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Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University Dear Members of the Endtime Issues Newsletter: In the last newsletter (no. 100) I invited readers to visit my website where I posted tw o pictorial stories about (1) Mary's Stars on the European Flag and Currency, and (2) The Dutch Edition of From Sabbath to Sunday. The response has been very encouragi ng. Within the first 24 hours over 2000 subscribers visited the website (www.biblicalp erspectives.com) to read these fascinating stories. Several readers asked permission to post and/or publish the stories elsewhere. In the future I intend to make a fuller use of my website by posting there news items and aspects of my research that would lengthen unduly the newsletters. An additiona l advantage is the possibility of illustrating significant events with pictures. This cann ot be done in our regular newsletters because many of our overseas subscribers cann ot download lengthy messages with pictures. Beginning with this newsletter, I plan to post from time to time chapters from my new manuscript entitled POPULAR HERESIES. The research has been slow, due to the cons tant traveling across North America and overseas. By God's grace, I hope to complete it by the end of this year or, at the latest, early next year. I view this as an important research, because it examines a dozen popular heresies in the light of Scripture and h istory. It should prove to be an effective witnessing tool to help our Christian friends u nderstand why such popular beliefs as biblical inerrancy, immortality of the soul, Sun day sacredness, eternal torment, speaking in tongues, once saved always saved, the Rapture, papal infallibility, and intercession of the saints, are heresies contrary to the teachings of the Word of God. The procedure I will follow is first to trace each heresy historically and then to refute i t biblically. The goal of this research project is to produce a book ideal for witnessing t o Christians interested to know why some of their beliefs are wrong and Adventists te achings are right. The reason for posting some of the chapters in our newsletters is twofold. First, I can benefit from your constructive criticism. Among our subscribers there are hundreds of educated people with analytical minds. They can alert me to problems in my method ology and conclusions. Second, you as subscribers can begin to enjoy the benefits of these studies before they appear in a published version. The first chapter of POPULAR HERESIES, is entitled "Biblical Errancy and Inerrancy." D ue to the length of the chapter of about 50 pages, I am posting it in two installments, beginning with this newsletter. You should find this study timely and informative, bec ause it addresses the fundamental question of the trustworthiness of the Bible for def ining our beliefs and practices. The battle over the inspiration and authority of the Bible is being waged within Christi an churches and in the scholarly community. Our own Seventh-day Adventist church i s not exempted from the controversy. An indication is the two recent books written by two respected Adventist scholars, namely, Alden L. Thompsen, Inspiration: Hard Ques
tions, Honest Answers (Review and Herald 1991), and Samuele Koranteng-Pipim, Rec eiving the Word: The Crisis over Biblical Authority and Biblical Interpretation (Berrien Springs, 1996). In many ways the two authors represent the division that exists amon g Adventist Bible teachers, pastors, and lay members regarding the inspiration and a uthority of the Bible. Due to the nature of the book as a witnessing tool to reach all Christians, this essay e xamines how the battle over the Bible is being waged in Christianity in general - not i n the Adventist church in particular. Discussing the problem in the Adventist church w ould divert the attention from the primary objective of the book. Moreover, the issues we face in our Adventist church, are not different from those faced by other churches. This essay shows that the authority of the Bible is undermined today, not only by libe ral scholars who make the Bible a too-human and error-ridden book, but also by some conservative evangelicals who make the Bible too-divine and absolutely inerrant in al l its details. This reminds us that heresies come in different forms. Sometimes they o penly reject biblical teachings, while at other times they subtly distort them. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------REPORT ON THE MEETINGS IN BONN, GERMANY On Friday/Saturday July 4-5, 2003, I presented my PowerPoint SABBATH ENRICHMENT SEMINAR at a rally of several Adventist churches in the picturesque city of Bonn, Ger many. The meetings were held in a most elegant university hall, overlooking the Rhin e river. About 400 Adventist and non-Adventists attended the meetings. The receptio n and response were most gratifying. What makes a German congregation unique is their interest for factual information. A man approached me on Friday night after I shared by testimony "My Search for the S abbath at a Vatican University," and told me: "Your testimony was good, but I hope t hat you will present tomorrow some of the important aspects the Sabbath/Sunday res earch you did in Rome." I reassured him that he would not be disappointed. To be sure to meet the cultural expectations of our German fellow-believers and frien ds, on Sabbath afternoon I delivered a three hours long (partly due to the translation) PowerPoint lecture entitled "How It Came About: From Saturday to Sunday." Apparentl y the lecture met their expectations for factual information, because every body liste n attentively until the end. Someone told me that it had been worth for him to drive 1 00 miles to listen to the lecture. Incidentally, I seldom deliver this lecture to Adventist congregations in North America, because most people are not too interested to listen to a historical investigation on t he change from Sabbath to Sunday in early Christianity. The situation is different in G ermany. People are more cultural oriented. This is evident in the waiting lounges of th e airports which are well supplied with various newspapers and magazines for passen gers to freely use. Every body is reading. An indication of the cultural interest of the Germans is the number of bookstores foun d in their cities. I took a walk in the center of Bonn and I counted a dozen of bookstor es, almost as numerous as their food stores. Germans are to be commended for their desire to increase their knowledge in all fields, including religion. This poses a challen ge for Adventist pastors who are expected to meet both the intellectual and spiritual needs of their congregations.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------SABBATH DEVELOPMENTS IN HOLLAND In the last newsletter I reported the fascinating story of the Dutch translation and pub lication of my dissertation From Sabbath to Sunday - Van Sjabbat naar Zondag. Provid entially the Holy Spirit impressed several people to translate, edit, and publish the bo ok. In the process all of them became Sabbathkeepers. If you did not get the chance yet, be sure to visit the website: www.biblicalperpsectives.com. You will enjoy looking at their pictures and reading this incredible story. Since posting the report of my recent visit to Holland, I have received several newspa pers articles discussing the unprecedented interest for a rediscovery of the Sabbath b y an increasing number of evangelical churches in Holland. Due to the importance of this development, I will quote extensively from a major article, which was graciously t ranslated by Gottfried Oosterwal, Ph. D., a native of Holland and a retired professor fr om Andrews University Theological Seminary. On July 5, 2003 two articles appeared in the section of "Religion and Philosophy" of th e Dutch newspaper TROUW. The first article, which is entitled "KEEPING THE SABBATH RATHER THAN SUNDAY," re ports: "The 'Living Water Fellowship' in [the city of] Assen made that leap to keeping t he Sabbath. This 'Fellowship' is one of the tens of Evangelical churches which are mo ving their services from Sunday to Saturday." The article continues saying: "Keeping the traditional-Christian Sunday is against the will of God, according to those Evangelicals who propagate the Sabbath. It is both pa gan and 'antisemitic.' For that reason they not only turn away from the church service on Sunday, but they also discard all Christian holidays that are rooted in pagan traditi ons." The second article is rather lengthy and provides some valuable information. It is enti tled "THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH: AWAY WITH ANTISEMITIC SUNDAY." The author, Angeli que Rijlaarsdam, begins the article saying: "Of the some 200 independent Evangelica l churches [in Holland], about one quarter will soon make the transition from Sundayk eeping to Sabbathkeeping, according to an estimate by Bert Woudwijk, leader of the Shalom community in [the city of] Dordrecht. To continue keeping the Christian Sund ay he calls 'antisemitic.'" It is significant that some evangelical leaders in Holland are acknowledging that the c hange from Sabbath to Sunday in early Christianity was motivated more by hate for t he Jews than love for Jesus Christ. This important factor is documented in my disserta tion From Sabbath to Sunday, where I am showing how the anti-Jewish and anti-Sabb ath legislation promulgated by Emperor Hadrian in A. D. 135 led many Gentile Christi ans to follow the leadership of the Bishop of Rome in changing the Sabbath to Sunday The intent was to show to the Roman authorities the Christian separation from the Je ws and identification with the rhythms and customs of the Romans. The rest of the article is a "must" reading. I will quote it extensively. "In evangelical H olland there is a transition going on from Sundaykeeping to Sabbathkeeping. Kees Ne eterson, editor in chief of Charisma (Journal for Evangelical Holland) highly recommen ds in his journal the book FROM SABBATH TO SUNDAY by Samuele Bacchiocchi. The b
ook shows that Saturday was largely replaced by Sunday by the fourth century A. D. According to Bacchiocchi, the Roman Catholic Church is largely responsible for this ch ange. On the basis of pagan influences such as sun-worship and anti-Jewish sentimen ts, the Roman Catholic church made the Sunday the official day of rest of Christianity. "Last month Bacchiocchi's book was published into Dutch. Anyone who reads this boo k will be 'a changed person, because he understands [the issue] better,' Neeterson sa ys. He himself is the publisher of the Dutch edition of VAN SJABBAT NAAR ZONDAG. T he book helps believers understand that Sunday is a human institution that militates against the will of God." The Dutch translation and publication of my book VAN SJABBAT NAAR ZONTAG, could not have come at a better time. At the very time when an increasing number of evan gelicals in Holland are becoming interested in rediscovering the Sabbath, the book ha s appeared to help them to understand and experience more fully the Sabbath as a d ay to celebrate God's creative and redemptive love. "Neeterson, who has become a Sabbathkeeper, expects that the book will 'sow discor d' among the faithful Bible believing Evangelicals, and 'will open their eyes.' He sees i n the Netherlands a clear development in the churches that are now making the tran sition from Sunday to Sabbath. In the words of Neeterson: 'This development has turn ed into a cascade.' "Presently there are about 30,000 believers keeping the Sabbath in our country [of th e Netherlands]. The most prominent are the Seventh-day Adventists, Seventh day Ba ptists, Messianic Jews, and Jews. Recently, an increasing number of Evangelicals have become Sabbathkeepers. "One congregation that recently made the transition to Sabbathkeeping, is the 'Living Water Fellowship.' This full-gospel church in [the city of] Assen has been keeping the Sabbath since May. 'This did not happen overnight,' says their leader Wim Breedveld. It all began two years ago. 'We studied the [biblical] teachings about the Sabbath, an d organized a Friday evening celebration of the Sabbath with a communal meal. Even tually this developed into 'real Sabbath keeping' with a worship service on Saturday. Not all members participated in this transition.' Breedveld says: 'One pays a price. Bu t on the other hand, it also attracts people.' He sees this developments as a 'restorati on of God's Will.' And, he knows of at least five other Evangelical congregations which will shortly become Sabbathkeepers. "'It is a liberating experience to follow God's commandment,' says Bert Wouydwijk, le ader of the Shalom church in [the city of] Dordrecht, an Evangelical church which has been keeping the Sabbath since 2000. . . . Woudwijk is in constant contacts with othe r Evangelical churches interested about Sabbathkeeping and 'returning to Jewish root s.' He expects that the landscape of Evangelical Holland to change substantially withi n the next two years. Says Woudwijk: 'About 25 percent of the independent Evangelic al churches will soon keep the Sabbath.' "Questions about Sabbath keeping are alive not only in evangelical circles, but also a cross a whole spectrum of churches. The subject is being discussed in the Reformed a nd Christian Reformed churches, in 'Samen-op-Weg kring [On-the-way-together circle s], and among Roman-Catholics. The article continues mentioning some of the problems and criticism that Sabbathkee pers face in Holland. In closing the article cites two inspiring testimonies. The first is f rom Loes Breimer, a mother of four teenagers who are very enthusiastic about Sabba
thkeeping, especially Friday evening with singing and eating of the special bread she bakes. The article says: "Breimer really enjoys the Sabbath. To her, the Sabbath really marks the week. 'The Sabbath creates space for God and strengthens my relationship with Him.' The second testimony is from Pastor Wim Breedveld of Assen. The article says: "He e xperienced a new freedom after the transition from Sunday to Sabbath 'It is a liberati on to follow God's own instructions, rather human traditions.'" What an inspiring and encouraging article! Reading it I was reminded of Ellen White's statement that in this final hour of world history "the Sabbath will be proclaimed mor e fully" (EW p. 33). Indeed, this is happening today in an unprecedented way. Practica lly every week I receive reports of pastors, congregations, and organizations that are rediscovering the Sabbath. This past week I received a message from a Baptist pastor who wants to gradually lead his congregation to Sabbathkeeping. He asks me what is the best procedure to follow. From overseas, this week I received a message from Dr Przemyslaw Waliszewski, Pres ident of the Polish Brethren Unity. He renews the invitation for me to speak at their an nual congress next year. About five years ago over 1500 of their Polish Brethren Unity church members accepted the Sabbath. Since then they are invited me several times to speak at their annual congress in order to help them understand and experience th e Sabbath more fully. God willing, I intend to visit them next year. My plan is to organi ze a combined rally with our Adventist believers. May God grant us wisdom to build b ridges with sincere Christians who are seeking to understand and experience more ful ly His revealed truths. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------ANNOUNCEMENTS AT THE END OF THIS NEWSLETTER At the end of this newsletter you will find the following important announcements: The date and location of my weekend seminars for July and August 2003 Information on how your church can purchase a state-of-the art HITACHI LCD VIDEO P ROJECTORS at over 60% discount on the Factory Suggested Retail price. HITACHI has agreed to offer their line of outstanding LCD projectors to our Adventist churches and institutions at an incredible discount. A bonus 70" screen will be offered to the first ni ne orders. Read this amazing story at the end of this newsletter. A special offer on the TWO CD-ROMS containing all the 16 books, 100-plus articles, a nd all the PowerPoint SABBATH/ADVENT SEMINARS. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------BIBLICAL ERRANCY AND INERRANCY Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D. Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University No book has ever been as assailed as the Bible. The attacks have come from outside and inside the Church. Paradoxically, the authority of the Bible is undermined not onl y by liberal critics who maintain that the Bible is a strictly human, error-ridden book, but also by those evangelicals who strongly believe in the total inerrancy of the Bible. The liberal critics reduce the Bible to a human book devoid of supernatural revelation
s and miraculous manifestations. The Old and New Testaments are strictly human lite rary productions that partake of the shortcomings of their human authors. By contras t, some conservative evangelicals elevate the Bible to a divine level that overlooks its human limitations. They affirm that the Bible is absolutely inerrant, that is , without e rror in its original manuscripts. It can be trusted in every reference to history, geogra phy, chronology, cosmology, and science. This essay endeavors to show that both the errancy and inerrancy positions undermin e the authority of the Bible by making it either too-human or too-divine. This reminds us that heresies come in different forms. Sometimes they openly reject biblical author ity and teachings, while at other times they subtly distort scriptural teachings. Objectives. This chapter examines the controversy over the errancy/inerrancy of the Bible. These opposing heresies are championed by liberal critics on the one hand and by conservative evangelicals on the other. Our procedure will be first to trace briefly t he historical origin of each movement and then to evaluate their teachings from a bib lical perspective. To place the current controversy in a historical perspective, brief mention will be mad e of how the circulation of the Bible has been opposed outside and inside the church. This will help us to understand the relentless efforts of the Evil One to prevent the me ssage of God's revelation from reaching sincere people. The chapter is divided in four parts. This newsletter includes the first two parts and th e next the last two. The first mentions briefly some past attempts to prevent the circu lation of the Bible by the Catholic Church, English kings, Protestant church leaders, an d communists governments. The second part examines Biblical Criticism - known also as Higher Criticism - from a historical and biblical perspective. Historically, we will bri efly trace the development of the Critical Movement that has been largely responsibl e during the past three centuries for undermining biblical authority. Biblically, we will evaluate the validity of its presuppositions in the light of the witness of Scripture and recent research. The third part, to be posted in the next newsletter, looks at the case for biblical inerra ncy as taught by a large number of evangelicals who maintain that God guided the m inds of the Bible writers in such a way that they were prevented from making any err or. Whatever they wrote is supposed to be without error, not only with respect to relig ious teachings, but also in such areas as geography, astronomy, history, chronology, and the natural sciences. We shall see this teaching overlooks the human dimension of Scripture. The last part sets forth the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of the i nspiration and authority of the Bible. We shall see that Adventists hold to a balanced view of the authority of the Bible, by acknowledging that the source is divine, the writ ers are human, and their writings contain divine thoughts in human language. Part I ATTACKS AGAINST THE BIBLE During the first three centuries some Roman emperors sought to uproot Christianity b y destroying the Bible. For example, on February 23, 303 A. D. emperor Diocletian de creed that every copy of the Bible was to be handed over to the Roman police to be b urned.. Thousands of valuable Biblical manuscripts were burned in public squares. Ma ny Christians lost their lives for refusing to hand over their Bibles. The aim was to eli minate the presence of the Christian religion by suppressing its normative authority. T he reason given by leading philosophers and government officials was that Christianit
