Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Inerrancy and Sole Authority of Scripture Attacked by Peter Enns (former Westminster Theological Seminary Professor), Greg Koukl (Stand To Reason), and Michael Patton (The Theology Program)

The case is mournful. Certain ministers are making infidels. Avowed atheists are not a tenth as dangerous as those preachers who scatter doubt and stab at faith.


Psa 138:2 I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word.

2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Mat 4:4 But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Peter Enns, an ex-professor at Westminster Theological Seminary  stabs at the inspiration of Scripture, claiming that some of the OT is borrowed from myths:

Here Greg Beale reviews Peter Enn's book and notes in part:

"After his introduction, in chapter 2 he discusses the parallels between ancient Near Eastern myths and accounts in the OT. He says that the OT contains what he defines as "myth" (on which see his definition later below), but, he affirms, this should not have a negative bearing on the OT's divine inspiration. God accommodates himself to communicate his truth through such mythological biblical accounts. 

Chapter 3 discusses what Enns calls "diversity" in the OT. He believes that the kinds of diversity that he attempts to analyze have posed problems in the past for the doctrine of "inerrancy." He asserts that this "diversity" must be acknowledged, even though it poses tensions with the inspiration of Scripture. This diversity is part of God's inspired word."

(More on Enns here.)

Enns sounds like Greg Koukl, of Stand To Reason when he too, attacks the inspiration and sufficiency of Scripture and claims that the authors of Proverbs borrowed from pagans (and he uses straw man arguments to make his argument against the inspiration and sufficiency of Scripture). 

He says in part:

"Bible only" advocates rely on a handful of references to prove that Scripture provides the sole solutions to life's problems....There are other problems with the "Bible only" view. Scripture itself seems to encourage us to take counsel from other sources of information. 

"The Wisdom Literature of the Amenomope is a body of work from the Middle East that pre-dates Proverbs. It's of interest because it contains a section of material almost identical to Proverbs 22:17-24:22. It seems evident that the authors of the latter part of Proverbs borrowed this material from the Amenomope and inserted it into the inspired text."

End quote.

By the way there is far more than a "handful" of verses to support Scripture alone. He uses only 4. He doesn't even touch the largest example of the sufficiency and inspiration of Scripture in all of Scripture: Psalms 119! It proclaims in 176 verses the truth of its sufficiency and inspiration, and Koukl, an "apologist" ignores that and claims there's but a "handful".  Besides that there is also the parallel chapter of Psalms 19 that also proclaims the same thing. He also ignored another tremendous verse regarding the absolute sufficiency of Scripture: Heb. 4:

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 

And here is a verse about Scripture alone:

Isa 8:20  To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. 

It seems that Koukl largely also ignores the Person and work of the third Person in the Trinity: the Holy Spirit. It is He that uses the Scriptures to correct our thinking and behavior and to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. There cannot be a divorcing of the Scriptures from the Holy Spirit, which is really what Koukl is doing (1 Peter 1).

*For a fuller treatment of Koukl's article , go to Martin Bobgan's article here. (My article is not meant to be a thorough treatment of Koukl's argumentation or article, but merely to point out the grave error he has regarding Scripture.)

And then there's Michael  Patton of Credo House and author of The Theology Program (is your church using this program?):


I believe that the Scriptures could contain error and the Christian faith remain essentially in tact. Why? Because Christianity is not built upon the inerrancy of Scripture, but the historical Advent of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Christ because man, lived a perfect life, died an atoning death, and rose on the third day not because the Scriptures inerrantly say that these events occurred, but because they did in fact occur. The truth is in the objectivity of the event, not the accuracy of the record of the event

Let me take this one more step further. The fact is that we don’t even need the Scriptures in order for Christianity to be true. Remember, the Christian worldview is Christocentric (centered around the Advent of Christ), not bibliocentric (centered around the Bible)

Not only is it true that Christianity is not dependent upon inerrancy, inspiration, and recording of the events, but it is also not reliant upon our knowledge of the events. Theoretically speaking, God could have sent His Son to die for the world and raise from the grave and not told anyone at all and Christianity would still be true. The point is that Christianity stands or falls upon the historical truth of the Advent of the Son of God, not the record of these events through Scripture. How God decides to communicates these events, should He choose to do so, is not the issue. I suppose He could have used unwritten tradition, the testimony of angels, dreams and visions, or direct encounters.

But please be careful to not to create a false dilemma concerning a strict adherence to the Evangelical persuasion. While the authority of God’s word is of central importance, Christianity is Christocentric, not bibliocentric. Christ is still Lord, even if the Scriptures were never written.

What is the danger of inerrancy? Making it the doctrine upon which the Christian faith stands or falls.

End quote.

~Michael Patton

Patton goes on to say:

Let me further define the faulty presupposition of the “technically precise view of inerrancy.” The presupposition is this: All writers of Scripture, by virtue of divine inspiration and inerrancy, must have recorded everything in a technically precise way. I take issue with this presupposition. I do not believe that inspiration and inerrancy require technical precision. Why would it be so difficult to believe that the authors of Scripture would take liberties in their recording of the Gospel narrative? Does taking “liberties” in the way someone recounts an event mean that they are producing fabrications or lies? Can’t people tell the same story different ways and even nuance that story according to their purposes and still be accurate?

We would never place these types of restraints upon people today. The Gospel writers were simply telling the story of Christ as enthusiastic reporters of good news who were emotionally committed to the truths upon which they were reporting. This happens every day in our own news reporting system and we don’t hold their feet to the fire of technical precision.

End quote.

(Enns and Patton are not the only ones to have such heretical views of Scripture:  JP Moreland  decries the “over-committed to Scripture” of Evangelicals.)

