Posts Tagged ‘bible’

New Book: Vital Issues in the Inerrancy Debate

February 12th, 2016

Being chosen as a co-editor for a new book on Biblical inerrancy, Dr. Fernandes adds his own views to those of others in the field. What is Biblical inerrancy and why is it an important topic?

The following is taken from the official site at: defendinginerrancy.com

WHAT’S INERRANCY!? AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

It’s been said that a table must have at least thBook Imageree legs to stand. Take away any of the three legs and it will surely topple. In much the same way, the Christian faith stands on three legs. These three legs are the inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture. Take away one, and like the table, the divine authority of the Christian faith will surely topple. These three “in’s” complement each other, yet each expresses a slightly different distinction in our understanding of Scripture.

Inspiration. The first “in” is inspiration and this deals with the origin of the Bible. Evangelicals believe that “God breathed out” the words of the Bible using human writers as the vehicle. Paul writes,

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (literally “is God-breathed”), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

Infallibility. The next “in,” infallibility, speaks to the authority and enduring nature of the Bible. To be infallible means that something is incapable of failing and therefore is permanently binding and cannot be broken. Peter said “the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Pet. 1:23-25) and therefore its authority cannot be broken.  When addressing a difficult passage, Jesus said, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:34-35). In fact, He said, “one jot or one tittle will by no means pass away from the law till all is fulfilled” (Mat. 5:18). These speak to the Bible’s infallibility.

Inerrancy. The last “in,” inerrancy, simply means that the Bible is without error. It’s a belief in the “total truthfulness and reliability of God’s words” (Grudem,Systematic Theology, Inter-Varsity, 2004, 90). Jesus said, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). This inerrancy isn’t just in passages that speak about salvation, but also applies to all historical and scientific statements as well. It is not only accurate in matters related to faith and practice, but it is accurate and without error regarding any statement, period (John 3:12).

BUT IS IT REALLY IMPORTANT?

Yes, inerrancy is extremely important because: (1) it is attached to the character of God; (2) it is taught in the Scriptures; (3) it is the historic position of the Christian Church, and (4) it is foundational to other essential doctrines.

1. It’s Based on the Character of God

Inerrancy is based on the character of God who cannot lie (Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2). God cannot lie intentionally because He is an absolute moral law-giver.  He cannot err unintentionally because He is omniscient. And if the Bible is the written Word of God (and it is), then it is without error.

2. It was Taught by Christ and the Apostles

Inerrancy was taught by Christ and the apostles in the New Testament.  This should be our primary basis for believing it. B.B. Warfield said,

“We believe this doctrine of the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures primarily because it is the doctrine which Christ and his apostles believed, and which they have taught us.” (Limited Inspiration, 1962 cited by Mohler, 42)

To quote Jesus himself, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) and “until heaven and earth pass away not an iota, not a dot, will pass away from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matt 5:18).

3. It’s the Historic Position of the Church

Gutenberg BibleInerrancy is the historic position of the Christian Church. ICBI produced a whole book demonstrating this  point (see John Hannah, Inerrancy and the Church, Moody). As Al Mohler pointed out (Mohler, 48-49), even some errantists have agreed that inerrancy has been the standard view of the Christian Church down through the centuries. He cites the Hanson brothers, Anthony and Richard, Anglican scholars, who said,

“The Christian Fathers and the medieval tradition continued this belief [in inerrancy], and the Reformation did nothing to weaken it. On the contrary, since for many reformed theologians the authority of the Bible took the place which the Pope had held in the medieval scheme of things, the inerrancy of the Bible became more firmly maintained and explicitly defined among some reformed theologians than it had even been before.”

They added, “The beliefs here denied [viz., inerrancy] have been held by all Christians from the very beginning until about a hundred and fifty years ago.” (cited by Mohler, 41)

4. It’s Fundamental to All Other Doctrines

Inerrancy is foundational to all other essential Christian doctrines. It is granted that some other doctrines (like the atoning death and bodily resurrection of Christ) are more essential to salvation. However, all soteriological (salvation-related) doctrines derive their divine authority from the divinely authoritative Word of God. So, epistemologically (in a knowledge-related sense), the doctrine of the divine authority and inerrancy of Scripture is the fundamental of all the fundamentals. And if the fundamental of fundamentals is not fundamental, then what is fundamental? Fundamentally nothing! Thus, while one can be saved without believing in inerrancy, the doctrine of salvation has no divine authority apart from the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture.

