ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 181

“The Nature of the Bible:

Free from Errors or Full of Errors?

Samuele Bacchiocchi

Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University

 

INDEX OF TOPICS OF THIS NEWSLETTER

        * How to Subscribe and Unsubscribe

        * A New Outreach Book: Popular Beliefs:

          Are they Biblical?

        * A New DVD Album: Abundant Life Seminar

       

“The Nature of the Bible: Free from Errors or Full of Errors?

          (The Essay of this Newsletter)

 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF SERVICES & PRODUCTS

 

          * Special offer on the Package of 10 DVD/CD albums,

          containing all the recordings of Prof. Jon Paulien,

          Prof, Graeme Bradford, and Prof. Bacchiocchi.

          The package includes also the newly released DVD

          Abundant Life Seminar.

 

          * Introductory offer on Prof. Jon Paulien’s DVD album

               on Simply Revelation

 

          * Special offer on the new edition of Prof.  Bradford

            More than a Prophet, together with a free DVD album.

 

          * Upcoming seminars for August, and September

 

          * Incredible Offer on the new Hitachi 3000 Lumens Projector

             Only $1395.00

 

          * The Smallest and most Powerful Remote Presenter

 

          * Does your church or School Need a Screen?

 

          * Bed and Breakfast in London, England

 

          * TAGNET new Web-hosting offer

 

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NEW OUTREACH BOOK:

POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL?

 

        GOOD NEWS! The newsletter you are about to read contains the first draft of chapter 1 of the new book POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL?

 

        You will soon discover that it is a long but important chapter that lays the foundation for our examination of popular unbiblical beliefs. It is designed to help the reader understand the past and present attacks against the Bible by friends and foes.

       

        A PLEA FOR HELP! If you have been gifted with literary skills, would you be willing to help me to clean up this first draft of chapter I. Specifically I am looking for people who can help me in two ways:

 

 (1) To eliminate spelling mistakes and restructure sentences so that they sound more English than Italian.

 

(2) Ways to shorten this chapter.  I have already deleted 15 pages from the original draft, but I need to shorten it more, without weakening too much the strength of the chapter.  If you have time and competence to help me in this project, I would be glad to email you the chapter on a MW file, which is easier to correct.  Feel free to contact me at sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com

 

        Remember me in your prayers on this project as you did for my healing from cancer. I believe that the Lord have restored me to greater health and strength than I had before, because He wants me to accomplish greater things for Him in this Endtime.  Pray that the Lord may give me the wisdom to expose errors and present the truth in a clear and loving way.      

 

        The ultimate goat of the book is not merely to expose the flaws of some popular beliefs, but to help people appreciate the biblical validity and timeliness of our Adventist beliefs.  You will see a sample in this first chapter. After exposing the deceptive teachings of liberal scholars, conservative evangelicals, and Catholics regarding the nature of the Bible, I proceed to present the sound, biblical view of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

 

        To my knowledge our Adventist church has never published a substantive book that helps people to understand the difference between our Adventist beliefs and those Catholic/Protestant churches. We can hardly expect people to accept our Adventist beliefs, if we do not show them first why their beliefs are unbiblical.

 

        The book Seventh-day Adventist Believe . . . was warmly received by our church at large. I was invited to contribute to a chapter to the book. In my view the book makes a significant contribution, but it is too limited in scope. It simply presents the Adventist beliefs, without comparing or contrasting them with the beliefs of other churches. Uninformed readers may feel that Adventists beliefs are not much different from their own beliefs.  The new book Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? will leave no room for this uncertainty. It will clearly show the difference between the Adventists beliefs and some popular Catholic and Protestant beliefs. In other words, it will give to people a choice between biblical and unbiblical beliefs. You will see a clear example in this chapter that you are about to read.

 

        The sponsors of this project are hoping to cover most of the expenses for researching and printing 100,000 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical?  The idea is to offer the book to churches at a minimum cost of only $2.00 or 3.00 a copy, primarily to cover the mailing expenses. The regular price for this 320 pages book would be $25.00.

 

        What do you think of this project? Do you feel that we badly need such a book for our witnessing outreach?  Are you willing to pass out this book to your friends? Would you consider contributing financially to the realization of this project? Your input is greatly appreciated.  Let me know what you think.

 

        In order to complete this project by the end of February 2008, I need to re-prioritize my schedule. This will entail cutting down on speaking-engagements, posting the Endtime Issues Newsletters only once a month, and spending less time answering messages and speaking on the phone.

 

        To benefit from the constructive criticism of our subscribers, I plan to post most of the chapters as soon as the first draft is completed. An example, is this chapter which examines the major false views of the nature of the Bible.  I look forward to receive your constructive criticism. Do not hesitate to be frank. Rest assured that I will not be offended.

 

NEWLY RELEASED DVD ALBUM CALLED

ABUNDANT LIFE SEMINAR

 

        At the request of the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union, a special video taping was professionally done at Andrews University last August 8, 2007, of my powerpoint lecture on The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages.  The lecture summarizes the highlights of my book Wine in the Bible. With the help of 125 powerpoint slides, I share the findings of my research which shows that the Bible clearly teaches total abstinence, and not moderation.

 

        This lecture will be delivered live at the International Convention of the World Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WWCTU)an organization which Ellen White actively supported. The President, Sarah Ward, has already invited me on two previous occasions.  This year the International WWCTU is held in Indianapolis from September 14-16, 2007, and brings together Temperance Leaders from different parts of the world. 

 

        The delegates are eager to obtain the live video recording of my lecture on The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages, in order for them to share it with their congregations back home. For the benefit of our subscribers who will not be able to attend the convention, I posted in the last newsletter No. 179, a transcript of the lecture.

 

         If you live in Indianapolis, you are welcomed to attend the convention. I am scheduled to deliver my lecture The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages on Sabbath morning, September 15, at 10:00 a. m. The convention is held at the Adam’s Mark Hotel, 2544 Executive Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46241. The hotel phone number is: (317) 248-2481.  For directions and further detailed information, contact Sarah R. Ward, WWCTU President, at (765) 345-2306

 

        In order to make full use of the DVD disk, we video taped on the same evening also a second powerpoint lecture entitled How to Build a Happy and Lasting Marriage. This is one of my favorite sermon where I share the highlights of my book The Marriage Covenant, by presenting 10 biblical principles for building a happy and lasting marriage. I use 100 powerpoint slides to deliver this practical lecture, which has been warmly received by congregations in different parts of the world.

 

        At this time you can order this DVD album, called ABUNDANT LIFE SEMINAR, at the special introductory offer of only $50.00, instead of the regular price of $100.00. The price includes the AIRMAILING to any foreign country.

 

        You can order the ABUNDANT LIFE  DVD album online or by phone.  To order online simply click at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=23&products_id=102  To order by phone, call us at (269) 471-2915.

 

THE NATURE OF THE BIBLE:

Free from Errors or Full of Errors?

Samuele Bacchiocchi

Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University

Chapter 1 of the forthcoming book

POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL?  

 

            The logical starting point of our examination of the biblical validity of some popular beliefs, is a study of the prevailing views of the nature of the Bible itself. This is an important starting point, because what people believe about the nature of the Bible, ultimately determines how they define and test their beliefs.    

            There are two major views of the nature of the Bible. They are known as “biblical errancy,” that is, “the Bible is full of errors,”  and “biblical inerrancy,” that is, “the Bible is free from errors.”  Each of these views is subject to a variety of interpretations. For the purpose of our study, we will limit our analysis to the main teachings of each view.     

            Biblical errancy is the view of liberal critics who maintain that the Bible is a strictly human, error-ridden book, devoid of supernatural revelations and miraculous manifestations. Consequently, the Old and New Testaments are strictly human literary productions that partake of the shortcomings of their human authors.

            By contrast, conservative evangelicals believe in the total inerrancy of the Bible. They affirm that the Bible is absolutely inerrant, that is, without error in its original manuscripts. For some, the inerrancy of the Bible extends to every reference to history, geography, chronology, cosmology, and science.

            This chapter endeavors to show that both the errancy and inerrancy beliefs undermine the authority of the Bible by making it either too-human or too-divine. This reminds us that heresies come in different forms. Sometimes they openly reject biblical authority and teachings, while at other times they subtly distort scriptural authority and teachings.

 

Objectives of the Chapter

 

            This chapter examines the controversy over the errancy/inerrancy of the Bible. These opposing popular beliefs are championed by liberal critics on the one hand and by conservative evangelicals on the other. Our procedure will be first to trace briefly the historical origin of each movement and then to evaluate their teachings from a biblical perspective.

            To place the current controversy in a historical perspective, brief mention will be made of how the circulation of the Bible has been opposed outside and inside the church. This will help us to understand the relentless efforts of the Evil One to prevent the message of God’s revelation from  reaching sincere people.

            The chapter is divided in four parts. The first mentions briefly some past attempts to prevent the circulation of  the Bible by Roman Emperors, the Catholic Church, English kings, Protestant church leaders, and communists governments.

            The second part examines Biblical Criticism—commonly known as Higher Criticism. This movement has been largely responsible during the past three centuries for undermining biblical authority.

            The third part looks at the popular belief in biblical inerrancy as  taught by a large number of evangelicals who maintain that God guided the minds of the Bible writers in such a way that they were prevented from making any error. For many the Bible is supposed to be without error, not only with respect to religious teachings, but also in such areas as geography, astronomy,  history, chronology, and the natural sciences. We will show that this teaching overlooks the human dimension of Scripture.

            The last part sets forth the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of the inspiration and authority of the Bible.  We shall see that Adventists hold to a balanced view of the inspiration of the Bible, by acknowledging that its source is divine, the writers are human, and their writings contain divine thoughts in human language. Properly understood the humanity of the Bible enhances its divine origin and authority.

 

Part I

HISTORICAL ATTACKS AGAINST THE BIBLE

 

Roman Emperors Attempted to Destroy the Bible

 

            During the first three centuries some Roman emperors sought to uproot Christianity by destroying the Bible. For example, on February 23, 303 A. D. emperor Diocletian decreed that every copy of the Bible was to be handed over to the Roman police to be burned. Thousands of valuable Biblical manuscripts were burned in public squares. Some Christians lost their lives for refusing to hand over their Bibles.

