Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spiritual Warfare and the Word of God

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

This past weekend was the 234th anniversary observance of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, which occurred in my hometown of Greensboro, NC. On March 15, 1781 Nathanael Greene--commanding general of the Continental Army's Southern Department--bloodied the British in a terrible battle. They held a re-enactment, as they do every year. Many natives of Greensboro do not realize how significant this battle was in the ultimate defeat and surrender at Yorktown, even though technically it was a defeat. I mention this because it was this very same battlefield that opened my eyes to the reality of spiritual warfare.While walking at night in 2001, I saw a demon which had visibly manifested. And human warfare is a potent picture of the reality of spiritual warfare. It has been pointed out often that the offensive weapon mentioned in the Ephesians passage is the bible/Word of God, which is the Sword of the Spirit. It is not rocket science to assume that this precious weapon would come under heavy fire from Satan.

Most bible believing preachers (RC and Protestant) hardly ever go beyond a passing reference to spiritual warfare in their pastoral prayers or sermons/homilies.That is an indisputable fact.So, I want to address this via an issue that most bible-believing pastors are passionate about....though there are signs of slippage. Namely, the authority and inerrancy of the bible. In v.17 the bible/Word of God is referred to as the sword of the Spirit.We need to realize that any diminishment of the full authority and inerrancy of the bible has serious consequences for spiritual warfare. Going all the way back to Genesis 3:1 Satan has made it a major strategy of his to plant doubts amongst God's people about the full trustworthiness of God's Word.

My goal in this blog is to defend the inerrancy of the bible re: spiritual warfare.

In 1979 Jack Rogers and Don McKim wrote a book which proposed that the bible is authoritative in matters of faith and conduct, but it is not infallible when it comes to historical or scientific details. In addition, they argued that that the notion of inerrancy was an innovation of the Princeton theologians of the 19th and 20th centuries, most notably B.B. Warfield, created the doctrine of inerrancy, which teaches that the Bible is entirely without error in all that it affirms.(please see the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy...ICBI for response in dozens of scholarly books) Their proposal effected many then, and limited inerrancy (or limited errancy), has a widespread polluting effect within the church today.Young evangelical/RC theologians are falling prey once again to the Rogers/McKim logic.

If you have never heard of B.B. Warfield, then it is my honor to introduce you to him--he helped the Church by offering a very straightforward and simplified argument for inerrancy.

A Medieval philosopher (whom I mention in my book several times) William of Ockham is known for his principle of parsimony, or simplicity. The argument with the fewest assumptions is the better argument, the principle states. And Warfield used Occam's razor well. The simple, but not simplistic, argument he made was this: IF God is the author of Scripture, then Scripture is true.If it is inspired by the Spirit of Truth, then it must be true/inerrant.

Consider this conversation between two Christians-one who believes inerrancy is important and the other does not

Bill--"I am a Christian and follow the bible re religious matters."
Chris--"Do you believe the bible is inerrant?"
Chris--"Do you believe that all Scripture is inspired by the God of Truth?" (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Bill--"Umm, yea, all of Scripture is inspired by God."
Chris--"Do you believe the God of Truth inspires error/lies/falsehood?"
Bill--"Of course not."
Chris--"Then is the bible inerrant or not?"
Bill---"Uumm..."   The logic is simple but compelling!

Today, in our generation, theologians are challenging the inerrancy of God's Word again. To do so, blunts the Sword of the Spirit in spiritual warfare.

St Augustine wrote Jerome, "Admit even a single well-meant falsehood into such an exalted authority, and there will not be left a single section of those books which, appearing to anyone to present difficulties from the point of view of practice or to be hard to believe from the point of view of doctrine, will escape, by the very same very same baneful principle, from being classified as the deliberate act of an author who was lying."

Will we submit ourselves to Scripture, or will we submit Scripture to ourselves?

This exchange between Augustine and Jerome teaches us that inerrancy is not a modern invention, in fact it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1) The real issue is failure to submit to the full Lordship of Christ.

In the 1970's, which is the same time fascination with the paranormal began in earnest, there was a renewed attack on the full authority of the bible within the church.Many of us went through college with professors taking delight in pointing out the alleged contradictions and errors in the bible.

As a student of the bible and of logic,  I can say with confidence that there are no errors or contradictions in the Word of God (in the autographs).Whatever copyist errors that have crept in are exceedingly minimal. If God is the God of Truth, how could He inspire error?

The bible is not primarily a handbook on history or science, BUT when it touches on either and affirms it, then it speaks true truth.If it does not, then why should we believe it re: spiritual issues?
Next time I want to deal with the relation between the intrinsic authority of the Word of God and the authority of the Church. There is a difference between sola scriptura and nuda scriptura.

Bottom line--how can we cling to the bible in spiritual warfare unless it is truly true, as God is True?!
Everything we hold dear regarding our victory over the Evil One assumes that our source of that knowledge (the bible) is true. If it is not true regarding matters that can be verified, then why should we believe it regarding "spiritual" matters that are unverifiable?

Inerrancy means that God did not err in His Words to us. Infallibility means that the Lord cannot speak falsehood.

The source of our knowledge of the Person and work of Christ is the bible. If the source is under attack then so is everything else. This is an issue worth taking a strong, firm but loving stance over...for God's glory!

"Seeing Ghosts through God's Eyes" (also in a Kindle edition)...please consider purchasing my book which uses science, logic, and the bible to analyze the true source of power behind paranormal activity.