I am a firm believer in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Christian Scriptures; it’s one of those foundations that the Church needs to maintain her balance. Whenever the Church has failed to fully accept the Bible’s authority in matters of faith and practice chaos has come. Most atheists would immediately say that a Christian who accepts inspiration is proving themselves to be engaging in circular reasoning or to be abandoning reasoning – but on both cases they are wrong. Atheistic arguments about the Christian view of inspiration is based on their poor understanding of faith. Faith is not a leap into the dark hoping God will catch you, faith accepts the evidence one has and trusts God on the basis of the evidence despite our imperfect understandings of God’s truth.
Its important to understand something else that atheists miss – Christians are not Christian’s because they believe the Bible is God’s Word, Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Word because they have committed their lives to Jesus Christ as Savior. As important as the doctrine of inspiration is, it is a later step in a believer’s theological development (don’t let the terms “Theological development” scare you either, a believer’s “theological development” is nothing more than the intellectual element of sanctification, or God’s teaching us to think as He would have us to think over a period of time). Therefore, I don’t bring up the discussion of Inspiration with atheists anymore than I would discuss the Trinity, the hypostatic union, or for that matter my devotional life; all of these doctrines make sense after acceptance of Christ, none of them will make sense before that point. Because the central battle of our times is Spiritual (), we cannot start by trying to christianize the atheists thought processes before conversion. Here are a few things we should keep in mind in various debates:
• Inspiration is not something I can prove, but I can intelligently discuss the Gospels in terms of their historical reliability. Educate yourself on the Bible as a historical document – my preferred starting point would be with the works of the Archeologist William Ramsey, but Michael Licona, Warren Wallace, Lee Strobel and others are also useful writers to aquaint yourself with; you can also hear an abbreviated version of my presentation here: https://truthinthetrenches.org/2013/08/19/beginning-at-the-beginning-the-rational-basis-for-christianity/
• Recognize bias for what it is, and that there is no unbiased observer. Atheists will regularly tell you that none of the gospels were written by an eyewitness – but they are taking this on faith, call them on it. John claims to be an eyewitness, was clearly a first century Jew who was familiar with Jerusalem, and in any other historical study, we would consider him to be a credible witness.
What are your thoughts?