            The aim of the imperial decree was to eliminate the presence of the Christian religion by suppressing its guiding light and normative authority. The reason given by leading philosophers and government officials was that Christianity was largely responsible for the socio-economic crises that were plaguing the empire at that time.

 

The Bible Outlawed in Moslem Countries

 

            With the rise of Islam in the seventh century, the Bible has been consistently outlawed in strict Moslem countries. To this very day distribution of Bibles is strictly forbidden in Moslem countries. Countless Christians have lost their lives for attempting to distribute Bible and/or share its teachings to receptive Moslems.

            The success of ruthless Moslem rulers to uproot the Bible and Christianity is evident in the countries they conquered. For example, prior to the Moslem conquest of the seventh century, the North African countries of Lybia, Tunisia, Marocco, Algeria, were flourishing Christian nations that produced such church leaders as Augustine and Tertullian. Today, Christians and the Bible are practically non-existent in these countries.

            The circulation of the Bible has also suffered from within Christianity at the hands of the Catholic Church, English kings, and Protestant church leaders. More recently, communist regimes also have attempted to prevent the circulation of the Bible and to discredit its teachings. Each of the above powers in different ways have assailed the Bible by preventing its circulation among the laity. 

           

Catholic Attempts to Prevent the Reading of the Bible

 

            Historically the Catholic Church has been opposed to the translation of the Bible in the common languages of the people and to its circulation among the laity. The right to read and teach the Bible was reserved to the clergy.

            For example, the Synod of Toulouse in 1229  A. D., presided over by a papal legate, celebrated the close of the Albigensian crusades by perfecting the code of the Inquisition and forbidding lay Christians to possess copies of the Bible. Canon 14 reads:  “We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; unless anyone from motive of devotion should wish to have the Psalter [Psalms] or the Breviary for divine offices or the hours of the blessed Virgin; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.”1

            A similar decree was promulgated at the Council of  Tarragona in A. D. 1234. The Second Canon rules that “No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments in the Romance language, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days after the promulgation of this decree, so that they may be burned . . .”2 

            In its fourth session, the Council of Trent (8 April 1546) reiterated the unmistakable Catholic opposition to the distribution of Scriptures by Bible Societies because  “It is manifest, from experience, that if the Holy Bible, translated into the vulgar tongue [common language], be indiscriminately allowed to everyone, the temerity of men will cause more evil than good to arise from it”3

            In his two encyclicals Qui  Pluribus and  Nostis et Nobiscum, promulgated respectively on November 9, 1846 and  December 8, 1848, Pope Pius IX warned the Italian Archibishops and Bishops against the Bible Societies, saying: “Under the protection of the Bible Societies which have long since been condemned by this Holy See, they distribute to the faithful under the pretext of religion, the Holy Bible in vernacular translations. Since these infringe the Church’s rules, they are consequently subverted and most daringly twisted to yield a vile meaning. So you realize very well what vigilant and careful efforts you must make to inspire in your faithful people an utter horror of reading these pestilential books. Remind them explicitly with regard to divine scripture that no man, relying on his own wisdom, is able to claim the privilege of rashly twisting the scriptures to his own meaning in opposition to the meaning which holy mother Church holds and has held.”4     

            By calling the Bibles distributed by Bible Societies “pestilential books” to be treated by faithful Catholics with “utter horror,” Pious IX clearly expresses the historic Catholic condemnation of the reading of the Bible by lay people. The reason is the reading of the Bible has led countless Catholics to discover that their fundamental beliefs are based on ecclesiastical tradition rather than biblical authority.

           

The Waldenses Persecuted for Distributing the Bible

 

            For centuries the Waldenses faced physical, civil, and economic persecutions at the hand of the Catholic House of Savoy for translating and distributing portions of the Bible. The most cruel massacre of the innocent Waldenses took place in the Italian Piedmont valleys in 1655 by the army of Charles Emmanuel II, the Catholic Duke of Savoy.  The whole Protestant world was shocked by this brutal massacre. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), Lord Protector of England, protested vigoriously and John Milton, his foreign secretary and poet,  dedicated this famous sonnet of Paradise Lost to the thousand of slaughtered Waldenses.

 

“Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones

Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold,

Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,

When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones.”

 

The Bible in the Experience of our Family in Italy

 

            Incidentally, it was a Waldensian fellow carpenter who loaned a Bible to my father, while he was still a young devout Catholic. Reading that Bible proved to be a turning point in my father’s religious experience, as well as in the future of our family. When father sought the help of a priest to clarify Bible texts  which contradicted Catholic teachings, the priest abruptly snatched away the Bible from my father’s hands, saying: “This book will breed only confusion and unrest to your soul. Leave it with me.” My father lost his Bible and had great difficulty in buying another copy, because the main supplier was the  British and Foreign Bible Society which operated secretly out of a nameless apartment.

            I experienced first hand  the same Catholic opposition to the circulation of the Bible during the four Summers I spent in Italy (1952-1956) selling Bibles supplied to me by the British and Foreign Bible Society. Each Summer I earned a scholarship to attend our Academy in Florence by selling Bibles and religious books. On numerous occasions devout Catholics frantically sought me out to take back the Bibles they bought, because their priest told them that they were  Protestant Bibles that would contaminate their home.

            It is only since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) that the Catholic Church has encouraged its members to read annotated Catholic Bibles. This recent decision has not significantly increased the reading of the Bible by Catholic, because in Catholic countries the Bible is still perceived to be a book for priests to read. The result is that for the vast majority of Catholics are still biblically illiterate.

 

Protestants’ Attempts to Prevent the Circulation of the Bible

 

            Surprisingly, even Protestant rulers and church leaders have attempted to prevent the translation and circulation of the Bible. For example, Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of London, strongly opposed the efforts of William Tyndale (1494-1536) to translate and publish the Bible in English.

            Tyndale, a brilliant Bible scholar trained at Oxford and Cambridge, was greatly distressed by the ignorance of the clergy and laity about the Bible. He determined to educate the English people about the Word of God by translating it in their own language. But, he faced enormous opposition from both  secular and religious powers in England. Consequently, he was forced to go to Germany to continue his English translation of the New Testament.

             In 1526 the first 3000 copies of the octavo edition of Tyndale’s English New Testament were published in Worms, Germany. When copies reached England, Bishop Tunstall ordered them to be collected and burned at St. Paul’s Cross in London. Eventually, Tyndale’s New Testament became the basis for the King James translation.

            Tyndale was relentlessy attacked for daring to translate the Bible into English. He was attacked not only by London Bishop Tunstall, but also by William Warham, the  Archbishop of Canterbury, and by Thomas Moore, the Chancellor of the English Parliament. These men sent secret agents to trap him as he moved around from his Antwerp base. He was finally arrested and imprisoned in the Castle of Vilvorde, a few miles from Brussels. Early in October 1536 he was strangled in the courtyard of the castle. The effectiveness of the opposition to Tyndale’s English translation of the New Testament was such, that of the 18,000 copies  that were smuggled to England, only two known copies remain.

 

Communists Attacks Against the Bible

 

            In the past 100 years Communist governments have attempted to discredit the Bible and to prevent its circulation in their countries. They have used both educational and legal measures. Educationally, people have been taught that the Bible is a superstitious fairy tale book to be rejected by enlightened communist minds. Legally, many people have been arrested and imprisoned for attempting to smuggle Bibles into communist countries.

             Autocratic political and religious systems feel threatened by the Bible because its message summons people to give priority to God in their thinking and living. When people accept the God of biblical revelation, making Him first and supreme in their lives, they will not give in to the demands of autocratic political or religious rulers who want the absolute allegiance to their persons, teachings, or parties.

 

            Conclusion. The past attempts to suppress the Bible by burning it or banning it, have proven to be futile.  Christians have been willing to suffer torture and death, rather than denying its truths which made them free. The Bible remains unchallenged year after year as the world’s best seller.  It is still the greatest force for the moral renewal of our human society.

            Voltaire, the noted French infidel who died in 1778, predicted that within 100 years Christianity would be extinct. Instead, the irony of history is that twenty years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society used his very house and printing presses to publish copies of the Bible!  No other book in history has been so hated, burned, and banned. Yet it still survives today and reaches almost all the people of the world with its close to 2000 translations. Its moral principles still serve as the moral foundation of many societies.

 

Part 2

BIBLICAL ERRANCY

 

            The failure of the past attempts to prevent the circulation of the Bible has not weakened the Devil’s determination to destroy its authority and influence. During the past three centuries he has adopted a new strategy which has  almost destroyed the high view of the Bible previously held in the Christian world. The result has been a theological crisis of unprecedented proportions. This crisis has been precipitated by the introduction of a new method of investigating the Bible known as “Biblical Criticism,” or “Higher Criticism.”

 

Definition of Biblical Criticism

 

            The term “Biblical Criticism”  describes the application of the modern literary and historical-critical methods to the study of the Bible.  It  critically analyses the biblical text with the aim of identifying literary sources, the manner and date of composition,  conjecturing the authorship, and the literary development of the text.

            In theory, the intent of Biblical Criticism is to enhance the appreciation of the Bible through a fuller understanding of its literary history and message. In practice, however, it destroys any confidence in the divine origin of the message of the Bible, because it presupposes its writings to be merely a human literary production, error-ridden, and entirely conditioned by the culture of the time.

 

Lower Criticism

 

            It is important to note that there is another category of criticism known as “lower” criticism, which is functionally different from “higher” criticism. Lower criticism is concerned with ascertaining as nearly as possible the text of the original manuscripts from the surviving copies. In view of its function, lower criticism is commonly called textual criticism.  The latter is more objective than higher criticism, because its scope is limited to an analysis of available textual manuscripts.

 

Higher Criticism

 

            The case is different with Higher Criticism. Though the higher critic is interested in the accuracy of the text, his overriding concern is to study the writings purely as human literature, rejecting a priori any possible divine inspiration of the writers and divine intervention into human affairs. He inquires into the date of the composition, the authorship, the possible use of sources, the culture that influenced the text. It is therefore frequently distinguished in literary, historical, source, form, and redaction criticism, depending on the aspect of higher criticism being examined.