IT’S AN ESSENTIAL

Inerrancy deserves high regard among evangelicals and has rightly earned the status of being essential (in an epistemological sense) to the Christian Faith.  Thus, to reduce inerrancy to the level of non-essential or even “incidental’ to the Christian Faith, reveals ignorance of its theological and historical roots and is an offense to its “watershed” importance to a consistent and healthy Christianity. Inerrancy simply cannot be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Church.

IT’S UNDER ATTACK… RIGHT NOW!

The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) was founded in 1977 specifically over concerns about the erosion of inerrancy. Christian leaders, theologians and pastors assembled together three times over the course of a decade to address the issue. At the first meeting, a doctrinal statement was jointly created titled “The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy” (see full text here). This document has been described as “a landmark church document” created

“by the then largest, broadest, group of evangelical protestant scholars that ever came together to create a common, theological document in the 20th century. It is probably the first systematically comprehensive, broadly based, scholarly, creed-like statement on the inspiration and authority of Scripture in the history of the church.” (Dallas Theological Seminary, “Records of the International Council On Biblical Inerrancy”)

Despite this modern safeguard, in 2010, Dr. Mike Licona, an evangelical professor, wrote a book titled The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. In this book, he suggested that the account of the resurrected saints walking through the city might be “apocalyptic imagery” (Mat. 27:51-53). In other words, he suggested that the events did not actually happen, but that it was lore or legend. Subsequently, Licona resigned from his position with the Southern Baptists and at Southern Evangelical Seminary. What followed is rather alarming. Incredibly, some notable evangelical scholars began to express their support for Licona’s view, considering  it consistent with a belief in inerrancy.

SCHOLARS TRYING TO REDEFINE INERRANCY

Of course, in order to defend Licona’s view they had to redefine inerrancy to include what were previously considered to be errors.  Some did this by misinterpreting inerrancy as expressed by the ICBI framers.

Since 2011, more alarming statements from Licona have surfaced, including: (1) A denial of the historicity of the mob falling backward at Jesus’ claim “I am he” in John 18:4-6 (RJ, 306, note 114); (2) A denial of the historicity of the angels at the tomb recorded in all four Gospels (Mat. 28:2-7; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-7; John 20:11-14) (RJ, 185-186); (3) A denial of the accuracy of the Gospel of John by claiming it says Jesus was crucified on the wrong day (debate with Bart Ehrman at Southern Evangelical Seminary, Spring, 2009); (4) A claim that the Gospel genre is Greco-Roman biography which he says is a “flexible genre” in which “it is often difficult to determine where history ends and legend begins” (RJ, 34). Amazingly, these views continue to gain support among the evangelical community.

Read More …

Responding to Bart Ehrman (part 2): Ehrman’s Agnosticism

December 2nd, 2014

Ehrman’s Agnosticism Concerning God

and the Cosmological Argument

After the brief spiritual biography of Dr. Ehrman given in the last article, it is important to identify the two sets of presuppositions that  he brings to the table. The first set makes presuppositions about the existence of God and the second set about the possibilities of miracles. Each set builds on and reinforces the other in his books. However, since this article only deals with his agnosticism, I’ll begin there.

Dr. Ehrman’s presuppositions about the existence of a “supreme being” are fairly straight forward. Dr. Ehrman considers himself an agnostic when it comes to whether a supreme being exist and the God of the Bible most definitely does not exist. In his mind, all the pain and suffering in the world makes much more sense if there is no supreme being than if there is.

Angelic Star FieldSo a good place to begin responding to Dr. Ehrman’s agnosticism is at the beginning; The beginning of the universe. Unless we are going to invoke magic, Dr. Ehrman needs to address the both philosophical and scientific question: How did the universe get here?

