of the Bowyer Bible in Bolton Museum, England. From page 12 of Volume 1 of “A-Z of Artists in the Bowyer Bible” by Phillip Medhurst. Photo 4 of 117. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the context of universal human involvement in Adamic sin, the Bible utters a merciful divine call to redemptive renewal through the mediatorial person and work of Christ. Fallen humanity is invited to experience the Holy Spirit’s renewing work, to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and to anticipate a final destiny in the eternal presence of the God of justice and justification.

Contemporary rejection of biblical tenets does not rest on any logical demonstration that the case for biblical theism is false; it turns rather on a subjective preference for alternative views of “the good life.”
The Bible is not the only significant reminder that human beings stand daily in responsible relationship to the sovereign God. He reveals his authority in the cosmos, in history, and in inner conscience, a disclosure of the living God that penetrates into the mind of every person (Rom 1:18–20; 2:12–15). Rebellious suppression of that “general divine revelation” does not wholly succeed in suspending a fearsome sense of final divine accountability (Rom 1:32).
Yet it is the Bible as “special revelation” that most clearly confronts our spiritually rebellious race with the reality and authority of God.

Title page from the Great Bible published by G...
Title page from the Great Bible published by Grafton and Whitchurch in 1539. It depicts an enthroned Henry VIII receiving the Word of God and bestowing it upon his bishops and archbishops (top third), who in turn deliver it to the priests (middle third). Finally, the laity hear the Word and loyally recite, “Vivat Rex” and “God save the kynge” (bottom third). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Scriptures, the character and will of God, the meaning of human existence, the nature of the spiritual realm, and the purposes of God for humankind in all ages are stated in propositionally intelligible form that all can understand. The Bible publishes in objective form the criteria by which God judges individuals and nations, and the means of moral recovery and restoration to personal fellowship with him.

Regard for the Bible is therefore decisive for the course of Western culture and in the long run for human civilization generally. Intelligible divine revelation, the basis for belief in the sovereign authority of the Creator-Redeemer God over all human life, rests on the reliability of what Scripture says about God and his purposes. Modern naturalism impugns the authority of the Bible and assails the claim that the Bible is the Word of God written, that is, a transcendently given revelation of the mind and will of God. Attack upon scriptural authority is the storm center both in the controversy over revealed religion and in the modern conflict over civilizational values.

Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (pp. 296–298). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

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Preceding:

Are there certain books essential to come to faith

Life and an assembly of books

Reliability of message appears from honesty writers

The Bible a book of books

Continued with: The Bible’s View of Itself

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Additional reading

  1. God does not change
  2. God wants to be gracious to you
  3. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  4. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  5. Mishmash of a legal code but importance of mitzvah or commandments
  6. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  7. Christian values, traditions, real or false stories, pure and upright belief
  8. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  9. I can’t believe that … (4) God’s word would be so violent
  10. The business of this life
  11. Importance of parents 2
  12. Control your destiny or somebody else will

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Further reading

  1. Why study prophecy? And what does apocalypse really mean, anyway?
  2. Church Shopping: Engraved
  3. Spiritual Sucide
  4. Church Shopping: Renovation
  5. A Simple Case for Postmillennium
  6. Warnings to 7 churches are so relevant today
  7. How to Destroy the Faith in Five Easy Steps
  8. The Baptist Confession of Faith
  9. They All Point To Him
  10. Sovereignty
  11. The Authority
  12. Delegating authority: a two-way traffic
  13. Positioned to Reign
  14. Rant: Debating People that have Authority Over You
  15. Aphorism of the Day: Ideas + Force = Force
  16. The Power of Words
  17. Life essentials: bite my tongue
  18. Book Review: “All Authority”
  19. Article: Authority in Spiritual Direction Conversations: Dialogic Perspectives, by David Crawley
  20. Governor of the Jews
  21. Hannah Arendt: The Solution to Conscience
  22. Light Up The World
  23. Lines of Flight: For Another World of Possibilities
  24. You Are a Ruler
  25. The Authority of Jesus
  26. Society…what happened?
  27. We sit ignorant of the authority given
  28. God’s Will > Your Will
  29. Digging Deeper Into Worship: Jude’s Doxology
  30. Kingdom Life and the 21st Century

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A King who wanted to extol a King above all kings

When we go looking for God it is not bad to also have a look at those who in previous centuries looked for God or had found the Most High God.

