by Jeremiah Johnson
Rather than attempting to condense a whole day’s worth of teaching into a few paragraphs, we want to give you glimpses of some of the high points from Tuesday and Wednesday, particularly some practical implications from the keynote sessions.
Your Life and Inerrancy
Ligon Duncan closed out Monday with an exposition of 2 Timothy 3:16—“All Scripture is inspired by God.”
Duncan zeroed in on that opening phrase, explaining that “all Scripture” does not refer to a subjective, fluid collection of God’s ideas, but the total and complete canon of God’s actual words. When believers talk about Scripture, we are talking about the very words from the mouth of God. His point was that understanding the inspiration of Scripture has direct implications for its inerrancy. As Duncan put it, “If it is from the mouth of God who cannot lie, then Scripture cannot lie.” In fact, divine inspiration is the basis of the doctrine of inerrancy.
Duncan closed with an appeal to those who publicly profess inerrancy but persist in ungodly patterns. He said it’s understandable that heresy often leads to ungodliness, since right and wrong are often up for grabs when the truth is perverted. Put simply, it’s no surprise when a heretic leads a sinful life.
But in a similar way, ungodliness frequently leads to heresy. Sin and rebellion naturally foster distaste for the truth, prompting the rethinking, revision, and (often) rejection of God’s Word. Duncan’s point was that ungodliness in the life of the believer is itself an assault on the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. It’s an affront to the Holy Spirit within us, and a practical disavowal of His Word.
For those attending the conference, and the many churches and believers they represent, the gravest danger is not heresy that leads to ungodliness. The gravest danger is that we will allow sin into our lives and begin to justify it by altering our view of Scripture. We must guard against that kind of compromise in our own lives.
Making Disciples Meets Inerrancy
Miguel Nuñez opened the Tuesday sessions with a helpful reminder about the Great Commission and its implications regarding biblical inerrancy. In essence, everything we believe and do as Christians hinges on our view of Scripture.
As a pastor in the Dominican Republic, Nuñez has seen firsthand how American evangelicalism’s repeated compromises on the quality and character of Scripture have been exported to the worldwide church. He believes that the unbiblical pragmatism that has plagued the church in recent years—the church-growth movement was a primary example—has been spawned by a weak understanding of and commitment to the inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency of God’s Word.
Nuñez exhorted us to be steadfast in our resolve to uphold biblical inerrancy. Inerrancy, he said, is the ultimate defense against the pervasive false gospels that wreak havoc on the worldwide church and pollute the mission field.
In particular, he pointed out how a low view of Scripture cripples a believer’s ability to fulfill the Great Commission. If the Bible is erroneous, or if we allow that it could be, on what basis can we make any claims about sin, repentance, or righteousness? How can we determine right from wrong if the standard we hold to is flawed?
The simple answer is, we can’t. A text full of errors cannot command full obedience.
If we don’t uphold God’s Word as inerrant and authoritative, how can we expect to lead others to submit to it? Nuñez showed that inerrancy is vital when it comes to preaching the gospel.
The conference continues to tremendously bless everyone here. I hope you’re able to partake of the rich teaching we’re receiving from these faithful men of God. You can join us on the live stream at shepherdsconference.org.
Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B150305
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