y was largely responsible for the socio-economic crises that were plaguing the empire at that time. With the rise of Islam in the seventh century, the Bible has been consistently outlawe d in strict Moslem countries. To this very day distribution of Bibles is strictly forbidden in Moslem countries. Countless Christians have lost their lives for attempting to share the teachings of the Word of God. The success of ruthless Moslem ruler to uproot the Bible and Christianity is evident in the countries they conquered. For example, prior t o the Moslem conquest of the seventh century, the North African countries of Lybia, T unisia, Morocco, Algeria, were flourishing Christian nations that produced such church leaders as Augustine and Tertullian. Today, Christians and Bible are practically nonexi stent in these countries. The circulation of the Bible has also suffered from within Christianity at the hands of t he Catholic Church, English kings, and Protestant church leaders. More recently, com munist regimes also have attempted to prevent the circulation of the Bible and to dis credit its teachings. Each of the above powers in different ways have assailed the Bibl e by preventing its circulation among the laity. Catholic Attempts to Prevent the Reading of the Bible. Historically the Catholic Church has been opposed to the translation of the Bible in the common languages of the peo ple and to its circulation among the laity. For example, the Synod of Toulouse in 1229 A. D. forbade lay Christians to possess copies of the Bible. The right to read and teac h the Bible was reserved to the clergy. For centuries the Waldenses faced physical, civil, and economic persecutions at the h and of the Catholic House of Savoy for translating and distributing portions of the Bibl e. The most cruel massacre of the innocent Waldenses took place in the Italian Piedm ont valleys in 1655 by the army of Charles Emmanuel II, the Catholic Duke of Savoy. T he whole Protestant world was shocked by this brutal massacre. Oliver Cromwell (159 9-1658), Lord Protector of England, protested vigorously and John Milton, his foreign s ecretary and poet, dedicated this famous sonnet of Paradise Lost to the thousand of s laughtered Waldenses. "Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold, Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old, When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones." Incidentally, it was a Waldensian fellow carpenter who loaned a Bible to my father, w hile he was still a young devout Catholic. Reading that Bible proved to be a turning po int in my father's religious experience, as well as in the future of our family. My father lost that Bible when he showed it to his parish priest, hoping to receive answers to qu estions raised by reading the Word of God. The priest abruptly took away the Bible fro m my father's hands, saying: "This book will breed only confusion and unrest to your soul. Leave it with me." It is only since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) that the Catholic Church has encouraged its members to read the annotated Catholic Bible. This recent decision h as not significantly increased the reading of the Bible in Catholic homes, because hist orically the Word of God has been and largely remains an unknown book to most Cat holics. Protestant Attempts to Prevent the Circulation of the Bible. Surprisingly, even Protest ant rulers and church leaders have attempted to prevent the translation and circulati
on of the Bible. For example, Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of London, strongly opposed th e efforts of William Tyndale (1494-1536) to translate and publish the Bible in English. Tyndale, a brilliant Bible scholar trained at Oxford and Cambridge, was greatly distres sed by the ignorance of the clergy and laity about the Bible. He determined to educat e the English people about the Word of God by translating it in their own language. B ut, he faced enormous opposition from both secular and religious powers in England. Consequently, he was forced to go to Germany to continue his English translation of t he New Testament. In 1526 the first 3000 copies of the octavo edition of Tyndale's English New Testamen t were published in Worms, Germany. When copies reached England, Bishop Tunstall ordered them to be collected and burned at St. Paul's Cross in London. Eventually, Ty ndale's New Testament became the basis for the King James translation. Tyndale was relentlessly attacked for daring to translate the Bible into English. He wa s attacked not only by London Bishop Tunstall, but also by William Warham, the Archb ishop of Canterbury, and by Thomas Moore, the Chancellor of the English Parliament. These men sent secret agents to trap him as he moved around from his Antwerp bas e. He was finally arrested and imprisoned in the Castle of Vilvorde, a few miles from B russels. Early in October 1536 he was strangled in the courtyard of the castle. The eff ectiveness of the opposition to Tyndale's English translation of the New Testament wa s such, that of the 18,000 copies that were smuggled to England, only two known cop ies remain. Communists Attacks Against the Bible. In the past 100 years Communist government s have attempted to discredit the Bible and to prevent its circulation in their countries. They have used both educational and legal measures. Educationally, people have be en taught that the Bible is a superstitious fairy tale book to be rejected by enlightene d communist minds. Legally, many people have been arrested and imprisoned for att empting to smuggle Bibles into communist countries. Autocratic political and religious systems feel threatened by the Bible because its me ssage summons people to give priority to God in their thinking and living. When peop le accept the God of biblical revelation, making Him first and supreme in their lives, t hey will not give in to the demands of autocratic political or religious rulers who want the absolute allegiance to their persons, teachings, or parties. Conclusion. The past attempts to suppress the Bible by burning it or banning it, have proven to be futile. Christians have been willing to suffer torture and death, rather th an denying its truths which made them free. The Bible remains unchallenged year aft er year as the world's best seller. It is still the greatest force for the moral renewal of our human society. Voltaire, the noted French infidel who died in 1778, predicted that within 100 years C hristianity would be extinct. Instead, the irony of history is that the Geneva Bible Soci ety used his house and his printing presses to publish copies of the Bible! No other bo ok in history has been so hated, burned, and banned. Yet it still survives today and re aches almost all the people of the world with its close to 2000 translations. Its moral principles still serve as the moral foundation of many societies. BIBLICAL CRITICISM The failure of the past attempts to prevent the circulation of the Bible has not weaken ed the Devil's determination to destroy its authority and influence. During the past th
ree centuries he has adopted a new strategy which has almost destroyed the high vie w of the Bible previously held in the Christian world. The result has been a theological crisis of unprecedented proportions. This crisis has been precipitated by the introduct ion of a new method of investigating the Bible known as "Biblical Criticism," or "Highe r Criticism." Definition of Biblical Criticism. The term "Biblical Criticism" describes the application of the modern literary and historical-critical methods to the study of the Bible. It critic ally analysis the biblical text with the aim of identifying literary sources, the manner a nd date of composition, conjecturing the authorship, and the literary development of the text. In theory, the intent of Biblical Criticism is to enhance the appreciation of the Bible th rough a fuller understanding of its literary history and message. In practice, however, it destroys any confidence in the divine origin of the message of the Bible, because it presupposes its writings to be a merely human literary production, entirely conditione d by the culture of the time. It is important to note that there is another category of criticism known as "lower" crit icism, which is functionally different from "higher" criticism. Lower criticism is concer ned with ascertaining as nearly as possible the text of the original manuscripts from t he remaining copies. In view of its function, lower criticism is commonly called textual criticism. Lower criticism is more objective than that of higher criticism, because its s cope is limited to an analysis of available textual manuscripts. The case is different with higher criticism. While the higher critic is interested in the a ccuracy of the text, his overriding concern is to study the writings purely as human lit erature, rejecting a priori any possible divine inspiration of the writers and divine inte rvention into human affairs. He inquires into the date of the composition, the authors hip, the possible use of sources, the culture that influenced the text. It is therefore fre quently distinguished in literary, historical, source, form, and redaction criticism, dep ending on the aspect of higher criticism being examined. The fundamental problem with higher criticism is his reliance on the critic's subjective speculations, rather than on verifiable scientific investigation. James Orr makes this p oint in his major article on "Biblical Criticism" in the International Standard Bible Ency clopedia, of which he was Editor-in-chief. He wrote: "While invaluable as an aid in the domain of Biblical introduction (date, authorship, genuineness, contents, destination, etc.), [Biblical Criticism] manifestly tends to widen out illimitably into regions where e xact science cannot follow it, where, often, the critic's imagination is his only law."1 This method of linguistic and historical research is not unique to our times. Similar m ethods were used in the past by Theodore of Mopsuestia (c.350-428) who used gram matical and historical indicators to exegete biblical texts. Even Luther used this meth od in his exegetical analyses of Bible texts. What is new is the radical approach of the study of the biblical text, which consists in rejecting a priori any supernatural or mirac ulous divine manifestation in human history, thus forcing all the evidence to comply with these assumptions. The Negative Impact of Biblical Criticism The negative impact of Biblical Criticism can be seen in the increasing number of Bibl e scholars, preachers, and lay-Christians who have lost their confidence in the trustw orthiness of the Bible. While historically the Bible has been regarded as God's reveale d Word, today liberal critics refuse to identify God's Word with the message of the Bib
le. The crisis of Biblical authority is a fundamental problem facing many Protestant ch urches are facing today. Although W. Pannenberg, a renown liberal scholar, is himself part of the problem, he correctly affirms: "The dissolution of the traditional doctrine o f Scripture constitutes a crisis at the very foundation of modern Protestant theology"2 Surprisingly, as the authority of the Bible is going down in the Protestant world, the a uthority of the Pope is going up. The reason is simple. People resent tyranny, but welc ome the voice of authority. And the Pope speaks with authority to the millions of Prote stants who no longer know what to believe. To them the Pontiff has become, as Churc h Historian Martin E. Marty puts it, "a walking fortress of faith" in the midst of a godle ss society.3 The Negative Impact is Widely Recognized. The negative impact of liberal criticism is widely recognized by evangelical scholars. For example, James M, Boice boldly affirm s: "Modern biblical criticism, more than anything else, has weakened and almost dest royed the high view of the Bible previously held throughout Christendom."4 An increa sing number of Christian leaders are joining the chorus of unbelief in casting doubts u pon the trustworthiness of the Bible. The defection from a high view of the Bible is ha ving a far more devastating impact on the future of Christian churches than the past attempts to suppress the Bible. The anti-supernatural presuppositions of Biblical Criticism influences the methods use d in contemporary biblical studies and the preaching of many ministers. Speaking of his own Baptist Church, Clark H. Pinnock, a respected Evangelical scholar who has ser ved as President of the Evangelical Theological Society, sadly notes that "a considera ble number of important Baptist leaders and thinkers have publicly and unequivocally rejected and sometimes denounced belief in the complete trustworthiness of the Bibl e. . . . And we must say that this shift of opinion has caused an ongoing and serious s plit between a large majority of Baptist people who hold the traditional Baptist and C hristian view of the Bible and the majority of seminary and college professors who fra nkly do not."5 An Unprecedented Crisis. With almost prophetic foresight, renowned systematic theol ogian, A. H. Strong, warned in 1918 of the severe dangers posed by negative Biblical criticism. "What is the effect of this method upon our theological seminaries? It is to d eprive the gospel message of all definiteness, and to make professors and students di sseminators of doubt. . . . The unbelief in our seminary teaching is like a blinding mist slowly settling down upon our churches, and is gradually abolishing, not only all defini te views of Christian doctrine, but also all conviction of duty to 'contend earnestly for the faith' of our fathers.' . . . We are ceasing to be evangelistic as well as evangelical, and if this downward progress continues, we shall in due time cease to exist."6 These insightful observations highlight that Biblical Criticism has caused a crisis of un precedented proportions in Christianity. What is at stakes is two versions of Christiani ty: one based on divine revelation and the other derived from human reason. Becaus e of the devastating impact that Biblical Criticism is having on Christian beliefs and pr actices, it is important to examine its ideological roots and historical development, be fore we evaluate its presuppositions and methods. The Ideological Roots of Biblical Criticism Biblical Criticism developed in the 18th and 19th centuries, partly as a reaction again st the rigid Protestant teachings which were based on a verbal concept of inspiration. To counteract Catholic teachings, during the Post-reformation period, Protestants theo logians exalted the authority of the Bible by teaching the radical concept of verbal ins
piration. The Liberals reacted against this radical view by going to the other extreme i n rejecting any form of divine revelation. Rationalism. Two major philosophical ideologies influenced the development of Biblica l Criticism, namely rationalism and evolutionism. Rationalism, an outgrowth on the En lightenment Movement of the eighteenth century, attempted to reduce Christianity to a religion developed by human reasoning, rather than by divine revelation. Friedrich Schleimacher (1768-1834), who is rightly regarded as the most influential lib eral theologian of the nineteenth century, sought the essence of Christianity in intuiti ve feelings rather than in an objective divine revelation. This rationalistic, subjective approach to Scripture led to the rejection of any miraculous elements in the biblical t exts, because they could not be empirically proven. Evolutionism. The second philosophical ideology that influenced the rise of Biblical Cri ticism is the evolutionary philosophy, which applies to the biblical text Darwin's theor y of the evolution of the species from simple to complex. The result was that the relig ion of the Bible was viewed as a product of a religious evolution. As Church Historian Earl Cairns explains, "critics emphasized the development of the idea of God from the primitive storm god of Mount Sinai to the ethical monotheistic god of the prophets"7 The end result was that within a relatively short period of time, the Bible came to be viewed as a distinctively human document, stripped of any transcendent authority. H ence, the Bible must be studied and interpreted in the same way as other literature, according to the methods of literary research. Unfortunately, this forcing of the Bible i nto the categories of secular literature, distorts its message and weakens its capacity to transform human lives. Fundamentally, the Critical Movement is anti-supernatural and anti-miraculous. It reje cts the idea that God acts in any supernatural way in the history of mankind. It views all religious movements as human developments determined strictly by natural cause s. The religion of the Bible is no exception. Consequently, the Bible contains no revela tion, but a gradual development of the human apprehension of God, from the primitiv e beliefs of cave-dwellers, to the refined monotheism of our day. Biblical writings hav e only a historical value by providing a record of remarkable manifestations of religio us experience. In the end, human reason and experience supersedes biblical revelati on. While the Reformation weakened ecclesiastical authority, Biblical Criticism has weake ned biblical authority. The result is that for many seminary professors and preachers t he Bible is no longer the normative, authoritative Word of God that reveals His will an d purpose for mankind, but a fallible book that contains gems of truth mixed with erro r. The Historical Development of Biblical Criticism The origin of Biblical Criticism is generally traced back to the seventeenth and eighte enth centuries. Men such as Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), Thomas Hobbes (1668-1712), and Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677), analyzed the Bible as ordinary literature and bega n doubting the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, viewing it as the result of a long compilation of several editors. Biblical Criticism of the Old Testament. Jean Astruc (1684-1766), a French scientist an d physician, laid the foundation for the "documentary theory" of the Pentateuch. He d isputed the Mosaic authorship of Genesis by isolating the two Hebrew names for God,
Elohim and Yahweh. From this he concluded that the author of the book drew upon tw o separate major sources. This theory was soon adopted by such scholars as Johann Eichhorn (1752-1827), Willh elm De Wette (1780-1849) and Edward Reuss (1804-1891). These men expanded the "Documentary Theory" from Genesis to the whole of the Old Testament. The culminati ng work was done by Julius Wellhausen in his Prolegomena (1878), where he presents the well-known Graf-Wellhausen four stages (JEPD) documentary hypothesis. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary offers a concised description of the Gr af-Wellhasen theory. "The Bible writer called Jahvist (J), a citizen of the southern kingd om of Judah, wrote his source material, among which, for example, are the patriarcha l stories from Abraham to the Exodus, in the middle of the 9th century B. C. A century later the writer called Eloist (E), living in the northern kingdom of Israel, wrote his acc ount. These two documents were cleverly combined into one book, JE, by a redactor o r editor (R-JE) about 650 B. C. In 621 B. C. the book of Deuteronomy (D) was produce d, although not in the form we know it. The book was worked over by another redacto r (R-D) about 550 B. C. Between the years 500 and 450 B. C., a priestly writer (P) wrot e the legal and religious parts of the Pentateuch, which were then incorporated into t he other books of a presumed Mosaic origin by another redactor (R-P), who did the fin al work of editing about 400 B. C. or a little later. Since that time, according to this th eory, the Pentateuch has not experienced appreciable modification."8 Later writers divided Isaiah into two parts and dated Daniel in the second century. Th e application of the principles of Biblical Criticism not only radically changed the date s and the authorship of the Old Testament books, but also introduced a completely se cular and evolutionistic study of their sources. The Biblical Criticism of the New Testament. The application of the anti-supernaturalis tic assumptions of Biblical Criticism were applied to the New Testament at about the s ame period. Herman Samuel Reimarus published in 1778 his Fragments where he den ies the possibility of miracles, thus alleging that the New Testament writers were piou s liers. This gave rise to the quest for the "historical Jesus" by such scholars as David Friedrich Strauss (1808-1878), Bruno Bauer (1809-18882) and Albert Schweitzer (187 5-1965). In his Quest of the Historical Jesus, Schweitzer depicts Christ as a radical esc hatologist who precipitated his own death, allegedly to bring about the establishment of God's Kingdom. The common denominator of these studies is a priory elimination o f supernatural elements in order to allow the real man Jesus to emerge. The liberal criticism of the New Testament culminated in the work of Rudolf Bultmann who was determined to strip away the mythology of the New Testament writers. He c ontends that all the references to heaven, hell, miracles, the Virgin Birth, the Incarnat ion, the Resurrection, the Atonement through Christ's death, the Ascension and Seco nd Advent, are myths and absurd superstitions, incredible for modern people. For Bult mann, the New Testament is the outgrowth of an oral tradition in which the church cr eatively added supernatural elements to the life and teachings of Jesus. Consequentl y the study of the Bible must be approached in existential terms. People must find au thenticity, security, and meaning beyond the words of scripture to their existential m eaning. Conclusion. The major characteristics of Biblical Criticism can be summed up in two w ords: humanistic and naturalistic. It is humanistic because it assumes that the Bible is man's word about God, rather than God's Word to mankind. It is naturalistic because i t assumes that the Bible is the result of an evolutionary process. It is the outgrowth of people's apprehension of God, edited and amended over centuries.