Let me be clear: Scripture upholds the inspiration, infallability and inerrancy of Scripture as well as the historical facts of the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and all prophecies:

1Co 15:1  Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2  and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

Imagine if Scripture was "sort of" right or "almost right" about the details of the historical events foretold by the prophets? Would not the God of Israel then, have no credibility regarding anything He said or did? Is that not what atheists continually try to do? In their willful ignorance they try to find flaws and inconsistencies in Scripture in order to dismiss the Bible, God, and Christianity. How is what Patton does any different? It seems athesists are at least more consistent than Patton who wants to dismiss the authority and perfection of Scripture while claiming that Christianity is still true. He has lost the battle with atheists from the start---if he even personally takes on atheists.

Consider that even the details of Judas' betrayal were part of prophecy right down to the amount of silver he would get for betraying the Lord, not to mention the way in which Jesus was crucified, or the way He had no bones broken at His death; indeed appearing to be"little" details of no importance to these "scholars" or "theologians", but of great importance to the triune God. HIS accuracy merely proves that He is God, and when He says a thing will happen, it will happen. Exactly as He said it would. That necessarily means we can rely on His faithfulness to save His elect, as well as bring down His righteous wrath and justice to the unrepentant people.

I have to stop and address something here that Patton said. The audacity of this "theologian" to say that accuracy doesn't matter ( that's what the Charismatics and Charismatic Reformers say today---prophets don't need to meet the requirement of 100% accuracy; a requirement God gave in order that the hearers would know that Yaweh has spoken and must be feared and obeyed), just as long as they were "emotionally committed to the truths upon which they were reporting" is quite an astounding and prideful attack against Scripture. What does that even mean? It sounds quite psychological and definitely not biblical at all. Surely its relying on emotionalism and we're supposed to rely on the writers' emotional committment? That's totally man-centered. He also sees Scripture as just a newspaper that gets the gist of the story right, even if some of the facts are wrong.

Understand what he is saying. He is saying that the Bible is no more accurate than your common newspaper written by mere man. Do you realize the insult and attack that truly is on the character, nature, and authority of God?

According to Patton, the man behind "The Theology Program" (do you really trust THIS guy's teaching when he has such and incredibly low view of Scripture?), Christianity is not bibliocentric, but Christcentric.

"Christianity is not bibliocentric"? Really? 

Christ Himself, the author of Scripture certainly was "bibliocentric":

Mat 4:4  But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Mat 4:7  Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" 

Mat 4:10  Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" 

Luk 16:31  He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'"

Joh 17:8  For I have given them the words that You gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that You sent me.

Joh 17:14  I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

Joh 17:17  Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

Luk 24:44  Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 

Rev 3:14  "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation. 

Rev 19:9  And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God.

Scripture is called the Sword of the Spirit. That's hardly a neutral view of Scripture:

Eph 6:16  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 

The Old Testament writers were "bibliocentric":

All the prophets were "bibliocentric", after all they all proclaimed what the Lord says. They were also recorders of history--both near and far history. Furthermore--and this is such an obvious point, but one these "experts" seem to ignore--- the prophecies were about events in history, so one can say that all prophecies are historical).

As a matter of fact, God often refers to the history of the Jews; and is not their future (as well as the historical and infallible covenants God made with them), contingent upon the power and faithfulness of God? Absolutely. God proclaims this repeatedly in Scripture. For example He repeated refers the Jews to the great historical event when He led them out of Egypt.

Jos 2:10  "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.

Jdg 2:1  Now the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, 'I will never break My covenant with you, 

Hos 11:1  When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. 2  The more they called them, The more they went from them; They kept sacrificing to the Baals And burning incense to idols.

Mat 2:15  He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON."

Psa 1:1  How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3  He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. 4  The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

Psa 119:89 Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.91 By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. 

Pro 30:5  Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6  Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. 

The apostles were "bibliocentric":

1Co 10:11  Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 

Rom 9:6  But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7  nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED."  (Paul is quoting Gen. 21:12).

Rom 10:8  But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART"--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11  For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." 
(Paul quotes Deut. 30:12-14 and Is. 28:16).

Rom 15:4  For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 

1Pe 1:23  for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 24  For, "ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, 25  BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER." And this is the word which was preached to you. (Peter is quoting Is. 40:6-8).

2Pe 1:19  And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20  knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 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.

1Th 2:13  For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

Is it any reason he has less answers now than he did years ago, and that he has had depression for years? When one relegates the Scriptures so a low place, merely one of among other sources of truth, as Eve and Adam did in Eden in Genesis 3, one ends up in chaos, confusion, discontentment, disobedience. In short to have such a horrible view of Scripture is to have unbelief. 

It is to say with the ancient serpent, "Hath God said?" It's to question God's Word and authority.

Gen 2:16  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." 

Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" ...4  But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 

God's commands to Adam and Eve were sufficient for their lives. To go beyond that, to the (ironically named) Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, was to deny God's sufficient words already spoken to them, and to consider that there was more that they needed to know in order to live better lives; that God left out some important things for them to know.

Like today's "Christians" who go to the world's tree of knowledge which feeds the flesh with nothing but death.

It's that simple.

Walking away from the sole source of authority for all things pertaining to life and godliness (that includes, right thinking which then leads to right behavior), can only lead to that which is deadly.

Col 3:1  If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Col 3:2  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 

Joh 17:17  Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

If Scripture is sort of right, then we don't need worry about our sort-of obedience.


That's what happens when a person lowers the standard  of Scripture; they lower it for themselves as well. Conveniently they can easily justify their lack of obedience.

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