War on the Word

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In this 53-minute session from the 2011 Ligonier National Conference, Dr. Steve Lawson works from Genesis 3, reminding us of the fundamental importance of a commitment to the authority, inspiration, and inerrancy of Scripture. Steve is Senior Pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, AL. A Teaching Fellow with Ligonier Ministries, he is also Professor of Preaching at The Master’s Seminary. Steve has authored over eighteen books including Preaching the Psalms and The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon.

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your life and ministry.

Steve gave five principles based on the unfolding attack against God's holiness from Genesis chapter 3:
  1. Satan begins with doubt
    –Satan planted doubt in Eve's mind regarding the inerrancy and infallibility of God's words
    –Where God placed a period, Satan places a question mark
  2. After doubt comes distortion
    –Satan purposefully changed  the words of God (cf. Luke 4:10)
    –God is serious about His own Word
  3. After distortion comes denial
    –"You will not surely die" made God out to be a liar
    –Satan attacked the truth of Divine judgment
  4. After denial comes defamation
    –Satan tried to cast God in bad light
    –Every attack on the Word of God is an attack upon the holiness of God
  5. After defamation comes deification
    –Satan promised divinity, "You will be like God."
    –The temptation of equality with God promises no longer being under the authority of His Word

Steve noted that in the emergent church, certainty is considered pride and uncertainty considered humility. He quoted one leader who said, “I have gone out of my way to be unclear, reflecting my belief that clarity is overrated and mystery and intrigue often stimulate more thought than clarity.”

Contrast this view with the doctrine of the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture. How does having confidence that God has revealed Himself clearly in His Word give you confidence to be clear in your presentation of the gospel?
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Steve pointed out Satan's subtle tactic of slightly altering God's words. Have you ever witnessed a slight misquotation or misuse of the Bible lead a person or church on a trajectory toward heresy? What happened?
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Steve acknowledged that editors of several more recent translations of the Bible have made intentional choices to alter God's Word by modifying the way they translate the male pronoun for God. What do you think about that practice? Which Bible translation do you read most often? Are you familiar with the philosophy translators used for it?
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By saying "you shall not surely die," Satan attacked the truth of Divine judgment. In what contemporary circles have you seen a minimization or denial of Divine judgment, specifically hell? How do you think such a minimization devalues Christ's work on the cross?
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The promise of divinity—equality with God—is a temptation which is repeated numerous times in the Old Testament and remains a powerful temptation today. In what ways are you tempted to usurp God's throne in your life? What helps to ground you, reminding you that God is on the throne and you are not?
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In what ways has Steve's message made you reflect on how you approach God's Word? Do you believe that the words recorded in Scripture were breathed-out and fully inspired by God? Do you approach the Bible with confidence that it is without error? How can you ensure that you are properly giving the Bible full authority over your life?
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Over the last hundred years, the Bible's authority, inspiration, and inerrancy has come under increasing attack. Not only those outside of the faith, but many men and woman who profess to be Christians, deride those who hold a high view of God's Word. "May God give us, His people, renewed confidence in the authority and the infallibility of this pure and perfect Book, the written Word of God."