The end result is that the Bible loses its distinctive authority, becoming merely a piec e of religious literature, important for the themes presented, but without any normati ve authority for defining beliefs and practices. If the Reformation weakened ecclesiast ical authority by exalting Sola Scriptura, Biblical Criticism has weakened Biblical auth ority by exalting human reasoning. An Evaluation of Biblical Criticism The determining elements of the entire critical movement are its presuppositions and assumptions. Their evolutionary world-view largely determines their speculations abo ut the Bible and its teachings. The world-view of a cosmos developing from simple to complex forms of life is appealing, but ultimately it robs God of His creative and rede mptive power. It also deprives human life of meaning and hope for a glorious future. Underlying Presuppositions. The leaders of the critical movement view nature and his tory as the product of forces in the process of development. Consequently, there has never been, nor there could ever be a direct intervention of God into human affairs. If there is a God, he is a prisoner within His own cosmos, limited to the evolutionary me thod to bring things to pass. These naturalistic assumptions dismiss as myths and leg ends the biblical accounts of Creation, the Fall, the Flood, the Incarnation, the Resurre ction, and miracles. An example of this humanistic perspective is found in The Broadman Bible Commenta ry, where Adam is treated as merely a symbol of mankind rather than as a historical person.9 The rejection of the historicity of Adam has led numerous critics to reject als o the historical person of the second Adam, Christ Himself. Consistent with this humanistic perspective is the rejection of "predictive prophecy" a s this would involve a supernatural revelation. No Old Testament prophet could have f oretold events to occur centuries later. A. B. Davidson reflects this view when he writ es: "The prophet is always a man of his time, and it is always to the people of his tim e that he speaks, not to a generation long after, not to us."10 Liberal critics are united in their presuppositions that, as J. A. Alexander of Princeton puts it, "there simply cannot be prophetic foresight of the distant future."11 For exam ple, since the book of Daniel predicts the fate of the Babylonian, Medio-Persian, Gree k, and Roman empires, it is assumed that it was authored by an unknown scribe durin g the time of the Maccabees (c.167 B. C.). This assumption is discredited by the fact t hat Daniel's prophecies reach beyond the second century B. C. to the final establishm ent of God's Kingdom. These underlying anti-supernatural assumptions cause liberal critics to deny a priori a ll the exhibitions of divine power mentioned in the Bible. The denial of the Bible's clai m to be a revelation from God who acts in human history, raises a fundamental quest ion: Who is telling the truth, the Bible writers or the critics? Both cannot be right. If the critics are right, then Jesus Christ was an impostor, since He vouched for the tru stworthiness of the Old Testament prophets who wrote about Him (Luke 24:44; John 5: 39, 46-47). If Christ was a victim of the ignorance of His day, or even worse, a charlat an, then we are left only with the speculations of the critics, who offer us no provision for our salvation, nor any hope for our future destiny. To reject as untrue and unscientific anything that savors of the miraculous in the Bibl e, means to ignore the complex structure and design of the cosmos, including that of
the human body. No evolutionary theory can explain how rational human beings coul d ever derive from irrational matter, how our intricate and complex cosmos could eve r have evolved spontaneously from chaos. It is a scientific fact that order does not ev olve spontaneously from disorder, design from confusion. Whether the critics wish to admit or not, the very complex design of the human body with its multitude of parts s o intricately connected, points to the miraculous work of an omniscient Designer. The Methods of Biblical Criticism. The methods used by liberal critics reflect their fun damental assumptions. For example, since they assume that the biblical narratives d eveloped along evolutionary lines, the complex civil and ritual legislations of the Pent ateuch are assigned a much later post-Mosaic date. Harry Emerson, a radical critic, w rote: "We know that every idea in the Bible started from primitive and childlike origins and, with however many setbacks and delays, grew in scope and height toward the c ulmination of Christ's Gospel."12 On the basis of this gratuitous assumption, the Mosaic authorship of nearly all the leg islation of the Pentateuch is denied, because it is regarded as too advanced for the ti me of Moses. Julius Wellhausen (18844-1918) contended that in Moses' time, Israel c ould not have possessed the complicated civil and social laws contained in the Pentat euch. Thus, the legislation was produced at a later date. Is this assumption true? Hardly so. Centuries before Moses, civil and religious laws flo urished in Babylon and Egypt and most likely were part of the religious education of Moses. A number of law codes have been exhumed from the ancient past. For exampl e, the Sumerian systems of Ur-Nammu (about 2050 B. C.), the Akkadian laws of Eshn unna (about 1950 B. C.), and the Code of Hammurabi, were all as technical as the Mo saic legislation, which they preceded by several centuries.13 Liberal critics of an earlier generation contended that Moses could not have authored the Pentateuch simply because the art of writing was developed several centuries lat er at the time of David (about 1000 B.C). Archeological discoveries have long refuted such false assumption. In his informative book, History Begins at Sumer, (New York, 1 959), the late Dr. Samuel Noah Kramer, America's foremost Sumerologist, compellingl y shows that a complex civilization with schools and writing existed in Mesopotamia a lmost a thousand years before Moses was born.14 Another compelling evidence of the existence of writing before Moses comes from th e Hittites. Liberal critics had dismissed them as a legendary people, since only the Bi ble mentions them. The critics were convinced that the Bible writers had a predisposi tion for fabricating myths and legends. But archeology has exposed the critics' ignora nce and arrogance by proving that the Hittites were an intelligent people whose writi ngs antedate Moses and show striking resemblance to the literary patterns of the Pen tateuch. The above examples serve to show that the conclusions of liberal critics are often based on gratuitous assumptions, devoid of external support. The Documentary Theory. Liberal critics have dissected certain books of the Bible acc ording to the perceived literary sources used by authors or redactors. For example, w e noted earlier that the well-known Graf-Wellhausen school of thought has cut up the first five books of the Old Testament into a literary crazy quilt, as if Moses counted for nothing. Their division of the Pentateuch into four major documentary sources, called J, E, P, and D, is largely based on the assumption that the use of different divine nam es ("Jehovah," or "Elohim") in various portions of the Pentateuch reflects different aut horship. Allegedly such "pattern" implies that different redactors have reworked the material.
The notion that the use of different names for God presupposes that different redacto rs have arbitrarily manipulated the text, is gratuitous, to say the least. This question i s discussed in considerable detail by Kenneth A. Kitchen, of the School of Archeology and Oriental Studies at the University of Liverpool. In his book, Ancient Orient and Ol d Testament, Kitchen shows that "major variations in style" are "universal in ancient t exts whose literary unity is beyond dispute"15 He further points out that "even the m ost ardent advocate of the documentary theory must admit that we have yet no singl e scrap of external, objective, i.e. tangible, evidence for either the existence or histor y of 'J,' 'E,' or any other alleged source document."16 Other scholars have been forced to reject the JEPD Documentary Theory for being wit hout merit. In his book The Documentary Hypothesis, Umberto Cassuto, late professo r at the University of Jerusalem, admits that the main arguments of this theory are "w ithout substance." He further declares that the system is an edifice "founded on air," and that it is "null and void."17 In a similar vein Professor Moses H. Segal writes in his book The Composition of the P entateuch: A Fresh Examination, that "We must reject the Documentary Theory as an explanation of the composition of the Pentateuch. The theory is complicated, artificial, and anomalous. It is based on unproven assumptions. It uses unreliable criteria for th e separation of the text into component documents."18 It is encouraging to note that competent scholars are now rejecting the documentary theory which has dominated the field of Old Testament studies for over a century. R. R endtorff sees "clearly signs of the great unanimity in the abandonment" of the docum entary theory.19 The attempt of liberal critics to charge Bible writers with deceptive falsification of the text for inexplicable motives has backfired. It has led responsible scholars to recogniz e that the critics themselves are the falsifiers. They are the ones who have played fas t and loose with the biblical text to suit their theories. By so doing they have slandere d the God who has revealed Himself through Bible writers. Does God Teach Truth by Means of Falsehood? The quality of the books of the Bible do es not lend support to the charge of falsification of their content. Such a notion is abh orrent to the Christian conscience that has not been dulled by the presuppostions of li beral critics. Even critics recognize that the moral and religious teachings of the Bible are the best this world has known. It is inconceivable that God, who is altogether just and holy, would teach truths about Himself by means of myths, sagas, falsified histor y, which are not true to life or history. If the critics are right, then much of the Pentateuch was written by several deceptive writers and redactors, who lived at different times and places, but who schemed toge ther to attribute the finish product to Moses. Can God sanction such dishonest means and pious fraud to communicate His truths? Could He allow His people to be fed false hood for centuries? If the critics were right that there is no truth in the story of creatio n, of the Fall, the Flood, the call of Abraham, the work of Moses, then God has been a n arch-deceiver, conniving with evil to accomplish His purpose. Such a conception is abhorrent and repulsive to any one who believes in the righteous God of the Bible. The Book of Daniel provides a fitting illustration. According to the critics the book was written by different authors in the second century B. C. and contains but a grain of tr uth. Yet the book offers gripping stories that have influenced countless lives through t he centuries. It portrays in a vivid manner the supernatural manifestation of God's po wer in enabling Daniel to interpret dreams, in giving visions that reveal the future unf
olding of world empires, in delivering from the fiery furnace, in saving from the lion's mouth. These stories have built the faith of believers through the centuries. If they ar e fiction, as the critics allege, then God has been deceiving sincere believers for mille nnia. Such a God may be acceptable to the critics, but is repulsive to the Christian co nscience. The God of the Bible is a truthful God. He would not resort to teach religiou s lessons by fabricating stories and events which never occurred. There are difficultie s in the Book of Daniel, but they are not as great as the moral dilemmas posed by the critics. To examine the problems found in a biblical text or book is a legitimate scholarly end eavor, but to conclude on the basis of insufficient evidence that the writings are unrel iable and untrue is quite another matter. We must not forget, as Merrill Tenny points o ut, that "Apart from the question of inspiration, the authors of the Old and New Testa ments were not impelled by a perverted ambition to victimize a gullible public. They were not making a point of producing religious fiction. Most of them were prophets an d preachers who jeopardized their lives to proclaim what these message contain. The y would not have wasted their efforts in trivia, nor would they have propagated untru th."20 The Limitations of Biblical Criticism. A fundamental problem of the critical movement is its failure to accept certain limitations in the investigation of the Bible. There is the limitation dictated by the unique character of the Bible. Its dynamic is different from any other religious book. No other book has produced a similar moral impact on peopl e. King Josiah was moved to repentance and reform by the reading of the law (2 Kings 2 2:10-13; 23:1-25). The translation and reading of portions of the Old Testament by Ezr a brought about sweeping reforms in the lives of the people (Neh 8:1-6; 9:1-3). The tr anslation and circulation of the Bible in the 16th century inspired reformatory movem ents in various parts of Europe. No other book by Plato, Muhammed, or Buddah has in fluenced moral changes or given such a lofty concept of God as the Bible. This means that any critical investigation of the Bible must take into account that the Bible is not merely one of the many surviving religious documents of antiquity, but a unique book whose dynamic differs from any other book. It is only with an attitude of reverence that a genuine investigation of the Bible can be conducted. Critics should also accept the limitation of the evidences available to test the accurac y of the Bible. To conclude that some statements of the Bible are inaccurate because they do not agree with the information available, means to ignore that sometimes the Bible is the sole witness of the events reported. During this past century new discove ries have often corroborated the trustworthiness of the biblical record. In forming their conclusions about the accuracy of biblical accounts, critics must also recognize the limitation of purpose of Bible writers. Their intent was not to explain co ntemporary phenomena for the benefit of twentieth century scholars, but to commun icate a message that was relevant to their intended audiences. A fitting example of the need to recognize the above limitations, is the work of E. R. T hiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings. Contrary to the prevailing assum ptions of the critics, Thiele's painstaking research demonstrated that the chronologie s of the kings of Israel and Judah could be reconciled. Assuming that the record was a ccurate though obscure, he showed that two methods of reckonings were used in the chronology of the Hebrew kings - methods which sometimes changed without notice i n the text.
The Spirit of Biblical Criticism. An evaluation of the critical movement would not be co mplete without giving some consideration to the spirit that animates their critical inv estigation of the Bible. Are the critics motivates by their presuppositions or by their re ligious faith? What is supreme in their thinking, their theories or their faith? The funda mental of a biblical faith are divine creation, revelation, incarnation, resurrection, Sec ond Advent, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit. By contrast, liberal critics have no place for these beliefs. Ultimately, the question is: By which authority shall we investigate the Bible? Will our thinking be guided by critic al presuppositions, or by the internal witness of the Scripture? If we make the critics' assumptions supreme, then we are obligated to reject anything in the Bible that does not fit them. Sadly, this is what has happened. Liberal critics have chosen to investig ate the Bible on the basis of their humanistic and evolutionary assumptions, and cons equently have been compelled to reject the fundamentals of the Christian faith. When people make their philosophy their ultimate authority, it is not a long step befo re their reason becomes their own god. This is indeed the step that some liberal critic s have taken. By accepting the evolutionary assumption that all things exist in a state of change and becoming, they assume that God is changing, the Bible will be outgro wn, and Christianity will soon become a religion of the past. This leaves us without ab solute truths, no moral standards, no meaning for this present life, and no hope for o ur future destiny. It would be unfair to suggest that all liberal critics go as far as predicting the eventual dismissal of the Bible and dissolution of Christianity. Most of them still retain a wholes ome respect for the Bible because of their early conservative training and upbringing. They try to hold togethertheir critical presuppositions and their religious experience. Eventually, however, the two become irreconcilable. We are beginning to see its impa ct on the very existence of those liberal churches where the Bible has become a mere plaything for the intellect. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Conclusion. Liberal critics have contributed in their own ways to the understanding of the language and of the socio-historical settings in which God revealed Himself to His own people. Unfortunately, their evolutionary world-view and anti-supernatural assu mptions have greatly depreciated the authority and function of the Bible in Christianit y. The biblical accounts of Creation, the Fall, the Flood, the Incarnation, the Resurrecti on, and miracles are dismissed as myths and legends. An increasing number of responsible scholars have come to recognize that liberal criti cs have played fast and loose with the biblical text to suit their theories. They have el evated their own reasoning at the expenses of the internal witness of the Scripture. The negative impact of liberal criticism calls for a responsible reexamination of the in spiration and authority of the Bible. In the next section we shall see how conservative Christians have responded to the attacks of liberal critics by developing the "Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------ENDNOTES
1. James Orr, "Biblical Criticism," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1960), vol 2, p.751. 2. 3. W. Pannenberg, Basic Questions in Theology (Philadelphia, 1970), p. 4. Martin E. Marty, TV Guide, Sept 5, 1987, p. 34.
