As Christians, we believe the Bible is the authoritative guide by which we live. Over the decades however, more and more people are beginning to discountenance the authority of the scriptures with some actually taking the stand that the Bible is not inspired by God.
Some of my friends on Facebook, knowing my stand as a Christian, often seek my views concerning issues pertaining to the Christian faith. I recently got tagged in a video link by one Dr John Henrik Clarke in his speech titled 'Organized Religion vs Spirituality'. I had never before heard of this name and before I responded, I had to do a little research first.
It turned out that the late John Henrick Clarke was a professor of African American history and had written a number of controversial books on religion. In this particular video I watched, Henrike specifically stated, 'Do not believe everything you read in the Bible!'. Most of those who commented on my friend's wall were quite supportive of this view. My comment was the only dissenting view. As would be expected, questions were flung my way and I believe that I was able to respond as the Holy Spirit inspired me.
The whole experience set me thinking. Do modern day Christians really believe the Bible as the authoritative word of God? If we do not have complete confidence in the Word of God, how then can we prove to cynics and critics that the Word of God is true?
While Jesus was ministering on earth, the scribes questioned the authority by which He operated. (Mark 11:28) Jesus, knowing their thoughts, put them on the spot with His own question, "The baptism of John, was it from heaven or men? answer me" (Mark 11:30)
It was supposed to be a simple question to answer, knowing John's antecedent as a prophet renowned in the whole of Israel. The chief priests and scribes however knew that if they acknowledged that John's ministry was from heaven, they will implicate themselves, since they did not believe in John's ministry. If however they made the mistake of saying John's ministry was not divine, the people would revolt. So they took they easy way out and responded, 'We cannot tell'. Jesus responded, 'In that case, I cannot tell you by whose authority I do these things' (Mark 11:33)
From this encounter, I learned the principles of dealing with people who try to convince us that the Bible is not inspired by God. The first principle is that we need to have confidence in what we have believed. When critics see the confidence we have, it makes them all the more inquisitive and by implication they often get drawn to the Lord unconsciously. Many have given their lives to the Lord this way. Jesus exuded a confidence that many of His hearers had never seen before. That was why Luke recorded, “And they were amazed at His teaching, for His word was with authority and ability and weight and power" (Luke 4:32)
The second principle is evidence. If we cannot show that the principles of God's word works in our lives, then we will find it hard to convince people that the Bible is the inspired word of God. In Mark 2, Jesus told the paralyzed man, 'Your sins are forgiven you' (Mark 2:5) This attracted the ire of the scribes who felt affronted that a man would put himself in the position of God. Jesus knew in his spirit that they were debating about the issue. He therefore decided to show them the evidence of His authority to forgive sins. He healed the man just by speaking to his sickness and the healing was instant!
There are some people who will have us believe that Christianity is a tool that the countries in the West used to colonise other countries. While it is true that religion was and is still being used by some countries and organisations for selfish purposes, God still uses His word to liberate those people meant for bondage!
Even in the days of the early Apostles, Paul acknowledged that not everyone who preached Christ did so with sincerity of heart. There were others who had ulterior motives for teaching Christ. What was Paul's conclusion? "But what does it matter, so long as either way, whether in pretense [for personal ends] or in all honesty [for the furtherance of the Truth], Christ is being proclaimed?" (Phillipians 1:18)
John Henrik died in 1998 and therefore no longer needs to debate the authority of the Bible as he will one day stand before the Author of the Bible. For us however, the only way we can convince those around us that the Bible is really inspired of God, is by applying what we have read and live it. When this happens, we will not need to debate or argue with anyone. Our lives will speak loud and clearly to them.
If you are confronted with the question about the authority of the Bible, will you be able to show the person why you believe that the Bible is God's inspired word?
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the owner of Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in London where he works as an IT professional. He currently serves in the worship team in at his local church and on occasion, speaks at invited events. He is the Moderator/Editor of Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org