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Bible’s inerrant status is unique, Roberts tells seminary audience

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–In his first chapel address of the fall semester, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Philip Roberts reaffirmed his and the seminary’s belief that the Bible is God’s perfect and holy Word.

Preaching from 2 Timothy 3, Roberts said the first great truth in the passage is, “The Bible is the product of God’s inspiration.” He said the Bible was literally “exhaled” as God’s Word as the human writers were “moved along” by the Spirit of God.

“Inspiration is the direct activity of God moving in the hearts and minds of the writers for the purpose He intended,” Roberts said.

Stressing its inerrant nature, Roberts, lifting his Bible up, said, “When we hold the Bible, we hold absolute, infallible truth — cover to cover.”

“Every Word of the Lord is flawless,” he said, comparing other religious books, like the Koran and Book of Mormon and their inconsistencies, to the Bible.

“The Koran doesn’t tell us history. It has no story of redemption to tell,” said Roberts, who as director of the North American Mission Board’s interfaith witness department, helped teach others to better understand the perspective of other religious groups in order to witness to them more effectively.

“The Book of Mormon,” he said as an example, “has historical inconsistencies, like mentioning submarines in 3000 B.C.

“But when we come to the Bible, we have a verifiable and provable text.”

Archeology is one way to prove the Bible is historically correct, Roberts noted.

“There was a day when people mocked at the consideration that the Hittites ever existed,” he said. “Then along came the great German archeologist professor Hugo Winkler. He made a discovery in Turkey in which he uncovered the ancient Hittite capital. There he found 10,000 clay tablets written in the Hittite language.”

Archeological discoveries of Solomon’s stables, the “Pilate’s Stone” and others likewise lend great credibility to the Bible, Roberts said.

“Over and over again, archeology has proven the verifiable truths of the Bible,” he said.

Fulfilled biblical prophecy also can help prove the divine origin and authenticity of the Bible, Roberts said.

“What does the Bible say when a prophet makes a prophecy and it’s unfulfilled? Don’t fear him,” said Roberts, speaking of unfulfilled prophecies of Islam’s Mohammed and Mormonism’s Joseph Smith.

“The Bible is full of fulfilled prophecies,” Roberts noted.

Roberts highlighted several fulfilled biblical prophecies, such as the destruction of Tyre and Sidon in Ezekiel and the many prophecies related to Jesus Christ, such as His birthplace in Micah 5:2 and His demeanor at crucifixion in Isaiah 53:7.

Despite these great rational defenses, Roberts said, one of the Bible’s great testimonies is its impact on human lives throughout the world and history.

“Not only is it verifiable in archeology and history — and we could go into the scientific realm — but the Bible is verifiable in its power to change lives,” Roberts said.

“Let me ask you, how many of you by having read the works of William Shakespeare have had your life changed, came to faith and repentance toward God, established a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, and know that you have a home in heaven?” he said, also asking the same question of the philosophy of Plato and the novels of J.K. Rowling or Stephen King.

With no hands raised, Roberts then asked the audience how many had come to faith in Jesus Christ because of the contents of God’s Word, the Bible. The audience responded with hands raised across the chapel.

“I guarantee you, if you made that same test worldwide, you’d find hundreds of millions of people who would tell you that they came to know the Lord Jesus Christ because of the truth of His Word, the Holy Scripture.”

Roberts said if the Bible is indeed the inerrant, infallible Word of our Creator then it is supremely important in the believer’s daily life.

Referring to 2 Timothy 3, Roberts said, “Here Paul is in prison in Rome, going one day soon to meet his execution, to pass into glory, to meet his Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wants to pass along to his son in the ministry what’s important.

“His point is, what good is the Bible unless we use it and glean from it, its power, its importance and its truth and apply it to our lives?” Roberts asked. “It’s like a doctor’s prescription that isn’t taken by a patient.

“Believing the Bible is the Word of God, that it’s inerrant and infallible and authoritative is not enough,” he said. “Those truths must be adhered to, believed and practiced in our lives.”

Addressing Midwestern’s students, Roberts said there are three things the God-called man or woman needs: to be saved, to be called and to be equipped.

“If you’re not saved, it’ll be an exercise, ultimately, in futility because as you’re trying to save souls, your soul needs to be saved,” he said.

“Then you need to have the assurance that God wants you in the ministry,” Roberts said. “This is a calling that isn’t about family tradition, but one that is the call of God.”

According to Roberts, the final element is, “You need to be equipped.”

In illustrating this point, Roberts asked the audience who would volunteer for military service with a leader lacking military training or experience, or go into a courtroom with a lawyer who had not studied the law.

“Here we have in our hands the most potent force in history on the face of the earth, because it can do something that nuclear power, military power or economic power can’t do,” Roberts said. “It can change lives. And as it changes lives, it can change nations and the course of history.”

Roberts closed by encouraging MBTS students: “I commend you in the preparation of the teaching and sharing of the Word of God.”
Roberts’ full message can be heard online at: www.mbts.edu/s7_chapel_resources.asp.

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  • Cory Miller