"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.VIII Pg.1,16b
March 1944

The Inspiration That Counts

Cled E. Wallace

A religion that meets all the needs of the human family must have the backing of final and complete authority over the human mind. In the very nature of the case it must be a revealed religion, a religion of the book and the book must be an infallible revelation of the will of God. We believe the Bible to be just such a book. Church authority is open to all the objections and suspicions suggested by the weakness and stumbling propensities of man. The church is made up of people. In a hierarchy, even the rulers are uninspired men and serious mistakes are more than likely, they are certain. The history of such setups is punctuated with illustrations of the fact. The records of the popes and councils of Rome make up anything else before it suggests even an argument for Church authority. Jesus Christ is the head of the church, its one and only law-giver and his place cannot be usurped by men, however pretentious their place or their claims.

The law of Christ cannot be determined by committees of men who busy themselves is writing creeds and passing laws to govern the people of God. These men are fallible and their fallibility extends into the premises and conclusions of their religious reasoning. One such group has no more authority than some other similar group. They vary so much in their conclusions that a basis is formed for a variety of conflicting parties. There can be no real unity in such developments.

If we do not have an infallible Bible, we need one. If we do not have it there is not the dimmest prospect of getting it. There is every reason to believe we have it. If so, it is divinely inspired to that degree that guarantees that it contains the infallible will of God.

As to the integrity of the Bible, historical criticism has established the fact that the New Testament we have is close to one hundred percent perfect. The error factor in the text has been established at the astounding minimum of one on an average for about every thousand words. These textual errors are of such a trivial character that they do not affect faith OR doctrine. When a man opens his Bible, he can be certain, therefore, that he has the Bible. Jesus and the apostles had the Old Testament and endorsed it.

Since we have it, can we believe it? This brings up the question of credibility. We accept other ancient documents as historically credible even when they do not claim inspiration or infallibility. Certain historical tests, accepted by all critics, are applied to these documents to determine whether or not they are historically reliable. These tests have to do with the honesty, opportunities for knowing the facts, and the numbers of those who testify as to the facts in the case. No historian or witness has ever passed these tests with a greater degree of perfection than the writers of the New Testament. They were men of intelligence and the finest character. They had every reason to tell the truth and no motives for deception can be discovered by the closest scrutiny of critics. They are in every way reliable. They could not possibly have been mistaken as to the facts they dealt with. If they cannot be believed then we cannot be certain that anybody in the past ever told or wrote the truth about anything.

In spite of this, unbelief still persists. Men who are well informed in certain fields of knowledge bitterly criticize the Bible. In a surprising number of instances, they know almost as little about it as an illiterate knows about the classics. They have built up a negative attitude without examining the positive side of the evidence. They have adopted a course which is unscientific to the highest degree. In colleges and universities, some professors of this class attack the Bible and revealed religion to impress youth who know nothing of the evidence in its favor, and leave them to infer that there is no such evidence worthy of any consideration whatsoever. They employ the prestige of their position and scholarship to put over the fraud that they are the wise ones and wisdom will die with them. They would show up most unfavorably on a polemic platform with a believer in the Bible capable of effectively presenting its claims to 'authority over the minds and lives of humanity.

Some friends of the Bible, that is they do not consider themselves hostile, feel that there must be a compromise of some sort between the Bible and the so-called verified results of science and criticism. Its moral teaching is good and a qualified respect for it is wholesome, but they are not prepared in heart to go all-out for it as the infallible revelation of the will of God. A physician of my acquaintance told a friend he wanted his daughter to believe the Bible "to a degree" but not all of it. He thinks the book is somewhat extreme in spots. He doubts some of its miracles and its claims of inspiration. He appears not to be conscious of the fact that his attitude is a clear repudiation of the real mission the holy book proposes to accomplish. The Bible claims to be the word of God and promises blessings to him alone who trembles at this word. He must not add to nor take from it. It is the law of God and is not subject to human revision. Whoever proposes an amendment to the divine constitution is a presumptuous rebel in the light of the claims of the book itself. It claims to be a final revelation of the divine will, furnishing the man of God completely for every good work. In short it is "the faith once far all delivered to the saints."

To be all this it must be inspired. No man no any number of them in the aggregate could assemble such a book and present it with the claims contained in the text of the New Testament. Some efforts along that line are weak and ludicrous and bear unmistakable marks of plagiarism. The Book of Mormon and the "Testimonies" of Mrs. White are cases in point. They fall apart when tests are applied to them such as the Bible has met with superb perfection. It is natural that a great battle between faith and unbelief should be fought around the question of inspiration. The inspiration the Bible claims and establishes for itself makes it an infallible document with full authority. It is a standard for justification and condemnation with eternal consequences following.

What is inspiration? Many theories have been advanced from the natural inspiration evident in human genius, to a mechanical theory that rules out the slightest play of human feeling. It is an unsound approach to the question to try to make the inspiration of the book fit some theory. The writers themselves should be heard and their own claims examined. Jesus claimed that he came from God. His birth, life, teaching, miracles, death and resurrection establish him in the exalted position the book accords him. He promised the apostles a baptism in the Holy Spirit which would bring all necessary things to their remembrance and guide them into all truth. These apostles in turn claimed that the Spirit of God was with them and in them; that he both revealed the ideas of the gospel to them, and exercised such an influence over the very words chosen to express them, as to insure their infallible correctness. They were empowered to speak languages they had never learned when such was necessary to reveal these inspired ideas to people who spoke those languages and understood no other. They were further enabled to perform miracles as signs of God's approval and selection of them for their important mission. These claims on their part fully account for that amazing result we know as the New Testament. No successful effort has been made to account for all the facts on any contrary hypothesis. There is no sound reason for rejecting the claims of Jesus, his apostles, or the New Testament, which is the direct product of these claims. Both Jesus and the apostles in their lives, words and deeds stand at their highest when contrasted with their most scholarly critics. The most cultured modern critic enjoys no advantage in this respect over the most dogmatic Pharisee who vainly sought to withstand Jesus while he was on earth.

The supreme need of our time is confidence in the Bible as the word of God. Let us return to the suggestion that if the Bible we have is not the truth of God, we do not have it. What can we substitute for it? Critics exalt the classics and talk volubly about science, literature, art and culture. "The world through its wisdom knew not God" and knows not God. Science cannot settle the question of the ultimate in human existence and eternal hope. The best that there is in literature, art and culture has been inspired by the Bible. Without the Bible the best of it could not have been. It is true of the best in our civilization. It follows that the best can be attained only by taking the Bible without reservation. A return to the Bible is a return to God. We need the God of the Bible, the Christ of the Bible, the church of the Bible and the salvation the Bible offers. We suffer an eternal loss without these. This is not bibliolatry; it is the happy union of reason and faith.