Considering that Dr. Ehrman doesn’t believe in the supernatural, he must appeal only to science, and it is clear from Dr. Ehrman’s writings that he hasn’t really considered what it means that the universe had a beginning. Considering this would lead him to the necessity of a “creator”. Apart from any supernatural assumptions, the scientific disciplines of Cosmology, Physics and Astronomy all agree that the universe had a beginning. And if the universe had a beginning, then it had a cause.

So Dr. Ehrman needs to deal with the scientific evidence for the beginning of the universe whether or not anything supernatural was involved. This evidence can be summarized into 5 major lines of evidence.

First, there are three major scientists, Einstein (1916), Tolma (1922) and Gamov (1946), who all found that the background temperature of the universe is cooling down.2  Right away this tells us that at one point it had a maximum temperature and that the universe can’t be eternal.

According to the Big Bang theory, at some point in the past all the matter and energy in the universe existed as an infinitely tiny point. Where did this come from? What was it made of? That is still the subject of speculation. Regardless, the theory states that suddenly this tiny point of intensely hot energy expanded faster than the speed of light. Immediately following this event, the temperature of the universe was at its maximum. Since then the universe has been in the long process of cooling down.1 

If the Universe had always existed, it would show a constant amount of usable energy (i.e. heat) and thus have a constant temperature. Since the universe is constantly losing usable energy, it can’t be eternal. Thus the universe had a beginning.

Big Bang VisualizationA second line evidence, once again using the Big Bang theory, is that when the tiny point of energy expanded at the beginning, all matter and energy emanated from that point outward. We should then expect to see this expansion.

Space, with all of its galaxies, solar systems, stars and other heavenly bodies is expanding from that original point of the big bang.3 Three of the most important scientists in astronomy discovered this expansion of matter throughout the universe; They were Albert Einstien (1916) Edwin Hubble (1929) and George Gamov (1946). If the universe has always existed, all the matter in the universe would be evenly distributed throughout the universe. It is not.

Penzias and WilsonThe third major line of evidence for the beginning of the universe is the Cosmic Microwave Background (the CMB). This is the original radiation wavelengths from the initial expansion we call the Big Bang.

In 1965 two astronomers, Penzias and Wilson, were listening on a special astronomical instrument designed to detect certain types of energy waves. Right away, they heard static. After an investigation, they decided that it was bird droppings on the instrument causing the static. Yet after they cleaned off their instrument, they still heard the static. Moving the instrument around, believing the source to be terrestrial, it was soon discovered that the static was coming all parts of the universe.

At first, this the microwave radiation was assumed to be the “left overs” from the original Big Bang as predicted by earlier scientists!4 However, it was far too large and too hot. Later discoveries confirmed this. Unfortunately for scientists of the day, it was found that many bodies in the universe give off cosmic microwaves.

It was decades later before satellite data gave scientists what they believe is a picture of the residual cosmic microwaves from the original Big Bang event. If this is true, and the map they created accurate, this confirms both the expansion of the universe and its cooling trend.

If the universe never had a beginning, known sources of microwaves would have accounted for what is measured. If the CMB had been absent, it would have been the end of the Big Bang theory altogether. Another theory would have been needed to replace it.

This was the most important discovery in astronomy in 500 YEARS! It was yet another indication that the universe had a beginning.

Fourthly, if the universe was caused by a Big Bang event, there should be some evidence in the structure of the universe. If the universe has always existed, telescopes should show us a very ancient universe that is almost identical to the present one since all the galaxies, stars, and planets should have existed eternally into the past.5

Dr. Hugh RossIn 1992, the scientific satellite, the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) offered astronomers an important clue about the formation of galaxies. The data seemed to confirm that the energy which came forth from the initial Big Bang explosion was used in the formation of the first galaxies. Hugh Ross, an astronomer, states that this is “perhaps the most concrete Big Bang evidence is that stable orbits and stable stars are possible ONLY in a big bang universe. Physical life would be impossible unless planets orbit with stability, stars burn with stability and stars orbit galaxy cores with stability.”

If galaxies had existed from eternity past, galaxies would look very different  from what we see today. Life may not even be possible in such a universe.

