Fundamentals of the Faith
By William Dudley Nowlin, D.D., LL.D.
The Bible a Revelation from God to Man, Divinely Inspired and
the Only and All-Sufficient Rule of Faith and Practice for Man in All Matters
of Religion, and the Law by Which Man Is to Be Judged.
God having a people and a will concerning his people would naturally make known that will to his people; and this God has done in the Bible.
THE AUDACITY OF THE CRITICS
One of the special objects of attack by all skeptics and infidels is “The Bible, the divinely inspired and inerrant Word of God.” Of course, if they could succeed in overthrowing the authority and accuracy of the Bible they would have easy sailing in any other attacks that they might make against the Christian religion. In fact, the authority and accuracy of the Bible being over thrown, there would be no occasion for any other attack, the Christian religion being already destroyed. The man who arrogates to himself the right and ability to criticize and improve on God’s Word assumes that he is wiser than the Author of the Book. While he cannot believe in the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible, he has no trouble in believing in his own inspiration and infallibility. It would be difficult to find a class with more AUDACITY than that class of critics who are attempting to overthrow the Bible.
THE LOGIC OF THE CRITICS
These critics are divided into several schools, but “when we pierce below the surface, differences in current representations, we find a singular unity in the kernel of the matter.”
The self-styled “Modern Scientific Critics” a few years ago were loud in their claims that Moses could not have written the code of laws ascribed to him, because the art of composition was not sufficiently developed in that early day to enable one to write a code of laws so profound and elaborate. It happens, however, since the publication of Hammurabi’s code, which the critics tell us was written nearly one thousand years before Moses, a code far more elaborate with laws, more numerous (though not so perfect), that these same “Modern Scientific Critics” are making favorable comments on this ancient code, and claiming that Moses copied from Hammurabi’s code. Certainly, according to their theory of evolution, if the art of composition was sufficiently developed in the days of Hammurabi to bring forth the elaborate code ascribed to him, in the days of Moses, nearly a thousand years later, it ought to have been sufficiently developed to make the production of Moses’ laws an easy task. “But wisdom is justified of her children.” The deductions of these critics show clearly that they are seeking not the truth, but the overthrow of the Bible. These destructive critics not only call in question the authenticity of the laws of Moses, the prophecies of Isaiah and other Old Testament writings, but they deny almost every claim made by Christ and his apostles. They challenge their power and stamp Christ as a base impostor.
There is scarcely any part of the Bible that some critic has not cast out as false. If what these “Modern Scholars” say of the Bible were true, it would be absolutely worthless, a sham and a fraud. But God’s Word is eternal, infallible and unchangeable. Infidelity has dug for the Bible many a grave, skepticism has lighted for it many a faggot, society has set for it many a snare; many a Judas has betrayed it with a kiss; many a Peter has denied it with an oath; many a Demas has forsaken it, having loved this present world. These have all returned to their original dust, but the Bible goes on forever.
Dr. A. H. Sayce, one of the most eminent of the archaeologists, when asked what is the tendency of archaeological discovery, replied: “Since the discovery of the El-Amarna tablets until now great things have been brought out by archaeology, and every one of them has been in harmony with the Bible, while nearly every one of them has been dead against the assertions of the destructive critics.” Commenting on this, a contemporary says: “The critics make a loud noise, and impress the world with their outcry, but the rank and file of the church, whom no man can easily number, make no noise, but they think, and they believe, and they wait for the final vindication of that Word which abideth forever.”
THE BIBLE’S CLAIM TO INSPIRATION
The Bible surpasses all other books in wisdom and greatness just in proportion as its Author is wiser and greater than all other authors. More than all other books combined, the Bible, for some two thousand years, has absorbed attention, enlightened the mind, solaced the heart and formed character.
We are persuaded that it would be wholesome for this generation to read more Bible even at the expense of reading a little less about the Bible.
But does the Bible really claim to be the very Word of God, spoken by men divinely inspired, or guided by the Holy Spirit? That is a pertinent question and deserves an answer. Let the Bible speak for itself. In 2 Tim. (3:16, 17) we read: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Again 2 Peter (1:20, 21) it says: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.’’
Also Acts (1:16) reads: “Men and brethren, this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.”
These Scriptures are sufficient to show what the Bible claims for itself. Paul says: “All Scripture is given by inspiration.” Peter says: “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by Holy Spirit.” Luke says: “The Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake,” and he says David spake “this Scripture.”
