Tom: Thanks, Gary. We’re utilizing Dave Hunt’s book, An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith. Chapter 10 is titled “The Sufficiency of Scripture.”
And, Dave, that reminds me of one of my favorite analogies of yours. You liken the evangelical church’s view of the Bible to a three-legged stool, one leg being its inerrancy, another leg being the view that it’s our authority, and the third leg being its sufficiency. Your point, as I understood it, was that if any leg is weak or rejected, then the whole stool falls down.
Well, sufficiency seems to be the weakest leg among today’s evangelicals.
Dave: Tom, let me reword that slightly. I know what you’re saying. I wouldn’t call it the weakest leg, and you don’t mean that. You mean as far as the church is concerned. None of the legs is weak. But the church—let’s say it’s the one that the church neglects.
Is it sufficient? Well…
Tom: And again, sufficient in what sense?
Dave:That’s right. That’s what I was going to say!
Tom: (Laughing) Okay! I can’t wait. I’m excited here, Dave.
Dave:It is sufficient for the Christian life. In fact, Peter says in 2 Peter 1, “He has given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him who has called us to glory and virtue.” So the Bible claims to be sufficient, in fact, for the human life. I mean, we’ve been talking for some weeks about “the just shall live by faith.” That includes my whole life. The very life that I have comes from God. Christ is supposed to be my life. And now His Word is going to describe that life that I should live, and whatever befalls me in this life, the Word of God is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path. What problem do you have? Are you upset about circumstances? Are you concerned about your safety? Are you fearful? Are you nervous? You can’t sleep at night? What is the problem? The Bible has the answer because Christ is sufficient for all things.
The Bible says, Galatians 5—it doesn’t say, “The fruit of therapy….” It says “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, temperance, meekness: against such there is no law.” What more could you want? This is our guide. This is our comfort. This is all we need.
Now, one of Christ’s names is Counsellor. “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor….” Why don’t I go to Him instead of to some psychologist, whether he calls himself a Christian or not? The Bible is sufficient. This is the claim the Bible makes—then let us take God at His word. But the problem is a lot of people today say, “Well, I tried that…”—these are Christians, now, at least professing Christians—“Well, I tried that. It just didn’t work.” What they mean is that their life didn’t turn out quite like they wanted it to. Now we talked about that in our last program. Maybe there was a little discipline from God coming in their lives. Maybe He allowed something to teach them a lesson, and instead of trusting Him and His Word, they run off to a therapist.
Well, then, you…
Tom:Or they just run off…
Dave: They could…
Tom: Just rebel against God.
Dave: Then you don’t believe in God. You don’t believe in His love. You don’t believe in His love. You don’t believe in what He has said. Now, as I go to the Scriptures, Tom, I see that the Bible is all about people who have problems. Job certainly had his problems. And I don’t read that any Christian psychologist came in and counseled him. In fact, he had three counselors that didn’t do the greatest job. Or you could take Joseph—we’ve probably given this example before—his brethren hated him, his parents didn’t like his dreams, his brothers threw him in a pit, they were going to kill him, and then they…
Tom: Dysfunctional family…
Dave: Yeah, sounds like it. And they sold him into Egypt, as a slave, where he was falsely accused of sexual immorality, ended up in jail. Here the guy’s languishing in…who’s going to rescue him from this? And there were no psychologists from some nearby clinic that came in—Christian psychologists—to hold his hand, build up his self-esteem, and so forth. He was trusting God.
Or you can go to Hebrews 11. Look at the…we mentioned that in the last program…look at the trials of these people, and they triumphed through faith—faith in God, faith in His Word, faith in His promises—without any help from Freud, Jung, Rogers. These guys have come along rather late in life as far as the church is concerned. The church has been here for over 1,900 years. I don’t read that Paul or Timothy, or Spurgeon, or Luther, or Wesley, or Whitefield, or George Mueller, or Hudson Taylor—men of God…
Tom: But Dave, weren’t these guys very impractical? Weren’t they just kind of spiritual and never really got down to business with their lives?
Dave: Well, I would say they really got down to business. Yeah, George Mueller, he fed and housed and clothed thousands of orphans, trusting God. I mean, he must have faced some real trials that would cause him to lack confidence in himself. In fact, he didn’t have confidence in himself; and Paul said that he had no confidence in the flesh. Our trust is in the Lord, so…
Tom: Dave, as I remember the story about George Mueller—I want to interject this— someone came to him and said, “George Mueller! Boy, you must be a man of great faith!” He said, “No, I’m a man of little faith, but it’s in a great God.” He was a very pragmatic, very practical, individual, but his whole life was committed to allowing God to work in his life and bring forth all the fruit that it did.
Dave: George Mueller, by the way, never sent out a prayer letter to tell anybody that he needed anything. He wanted his life to be a testimony that there is a God who hears and answers prayer. So he talked to God about his problems. There was one year there when China got some bad press—Hudson Taylor got some bad press—and his…the giving that was supporting him and other missionaries in China dropped 50,000 pounds. Now that was a lot of money in those days, 50,000 British pounds. And what do you know—without George Mueller knowing anything about this, God laid on his heart—God gave George Mueller 50,000 pounds extra, more than he needed to support the orphans, and told him to send it to Hudson Taylor, which just exactly made up…this is how…made up the deficit. This is how God guides if we will allow Him to, and He will do it in our lives, and we have to be willing to trust Him.