4. James Montgomery Boice, Foundations of the Faith: A Comprehensive and Reada ble Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois, 1986), p. 79. 5. Clark H. Pinnock, "Baptists and Biblical Authority," in Ronald Youngbood, ed., Eva ngelicals and Inerrancy (New York, 1984), p. 155. 6. A.H. Strong, A Tour of the Missions: Observations and Conclusions (Philadelphia, 1918), pp. 170-174. 7. Earle E. Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Chu rch (Grand Rapids 198)1, p. 412. 8. 9. Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, pp. 151-152. The Broadman Bible Commentary, Nashville, 1973), p. 47.
10. A Dictionary of the Bible, ed. James Hastings (Edinburg, 1902), vol. 4, p. 118. 11. A Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah (Grand Rapids, 1953), p. 24. 12. Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Modern Use of the Bible (New York, 1924), p. 11. 13. For a discussion, see, "The Code of Hammurabi," The Christian Couries (March 1 999), p. 43. 14. Samuel Noah Kramer, History Begins at Sumer, (New York, 1959), pp. 85-135. 15. Kenneth A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament (London, 1966), p 125. 16. Ibid., p. 23; emphasis in the original. 17. Umberto Cassuto, The Documentary Hypothesis (Jerusalem, 1961), pp. 5, 100, 1 01. 18. Moses H. Segal, The Composition of the Pentateuch: A Fresh Examination (New Y ork, 1985), p. 95. 19. R. Rendtorff, "Pentateuchal Studies on the Move," Journal for the Study of the Ol d Testament, 3, (1976), p. 45. 20. Merrill C. Tenny, "The Legitimate Limits of Biblical Criticism," in Evangelicals and Inerrancy, Ronald Youngblood, ed., (New York, 1984), p. 33. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------UPCOMING WEEKEND SEMINARS
As a service to our subscribers, I am listing the date and the location of the upcoming seminars for the month of July and August 2003. Every Sabbath it is a great pleasure for me to meet subscribers who travel considerable distances to attend the seminars. JULY 4-5: BONN, GERMANY FRIDAY EVENING: July 4 - 7:30 p. m. Bonn SDA Church, located at Maarflach 12, 5311 13 Bonn. SABBATH: July 5 - 10:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m: Haus der evangelischen Kirche, located a t Konrad-Adenauer-Allee 37, 53113 Bonn For information call Pastor Prieser at 2241 - 34 33 03 or Henryk Miglio at 2241 - 31 28 59. JULY 12: NEAR VENICE, ITALY Location: Conegliano SDA Church For information call Pastor Patrizio Calliari at 0422-362083 JULY 25-26: LOS ANGELES: NORMANDIE SDA CHURCH Location: 12420 South Normandie Avenue, Los Angeles , CA 90044. For information call Pastor Adolphus Garnett at (323)757-0176 or (323) 216-0545 AUGUST 2: CHICAGO: BURRRIDGE SDA CHURCH Location: 725 75th Street, Darien, Illinois 60559. The church rents the Lord of Life Lut heran Church For information call Pastor Ante Jeroncic at (630) 963-1036 or (630) 730-3075 AUGUST 8-9: TORONTO EAST SDA CHURCH Location: 170 Westwood Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 2B1, Canada. For information call Pastor Vaudre Jacques at (905) 660-0136 or (416) 696-5784 AUGUST 15-16: NEW YORK: GETHSEMANE SDA CHURCH Location: 357 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225 For information call Pastor Jean-Marie Charles at (718) 444-2125 AUGUST 29-30: OTTAWA FRENCH SDA CHURCH Location: 375 King Edward Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1N 7M5, Canada For information call Pastor Max Pierre at (613) 740-0041 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------SPECIAL OFFER ON LCD VIDEO PROJECTORS!!! If your church is looking for a state-of-the-art LCD video projector, you will be please t o receive this exciting news. The HITACHI corporation of North America agreed to offe r their line of projectors to our Adventist churches and institutions at over 60% discou nt, through one of the major distribution center in New York. Let me explain briefly what happened. During the past two years I have bought five d ifferent video projectors to present my popular PowerPoint SABBATH and ADVENT SE MINARS. I was looking for the best video projector on the market for my itinerant mini stry around the world. After trying over a dozen of video projectors, including SONY, I N-FOCUS, PROXIMA, PANASONIC, EPSON, SANYO, I found that the HITACHI CP-S370W 2200 LUMENS VIDEO PROJECTOR, outperforms any video projectors in its class. It is li
ght and bright, surpassing in performance all the other projectors of the same lumens that I have tried. Many of the churches where I have presented my PowerPoint seminars were so impre ssed by the outstanding performance of the HITACHI CP-S370W video projector, that t hey asked me how to get one at a reasonable price. I decided to contact the HITACHI corporation of North America to explore the possibility of offering the HITACHI PROJEC TORS to our Adventist churches and institutions directly without having to go through a local dealer. I told HITACHI that I can be their best field representative, since I use t heir projector every weekend. Adventist churches and institutions can see first hand t he marvelous performance of this outstanding projector. HITACHI saw the light and they decided to authorize me to offer their projectors to ou r Adventist institutions directly through one of their major North America Distribution Center. The special price is over 60% discount on the factory suggested retail price. Y ou can read below the list of their projectors together with the special price. This mea ns that your church can purchase any of the dozen models of HITACHI projectors rang ing from 1200 to 4500 lumens at an incredible low price. For example, if your churches wants to purchase the HITACHI CP-S370W 2200 LUMEN S VIDEO PROJECTOR which I am use every weekend with great satisfaction, the speci al price is only $2200.00, shipping expenses included. This is a bargain price for such a marvelous projector, considering that the factory suggested retail price is $6995.00. The procedure is very simple. Once I receive your order, I will pass it on directly to th e major HITACHI distributor in New York. He will ship the projector directly to your add ress. It is as simple as that. I do not handle or store any projectors. I only pass on the orders to the major North America HITACHI distributor center who takes care of every thing. Last week HITACHI sent me 9 screens 70" wide as a bonus for generating so many or ders. This means that you can receive FREE OF CHARGE one of these screens, if your order reaches me before they run out. The screens usually sell for about $200.00 eac h, but you will receive it free of charge. Your personal effort to inform other pastors and churches of this unique opportunity, i s greatly appreciated. I have reasons to believe that the outstanding performance of t he HITACHI projectors will thrill you. During the past two years I have tried more than a dozen of different makes of video projectors in the various churches where I presented my seminars. None of them perf orm as well as the HITACHI CP-S370W 2200 LUMENS VIDEO PROJECTOR that I carry wi th me every weekend in my catalogue briefcase together with the TITANIUM Apple la p-top computer. I am talking from experience, not from hearsay. The projector is smal l, light (only 7 pounds) and exceptionally bright. I have used this HITACHI CP-S370W V IDEO 2200 LUMENS PROJECTOR even in large auditoriums with 2000 people with exce llent results. If your church is interested in a smaller or larger model, below is a partial the list of th e HITACHI PROJECTORS that are available. They are listed with both the suggested Ma nufactured Suggested Retail Price and the special discount that HITACHI offers to our churches. You can see that the discount is over 60%. For example, the price of the HIT ACHI CP-S370W 2200 LUMENS VIDEO PROJECTOR is only $2200.00, instead of the sug gested price of $6,995.00
Hitachi Projectors Model Res. Brightness Weight MSRP Your Price CP-X275W XGA 1200 Lumens 5 lbs $5,495 $1900.00 CP-S225W SVGA 1400 Lumens 5 lbs $4,495 $1400.00 CP-S317W SVGA 1700 Lumens 6 lbs $5,995 $1800.00 CP-X327W XGA 1800 Lumens 6 lbs $6,795 $2000.00 CP-S370W SVGA 2200 Lumens 7 lbs $6,995 $2200.00 CP-X385W XGA 2200 Lumens 7 lbs $7,995 $2800.00 CP-X430W XGA 2500 Lumens
9.9 lbs $8,995 $3300.00 CP-X880W XGA 3000 Lumens 12.6 lbs $10,995 $4000.00 CP-X885W XGA 3500 Lumens 12.6 lbs $12,995 $4700.00 CP-X995W XGA 4500 Lumens 14.3 lbs $12,995 $4900.00 If your church is interested in one of these projectors, feel free to call me at home at (269) 471-2915 or on my cellular at (269) 208-1942. I look forward to help your church purchase a state of the art video projector at a bar gain price. Christian regards Samuele Bacchiocchi Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University -------------------------------------------------------------------------------SPECIAL OFFER ON TWO CD-ROMS To express my gratitude for your interest in my research, I wish to offer for the first ti me my newly released CD-ROMS at an incredible discounted price. The two CD-ROMS contain all my 16 books, 100-plus articles, and the popular SABBATH/ADVENT SEMINA RS which I present around the world. Many people have encouraged me to place on CD-ROMS all my 16 books, the 100-plu s articles, and the popular PowerPoint seminars. For many months I have worked ever y waking moment to convert all my published material of over 6000 pages into ADOB E PDF format. An Adventist, who is a computer expert, has linked all the files to an ACROBAT search engine. This will make it possible for anyone with a PC or Apple computer to locate im mediately what I wrote on any given topic or Bible text. By typing in the name of a to pic or of a text, you will have at your finger tips the findings of my research. As an ext
ra bonus, we have included also the KJV of the Bible. You will find this CD to be of tre mendous help in the study of the Bible. The first CD-ROM contains, not only my 16 books and the KJV of the Bible, but also ov er 100 essays I have authored during the past 30 years of biblical research. The seco nd CD-ROM contains all my popular PowerPoint seminars presentations on the Sabbat h and Second Advent. Each lecture is illustrated with over 100 colorful slides. The tex t explaining each slide comes with the PowerPoint program itself and can be printed s eparately. This makes it possible for anyone to use and modify my lectures in other la nguages as well. I have spent over 1000 hours on this project which helps people visu alize the beauty of our message. The regular price for each CD-ROM is only $100.00, but I am pleased to offer you the CD-ROMS for only $50.00 each. If you buy the two CD-ROMS together your special pri ce is only $70.00, airmailing expenses included even overseas. This means that you s ave $130.00 when you order the two CD-ROMS together. You can order the two CD-R OMs by emailing us your credit card number, or by calling us at (269) 471-2915 or by mailing your check to: BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Mi chigan 49103. If you prefer to mail a check, you can print out and mail to me the follo wing form: Please mail me the CD-ROM with BOOKS/ARTICLES and/or the CD-ROM with the SEMI NARS at the special price of $50.00 for one or $70.00 for the two. Specify which CD-ROM you want __________________ Name ____________________________________________ Address ___________________________________________ City _______________________ State ________Zip Code_________ Mail your order to: BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES 4990 Appian Way Berrien Springs, MI 49103 WE GUARANTEE TO PROCESS YOUR ORDER ON THE SAME DAY WE RECEIVE IT. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Contact Information Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D. Retired Professor of Theology and Church History Andrews University 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, MI 49103 Phone (269) 471-2915 Fax (269) 471-4013 E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com -----------------------------------------------------------------*************
Biblical Errancy And Inerrancy Endtime Issues No. 102 - Part 2 19 August 2003 Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D. Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University Dear Members of the Endtime Issues Newsletter: The last newsletter covered the first part of the chapter on "Biblical Errancy and Inerr ancy," taken from the forthcoming book on Popular Heresies. The comments received indicate that there is considerable interest for this subject. Some have asked me to h elp them reconcile their commitment to the inspiration and authority of the Bible with the inaccuracies and discrepancies which they find in some narratives. This newslette r proposes a possible resolution to some of these problems by recognizing the divine and human elements in the composition of the Bible. Historically the Seventh-day Adventist church has rejected those heretical positions t hat undermine the authority of the Bible by making it either too-human or too-divine. Instead, the Adventist church has maintained a balanced view of the Bible by acknow ledging both its divine and human character. Much of the credit is due to the propheti c guidance of Ellen White who taught that the Bible is the product of the mysterious b lending of divine and human participation. The source is divine, the writers are huma n, and the writings contain divine thoughts in human language. The validity and relevance of the balanced Adventist position on the inspiration and a uthority of the Bible becomes clear as we consider first some recent developments in the introductory part of this newsletter, and then the major arguments advanced by i nerrantists. Two recent developments deserve our attention because they relate to th e question of Biblical authority. The first is the Episcopalian election of their first openl y homosexual man as their next bishop in New Hampshire. The second is the attempt of Harold Camping, Founder and President of the popular Family Radio program, to m ake Sunday the Christian Sabbath by appealing to the inerrancy of the original text of the New Testament -------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH ELECTS ITS FIRST GAY BISHOP At the 74th General convention of the Episcopal Church held in the Minneapolis Conv ention Center, Rev. V. Gene Robinson, 56, an openly homosexual man, was elected Bi shop of New Hampshire on Saturday August 9, 2003. The nomination is subject to co nfirmation next month by the church's National Convention. At the same meeting Epi scopalian church leaders affirmed that same-sex blessing ceremonies are "an accept able practice in the church." In a profile posted on the Diocese of New Hampshire Website - www.nhepiscopal.org Mr. Robinson describes the procedure he followed in divorcing his wife in 1986. He an d his wife returned to the church where their marriage begun. "In the context of the E ucharist, [we] released each other from our wedding vows, asked each other's forgive ness, cried a lot, pledged ourselves to the joint raising of our children, and shared the body and blood of Christ."
