Thursday, July 22, 2010

Can We Trust the Bible?

Years ago, The Futurist magazine listed some of the worst predictions of all people who would have qualified as "experts" in their field:

"Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments." —Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus, A.D. 100

"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." —John Eric Ericksen, surgeon to Queen Victoria, 1873

"Law will be simplified [over the next century]. Lawyers will have diminished, and their fees will have been vastly curtailed." —journalist Junius Henri Browne, 1893

"It doesn't matter what he does, he will never amount to anything." —Albert Einstein's teacher to Einstein's father, 1895

"It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology." —computer scientist John von Neumann, 1949

"The Japanese don't make anything the people in the U.S. would want." —Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, 1954

"Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years." —Alex Lewyt, president of the Lewyt Vacuum Cleaner Company, quoted in The New York Times, June 10, 1955

"Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail." —Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under Eisenhower, 1959

"By the turn of the century, we will live in a paperless society." —Roger Smith, chairman of General Motors, 1986

"I predict the Internet . . . will go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse." —Bob Metcalfe, InfoWorld, 1995

Even the smartest of people are often spectacularly wrong. Yet we Christians assert that the Bible--a book written by human authors--is infallible, divinely inspired, and without error. How can we believe this? This Sunday, we'll continue our series, Reasons to Believe by looking at some of the most persuasive objections to faith in Scripture:

"Isn't the Bible full of contradictions?"
"Wasn't the Bible's final content determined by politics?"
"Hasn't modern science proved the Bible is unreliable?"
"With so many 'holy' books in the world, why do we think the Bible is the only true one?"


angeljosue said...

Please read

Anonymous said...

Jeff -

I've listed a few websites that deal with these kind of questions, for those church members who may want to do further study.

William Lane Craig -

Ravi Zacharias -

Hugh Ross -

Jeff Berger said...

Good job, Tom. By the way, which Tom is this? Davidson? Mallette? Crosby? Other?

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just ran across your blog. It looks very interesting. Keep up the good work.-----Mark

Special said...

Not to pour cold water on what you're trying to do in your sermon series, but it seems strange to me when I see a self-proclaimed apologist/contender for the faith (no degrees to back it up, by the way who doesn't use the very product s/he claims to be trying to sell (Christianity). When someone isn't even approachable as a human, much less as a Christian, why should I care about some pseudo-intellectual argument s/he might come up with from one of those cheapie paperback books that are all the rage nowadays in the pop-evangelical culture? (Legends in their own minds!) Are we just saving heads nowadays?? How about infusing a little spirituality into these heartless geeky-headed robots for a change? They are "tinkling symbols" without a melody. How about this clown living a life that can stand the light of day, hmmmm?? Anon

Jeff Berger said...

I'm sorry, Special, but I'm not sure I follow you. Am I the "self-proclaimed apologist" to whom you're referring? If so, I'm sure there are many ways that I fail to live up to the name of Jesus Christ, but I can assure you that I am very approachable. I'm assuming we don't know each other in the "real" world, but if we do, and if I have done something that you feel tarnishes the message I preach, PLEASE let me know what it email address is available on the blog. If you're talking about one of the authors of the two books I've recommended as additional reading, I don't know either one personally, but they are both pastors as well. They are not just "ivory tower apologists." Anyway, I would like to better understand just what you are saying. Thanks for your comments.

Special said...

Not criticizing you at all, but you are responsible for leading your congregation to ACT like Christians -- lucky you. The one "faithful" member I see on a regular basis, is much more impressed with her/himself than I am -- doesn't even TRY. I would've been better off just reading about Jesus than having THAT example for my life. ANON

Jeff Berger said...

Well, I am genuinely sorry that one of our members has let you down.

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Anonymous said...

There are no proofs, only arguments. Cannot prove cause from effect via induction, and induction is all we have. All conclusions are a leap of faith and you are responsible for what you believe - no one else. (Emanuel Kannt, Albert Einstein, Aristotle, God)

Romans 12 - blood of the lamb, word of our testimony, love not your own life. Testify. Its the only weapon we have to overcome the devil. We need to tell our own story.

p.s. my degrees are in mathematics and computer science. Started life as a mason (brick layer etc.) I don't think the ear tags the world uses for its cows matter much to the holy spirit. At least I'm not a carpenter or heaven forbid, a fisherman ;-')

The existential dilemma with regard to existence and epistomologic authority. What do you want to "be" when you grow up? From a christian worldview, the question itself is moronic.

Keep it up. You are pissing people off so you must be saying something true. Don't let people hang their unbelief on you. Don't let people hang other people's hypocrisy on you. Just keep doing what you know God want's you to do. We are each responsible for what we believe and what we don't believe.

You will have satisfied Ezekiel's commission - and their blood will be upon them and not you.

Anonymous said...

When people go to church EVERY Sunday, and continue to get meaner and meaner, then something is amiss somewhere. Their problem is NOT a lack of intellectual evidences, but a lack of true faith. Where there is no REAL faith, there is no love. Love is the evidence of true faith. You will NEVER see any of these "proofers" bring anyone to Christ. Have you noticed that?

Is there no time for addressing just plain ole meanness in your sermon notes for the calendar year...or maybe in your whole career as a pastor? If so, you have alot of company in the pastorate. Perhaps some of your members might be convicted of the sin of meanness. Do you ever talk about the sin of vindictiveness from the pulpit, as one example? It's talked about in there, you know.

One can talk until blue in the face, but actions speak volumes...much louder than any intellectual arguments one might make.

We need to preach the Bible as a whole and not just always be trying to convince others that the Bible is true. It's truth is self-evident if it's actually preached and LIVED in it's entirity. If the Bible's truth doesn't change anyone, then it's not the truth we claim it is. Anonymous

Jeff Berger said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Actually, this kind of apologetic preaching is something new for me. It's only a four sermon series in an entire year. Most Sundays, I'm preaching to help God's people apply His word to their lives in a (hopefully) challenging way. This Sunday, for example, I start a series on the Fruits of the Spirit. Think perhaps love, joy, peace, patience, etc might be the answer to the problems you describe? Thanks for your comments. I hope you come back...and let me know your name next time.