So, is the Bible sufficient? Well, it’s the Manufacturer’s Handbook. I think the Manufacturer, the God who created us, probably knows more about us than anyone. In fact, He knows us to perfection, completely. And this is our guide. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto, according to thy word.” The fruitful man, in Psalm 1: “In his law does he meditate day and night.” Jesus quotes, in His temptation in the wilderness, what God said to the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 8: “Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” That may be part of the problem, Tom. If you haven’t read all of the Bible, and if you don’t know it well, and you haven’t studied it, maybe you don’t think it’s sufficient. But we don’t live by certain words of God but by every word.
Tom: Yeah, but Dave, there are some things that distract us. Now, look, I’ve known you for a long time, and there are a few phrases that I can throw out to you that I know are going to press your hot button. Now, get ready for this one, because it has to do with our subject: “All truth is God’s truth.” Now this is worse than “God helps those who help themselves,” I think, because it has—most Christians, even though the survey that we talked about in our last week’s program, the survey said that some born-again Christians bought into that as being part of the Bible. But this one, I would say, if somebody did a survey on born-again Christians, those who really claim to know the Lord, and they said, “Is all truth God’s truth? Is that found in the Bible?” I’d say that’d be up in the 80…80-90 percent mark. But what’s wrong with that, Dave?
Dave: Well, Tom, we have to be careful in our approach to this, because all truth is God’s truth, if it’s God’s truth. The problem is that people have a wrong idea of truth. They think 2X2 is 4 is truth; they think e=mc2 is truth; they think—they stand before the judge: “I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me, God,” they think that’s truth. Now, that is not truth. Jesus said, “I am the truth.” So the problem is, they confuse facts of science, or events of this life, with the truth. We’ve quoted a number of times: “You will know the truth,” Jesus said, “and the truth will set you free.” Obviously, that is not standing in front of a judge and saying, as a witness, “I promise to tell the whole truth.” Because that could send people to jail.
When Jesus says in John:8:45, I think it is, 44,45, He says, “Because I tell you the truth, you believe me not.” Well, put in there something that you think is the truth: “Because I tell you that 2+2 is 4, you believe me not?” No. The truth is something unique. It comes only from the Spirit of truth. It comes to those who know God through His Word by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So when Jesus stands before …
Tom: Which are not facts of science.
Dave: Exactly. Even if psychology…see, it’s the psychologists that use this. Even if psychology were scientific, which it is not, and you’ve probably done some programs about that—it is absolutely not scientific. We can give you lots of reasons for it: I mean, it doesn’t work, first of all, and they have all…hundreds of different theories that contradict one another. These are ideas….
Tom: Well, the subject matter is not made for scientific scrutiny. I mean, we’re body, soul, and spirit….
Dave: Right. And you cannot make a science out of human behavior. Otherwise we would be robots. Okay, so even if it were a science, this is not the truth. The truth—this is why the Christian psychologists have really coined that phrase. They say, “Well, all truth is God’s truth.” What they mean by that is we can take of it from Freud, we can take some of it from Rogers or Maslow, or why not take some from Buddha? From Confucius? All truth is God’s truth? Let’s look for truth where we can find it.
You know, I’ve often quoted, well, I won’t give the whole poem, but you know how it ends: “Who would leave the noonday bright to grope mid shadows dim? And who would leave the fountainhead to drink the muddy stream, where men have mixed what God has said with every dreamer’s dream.” Now the fountainhead is the Word of God. And to say, “Well, I can search through Freud and find something that maybe agrees with the Bible.” No! Let’s go to the Bible itself, okay.
But let’s get back to truth. Pardon me, Tom, for…
Tom: No, you’re on track here.
Dave: Let’s get back to truth for a moment. He stands before Pilate, John 18—this is Jesus—and He says, “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Now you can’t say every scientist, every archaeologist, every biologist, you know, every mathematician “hears my voice.” That statement in itself rules all of these things out. Everyone who is of the truth—well, if you are of the truth, you hear Christ’s voice. But we have scientists by the thousands—hundreds of thousands—who are atheists, who never heard Christ’s voice, who reject His voice. Therefore, they cannot be of the truth. They don’t know the truth, okay?
Well, let’s go to John…
Tom: Dave, could you just make a distinction here, because we’ve just established that scientific facts are not the truth that you’re talking about.
Dave: They can be true, but they’re not the truth.
Tom: Right. But what I’m asking here is, give us a sense of the truth that you’re talking about. You’re talking about moral truth, spiritual truth. Give us some examples.
Dave: Well, we’re talking about more than that. Let me—I’m trying to get to it, Tom! (Laughing)
Tom: I’m just too impatient!
Dave: We don’t rehearse this, folks, obviously!
Tom: No, but I’m really interested, and I’m sure our listeners are as well.
