In various quarters and in myriad ways the Scriptures are being questioned, undermined, reinterpreted, and denied. Many desire to update the Bible to ensure its truth and teachings remain relevant. But to update the Scriptures to ensure they speak “truth” is to step away from the God’s authoritative Word.
This assault on God’s Word was at the heart of the initial temptation of Satan in Eden, when the serpent asked his question: “Did God actually say?” (Gen. 3:1). This question was the means by which Satan sowed seeds of doubt in the minds and hearts of Adam and Eve.
Tragically, our first parents regressed from the initial question to an outright denial of God’s Word, which was the basis of the fall. They ate the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:6), and all born since are “in Adam.” In a twisted order of God’s design, rather than running to God, fallen humans hide from him. Rather than listening to him, they want to shield themselves from him. Thankfully, God did not leave them (or us) alone.
There is another question in the early chapters of Genesis, this time from God. He asks, “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9). This question is not asked out of ignorance, since God is omniscient. Rather, it is asked in love. After Adam and Eve rebelled against God and his Word, God had no obligation to respond. He could have remained silent and allowed sin to have its full effect in both physical and spiritual death. And he would have remained just and righteous in doing so. Yet, in his love and mercy (Ex. 34:6-7), he speaks. Though he will speak a word of judgment, he also speaks a word of hope, found in the promise of an offspring (Gen. 3:15), a son, the Word incarnate (John 1:14) revealed through God’s Word inscripturated.
Every generation will face the age-old lie of Satan, the temptation to deny God and his Word. But the manner in which the questions are asked today reflects the spirit of the age. This is why it is critical that every generation believes, confesses, and affirms the authority of Scripture.
If we are not aware of how the doctrine of Scripture is being questioned or undermined, we will not be able to equip God’s people to defend the faith. Evangelicals need to stand ready to give an answer to such questions as: What about the creation of the universe and the historicity of Adam and Eve? Do we affirm that the Scriptures are inspired, inerrant, and authoritative in matters of faith and practice alone, or do we also include history and science?
Many questions ring with contemporary significance: How do we understand the human genome project? What do the Scriptures honestly say about homosexuality? Is it really an Old Testament matter and not a New Testament matter, guided by Jesus’s love ethic alone? Are the Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) documents the definitive grid by which to interpret the Scriptures? Is God a “moral monster” with his command to commit genocide against the Canaanites?
EFCA Theology Conference
In response to these questions and in defense of the Scriptures, the 2015 Evangelical Free Church of America Theology Conference theme was “The Doctrine of the Scriptures.” The conference addressed why it is important to equip Christians to uphold the truths of the Bible in today’s culture. Speakers and topics included:
- D. A. Carson, “The Doctrine of Scripture: Introduction to the Present-Day Discussion.”
- John Woodbridge, “The History of the Doctrine of Scripture.”
- Kevin Vanhoozer, “Inerrancy and Hermeneutics.”
- V. Philips Long, “Competing Histories, Competing Theologies, and the Challenge of Old Testament Interpretation.”
- Douglas Moo, “The New Testament Use of the Old Testament.”
- Graham Cole, “The Theology of Canonicity: Why a Book, Why this Book, Why this Sequence of Books within the Book.”
- Daniel Doriani, “Scripture in the Life of the Pastor.”
To access video, powerpoints, and print material from the conference, click here.