Systematic Theology 2: Bibliology

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 13, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The first and perhaps most important theology “system” we can have regarding the Christian faith is Bibliology – the study of the Bible. Check out my numerous posts about the Bible (including my recent series on how to read the Bible) and my book Ten Reasons to Believe the Bible for more on this, but I’ll provide a quick recap here. The Bible is the source for all Christian doctrine, and it simply amazes me how many professing Christians seem to constantly resist the Bible, even while proclaiming they believe it and that it is inspired.

For the Christian, the Bible is supposed the ultimate authority on all matters. It is supposed to be our go-to for any decision, big or small, and every interaction we make in life. And frankly, as I explained in my last series on how to read the Bible, it has the authority over ALL authorities, includes pagan and secular. It is not an ordinary book. Until just the past one hundred years or so, even secular intellectuals who did not agree with the Bible believed that they could not consider themselves educated unless they had some working knowledge of what the Bible said. And I believe I have a fair argument that the reason secular society lost any respect for the Bible, even though they hate it, is because the church in the West lost respect for it.

I will blame the acceptance of “millions of years” into the Church as the catalyst for this. The moment the big names in Christianity in the 1800-1900s caved on Genesis 1, the world saw that as “open season” to fire upon the Church, and the Church has been totally powerless to stop it. The Scopes Trial pitted Day-Age Creationist William Jennings Bryan against Clarence Darrow, and it was clear that Darrow knew his Bible better than Bryan did. Darrow publicly embarrassed Bryan in his attack on Genesis, and Bryan had no answer for it. This did even more damage that Samuel Wilberforce’s loss to Huxley in the “Great Debate” of 1860. Though Darrow lost on a “narrow” decision because he did teach Evolution, which was illegal at the time, it was shown to be a great victory for the anti-Christians. In 1962, just 40 years after Scopes, God was removed from the public square over the Creation/Evolution debate, and the Church sat back and did nothing, with the exception of a small group of men spearheaded by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb whose book The Genesis Flood, published one year prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, finally gave the church a weapon to fight back with. How did they do that?

They believed the Bible on what it actually said and used it to combat Evolution and the compromised preachers to get people back to actually believing the Bible. They knew the Bible taught a 6-day creation and a global flood, and guess what? Many of the compromised preachers did too. They just didn’t know how to account for the “science” part of it. But they made a fatal mistake: they let science override the clear meaning of Scripture. In regards to origins, they thought it was a secondary issue, partly because origins was not part of the formal list of theological systems, despite being formally codified as part central doctrines in the Creeds and namely the 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith that specifically states 6-day creation (Q9). These compromised preachers did not defend the Bible against the attacks of the “enlightened” deists who were known to vocally oppose the Bible.

What has happened since? It is getting harder and harder to find a preacher who actually preaches from the Bible anymore. As I’ve mentioned, look at the creeds and the confessions of the faith throughout the ages. If not explicitly stated, it is clear they all held Scripture at the top and chief authority by which they get all their facts and ways of thinking. Today, even many top defenders of the faith by the Christian community can hardly be seen with a Bible in their hands. It’s as though they pride themselves on being able to defend the faith without the Bible directly. As a result, they may be able to win some intellectual arguments against bad logic users, but there is no real power in their messages. Despite being able to refute atheism and liberalism left and right, these guys really are not seen as threats by the world system and by compromised churches/pastors. Despite claiming to believe the Bible, they seem to never actually USE it. Do we believe this book or not?

Some will accuse me of “biblidolatry,” the worship of the Bible, but you will find that those who make that accusation are always looking to something else besides the Bible to “supplement,” or rather override, what the Bible actually teaches. But the fact remains that the Bible is our only physically tangible connection to God. It is the only thing that we can physically handle to tell us about God, what He is like, and how we should respond to that knowledge. It is also the authority God gave us to check and confirm any teaching we hear. There is a reason the early Church fathers all cited it to the point that we can easily confirm the transmission of Scripture from their writings alone. There is a reason why Paul and the other apostles wrote “according to Scripture” so many times. There is a reason the creeds and confessions all have the Bible as the source for every statement they make. And there is a reason why those who pioneered the fields of science were predominately Christian and held theology as the “Queen of the Sciences.” Instead, what we see now is more and more that the Bible is not actually treated as the inspired Word of God but a mere feel-good inspirational book – only the parts people like.

All our doctrine come from the Bible. It is the Bible that gives us the authority and the standards of how we should act, speak, and think. And despite what some may say, the Bible has the authority and the final say on every topic. Even if the topic is not explicitly covered, such as quantum physics, if the study of quantum physics leads to any idea that does not fit in or agree with the framework the Bible offers, then that study has false premises and therefore false conclusions. God gave us everything we need to have a fully informed framework for reality by which we can test and examine everything. And the biggest key to all that is that man’s own understanding and way of thinking is never going to cut it. We have to rely upon God revealing to us what reality is because only He sees things clearly.

Over the next couple months, I am going to look at the nine other major categories of systematic theology. There is a category for each person of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are categories regarding mankind, sin, salvation, the church, angles, and the end times. In each case, I’m going to address how origins affects each category as well as the key things we need to know about it. What we believe about these categories actually says more about our worldview than most doctrine tests that are given today. So, let’s see what the Bible shows us about each of these.

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