Dave: Go to John:14:17. He says, Jesus says, “I’m not going to leave you orphans, comfortless,” you know, “I’m going away,” He says. “I’m going to send the Comforter, even the Spirit of truth...” We talked about Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of truth. And then Jesus says this, “…whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.” Okay? Then you go to John:16:13, Jesus says, “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will lead you into all truth.” Now, we have the Spirit of truth, who leads into all truth, therefore you cannot know the truth—the truth that Jesus is talking about—without the Spirit of truth. And yet, he says “the world cannot receive him, it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.” You can go to 1 Corinthians 2, where Paul is writing, and he says, “The natural man understandeth not the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness to him; neither can he know them.” And in chapter 1, he says, “The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, and the world does not know the things that are of God. You can only know them by the Spirit.”
Ok, so now Jesus is talking about something specific that is not of this world; it is not part of the wisdom of this world; it is not part of the science, or any of the facts, of this world. What He says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” That’s not a mathematical formula. That’s not a scientific truth. That’s not a fact of some event that happened that you would swear to in court.
The truth, then, is of God. This is the truth, which Jesus said, “I am.” Now wait a minute, somebody’s waiting for me….Now let’s define it. I can’t define truth, but I know that truth comes only from God. It is the Word of God. It is communicated only to those who know God, and it is communicated by His Spirit, and the truth sets us free. It’s not therapy, it’s not gritting my teeth, and so forth….The truth of God’s Word, which I live by, this is what I need. This is what I need to absorb into my heart, my mind. This is what I need to meditate upon—God’s Word, God’s truth—and this will change my life, and this will set me free from all the lies, all of the delusions, all of the false doctrine. You know, there’s so many people that can be deceived, even people who call themselves Christians. Why? Because they don’t know God’s Word. If they knew God’s Word, no matter what it is that comes up—some seductive teaching, a lot of them coming out of psychology, “Oh, self-esteem! Your problem is your self-esteem is lacking. You need a more positive self-image,” and so forth. Well, if they knew Philippians:2:3, it says, “In lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself.” Or Romans 12 warns us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Nowhere does the Bible warn us not to think more lowly…
Tom: Right, and as far as warning goes, we have 2 Timothy 3: “that in the last days, men will be lovers of themselves.” That’s a warning that runs contrary to not only some of the teachings but certainly the heart of Christian psychology, for the most, is self, and self-esteem, and self-love.
Dave: Well, they’re telling us we have to learn to love ourselves. Let me quote Bruce Narramore, for example, nephew of Clyde Narramore, and these are not my words, and don’t anyone be angry with me—I’m sure Bruce would not be for quoting him, because he put this in writing and this is what he believes—he said, “It was humanistic psychologists Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers who first made us aware of the need of self-love and self-esteem.” So it didn’t come out of the Bible. This is the wisdom of the world! These were humanistic psychologists who are not believers—in fact, they’re anti-God. Carl Rogers said, “God dwells in you as you. You have to worship the throne of self.”
So, this is not a biblical idea. This is contrary to the Word of God. So, all I’m saying is the Word of God is sufficient. The Word of God is our guide. If we know God’s Word—immediately somebody says, “Oh, you need to love yourself, you need to esteem yourself,”—no! I know that that’s contrary to the Word of God. If someone says, “What you need is a positive self-image…” Wait a minute! I know that the Bible says, “Man was made in the image of God.” What do I think of when I think of an image? Well, you think of a mirror. A mirror has one purpose only—to reflect an image other than its own. What would you think of a mirror that tries to develop a good self-image? It doesn’t fit. The whole idea with self-image is wrong, according to the Bible! I am to reflect His glory, His image. We talked about it in the last program—let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, not myself.
And John the Baptist said, “He must increase, I must decrease.” I like the way—and I don’t like everything that C. S. Lewis said, because I think later in life, I mean, he seems to believe in evolution at times….
Tom: …have a low view of the Old Testament.
Dave: I think that he gets almost tied up in nature worship, and so forth. But he also said some good things, and he said this: “We are mirrors, whose brightness, if we are bright at all, depends entirely upon the sun that shines upon us.” So we’re to reflect the glory of God, and to find a good self-image goes absolutely contrary to the whole Word of God. If you know the Word of God, you would know that immediately.
Tom: Right, so again, Dave, the sufficiency of Scriptures—if we know God’s Word, if we’re trusting in God’s Word—you quoted earlier 2 Peter:1:3-4: “According to his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness to the knowledge of him who has called us to glory and virtue, whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises…
Dave: “…that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that’s in the world.” This is the truth that sets you free from the corruption.
Tom: Second John—I mean there’s so many verses in here—you have one book of the Bible that just, pound for pound, it has more to say about truth than anything…
Dave: Second John, right.
Tom: Right. But in it, in 2 John 9, I’m looking at, it says, “Whoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” The doctrine of Christ—those are the teachings that Jesus gives us throughout His Word.
Dave: People don’t want doctrine today—I mean, a lot of them don’t. “That’s so boring.” Truth is contained in doctrine. This is the framework of truth. This is God’s Word. This is what we need is to know Him and His Word, and this will set us free.