Sunday, September 03, 2017

Trust in the Scriptures

Sermon for the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

According to some historians, St Paul didn’t write the letter to the Hebrews. They will also say that the Gospels of St Matthew and St Luke are a rehash of St Mark’s Gospel and a mysterious collection of Our Lord’s saying called Q. They will say that, although the Gospels contain much historical data, they are too inconsistent on the facts of Our Lord’s life to be historically accurate.

How do you feel about that?

Surely we should trust our historians, after all that’s how we know what happened in the past.

Yet, if we trust in historians, then we simply cannot trust in the reliability of Holy Scripture. That looks as if it could cause Christians lots of problems. If Holy Scripture is not reliable, then the whole Christian Faith could be a sham.


Some people will try and get around this problem by saying that the Bible doesn’t have to be historically true, or scientifically true, but it is completely theologically true.

That’s fine to an extent, but think now! Perhaps you remember Bishop David Jenkins who didn’t believe that Our Lord was born of a virgin, or Bishop John Shelby Spong who did not believe that the Resurrection of Our Lord really happened, but was rather a spiritual resurrection, not a physical one.

Saying that the Bible is theologically true allows people to say silly things like that. Why? Because these people have their own personal theology based on their own idea of what God is saying to them.

What do we do? Our Faith is in jeopardy!


No. No it isn’t. Hear St Paul!

Such trust have we through Christ to Godward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.

Our trust isn’t in the Bible.

Again, our trust is NOT in the Bible.

Our trust is in God through Our Lord Jesus Christ. One thing the Gospels are very consistent on are those things we hear in our Creed. Our Lord was born of the Virgin Mary, He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, He did suffer death, and He was buried. AND on the Third Day He did rise again according to the Scriptures and ascended into Heaven. All this the Church has believed even before the Creed was written down, even before the New Testament was written down. Our trust is in God through Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Church consists of each one of us, and St Paul describes who we are as members of the Church. We are indeed “able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” The Church has carried the New Testament with her since her foundation in Christ and through all her faithful members.

Too many people treat the Bible as a collection of written words. This is where the historians and scientists make their great mistake and, in so doing, can kill the faith of many who are trying to worship God. Within every single word of the Bible is written our salvation, the inerrant truth about God. Those who begin with the assumption that there is no God may indeed be unconvinced by inconsistencies in the narrative. St Matthew says that on the day of Resurrection an angel rolls the stone away before the eyes of two Marys, whereas St Luke says that the stone has already been rolled away before the women get there. The inconsistencies are there because they tell us something both as individual Gospels, but also collectively, they say that the stone was indeed rolled away and that angels were seen.

If this breaks someone’s faith in Our Lord, then they have held too much to the letter and not tapped into the Holy Ghost with Whom the Church has been infused. If St Paul is to be believed, there are five hundred witnesses to Our Lord walking with them after His resurrection. It causes him to stop persecuting the Church and embrace that Faith. He has met the original disciples and perhaps in his youth, he has seen this Jesus preaching in the temple. Perhaps he was one of the Pharisees against whom Jesus speaks! He, like thousands, perhaps even millions, of Christians have died because of this Faith, not in the Bible, but in God through Christ.


The Church chooses the Gospels of St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke, and St John to be in the Bible because she recognises the Spirit of God walking among the written letters. If the historians reject them because of their methods of separation and reduction, then they will never find the truth. The Church has the Truth and we can believe it, and we can believe the Bible because the Church throughout the World believes it, always has believed it and always will.

If the Lord can make a deaf man with a speech impediment speak clearly, then He can certainly make the Holy Scriptures speak as clearly as well. We just need ears to hear.

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