            The fundamental problem with higher criticism is his reliance on the critic’s subjective speculations, rather than on verifiable scientific investigation.  James Orr makes this point in his major article on “Biblical Criticism” in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, of which he was Editor-in-chief. He wrote: “While invaluable as an aid in the domain of Biblical introduction (date, authorship, genuineness, contents, destination, etc.), [Biblical Criticism] manifestly tends to widen out illimitably into regions where exact science cannot follow it, where, often, the critic’s imagination is his only law.”5

             This method of linguistic and historical research is not unique to our times. Similar methods were used in the past by Theodore of Mopsuestia (c.350-428) who used grammatical and historical indicators to exegete biblical texts. Even Luther used this method in his exegetical analyses of Bible texts. What is new is the radical approach of the study of the biblical text, which consists in rejecting a priori any supernatural or miraculous divine manifestation in human history, thus forcing all the evidence to comply with these assumptions.

           

The Negative Impact of Biblical Criticism

 

            The negative impact of Biblical Criticism can be seen in the increasing number of Bible scholars, preachers, and lay-Christians who have lost their confidence in the trustworthiness of the Bible. While historically the Bible has been regarded as God’s revealed Word, today liberal critics refuse to identify  God’s Word with the message of the Bible.

              An increasing number of Christian leaders are joining the chorus of unbelief in casting doubts upon the trustworthiness of the Bible. The  defection from a high view of the Bible is having a far more devastating impact on the future of Christian churches than the past attempts to suppress the Bible.

            The anti-supernatural presuppositions of Biblical Criticism influences the methods used in contemporary biblical studies and the preaching of many ministers. Speaking of his own Baptist Church, Clark H. Pinnock, a respected Evangelical scholar who has served as President of the Evangelical Theological Society, sadly notes that “a considerable number of important Baptist leaders and thinkers have publicly and unequivolcally rejected and sometimes denounced belief in the complete trustworthiness of the Bible. . . . And we must say that this shift of opinion has caused an ongoing and serious split between a large majority of Baptist people who hold the traditional Baptist and Christian view of the Bible and the majority of seminary and college professors who frankly do not.”6

           

An Unprecedented Crisis

 

            With almost prophetic foresight, renowned systematic theologian, A. H. Strong, warned in 1918 of the severe dangers posed by negative Biblical criticism. “What is the effect of this method upon our theological seminaries? It is to deprive the gospel message of all definiteness, and to make professors and students disseminators of doubt. . . . The unbelief in our seminary teaching is like a blinding mist slowly settling down upon our churches, and is gradually abolishing, not only all definite views of Christian doctrine, but also all conviction of duty to ‘contend earnestly for the faith’ of our fathers.’  . . . We are ceasing to be evangelistic as well as evangelical, and if this downward progress continues, we shall in due time cease to exist.”7

            These insightful observations highlight that Biblical Criticism has caused a crisis of unprecedented proportions in Christianity. What is at stakes is two versions of Christianity: one based on divine revelation and the other derived from human reason.

            Surprisingly, as the authority of the Bible is going down in the Protestant world, the authority of the Pope is going up.  The reason is simple. People resent tyranny, but welcome the voice of authority. And the Pope speaks with authority to the millions of Protestants who no longer know what to believe. To them the Pontiff has become, as Church Historian Martin E. Marty puts it, “a walking fortress of faith” in the midst of a godless society.3

 

The Ideological Roots of Biblical Criticism

 

            Biblical Criticism developed in the 18th and 19th centuries, partly as a reaction against the rigid Protestant teachings which were based on a verbal concept of inspiration. To counteract Catholic teachings, during the Post-reformation period, Protestants theologians exalted the authority of the Bible by teaching the radical concept of verbal inspiration. The Liberals reacted against this radical view by going to the other extreme in rejecting any form of divine revelation.

            Two major philosophical ideologies influenced the development of Biblical Criticism, namely rationalism and evolutionism.  Rationalism, an outgrowth on the Enlightenment Movement of the eighteenth century, attempted to reduce Christianity to a religion developed by human reasoning, rather than by divine revelation.

            Evolutionism applied to the biblical text Darwin’s theory of the evolution of the species from simple to complex. The result was that the religion of the Bible was viewed as a product of a religious evolution. As Church Historian Earl Cairns explains, “critics emphasized the development of the idea of God from the primitive storm god of Mount Sinai to the ethical monotheistic god of the prophets”8

            The end result was that within a relatively short period of time, the Bible came to be viewed as a distinctively human document, stripped of any transcendent authority. Hence, the Bible must be studied and interpreted in the same way as other literature, according to the methods of literary  research. Unfortunately, this forcing of the Bible into the categories of secular literature, distorts its message and weakens its capacity to transform human lives.

            While the Reformation weakened ecclesiastical authority, Biblical Criticism has weakened biblical authority. The result is that for many seminary professors and preachers, the Bible is no longer the normative, authoritative Word  of God that reveals His will and purpose for mankind, but a fallible book that contains gems of truth mixed with error.

 

 Biblical Criticism of the Old Testament

 

            The origin of Biblical Criticism is generally traced back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  Men such as Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), Thomas Hobbes (1668-1712), and Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677), analyzed the Bible as ordinary literature and began doubting the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, viewing it as the result of a long compilation of several editors.

            Later scholars developed the “documentary theory” of the Old Testament.  The culminating work was done by Julius Wellhausen in his Prolegomena (1878), where he presents the well-known Graf-Wellhausen four stages (JEPD) documentary hypothesis. According to this hypothesis the Old Testament was produced by several writers or redactors between the ninth and the fourth century B. C. Each of them reworked the material according to their religious traditions.

            The application of the principles of Biblical Criticism not only radically changed the dates and the authorship of the Old Testament books, but also introduced a completely secular and evolutionistic study of their sources.

 

Biblical Criticism of the New Testament

 

            The application of the anti-supernaturalistic assumptions of Biblical Criticism were applied to the New Testament at about the same period. Herman Samuel Reimarus published in 1778 his Fragments where he denies the possibility of miracles, thus alleging that the New Testament writers were pious liers.                     

            The liberal criticism of the New Testament culminated in the work of Rudolf Bultmann who was determined to strip away the mythology of the New Testament writers. He contends that all the references to heaven, hell,  miracles, the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, the Atonement through Christ’s death, the Ascension and Second Advent, are myths and absurd superstitions, incredible for modern people.            

            For Bultmann, the New Testament is the outgrowth of an oral tradition in which the church creatively added supernatural elements to the life and teachings of Jesus. Consequently the study of the Bible must be approached in existential terms. People must find authenticity, security, and meaning beyond the words of Scripture to their existential meaning. Butlmann has exercised an enormous influence on the thinking of New Testament scholars and church leaders of main line denominations

 

An Evaluation of Biblical Criticism

 

            A fundamental problem of the critical movement is its failure to accept certain limitations in the investigation of the Bible. There is the limitation dictated by the unique character of the Bible. Its dynamic is different from any other religious book. No other book has produced a similar moral impact on people.

            King Josiah was moved to repentance and reform by the reading of the law (2 Kings 22:10-13; 23:1-25). The translation and reading of portions of the Old Testament by Ezra brought about sweeping reforms in the lives of the people (Neh 8:1-6; 9:1-3). The translation and circulation of the Bible in the 16th century inspired reformatory movements in various parts of Europe. No other book by Plato, Muhammed, or Buddah has influenced moral changes or given such a lofty concept of God as the Bible.

            This means that any critical investigation of the Bible must take into account that the Bible is not merely one of the many surviving religious documents of antiquity, but a unique book whose dynamic differs from any other book. It is only with an attitude of reverence that a genuine investigation of the Bible can be conducted.

            Critics should also accept the limitation of the evidences available to test the accuracy of the Bible. To conclude that some statements of the Bible are inaccurate because they do not agree with the information available, means to ignore that sometimes the Bible is the sole witness of the events reported. During this past century new discoveries have often corroborated the trustworthiness of the biblical record.

            An evaluation of the critical movement would not be complete without mentioning  the spirit that animates their critical investigation of the Bible. Are the critics motivates by their presuppositions or by their religious faith?  What is supreme in their thinking, their theories or their faith? The fundamental of a biblical faith are divine creation, revelation, incarnation, resurrection, Second Advent, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

             By  contrast, liberal critics have no place for these beliefs. Ultimately, the question is: By which authority shall we investigate the Bible? Will our thinking be guided by critical presuppositions, or by the internal witness of the Scripture?  If we make the critics’ assumptions supreme, then we are obligated to reject anything in the Bible that does not fit them.  Sadly, this is what has happened. Liberal critics have chosen to investigate the Bible on the basis of their humanistic and evolutionary assumptions, and consequently have been compelled to reject the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

            When people make their philosophy their ultimate authority,  it is not a long step before their reason becomes their own god. This is indeed the step that some liberal critics have taken. By accepting the evolutionary assumption that all things exist in a state of change and becoming, they assume that God is changing, the Bible will be outgrown, and Christianity will soon become a religion of the past. This leaves us without absolute truths, no moral standards, no meaning for this present life, and no hope for our future destiny.

           

Conclusion

 

            The major characteristics of Biblical Criticism can be summed up in two words: humanistic and naturalistic. It is humanistic because it assumes that the Bible is man’s word about God, rather than God’s Word to mankind.

            It is naturalistic because it assumes that the Bible is the result of an evolutionary process. It is the outgrowth of people’s apprehension of God, edited and amended over centuries. This evolutionary view ultimately robs God of His creative and redemptive power. It also deprives human life of meaning and hope for a glorious future.

            The end result of Biblical Criticism is that the Bible loses its distinctive authority, becoming merely a piece of religious literature, important for the themes presented, but without any normative authority for defining beliefs and practices. If the Reformation weakened ecclesiastical authority by exalting Sola Scriptura, Biblical Criticism has weakened Biblical authority by exalting human reasoning.

            The negative impact of liberal criticism calls for a responsible reexamination of the inspiration and authority of the Bible. In the next section we shall see how conservative Christians have responded to the attacks of liberal critics by developing the “Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy.”

 

PART 3

BIBLICAL INERRANCY.