Albert EinsteinThe fifth line of evidence for the beginning of the universe has to do with the scientific work of Albert Einstien. When one takes a bird’s eye view of the entirety of Einstien’s work, especially his theory of Relativity, it is shown that this theory shows that the universe must have had a beginning, and if the universe had a beginning, then it had a beginner. It was Einstien’s work that laid the foundation for the first four lines of evidence cited above to show that the universe had a beginning,

Dr. Ehrman has to account for the existence of the universe. Science has shown that the universe began to exist, that it did not always exist. No contemporary scientist believes that the universe is eternal. Whatever problems Ehrman may have with the God of the Bible and the problem of suffering does not make these 20th century scientific discoveries disappear. He has to refute each of the five lines of scientific evidence that shows that the universe had a beginning and therefore had a beginner. In the next article, it will be shown that the universe and the world shows evidence of having been designed. And if there is evidence that the universe is designed, then it must have a designer.

2 Ibid 4

3 Ibid.5

4 Ibid. 5,6

5 Ibid. 7,10

6 Ibid 7

7 Ibid. 9

8 Ibid. 9-11

9 Ibid. 12

10 Bart Ehrman, God’s Problem 3

Responding to Bart Ehrman (part 1): Biography

October 27th, 2014

Did Jesus Exist (2013)Who is Bart Ehrman?

Dr. Bart Ehrman is an accomplished scholar and teacher in ancient biblical texts. He holds a teaching position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also an atheist who writes extensively about Jesus, except that the Jesus he writes about is not the Jesus of the Bible.

His latest book is entitled “How Jesus Became God” Some of his other books include: “Jesus Misquoted” “Jesus Interrupted” “Lost Christianities”, and “God’s Problem”. In each of these books, Dr. Ehrman attacks some aspect of the Historical Jesus, the Bible, or the accepted Christian Gospel.

Of course, numerous Christian scholars have written researched and well documented refutations of his books. Surprisingly, very few doubt the evidence he presents. The biblical texts do contain both different accounts and personal retellings. What they accuse Dr. Ehrman of doing is making invalid presuppositions in his argumentation. These presuppositions skew both his view of Jesus and his view of the biblical texts.

Bart EhrmanA look at Dr. Ehrman’s personal biography shows his transformation from an evangelical Christian, to an agnostic, and finally to an atheist. Dr. Ehrman states that he’s an agnostic on the existence of God, but is most certainly an atheist concerning the personal God of the Bible. The reason for his atheism is actually a common one: the problem of evil and suffering in the world. Dr. Ehrman just couldn’t reconcile how a “supposedly” loving and caring God, as we read about in the Bible, could allow so much suffering and evil in the world. This eventually led him to the conclusion that the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible does not exist.

Dr. Ehrman grew up in Kansas in the mid 1950’s. His family faithfully attended an Episcopal Church in Lawrence, Kansas. During his high school years, Bart had a “born again” experience and began attending Youth for Christ. Bruce, a leader of the local Youth for Christ group, help to lead Bart into a “born again experience.1

Bart was very impressed by Bruce’s knowledge of the Bible and decided he wanted to be a serious student of Bible.

Bart EhrmanWith that desire deep in his heart, young Bart Ehrman went to Moody Bible Institute in fall of 1973. During his time at Moody, Bart took traditional Bible courses such as biblical and systematic theology.

At the time, Moody Bible Institute had a strong emphasis on a particular type of Biblical inerrancy called “verbal plenary inspiration.” This view taught that there were no errors in the original manuscripts.

College student Bart Ehrman soon discovered that we don’t have any of the original manuscripts of the New Testament. He then began to wonder about the accuracy of the texts we do have. Did the scribes who copied the New Testament manuscripts change, alter or distorted the written texts? Whether intentional or unintentional, could scribal errors and changes, made for theological or political reasons, have corrupted the New Testament texts? These questions concerning the transmission of the New Testament manuscripts led Bart to take additional courses at Moody on textual criticism.3

Scrap of the John Ryland PapyrusAfter graduating from Moody in 1976, Ehrman had an even stronger desire to be a Christian scholar. Despite his doubts, he continue his education at Wheaton College, a major American Evangelical college.4 While at Wheaton, he took courses in New Testament Greek. During his time there, he increasingly questioned the relevancy of believing in Biblical inerrancy. We don’t have the original manuscripts of the New Testament. Scraps do exist from the late first and second century, but the only complete manuscript copies we have were supposedly written hundreds of years later.5

