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Fundamentalism and the Doctrines of the Bible

October 11, 2010

Inspiration, innerrancy and infallibility.  These three words summarize the battle for the Bible that was fought in the major denominations during the first part of the 20th century.  Modernism and liberalism launched a full fledged assault on the Bible, vigorously attacking the conviction that every single part of the Bible is true.  Fundamentalists responded by reaffirming the truths that the Bible is the Word of God.  The three key terms summarize the defense they made of the Bible.  It must be noted that these three defenses are applied to the Scriptures given to the holy men who transcribed them.  Their defense was not of the current translations we have today, but of the originals from God.  The reliability of translations and the accuracy of preservation are different matters to be considered at a later time.

Inspiration, as defined by the Bible, is that Scriptures are spoken directly by God, given to holy men who transcribed exactly what they were given.  This inspiration is understood to be a word for word inspiration, in which God gave to the men who wrote the exact words they were to write.  Not just concepts or ideas, but the very words were inspired by God.  That inspiration is a total inspiration, encompassing everything we have in the Bible. Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, and every part of all sixty six books in between were spoken by God. Not just the parts dealing with spiritual truths, but all parts.  Those parts dealing with science, history, inventories and genealogies were all given directly by God to those men who then put down exactly what He instructed them.  Every single part, every single word of the Bible was given by God to the apostles and prophets whom He entrusted to transcribe His truth.

The next two truths logically flow out of the Biblical doctrine of inspiration and are each specifically attested to by Scriptures.  The first is the inerrancy of the Bible.  Because God gave to holy men the words of Scripture, every single part of the Bible is without error.  It is entirely accurate in everything it says, period.  This flows out of the character of God, since God cannot lie nor can He be mistaken.  It also is derived from the plain statements of the Bible, such as “every Word of God is pure.” (Proverbs 30:5).  The second is infallibility.  This is the assertion that because the Bible is from God and is completely accurate in all its teachings, it is trustworthy to teach us exactly what we need to know.  This assertion is not just a logical conclusion based on the previous truths, it is plainly stated in the Word.  One example is 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable . . . that the man of God may be perfect, (completely equipped for) all good works.”

The old battleground has not changed much.  It still is centered around the source, accuracy and reliability of the Word of God.  Early fundamentalists stood strongly against any system or doctrine that undermined the perfection of the Bible.  We need to continue to do the same today.

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