(Photo: Saddleback Church)
LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Pastor Rick Warren launched his "40 Days in the Word" biblical literacy campaign over the weekend by preaching that the Bible is not only historically and prophetically accurate, but scientifically trustworthy as well.
The best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life, who is also well-known for authoring small group studies that are often conducted at other churches, told his Saddleback Church congregation in Lake Forest, Calif., and a worldwide Web audience that the Bible can be trusted because of seven main points he outlined.
"Before we get into '40 Days' we've got to start with one question, and it's this, 'How do I know I can trust the Bible?' That's a legitimate question because if this is not the word of God let's go home. I can think of a lot of other things to do besides reading a book that's just another book by a bunch of men," said Warren during the weekend worship services.
"You will find as we look at the word of God that it is unlike any other book. It's not only the best-selling book of all time; it's not only the most translated book of all time; it's not only the most read book of all time; it's also the most debated book of all time and it has survived all kinds of disputes and disagreements and denial ... and it's still here," he said.
The 40 Days in the Word campaign was launched out of Warren's conviction that many Americans are biblically illiterate.
"They just don't know the Word of God ... Our parents' generation knew the Word of God pretty well. My generation knew a little bit. The next generation knows none of it," he said in December.
He's hoping through the campaign that Christians will not only learn to "love the Word more than anything else" in their lives, but also "live the Word" like they've never lived it before.
During this past weekend's sermons, Warren said people can trust the Bible because it is scientifically accurate.
"The Bible was not given to be a science text book and it doesn't use scientific language, but it never uses bad science," he said. "In fact, the Bible is always ahead of scientific discoveries. Things have been told in the Bible thousands of years before scientists actually discovered it, confirmed it, or even paid attention to what the Bible had already said about it."
"The reason the Bible is scientifically accurate is because the laws of the universe were invented by God," Warren continued. "God knows the scientific laws of the universe better than we do."
Warren gave examples as to how science is always changing but the truths in the Bible never change.
"Science is constantly changing. In fact, it's frequently obsolete about every five years," he pointed out. "I guarantee that the science text book that you had in the 3rd grade they are not using today. Some of the things you were taught in the 3rd grade are flat out wrong and science no longer believes it."
"Science frequently changes, but truth never changes," Warren said.
Apologetics speaker and author Lee Strobel, who among his many books wrote The Case for a Creator, told The Christian Post Monday that as scientists make new discoveries and conclusions they often get closer to the truth found in the Bible.
"The findings of modern cosmology, physics, biochemistry, astronomy, genetics and other scientific disciplines paint a portrait of a Creator who looks uncannily like the God of the Bible," he explained.
Among the examples Warren gave of the Bible not containing the prevailing scientific thought of the time, which proved to be wrong later, was the shape of the earth.
"You might expect the Bible to say the world is flat because for thousands of years, everybody thought the world was flat," he explained. "But, 2,600 years ago the Bible said in Isaiah 40:22, 'God is enthroned above the sphere of the earth.' Two-thousand, six-hundred years ago, the Bible said the world is not flat. It's a sphere. It's a globe. It said it long before anyone started coming up with that idea. Nowhere in the Scripture does it say the world is flat."
Warren also backed up his message of the Bible being scientifically, historically, and prophetically accurate by giving Scripture references.
Among them were, "The Word of the Lord is right and true" (Psalm 33:4 NIV); "Every word of God is flawless" (Proverbs 30:5 NIV); and "No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God's direction" (2 Peter 1:21 GW).
Moreover, the Bible is thematically unified, confirmed by the words of Jesus, survived all attacks (challenges), and has "transforming power" (changed lives), he further stated.
The 40 Days in the Word campaign is accompanied by small study group curriculum, including more in-depth discussion about the Bible on DVDs, and an online resource site (40daysintheword.com) that provides daily devotions given by 40 different pastors. About 4,500 other churches are taking part in the study along with the 20,000-member Saddleback.