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Rough notes session 1, John MacArthur:

John MacArthur

Why are we having a summit on inerrancy?

I remember the meeting which gave rise to the Chicago Statement in 1978 (at which I was present). Led by Jim Boice. R.C. Sproul said of Boice’s death, it was God’s judgment on America.

On the return flight, I sat next to Robert Schuler. Schuler said, “I know who you are. God love’s you and I’m trying.” I was reading his book The New Reformation (open on my lap) and writing a review at that exact time. Schuler said, “I believe the Bible and make those words mean anything I want them to mean.”

It’s time to raise the standard of inerrancy of God at this time. Four reasons:

First, the Scripture is attacked and we are called to defend it.
Any reader of the Bible knows of Satan’s attacks and threats on the truth. He uses false teachers and false prophets. Stains and blemishes, et cetera (Jude & 2 Peter).

It is also clear from Scripture that the greatest threat comes from inside the church. Jude: those who sneak into the church. Jesus called them wolves in sheep’s clothing. Paul says to Timothy that such people bring on dangerous times. Paul warned the Ephesian elders of such men. Jesus said (Matt 18) offenses must come but woe to the one who causes such offenses. Better to be dead than to cause a young one to stumble. Attacks on the Scripture is the greats offense.

Jesus said, You cannot hear our words because you are of the Devil. Why cannot you hear my words? Because you are not of God.

Ian Murray, there is in the human heart a natural antipathy to the Scripture.

Satan’s attack begins with a question, Has God said. You have a right to question God. Ends with God lied, therefore, you should not trust him.

Paul writes of those who teach doctrines of demons — yet Satan comes as an angel of light.

1 Timothy 6:20, guard what has been entrusted to you against false “Knowledge”

2 Timothy 1:13, guard the treasure entrusted to you.

Jude: earnestly contend for the faith. Earnestly contend: intensive: carry on a heroic struggle. This is a long war.

Example, trading authority of Scripture for church tradition and a sacramental system which connects one to an external authority rather than to God. The more the heresy abounded, the more the symbols abounded. The Reformation was a confrontation of sacramentalism with the authority of Scripture.

The second wave which attacked the Scripture was Enlightenment Rationalism (eventually higher criticism). Men began to place themselves above God. Not long afterward, rationalism made it into the church; denying the authority of the Scripture and its claims. The outcome was theological liberalism.

Up until the 17th & 18th century neither Jews nor Christians ever questioned the authority of Scripture.

Schliermacher wrote to his father, I cannot believe … that his death was a vicarious atonement. [Please pray for me] brought on a romanticism.

Afterwards comes the cults with self-appointed authorities. 19th Century. Much of it coming from Finney’s burnt over area. They mostly resurrected early heresies.

The Pentecostalism raised emotional experiences over Scripture (like Schleiermacher). While not denying the authority of Scripture outright, Scripture was buried under experience.

The experience based life made its way into the church broadly.

New Apostolic Reformation: prophets must take over from pastors to bring about Apocalypse. 4-6 mill members at present.

Psychological analysis also infiltrated the church.

Consumer driven Christianity: felt-needs leads.

Pragmatism, the seeker movement brought in numbers but destroyed any concern for doctrine. Indifferent to the Scripture. The authority was personal authority in the leader. Comprise called “love”.

Interfaith dialogue and even interfaith seminaries. Peter Kreeft: even if you an atheist looking for God you will end up in heaven.

But Paul: we destroy arguments. When Jude was pointing to an objective faith “the faith”; the apostles’ doctrine.

Scripture reserves the harshest condemnation for those who take away the word of God or put lies in God’s mouth.

Heresy was a capital offense, Deuteronomy 13. Yet Israel did not expel false prophets, instead they welcomed them. Jeremiah 5.

Second, Scripture is authoritative and we are called to proclaim it.

2 Timothy: Scripture is God-breathed. This is the backdrop to Paul’s charge to preach the Word.

Gal. 3:8, Scripture is equivalent to the speaking of God. The Bible speaks as God’s voice.

Rom. 9:17, Scripture says (quoting God).

John 10: Scripture cannot be broken. Jesus made a case his deity based upon one word. He made a case for the resurrection on the tense of a verb.

Matt. 5:18

The author of Scripture is the God of Truth. Isaiah, Jeremiah.

John 5:33

1 John 5: the true God.

God cannot lie.

The Bible has to be inerrant because it is the Word of God and God cannot lie.

Prov. 30:5

The men writing Scripture knew themselves to be writing God’s words.

Psalm 19

Amos 3:7

The NT writers had an unspeakable confidence in the OT Scriptures. Romans 15: through the Scriptures we might have hope.

Scripture’s own testimony is to its authority.

Third, Scripture is accurate and we are to demonstrate it.

The Bible presents a plausible explanation for the universe. The only reasonable explanation for the creation and why the world is the way it is.

Herbert Spencer: time, force, movement, space, matter (the only five things knowable by science): these are all found in Genesis 1:1.

The Bible is accurate with science. Isa. 40:8, Eccl. is there anything new? First law of thermodynamics: conservation of mass & energy.

Second law: entropy increases. This picture from Scripture.

Romans 8, the creation groans.

Water cycle: Ecclesiastes 1:7, Isa. 50:5, Job,

The earth was in motion:

The number of stars: Gen. 20:2, Jer. 33:22 (at the time of Kepler, the belief was 1,000 stars).

He hangs the earth on nothing. Job.

Job 38:14, the earth rotates.

Prophecy: Isaiah 53, etc.

Fourth, Scripture is active through the power of the Spirit and we are called to deploy it.

The Bible is the sole power of salvation & sanctification.

Be are begotten by the word of truth. 1 Peter.

Sharper than any two-edged sword.

John 17:17, sanctification by the true Word.

There is only one book that can change your nature.

In evangelism the Spirit uses the Word. Romans 10

1 Thess. 1:5: the word in power.

1 Cor. 2: preaching in the demonstration of Spirit & power. Your faith in the power of God.

No one can be saved without the Gospel, truth as revealed in Scripture.

Spurgeon: unless the Holy Spirit blesses the word, our task [of preaching ] is impossible.

And: the Holy Spirit will not do the work of regeneration/sanctification without the Word.

When we preach the Word we deploy the instrument which the Spirit uses.


Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly
And be filled with the Spirit.

When the Spirit’s power is unleashed with the preaching of the Word, life and transformation takes place.

You cannot be an expositor of Scripture if you have a weak view of the Bible.

But since we have an inerrant inspired Bible, we have a mandate.