The Christian Post recently published the findings of a Gallup poll designed to gauge Americans' opinion on the Bible. The findings reveal the utter chaos in our culture regarding the nature and authority of Scripture.
Gallup's poll found that only 28 percent of Americans believe that the Bible is the Word of God and should be taken literally. And yet nearly 50 percent believe that the Bible is the "inspired Word of God" while insisting that not all of its content be taken literally, but rather as "metaphors and allegories that allow for interpretation."
"Allowing for interpretation" seems to be key for our postmodern, pluralistic society, as 58 percent - representing the majority of self-identifying Christians in America - accept that the Bible is the "actual Word of God" but insist, "multiple interpretations are possible."
Clearly, the prevailing belief in our culture is that while the Bible may be the inspired Word of God, it doesn't mean what it says. It's only authoritative as long as the reader is the final arbiter of what it actually means. Debates on Scripture ultimately all come back to the issue of authority, and the majority of professing Christians in America have rejected the objective authority of the inerrant Word of God and have replaced it with the authority of self.
At a basic level, self-elevation to ultimate authority falls into the category of circular reasoning, and is a clear failure in logic. However, more importantly, this error reveals a fundamental failure in theological education.
Such mass confusion is only possible as deviance is aided and abetted by Christian pastors who refuse to defend the inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy of the Word of God. The inerrancy of Scripture is sacrificed in pursuit of so-called academic respectability. The authority of God's Word is explained away to make allowance for homosexuality, fornication and other sins of personal convenience. The result is this situation reflected by this Gallup poll.
Such pandemic abandonment can only be the product of the weak preaching that comes from the limpid pulpits of the American church; pulpits where God's Word is used and abused to suit the whimsical interpretations of preachers who lack an understanding of the innate profundity of truth.
Is there hope in the face of such statistics and ecclesiological failure? Indeed there is, but only as the Scriptures are allowed to speak. The time has come in our day to apply the words of Charles Spurgeon:
"The Word of God can take care of itself, and will do so if we preach it, and cease defending it. See you that lion. They have caged him for his preservation; shut him up behind iron bars to secure him from his foes! See how a band of armed men have gathered together to protect the lion. What a clatter they make with their swords and spears! These mighty men are intent upon defending a lion. O fools, and slow of heart! Open that door! Let the lord of the forest come forth free. Who will dare to encounter him? What does he want with your guardian care? Let the pure gospel go forth in all its lion-like majesty, and it will soon clear its own way and ease itself of its adversaries."
The nation has abandoned the claims of divine revelation because the church has failed to uphold that truth with Spirit-given power and conviction. This is the reason evangelical leaders are rallying at the Inerrancy Summit in March of 2015 sponsored by The Master's Seminary. The time is now for all faithful preachers of God's Word need to rally in support of Scripture's authority.
John MacArthur is pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church. Following in the steps of his father, Dr. Jack MacArthur, John represents five successive generations of pastors in his family. He is also president of The Master's College and Seminary and is heard daily on "Grace to You," a nationally syndicated radio broadcast. The Grace to You ministry is committed to spreading John's teaching through radio, books, CDs, television, and the Internet. John's books include, The MacArthur Study Bible, The Gospel According to Jesus, and The MacArthur New Testament Commentary series. Information on the Inerrancy Summit can be found by clicking here: http://inerrantword.com/180015375/home.