 

            The question of the inspiration and authority of the Bible rarely troubled Christians until a century ago. They looked upon the Bible as the source of their belief. They accepted the authority of the Bible, without defining it in terms of being free from error.  None of the major Catholic or Protestant creeds discuss the notion of possible errors in the Bible. It is only beginning from the nineteenth century that this question has dominated the religious scene. 

            A major contributory factor has been the negative impact of liberal criticism which, as noted above, reduced the Bible to a collection of religious documents filled with textual difficulties and errors. This critical movement has led many  Christians to abandon their commitment to the infallibility of the Bible. In order to defend the traditional Christian view of the inspiration and authority of the Bible against the attacks of liberal critics, conservative Christians developed what has become known as the “Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy.”

            Defining the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is not easy, because it comes in a variety of forms. David Dockery, a Southern Baptist conservative scholar, has identified nine different types, which range from mechanical dictation to functional inerrancy.9 For the purpose of our study we will limit our comments to the two most common views of inerrancy, known as “absolute” and “limited” inerrancy.

 

Absolute Inerrancy

 

            Dockery provides a fine definition of “absolute inerrancy” from the perspective of an advocate: “The Bible in its original autographs, properly interpreted, will be found to be truthful and faithful in all that it affirms concerning all areas of life, faith, and practice.”10

            A similar definition was formulated by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy which was formed to defend the inerrancy of the Bible from the negative attacks of liberal critics.  In 1978 approximately 300 evangelical scholars and church leaders came together in Chicago to attend a conference sponsored by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. After three days of deliberations, they issued what is known as The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

            The statement is designed to defend the position of Biblical inerrancy against the liberal conceptions of biblical criticism. The undersigners came from a variety of evangelical denominations, and included well-known scholars such James Montgomery Boice, Carl F. H. Henry, Roger Nicole, J. I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, and R. C. Sproul. The statement elaborates on various details in Articles formed as couplets of “We affirm ... and We deny ...”.   For the purpose of this study we quote only a few significant statements.

             “We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit. We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. . . . (Emphasis supplied)

            “Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives. . . We deny that God, in causing these writers to use the very words that He chose, overrode their personalities. . . .

            “We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy.”11

            This definition sound like the dictation theory, which is negated by the unique literary style of each writer and by the existence of discrepancies in the Bible texts. Yet, the acceptance of this position is seen by many evangelicals as a watershed of orthodoxy. They equate the authority of the Bible with its inerrancy, because they assume that unless the Bible can be shown to be without error in non-religious matters, then it cannot be trusted in the more important religious areas. They go as far as claiming that Christians cannot be legitimately be considered evangelical unless they believe in the absolute inerrancy of the Bible. The denial of such a belief is supposed to lead to the rejection of other evangelical doctrines and to the doom for any denomination or Christian organization. Shortly we shall show that these claims lack both biblical and historical support.

           

Limited Errancy

 

            Advocates of limited inerrancy object to conditioning the authority of the Bible to its being from error. They restrict the accuracy of the Bible only to matters of salvation and ethics. They believe that divine inspiration did not prevent Bible writers from making “errors” of historical or scientific nature, since these do not affect our salvation. For them the Bible is not free from errors in all that it says, but it is infallible in all that it teaches regarding faith and practice.

            A good example of this position is Stephen T. Davis. In his influential book The Debate about the Bible: Inerrancy versus Infallibility, Davis writes: “The Bible is inerrant if and only it makes no false or misleading statements on any topic whatsoever.  The Bible is infallible if and only  it makes no false or misleading statements on any matter of faith and practice.  In these senses, I personally hold that the Bible is infallible but not inerrant.”12 

            The many limitations placed on inerrancy to salvage the credibility of the theory, make as much sense to the average lay person as terms like “square circle.” Ultimately the question is not, is the Bible without errors, but is it trustworthy for our salvation? To argue that divine inspiration prevented Bible writers from making errors on matters of faith and practice, but allowed them to make mistakes when dealing with historical or scientific matters, means to create an unreasonable dichotomy.

            It would mean that the supervision of the Holy Spirit (inspiration) was partial and intermittent, depending on the subject being recorded. Such a view is negated by the clear statement “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim 3:16; Emphasis supplied).  The question is not: Is the Bible fully or partially inspired? But, In what sense the supervision of the Holy Spirit influenced Bible writers to ensure the trustworthiness of their messages? This question will be addressed in the last part of this chapter.

 

A Brief History of the Inerrancy Debate

 

            Before examining some of the problems of the absolute  inerrancy position, it is helpful to mention briefly its history. In his article on “Biblical Inerrancy,” Stephen L. Andrews offers a concise survey of the inerrancy debate.13 He notes that  most historians trace the origin of the inerrancy debate among evangelical to the late nineteen century, when battles took place between liberal critics and fundamentalists.  The so-called Princeton divines, A. A. Hodge and B. B. Warfield, were most influential in championing the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.14

            The inerrancy position developed by the Princeton divines assumes that the Bible must be inerrant if it is in a real sense the “Word of God.”  Simply stated, their reasoning is that if God is perfect, the Bible must be perfect (inerrant) because it is the Word of God. This absolute view of inspiration, despite protests to the contrary, results in a “dictation” view of inspiration which minimizes the human factor. This view was opposed by James Orr and G. C.Berkouver, both of whom defended the limited inerrancy view.

           

Harold Lindsell’s The Battle for the Bible

 

            The debate began to heat up again the 1960s and reached a boiling point with the publication of Harold Lindsell’s The Battle for the Bible in 1976. In his book Lindsell goes to great length to show the alleged negative impact of the limited inerrancy view in evangelical churches and seminaries. He even went as far as naming the leading evangelical scholars who departed from the cardinal evangelical doctrine of absolute inerrancy, teaching instead limited inerrancy.

            The reactions from both sides were intense. Fuller Theological Seminary defended its limited inerrancy position by publishing a symposium of essays edited by Jack Roger, a Fuller professor.15 At the same time the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy was formed to defend the absolute inerrancy position as expressed in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy cited earlier.

            The following year Lindsell wrote his sequel, The Bible in the Balance, in which he responds to the criticism generated by his previous book. Since 1980 a host of eminent evangelicals have joined the inerrancy debate.  The debate has somewhat subsided, but evangelicals remain deeply divided in two camps: absolute inerrantists versus limited errantists. It appears that what is fueling the inerrancy debate and causing Christian people to fight one another over this question, is a vested interest in defending denominational interpretations of key doctrines. The ultimate concern appears to be the interpretation of Scripture, rather than its inerrancy.

 

Evaluation of Absolute Inerrancy

 

            The theory of absolute Biblical Inerrancy is largely based on deductive reasoning, rather than an inductive analysis of the biblical texts.  The basic argument can be summarized in three statements: (1) The Bible is the Word of God, (2) God is never the author of errors, (3) therefore the Bible is free from error.

            Lindsell expresses this view clearly saying: “Once it has been established that the Scriptures are ‘breathed out by God,’ it follows axiomatically that the books of the Bible are free from error and trustworthy in every regard.”16  In other words, for inerrantists, as Everett Harrison puts it “inerrancy is a natural corollary of full inspiration.”17

            Is this a sound reasoning? Does inspiration presupposes absolute inerrancy, that is, a text free from inaccuracies or errors of any kind?  The Bible testifies to its own inspiration, but not to the inerrancy of all the information it provides.  Inspiration is never defined in the Bible in terms of being free from errors. One will search in vain for a biblical passage that teaches that there are no inaccurate or misleading  statements in the Bible. The reason is that its writers were not apologists or systematic theologians who had to deal with the modern critical views of the Bible.

             The two classic statements on inspiration tell us that “all Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim 3:16), and “no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet 1:21). The question is: In what sense is the Bible “inspired—God-breathed” and written at the “moving” of the Holy Spirit?

            Was the Bible “wholly and verbally God-given,” as stated  The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy?  Did God cause Bible writers “to use the very words that He chose”? This hardly seems to be the case. We know that Bible writers did not passively write down what God wispered in their ears, because each of them uses his own language style and sources available. It  is a known fact that many of the books of the Bible were compiled from older documents, history of kings, genealogies, and oral traditions.  The fallibility of these sources is clearly reflected in the discrepancies we find in the Bible. A few examples will suffice to illustrate this point.

 

Examples of Discrepancies in the Bible

 

            In an article entitled “The Question of Inerrancy in Inspired Writings,” Robert Olson, Ph. D., former Director of the Ellen White Estate and my former Bible teacher, offers an impressive catalogue of the inaccuracies in the Bible confronting Bible scholars. For the sake of brevity, we cite only the first two of the catalogue:

 

“1. Historical Uncertainties—Did David kill 40,000 horsemen (2 San. 10:18) or 40,000 footmen (1 Chron. 19:18)? Did Jesus heal blind Bartimaeus as He approached the city of Jericho (Luke 18:35) or as He left it (Mark 10:46)? Was Hobab Moses’ brother-in-law (Num. 10:29) or father-in-law (Judges 4:11)? Did the cock crow once when Peter denied the Lord (Matt. 26:34, 69-75) or twice (Mark 14:66-72)? Does Cainan (Luke 3:36) belong between Salah and Arphaxad or not (Gen. 11:12)?

 

2. Numerical and Chronological Problems—Did 24,000 die in the plague as in Numbers 25:9, or was it 23,000 as in 1 Cor. 10:8? Did Solomon have 40,000 stalls for his horses (I Kings 4:25) or was it 4,000 (2 Chron. 9:25)? Was Jehoachin eighteen (2 Kings 24:8) or eight (2 Chron. 36:9) when he began to reign? Did Ahaziah come to the throne at the age of 22 ( 2 Kings 8:26) or 42 (2 Chron. 22:2)? Was David the eighth son of Jesse (1 Sam. 16:10,11) or the seventh son (1 Chron. 2:15)? Was the period of the judges 450 years in length (Acts 13:20) or about 350 years, as would be necessary if 1 Kings 6:1 is correct”18

            There is also a significant discrepancy in the result of the census ordered by David and carried out by Joab, the head of his army.  According to 2 Samuel 24:9 we are told that Joab reported to David that “there were in Israel eight hundred thousand strong men, capable of bearing arms; and in Judah five hundred thousand.” But in 1 Chronicles 21:5, Joab informs David that “there were in the whole of Israel one million and one hundred thousand men capable of bearing arms; and in Judah four hundred seventy thousand men capable of bearing arms.”   Obviously, there is a substantial difference between the two sets of figures. One of them is inaccurate.

