In a world faced with every kind of religious pluralism, it is as imperative today as it ever has been for the Bible to remain the absolute standard by which all things are judged. The subject of biblical authority may be the most critical and sensitive issue facing the evangelical Christian world today. The rippling effect of this discussion has touched every major theology and philosophical issue under consideration.
Jimmy Draper, along with Kenneth Keathley, deals with this issue in a clear and concise way. They examine modern critical thought and historic positions of the church as well as new methods of interpreting the Bible, such as reader response criticism and postmodern hermeneutics. Biblical Authority will strengthen your faith in the Word of God.
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“ Existential philosophy is the second factor impacting modern scholars.” (Page 11)
“The second basic possibility for determining what is true is ecclesiastical authority. This is not quite so confusing and is easier to handle. This approach, in effect, says that my church is ultimate authority. Regardless of whether I think something is right or not, if the church says it is right, then it is right for me. Regardless of any other aspect of authority, the church is my ultimate authority.” (Page 4)
“Recently existentialism has given way to postmodernism as the philosophical fad of the day. The subjectivism of existentialism slides inevitably to relativism, which then descends into nihilism. Nihilism denies the existence of any objective grounds for values or truth, and postmodernism is the modern philosopher’s white flag of surrender in his search for truth apart from God.” (Pages 30–31)
“The third factor is the rise of naturalistic-uniformitarian science, which contends that the laws of nature reign supreme.” (Page 12)
“According to the worldview of the postmodernist, since there is no absolute truth, then there must be complete tolerance of all religious truth claims. In such a pluralistic framework, the only sin that still exists is ‘intolerance.’ It is important for evangelicals to remember that the early Christians were not martyred simply for worshiping Jesus as Lord. The rulers of the Roman Empire prided themselves on their acceptance of all religions. Then why were the Christians persecuted? The early church was perceived as dangerous because it held that Jesus alone is Lord. In pluralistic Rome, such a belief was considered to be extreme, narrow-minded, and bigoted. In a word, the early Christians were persecuted for being ‘intolerant.’” (Pages 31–32)
James T. Draper, Jr. is the current president of LifeWay Christian Resources. He has been in the ministry since 1956, having pastored churches in Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, including the First Baptist Church of Euless, Texas. A former president of Southern Baptist Theological Convention, Draper lives in Brentwood, Tennessee.
Kenneth Keathley is currently Dean of Students and Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees in theology. He resides in New Orleans.