Archive for February, 2012

The Bible as One Story

Here is an exerpt from an article by Vern Poythress that relates to our Wed night study.
You can read the full article here  Overview of the Bible :A Survey of the History of Salvation

Covenants
The promises of God in the OT come in the context
not only of God’s commitment to his people but also of
instruction about the people’s commitment and
obligations to God. Noah, Abraham, and others whom God
meets and addresses are called on to respond not only
with trust in God’s promises but with lives that begin to
bear fruit from their fellowship with God. The relation of
God to his people is summed up in various covenants that
God makes with people. A covenant between two human
beings is a binding commitment obliging them to deal
faithfully with one another (as with Jacob and Laban in
Gen. 31:44). When God makes a covenant with man, God
is the sovereign, so he specifies the obligations on both
sides. “I will be their God” is the fundamental obligation
on God’s side, while “they shall be my people” is the fundamental
obligation on the human side. But then there are variations in the details.
For example, when God first calls Abram he says, “Go
from your country and your kindred and your father’s
house to the land that I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). This
commandment specifies an obligation on the part of
Abram, an obligation on the human side. God also indicates
what he will do on his part: “And I will make of you
a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name
great, so that you will be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2). God’s
commitment takes the form of promises, blessings, and
curses. The promises and blessings point forward to Christ,
who is the fulfillment of the promises and the source of
final blessings. The curses point forward to Christ both in
his bearing the curse and in his execution of judgment and
curse against sin, especially at the second coming.
The obligations on the human side of the covenants
are also related to Christ. Christ is fully man as well as
fully God. As a man, he stands with his people on the human side.
He fulfilled the obligations of God’s covenants
through his perfect obedience (Heb. 5:8). He received the
reward of obedience in his resurrection and ascension (see
Phil. 2:9–10). The OT covenants on their human side thus
point forward to his achievement.
By dealing with the wrath of God against sin, Christ
changed a situation of alienation from God to a situation of peace.
He reconciled believers to God (2 Cor.
5:18–21; Rom. 5:6–11). He brought personal intimacy
with God, and the privilege of being children of God
(Rom. 8:14–17). This intimacy is what all the
OT covenants anticipated. In Isaiah, God even declares that his
servant, the Messiah, will be the covenant for the people
(see Isa. 42:6; 49:8).


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The Self-Attestation of Scripture

Last week, in our adult Wednesday School class, the question, “Why should we believe the Bible?” was raised. This question has been asked time and time again throughout history, and the answer to this question has taken different forms.

Often times, someone who is skeptical of the Christian faith may ask this question in the following, challenging maner,”You say the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. Why should I believe you?”

“Because this is not just my opinion, it is the very thing that the Bible claims,” we respond.

Our friend thoughtfully replies, “Yes, but why should I believe what the Bible says about itself? Aren’t there lots of books that make similar claims? Why should I believe the Bible over the other books that make similar claims? And isn’t that a circular argument anyway?”

Well, now, it may seem, we are in a pickle. How do we respond? Can we respond? Is accepting Scripture on its own authority wrong? These and many other questions immediately flood into our minds, and we often do not know how to respond.

Like many questions of a philosophical nature (indeed any good philosophical question is this way), it is much easier to ask the hard question than it is to answer the hard question. We often wrongly assume that questions must be as easily answered as they are asked, but such is not the case. It need not be a disconcerting that we do not have a simple, impenetrable, pocket-answer for serious questions. (On a side-note: I think the churches emphasis on pre-packaged, one-two-punch style evangelism and apologetics has done a great disservice to Christians by causing them to think that they can or even should have an easy answer for every skeptical question.) There are hard questions that take hours long discussions to work through in anything approaching a satisfactory manner, and that is okay. Moreover, there are theological truths, such as the sinful nature of man, that remind us of the barriers that no amount of debate and proof can break through. Every person’s heart is hard with sin and must be shattered by God if we are to come to terms with his Word.

Therefore, I would like to provide links to several articles for those interested in thinking through this issue in a deeper way. You will see that none of these articles provide short, pocket answers. Neither do these articles provide answers that will ever be fully satisfying to a faithless mind; nonetheless, they are helpful in thinking through the issues that surround that self-attestation and authority of Scripture.

Kim Riddlebarger has written a series of short, helpful articles titled Basics of the Reformed Faith on the blog of Westminster Seminary California. Two of these article, “The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible,” and “The Sufficiency of Scripture” are helpful in the present discussion.

John Rogers, a reformed minister in New Zealand, has written an article titled, “Why should We Believe the Bible?” which is a helpful introduction to the issues that are at stake with the current question and our various possible answers.

John Murray and John Frame offer longer, more thorough treatments of the question that can be found here and here.

If you want more reading on the doctrine of Scripture, you can find these and an host of other links at monergism.com.

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