Why Belief in the Bible Is Rational: An Interview with K. Scott OliphintJuly 14, 2017
by Scott Oliphint
Faith is the foundation upon which the Christian life depends. But what are the good reasons for that faith? And how does the Bible factor in to the basis of that faith?
What is “knowledgeable faith”?
K. Scott Oliphint: Many people consider the notion of “faith” to be the polar opposite of knowledge. This has never been the Christian view of faith. For Christianity, faith is typically understood as including three inextricably linked categories: assent, trust, and knowledge. “Knowledgeable faith” is trusting the One—Jesus Christ—to whom we have assented and whom we know. Christ himself says eternal life consists of knowing the Father, and Jesus Christ whom the Father sent (John 17:3). Christ ties our eternal existence to knowing him. There can be no true faith without true knowledge.
What do you mean, “Christianity is a way of seeing”?
K. Scott Oliphint: The apostle Paul reminds us that in our conversion to Christ we’re renewed “unto knowledge” (Col. 3:10). This means that, upon our conversion, we begin to see ourselves and the world in its proper light (Matt. 13:15; Mk. 8:18).
Christianity is not something we add to an otherwise complete and useful life. The Christian life is a new life, a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Because, when we’re converted, we’re renewed unto knowledge; we see everything through the spectacles of Scripture. We begin, by grace, to “think God’s thoughts (as those thoughts are given to us in his revelation) after him.”
Why is the Bible trustworthy?
K. Scott Oliphint: The short answer to this question is that it is the Word of God.
Scripture purports to be the Word of God from the beginning (Gen. 1:28–30). It’s the history of God first creating and then redeeming a people. Its history is not confined to one person getting a “special” revelation at some limited point in time, but its history spans centuries in which the Lord himself speaks through his chosen representatives.
The Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 1, section 5 lists a number of reasons why we should believe that the Bible is God’s own Word. These include the “heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof. . .” All of these, says the Confession, “are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God.”
The wonderful point made by the Confession is that one has to actually read and consider what Scripture says in order to recognize it to be God’s very Word. No other book provides such a wealth of evidence for its own character.
The “negative” answer to the question is to consider what happens if we refuse to trust that the Bible is God’s Word. The implications of this go all the way back to Genesis 3. Once we question the Word of God, we’re set squarely on a path toward inevitable death. That path begins in this life—in which we try to make sense of God’s world as God’s creatures, but without God—and it continues into eternity. . . .
Understanding Cornelius Van TilJune 09, 2017
by Scott Oliphint