Robinson's attempt to sanction the termination of his marriage relationship, by releas ing himself and his wife from their wedding vows through a Lord's Supper ceremony, shows his total disregard for both the sacredness of the Lord's Supper and sanctity of marriage. How could Robinson in good faith expect Christ to bless the dissolution of h is marriage, while violating His injunction: "What therefore God has joined together, l et no man put asunder" (Mat 19:6)? To use a sacred ceremony to legitimize the break ing up of his marriage covenant, shows disrespect for both the sacredness of the Lord 's Supper and of the sanctity of marriage. Can God be Honored by Committed Same-Sex Relations? For the past 13 years Robinson has lived with his partner Mark Andrews. The Rev. Sa m Candler, pastor of the Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead, argued that Robinson's 1 3-year relationship with his partner shows that same-sex couples can make sacred co mmitments that honor God. One wonders how can God be honored by a homosexual relationship that has lasted 13 years, when He explicitly forbids such relationships in the first place. "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination" (L ev 18:22). If God can be honored by a same-sex relationship that has lasted for 13 ye ars, then why did He call for the death penalty for those involved in such relationship s? "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abo mination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them" (Lev 20:13). One wonders, how can church leaders who are called upon to teach the moral principl es that God has revealed, practice and justify a perverted gay-lifestyle that the Lord c alls "an abomination" (Lev 18:22; 20:13) and "shameless" (Rom 1:27)? How can a bis hop legitimize his living with a male partner when the Bible explicitly teaches that a man aspiring to the office of bishop, "must be above reproach, the husband of one wi fe, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, . . . He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way; for if a man does n ot know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God's church?" (1 Ti m 3:1-5)? The answer to these questions is to be found in the understanding of Biblical authorit y - the very topic we address in this newsletter. Liberal church leaders explain away t hose Bible teachings unacceptable to them. For example, in an interview with CNN an chor Anderson Cooper, Gene Anderson said: "what we are talking today about faithful, monogamous, lifelong intentioned relationships between people of the same sex is j ust simply not addressed in Scripture. The references . . . are to people who are thoug ht to be heterosexually oriented but are acting in homosexual [ways], which is agains t their nature. The whole [issue] of sexual orientation is only about 100 years old." Anderson's attempt to explain away the biblical condemnation of homosexuality by cl aiming that the Bible does not address same-sex committed relationships, ignores tw o important points. First, the Bible does not address same-sex relationships simply be cause they violate God's creational design for human relationship. Same-sex Relations Violate God's Creational Plan Jesus asked the Pharisees, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the begin ning made them male and female, and said, 'For this cause shall a man leave father a nd mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?'" (Mat 19: 4-5; cf. Mark 10:6-8). By appealing to "the beginning" (Mat 19:8; Mark 10:6), Christ ta ught that all human beings and cultures are called to live according to the unchangea ble standard instituted at creation. That standard is that only "male and female" can l egitimately "cleave" to one another and become "one flesh." If God intended same-se
x relationships to exists, He would have created and united in Holy Matrimony, not on ly Adam and Eve, but also Adam and Erik. Same-sex intimate relationships are condemned in the Bible simply because they are unnatural relationships, motivated by "dishonorable passions" (Rom 1:26). With comp elling clarity Paul describes this perversion from natural to unnatural relations. "Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natu ral relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men com mitting shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty f or their error." (Rom 1:26-27). The case of Gene Anderson exemplifies what Paul is talking about. After being lawfull y married for 17 years and procreated two daughters, he decided to give up his natur al relation with his wife in order to enter into an unnatural relation with his partner M ark Andrews. No matter what some Episcopal church leaders might say, the fact rem ains that the apostle characterizes such a relationship as a "shameless act" that dish onors God. Second, Anderson's contention that the question of same-sex relations is not address ed in the Bible because "the whole [issue] of sexual orientation is only about 100 yea rs old," is discredited by the fact that same-sex relations were well-known in the anci ent world. A well-known example is Sodom and Gomorrah, which "acted immorally an d indulged in unnatural lust . . . [they] serve as an example by undergoing a punishm ent of eternal fire" (Jude 7). The reason Bible writers do not make today's "enlightened" distinction between same -sex acts and same-sex committed relationship, is not because of their ignorance, but simply because they recognized that there is no biblical basis for such a distinction. S ame-sex is evil and sinful whether done with different partners or with the same part ner, simply because it violates God's intended function for sex to unite a man and a woman into a "one flesh" relationship. Some People are Born Gay A popular argument used to justify homosexual lifestyle is that some people are born gay and will always remain gay. It is not their fault for being gay, because they were genetically programmed to live such a lifestyle. The same argument is often used for alcoholics and addiction to tobacco or drugs. There is no question that we are born with certain predispositions toward sinful practi ces (Ps 51:5; 143:2; cf. 14:3; 1 Prov 20:9; Rom 3:23; 7:14-24; 1 John 1:8). But does th e universally inherited human sinfulness make sinful actions morally acceptable? The Good News of the Gospel is that God gives us power to overcome both inherited and cultivated sinful tendencies. We may be tempted by inherited sinful inclinations, but unless we yield to them, they no longer reflect our identity. "If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor 5:17). Paul offers this assurance, saying: "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit th e kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters no r adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greed y nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were [past tense]. But you were washed, you were sanctified, yo u were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God" (1 Cor 6: 9-11 NIV, emphasis supplied). It is a reassuring promise that God's grace can wash an
d clean homosexuals. On a similar vein Ellen White writes: "God has not left us to battle with evil in our own finite strength. Whatever may be our inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong, we can overcome through the power that He is ready to impart" (The Ministry of Healing, pp. 175, 176). Again, "Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all he reditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church" (The Desire of Ages, p. 671). Led by the Spirit, not by Scripture! When asked by CNN anchor Cooper, how he relates to church members who opposed on biblical grounds his election to the office of bishop, Robinson replied: "We have wa lked [down] this road before when we were considering the ordination of women and women to be bishops. You can find Scripture against that as well. And so any time yo u are changing the tradition of the church and feeling that the Spirit is moving you int o a new, different direction, that is a tough thing for people. And I can understand tha t. None of us like change. But I do believe this is of the Spirit." Robinson's answer reveals that his normative authority for deciding the ordination of women and of gay priests, is not Scripture but the alleged leading of the Spirit. He co ncedes that Scripture is against both practices, but this is not a problem for him beca use for him the leading of the Spirit overrides any teachings of the Bible. Can this be t rue? If the Bible was written by holy men of God who were "moved by the Holy Spirit" (1 Pet 1:21), how can the same Spirit inspire some church leaders today to disregard previously revealed biblical truths? Is the Holy Spirit culturally conditioned, that is, ch anges His view according to societal trends? Absolutely not! Biblical truths are uncha ngeable because they have been revealed by God who is "the same yesterday and to day and or ever" (Heb 13:8). Under girding the attempts of liberals church leaders like Robinson to reinterpret the biblical teachings on homosexuality, is the liberal view of biblical inspiration and auth ority. While they continue to work with the Bible as a religious document, they reject t he normative authority of the Bible for defining beliefs and practices. Their ultimate a uthority is the "spirit of rebellion" that inspires them, rather than the Holy Spirit that i nspired Bible writers. From a historical perspective the recent decisions of the Episcopal church, which is pa rt of the Anglican (Church of England) communion, reflect the political roots of the ch urch itself. It is well to remember that the roots of the Church of England go back to s truggle for supremacy between the papacy and the Tudor kings. The refusal of Pope C lement VII to dissolve Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon in order for him to marry Anne Boleyn, prompted the King to pressure the Parliament to transfer the hea dship of the Church of England from the Pope to himself. What this means is that the Church of England was born out of political struggles for supremacy - not out of the d octrinal reformation of the Lutheran and Calvinistic movements. The political origin of the Episcopal/Anglican church, facilitates biblical compromises is such areas as the or dination of women and gay/lesbians. Incidentally, in 1985 when I wrote Women in the Church, I predicted that by rejecting of the functional role distinctions between men and women, the women ordination m ovement was paving the way for the ordination of gay and lesbian church leaders. My critics accused me at that time of using scare-crow tactics. The truth is that I was not trying to be scaring, but realistic. I simply reasoned that if the biblical functional role distinctions no longer matter, why should the sexual distinctions matter? Time has sh
own this reasoning to be correct. The increasing number of gay and lesbian men and women being ordained in various churches as priest, pastors, and bishops, should ser ve as a wake up call for the Adventist church. It should alert us to the danger of depa rting from the creational design for the well-functioning of the home and church. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------FRENCH EDITION OF FROM SABBATH TO SUNDAY In the previous two newsletters I reported on the recent Dutch edition of From Sabbat h to Sunday - Van Sjabbat naar Zondag. Providentially the Holy Spirit impressed sever al Dutch Reformed Christians to translate, edit, and publish the book. In the process a ll of them became Sabbathkeepers. Two articles appeared in the Dutch newspaper TR OUW on July 5, 2003, indicating that one quarter of the independent evangelical chur ches in the Netherlands are now in the process of moving their church services from Sunday to Saturday. The book is contributing to this development. In this newsletter I wish to share the providential story of the French edition of From S abbath to Sunday - Du Sabbat au Dimanche. The new edition came off the press on J uly 10, 2003, with a very attractive cover depicting the decalogue with the chiseling of the Fourth Commandment. The story of Du Sabbat au Dimanche is fascinating. A Belgian Benedectine scholar, Fe rdinand Poswick, who serves as Director of the Center for Biblical Information at the A bbey of Maredsous in Belgium, ordered a copy of From Sabbath to Sunday and read i t with great interest. He was impressed by the compelling documents and arguments indicating the continuity, validity, and value of the Sabbath for our Christian life today Poswick decided to contact me during his trip to America. He never anticipated that we would meet in Dallas at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. Poswick shared with me his great desire to translate and publish From Sabbath to Sun day into French, if I would grant him permission. He felt that the book could contribut e to the recovery of the biblical values of the Sabbath for our tension-filled and restle ss society. I was delighted to grant him permission, forfeiting royalties in view of the c ost of translation. The translation was done by another Benedectine scholar, Dominique Sebire, who wo rked for almost two years on this project under Poswick's supervision. Together they p roduced a superb French translation. Poswick and Sebire did all their work as a labor of love, without receiving a cent of compensation. They were inspired by the desire to help Christians rediscover the blessings of the biblical Sabbath for today. They verbali ze their desire in the "Presentation" of the book, where they encourage readers to "re examine afresh" the values of the Sabbath which can bring spiritual enrichment to ou r Christian life today. Surprisingly, in the "Presentation" Poswick admits that Jesus and Paul did not abolish the Sabbath. Alluding to my dissertation, he acknowledges that the change was moti vated by the need for Christians to separate from the Jews and to identify themselves with the rhythms and customs of the Romans, at a time when Sabbathkeeping was o utlawed in the Roman empire. Then Poswick makes this daring statement: "Should we not prefer the sincere and truthful celebration of the Sabbath unto God to the pharisa ism of a paganized Sunday?" He closes his presentation by urging Christians to "reex amine afresh" the blessings to be found in the celebration of the Sabbath.
It is with a deep sense of gratitude to God that I am pleased to offer Du Sabbat au Di manche to our French-speaking members and Christian in general. The book has the distinction of having both the reproduction of the Catholic imprimatur - approval and the recommendation of the Benedictine translators. This makes it possible, especially for Catholics, to read about the Sabbath with a more open and receptive mind. The demand for Du Sabbath au Dimanche has surpassed my fondest expectations. M ost of the 4500 copies that came off the press a month ago, are already sold out. It m ay become necessary to reprint the book immediately. If you or your church needs co pies of Du Sabbath au Dimanche, feel free to contact us immediately by phone (269471-2915) or by email email@example.com You can order a case of 30 copies for on ly $7.00 per copy, postage paid, instead of the regular price of $20.00. Thank you for informing French-speaking fellow-believers and friends about this providential book. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------HAROLD CAMPING: SUNDAY: THE SABBATH? In recent years several deceptive attempts have been made to legitimize Sunday as t he Biblical Sabbath. For example, in his Pastoral Letter Dies Domini - The Lord's Day, Pope John Paul II promotes Sunday observance as a moral imperative rooted in the Fo urth Commandment. An extensive analysis of this important document is found in ch apter 1 of The Sabbath Under Crossfire, entitled "Pope John Paul II and the Sabbath." European calendars perpetrate the deception of the Sunday/Sabbath by arranging th e days of the week horizontally with Monday as the first day and Sunday as the seven th day. Such calendars are now beginning to appear in the USA as well. The deceptive intent is to make people believe that Sunday is the biblical seventh-day Sabbath that Christians must observe. The most curious and irrational attempt to defend Sunday as the New Testament Sab bath, is most likely that of Harold Camping, the President and Founder of Family radio - an international radio/TV ministry with powerful stations in various parts of the worl d. His booklet Sunday: The Sabbath? and his radio/TV talks influence countless Christi ans in many parts of the world. For many years Camping has been teaching that the Sunday resurrection of Christ m arks the end of the Jewish Sabbathkeeping and the beginning of Sunday as the new C hristian Sabbath. What is unusual about Camping is the way he defends his position b y twisting the accounts of Christ's resurrection as found in Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1,2, and John 20:1. To my knowledge not a single Sundaykeeping scholar supports his arb itrary interpretation of these texts. Yet, his views are widely accepted by an increasin g number of Christians and are troubling some Adventists as well. A reason for Camping's popularity is his appeal to the inerrancy of the Bible. He write s: "In its original autographs, or manuscripts, the Bible is the infallible Word of God. It is completely inerrant. It has no errors of any kind whatsoever. this is so because the original manuscripts were God-breathed" (p. 1). Inerrancy for Camping means that G od controls such details as the plural or singular use of the word "Sabbath." "If God had wanted it [Sabbath] in the plural, He would have written in the plural. As we saw earlier, God insists in this principle in Galatians 3:16 where God speaks of a v erse in the Bible where the singular word 'seed' appears. He makes the emphasis tha t it is the singular word 'seed,' not the plural word 'seeds'" (p. 3)
Inerrancy for Camping means that God dictated whether a word should be plural or si ngular. If that were true then the language of the Bible should be that of the Holy Spir it who dictated every word to the writers. Such a notion is discredited by the differenc e in style, vocabulary, and sentence construction among the various books of the Bibl e. The grammar of the Bible is human, not divine. This is exemplified by the very exa mple of Galatians 3:16 used by Camping. In Galatians 3:16 Paul argues that God's promises to Abraham's seed refers to Christ, because the word "seed" is singular, not plural. The fact is that in Greek the word for seed-sperma, is a collective word used with both singular and plural meanings. Paul h imself uses the same word sperma few verses later in a plural way when he speaks of believers as "Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise" (Gal 3:29). The we ak Pauline argument hardly supports Camping's contention that "God speaks of a ver se in the Bible where the singular word 'seed' appears" (p. 3). God cannot be blamed for Paul's faulty grammatical argument. This point will be clari fied shortly in our study of the inerrancy's arguments. We will see that people like Ca mping argue for inerrancy to justify their doctrinal beliefs. Ultimately their concern is to justify the validity of their teachings, rather than to prove that the Bible is absolute ly errors-free. During the past 10 years I have received no less than 50 copies of Camping's booklet, Sunday: The Sabbath? as well as hundreds of messages from Adventists confused by its teachings. Last Sabbath, August 16, 2003, an Adventist brother stood up holding a copy of Camping's booklet at a rally in Brooklyn, NY. He asked me if I have responded to his arguments. I reassured him that I would do it in this newsletter. The reason I have ignored Camping during the past 10 years, is simply because his in terpretation of Bible texts is so irrational that hardly deserves a scholarly analysis. W hat has convinced me to post this response at this time, is the increasing number of f ellow Adventists who have become confused by Camping's teachings. Just this past w eek a sister appealed to me for help, saying: " While I don't agree with what Camping says, it's hard for me to explain why. I know some Adventists who do agree with this s tudy of the Sabbath, but I can't explain to them why this man is wrong because I am not a student of the Greek or the Hebrew languages. Can you help us out? Thanks." T he following analysis is designed to provide such a help. Harold Camping's Teachings Simply stated, Camping attempts to prove, primarily on the basis of Matthew 28:1 an d related texts (Mark 16:1-2; John 20:1), that Christ's resurrection on Sunday marks t he termination of the Old Testament Sabbath and the inauguration of Sunday as the n ew Christian Sabbath. He reaches this conclusion by twisting the meaning of these te xts. Matthew 28:1 reads: "In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Madalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." Ca mping maintains that this KJV translation, as well as all the modern translations, are wrong. Why? Because allegedly they misinterpret the literal meaning of the plural "Sa bbaths," which occurs twice in the Greek text. In his view the text should be translate d as follows: 'In the end of Sabbaths [plural], at the dawning of the first of the Sabbat hs [not 'week']" (pp. 4-5). On the basis of this translation, Camping concludes that "the phrase 'In the end of th
e Sabbaths' could be expanded to read, 'Now that the era of the Old Testament Sabb aths has come to an end . . .'" (p. 8). Similarly, he interprets the phrase "as it began t o dawn toward the first of the Sabbath," to mean: "God has a new era of Sabbaths. It is Sunday morning; it is the dawning of a new era of Sabbaths. . . . It is not just one S abbath that is beginning. God is teaching that there is a whole series of Sabbath to co me. God is saying, by His own definition, that these new Sabbaths are each and ever y Sunday" (p. 9). According to Camping, Christians have failed to see his interpretation of the text, bec ause translators made two mistakes in translating the text. First, they translated the f irst word "Sabbaths," which is plural as singular: "In the end of the Sabbath." Accordi ng to Camping the phrase should read "In the end of Sabbaths [plural]," that is, the e nd of the OT Sabbaths. The second mistake is that they translated the second "Sabbaths" [plural] as singular "week." According to Camping the phrase should read: "at the dawning on toward the first of the Sabbaths - not 'week'" (pp.4-5). He interprets this to mean the inauguratio n of Sunday as the new Christian Sabbath. Let us now see who is mistaken, Camping or the translators. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------FIVE MAJOR FLAWS IN CAMPING'S ARGUMENTS There are five major flaws in Camping's arguments which destroy the validity of his c onclusions. Let us briefly examine them. First, Camping interprets two temporal statements regarding the time of Christ's Resu rrection, namely, "at the end of the Sabbath" and "as it began to dawn toward the firs t day of the week," to be theological pronouncements about the termination of the O T Sabbath and the inauguration of Sunday as the new Christian Sabbath. Such an arbitrary interpretation reflects the lack of basic common sense. No sensible Bible student would consider turning a temporal statement regarding the time of Chri st's Resurrection, into a theological pronouncement regarding the termination of Sab bathkeeping and inauguration of Sundaykeeping. It is evident that Camping lacks the capacity to reason logically. He needs to learn to respect the nature of a passage. To t urn a temporal statement into a theological pronouncement, means to violate the int ended meaning of the passage. Second, Camping ignores that in Greek the plural "Sabbaths - ta sabbata," is often us ed with a singular meaning. His problem is not his ignorance. We are all ignorant in m any areas. Rather, it is his unwillingness to overcome his ignorance by reading some standard lexicons and dictionaries which define the usages of the term "Sabbath." For example, if Camping had taken time to read the 35 pages scholarly study on the use of "Sabbaton - Sabbath," found in volume 7 of The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, (which is the most respected word study of the NT), he would have learne d that "the plural ta sabbata [sabbaths] can have three meanings: 1. several Sabbath s . . . , 2. one Sabbath (in spite of the plural) . . . 3. the whole week as in Hebrew usag e" (p. 7). Each of these meanings is amply documented in the article. For the sake of brevity I am not burdening the reader with the documentation. Had Camping taken time to learn the simple fact that the plural form of "Sabbaths" is often used in Greek with the singular meaning of a single Sabbath, he would not have
