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GOD’S WRITTEN COMMUNICATION In our preceding chapters we have called attention to some of the evidences which demonstrate the existence of God as seen in the revelation which He has made of Himself in creation, in man himself, in His shaping of human history, and in the Person of His incarnate Son. We turn now to that written communication which He has vouchsafed us, namely, the Scriptures, commonly designated “the Bible,” which means “The Book,” or more reverently “The Holy Bible”—the Book which is separated from and exalted above all others, the Sacred Book. Concerning it the Psalmist averred, “Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy name” ( <19D802> Psalm 138:2): that is, beyond all previous manifestations of the Divine Being. In the Holy Scriptures God has made a full discovery of Himself and a complete disclosure of His will. There His glories are set forth in their meridian clarity and splendor. The Word is a glass in which the character and perfections of God may be seen, and in order to become better acquainted with Him we need to more diligently peruse the same. Alas that so very few of this generation do so. Alas that so many preachers discourage such a duty.
Nearly 40 years ago, in one of our earliest publications, we wrote: “To all who are acquainted with the spiritual conditions of our day it is apparent that there is being made at this time a determined attempt to set aside the authority of the Bible. In the press, the pulpit and the pew, its Divine Authorship is being questioned and denied. The Serpent’s words to Eve ‘Yea, hath God said?’ are being heard in every quarter of Christendom. The ancient ‘landmarks’ of our fathers are being abandoned, the foundation of our religion undermined, and for the most part the Bible is no longer regarded as the Word of God. “In every age the Bible has been the object of attack and assault: every available weapon in the Devil’s arsenal has been used in the effort to destroy the Temple of God’s Truth. In the first days of the Christian era the attack of the enemy was made openly—the bonfire being the chief instrument of destruction. But in these ‘last days’ the assault is made in a more subtle manner, and comes from a more unexpected quarter. The Divine origin of the Scriptures is now disputed in the name of ‘Scholarship’ and ‘Science,’ and that, too, by those who profess to be the friends and champions of the Bible. Much of the learning and theological activities of the hour are concentrated in the attempt to discredit and destroy the accuracy and authority of God’s Word. The result is that thousands of nominal Christians are plunged into a sea of doubt and tossed about by every wind of the destructive ‘Higher Criticism.’ Many of those who are paid to stand in our pulpits and defend the Truth of God are now the very ones engaged in sowing the seed of unbelief and destroying the faith of those to whom they minister.”
Today we behold some of the fearful crops which have resulted from that evil sowing: “some of,” we say, for it is greatly to be feared that the full harvest does not yet appear. Shocking and appalling is the situation which is already spread before us. It has become increasingly evident, even to man who make no pretensions unto spirituality, that the restraining hand of God has been more and more removed from the world, till a spirit of utter lawlessness and recklessness now possesses a large proportion of mankind.
But only those with an anointed eye can perceive why this is so, namely because the influence formerly exerted by God’s Word was suppressed.
The majority of church-goers of the preceding generations had instilled into them doubts upon the authenticity of Holy Writ: theological professors and “up-to-date” preachers openly denied its supernatural character. Once the awe-inspiring authority of God’s Word was removed, the most potent bridle upon the lusts and passions of the masses was gone. Where there is no longer any fear of Divine judgment after death, what is left to curb the activities of sin?
The present state of society is due to the infidelity of “the churches” during the past century, and the apostasy of Christendom began by losing its grip upon the basic truth of the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures. And there is no hope whatever of Christendom being recovered from its present corrupt condition and woeful plight until it regains that grip, until it recognizes and avows that the Bible is a messenger from Heaven, a direct communication from God, imperiously demanding complete subjection of conscience to its authority and total subjugation of the mind and will to its requirements. It has, therefore, become the imperative duty of God’s servants to put first things first: to affirm with clarion voice the Divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Bible, to present to their hearers some of the many “infallible proofs” by which it is authenticated, that they may “know the certainty of those things” ( Luke 1:4) wherein they are instructed. Thereby God Himself will be honored, a sure foundation laid for faith to rest upon, the only specific provided for the disease of materialism and infidelity, and the lone barrier against the inroads of Romanism.
