“... our faith in doctrine is not established until we have a perfect conviction that God is its author.”
Can we agree that, though Moses, the Prophets, and the Apostles etc wrote the Bible, God is its author?
That is John Calvin’s thesis. It is a thesis shared by much of the Christian world, though there might always be a significant number of believers who cannot fathom God actually authoring anything through human writing. Their faith may be in God, but it’s not in doctrine. But such a believing premise falls flat. The reason for this lack of conceptualisation, according to John Calvin, is there has been no testimony of the Holy Spirit to that effect in these people.
In other words, believing the Bible is God’s Word is a condition of true Christ faith: the self-confirming evidence of the seal of the Holy Spirit on the mind, heart, and soul of the individual in question. It is self-confirmed because it is a matter between one individual and their God. No one else could know.
Faith Is Beyond Reason
The reason the many cannot find sense in faith is simple: they want a reasoned argument, proof no less, regarding the veracity of God, and the Bible is a key target source for their questioning. They may even believe Christians ‘pretend’ their faith.
They cannot come to terms with a situation that looks like faith for faith’s sake alone.
Reasoned arguments fail in the court of God, just as reasoned explanations fail in much of life. Why is there suffering? Can we reason it? If we do—and we claim the Fall (Genesis 3)—the naysayers claim gibberish or offence. And if we do attempt to reason such a thing as suffering by saying it’s inexplicable—one day we will know—it’s not good enough an explanation.
Plain and simple, explanations do not work in the field of faith. Where people require convincing the secret testimony of the Holy Spirit has not yet been made. We would only provide our explanations because we are genial, not to convert them, because until the reasons for faith become self-evident they will not believe.
They will not see God evident in every form of life—as Creator. They will not see God’s perfectly created world having once been, and now still, corrupted by humanity. They will not be convicted of their sinfulness, which is in sharp contrast to God’s perfection. They will not see the need for salvation. And they will not see the Bible as exemplifying God in real life—a Word able to consistently and indelibly change lives of believing ones.
Faith beyond reason ‘explains’ all this—but only via the personally-received testimony of the Holy Spirit, the seal of faith, on the believing person.
Consideration For Evangelism
Much evangelistic effort can be, and is, wasted. Not that God’s wrath would rest upon faithful servants this way; but it may be akin to some sense of folly and, therefore, frustration. Many will argue, however, that seeds need to be sown—and they do; no disputing.
An undercurrent to every effectively-ventured evangelistic witnessing effort is the knowledge of the critical testimony of the Holy Spirit that has to be made, first—by God—in order for true faith to emerge, born, with hope for new life.
Believing God is the author of the Bible, that God inspired human writers directly with his thought, can only be established as a belief by the testimony of the Holy Spirit. It is a condition of true faith.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.