The Bible is, indeed, the Word of God, is divinely inspired and is, therefore, authoritative and reliable. There are errors in translations, but the inspired writers are not responsible for error made by men in translating the Word into different languages. God’s revelation as given to men is perfect, for Paul says: “All Scripture —profitable-— that the man of God may be perfect.” If all Scriptures are profitable in perfecting men then the Scriptures must be perfect, for an imperfect rule could not produce perfect conduct. Yes, the Bible claims to be inspired.
THE BIBLE’S CLAIM TO INSPIRATION PROVEN
It is one thing to make a claim and quite another thing to prove it. It has been shown that the Bible claims to be inspired, but is this claim verified l The best proof, I take it, that the Bible is inspired is fulfilled prophecy. If some man should prophesy that many generations from now a child should be born, Theodore Brown by name, and that he would become Governor of Kentucky, and that while in this office he would take all the prisoners from the state prison and burn them at the stake, and if that thing should be literally fulfilled hundreds of years from now, don’t you suppose that the people then living, and knowing of the prophecy, would say, “That man was inspired, for God alone knows what is going to take place hundreds of years in the future?” But does God’s Book give as plain a case of fulfilled prophecy as that? It certainly does. The prophecy in 1 Kings (13:1, 2), which reads: “And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the Word of the Lord unto Bethel and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
“And he cried against the altar in the Word of the Lord, and said, 0 altar, altar, thus saith the Lord: Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.”
The date of this prophecy is 975 B.C. Notice the altar was at Bethel and the child to be born was of the house of David and named Josiah. The specific thing he was to do was to burn the bones of the priests on the altar at Bethel.
Was this prophecy ever fulfilled? Turn to 2 Kings (23:15, 16), which reads: “Moreover, the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.
“And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, ac cording to the Word of the Lord, which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.”
This was 624 B.C., or 351 years after the prophecy was spoken. Notice it is the same altar at Bethel, one Jeroboam made, and Josiah of the house of David performing. Could prophecy be more literally fulfilled? There are others as striking as this. Take the case of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on an ass (Matt. 21: 5), and the prophecy concerning this entry by the prophet (Zech. 9:9). Read the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, which reads like a history of the crucifixion, and yet this was hundreds of years before Jesus was born.
Yes, fulfilled prophecy is the strongest proof that the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God.
THE BIBLE THE RULE BY WHICH WE ARE TO LIVE AND BY WHICH WE ARE TO BE JUDGED
It follows naturally that if the Bible is the revealed and authoritative will of God to man that it is the Rule by which he is to live and the Law by which he is to be judged. God says “Judgment will I lay to the line and righteous ness to the plummet” (Isa. 28:17). We are told again of “the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). The Scriptures are not only able to make us wise unto salvation, but they are “profitable” in Christian development. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may he perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works’’ (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). The divine injunction is “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15); Our final judgment will be according to the gospel, for Paul says, “God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16).
We will not be judged according to our tastes, nor pleasures, nor consciences, but the gospel.
Since the Bible is the revealed will of God to men, it is authoritative in all matters of religion. The Bible contains everything God would have us believe, do or be, religiously, and we have no right to add to or take from it. Baptists hold that the Bible is a book for all the people, and that the right of individual interpretation is an inalienable right.
The one and only sure road to agreement among all Christians is the acceptance of, and obedience to, the Bible as the only and all-sufficient rule of faith and practice in all matters of religion. To seek unity on any other ground is in effect an effort to overthrow and supplant the finality and authority of the Bible. If the Bible is final and authoritative in religion, why attempt plans of unity based on expediency or compromise of vital Bible truths? Before there can ever be unity among Christians there must be accepted one authoritative source of religious truth and conduct—that source must be the Bible.
Dr. E. Y. Mullins well says:
“For Baptists there is one authoritative source of religious truth and knowledge. To that source they look in all matters relating to doc trine, to polity, to the ordinances, to worship, and to Christian living. That source is the Bible.
“Baptists hold that there are at least three assertions which must be made about the Bible in order to state its position in our belief and life. The first is that the Bible is sufficient for our religious needs. The second is that it is certain in its deliverance. The third is that it is authoritative for belief and conduct.”
An unknown author says of the Bible: “This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule [ heart, and guide the feet. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened in the judgment, and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibilities, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.” A fine statement is this.
The Bible is sufficient for all of our religious needs.
If people were only as anxious to know the things that are revealed as they are to know the things that are not revealed they would soon be perfectly familiar with the Bible.