After graduating from Wheaton with these questions still in his mind, Ehrman went on to Princeton Theological Seminary where he studied under the renowned Greek scholar, Bruce Metzger. He took even more courses in Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek. The deeper he went into these courses, the further Bart’s confidence in the doctrine of inerrancy continued to erode.6

Dr. Ehrman’s total abandonment of his view of biblical inerrancy came when he did a term paper on a passage from the Gospel of Mark for his professor, Cullen Story. For his term paper, Ehrman looked at the story 2 where Jesus has a confrontation with the Pharisees over the disciples picking the heads of grain on the Sabbath. In the course of the confrontation, Jesus justifies his actions by appealing to the Old Testament. When David was on the run from King Saul, David went into the temple to eat the consecrated bread “when Abiathar was the High Priest.” Bart then looked at 1 Samuel 21:1-6 where it describes that during this very time when David ate the sacred bread in the temple, it was Abimelech who was the High Priest. Abimelech was the father of Abiathar. So Dr Ehrman started to wonder if the author of the Gospel of Mark made a mistake. Was the text in error by recounting the wrong man as high priest when David ate the consecrated bread?

When he handed in his term paper to Dr. Story, Dr. Story agreed with Dr. Ehrman by writing a one liner on his term paper that said, “Maybe Mark did make a mistake“.7

Everything went downhill for Ehrman from this point on. He found more supposed errors in the Bible. By the time he left Princeton Theological Seminary, he completely rejected the evangelical doctrine of Biblical inerrancy.8

The Late, Great Planet Earth coverHal Lindsay’s book “The Late Great Planet Earth” also contributed to Bart’s erosion of confidence in Biblical inerrancy. One of Lindsay’s assertions in the book is that Jesus would return in 1988, a generation of forty years after the modern rebirth of Israel in 1948. When Jesus did not return in 1988, that only confirmed Bart’s doubts about the inerrancy of the Bible.9

Dr. Ehrman states that his problems with the Bible led him away from his evangelical beliefs that he had learned in Moody and Wheaton. Though he had abandoned his evangelical beliefs about the Bible, yet he still considered himself a “liberal Christian.”

It was not the problem of missing original New Testament texts, it was the problem of evil and suffering that led Dr. Ehrman to totally reject Christianity. He states that the facts of scripture do not match with the hard facts of life. Given all the suffering and pain in the world, the God of goodness and love that Bible proclaims simply does not exist.10

Now that we’ve looked at the reasons for Dr. Ehrman’s presuppositions about the bible, in the next two articles Dr. Ehrman’s agnosticism will be answered. Then Dr. Ehrman’s atheism concerning the God of the Bible will be examined: Can he justify his atheism concerning the God of the Bible based on the suffering and pain in the world?

1 Bart Ehrman Misquoting Jesus 1,2
2 Ibid 4
3 Ibid.5
4 Ibid. 5,6
5 Ibid. 7,10
6 Ibid 7
7 Ibid. 9
8 Ibid. 9-11
9 Ibid. 12
10 Bart Ehrman, God’s Problem 3

Did Isaiah Predict a “Virgin” Birth?

April 18th, 2012

As you can probably guess, this Institute receives a number of Theological questions. Recently, I ran across the following question and  decided it merited a public response.

“I was recently asked about the the Isaiah verse that Matthew quotes. I’m being told it was a mistranslation. I tried to tell the person that he needed to read it all in context. He said I can’t call for context amongst all the books then ignore the context in which the book of Isaiah was written.”

The Adoration of the Shepherds - Gerard van HonthorstInteresting discussion. The quote in question is from Matthew 1:22 & 23:

“So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, ‘A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel,’ which means ‘God is with us.'”

Matthew here is quoting from Isaiah chapter 7.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.  For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.”

The Lord is giving the people of Israel a “sign” as a pledge that He will deliver them; In the time it takes a young women to conceive and her child to grow to the age of accountability, Israel shall be delivered from her enemies. That is the straight forward meaning.

