We have been going through Faith Under Fire in small groups and recently the topic of the validity of the Bible came up. It produced great discussion and made me think about a 6 volume work by Carl Henry that is in my library. I thought it would be a great topic to blog on for a bit and highlight some of the thoughts Henry has towards the Bible.
In the second volume he writes 15 theses that will be the basis for the other volumes. Allow me to introduce these with a few of the important notes Henry includes in this introductory chapter.
1. Revelation is a divinely initiated activity, God’s free communication by which he alone turns his personal privacy into a deliberate disclosure of his reality.
2. Divine revelation is given for human benefit, offering us privileged communion with our Creator in the kingdom of God.
3. Divine revelation does not completely erase God’s transcendent mystery, inasmuch as God the Revealer transcends his own revelation.
The revelation given to man is not exhaustive of God. the God of revelation transcends his creation, transcends his activity, transcends his own disclosure (1 Cor. 13:12)
4. The very fact of disclosure by the one living God assures the comprehensive unity of divine revelation.
The Bible relates the whole of history to the one God. Only the fact that the one sovereign God, the Creator and Lord of all, stands at the center of divine disclosure, guarantees a unified divine revelation. While this revelation awaits completion in the future, the knowledge “in part” given prophets and apostles is nonetheless trustworthy and coherent however incomplete it may be.
5. Not only the occurrence of divine revelation, but also its very nature, content, and variety are exclusively God’s determination.
God determines not only the if and why of divine disclosure, but also the when, where, what, how and who.
6. God’s revelation is uniquely personal both in content and form.
7. God reveals himself not only universally in the history of the cosmos of the nations, but also redemptively within this external history in unique saving acts.
8. The climax of God’s special revelation is Jesus of Nazareth, the personal incarnation of God in the flesh; in Jesus Christ the source and content of revelations converge and coincide.
9. The mediating agent in all divine revelation is the Eternal Logos-preexistent, incarnate, and now glorified.
10. God’s revelation is rational communication conveyed in intelligible ideas and meaningful words, that is, in conceptual-verbal form.
11. The Bible is the reservoir and conduit of divine truth.
The Scriptures are the authoritative written record and interpretation of God’s revelatory deeds, and the ongoing source of reliable objective knowledge concerning God’s nature and ways.
12. The Holy Spirit superintends the communication of divine revelation, first, by inspiring the prophetic-apostolic writings, and second, by illuminating and interpreting the scripturally given Word of God.
In his supervision of the communication of revelation, the Holy Spirit conveys no new truth, whether in the activity of inspiration whereby he superintends the inerrant apostolic-prophetic transmission of the revelation of the Logos (Jesus), or in the activity of illumination whereby the readers and hearers of the scriptural Word grasp the content of revelation . . . The Spirit illumines persons by reiterating the truth of the scriptural revelation and bearing witness to Jesus Christ. Spirit-illumiation centers in the interpretation of the literal grammatical sense of Spirit-breathed Scripture.
13. As bestower of spiritual life the Holy Spirit enables individuals to appropriate God’s revelation ravingly, and thereby attests the redemptive power of the revealed truth of God in the personal experience of reborn sinners.
14. The church approximates the kingdom of God in miniature as such she is to mirror to each successive generation the power and joy of the appropriated realities of divine revelation.
15. The self-manifesting God will unveil his glory in a crowning revelation of power and judgment; in this disclosure at the consummation of the ages, God will vindicate righteousness and justice, finally subdue and subordinate evil, and bring into bing a new heaven and earth.