Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How Can I Know the Bible is God's Word

RETURNING FROM ATLANTA, GA. on a Delta flight I sat next to a middle aged single woman. She was not a Christian, and on learning that I was a pastor, we began to discuss spiritual things.

"How can I know that the Bible is God's word?" she asked. She wanted me to pull a silver bullet out of my bag of apologetics and giver her a proof that would never let her down.

"Have you ever read the Bible?" I asked.


"That is where I would start."

"That doesn't help," she answered in frustration. "Why would I read the Bible if I didn't believe it was inspired?"

"Because that is the only way that you will ever know whether it is inspired." I continued. "The Bible continually testifies to its own authority. Read it. If the Holy Spirit is at work in you, if God is real, the Bible itself will convince you that it is inspired by God."

I am not sure that she took my advice. She got off the plane at the next stop, and I have not heard from her since. However, that is the truth. The only way we can ultimately know whether the Bible is God's Word is by reading it.

In his Institutes John Calvin writes, “Scripture bears upon the face of it as clear evidence of its truth, as white and black do of their color, sweet and bitter of their taste." (Vol 1, pg 91). 

In his book Above All Earthly Powers, theologian David Wells concurs. “The biblical Word is self-authenticating under the power of the Holy Spirit. This Word of God is the means by which God accomplishes his saving work in his people, and this is a work that no evangelist and no preacher can do. This is why the dearth of serious, sustained biblical preaching in the Church today is a serious matter. When the Church loses the Word of God it loses the very means by which God does his work" (pg. 9).   

How about you? Are you reading your Bible? Are you meditating on it? Biblical immersion is the sure cure for doubts about whether the Bible is really God's holy Word. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

God's Battalions

Rodney Stark, a Christian social scientist who teaches at Baylor University, recently wrote God’s Battalions, the case for the Crusades, a fascinating read with an alternative view.

Like myself, you were probably taught that the “Crusades were the first round of European colonialism, conducted for land, loot, and converts by barbarian Christians who victimized the cultivated Muslims.”

Stark provides  an alternative perspective. Is it possible that “the Crusades were the first military response to unwarranted Muslim terrorist aggression?”  Stark argues “yes!” Although often theologically and ethically misguided, the Crusaders “sincerely believed that they served in God’s battalions.” Without their aggression all of Europe might today be a bastion of Islam. 

We can thank God for the Crusader’s work. In light of 911 and the events that have unfolded in recent years, I believe Stark’s book will be enlightening. As are all of his books, this text is an easy and entertaining read. I highly recommend.