John MacArthur – Can We Add to God’s Word?


Over the last hundred years, the church has seen an explosion of interest in the Holy Spirit—particularly in His work of empowering God’s people and revealing His truth. This renewed interest in the Spirit’s role in our daily lives has injected excitement and enthusiasm into many churches, as the Lord seems to be revealing Himself and His power in wonderful ways.

But for believers caught up in tales of a fresh unleashing of the Spirit, it may be hard to see the difference between what God is saying and doing today and what He said and did in the days when Scripture was being written. We must ask the question: Is there a difference between God’s Word as given then and the word He is supposedly speaking to and through believers today?

I think there is a major difference, and it’s something we must keep in mind if we are to keep the authority and infallibility of the Bible in proper perspective.

The Canon Is Closed

The truth is there is no fresher or more intimate revelation than Scripture. God doesn’t need to give us private revelation to help us in our walk with Him. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, emphasis added). Scripture is sufficient. It offers all we need for every good work.

Christians—particularly charismatics, as well as those who are merely “open but cautious”—must realize a vital truth: God’s revelation is complete for good. The canon of Scripture is closed. As the apostle John penned the final words of the last book of the New Testament, he recorded this warning:

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19)

When the Old Testament canon closed after the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, there followed four hundred silent years when no prophet spoke God’s revelation in any form.

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Cameron Cole – 5 Tools Needed to Reach Today’s Teens

I have ministered to adolescents for eleven years, eight of them as a youth minister. Based on my conversations with kids and observations in the culture, I consider these five theological tools essential for parents, pastors, and youth ministers hoping to minister effectively to today’s teens.

1. Knowledge about the canonization of Scripture.

Perhaps it is a result of The DaVinci Code or maybe the effects of deconstructionism and revisionism in historical studies, but one of the primary apologetic questions I receive from students involves the formation of the canon of Scripture. In no subject area have I observed more misinformation. Students have told me that their high school English teacher taught that the Gospel of Mary Magdalene was not included in the Bible because Christianity is misogynistic. A kid told me that the Gospels were actually written in fourth century.

If a student does not trust the Bible as God’s Word, ministries will have a hard time giving them any confidence in the truths of Christianity; the Bible serves as the authority and foundation for all Christian doctrine. Those ministering to youth must possess a strong understanding of the history and system by which the early church discerned certain books as authoritative and rejected other books as either uninspired or heretical.

Recommended Reading: F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture

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A. A. Hodge – The Holy Scriptures: The Canon and Inspiration

aahodge I. I AM to speak this afternoon of the Bible, its genesis and its inspiration. The word “Bible” means book, the word “Scripture” means writing, and it is by the common consent of men that these words are applied to this one subject, because it is a Book of books, and because, beyond all comparison, it is the Writing of writings. It is the most important of all books, because, as a matter of historical fact, this book, more than any other force, has moulded the character of the great nations of the world and given birth to what we call the modern or Western civilization; because all historic churches, with one accord, declare it to be the foundation of their creeds—declare that this book is the Word of God; because, in spite of all our divisions, the whole Church really accepts this book as the only infallible and divinely authoritative rule of our faith and practice; and because it is, between all Christians, the standard of appeal on all subjects of debate, the only common ground upon which we stand, the only court of last resort.

II. On what presuppositions does our doctrine rest? In every problem there are two elements—the a priori element of principle and the a posteriori element of fact. To this there is no exception in any of the problems of philosophy or of science or of theology. The a priori question of principle must be taken first, and will condition the whole argument. We must, before we take up the subject of the Bible, first take up the questions, Is there a God? Does he exist? What relation does he sustain to the universe? Can he reveal himself to man? Has he made a revelation of himself to man? Are men capable of receiving a divine revelation through the means of a book?

Now, it is held, on the basis of all the presuppositions of Atheism, of Materialism, of Agnosticism, and even of the old Deism, that it is absolutely absurd to talk of any supernatural revelation of God, or of any Bible as either containing or being the Word of God. I want, however, to assure the laymen who have not investigated these questions that nine-tenths of all the objections which men are making now to the Scriptures, in which they claim that the progress of knowledge, the progress of civilization, the progress of science, the progress of critical investigation, the vast aggregate of historical knowledge, all are sweeping away the foundations of our ancient faith in the Bible,—I wish to assure them that, these objections are not only untrue, but absurd. Those that are made are not founded upon facts, but are founded upon a priori philosophical principles. Neither science nor history nor criticism bears any testimony against the divine origin of the Bible. I appeal with confidence to the a priori principles of a contrary philosophy. We must meet them on their own ground, and appeal from the postulates of a false philosophy to the postulates of a true. We have as much right to believe our philosophy as they have to believe theirs. Renan, for instance, begins his discussion upon the Epistles with this assumption: “The supernatural is impossible;” therefore the supernatural is unhistorical, and therefore any piece of literature that claims to convey to us supernatural information must so far forth be incorrect and be the subject of correction by critical hands.

You see that this is a mere assumption, and the whole principle on which it rests is that which underlies the philosophy, atheistic, materialistic, agnostic or deistic, of these errorists; and if this be swept away not only all the foundations for such a claim, but all color of presumption on which it rests, is swept away at once. Doubtless there are very many men of great ability who are perfectly honest who hold to this belief. They are thoroughly convinced of the principles of their a priori philosophy, and these principles are evidently inconsistent with the truths of Christianity.

But if we discard the unproved assumptions, we invalidate their conclusions. There are others who ought to be treated kindly: they are thoroughly convinced, but they are half-educated, timid souls who are confused in this babel of tongues, and who do not know the deceitfulness of materialistic belief—who are inclined to believe in the ancient faith, but are also under pressure from the arrogant claims of philosophy. For such have great consideration, and instead of repelling them by words draw them to you by the Spirit of Christ, and by showing that you not only believe intellectually, but that you have a ground of assurance in your inward experience, in the testimony of the Holy Ghost, which must excite respect and confidence in them.

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D. A. Carson – Systematic Theology and Biblical Theology

Systematic Theology and Biblical Theology

D. A. Carson

To relate the nature and functions of systematic theology and biblical theology respectively proves distractingly difficult because various scholarly camps operate with highly divergent definitions of both disciplines, and therefore also entertain assumptions and adopt methods that cannot be reconciled with those of other scholarly camps. The permutations from these intertwined variables ensure the widest diversity of opinion; no analysis of the relations between systematic and biblical theology can sweep the field. Some of these difficulties must be explored before useful connections between the two disciplines can be drawn. Because more debate attaches to biblical theology than to systematic theology, and because biblical theology is the focus of this volume, that is where we must direct primary attention.

Biblical Theology
Before attempting to sort out the conflicting definitions of biblical theology, we shall do well to consider the bearing of a number of topics on the discipline.

History of Biblical Theology
Because the history of biblical theology is surveyed elsewhere in this volume, here we may restrict ourselves to a mere listing of some of the turning points that have given rise to different apprehensions of biblical theology.

In one sense, wherever there has been disciplined theological reflection on the Bible, there has been a de facto biblical theology. The first occurrence of the expression itself, however, is in 1607, in the title of a book by W. J. Christmann, Teutsche [sic] Biblische Theologie (no longer extant). The work was apparently a short compilation of proof texts supporting Protestant systematic theology. This usage enjoyed long life; it was alive and well a century and a half later in the more rigorous four-volume work by G. T. Zachariae (1771-75). A century earlier, however, the German pietist P. J. Spener, in his famous Pia Desideria (1675), distinguished theologia biblica (his own use of Scripture, suffused with reverence and piety) with the theologica scholastica that prevailed in Protestant orthodoxy.
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