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Battlefields of the Church: 7: Witnesses to the Truth

By George Kulp

      It has been said that the best men and scholars do not accept of this view of inspiration. Allow me to quote some whose ability and piety are beyond question.

      Athanasius, who knew how to read Greek better than the drift of scholarly opinion in this day, said: "Oh, my child, not only the ancient, but the new, Scriptures are God-breathed; as Paul saith, 'EVERY Scripture is God-breathed.'"

      Bishop Ryle wrote, "Give me the plenary verbal theory, with all its difficulties, rather than the doubt. I accept the difficulties, and humbly wait for their solution, BUT WHILE I WAIT, I AM STANDING ON THE ROCK."

      Professor Warfield, of Princeton Theological Seminary, said, "Doubtless enough has been said to show that the Westminster Confession teaches precisely the doctrine which is taught in the private writings of the framers, which was also the general Protestant doctrine of the time, and not of that time only, or of the Protestants only, for despite the contrary assertion that has recently become tolerably current, essentially this doctrine of inspiration, verbal, has been the doctrine of the Church of all ages and of all names."

      [The following is not an endorsement of "Schofield's" or "Scofield's" erroneous teaching on Eternal Security, nor of any error taught by those who are quoted. -- DVM] Dr. Schofield, in a note on 1 Corinthians 2:13, says, "The writers of Scripture invariably affirm, where the subject is mentioned by them at all, that the WORDS of their writings are divinely taught. The unseen things of God are undiscoverable by natural man, these unseen things God has revealed to chosen men, and the revealed things are communicated in Spirit-taught words. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, by unanimous vote in 1893, adopted the following, 'The Bible, as we now have it in its various translations and revisions, when freed from all errors and mistakes of translators, copyists and printers, IS THE VERY WORD OF GOD, and consequently wholly without error."

      Dr. Hodge says, "The line can never be rationally drawn between the thoughts and words of Scripture. That we have an inspired Bible, and a VERBALLY INSPIRED one, we have the witness of GOD Himself."

      Professor Gaussen says, "The theory of a Divine revelation in which you would have the inspiration of thoughts, without the inspiration of language, is so inevitably irrational that it can not be sincere; and proves false even to those who propose it."

      Canon Wescott says, "The slightest consideration will show that the words are as essential to intellectual processes as they are to mutual intercourse. Thoughts are wedded to words au necessarily as soul to body. Without it the mysteries unveiled before the eyes of the seer would be confused shadows. With it they are made clear lessons for human life."

      Dean Burgon, a man of vast learning, says, "You can not dissect inspiration into substance and form. As for thoughts being inspired apart from words which give them expression, you might as well talk of a tune without notes, or a sum without figures. No such theory of inspiration is even intelligible. It is as illogical as it is worthless, and can not be too sternly put down."

      Dr. George S. Bishop says very forcibly, "Verbal and direct inspiration is the Thermopylae of the Bible and Scriptural faith. No breath, no syllable; no syllable, no word; no word, no Book; no Book, no religion." He further declares, "The Bible is the Word of God, and not simply contains it. This is clear, because the Bible styles itself the Word of God. 'THE WORD OF THE LORD is right,' says the Psalmist. 'THY WORD is a lamp unto my feet.' 'The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, BUT THE WORD OF OUR GOD shall stand forever.' 'Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the WORD OF GOD.' It is GOD'S REVELATION that faith hears, and it is on God's Word revealed that faith rests."

      Haldane says very pertinently, "INSPIRATION is as much an assertion as justification. Both stand equally on the authority OF' SCRIPTURE which is as much an ultimate authority upon this point as upon any other. When God speaks, and when He says, 'I speak,' that is the end of it. God in old times SPAKE by the prophets. God now SPEAKS by His Son."

      The Epistle to the Hebrews furnishes conclusive proof of the position we assume, furnishing a splendid illustration as it sets forth the whole economy of the Mosaic rites; the author adds, "THE HOLY GHOST this signifying." Quoting further on from Jeremiah, he enforces it with the remark, "The Holy Ghost is witness to us also," and the argument on the ninety-fifth Psalm he clinches with the application, "Wherefore, AS THE HOLY GHOST SAITH, Today if ye will hear HIS voice." Throughout the entire Epistle, whoever may have been the writer quoted from, the words of the quotation are referred to God.

      I was very much impressed by one remark of Dr. Harman in his "Introduction to the Holy Scriptures," when he says, "The theory of verbal inspiration in every part of the sacred Scriptures would give them more sanctity and authority." And again, "Lax views of inspiration may strip the Bible of a great deal of its authority as a Divine revelation, and resolve much of it into a mere human opinion." He also admits, "The Jews had come to believe in the VERBAL INSPIRATION of their sacred Scriptures, before the canon of the New Testament was completed."

      Scott, the well-known commentator, says, "It would be a waste of time to attempt to prove the authenticity or the genuineness of the Sacred Writings, unless in entire subserviency to the demonstration that they are divinely inspired. The works and words of men are fallible; an INFALLIBLE STANDARD is wanted to which all other books and instructions may be referred, with which they may be compared, and by which they may be judged. Now if the Sacred Writings are indeed the WORD OF GOD, if all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, we have the desideratum and have nothing further to expect or desire. But if the books called by the apostles 'the oracles of God' are merely the authentic writings of Moses, David, Isaiah and others, and are not the infallible WORD OF GOD, we are as far from the desideratum as ever. Moses, Samuel, David -- all were moved by the Holy Ghost; THEY WERE THE VOICE, He was the Speaker, and every sentence they gave was 'the sure testimony of God,' which things also we speak, not in the WORDS which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth."

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See Also:
   1: The Word of God
   2: The Holy Spirit the Author
   3: The Old Testament and the New
   4: Verbal Inspiration
   5: Thus Saith the Lord
   6: Testimony of the Fathers
   7: Witnesses to the Truth


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