            Another example is the price David paid to Arauna, the Jebusite, for the property where he built an altar and offered sacrifices to stay the plague that was decimating the people. According to 2 Samuel 24:25, David paid fifty shekels of silver for the property, but according to 1 Chronicles 21:25, David paid six hundred shekels of gold for the same property. The difference between 50 shekels of silver and 600 shekels of gold is enormous and can hardly be explained as a scribal error.

 

The Holy Spirit Allowed for Discrepancies

 

            It appears that two writers used two different sources. The Holy Spirit could have overcome the problem of the conflicting sources by whispering the correct figure in the ears of the two writers. Such method would have eliminated the presence of discrepancies and the need for scholarly debates. But the fact is that the Holy Spirit did not choose to suspend or suppress the human faculties of the writers to ensure absolute accuracy. Instead, He  chose to allow for errors that do not affect our faith and practice. It is unwise for anyone to tell God what kind of Bible He should have produced in order for its books to be inspired and inerrant.

            We have no right to define “inspiration” according to our subjective criteria of inerrancy in order to meet the challenge of biblical criticism. Instead, we simply need to look and see what sort of Bible has been produced under the supervision (inspiration) of the Holy Spirit. An open-minded look at the Bible does support the claim that it is inspired and authoritative for determining our beliefs and practices, but it does not validate the claim that it is free from any errors..

 

Were the Original Autographs Free from Error?

 

            Defenders of absolute inerrancy claim that only the original autographs were inerrant, not the existing Bible. This means that existing discrepancies and errors are supposed to be the result of transmissional errors. The original copies of the various books of the Bible were without error, because God inspired the Bible writers to write accurately.

            The appeal to the original manuscripts to explain away existing errors leaves a permanently open door of escape for inerrantists. No matter how evident an  error is, they can always evade the question by arguing that it is an error of transmission, which was not present in the original manuscript. This argument, as Stephen Davis points out, “does seem intellectually dishonest, especially if there is no textual evidence that the alleged error is indeed due to a transmission problem.”21

            The scientific study of the variant readings of Bible manuscripts has advanced to the point where scholars today can establish with amazing accuracy the reading of the original manuscripts. Moreover, these problems are few in comparison with the whole Bible and do not affect its teachings.

 

Does One Error Make the Whole Bible Suspect?

 

            Some inerrantists argue that unless the Bible is without errors in every single statement it makes, then the trustworthiness of all its teachings becomes suspect.  As Dan Fuller puts it, “If even one of its [Bible’s] statements could be in error, the truth of any of its statements becomes questionable.”22

            The problem with this argument is that it conditions the trustworthiness of Bible’s teachings to the absolute accuracy of its historical, geographical, or scientific details.  But nowhere do the Bible writers claim that all their statements are without errors. The reason is that, for them, the major events or message, were more important than its circumstantial details.

            One example will suffice to illustrate this point. In sending out His disciples on a preaching mission, Mark tells us that Jesus allowed them to take a staff: “He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts” (Mark 6:8; Emphasis supplied).

            Matthew and Luke, however, have Jesus specifically prohibiting the taking of a staff: “Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff” (Matt 10:9-10; Emphasis supplied). “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money” (Luke 9:3; Emphasis supplied).

            It is evident that the two accounts are inconsistent and at least one of the Gospels is in error. But this inconsistency does not destroy confidence in the event reported, namely, Christ commissioning His disciples. Apparently, for the Gospel writers the event was more important than its details.

            The credibility of the great doctrines of the Bible does not hinge upon the precision of circumstantial details. The fear that if inerrancy collapses, then the great doctrines of the Bible collapse also, is groundless. The fact is that such doctrines are believed  by many Christians who do not subscribe to the theory of absolute inerrancy.

 

The Catholic Understanding of the Nature of the Bible

 

            The question of the accuracy of the Bible text is not discussed in official Catholic documents. The reason is that for the Catholic Church the accuracy of the Bible is an unquestionable fact based on her belief, clearly stated in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, that the “Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.”23

            This sounds as a “Dictation Theory,” since it defines the Bible as the speech of God recorded “under the breath of the Holy Spirit.”  The problem with the Catholic teaching is twofold. On the one hand it attempts to make the Bible a strictly divine book to be reverenced like the body of Christ.  On the other hand it elevates Tradition, that is, the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church, to the same divine nature of the Bible.

            The Catechism explains that the Sacred Scripture is the written Word of God, while Tradition is living transmission of the Word of God entrusted to the church. In other words, God reveals Himself through both the Bible and the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church. 

            Quoting from the document Dei Verbum (“Word of God”) of Vatican II, the Catechism says: “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are bound closely together and communicate one with the other.”24  Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ . . . As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, ‘does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scripture alone.  Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.’”25

            This official statement expresses with amazing clarity the traditional Catholic teaching that Scriptura et Tradition,  that is, Scripture and Tradition, are the two channels of divine revelation and constitute the normative authority for defining Catholic beliefs and practices.

 

Evaluation of the Catholic View

 

            By making her traditional teachings the “living transmission” of the Word of God, “accomplished by the Holy Spirit,”26 the Catholic Church has substantially reduced and ultimately superseded the authority of the Bible. Cardinal James Gibbons acknowledges this fact saying: “The scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practice.”27

            On a similar vein Catholic Prof. John L. McKenzie from Notre Dame University states: “The Bible is the Word of God, but it was the church which uttered the word. It is the church which gives the believer the Bible . . . .”28    By elevating her teaching authority, known as Magisterium, above the authority of the Bible, the Catholic Church has succeeded  over the centuries in promulgating a host of dogmas that blatantly violate clear biblical teachings. The following popular but unbiblical Catholic teachings, are examined in subsequent chapters: immortality of the soul, Sunday sacredness, papal primacy, infant baptism, veneration and intercession of Mary and the Saints, penance, indulgences, purgatory, and eternal torment in hell.

 

Does Scripture Need to Be Supplemented by Tradition?

 

            It is pure arrogance for any church to claim that her teachings are the “living transmission” of the Word of God that leads believers to the “full truth” contained only partially in Scripture.  But this is what the Catholic Church claims: “The Father’s self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church . . .”29 Through the Holy Spirit “the living voice of the Gospels rings out in the church–through her in the world–leading believers to the full truth30 (Emphasis supplied).

            The notion that the Bible contains only partially revealed truths to be supplemented by the teaching of the Catholic church, negates the all-sufficiency of Scripture. Paul declares that “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17). Note that Scripture contains all the teachings needed for a believer to “be complete, equipped for every good work.” There is no need of Tradition to supplement Scripture.

            Jesus spoke clearly against the deceptive way tradition can undermine the authority of Scripture. “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! . . .making void the word of God through your tradition” (Mark 7:9, 13).

            The New Testament writers constantly appealed to the Scriptures, not Tradition, to defend the validity of their teaching (Matt 21:42; John 2:22; 1 Cor 15:3-4; 1 Pet 1:10-12; 2:2; 2 Pet 1:17-19). Paul commended the Bereans for examining his teachings on the basis of Scripture, not tradition. “They received the word with all eagerness, examining the scripture daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

            It is clear that God’s revelation contained in the Scriptures has been and still remains the final authority to define Christian beliefs and practices. Any attempt to supersede the authority of the Bible by the teaching authority of any Church, represents,  as Jesus said “a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! . . .making void the word of God through your tradition” (Mark 7:9, 13).

 

Part 4

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST

UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURE OF THE BIBLE

 

            Seventh-day Adventists hold the Bible as a unique revelation of God’s will and plan for humanity. They  accept it as the infallible and normative authority for defining beliefs and practices.  They believe that in this Book God provides humanity with the knowledge necessary for salvation.

            The first Fundamental Belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church offers a concise statement of the church belief about the Bible: “The Holy Scriptures, Old And New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In His Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation.  The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.”

            This Fundamental Belief shows that Adventists agree with conservative Christians that the Bible is divinely inspired and contains the infallible revelation of God’s will for our lives. They fully accept the divine authority and complete reliability of the Scriptures, but they have never advocated the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

           

Adventists Objections to Absolute Inerrancy

 

            There are five major reasons why Adventists do not subscribe to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. First, Adventists believe that Bible writers were God’s penmen, and not the pen of the Holy Spirit. They were fully involved in the production of their writings. Some of them, like Luke,  gathered the information by interviewing eyewitnesses of Christ’s ministry (Luke 1:1-3). Others, like the authors of Kings and Chronicles, made use of historical records available to them. The fact that both the writers and their sources were human, makes it unrealistic to insist that there are no inaccurate statements in the Bible.

            Second, the attempts of inerrantists to reconcile the differences between the biblical descriptions of the same event, often results in distorted and far-fetched interpretations of the Bible. For example, Harold Lindsell tries to reconcile the divergent accounts of Peter’s denial of Jesus at the crowing of the cock, by proposing that Peter denied Jesus a total of six times!31  Such gratuitous speculations can be avoided by simply accepting the existence of minor discrepancies in the Gospels’ account of Peter’s denial.

             Third, by basing the trustworthiness and infallibility of the Bible on the accuracy of its details, the doctrine of inerrancy ignores that the main function of Scripture is  to reveal God’s plan for our salvation. The Bible is not intended to supply us with accurate geographical, historical, or cultural information, but simply to reveal to us how God created us perfectly, redeemed us completely, and will restore us ultimately.

            Fourth, Adventists find the doctrine of biblical inerrancy to be devoid of biblical support. Nowhere do the Bible writers claim their statements to be inerrant. Such a concept has been deduced from the idea of divine inspiration. It is assumed that since the Bible is divinely inspired, it must be inerrant also. But the Bible never equates inspiration with inerrancy. The nature of the Bible must be defined deductively, that is, by considering all the data provided by the Bible itself, rather than inductively, that is, by drawing conclusions from subjective premises. A deductive analysis of the existing discrepancies in the Bible does not support the absolute inerrancy view.