We can read the fulfillment in Isaiah, chapter 8, verses 3 and 4.

“And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the LORD said to me, “Call his name Maher-shalal-hashbaz; for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.””

Qumran Scroll of Isaiah

So why did Matthew apply this fulfilled prophecy to Jesus? Did he hear about Jesus’ virgin birth and go searching for a some verse justify it? Does the verse in Isaiah actually refer to a “virgin” or just a young woman? Can we justify both the near fulfillment and Matthew’s application of this verse to Jesus? The only way to solve this is to look at the text itself.

In context, the word used by Isaiah (almah) merely means “young maiden of marrying age”. The word “betulah” means “virgin”. Of course, it was expected that a young maiden be a virgin before marriage … but that is only implied.  So, “almah”, in context, could either mean young maiden or virgin (or both). Since we know the context and have Isaiah’s writings, we could make a determination ourselves. However, I think consulting pre-Christian, Jewish interpretations would appear less biased on our part.

Long before Christ’s time here on earth, the Greeks decided it was in their best interest to understand those rebellious Jews. Perhaps if they understood why they rebelled, they’d be able to better rule them. So, the rulers asked that a Greek translation of the Jewish holy book, the Old Testament, be made. It was called the LXX (the 70), as legend says that 70 elders were involved in the translation process.

Now we have an unbiased translation into a more literal language. Looking at the verses in question, we turn to Isaiah and find that the phrase (ha’almah) was translated into Greek as “the virgin”. This means that decades before Christ was born, Jewish scholars decided that “virgin” was correct in context. It wasn’t until after Christ’s time that some Jews sought to change the meaning to “young woman” (not necessarily a virgin). Before and during Christ’s time, there is strong evidence to believe that few Jewish scholars doubted the translation in the LXX.

So why did the Jewish scholars translate the phrase “ha’almah” as “the virgin”? The word “almah” is only used 10 times in the entire Old Testament; That isn’t a large number of times. In 6 of the 10 cases, the LXX translators chose the Greek word for “virgin”: Genesis 24:43, Exodus 2:8, Psalm 68:25, Song of Solomon 1:3, 6:8 and Proverbs 30:19. In no case is the word ever translated as “young woman” or anything other than an unmarried maiden of marrying age (which implies virginity). So to an ancient Jew, the idea that this could not mean a virgin young maiden was out of the question.

That said, I believe something clever is going on here; I believe that God’s choice of the word “almah” was not an accident. In the near fulfillment, Isaiah married a “young maiden” and a child was born. However, since young Jewish maidens were expected to be virgins until marriage, the word can also be properly translated “virgin”.  So God used the word “almah” knowing that the dual meaning of the verse could be applied to both prophecies.

Xerxes I, King of BabylonBut wait! How did I come up with this concept of a “dual” fulfillment or a “dual” meaning? Looking at Isaiah 14, we see God humiliating Babylon and its arrogance. But then, starting in verse 12, we see this:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’

Either the king of Babylon made some wild, inhuman claims of becoming God, or this section is referring someone else. Even in Jesus’ day, Jewish scholars agreed that this passage was about Satan, the spiritual power behind Babylon. So this section refers both to the king of Babylon and to Satan at the same time. Wow! God is clever.

So, in Isaiah we see God predicting a natural birth (as a sign), at the same time, predicting the birth of Jesus the Messiah.

Journey Through the Bible: The Parable of The Sower

September 21st, 2011

Taken from Matthew chapter 13, Dr Fernandes speaks on sharing the Salvation of Jesus with non believers, how different people react and what can happen in the hearts of those who hear the message.

Introduction to Apologetics

September 16th, 2011

Speaking at the Alliance Church in Tacoma, Washington, Dr Fernandes gives an overview of his 60 lecture introduction to Apologetics course in a condensed, 60 minute lecture.

 

Biblical view of Human Government

July 22nd, 2011

Expressing his own views, Dr. Phil Fernandes speaks against “big government”. Instead, in this lecture just after the 4th of July holiday, Dr. Fernandes gives a number of reasons why we should rely on God rather than government to solve our social ills. Preach the gospel rather than vote for more government regulation and rules; This is the only way for a society to be truly free.