One of the great Kings in the Middle East, who was secretly anointed by the prophet Samuel, after revoking Saul‘s designation as king, was chosen king by the elders of Judah. In the civil war that ensued, Ishbaal and Abner were slain. Their deaths removed the last obstacles from David‘s path to the throne, and about 1010 B.C.E. he was crowned king of all the Israelites.

As a skilled harpist and writer he wrote many psalms which we still have to bring us thinking about the One Who was praised by this king.

FecampBibleFol238rDetInitBDavid
FecampBibleFol238rDetInitBDavid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David’s Psalm 145 is a remarkable song of praise, extolling all that God must be. In reading or singing this Psalm each of us must think carefully about each point David makes. It becomes so easy, especially with hymns we become very familiar with, to repeat the words – simply as words – and the reality of their meanings cease to penetrate our minds in any wholesome sense. When they are about the absolute greatness of the Creator of all things we should feel utterly awed and totally humbled by what we read – and sing.

Psalms 145:2-3 (RNKJV)
2 Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. 3 Great is יהוה {Jehovah}, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

Would this frighten you? Or do we have no opportunity to find God because He is “Unsearchable”? Though His greatness, to which there is no end, can not be searched out, His  works, will declare God’s Power.

Psalms 145:4 (RNKJV)
4 One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.

Yes, the more the wonders of creation have been discovered – down to the minutest detail, the more this is seen as absolutely true – therefore, with ever greater feeling we will say – and sing –

Psalms 145:1 (RNKJV)

Psalms 145
1 I will extol thee, my Elohim, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.

Extolling is praising highly. The act of extolling the worshippers of God brought, should bring us to wonder why they where so keen to bring such honour to that God. Why also was the Name of that God so important that they wanted to bless His name “forever and ever” (verse 1)?

In the previous millennia there where many people who followed the men of God and knew all those incredible stories which were told from one generation unto the next.

Today there are not many parents who tell those stories from ancient days to their children. Not many do know the Biblical stories of the first writings of the Holy Scriptures, the Torah the Humash or Pentateuch, the Nevim or Nevi’im (or Prophets) and the Ketuvim aleph or third and final section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible)

In the Pre-Messianic Scriptures or Old Testament we can find many examples of people who doubted if there was a God accompanying them and willing to guide them through their life. Many of them became very well convinced how that God of gods, the Host of hosts, was willing to listen to them and to help them.

The structure of part of a DNA double helix

Many people in the past could see God’s wondrous works. Those Works of God had lots of people brought in awe. They could see the works of man and compare them with the works of God and saw that man’s contribution to the world was nothing compared to God’s contribution to this world.

What is the wonder of the miniature world of DNA – now made ‘visible’ through the cleverness of humans. Truly, at “the time of the end … knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4) – and it has!
David’s Psalm reaches a mind compelling conclusion with his inspired words that the Most High God, the Elohim Jehovah is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth”.

Psalms 145:9-13 (RNKJV)
9 יהוה is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. 10 All thy works shall praise thee, O יהוה; and thy saints shall bless thee. 11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; 12 To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. 13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.

Coming closer to the end-times it shall be even more important that people speak about God’s Wonder-works and have His Name be known all over the earth.

Matthew 24:14  (RNKJV)
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

At that time there shall be again enough people who shall look up at Him Who fulfils the desire of those who fear Him. Him that assures us that He also hears our cry and saves them that call unto Him.

Psalms 145:17-20 (RNKJV)
17 יהוה is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. 18 יהוה is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. 19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. 20 יהוה preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.

We may count on it that the Only One True God shall preserve all who love Him. But we also must know that all the wicked He will destroy.

The people who want to guide you and help you on the search to God let their mouth speak the praise of the Most High, and want to proclaim all flesh His holy name forever and ever. When His kingdom reaches its climax – all lovers of God shall be rejoicing and see how this is wonderfully true!

We make sure now, showing our love by our actions to demonstrate we mean what we say – and at that time we will be there – and how we “will extol” Him then!

And we do hope you shall be also accompanying us, gathering with those who also want to be part of the body of Christ, worshipping the same God as Christ, the God of Abraham.