There is not a shadow of doubt in our mind that Rome was behind the “Higher Criticism” movement of the last century, just as she was of the introduction and spread of Arminianism in England (through Laud) shortly after the Reformation. The Papacy was shrewd enough to recognize that the authority of God’s Word must be undermined and its influence upon the nation weakened, before she had any hope of bringing it within her deadly toils. There is nothing she hates and dreads so much as the Bible, especially when it is circulated among the common people in their own tongue, as was clearly shown in the days of Queen Mary, of infamous memory. The organization of the Bible Societies, with their enormous output, was a rude shock to Rome, but she promptly countered it through “Modernism,” by discrediting the inerrancy of the Scriptures. The promulgation of the so-called “Higher Criticism” has done far more for the spread of infidelity among the masses than did the coarse blasphemies of Tom Paine; and it is among those who have no settled convictions that Rome wins most of her converts!
Now, the most effective way to oppose error is to preach the Truth, as the way to dispel darkness from a room is to let in or turn on the light. Satan is well pleased if he can induce those whom God has called to expound His Law and proclaim His Gospel to turn aside and seek to expose the fallacies of the various cults and isms. When the disciples of Christ informed Him that the Pharisees were offended at His teaching, He bade them, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind” ( Matthew 15:14) —waste no time upon them. When the servants of the Householder asked permission to remove the tares which His enemy had sown in His field, He forbade them ( Matthew 13:29). The business of Christ’s ministers is to sow, and continue sowing the good Seed, and not to root up tares! Their work is to be a positive and constructive one, and not merely a negative and destructive thing. Their task is to “preach the Word” ( 2 Timothy 4:2), faithfully and diligently, in dependency upon the Spirit, looking to God for His blessing upon the same. And what is so urgently needed today is that they proclaim with earnest conviction, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” ( 2 Timothy 3:16).
That claim is no empty one, but rather one that is attested by unimpeachable witnesses and verified by incontrovertible evidence. It bears in it and upon it the infallible tokens of its Divine origin, and it is the bounden duty and holy privilege of God’s servants to present, simply and convincingly, some of the various and conclusive evidence which demonstrates the uniqueness of the Bible. They cannot possibly engage in a more important and needed task than in seeking to establish their hearers in the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures, for it is of the greatest possible moment they should be thoroughly settled in that truth. The human mind cannot engage itself with any inquiry more momentous than this: “Has the Bible come from God? Is it a Divine revelation and communication addressed unto us personally from our Maker?” If it is, then it has claims upon us such as are possessed by no other writings. If it is not, then it is a wicked imposter, utterly unworthy of our serious consideration. Those are the sole alternatives. Hence, this is “the doctrine of doctrines: the doctrine that teaches us all others, and in virtue of which alone they are doctrines” (Gaussen).
Before we call attention to some of the abundant and varied evidence which makes manifest the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures, perhaps we should meet an objection which a few may be inclined to raise: Is it not largely a waste of time for you to furnish demonstration of a truth which no genuine Christian doubts? We do not think so. All of God’s people are not equally well established, and in any case faith cannot have too firm a foothold, especially in a day when the tide of infidelity is seeking to sweep everything away into the sea of skepticism. It is good for Christians themselves to be more fully assured that they have not followed “cunningly devised fables,” but have an unmistakable, “Thus saith the Lord” as the foundation of all their hopes. Moreover, as another has pointed out, “Faith needs food as well as foothold, and it is upon these Divine verities, so plainly revealed and so clearly established in the Word of Truth, that faith finds its choicest provision.”
Further, these evidences are of value to the Christian in that they enable him to give an intelligent and rational answer to those who inquire after knowledge. God requires His people to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and reverence” ( 1 Peter 3:15).
