The Perspicuity of Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 30, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

What is “perspicuity”? That’s a good $200 theological term that essentially means “clarity.” This is perhaps one of the most important doctrines in our post-modern world that denies absolute truth and the clarity of anything. One of the goals of post-modernism is to deny absolute truths so no one can tell someone else what they can or cannot do. Post-modernism hates the Bible because it has perspicuity. It has clarity. It says everything in black and white and with far more specificity and clarity than we’d like it to be.

I write about false teachings often, and one thing all false teachings have in common is denial of the clarity of Scripture. The first thing Satan said is: “Has God indeed said?” The first thing Satan did on earth was to raise question on the clarity of what God said. God has spoken. Let me say that again: God has spoken. He said it. He means it. And He holds us accountable for believing it or not. It does not matter what we think about it. It does not matter how we “interpret” it. It’s black and white: we believe God or not. When people like Rob Bell question the clarity of “love thy neighbor as yourself” by declaring that it raises more questions than answers, I’m like “oh really?” What does it mean to “love”? Who is my neighbor? Bell thinks these are unanswered. Every author of Scripture would say otherwise. There are multiple areas where the clarity of Scripture is being attacked, and I’ll address a few of them here.

Origins: It simply amazing me how few people know what the word “day” means. They read in any other context and there is no question, but put it into Genesis 1 and suddenly everyone loses their minds. How is that possible? “Day” means “day” in nearly every single context EXCEPT when it obviously is referencing a period of time surrounding a significant event or person. How many Bible studies and discussions have had to take place over the word “day” on Joshua or with Christ or with Jonah? Yet in Genesis, there appears to be some fog that just kills basic reading comprehension skills. Genesis is CLEAR. Do you really think that God would go through so much detail about the Tabernacle, the Temple, and the Crucifixion but leave the origins of it all so unclear? That doesn’t make sense. But people want to MAKE it unclear, so they can insert their opinions into the text. Trace every “old earth” model and argument you hear, and at the root you will find some unbeliever seeking to undermine the authority of Scripture. There are believers who do believe in an Old Earth, but they did not get that idea from Scripture. They got it from reading someone, who read someone, who read someone, who was an unbeliever and didn’t check it out or test it.

Sexual morality: Yes, there are teachers who say that God’s commands on proper and improper sexual relations don’t actually mean what they say. They didn’t have our “modern understanding” in mind, therefore it wasn’t talking about those issues. Check out the series of posts I wrote on Matthew Vines and his “Reformation Project” which is just a means of attempting to justify sexual sin and getting the church’s approval for it.

Christ: Did you know there are arguments that “Christ” isn’t Jesus’ last name? Yep. That is an actual argument being made. It comes from the notion that Jesus actually isn’t the Messiah. But rather, the “Christ” is a “universal” Christ, the savior for all religions. To the Christian he appears as Jesus. To the Muslim, he is Allah or Muhammad. He is Krishna, Confucius, or Buddha. But not the only begotten Son of God, the only means of salvation, under which no other name can mankind be saved. But here, the argument is to make God, namely Jesus unclear. One of the men behind this is Richard Rohr who has a LARGE influence of many modern “preachers.”

There are many other areas where this happens. But I again, want to emphasize that behind every false teaching is an intentional muddying of the waters. There is always a question of the clarity of Scripture. Look at how most people talk about God today – very vaguely and generically. He’s a “higher being,” a “sky daddy,” a “higher power,” but not the God of the universe. This is a god you can you talk to, get comfort from, and get you want you want, but he has no actual control over things. He is distant and unknowable. And because he’s unknowable, because “his thoughts are higher than our thoughts,” we can’t understand God, therefore, God can’t hold us accountable for sin. Notice how I used Scripture to showcase the argument. EVERY choice we make has a moral basis, and an unknowable god is very convenient because he gets us what we want but doesn’t have say over what we do. That’s idolatry.

Now there are passages that are unclear. We do see things through a lens darkly. Think about what I wrote last week: sin corrupts our view of reality. And likewise, sin is what makes Scripture “unclear” to us. I’ve even had someone try to cite 2 Peter 3:16 to argue that Genesis isn’t as clear as it is. That’s total hogwash. 2 Peter 3:16 is Peter talking about how some of Paul’s writings are unclear, but not because they aren’t actually clear; rather, it’s because sinful people seek to distort them as they do other Scriptures. I told this person that in using that verse, he put himself in the category of unbelievers seeking to twist and distort Scripture. He didn’t reply to that. In reality, there are something we don’t quite get yet. Some of it is due to us being removed from the Hebrew culture and knowing the ins and outs of their system. Some of it is due to speaking about prophetic events that no one has ever figured out how they would be fulfilled prior to their fulfillment. But most of it is due to our sin. Most of the “lack of clarity” in Scripture is due to our unbelief. It’s “unclear” because we don’t like what it says. Yet, also in sinful man’s rebellion, we tend to think it’s alright and can get along with God. Because when God is unclear, we can make standards that God would approve of based on how we think He should operate. Said people are going to be very disappointed when Jesus tells them, “I never knew you.

While there are some details that are not absolutely clear, the Bible is clear enough to give us a concrete framework to define reality. The Bible does not say “the earth was created in 4004 BC on October 23” for example. But it does say “6-day creation” and it does tell us that approximately 6000 years have passed between creation and now. Whatever we want to try to address must fit within that framework. Any scientific model must fit within these guidelines to be even remotely accurate. Likewise, every worldview is wrong is except that which God has offered. Every means of salvation except by grace alone, through faith alone, via Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, and for the glory of God alone doesn’t work, and that is crystal clear. There is no other way. It is so clear that these are the very points where Satan has attacked to create confusion. If the length of a “day” didn’t impact your worldview on who God is, what He does, and how He operations, Satan would leave that point alone. If there were any other means of salvation, then Christianity would not be singled out as a point of ridicule by the world. It is clear, so clear a child understands it and so clear the unbelieving community knows when the Christian actually believes it or not. If you don’t believe any part of Scripture, the first honest thing you can do is just say, “I don’t believe it.” But if you claim to love Scripture, uphold Scripture, and then promote the muddying of the waters and inserting opinions into the text, I have little choice but question your integrity on the matter.

If we are going to call ourselves Christians, our duty is to believe the Bible. That means we submit to it, we heed its word, and we align ourselves to what it says. And if we, in our sinful state, do not understand what it is saying or why, the Christian response is: “Lord, I believe Your word. Help my unbelief. I don’t get this, but I trust you anyway.” Those who seek to justify their unbelief by changing definitions and re-interpreting it to make it fit their sensibilities had better examine themselves because they may find themselves in a very uncomfortable place in the near future. God is clear, and He will hold us accountable to every word He gave. He expects us to read it, understand it, believe it, and obey it. Don’t play games. Your soul is at stake here.

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