 

A Time to Sow … and a Time to Tear

January 20th, 2010

Originally posted by IBD Vice President Matthew J Coombe on mjcoombe.com

What is the demarcation between orthodoxy and heresy? Or that, when believers disagree about various dogma and doctrine at what point does one claim “heresy” and discontinue fellowship? Before answering this question, it must be stated that the idea of dis-fellowship should only be applied to believers. If this standard was applied to unbelievers or people who have no consistent and reliable information about Jesus and the Bible, why would we suppose them to be anything less then heretics? Further, if there was no fellowship with such people, how would they learn and know the truth? Thus, if a unbeliever holds to an errant view of Jesus it should not be faulted on that person, but rather, with meekness and fear correct the view.

The believer is held to a much higher standard. It is difficult in this age to refute errant views of “Christianity” because Christianity has become a a synonym for “theism.” In this, we often hear people say, “well I’m a Christian who believes….” And then they make some horrible exegesis from scripture or emote concerning some current ethical issue. So then, the point of this blog is to answer the question, “to what can the Christian say, ‘I believe…’” and it still correspond with orthodoxy?

The primary, essential credentials for orthodoxy are the fundamentals of the faith. This is minimal Christianity. If one does not hold to these, they are not, by any means, a true born-again Christian. These fundamentals are as follows:

  1. The inerrancy of the Scriptures
  2. The virgin birth of Jesus
  3. The deity of Christ
  4. The bodily resurrection of Jesus
  5. The immanent return of Jesus

Of these, there is only one I have any leniency on and that is inerrancy of Scripture. However, I am only lenient to the point that the other four fundamentals of the faith can still be gleaned and defended. If the Bible becomes so errant that the deity of Christ has become forfeit such a view of Scripture is detrimental. On the other hand, if one feels the Scriptures are completely accurate save a few historical or cultural datum I may not believe that either (although this view also upholds the other 4 points).

Some cults and various man-made religions claim to hold to these, but this is only to maintain the guise and stability of true Christianity. Over the course of the next few days I will be writing on each of the fundamentals, clearly defining them so as to avoid this cultic “bandwagoning.”

As for now, allow me to finish this thought. If anyone does not hold to these fundamentals, I would really question their relative Christianity. Now, as stated before, people often refer to themselves as “Christians” when what they really mean is theist. The reason I make this distinction is that if one claims to be a Christian, they are soldered to very specific views about the Bible, Jesus and the other fundamentals—any strays in these areas cause the erosion of Christianity into finite human religion.

Besides the fundamentals there is also a moral reasons to break bounds. Paul clarifies this when he wrote to the Corinthian Church:

“I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges.”

Paul claims that people professing to be believers who live in immorality give us Biblical grounds to no longer have fellowship with them. However, I’ve seen this taken too far. There are some Christians who won’t have fellowship with non-beleivers because of immorality. We must remember, it is not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick.

The freedom of Christian choice concerning the morality of actions must be based on the Bible. If someone claims, “I am a Christian who believes it is okay for me to have sex with my boyfriend.” This is beyond the scope of choice given to the believer. It is clear that any sexual act outside of marriage is a sin. If an act or the idea of it is not forbidden in scripture, and it ultimately leads to the good, one is free to partake in it.

Bottom line, if one does not hold to the fundamentals or is living in immorality they are not in a position to be in proper fellowship.

Refuting the New Skepticism

October 15th, 2009

Speaking at an AWANA conference in Everett, WA, Dr. Fernandes defends the true Jesus of history and the veracity of the Bible. Misguided scholars, such as author Bart Ehrman, use well-known New Testament manuscript variants and controvertial verses as an excuse to reject all biblical texts. This is the New Skepticism.  True to the motto of the institute, Dr. Fernandes upholds and defends the Christian faith with solid facts, humoruos anecdotes and common sense.

UFO and Aliens: Seattle Creation Conference 2007

September 19th, 2007

A featured speaker at the 2007 Seattle Creation Conference, Dr. Phil Fernandes speaks on the then popular subject of UFO’s, the UFO movement and its religious implications.