made the blunder of interpreting the plural "Sabbaths" as a theological pronounceme nt about the termination of the OT Sabbath and inauguration on the NT Sabbaths. He would have recognized that the text speaks only about the time of the Resurrection, namely, at the end of the Sabbath and toward the dawning of the first day of the wee k - and not about the change from Sabbath to Sunday. The problem is not the faulty modern translation, but Camping's ignorance of how the term "Sabbaths" was current ly used. Third, Camping ignores a basic fact that in Greek as in Hebrew the plural term "Sabba ths - ta sabbata" was commonly used to designate the week as a whole. The reason i s that the days of the week were numbered with reference to the Sabbath. When the Romans adopted from the Jewish seven days week just before the beginning of the C hristian era, they named each day of the week after a planetary god. This is how we got our planetary week. But the Jews and the early Christians numbered the days wit h reference to the Sabbath. Thus, Matthew 28:1 correctly refers to Sunday as "the firs t of Sabbaths - mia sabbaton." This was the common designation of Sunday. It is unfortunate that Camping never took time to learn this well-known usage of the t erm "Sabbath" to designate the week as a whole as well as the actual days of the we ek. Had he learned this simple fact, he would not have accused modern translators of arbitrarily changing the phrase "the first of the Sabbaths" into "the first day of the we ek" (p. 5). The translators knew what they were doing. It is Camping who does not kn ow what he is writing. A good example of Camping's ignorance is this statement: "We find no Biblical justific ation for translating the Greek work 'Sabbath' as 'week" (p. 5). The fact is that there a re numerous Biblical examples of the use of the term "Sabbath - sabbaton" to design ate the week. The Young's Analytical Concordance of the Bible lists 9 of them (p. 104 1). One of them is Luke 18:12, where the Pharisee boasts, saying: "I fast twice a week (in Greek sabbaton)." By rejecting the common use of the term "Sabbath" to designat e the "week," Camping argues that "Luke 18:12 should be translated, 'I fast twice in t he Sabbath'" (p. 6). This arbitrary translation is discredited, not only by the common use of the term Sabb ath to designate the week, but also the fact that no fasting was ever allowed by the P harisees on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a day of rejoicing and no fasting or mourni ng occurred on that day. Eventually, Sabbath fasting was introduced by the Bishop of Rome as a method to lead Christians away from Sabbathkeeping into Sundaykeeping. But this is a later development, totally unrelated to the Pharisees' practice of fasting t wice a week. According to Didache 8:1 - an early Christian document dated in the last part of the first century - the Pharisees fasted on Monday and Thursday. A fourth fact ignored by Camping is the continuity of Sabbathkeeping, especially amo ng Jewish-Christians. His assumption that the event of Christ's Resurrection, as report ed in the Gospels, marks the termination of the OT Sabbath and the inauguration of S unday as the new Christian Sabbath, is discredited by the continuity of Sabbathkeepi ng, especially among the direct descendants of the Jerusalem. (For documentation, s ee From Sabbath to Sunday, pp. 156-157). How could Matthew, writing to Jewish-Chri stian readers, say that Christ's Resurrection terminated the OT Sabbath and inaugura ted Sunday as the NT Sabbath, when these were still "zealous in the observance of th e law" (Acts 21:20) in general and of the Sabbath in particular? A fifth and final point ignored by Camping, is the lack of any liturgical significance att ached to the day of Christ's Resurrection in the NT. If Christ wanted to make the Day of His Resurrection a memorial day to be celebrated on the weekly-Sunday and the a
nnual Easter-Sunday, wouldn't He have done something about it? Wouldn't He have i nvited the women first and the disciples later to come apart to celebrate His Resurrec tion? Note that biblical institutions such as the Sabbath, Baptism, the Lord's Supper, all tra ce their origin to a divine act that established them. But neither Christ or the apostles made any attempt to establish a Sunday celebration of the Resurrection. The reason i s simple. The Resurrection was seen as an existential reality to be celebrated by livin g victoriously by the power of the risen Savor, not a liturgical practice to be observed on Sunday or Easter-Sunday. Paul prays that he may know "the power of the resurrection" (Phil 3:10), but he never mention the day of the resurrection. In fact Sunday is never called "Day of the Resurr ection" in the NT nor even in the early patristic literature. The first usage of the phras e appears in the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea (about A. D. 325). Conclusion It has been a unpleasant task to expose Harold Camping's irrational and unfounded in terpretations. The necessity was laid upon me by the influence of his teachings which reach people around the world through his radio/TV ministry and publications. I would like to believe that Camping is sincere, but sincerely wrong. Let us give him the benef it of the doubt. On my part I am prepared to help him by sending him, not only a copy of this response, but also a package of my Sabbath books. If he responds, I will gladly share the information with you. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------ANNOUNCEMENTS AT THE END OF THIS NEWSLETTER At the end of this newsletter you will find the following important announcements: 1) The date and location of my weekend seminars for August and September 2003. 2) Information on how your church can purchase a state-of-the art HITACHI LCD VIDE O PROJECTORS at over 65% discount on the Factory Suggested Retail price. HITACHI h as agreed to offer their line of outstanding LCD projectors to our Adventist churches a nd institutions at an incredible discount. 3) A special offer on the newly recorded PowerPoint SABBATH ENRICHMENT SEMINAR in VIDEO tapes and DVD disks. For the fist time the whole seminar consisting of 8 one -hour lectures is offered for $50.00, instead of the regular price of $120.00 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------BIBLICAL ERRANCY AND INERRANCY - Part 2 Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D. Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University The question of the inspiration and authority of the Bible rarely troubled Christians un til a century ago. They looked upon the Bible as the source of their belief. They accep ted the authority of the Bible, without defining it in terms of inerrancy. None of the m ajor Catholic or Protestant creeds discuss the notion of biblical inerrancy. It is only be
ginning from the nineteenth century that this question has dominated the religious sc ene. A major contributory factor has been the negative impact of liberal criticism which, as noted earlier, reduced the Bible to a collection of religious documents filled with textu al difficulties and errors. This critical movement has led many Christians to abandon t heir commitment to the infallibility of the Bible. In order to defend the traditional Chri stian view of the inspiration and authority of the Bible against the attacks of liberal cr itics, conservative Christians developed what has become known as the "Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy." Defining the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is not easy, because it comes in a variety of forms. David Dockery, a Southern Baptist conservative scholar, has identified nine dif ferent types, which range from mechanical dictation to functional inerrancy. The latte r maintains that "the Bible inerrantly accomplishes its purpose. . . . The presence of e rrors in no way militates against the functional purpose or authority of the Bible."1 Ac cording to this position, the Bible is without errors in its function to reveal God's plan f or our eternal salvation, not in the information it offers on various aspects of life. Absolute Inerrancy. For the purpose of our study we will limit the distinction to the tw o most common views of inerrancy, known as "absolute" and "limited" inerrancy. Doc kery provides a fine definition of "absolute inerrancy" from the perspective of an advo cate: "The Bible in its original autographs, properly interpreted, will be found to be tru thful and faithful in all that it affirms concerning all areas of life, faith, and practice."2 A similar definition was formulated by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy which was formed to defend "inerrancy." In 1978, the Council released its famous Chi cago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which states: "We affirm that Scripture in its en tirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit."3 The statement cont inues explaining that inerrancy is not "limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive the mes, exclusive of assertions in the field of history and science." In other words, absol ute inerrantists believe, as stated by Harold Lindsell - one of its most outspoken advo cates - that "The Bible does not contain error of any kind," whether it speaks on histor y, geography, astronomy, chronology, science, or any area whatsoever.4 The acceptance of this position is seen by many evangelicals as a watershed of ortho doxy. They equate the authority of the Bible with its inerrancy, because they assume that unless the Bible can be shown to be without error in non-religious matters, then i t cannot be trusted in the more important religious areas. They go as far as claiming t hat Christians cannot be legitimately be considered evangelical unless they believe in the absolute inerrancy of the Bible. The denial of such a belief is supposed to lead to the rejection of other evangelical doctrines and to the doom for any denomination or Christian organization. Limited Errancy. Advocates of limited inerrancy object to conditioning the authority of the Bible to its inerrancy. They restrict the accuracy of the Bible only to matters of sal vation and ethics. They believe that divine inspiration did not prevent Bible writers fr om making "errors" of historical or scientific nature, since these do not affect our salv ation. For them the Bible is not inerrant in all that it says, but it is infallible in all that i t teaches regarding faith and practice. A good example of this position is Stephen T. Davis. In his influential book The Debate about the Bible: Inerrancy versus Infallibility, Davis writes: "The Bible is inerrant if an d only it makes no false or misleading statements on any topic whatsoever. The Bible is infallible if and only it makes no false or misleading statements on any matter of fai
th and practice. In these senses, I personally hold that the Bible is infallible but not in errant."5 Again Davis states: "The Bible is infallible, but not inerrant. That is, there ar e historical and scientific errors in the Bible, but I have found none on matters of faith and practice."6 A Brief History of the Inerrancy Debate Before examining some of the problems of the absolute inerrancy position, it is helpfu l to mention briefly its history. Most historians trace the origin of the inerrancy debate among evangelical to the late nineteen century, when battles took place between lib eral critics and fundamentalists. The so-called Princeton divines, A. A. Hodge and B. B. Warfield, were most influential in championing the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Thei r "Princeton theology" became an haven sought by all sorts of fundamentalists who w ere facing the threats of evolutionism and biblical criticism.7 The inerrancy position developed by the Princeton divines assumes that the Bible mu st be inerrant if it is in a real sense the "Word of God." Simply stated, their reasoning i s that if God is perfect, the Bible must be perfect (inerrant) because it is the Word of God. This absolute view of inspiration, despite protests to the contrary, results in a "di ctation" view of inspiration which minimizes the human factor. This view was opposed by James Orr and G. C. Berkouver, both of whom defended the limited inerrancy view. The Battle for the Bible. The debate began to heat up again the 1960s and reached a boiling point with the publication of Harold Lindsell's The Battle for the Bible in 1976. In his book Lindsell documents the alleged negative impact of the limited inerrancy vi ew in evangelical churches and seminaries. He names the leading offenders and defe nds vigorously absolute inerrancy as a cardinal doctrine of evangelical churches. The reactions from both sides were intense. Fuller Theological Seminary defended its limited inerrancy position both in a special alumni newsletter and in a symposium of essays edited by Jack Roger, a Fuller professor.8 At the same time the International C ouncil on Biblical Inerrancy was formed to defend the absolute inerrancy position as e xpressed in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. The following year Lindsel wrote his sequel, The Bible in the Balance, in which he resp onds to the criticism generated by his previous book. During the same year Jack Roge rs and Donald McKim provoked a firestorm from the inerrantist camp by publishing Th e Authority and Interpretation of the Bible: A Historical Approach. In this book they ar gue that the belief in absolute inerrancy is new and foreign to historic Christianity. Since 1980 eminent evangelicals have joined the inerrancy debate. Among those who have defended the absolute inerrancy view are Carl F. H. Henry, Earl D. Radmacher, J ames I. Packer, John Warwick Montgomery, Francis Schaeffer, James M. Boice, E. J. Yo ung, Norman L. Geisler, and Gleason L. Archer. Those on the side of limited inerrancy include Paul Jewett, Jack Rogers, Donald McKim, Daniel Fuller, William S. LaSor, Georg e Eldon Ladd, Robert Mounce, F. F. Bruce, and Charles Kraft. The debate has somewhat subsided, but evangelicals remain deeply divided in two c amps: absolute inerrantists versus limited errantists. It appears that what is fueling th e inerrancy debate and causing Christian people to fight one another over this questi on, is a vested interest in defending denominational interpretations of key doctrines. We shall see that the ultimate question is the interpretation of Scripture, rather than i ts inerrancy. Arguments for Inerrancy
Four major arguments are usually presented by the defenders of absolute inerrancy. T he first is known as the Biblical argument. It maintains that the Bible implicitly teache s its inerrancy by claiming to be inspired. It is assumed that to be truly inspired the Bi ble must be inerrant. The second may be called the historical argument. It claims tha t most of the Church Fathers, including the Reformers, believed in the inerrancy of th e Bible. Thus, this belief has been the normative view of the church. The third is known as the epistemological argument. Essentially it states that if even one of the Bible's statements is in error, then any other statement becomes suspect. The fourth argument may be described as the slippery-slope argument. It holds that s urrendering inerrancy is a slippery-slope that can eventually lead to the surrender of all orthodox doctrines. Let us briefly examine each of these arguments. Biblical Argument. The Biblical argument is based on the assumption that if the Bible is inspired - God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16) - it must be inerrant, because God controlled t he minds of the writers to ensure that they wrote exactly what He wanted them to wri te. Lindsell expresses this view clearly saying: "Once it has been established that the Scriptures are 'breathed out by God,' it follows axiomatically that the books of the Bib le are free from error and trustworthy in every regard."9 In other words, for inerrantis ts, as Everett Harrison puts it "inerrancy is a natural corollary of full inspiration."10 Evaluation. Is this a sound syllogism? Does inspiration presupposes absolute inerranc y, that is, a text free from inaccuracies or errors of any kind? The Bible testifies to its own inspiration, but not to the inerrancy of all the information it provides. Inspiration i s never defined in the Bible in terms of inerrancy. Nowhere does the Bible teach its o wn inerrancy. One will search in vain for a biblical passage that teaches that there are no inaccurate or misleading statements in the Bible. The reason is that its writers wer e not apologists or systematic theologians who had to deal with the modern critical vi ews of the Bible that question its authority. The two classic statements on inspiration tell us that "all Scripture is inspired by God" (2 Tim 3:16), and "no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (2 Pet 1:21). The question is: In what sense is the Bibl e "inspired - God-breathed" and written at the "moving" of the Holy Spirit? The Bible does not explain this mystery. What we know is that Bible writers did not passively wr ite down what God whispered in their ears, because each of them uses his own langu age style and sources available. It is a known fact that many of the books of the Bible were compiled from older documents, history of kings, genealogies, and oral tradition s. The fallibility of these sources is clearly reflected in the discrepancies we find in the Bible. A few examples will suffice to illustrate this point. There is a significant discrepancy in the result of the census ordered by David and car ried out by Joab, the head of his army. According to 2 Samuel 24:9 we are told that Jo ab reported to David that "there were in Israel eight hundred thousand strong men, c apable of bearing arms; and in Judah five hundred thousand." But in 1 Chronicles 21: 5, Joab informs David that "there were in the whole of Israel one million and one hund red thousand men capable of bearing arms; and in Judah four hundred seventy thous and men capable of bearing arms." Obviously, there is a substantial difference betwe en the two sets of figures. One of them is inaccurate. Another example is the price David paid to Arauna, the Jebusite, for the property whe re he built an altar and offered sacrifices to stay the plague that was decimating the people. According to 2 Samuel 24:25, David paid only fifty shekels of silver for the pro perty, but according to 1 Chronicles 21:25, David paid six hundred shekels of gold for
the same property. The difference between 50 shekels of silver and 600 shekels of gol d is enormous and can hardly be explained as a scribal error. It appears the two writers used two different sources. The Holy Spirit could have over come the problem of the errancy of the sources by whispering the correct figure in th e ears of the two writers. Such method would have eliminated the presence of discre pancies such as these in the Bible. But the fact is that the Holy Spirit did not choose t o suspend or suppress the human faculties of the writers to ensure absolute inerrancy Instead, He chose to allow for inaccuracies that do not affect our faith and practice. I t is unwise for anyone to tell God what kind of Bible He should have produced in orde r for its books to be inspired and inerrant. We have no right to define "inspiration" according to our subjective criteria of inerran cy in order to meet the challenge of biblical criticism. Instead, we simply need to look and see what sort of Bible has been produced under the supervision (inspiration) of t he Holy Spirit. An open-minded look at the Bible does support the claim that it is inspi red and authoritative for determining our beliefs and practices, but it does not validat e the claim that it is inerrant. Were the Original Autographs Inerrant? Defenders of absolute inerrancy claim that on ly the original autographs were inerrant, not the existing Bible. This means that existi ng discrepancies and errors are supposed to be the result of transmissional errors. Th e original copies of the various books of the Bible were without error. It is said that th ey were inerrant because God inspired the Bible writers to write without error. The appeal to the original manuscripts to explain away existing errors leaves a perma nently open door of escape for inerrantists. No matter how evident an error is, they c an always evade the question by arguing that it is an error of transmission, which wa s not present in the original manuscript. This argument, as Stephen Davis points out, "does seem intellectually dishonest, especially if there is no textual evidence that the alleged error is indeed due to a transmission problem."11 The scientific study of the variant readings of Bible manuscripts has advanced to the point where scholars can establish with amazing accuracy the reading of the original manuscripts. Moreover, these problems are few in comparison with the whole text of the Bible and do not affect its teachings. The inerrantists' attempt to limit inerrancy to the original manuscripts is discredited a lso by the fact that Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament writers, treated the Old Test ament books as inspired, though they never saw or used an original manuscript. App arently, Paul regarded even the Septuagint - the Greek translation of the Old Testame nt - as Scripture, for he quotes from it in Romans 4:3, adding: "What does the Scriptur e say?" If a writing is inspired if and only it is inerrant, then how could Paul treat the S eptuagint as "Scripture," when it is well-known to be inaccurate in several places? Finally, "if having an inerrant Bible is a crucial as defenders of inerrancy imply - why God didn't somehow ensure that we today possess an inerrant text, either the Biblical autographs themselves or else flawless copies of them?"12 The answer is obvious. Th e fact that no Christian since apostolic times has ever seen original manuscripts or fla wless copies, suggests that God did not see it vital for us to have an inerrant Bible. Our conclusion, then, is that the Bible is inspired, authoritative and normative for defi ning our beliefs and practices, but inspiration does not presuppose inerrancy in all th e information the Bible provides.
