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UMC Bishop Subtly And Publicly Side-steps Divine Inspiration Of The Bible

From: James Gibson <>
Date: Wednesday, June 02, 1999 6:28 PM
Subject: UMNS#311-Commentary: Bible's true authority lies in power to change

The chief flaw in Carder's thinking in summed up in the statement:

What is the Bible's authority? As I understand it, the Bible's authority does not lie in its verbal inerrancy or even its factual accuracy. The Scriptures' authority is in the Bible's power through the Holy Spirit to transform life into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Its power is not demonstrated in winning arguments but in transforming lives.

Obviously, Carder does not understand the Bible's authority very well. True, "the Bible's authority does not lie in its inerrancy or even its factual accuracy." That does not mean, however, that the Bible is not inerrant or factually accurate. Neither is the Bible's authority found "in its power through the Holy Spirit to transform life into the likeness of Jesus Christ." No human document has such "power through the Holy Spirit." What Carder cleverly sidesteps is the TRUE source of Scripture's authority, namely its divine inspiration. It is here that we find the key both to Scripture's inerrancy and its power to transform lives. Because the Bible is God's inspired Word, it goes without saying that it is inerrant; and because Scripture is the very breath of God (I Timothy 3:16), it has the power to transform people's lives. If the Bible is not inspired of God, questions about its inerrancy or transforming power are irrelevant. The criteria for Scripture's authority must be objective, not subjective.

Jai G.

From: Dan Tilly <>
Date: Wednesday, June 02, 1999 6:09 PM
Subject: Re: UMNS#311-Commentary: Bible's true authority lies in power to change

Indeed, as Carder states, the Scriptures do have power through the Holy Spirit to change lives. But that is NOT where their authority rests! The authority of Scripture rests in the fact that Scripture is "inspired" or "God-breathed". Even when the Scripture does not transform my life (because I am rebellious towards it), its authority is not diminised one iota.

Furthermore, if the Scripture is God-breathed, then its authority further rests upon the fact that it tells the truth! It is foolish to say the Bible has authority even though it is not true, which is what Carder is subtily suggesting. Carder reveals here his true identity. He has a radically different concept of Scripture than I do. His point of view logically leads to subjectivism and relativism.

Dan T.

From: John Wesley
Subject: Sermon 12–The Witness of Our Own Spirit

"But the Christian rule of right and wrong is the word of God, the writings of the Old and New Testament; all that the Prophets and "holy men of old" wrote "as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;" all that Scripture which was given by inspiration of God, and which is indeed profitable for doctrine, or teaching the whole will of God; for reproof of what is contrary thereto; for correction of error; and for instruction, or training us up, in righteousness. (2 Tim. iii. 16.) "

"This is a lantern unto a Christian's feet, and a light in all his paths. This alone he receives as his rule of right or wrong, of whatever is really good or evil. He esteems nothing good, but what is here enjoined, either directly or by plain consequence; he accounts nothing evil but what is here forbidden, either in terms, or by undeniable inference. Whatever the Scripture neither forbids nor enjoins, either directly or by plain consequence, he believes to be of an indifferent nature; to be in itself neither good nor evil; this being the whole and sole outward rule whereby his conscience is to be directed in all things."

(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, [17] so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

– John Wesley

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