           

Ellen White’s Teachings

 

            A final reason for the Adventist rejection of the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy, is the teachings of Ellen White and the production of her writings. She clearly recognized the human role in the production of the Bible. She wrote: “The Bible points to God as its author; yet it was written by human hands; and in the varied style of its different books it presents the characteristics of the several authors. The truths revealed are all ‘given by inspiration of God’ (2 Tim 3:16); yet they are all expressed in the words of men. The infinite One by His Holy Spirit has shed light into the minds and hearts of His servants.” 32

            Contrary to The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy that claims that the Bible was “verbally God-given,” Ellen White taught that The Holy Spirit impressed Bible writers with thoughts, not with words. “It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts.”33

            God inspired men, not their words. This means, as Ellen White explains, that the Bible “is not God’s mode of thought and expression.  Men will often say such an expression is not like God.  But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen.”34

            Ellen White recognized the presence of discrepancies or inaccuracies in the production of the Bible and in the transmission of its text.  “Some look to us gravely and say, ‘Don’t you think there might have been some mistakes in the copyists or in the translators?’ This is all probable . . . [but] all the mistakes will not cause trouble to one soul, or cause any feet to stumble, that would not manufacture difficulties from the plainest revealed truth.”35

            For Ellen White, the presence of inaccuracies in the production or transmission of the Bible text is only a problem for those who wish to “manufacture difficulties from the plainest revealed truth.”  The reason is that the presence of inaccurate details does not weaken the validity of the fundamental truths revealed in the Scripture.

           

Ellen White’s Writings

 

            The production of Ellen White’s writings has helped immensely  the Seventh-day Adventist Church to avoid the pitfalls of inerrancy. Over a period of 70 years Ellen White wrote under divine inspiration numerous books and articles which have enriched the spiritual life of millions of believers.

            While the original manuscripts of the Bible are no longer extant, most of Ellen White’s manuscripts are carefully preserved and readily available for investigation. A look at her manuscripts shows her painstaking efforts to improve the style by making corrections on the margins or above the text itself. In some manuscripts the corrections appear in different ink colors, reflecting the several attempts that were made to improve the style and grammar.

            Sometimes the editing process continued even after the publication of her manuscripts. For example, corrections were made in the preparation of the new 1911 edition of The Great Controversy. In fact, Ellen White specifically asked the various publishing departments and canvassing agents, both in America and overseas, to submit in writing their request for any correction they deemed necessary.  European and American researchers participated in this project by locating documents needed to correct some of the historical inaccuracies.

            Ellen White welcomed the participation of those who helped in making the necessary corrections in the new edition of The Great Controversy.  She expressly stated:  “I am thankful that my life has been spared, and that I have strength and clearness of mind for this and other literary work.”36

                  The fact that Ellen White insisted on the divine origin of her messages, but never claimed her writings to be inerrant or infallible in every detail, gives us reasons to believe that same is true for the biblical text. The supervision of the Holy Spirit did not prevent Bible writers from making statements which may not be accurate in every detail. Its concern was to ensure the trustworthiness and infallibility of the vital truths that affect our eternal salvation.

 

Scripture as Divine and Human

 

            The Adventist view of the nature of the Bible is based on two important verses: “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim 3:16) and “No prophecy came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet 1:21). These verses emphasize the divine-human character of the Bible.   The messages of Bible writers originated from God, but were expressed in human language, reflecting the cultural and educational background of the writers.

            The recognition of the divine-human nature of the Bible rules out the two mistaken views of the Bible we have discussed in this chapter. The first is the inerrantists’ view that exalts the divine aspect of Scripture, minimizing the human participation in order to ensure that the text is completely free of all errors.

            The second is the liberal view of the critics who maintain that biblical writings simply reflect human ideas and aspirations.  They believe they are the product of religious geniuses who were influenced—not by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit—but by the culture of their time

            Adventists reject the  mistaken views of the Bible held by inerrantists on the one hand and by liberal critics on the other. Instead, they hold to a balanced view of the Bible based on its testimony (2 Tim 3:16; 1 Pet 1:21) about its divine-human character.  The divine-human aspects of the Bible are mysteriously blended together, somewhat similar to the union of the divine and human nature of Christ.

            The book Seventh-day Adventist Believe . . .states: “A parallel exists between the incarnate Jesus and the Bible: Jesus was God and man combined, the divine and human in one. So the Bible is the divine and human combined.  As it was said of Christ, so it can be affirmed of the Bible that ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14). The divine-human combination makes the Bible unique among literature.”37

           

The Humanity of the Bible

 

            The humanity of the Bible can be seen, for example, in the use of the koine Greek, which was the language of the market place, rather than that of classical literature. It is evident also in the poor literary style of such books as Revelation which has a limited vocabulary and some grammatical errors. It appears in the use of oral traditions by men like Luke, or of written records by the authors of Kings and Chronicles. It is reflected in the expression of human emotions in places like Psalm 137 which describes the feeling of the Hebrew captives in Babylon, saying: “O daughter of Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall be he who requites you with what you have done to us! Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” (Ps 137:8-9).

            Such violent language expresses the hurt of human emotions, but not the mode of God’s speaking. The God of biblical revelation does not delight in smashing babies against the rocks. It is important to remember the words of Ellen White: “God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible.”38

           

The Divinity of the Bible

 

            The divinity of the Bible is suggested by the underlying unity of the teachings of the Bible. About 40 authors wrote 66 over a period of 1600 years, yet they all share the same view of creation, redemption and final restoration. Only divine inspiration could ensure the underlying thematic unity of the Bible over the centuries of its composition.

            Another indication of the divine character of the Bible is its impact upon human lives and societies. The Bible conquered the skepticism, prejudism, and persecution of the Roman world.  It has transformed the social values and practices of societies that have embraced its teachings. It has given new value to life, a sense of worth to the individual, a new status to women and slaves, it has broke down social and racial discriminations, it has given a reason for living, loving, and serving to countless millions of people.

            The divine character of the Bible is also indicated by its marvellous conception of God, creation, redemption,  human nature and destiny.  Such lofty conceptions are foreign to the sacred books of pagan religions. For example, in the Near Eastern creation myths, the divine rest is generally achieved either by eliminating disturbing gods or by creat­ing mankind.39

            In the creation Sabbath, however, the divine rest is secured not by subordinating or destroying competitors, nor by exploiting the labor of mankind, but rather by the completion of a perfect creation. God rested on the seventh day  because His work was “finished . . . done” (Gen. 2 :2-3).  He stopped doing to express His desire for being with His creation, for giving to His creatures not only things, but Himself.  Such a marvellous concept of God who entered into human time at creation and into human flesh at the incarnation in order to become “Emmanuel—God with us,” is absent in pagan religions, where the gods typically partake of human failings.

            The remarkable nature of the Bible is also indicated by its miraculous preservation through history, in spite of relentless efforts to destroy it. Earlier we mentioned the past attempts to suppress the Bible by Roman Emperors, Christian Kings, and communist regimes. In spite of these deliberate attempts to destroy the Bible, its text has come down to us substantially unchanged. Some of the oldest manuscripts brings us close to the composition of the originals. They reveal the amazing accuracy of the text that has come down to us.  We can be confident that our Bibles are reliable versions of the original messages.

            Ultimately the validity of the Bible is vouched for by conceptual and existential considerations. Conceptually, the Bible provides a reasonable explanation of our human situation and of the divine solution to our problems. Existentially, the teachings of the Bible give meaning to our existence and offer us reasons for living, loving, and serving.  Through them we can experience the rich blessings of salvation.

 

CONCLUSION

 

            We have briefly traced the controversy between the errancy and inerrancy of the Bible. We have noted that  the Bible is being attacked today by friends and foes. The pendulum is swinging to both extremes. On the one hand, the liberal critics reduce the Bible to a strictly human, error-ridden book,  devoid of supernatural revelations and miraculous manifestations. On the other hand, some conservative evangelicals elevate the Bible to such a divine level that they overlook the human dimension of Scripture. They affirm that the Bible is absolutely without error in all its references to history, geography, chronology, cosmology, science, and so forth.

            Ultimately both the errancy and inerrancy positions are extreme, unbiblical views that undermine the authority of the Bible by making it either too-human or too-divine. The solution to these extreme positions is to be found in the key word balance—a balance that recognizes both the divine and human character of the Bible.

            In her own way the Catholic Church has undermined the authority of the Bible by making her traditional teachings the “living transmission” of the Word of God. This has made it possible for the Catholic Church over the centuries to promulgate a host of unbiblical teachings, which have been largely responsible for leading countless Christians into apostasy.

            The Seventh-day Adventist Church has historically maintained a balanced view of the Bible by acknowledging both its divine and human character. Much of the credit is due to the prophetic guidance of Ellen White who unequivocally stated: “The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rethoric, on trial in the Bible.  The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen.”40

            Simply stated, Seventh-day Adventists believe that the Bible is the product of a mysterious blending of divine and human participation. The source is divine, the writers are human, and the writings contain divine thoughts in human language.  This unique combination offers us a trustworthy  and infallible revelation of God’s will and plan for our present life and future destiny. As stated in the first Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief: “The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.”      

 

ENDNOTES

 

            1.  S. R. Maitland, Facts and Documents, 1832, pp. 192-194.

            2. D. Lortsch, Historie de la Bible en France, 1910, p. 14.

            3.   Loraine Boettner, Roman Catholicism, 1962, p. 97

            4.  Nostis et Nobiscum  #14, Papal Encyclicals Online,  www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9nostis.htm; Emphasis supplied.

            5.  James Orr, “Biblical Criticism,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol.  1, p. 120.

            6.  Clark H. Pinnock, “Baptists and Biblical Authority,” in  Ronald Youngbood, ed., Evangelicals and Inerrancy, 1984, p. 155.

            7.  A. H. Strong, A Tour of the Missions: Observations and Conclusions (Philadelphia, 1918), pp. 170-174.

            8. Earle E. Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids 198)1, p. 412.

            9. David Dockery, “Variations on Inerrancy,” SBC Today (May 1986), pp.10-11.

            10. David Dockery, “Can Baptists Affirm the Reliability and Authority of the Bible,” SBC Today (March 1985), p. 16.

            11. “The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy,” appendix to Inerrancy, ed. Norman L. Geiser (Grand Rapids, 1980), p. 496.

