The Word

“There are two reasons in our day, of holding to a strong uncompromising view of Scripture,” Francis Schaeffer wrote nearly four decades ago. “First and foremost, this is the only way to be faithful to what the Bible teaches about itself… And without a strong view of Scripture as a foundation, we will not be ready for the hard days to come.” [1] In more ways than one, Schaeffer foresaw all of the moral insanity, breakdown of our legal system, and destruction of beauty in the arts that now surround us, and he linked all of this degradation to the evangelical churches’ surrender of Biblical authority in the opening decades of the 20th century.

The opening article of our church’s statement of faith reads:

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. [2]

This is a good summary of what the Bible teaches about itself. It tells us that the Bible contains no “mixture of error.” In other words, wherever the Bible speaks of matters of history or science it is no less true than when it speaks in matters of salvation and the Deity of Christ. If the Bible isn’t trustworthy in every detail, then it cannot be trustworthy in any detail. But here’s where Schaeffer comes back into our consideration. As important as it is for our church to affirm Biblical truth, it is equally important to practice Biblical truth. If the words above are to become more than pixels on a screen or ink on the page, the church must embrace these words through our behaviors and practices.

If the Bible is the divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God, then how can we not order our lives and everything in them around its teachings? How can we not read it regularly? How can we not teach it to our children and write it on the walls of homes and talk about it in the public square? (Deut. 6:4-9) The Word of God isn’t simply valuable as a spiritual resource for the inner man. No. It orders and structure and gives shape to all life.

God created all things by his Word (Gen. 1:1)
God upholds all things by his Word (Heb. 1:3)
God gives faith through the Word (Romans 10:17)
God controls nature by his Word (Mark 4:35-41)
God discerns the heart of man by his Word (Hebrews 4:12-13)
God subdues the nations with the Word (Revelation 19:15)

Will we be a church that only states the truth, or will we be a church that practices the truth? Step one is going to the Word, reading it, trusting it. Trust that God’s laws are good, not just for Christians but for all people. Trust that the Biblical portrait of the family is a good gift from God, not just for Christians but for Muslims and Secularists. The Bible’s commands to husbands and wives are just as binding today as they were the moment the ink dried on the apostle’s pen. The Word of God gives us true freedom because the Word of God prescribes the proper boundaries for human action. A bowling alley with no lanes doesn’t enjoy more freedom than one with lanes. The lanes, the boundaries made by gutters, shape and form the freedom to bowl. So, it is with the Word of God. Freedom without boundaries is chaos. Hard days are ahead, but Christ is risen, and we have his abiding Word. If we submit to the Word, it will give us a foundation, walls, and a roof over our heads.

[1] Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster (Westchester, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1986), 46.
[2] Lake Wylie Baptist subscribes to the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. To that statement, our church added material concerning marriage, gender, and sexuality.

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