St Johns Lutheran Church Willow Creek

Connecting People to Jesus in Rural Minnesota

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It’s All About the Word (Made Flesh)

Pastor John Bennett

It seems like an eternity since the last time I wrote a blog post. It should, after all, 10 months is a long time. I can’t say why, exactly. Perhaps it’s because I read other blogs, and don’t find mine to be quite as cerebral. Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself. It certainly isn’t because I’m too busy. After all, how long does it take to pound out a thousand words on a keyboard?

All excuses aside, this post is one that has been milling about in my head for many months. The inspiration for this post? The countless articles that have flooded social media and e-news outlets for months, articles written by self-proclaimed Christians lecturing other Christians regarding issues related to human sexuality, especially on the issue of gender identity. If you need any examples, just do a Google search for “trans Christians,” “queer theology,” or “queer grace;” but you’ve been forewarned, it can induce nausea for those who firmly stand on God’s Word as the final authority for matters pertaining to human sexuality and gender identity.

The big question here is how did we get to the point where Christians (and I use the term loosely) defend the LGTB agenda, claiming support from Scripture in their arguments? The answer is far more simple than some might imagine. At the root of the question lies the philosophy of “historical criticism,” also referred to as “higher criticism.” This heretical branch of biblical philosophy dates back to mid 18th century Europe and has its roots in the enlightenment period. Without boring you with all the mundane details, higher criticism interprets the scriptures through the use of history, science, and rationalism; and thoroughly dismisses the belief that the Bible, that is, the individual books originally penned by the prophets, apostles, and evangelists and included in the canon of scripture, are the verbally inspired and inerrant Word of God. Instead, if a particular passage doesn’t jive with a scientific theory, such as evolution, or defies human rational, or is supposedly contradicted by some minor historical or archaeological detail, than it’s an error, or the opinion of the author.

Some might wonder if or why this matters. After all, if Jesus died for my sins and rose again, that’s all that’s necessary, right? On a very basic and superficial level I would agree that faith in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, is all that’s necessary for salvation. Yet to take that approach, especially when dealing with something so potentially poisonous to a person’s faith as higher criticism, leaves the door wide open for absolutely anything. According to the standard set by higher criticism, the theory of evolution is in, while a literal six day creation is out. That which is explainable only by the supernatural interaction of God with His creation, such as the Israelites walking through the middle of the Red Sea on dry ground, the virgin birth, the multiplication of loaves and fishes, the blind, deaf, and lame having sight, hearing, and mobility restored (without the aid of modern medical technology), the resurrected to a glorified body following a brutal execution, or any miracle for that matter, is dismissed as fable. For one to accept higher criticism in all its illustrative glory, the Bible must be thoroughly dissected, resulting in endless arguments whether Jesus’ teachings are His own words, or just the opinions of the Gospel writers. In the end, the Bible for the disciple of higher criticism bears more resemblance to a block of Swiss cheese than it does to the Word of God.

Thus when Christians (again, I use the term loosely) defend and support the LGTB agenda, they must at the same time deny the verbal inspiration and inerrancy of Scriptures. For them the Bible is a collection of portions consisting of God’s Word included alongside the errors, opinions, and fables injected into the text by the authors. In some cases, the authors aren’t even the authors, just some guy borrowing from some other guy who might or might not have seen Jesus. When they claim Scriptural support for the LGTB agenda, they only make that claim on one of two arguments: either A) Scripture is silent on a specific issue, or B) the author was just recording his own opinion. Thus, since Scripture doesn’t expressly forbid a man to have his penis surgically removed and artificial breasts implanted, or a woman to have her breasts surgically removed and an artificial penis surgically attached (don’t ask how that works, I have no idea, nor do I want to know), it must be OK. Likewise, those portions of Scripture that expressly prohibit same-gender relationships, such as Romans 1, are dismissed as the opinions of the author which were assumed as acceptable for that time.

So why does all this matter, especially in terms of eternal salvation? Quite simply, if you take the stand that the Bible contains portions that are both God’s Word as well as portions that are mere errors, opinions, and fables, you lose any certainty whatsoever that any of it is God’s Word at all. If only all Christians would treat the Scriptures according to the same standard that any court of law would place upon a witness’s testimony: “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Just think the response you would get from a judge if, testifying under oath, you prefaced your testimony with “Some of what I am about to say is truth, and some is opinion, error, and fable.” Ultimately, if a person does not believe in the entirety of Holy Scripture as the inspired and inerrant Word of God, they cannot logically have any certainty regarding anything contained therein.

This brings us full circle to the title of this article: It’s All About the Word (Made Flesh). “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The ultimate purpose of God’s Word is to reveal the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, crucified on Calvary to redeem sinners, risen for our salvation, ascended into heaven, and coming again in glory; yet, if the scriptures are flawed, any certainty of the divinity of Jesus Christ, any certainty that His atoning sacrifice for sins upon the cross is for you, any certainty that His resurrection has conquered your death, destroyed the devil’s claim over you, and transferred you into His Kingdom of glory, is thrown out the window.

This is why it is so vitally important for the church to stand firmly on the inspiration and inerrancy of scripture. As soon as a person, or an entire church body (as is the case with the ELCA, UMC, and the PCUSA, just to name a few) denies the inspiration, the authority, and the inerrancy of scripture, one no longer can have any certainty about who Jesus is or what He has accomplished for the salvation of sinners. Indeed, everything is left open to speculation and debate. If we are to know Jesus, if we are to know Him as the Son of God, who entered into our broken existence through His miraculous incarnation in the womb of the Virgin Mary, if we are to know Him, beyond the shadow of any doubt as He who has accomplished all that was necessary to win for us eternal life, than we must also embrace the entirety of Holy Scripture as the verbally inspired and inerrant Word of God.

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