            12. Stephen T. Davis, The Debate about the Bible: Inerrancy versus Infallibility,1977,  p. 23.

            13.  Stephen L. Andrew, “Biblical Inerrancy,” chafer.edu/journal/back_issues/v8n1_1.pdf

            14. See Claude Welch, Protestant Thought in the Nineteenth Century, Vol.1 (Yale University Press, 1972).

            15. Jack Rogers, ed., Biblical Authority, 1977.

            16.  Harold Lindsell, “The Infallible Word,” Christianity Today , August  25, 1972), p.11. See also R. C. Sproul, “The Case for Inerrancy: A Methodological Analysis,” in John W. Montgomery, ed., God’s Inerrnat Word (Bethany Fellowship, 1974), p. 257.

            17. Everett Harrison, “The Phenomena of Scripture,” in Carl F. H. Henry, ed., Revelation and the Bible (Grand Rapids, 1958), p.250.

            18.  Appendix A,  in Graeme Bradford, More than a Prophet, 2007, pp. 237-238.

            19. R. Rendtorff, “Pentateuchal Studies on the Move,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 3, (1976), p. 45.

            20. Merrill C. Tenny, “The Legitimate Limits of Biblical Criticism,” in Evangelicals and Inerrancy, Ronald Youngblood, ed., (New York, 1984), p. 33.

            21. Stephen T. Davis (note 12), p. 25.

            22. Cited by Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance (Grand Rapids, 1979), p. 220.

            23.  Catechism of the Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994, p. 26.

            24.  Ibid.

            25.  Ibid.

            26.  Ibid., p. 25.

            27.  James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers: Being A Plan Exposition and Vindication of the Church Founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, 110 rev.ed., 1917, p.89.

            28.  John L. McKenzie, The Roman Catholic Church 1971,  p.264.

            29. Catechism, p. 25.

            30.  Ibid.

            31. Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, 1976, pp. 174-176.

            32. Ellen White, Selected Messages, 1958, book 1, p. 21.

            33.  Ibid.

            34.  Ibid.

            35. Ibid., p. 16.

            36. “The 1911 Edition of The Great Controversy. An Explanation of the Involvements of the 1911 Revision,”  p. 13.

            37. Seventh-Day Adventist Believe . . . (Washington, D. C., 1988). p. 8.

            38. Ellen White, Selected Messages, 1958, book 1, p. 21.

            39. For a discussion, see R. Pettazzoni, “Myths of Beginning and Creation-Myths,” in Essays on the History of Religion, trans. H. T. Rose, 1954, pp. 24-36. A brief but informative treatment is found in Niels-Erik A. Andreasen, The Old Testament Sabbath, SBL Dissertation Series 7, 1972, pp. 174-182.   For example, in the Babylonian creation epic Enuma elish the god Marduk says, “Verily, savage-man I will create. He shall be charged with the service of the gods, that they might be at ease!” (James B. Pritchard, ed. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 1950, (UT krt A 206-211), p. 68.

            40.  Ellen White, Selected Messages, 1958, book 1, p. 21.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS OF SERVICES AND PRODUCTS

 

SPECIAL FIRST TIME OFFER OF 10 DVD/CD ALBUMS FOR ONLY $150.00, INSTEAD OF THE REGULAR PRICE OF $950.00

 

        This offer may sound too good to be true. For the first time I am offering together as a package all the 10 DVD/CD albums, containing the recordings of Prof. Jon Paulien, Prof. Graeme Bradford, and my own. Until now I have offered all these recordings separately, costing considerably more.  To make it possible for many to benefit from all these timely messages, I have decided to offer them together as a package for only $150.00, instead of the regular price of $950.00.

 

THE PACKAGE INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING 9 ALBUMS:

 

1) Prof. Jon Paulien's newly released DVD ALBUM video seminar on Simply Revelation.

 

2) Prof. Jon Paulien's CD ALBUM with a dozen of his books, and all his articles.

 

3) Prof. Graeme Bradford's DVD ALBUM with a two hours video lecture on Ellen White. He shares the highlights of his book More than a Prophet. The album contains also Prof. Bradford's the publications and articles.

 

4) Prof. Bacchiocchi's newly recorded DVD ALBUM called ABUNDANT LIFE SEMINAR.  The album contains 2 video powerpoint lectures: The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages and How to Build a Happy and Lasting Marriage. These two lectures summarize the highlights of Bacchiocchi’s two books Wine in the Bible and The Marriage Covenant. Two separate files with 225 powerpoint slides are included.

 

5) Prof. Bacchiocchi's DVD ALBUM containing 10 video powerpoint lectures on the Sabbath and Second Advent.  Some of the lectures show the documents Prof. Bacchiocchi found in Vatican libraries on the role of the papacy in changing the Sabbath to Sunday. This album contains the popular powerpoint SABBATH/ADVENT seminars Prof. Bacchiocchi presents in many countries.

 

6) Prof. Bacchiocchi's DVD ALBUM on Cracking the Da Vinci Code. The album contains a two hours video lecture, professionally taped with a vitual studio as a background. A separate file with 200 powerpoint slides is included.

 

7) Prof. Bacchiocchi's DVD ALBUM on The Mark and the Number of the Beast. The album contains the two hours video lecture and a separate powerpoint file with the 200 slides used for the lecture.

 

8) Prof. Bacchiocchi's  CD ALBUM with all his books and powerpoint lectures. The album consists of two disks. The first disk has all his 18 books and over 200 articles. The second disk has the slides and script of 25 of Prof. Bacchiocci's popular PowerPoint presentations.

 

9) Prof. Bacchiocchi's  DVD ALBUM on The Passion of Christ.  The album contains the 2 hours live interview conducted by 3ABN on Prof. Bacchiocchi's book The Passion of Christ in Scripture and History.

 

10) Prof. Bacchiocchi's MP3 AUDIO ALBUM which contains 2 disks with 22 AUDIO lectures on vital biblical beliefs and practices. Ideal for listening in your car while driving.

 

HOW TO ORDER THE PACKAGE OF THE 10 ALBUMS

 

        You can see the picture of all the 10 ALBUMS and read a detailed description of them, just by clicking at this URL address:

http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/albumoffer.htm

 

        You can order the complete package of 10 DVD/CD Albums for only $150.00,  instead of the regular price of $950.00, in four different ways:

       

        (1)  Online: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/albumoffer.htm

 

        (2)  Phone:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

        (3)  Email:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.     

 

        (4) Regular Mail: By mailing a check for $150.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

NEWLY RELEASED DVD OF PROF. JON PAULIEN’S LIVE SEMINAR ON SIMPLY REVELATION

 

      Prof. Jon Paulien’s DVD album on SIMPLY REVELATION was released few weeks ago.  We have been airmailing the DVD album to church leaders, pastors, and lay Adventists in different part of the world. Several pastors have already shown the lectures to their congregations.  They wrote to me saying that viewing the lectures was an enlightening experience for their members.

 

      My wife and I viewed Simply Revelation on our TV on a Sabbath afternoon. Though I had already watched Prof. Paulien’s lectures during the taping session, I was spellbound to hear him again offering so many refreshing insights into the most difficult book of the Bible. For me it is a thrilling experience listening to a scholar like Prof. Paulien, who knows what he is talking about.

 

      Prof. Paulien is one of the most respected Adventist scholars. Besides serving as the chairman of the New Testament at Andrews University Theological Seminary, he writes and lectures extensively in many parts of the world. He is rightly regarded as a leading Adventist authority on the book of Revelation which he has taught at the Seminary for the past 20 years. His doctoral dissertation as well as several of his books deal specifically with the Book of Revelation.

 

      The constant demand for Prof. Paulien’s CD album with his publications and articles, led me to discuss with him the possibility of producing a live video recording of a mini Revelation Seminar, which he chose to call Simply Revelation. As suggested by its title,  Simply Revelation aims to simply present the message of Revelation—not to read into Revelation sensational, but senseless views.

 

      The preparation of this video recording took several months. The Simply Revelation seminar consists of four one-hour live video lectures, which have just been recorded in the studio of Andrews University. An impressive virtual studio provides the background of the lectures. Each lecture is delivered with about 50 powerpoint slides.  I have spent long hours looking for suitable pictures to illustrate the text of each slide in order to enhance the visual effect of each lecture. This mini Revelation seminar will offer you and your congregation fresh insights into the Book of Revelation. Be sure to inform your pastor about the newly released Simply Revelation, if he is not aware of it.

 

      You will be pleased to know that we have placed on a separate file all the powerpoint slides and text used for the live video presentations. Each slide has the script of the live lecture.  This means that if you are a pastor or a lay member who want to use Prof. Paulien’s Simply Revelation Seminar, you can pick and choose the powerpoint slides that you like.

 

      The file with the powerpoint slides is placed on Prof. Paulien’s CD album containing all his publications and articles.  The reason is that there was no memory left on the DVD disks.  In spite of my pleas, Prof. Paulien was so full of the subject that he used the full 60 minutes of his four lecture, leaving no space for the slides’ file.

 

      This has been a very expensive project, both in time and money.  The regular price of the DVD album is $100.00, but you can order it now at the introductory price of only $50.00.  The price includes the airmailing expenses to any overseas destination.

 

      If you have not ordered before the CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications, we will be glad to add it to your DVD order for only $20.00, instead of the regular price of $60.00. This means that you can order both the DVD album with Prof. Paulien’s four live video lectures on Revelation and his CD album with all his publications and the powerpoint slides of Simply Revelation, for only $70.00, instead of the regular price of $160.00.

 

        As an additional incentive, I am offering you together with Prof. Paulien’s DVD/CD albums, also my own popular DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast, for an additional $10.00, instead of the regular price of $100.00. This means that you can order the DVD and CD albums by Prof, Paulien, together with my DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast, for only $80.00, instead of the regular price of $260.00.