The Historical Argument. Inerrantists claim that belief in the inerrancy of the Bible ha s been the historical and normative position of the Christian Church. For example, in his book The Battle for the Bible, Lindsell argues that most, if not all, of the Church Fa thers and Reformers upheld in principle the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Consequentl y, such doctrine was not invented by nineteenth century fundamentalists, but reflects the historical position of the Christian Church.13 It must be admitted that some Church Fathers and Reformers do give the impression that they believed in absolute inerrancy. For example, Luther stated: "Scripture canno t err," and "The Scriptures have never erred."14 Similarly, Calvin referred to the Scrip tures as "the inerring standard," "the infallible rule of His Holy Truth," "free from ever y stain or defect."15 Evaluation. Statements such as these can lead uninformed readers to conclude that L uther and Calvin believed in biblical inerrancy. However, this conclusion fails to recog nize two things. First, the Reformers speak of the inerrancy of the Bible in the context of their rejection of the Catholic Church's authority to define doctrines. For them "iner rancy" essentially meant the infallible authority of Sola Scriptura versus the interpret ative authority claimed by the Catholic Church. In their book The Authority and Interp retation of the Bible: An Historical Approach, Jack Rogers and Donald McKim, compelli ng show that the contemporary notion of inerrancy was unknown to the Reformers an d during much of Christian history. Second, the Reformers' notion of inerrancy was conditioned by their doctrinal beliefs. For example, it is a known fact that Luther had little respect for such books of the Bibl e as James and Revelation, because they did not support his overriding teaching of ju stification by faith. Similarly, Calvin displays a rather cavalier attitude toward some of the difficulties in the Bible.16 To some extent this is also happening today. The primary concern of those who are ar guing for absolute biblical inerrancy, claiming it to be the historical position of the Chr istian Church, is not so much to reinforce the normative authority of Scripture, but to validate their system of doctrines and practices. The inerrancy which they attribute t o Scripture is transferred to the doctrines which they espouse. The ultimate concern o f inerrantists is to prove that their doctrines are without error, because they are base d on an inerrant Bible. The problem with this strategy is that the long-running struggle to defend biblical iner rancy has not been successful in guaranteeing doctrinal uniformity. Christians equally committed to inerrancy interpret Scripture differently. For example, there are inerrant ists who believe in the ordination of women and inerrantists who are opposed to it. Th e crucial issue is not inerrancy but interpretation. Finally, the historical position of the Christian Church on any teaching does not guara ntee its orthodoxy. Most church leaders have historically believed in the immortality o f the soul, eternal torment, and Sunday sacredness, yet Biblical research has shown t hat these teachings are foreign to Scripture. The Epistemological Argument. This argument appears in different forms. The basic i dea is that unless the Bible is without error in every single statement it makes, then t he trustworthiness of all its teachings becomes suspect. For the inerrantist, the prese nce of even one error in the Bible would result in the loss of confidence in all of its tea chings. As Dan Fuller puts it, "If even one of its [Bible's] statements could be in error, the truth of any of its statements becomes questionable."17
Evaluation. The fundamental problem of this argument is its unproven assumption th at unless every single statement of the Bible is without error, all of its teachings beco me suspect. To condition the trustworthiness of Bible's teachings to the absolute accu racy of its historical, geographical, or scientific details, means to impose on Bible writ ers modern criteria of inspiration which were foreign to them. Nowhere do the Bible writers claim that all their statements are inerrant. The reason i s that, for them, the major events or message, were more important than its circumst antial details. Two examples will serve to illustrate this point. The first is the "staff" pr oblem. In sending out His disciples on a preaching mission, Mark tells us that Jesus all owed them to take a staff: "He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts" (Mark 6:8). Matthew and Luke, however, have Jesus specifically prohibiting the taking of a staff: " Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tun ics, nor sandals, nor a staff" (Matt 10:9-10). "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, n or bag, nor bread, nor money" (Luke 9:3). It is evident that the two accounts are inconsistent and at least one of the Gospels is i n error. But this inconsistency does not destroy confidence in the event reported, na mely, Christ commissioning His disciples. Apparently, for the Gospel writers the event was more important than its details. The second example is the problem of the date of Christ's death. According to the Sy noptics Jesus was crucified on Nisan 15 after eating the Passover with His disciples th e night before (Mark 14:12-25; Matt 26:17-29; Luke 22:7-20). But, according to John t he crucifixion took place on Nisan 14 before the eating of the Passover (John 19:14). The discrepancy between the two dates of Christ's crucifixion can hardly be attribute d to transmissional errors, because it appears in all available manuscripts. Most likely the Synoptics had their own reasons for dating Christ's crucifixion differently than Joh n. Countless attempts have been made to reconcile the two chronologies. In my book on the Spring Festivals I propose a possible resolution.18 In this context our concern is not to resolve the discrepancy between the two dates of the crucifixion, but simply to show that the presence of such a glaring "error" does no t destroy our confidence in the fundamental truth of Christ atoning death. From a bibl ical perspective, fundamental truths such as Christ's death and resurrection, are not c onditioned by the accuracy of the circumstantial details of the events. Even Edward Carnell, a staunch defender of inerrancy, admits that "It is extremely dif ficult, if not impossible, to coax all the biblical data into a neat harmony. But this want of precision in no way affects the substance of the biblical system."19 The credibility of the great doctrines of the Bible does not depend upon the precision of circumstanti al details. The fear that if inerrancy collapses the great doctrines of the Bible collapse also, is groundless. The fact is that such doctrines are universally believed even by C hristians who do not subscribe to inerrancy. The Slippery-Slope Argument. This argument is similar to the epistemological argume nt just considered. Its basic difference is that it correlates inerrancy, not with the over all trustworthiness of the Bible, but with its impact on the future of churches and insti tutions. It basically claims that surrendering inerrancy eventually leads denomination s and seminaries to the surrender of all the other biblical doctrines. Harold Linsell argues that without the linchpin of inerrancy, evangelicalism is a house
of cards. He explains how the infection spreads, saying: "History affords us notable ex amples of institutions and denominations that have gone astray. At times it is not eas y to perceive how this happened. The trend away from orthodoxy may be slow in mov ement, gradual in its scope, and almost invisible to the naked eye. When people awa ken to what has happened, it is too late."20 He continues, comparing the rejection of inerrancy to a cancer, that begins as a small blemish, and, if left unchecked, grows an d spreads to the whole body. Evaluation. This argument is based on the mistaken assumption that an individual or i nstitution that denies inerrancy will eventually abandon other Bible doctrines. This as sumption is discredited by the fact that most Christians accept Biblical teachings on t he basis of what is explicitly taught in the Bible, irrespective of the possible presence of inaccurate secondary details. It is true that the rise of Biblical criticism has eroded the commitment of people and c hurches to fundamental Biblical doctrines. But this is not a reason for making inerran cy an obligatory doctrine for all Christians. The fact that Biblical criticism has had a d evastating impact upon denominations and institutions does not mean that the same will be true with the denyal of inerrancy. The proof is the existence of numerous evan gelical churches, including my own Seventh-day Adventist Church, which firmly believ e in the trustworthiness of the Bible and in its fundamental doctrines, while rejecting the notion of absolute inerrancy. Inerrancy does not guarantee orthodoxy. Jehovah's Witnesses hold strongly to inerran cy, yet their teachings are hardly orthodox. Among other things they deny the divine preexistence of Christ - a fundamental biblical truth that guarantees the saving value of Christ's atoning sacrifice. The ultimate question is not what will be the pragmatic e ffects of believing or not believing in biblical inerrancy, but whether such doctrine is t rue. Furthermore, the slippery-slope argument is insulting and divisive. It is insulting to su ggest to Bible-believing Christians, that unless they accept the absolute inerrancy of t he Bible, they will eventually find ourselves sliding into the slippery-slope to apostasy. It is divisive, because it questions the commitment to the authority of the Bible of tho se who do not believe in absolute inerrancy, and it encourages inerrantists to separat e from such people. The fallacies and negative impact of the slippery-slope argument s should lead responsible Christians to abandon it. Conclusion. The doctrine of inerrancy was attractive a generation ago in the context of the battles Christians had to fight against liberal criticism. But there is no need tod ay to fight those battles again. We have seen that the arguments commonly used tod ay to defend the absolute inerrancy of the Bible have proven to be devoid of biblical a nd historical support. Ultimately such arguments expose the Bible to the criticism of li beral critics who are only too glad to capitalize on the fallacies of such arguments to attack the trustworthiness and authority of the Bible. Our challenge today is to convince people, not that the Bible is errorless in all its deta ils, but that it provides a trustworthy and infallible revelation of God's plan for our pre sent life and future destiny. We need to help people to steer clear of the Scylla of erra ncy and of the Charybdis of inerrancy. Both heresies undermine the authority of the B ible by making it either too-human or too-divine. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURE OF THE BIBLE Seventh-day Adventists hold the Bible as a unique revelation of God's will and plan fo r humanity. They accept it as the infallible and normative authority for defining belief s and practices. They believe that in this Book God provides humanity with the knowl edge necessary for salvation. The first Fundamental Belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church offers a concise sta tement of the church belief about the Bible: "The Holy Scriptures, Old And New Testa ments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of G od who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In His Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are th e infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experi ence, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God's acts in history." This Fundamental Belief shows that Adventists agree with conservative Christians tha t the Bible is divinely inspired and contains the infallible revelation of God's will for ou r lives. They fully accept the divine authority and complete reliability of the Scriptures, but they have never advocated the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Adventists Objections to Inerrancy. There are five major reasons why Adventists do no t subscribe to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. First, Adventists believe that Bible wri ters were God's penmen, and not the pen of the Holy Spirit. They were fully involved i n the production of their writings. Some of them, like Luke, gathered the information by interviewing eyewitnesses of Christ's ministry (Luke 1:1-3). Others, like the author s of Kings and Chronicles, made use of historical records available to them. The fact t hat both the writers and their sources were human, makes it unrealistic to insist that there are no inaccurate statements in the Bible. Second, the attempts of inerrantists to reconcile the differences between the biblical descriptions of the same event, often results in distorted and farfetched interpretatio ns of the Bible. For example, Harold Lindsell tries to reconcile the divergent accounts of Peter's denial of Jesus at the crowing of the cock, by proposing that Peter denied Je sus a total of six times!21 Such gratuitous speculations can be avoided by simply acc epting the existence of minor discrepancies in the Gospels' account of Peter's denial. Third, by basing the trustworthiness and infallibility of the Bible on the accuracy of its details, the doctrine of inerrancy ignores that the main function of Scripture is to reve al God's plan for our salvation. The Bible is not intended to supply us with accurate g eographical, historical, or cultural information, but to reveal to us how God created us perfectly, redeemed us completely, and will restore us ultimately. Fourth, Adventists find the doctrine of biblical inerrancy to be devoid of biblical suppo rt. Nowhere do the Bible writers claim their statements to be inerrant. Such a concept has been deduced from the idea of divine inspiration. It is assumed that since the Bibl e is divinely inspired, it must be inerrant also. But the Bible never equates inspiration with inerrancy. The nature of the Bible must be defined inductively, that is, by consid ering all the data provided by the Bible itself, rather than deductively, that is, by dra wing conclusions from subjective premises. An inductive analysis of the existing discr epancies in the Bible does not support the absolute inerrancy view. Ellen White's Teachings. A final reason for the Adventist rejection of absolute inerranc y, is the teachings of Ellen White and the example of the production of her writings. S
he clearly recognized the human role in the production of the Bible. She wrote: "The Bible points to God as its author; yet it was written by human hands; and in the varie d style of its different books it presents the characteristics of the several authors. The truths revealed are all 'given by inspiration of God' (2 Tim 3:16); yet they are all expr essed in the words of men. The infinite One by His Holy Spirit has shed light into the minds and hearts of His servants." 22 Inspiration, according to Ellen White, impressed Bible writers with thoughts, not with words. "It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspir ed. Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts."33 God inspired men, not their words. This means, as Ellen White explains, that the Bible "is not God's mode of thought and expression. Men will often say such an expression i s not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in th e Bible. The writers of the Bible were God's penmen, not His pen."24 Ellen White recognized the presence of discrepancies or inaccuracies in the productio n of the Bible and in the transmission of its text. "Some look to us gravely and say, 'D on't you think there might have been some mistakes in the copists or in the translato rs?' This is all probable . . . [but] all the mistakes will not cause trouble to one soul, or cause any feet to stumble, that would not manufacture difficulties from the plainest r evealed truth."25 "There is not always perfect order or apparent unity in the Scriptur e."26 For Ellen White, the presence of inaccuracies in the production or transmission of the Bible text is only a problem for those who wish to "manufacture difficulties fro m the plainest revealed truth." The reason is that the presence of inaccurate details d oes not weaken the validity of the fundamental truths revealed in the Scripture. Ellen White's Writings. The production of Ellen White's writings has helped immensely the Seventh-day Adventist Church to avoid the pitfalls of inerrancy. Over a period of 7 0 years Ellen White wrote under divine inspiration numerous books and articles which have enriched the spiritual life of millions of believers. While the original manuscripts of the Bible are no longer extant, most of Ellen White's manuscripts are carefully pres erved and readily available for investigation. A look at her manuscripts shows her pai nstaking efforts to improve the style by making corrections on the margins or above t he text itself. In some manuscripts the corrections appear in different ink colors, refle cting the several attempts that were made to improve the style and grammar. Sometimes the editing process continued even after the publication of her manuscrip ts. For example, corrections were made in the preparation of the new 1911 edition of The Great Controversy. In fact, Ellen White specifically asked the various publishing d epartments and canvassing agents, both in America and overseas, to submit in writin g their request for any correction they deemed necessary. European and American re searchers participated in this project by locating documents needed to correct some of the historical inaccuracies. Ellen White welcomed the participation of those who helped in making the necessary corrections in the new edition of The Great Controversy. She expressly stated: "I am t hankful that my life has been spared, and that I have strength and clearness of mind for this and other literary work."27 The fact that Ellen White insisted on the divine ori gin of her messages, but never claimed her writings to be inerrant or infallible in ever y detail, gives us reasons to believe that same is true for the biblical text. The supervi sion of the Holy Spirit did not prevent Bible writers from making statements which ma y not be accurate in every detail. Its concern was to ensure the trustworthiness and i nfallibility of the vital truths that affect our eternal salvation.
