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Round the Sphere Again

An all book edition.

Win a Winslow
It’s a book giveaway at Octavious Winslow. The book is The Fullness of Christ; the deadline is March 23. You’ll find more details and a link to the entry form at the link above.

Resurrection Reads
Justin Taylor has links to the essays included in Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter, a collection of Easter pieces edited by Nancy Guthrie. This looks like the sister volume to the Christmas collection Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus, which I reviewed a year or so ago.

Selections on Suffering
I’ll be reviewing Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God’s Purpose and Provision in Suffering, yet another collection of essays edited by Nancy Guthrie, but in the meantime, you can get a head start with an excerpt from chapter 1, “Suffering: The Servant of Our Joy” (Tim Keller) and chapter 2, “God’s Plan A” (Joni Eareckson Tada). (Gospel Coalition)


Righteous Alone in Him

While cataloguing books for the church library, I found one with daily devotionals written by Frances Ridley Havergal, better known to me as a hymn writer. I’ve decided to work on little biographical sketch of Miss Havergal, which I’ll be posting soon. Meanwhile, here’s the devotional for today from the little book Opened Treasures.

You’ll notice in this posted devotional, and last week’s, too, I’m not cherry-picking the pieces, but simply giving you the one for calendar day. I’m trying to give evidence for a point I want to make and the point is made stronger because I didn’t have to go searching through FRH writings to find bits supporting it.

Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power … and in much assurance. (1 Thessalonians 1:5)

Do not let us be content with theoretically understanding and correctly holding the doctrine of justification by faith. Turn from the words to the reality, from the theory to the Person, and as a little, glad, wondering child, look at the simple wonderful truth. That the righteousness of God (how magnificent!) is unto all and upon all them that believe; therefore, at this very moment unto and upon you and me, instead of our filthy rags, so that we stand clothed and beautiful in the very sight of God, now; and Jesus can say, “Thou art all fair, my love, now!” That is not any finite righteousness, which might not quite cover the whole — might not be quite enough to satisfy God’s all-searching eye; not a righteousness, but the righteousness of God; and this is no abstract attribute, but a Person, real, living, loving — covering us with His own glorious apparel, representing us before His father Christ Jesus Himself made unto us righteousness! This today, and this forever, for His name shall endure forever.


Theological Term of the Week

infallibility of scripture
The quality whereby the inspired word of God cannot mislead, guaranteeing that it is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters.1

  • From scripture:

    And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts…. (2 Peter 1:19 ESV)

  • From The Belgic Confession, 1561, Article 7:
    The Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures to be the Only Rule of Faith
    …[W]e must not consider human writings—no matter how holy their authors may have been—equal to the divine writings; nor may we put custom, nor the majority, nor age, nor the passage of time or persons, nor councils, decrees, or official decisions above the truth of God, for the truth is above everything else. …

    Therefore we reject with all our hearts everything that does not agree with this infallible rule, as we are taught to do by the apostles when they say, “Test the spirits to see if they are of God,”and also, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house.”
  • From The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture by Herman Ridderbos: 

    Although, as far as I am aware, the equivalent of our word “infallibility” as attribute of the Scripture is not found in biblical terminology, yet in agreement with Scripture’s divine origin and content, great emphasis is repeatedly placed on its trustworthiness. The prophetic word is sure (bebaios) (2 Pet. 1:19). In the Pastoral Epistles Paul does not tire of assuring his readers that the word he has handed down is trustworthy (pistos) and worthy of full acceptance (1 Tim. 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:11; Titus 3:8). In Hebrews 2:3 the author writes that salvation was declared at first by the Lord and it was attested (made bebaios) to us by those who heard him. While it must be said of man that “all flesh is grass,” it is true, of the word of God that “it abides forever.” And “that word is the good news, which was preached to you (1 Pet. 1:24,25).

    The abiding and trustworthy word of God has thus entered into the spoken and written word of the apostles. As Luke tells Theophilus, the tradition of what was heard and seen by those who were from the beginning eyewitnesses and ministers of the word has been written down so that he might recognize the trustworthiness (asphaleia) of that of which he has been informed (Luke 1:1-4). The whole of Scripture is full of declarations that the one who builds on the word and promise of God will not be ashamed (Isa. 28:16; Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:6); this applies to the spoken as well as to the written word of the apostles (John 19:35; 20:31; 1 John 1:1-3). The Scripture is infallible, so we may summarize, because it does not fail, because it has the significance of a foundation on which the ekklesia has been established and on which it must increasingly establish itself (Col. 2:6,7). … The authority and infallibility of the Scriptures are thus two sides of the same coin: namely, that the Scripture is of God.

Learn more:

  1. Don Stewart: The Difference Between the Infallibility and Inerrancy of Scripture
  2. Herman Ridderbos: The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture
  3. S. Lewis Johnson: Inspiration, or Truth Transmitted (audio)
  4. Brian Borgman: The Inerrancy and Infallibility of the Scriptures (audio)

Related terms:

1 Paraphrased from the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it.

I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. I’ll give you credit and a link back to your blog if I use your suggestion.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.