 

        This research on The Mark and Number of the Beast, was commissioned by Prof. Paulien himself. He asked me to trace historically the origin and use of the Pope’s title Vicarius Filii Dei and of the number 666. I spent six months conducting this investigation which was professionally taped at the Andrews University Towers Auditorium. I use 200 powerpoint slides to deliver this informative two hours lecture which is warmly received by Adventist church leaders and pastors in many parts of the world. For a detailed description of this DVD album click: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Beast/BeastPromo

 

SPECIAL OFFER ON PAULIEN/BACCHIOCCHI’S ALBUMS

 

* ONE DVD Album of Prof. Paulien’s four video lectures on Simply Revelation at the introductory price of $50.00, instead of $100.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

 

* ONE DVD Album of Simply Revelation and ONE CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications for only $70.00, instead of the regular price of $160.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

 

* ONE DVD Album of Simply Revelation,  ONE CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications, and ONE DVD Album with Bacchiocchi’s two hours video lecture on The Mark and Number of the Beast for only $80.00, instead of the regular price of $260.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

 

FOUR WAYS TO ORDER

 

        (1)  Online: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/revelation/

            

        (2)  Phone:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

        (3)  Email:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.   

 

        (4) Regular Mail: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

NEW EDITION OF BRADFORD’S MORE THAN A PROPHET

 

        The new edition Prof. Graeme Bradford’s book More than a Prophet with an additional 20 pages, was released few weeks ago. Many churches have ordered the book by the case of 30 copies for only $150.00, that is, $5.00 per copy, instead of the regular price of $25.00. This book is urgently needed to restore confidence in the prophetic ministry of Ellen White by telling the truth about her divine revelations and her human limitations.

 

        The most gratifying responses have come from former Adventist. One lady wrote: “After reading More than a Prophet, I am seriously reconsidering returning to the Adventist church.” It is unfortunate that many Adventists have left the church, because they felt that they had been deceived about Ellen White. They could not reconcile in their mind that prophets do make mistakes. But Prof. Bradford compellingly shows that the mistakes found in the Bible or in the writings of Ellen White, do not negate the divine inspiration of their messages.

 

        For a detailed description of More than a Prophet,  together with the reviews and a picture of the book, click at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/BradfordOffer/offer.htm

 

        To facilitate the distribution of this timely book among your church members, we are offering you two things:

 

1) Special discount on quantity orders of the book. Only $5.00 per copy, instead of $25.00 for a case of 30 copies.

 

2) A FREE ALBUM of Prof. Bradford’s DVD with a live two hours lecture on Ellen White.  The DVD contains also a PDF file with all of Prof. Bardford’s books and articles. The regular price of the DVD album is $100.00, but you will receive it FREE with an order of 2 or more copies of More than a Prophet.

 

        The reason for offering a Free Album of Prof. Bradford’s DVD live lecture on Ellen White, is to give your members the opportunity to enjoy the highlights of the More than a Prophet.  After viewing the DVD, most members are eager to order the book.

 

SPECIAL OFFER ON MORE THAN A PROPHET

 

        ONE COPY of More than a Prophet for $20.00 (instead of $25.00), plus $5.00 for mailing in the USA, or $10.00 for airmailing overseas.

 

        TWO COPIES of More than a Prophet plus the DVD album with Prof. Bradford’s live two hours lecture on Ellen White, for $50.00 (instead of the regular price of $150.00). Add $10.00 for airmailing overseas.

 

        THIRTY COPIES of More than a Prophet plus the DVD album with Prof. Bradford’s live two hours lecture on Ellen White, for only $150.00, instead of the regular price of $850.00. The price includes the mailing in the USA.  Unfortunately as of May 14, 2007, the USA Post office no longer offers surface mail service for overseas. Everything must be sent AIRMAIL. The cost for airmailing a case of 30 books, is $95.00. Thus, the total cost for a case of 30 copies AIRMAILED overseas is $245.00. The advantage is that you will receive the case within a week.

 

FOUR WAYS TO ORDER

 

        (1) Online: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/BradfordOffer/offer.htm

 

        (2)  Phone:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

        (3)  Email:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.

 

        (4) Regular Mail: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990  Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

UPCOMING SEMINARS FOR THE MONTHS OF AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER

 

            Gradually I am rescheduling some of the invitations I had to cancel because of the colon cancer surgery and liver treatments. Here is a list of the upcoming weekend seminars for the months of August,and September.

 

AUGUST 17-18: WHITE MEMORIAL SDA CHURCH

Location: 401 North State Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033. This is one of the most beautiful Adventist churches that was ever built.  It can seat over 2000 people. When in 1962 Loma Linda University decided to relocate its students and faculty to a consolidated campus in Loma Linda, the membership gradually declined from over 2000 to the current 350. 

           

        I have reasons to believe that the new senior Pastor Benjamin Del Pozo, D. Min., will build up the attendance. He is a creative thinker and a good communicator.  He speaks with his hands like an Italian. (Please laugh!)  He invited me twice at the Temple City SDA Church where he has served for several years, doubling the attendance.  For directions amd information call Pastor Benjamin Del Pozo at (626) 292-1305 or 323-440-1200.

 

AUGUST 31 - SEPTEMBER 1:  DAYTONA BEACH SDA CHURCH

Location: 401 North Williamson Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114.

For directions and information call Pastor William Barrett at (386) 258-1073.

 

SEPTEMBER 7-8: FRIENDS OF THE SABBATH CONFERENCE

Location: The Lecture Hall, Knoxville Convention Center, 701 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN 37920.  This Sabbath Conference is organized by English Prof. Bruce Horne, Ph. D., a leader of the Seventh-day Christian Assembly in Knoxville with about 120 members. Several non-SDA sabbatarian churches and groups from neighboring states are participating at this Sabbath Conference. 

 

        Adventists living in the Knoxville area are encouraged to attend this Sabbath Conference.  I will be the keynote speaker on Friday evening and Saturday. We are planning also for a panel discussion conducted by church leaders of various sabbatarian churches.  This will be a unique opportunity to become acquainted with other sabbatarians.  For directions and information call Prof. Bruce Horne at (865) 671-4342 or (423) 914-5475.

 

SEPTEMBER 15: WORLD’S WOMAN’S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION CONFERENCE

Location: Adam’s Mark Hotel, 2544 Executive Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46241. The hotel phone number is: (317) 248-2481.  This is the international World’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union that brings together WWCTU delegates of different denominations from all over the world.

 

        Ellen White was very active in this organization and was often featured as the keynote speaker. Our Adventist church had an active Temperance  program in the past. Today we hear little from our pulpit about Temperance, partly because alcohol and drugs are seen more as a medical than a moral issue.

 

        I have been invited to deliver the keynote address on Saturday, September 15, 2007 at 10: 30 a. m. Prior to my lecture, there will be a church service from 9:00 to 10:00 a. m. My powerpoint lecture is entitled “The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages.” I will be sharing the highlights of my book Wine in the Bible, dealing with the biblical imperative of total abstinence. If you live in the Indianapolis area, I would urge you to attend the meetings, especially on Saturday. For directions and more detail information, contact Sarah R. Ward, WWCTU President, at (765) 345-2306

 

SEPTEMBER 21-22: HAWAII SAMOA-TOKELAU CHURCH

Location: 1128 Banyan Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817.

For directions and information call Pastor Michael Asuega at (808) 261-7321 or (808) 206 5892.

 

SEPTEMBER 28-29: HONOLULU CENTRAL SDA CHURCH

Location: 2313 Nuuanu Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817. This will be the Hawaii Conference Convocation for all the churches in Oahu.

For directions and information, call the Hawaii Conference Office at (808) 595-7591.

       

INCREDIBLE NEW OFFERS ON HITACHI PROJECTORS

 

        HITACHI has just released the new CP-X400 3000 lumens projector, which replaces the CP-X444.  The new projector has an impressive high resolution, low fan noise, and a wealth of connectivity options. The most impressive feature of this projector is the incredible price of only $1395.00 to help especially our churches and schools in developing countries.

 

This is the special offer on the following three models:

 

CP-X260 HIGH RESOLUTION 2500 LUMENS - Only $1095.00

          Previous SDA price for the 2500 lumens was $2395.00.

 

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          This is the lowest price for an HITACHI 3000 lumens projector.

 

CP-X1250 HIGH RESOLUTION 4500 LUMENS Only $3795.00

          Previous SDA price for the 4500 lumens was $4900.00.

 

WARRANTY: The above prices include a 3 years 24/7 replacement warranty worth about $285.00.

 

You can order the HITACHI projectors online by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=24

 

If you have a problem ordering online, call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone. Your order will be processed immediately.

 

THE SMALLEST, MOST POWERFUL REMOTE PRESENTER

 

            If you are looking for an outstanding REMOTE for your PowerPoint presentations, you will be pleased to know HONEYWELL has just come out with the smallest and most powerful remote in the market.

 

            The size of the transmitter is smaller than a credit card. You can stick it inside the palm of your hand and nobody can see it. I tested the remote in an open environment, and the radio signal can go up to 400 feet of distance. IT IS INCREDIBLE! The transmitter has three button: forward, backward, and laser.

 

            You can order online the new POWERPOINT  PRESENTER simply by clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=67

 

            If you have a problem ordering online, simply call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone. You can also email us your order at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>, giving us your address, credit card number, and expiration date.

 

DOES YOUR CHURCH OR SCHOOL NEED A SCREEN?

 

            If your church/school is looking for a screen, the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY, the largest manufacture of screens in the world, has agreed to offer their line of screens to our Adventist churches and schools at about 30% discount.

 

            The procedure is very simple. Visit the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY website at http://www.da-lite.com. You will see hundreds of models of screens with their respective prices. Once you find the screen that you need, give us the model number by phone (269) 471-2915 or email your request <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> We will forward your order immediately to DA-LITE that will ship the screen directly to your address. You will receive the screen at about 30% discount.

 

BED & BREAKFAST FACILITIES IN LONDON, ENGLAND

 

            If your travel plans call for a stop in London, you will be pleased to learn about a most gracious Adventist couple that offer the best accommodation and breakfast I have ever enjoyed. It has become my home away from home when in London.  See details at: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Promotions/BED&BREAKFAST.htm

 

TAGNET SPECIAL NEW WEB HOSTING OFFER FOR ADVENTIST CHURCHES AND MEMBERS

 

            TAGnet provides an incredible number of webhosting services to our churches and members. This newsletter comes to you through their gracious and efficient service. For detail information, visit their website at http://www.netadventist.org or  http://home.tagnet.org/ You may also call their office 800 - 9TAGNET. They are ready and eager to help you.