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Primitive Theology

February 28, 2011

Ligonier Ministries gives an excerpt from the late John Gerstner’s work, Primitive Theologies: The Collected Primers of John Gerstner on Biblical inerrancy.  It says, in part:

It would be just as foolish and impious to accept and obey any voice whatsoever which claimed to be divine, as it would be not to accept and obey the divine voice when it is shown to be such. To apply some reasonable test for ascertaining the voice of God and distinguishing it from the voice of men is not presumptuous as many charge, but, on the contrary, is as humble as it is necessary. Humble? Yes, humble because it is using the only means which our Maker has given us whereby we may distinguish between truth and error; God and men; His Word and theirs. To accept any voice which claimed His divine name would be arrogantly to disregard the means God Himself has graciously provided to prevent just such a mistake. The person who professed to believe without evidence would be despising the God who gave us minds, which must have evidence in order to provide a basis for reasonable belief. While God is, of course, infinitely above His creatures it does not follow that if and when He condescends to speak to them He will speak in a manner which is infinitely above them. Manifestly, if He speaks to men He must speak so that men can understand what He says. He must, as Calvin has said, “lisp.” If parents must accommodate their language to their infants when they would be understood, surely God must indulge in baby talk when speaking to those infinitely below Him. If He chose to speak to us in a manner which is as infinitely above us, as His being is above ours, He would be, literally, infinitely over our heads. This would not only make comprehension by us infinitely impossible, but it would inevitably reflect on God’s infinite intelligence, which would know no better than to attempt to communicate with finite creatures by going infinitely over their heads. It is equally evident that He will make it known that He is speaking—which means He will give some signs of His presence which the human mind can recognize.

In conclusion, then, the fact that the Bible claims its inspiration is not the basis for Inerrancy. If there is a sound basis for believing in Inerrancy, as we shall attempt to show in the second part, the self-testimony of Scripture will be a wonderful confirmation of it. Without the Bible’s own claim it would not be impossible, but it would be more difficult, to believe that it is the Word of God. But with such self-attestation the truth of divine Inspiration is gloriously sealed.


From → Theology

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