Confession and Apologetics: Modeling Scripture’s Method to its Message

The Bible’s own verification of its being God-breathed should be our primary default

Gordon Clark writes, “The first reason for believing the Bible is inspired is that the Bible claims to be inspired.”  And so we see “Christ’s view of the Bible can very quickly be indicated.  Christ said: It is written!”  A Biblical apologist thus grounds the warrant for his witnessing style in the same manner as the prophets: “Thus saith the Lord!”

 

My seminary professor of missions emphasized what is often glossed over when discussing and doing mission work: the Bible not only presents a message but a method of its delivery.[1]  Similarly, the Bible has its own method of apologetics (self-defense) to which we must defer: it presents itself as God’s Self-revelation to be received and accepted on its own authority.

Rather than try and prove the Bible is true before its Messenger could be considered worthy of an audience, we should presuppose that the Truth will speak for Himself and be heard through His Own recorded, gripping, powerful voice.[2]  Greg Bahnsen explains, “ … the message claiming to be from God would have to be its own authority … only God is adequate to bear witness to Himself or to authorize His own words.[3]  Thus Hebrews 6:13 documents how God proved the veracity of His words to Abraham by swearing by Himself, for there is no greater testimony than His own Self-attesting witness.  Robert Reymond points out that to insist on Scripture’s own self-authentication as sole and sufficient grounds for everyone’s believing and obeying it is in no way arrogant: “The presuppositional apologist  … does not believe that he can improve upon the total message that God has commissioned him to give to fallen men.”[4]

The Bible’s own verification of its being God-breathed should be our primary default.  Gordon Clark writes, “The first reason for believing the Bible is inspired is that the Bible claims to be inspired.”[5]  And so we see “Christ’s view of the Bible can very quickly be indicated.  Christ said: It is written!”[6]  A Biblical apologist thus grounds the warrant for his witnessing style in the same manner as the prophets: “Thus saith the Lord!”  Thus is the apostles’ example in Acts.  As Reymond declares, “ … the God of Scripture calls upon human beings to begin with or ‘presuppose’ him in all their thinking (Exod. 20:3; Prov. 1:7).”[7]

This presuppositional apologetic method is alone seen in Scripture and is clearly required in section four of chapter one in the Westminster Confession of Faith:  The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.[8]  This assertion is standard stuff.[9]

The confessions teach us not to try and support the Bible, but share it; not to prove it, but proclaim it.  We ought not invite people to feign autonomy and put God’s Word under a microscope, but instead require them to lay themselves under it and be examined, also presupposing their God-given dependence as well as ability to know when He specially speaks to them.

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