Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #181. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.
Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Ezekiel 3:1-3. It reads, “Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.”
Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from R.A. Torrey. He said, “God’s Word is pure and sure, in spite of the devil, in spite of your fear, in spite of everything.”
As I promised in a previous episode, today we are continuing to take a brief detour from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, which we were using as our guide for this podcast, since they were starting to say some things which I disagree with on the matter of scripture, its validity and interpretation, etc. For this topic, we are now using “Our God-breathed Book: The Bible – The Verbally Inspired, Eternal, Inerrant Word of God” by John R. Rice. Our Reasons to Believe powerpoint today comes from the Author’s Foreword, Part 4:
2. Romans 8:29 tells us that God did foreknow all those who would be saved. And I Peter 1:2 says that certain Christians are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” I think that the choice of salvation is offered to all men but that God knows who will be saved. If this be true, as these Scriptures seem to say, that God knows ahead of time about every individual, would it not mean that the writers of the Scripture and the circumstances surrounding them and their characteristics and personality were all known ahead of time so that God would make the eternal Word when it comes in human words, be with the words and color and the human element which He Himself had carefully prepared?
Forgive me for writing at such length, but I need your help. I am not writing for controversy but asking for counsel.
I will be deeply grateful if I may hear from you, and if you will give me your frank opinion about these matters before I should incorporate them in the book.
In Jesus’ name, yours,
John R. Rice
Dr. R. Laird Harris, dean of the faculty, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, wrote as follows:
Dear Dr. Rice:
Thank you for your letter of 19 May and the searching questions that you propose. I am interested that you are writing this study on inspiration, for although the subject has been written on often before, yet we constantly need new treatments to consider and to oppose the new ideas that are everywhere around. May the Lord bless your effort and give it wide usefulness.
I think you have considered very carefully the questions that you raise, and there is really not much more that I need to say. On your first question, “Did the Scriptures exist completely in the mind and plan of God before they were given for men to write down?” I would say that you have argued very cogently that they did. The Scriptures that you quote seem to say so, and the Old Testament types and prophecies would involve the same thing. You are quite right to guard this teaching by remembering that not only was the Word of God fixed in the mind of God, but that this included the human instruments and testimony and feelings and experiences that were to be incorporated in the Bible. These too were planned, and we must insist that they were planned in such a way that what these writers would say was true, God Himself being the author.
On your second question, “How much were the Bible writers conditioned, etc….?” again I believe you have given the arguments rightly. God did prepare His prophets and apostles ahead of time. Isaiah wrote in elevated style. The Book of Chronicles is more prosaic. But then God is interested in all kinds of people and uses all kinds of people to give His Word. The only point is that when He gives it, He gives it in truth.
You have mentioned Isaiah and Jeremiah. I would add also Ezekiel, who was given a scroll to eat which God Himself had written. The words of this scroll were to be given out to the people, but obviously they were Ezekiel’s words as well as God’s words. The result therefore is that the Bible is truly the Word of God and every word in it is God-breathed, and yet it is also the word of men who spoke what God wished them to speak, and spoke in accordance with His will as they themselves naturally would speak with their own characteristics. Only, these characteristics are overridden by the Spirit of God who preserved them from error in fact, doctrine and judgment. You have outlined the problems and answers very well; I simply say “Amen!”
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Sincerely in Christ,
/s/ Laird Harris
R. Laird Harris
Dean of Faculty
Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.
Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!