The Bible And The Conscience Of Our Age -- By: Carl F. H. Henry

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 25:4 (Dec 1982)
Article: The Bible And The Conscience Of Our Age
Author: Carl F. H. Henry


The Bible And The Conscience Of Our Age

Carl F. H. Henry*

At this stage of our gathering you have already survived more papers and presentations than the apostles may have had to endure in a lifetime. I am not suggesting that they would necessarily have been displeased with what we have been doing—or at any rate, with our authorial intention—although I don’t think many of them would have stayed by for these closing remarks.

    I
have been tempted to forego them myself. But Dr. Radmacher, who by name is essentially a wheel-maker, not being content with the wheels within wheels that your groups have provided, has added yet another wheel—not a big wheel, as you will soon realize—but a spare wheel, or a wheel that I wish he had spared, and perhaps you also.

You have heard the Scripture (2 Tim 4:8–19). It speaks of the unfettered Word of God, of the truth of God that we are to handle rightly. In the forefront Paul keeps the risen Jesus, who burst the bonds of the tomb, and he holds before us the resurrection to come and assures us that the Lord knows who are his. Paul also warns against needless disputes about words and godless chatter. He is passionately devoted to the truth and Word of God and is against semantics that sags out of this divine orbit and even serves shoddy and earthly causes.

Ours is a mass-media age, and now the dawning computer age threatens to drown us in verbiage. Will the truth of God be smothered by these torrents of modernity, by the words of man infallibly reproduced by computer systems?

Not so, says Paul: The Word of God cannot be fettered. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. In God’s great plan and purpose the inscripturated Word and the incarnate Word are indissolubly linked. They cannot be bound but have the final say.

You have had two major working conferences. Over against radical and mediating scholars who would bind the Bible by all manner of critical concession you have affirmed the inerrantly inspired Word of God. What God inspires is in-errant, and all Scripture—as Paul said—is God-breathed. Scripture must not be bound, you said in effect, by speculative theories that strip away its truth segment by segment until the reader is left with mere fragments of the comprehensive revelation of God. Now the second working conference, on hermeneutical concerns, draws to a close. Against those who would frustrate the meaning and truth of scriptural revelation by interpretative artifices alien to the Christian heritage you have championed the literal sense of Scripture and insisted that neither the culture-rootedness of language nor the rise of science-oriented civilization nullified the objective and universal authority...

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