Thus we must be able to reply to any who seriously ask us, Wherefore do you believe the Bible to be the Word of God? But our chief desire and design will be to furnish young preachers with material to use in sermons, aimed at resolving the perplexities and removing the doubts which perturb not a few of their hearers, and so counter and nullify the infidelities of modern “education.” Yet here again we must anticipate an objection: Since the regenerate alone are capable of discerning spiritual things, why attempt to convince the unregenerate that the Bible is a Divine book? If faith be the sole ear competent to hear the voice of God, why try to reason with unbelievers?
While it is true that no arguments, however convincing in themselves, can remove the veil of prejudice from the understanding of the unregenerate or convert the heart unto God, yet that is far from allowing that such means possess no value. It has often been said by good men that the Scriptures are addressed to faith. That is true, yet only a part of the truth, for if it were taken absolutely it must follow they are not addressed to any devoid of faith, which is a palpable error. Our Lord bade the skeptical Jews, “search the Scriptures,” and declared, “He that rejecteth Me and receiveth not My words hath one that judgeth him: the Word that I have spoken the same shall judge him in the last day” ( John 12:48), thereby showing plainly the natural man is under binding obligations to heed and be subject unto the Word! The fact is that the Word is addressed to man as a rational creature, as a moral agent, as a responsible being, and it carries its own evidence—evidence which is addressed both to the reason and conscience. “These arguments are such as are able of themselves to beget in the minds of men—sober, humble, intelligent and unprejudiced—a firm opinion, judgment and persuasion that the Scripture doth proceed from God” (J. Owen).
They are evidences which show the irrationality of infidelity, and render those faced with them without excuse for rejecting the same. They are such as nothing but perverse prejudice can restrain men from assenting thereto.
It is a fact that of those who have written against the Bible not one has soberly and seriously undertaken to refute the evidence which they knew had been adduced for the veracity of its history, the fulfillment of its miracles, and the purity and consistency of its doctrine. They close the mouths of gainsayers. Such arguments afford relief to the mind from the objections of skeptics, for if weighed impartially they must produce a moral assurance of the truth of Scripture. Thus they dispose the mind to approach the Bible with confidence and pave the way for receiving it as God’s Word.
Such arguments go to show that Christians are not a company of credulous simpletons, but have good reason for their faith. They are a means of strengthening and establishing those who have accepted the Bible on less satisfactory grounds. Few look farther than human authority and public countenance. The majority believe the Scriptures in the same way as Mohammedans do the Koran: because it is the tradition of their fathers.
But wisdom is to be justified of her children, so that they walk in her ways by a rational choice. When the Spouse is asked, “What, is thy Beloved more than another beloved?” ( Song of Solomon 5:9), she is not backward in making reply; and when the worldling asks, “What, is your Bible above what the heathen appeal to in support of their superstitions,” we should be able to give an intelligent answer.
Nevertheless some are still apt to conclude it is useless to enter into such a discussion, insisting that the Bible is to be believed and not argued about, that arguments at best will only produce a human faith. But it is not a thing to be despised if we can prepare the young to respect God’s Word, and then seek the Spirit’s confirmation. Sometimes a human faith makes way for a Divine. The testimony borne by the woman from the well issued in that very sequel: “Now we believe, not because of thy saying, but we have heard Him ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” ( John 4:39,42).
It is much to be thankful for when we can persuade people upon good grounds that the Bible is the Word of God, so that they are induced to make trial of it for themselves, for often that leads to their obtaining an experimental verification from the Holy Spirit. The revelation which God has made of Himself unto mankind through His wondrous works, both in creation and in providence, are addressed unto their reasoning faculty, and render them without excuse for their unbelief of His existence. Equally so is the more complete discovery of Himself which God has given to the world in His written Word addressed to the intelligence and conscience of those favored with it, and therefore will it in the Day to come condemn all who refused to conform unto the Divine will as it is there made known to them. Hence it behooves preachers to press the inerrancy and Divine authority of the Holy Bible.