Scripture as Divine and Human. The Adventist view of the Bible is based on two impor tant verses: "All Scripture is inspired by God" (2 Tim 3:16) and "No prophecy came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (2 Pet 1:21). These verses emphasize the divine-human character of the Bible. The messages of Bi ble writers originated from God, but were expressed in human language, reflecting th e cultural and educational background of the writers. The recognition of the divine-human nature of the Bible rules out the two mistaken vi ews of the Bible we have discussed in this chapter. The first, is the inerrantists' view t hat exalts the divine aspect of Scripture and minimizes the human participation in or der to ensure that the text is completely free of all errors. The second is the liberal vi ew of the critics who maintain that biblical writings simply reflect human ideas and as pirations. They believe they are the product of religious geniuses who were influence d - not by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - but by the culture of their time Adventists reject the mistaken views of the Bible held by inerrantists on the one hand and by liberal critics on the other. Instead, they hold to a balanced view of the Bible b ased on its testimony (2 Tim 3:16; 1 Pet 1:21) about its divine-human character. The divine-human aspects of the Bible are mysteriously blended together, somewhat simi lar to the union of the divine and human nature of Christ. The book Seventh-day Adventist Believe . . .states: "A parallel exists between the inc arnate Jesus and the Bible: Jesus was God and man combined, the divine and human i n one. So the Bible is the divine and human combined. As it was said of Christ, so it c an be affirmed of the Bible that 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us' (John 1: 14). The divine-human combination makes the Bible unique among literature."28 The Humanity of the Bible. The humanity of the Bible can be seen, for example, in th e use of the koine Greek, which was the language of the market place, rather than th at of classical literature. It is evident also in the poor literary style of such books as R evelation which has a limited vocabulary and some grammatical errors. It appears in the use of oral traditions by men like Luke, or of written records by the authors of Kin gs and Chronicles. It is reflected in the expression of human emotions in places like P salm 137 which describes the feeling of the Hebrew captives in Babylon, saying: "O d aughter of Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall be he who requites you with what yo u have done to us! Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them aga inst the rock!" (Ps 137:8-9). Such violent language expresses the hurt of human emot ions, rather than divine love for friends and foes. The Divinity of the Bible. The divinity of the Bible is suggested by the underlying unit y of the teachings of the Bible. About 40 authors wrote 66 books over a period of 160 0 years, yet they all share the same view of creation, redemption and final restoratio n. Only divine inspiration could ensure the underlying thematic unity of the Bible over the centuries of its composition. Another indication of the divine character of the Bible is its impact upon human lives and societies. The Bible conquered the skepticism, prejudism, and persecution of the Roman world. It has transformed the social values and practices of societies that hav e embraced its teachings. It has given new value to life, a sense of worth to the indivi dual, a new status to women and slaves, it has broke down social and racial discrimin ations, it has given a reason for living, loving, and serving to countless millions of peo ple. The divine character of the Bible is also indicated by its marvellous conception of God,
creation, redemptiom, human nature and destiny. Such lofty conceptions are foreign to the sacred books of pagan religions. For example, in the Near Eastern creation myt hs, the divine rest is generally achieved either by eliminating disturbing gods or by cr eating mankind.29 In the creation Sabbath, however, the divine rest is secured not by subordinating or d estroying competitors, nor by exploiting the labor of mankind, but rather by the comp letion of a perfect creation. God rested on the seventh day because His work was "fini shed . . . done" (Gen. 2 :2-3). He stopped doing to express His desire for being with Hi s creation, for giving to His creatures not only things, but Himself. Such a marvellous concept of God who entered into human time at creation and into human flesh at the incarnation in order to become "Emmanuel - God with us," is absent in pagan religion s, where the gods typically partake of human failings. The remarkable nature of the Bible is also indicated by its miraculous preservation thr ough history, in spite of relentless efforts to destroy it. Earlier we mentioned the past attempts to suppress the Bible by Roman Emperors, Christian Kings, and communist r egimes. In spite of the deliberate attempts to destroy the Bible, its text has come do wn to us substantially unchanged. Some of the oldest manuscripts brings us close to the composition of the originals. They reveal the amazing accuracy of the text that ha s come down to us. We can be confident that our Bibles are reliable versions of the or iginal messages. Ultimately the validity of the Bible is vouched for by conceptual and existential consid erations. Conceptually, the Bible provides a reasonable explanation of our human situ ation and of the divine solution to our problems. Existentially, the teachings of the Bi ble give meaning to our existence and offer us reasons for living, loving, and serving. Through them we can experience the rich blessings of salvation. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------CONCLUSION We have briefly traced the controversy between the errancy and inerrancy of the Bibl e. We have noted that the Bible is being attacked today by friends and foes. The pen dulum is swinging to both extremes. On the one hand, the liberal critics reduce the Bi ble to a strictly human, error-ridden book, devoid of supernatural revelations and mir aculous manifestations. They treat the Bible strictly as a human literary production. O n the other hand, some conservative evangelicals elevate the Bible to such a divine l evel that they overlook the human dimension of Scripture. They affirm that the Bible i s absolutely without error in all its references to history, geography, chronology, cos mology, science, and so forth. Ultimately both the errancy and inerrancy positions are extreme, heretical views that undermine the authority of the Bible by making it either too-human or too-divine. The solution to these extreme positions is to be found in the key word balance - a balance that recognizes both the divine and human character of the Bible. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has historically maintained a balanced view of the Bible by acknowledging both its divine and human character. Much of the credit is du e to the prophetic guidance of Ellen White who unequivocally stated: "The Bible is wri tten by inspired men, but it is not God's mode of thought and expression. God, as a w riter, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But Go d has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of
the Bible were God's penmen, not His pen."30 Simply stated, Seventh-day Adventists believe that the Bible is the product of a myst erious blending of divine and human participation. The source is divine, the writers ar e human, and the writings contain divine thoughts in human language. This unique c ombination offers us a trustworthy and infallible revelation of God's will and plan for o ur present life and future destiny. As stated in the first Seventh-day Adventist Fundam ental Belief: "The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God's acts in history." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------ENDNOTES David Dockery, "Variations on Inerrancy," SBC Today (May 1986), pp.10-11. David Dockery, "Can Baptists Affirm the Reliability and Authority of the Bible," SBC To day (March 1985), p. 16. "The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy," appendix to Inerrancy, ed. Norman L. Geiser (Grand Rapids, 1980), p. 496. Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible (Grand Rapids, 1976), p. 18. Stephen T. Davis, The Debate about the Bible: Inerrancy versus Infallibility (Philadelp hia, 1977), p. 23. Ibid., p. 115 See Claude Welch, Protestant Thought in the Nineteenth Century, Vol.1 (Yale Universit y Press, 1972). Jack Rogers, ed., Biblical Authority (Waco, Texas, 1977 Harold Lindsell, "The Infallible Word," Christianity Today , August 25, 1972), p.11. See also R. C. Sproul, "The Case for Inerrancy: A Methodological Analysis," in John W. Mont gomery, ed., God's Inerrnat Word (Bethany Fellowship, 1974), p. 257. Everett Harrison, "The Phenomena of Scripture," in Carl F. H. Henry, ed., Revelation a nd the Bible (Grand Rapids, 1958), p.250. Stephen T. Davis (note 5), p. 25. Ibid., p. 79. Harold Lindsell (note 4), pp. 41-71. Cited by James Leo Garrett, Systematic Theology: Biblical, Historical, and Evangelical (Grand Rapids, 1990), p. 159. John H. Gerstner, "The View of the Bible Held by the Church: Calvin and the Westmins ter Divines," in Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bi ble (Chicago, 1986), p. 391. Stephen T. Davis (note 5), p. 32. Cited by Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance (Grand Rapids, 1979), p. 220. Samuele Bacchiocchi, God's Festivals in Scripture and History: Volume I, The Spring F estivals (Berrien Springs, 1998), pp. 54-59. Edard J. Carnell, The Case for Orthodox Theology (Philadelphia, 1959), p. 99. Harold Lindsel (note 4), p. 185. Ibid., pp.174-176). Ellen White, Selected Messages, (Washington, D. C., 1958), book 1, p. 21. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., p. 16. Ibid., p 20. "The 1911 Edition of The Great Controversy. An Explanation of the Involvements of th e 1911 Revision," p. 13.
Seventh-Day Adventist Believe . . . (Washington, D. C., 1988). p. 8. For a discussion, see R. Pettazzoni, "Myths of Beginning and Creation-Myths," in Essay s on the History of Religion, trans. H. T. Rose, 1954, pp. 24-36. A brief but informative treatment is found in Niels-Erik A. Andreasen, The Old Testament Sabbath, SBL Disser tation Series 7, 1972, pp. 174-182. For example, in the Babylonian creation epic Enu ma elish the god Marduk says, "Verily, savage-man I will create. He shall be charged with the service of the gods, that they might be at ease!" (James B. Pritchard, ed. Anc ient Near Eastern Texts, 1950, (UT krt A 206-211), p. 68. Ellen White, Selected Messages, (Washington, D. C., 1958), book 1, p. 21. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------UPCOMING WEEKEND SEMINARS As a service to our subscribers, I am listing the date and the location of the upcoming seminars for the month of August and September 2003. Every Sabbath it is a great pl easure for me to meet subscribers who travel considerable distances to attend the se minars. Thank you for informing your friends about the time and place of the seminar s. AUGUST 2: CHICAGO: BURR RIDGE SDA CHURCH Location: 725 75th Street, Darien, Illinois 60559. The church rents the Lord of Life Lut heran Church For information call Pastor Ante Jeroncic at (630) 963-1036 or (630) 730-3075 AUGUST 8-9: TORONTO EAST SDA CHURCH Location: 170 Westwood Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 2B1, Canada. For information call Pastor Vaudre Jacques at (905) 660-0136 or (416) 696-5784 AUGUST 15-16: NEW YORK: GETHSEMANE SDA CHURCH Location: 357 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225 For information call Pastor Jean-Marie Charles at (718) 444-2125 AUGUST 29-30: OTTAWA FRENCH SDA CHURCH Location: 375 King Edward Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1N 7M5, Canada For information call Pastor Max Pierre at (613) 740-0041 SEPTEMBER 5-6: LA: VALLEY CROSSROAD SDA CHURCH Location: 11350 Glenoaks Boulevard, Pacoima, CA 91331 For information call Pastor Reginald Robinson at (805) 499-1006 SEPTEMBER 12-13: ST. PAUL FIRST SDA CHURCH Location: 1915 Princeton, St. Paul, MN 55105 For information call Pastor Mark Smith at (651) 731-5180. SEPTEMBER 19-20: ORLANDO: MT. SINAI SDA CHURCH Location: 2600 Orange Center Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32805 For information call Pastor Brent Waldon at (407) 944-1091 or (407) 298-7877. SEPTEMBER 26-27: CHICAGO: ALL NATIONS FELLOWSHIP SDA CHURCH C/O UNITED C HURCH OF CHRIST Location: 15 W 100 Plainfield Road, Burr Ridge, Illinois 60467 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SPECIAL OFFER ON HITACHI VIDEO PROJECTORS!!! If your church is looking for a state-of-the-art LCD video projector, you will be please t o receive this exciting news. The HITACHI corporation of North America agreed to offe r their line of projectors to our Adventist churches and institutions at over 65% discou nt, through one of the major distribution center in New York. Let me explain briefly what happened. During the past two years I have bought five d ifferent video projectors to present my popular PowerPoint SABBATH and ADVENT SE MINARS. I was looking for the best video projector on the market for my itinerant mini stry around the world. After buying and trying over a 20 video projectors, including S ONY, IN-FOCUS, PROXIMA, PANASONIC, EPSON, SANYO, I found that the HITACHI CP-S 370W 2200 LUMENS VIDEO PROJECTOR, outperforms any video projectors in its class. It is light and bright, surpassing in performance all the other projectors of the same lu mens that I have tried. Many of the churches where I have presented my PowerPoint seminars were so impre ssed by the outstanding performance of the HITACHI CP-S370W video projector, that t hey asked me how to get one at a reasonable price. I contacted the HITACHI corporati on of North America and I told the marketing manager that I am their best field repre sentative, since I use their projector every weekend. HITACHI saw the light and they decided to authorize me to offer their projectors to ou r Adventist institutions directly through one of their major North America Distribution Center. The special price is over 65% discount on the factory suggested retail price. Y ou can read below the list of their projectors together with the special price. This mea ns that your church can purchase any of the dozen models of HITACHI projectors rang ing from 1200 to 4500 lumens at an incredible low price. For example, if your churches wants to purchase the HITACHI CP-S370W 2200 LUMEN S VIDEO PROJECTOR which I am use every weekend with great satisfaction, the speci al price is only $2200.00, shipping expenses included. This is a bargain price for such a marvelous projector, considering that the factory suggested retail price is $6995.00. The procedure is very simple. Once I receive your order, I will pass it on directly to th e major HITACHI distributor in New York. He will FEDEX you the projector directly to yo ur address. It is as simple as that. I do not handle or store any projectors. I only pass on the orders to the major North America HITACHI distributor center who takes care o f everything. Over 100 churches have already bought an HITACHI video projector. Some pastors ar e so happy that they have ordered a second and a third projector for their district chu rches. During the past two years I have tried more than 20 different makes of video projecto rs in the various churches where I presented my seminars. None of them perform as well as the HITACHI CP-S370W 2200 LUMENS VIDEO PROJECTOR that I carry with me every weekend in my catalogue briefcase together with the TITANIUM MAC lap-top co mputer. I am talking from experience, not from hearsay. The projector is small, light (only 7 pounds) and exceptionally bright. I have used this HITACHI CP-S370W VIDEO 2 200 LUMNENS PROJECTOR even in large auditoriums with 2000 people with excellent results. If your church is interested in a smaller or larger model, below is a partial the list of th
e HITACHI PROJECTORS that are available. They are listed with both the suggested Ma nufactured Suggested Retail Price and the special discount that HITACHI offers to our churches. You can see that the discount is over 65%. For example, the price of the HIT ACHI CP-S370W 2200 LUMENS VIDEO PROJECTOR is only $2200.00, instead of the sug gested price of $6,995.00 Hitachi Projectors Model Res. Brightness Weight MSRP Your Price CP-X275W XGA 1200 Lumens 5 lbs $5,495 $1900.00 CP-S225W SVGA 1400 Lumens 5 lbs $4,495 $1400.00 CP-S317W SVGA 1700 Lumens 6 lbs $5,995 $1800.00 CP-X327W XGA 1800 Lumens 6 lbs $6,795 $2000.00 CP-S370W SVGA 2200 Lumens 7 lbs $6,995 $2200.00 CP-X385W XGA
2200 Lumens 7 lbs $7,995 $2800.00 CP-X430W XGA 2500 Lumens 9.9 lbs $8,995 $3300.00 CP-X880W XGA 3000 Lumens 12.6 lbs $10,995 $4000.00 CP-X885W XGA 3500 Lumens 12.6 lbs $12,995 $4700.00 CP-X995W XGA 4500 Lumens 14.3 lbs $12,995 $4900.00 If your church is interested in one of these projectors, feel free to call me at home at (269) 471-2915 or on my cellular at (269) 208-1942. I look forward to help your church purchase a state of the art video projector at a bar gain price. Christian regards Samuele Bacchiocchi Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Contact Information Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D. Retired Professor of Theology and Church History
Andrews University 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, MI 49103 Phone (269) 471-2915 Fax (269) 471-4013 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Web site: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com
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