Searching for the Serpent


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The movement to defend the authority of the Bible has roots that trace back to the early years of Christianity. It started gaining modern momentum in the 19th and 20th centuries in response to challenges posed by the rise of biblical criticism and advances in science, but most of all it was catalyzed by the infiltration of liberal theology into churches and seminaries in Europe and America.

One significant event in that movement was the publication of The Fundamentals, a multi-volume collection of essays published by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (biola) between 1910 and 1915. Written by various Christian authors and theologians, its aim was to define and defend core Christian beliefs, including inerrancy of the Bible, against modernism and skepticism. The term “inerrancy” itself gained prominence in theological circles during that period, with scholars and theologians asserting that the Bible, in its original manuscripts, was without error or contradiction in all matters of faith.

A second major effort to defend the accuracy and authority of the Bible occurred in 1978 with the publication of The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. That document was formulated by over two hundred evangelical scholars at the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy held in Chicago. It affirmed belief in the accuracy of the biblical text and outlined a series of affirmations and denials concerning the nature of biblical exposition. The Chicago Statement has since served as a cornerstone in the defense of the Bible’s authority within conservative theological circles.

In recent decades, conservative seminaries, churches, and para-church organizations have taken up the task of defending the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. They have played significant roles in countering the rise of liberal theology, which often emphasizes individual reason and personal experience over the authority of the sacred text. Through their efforts, believers have greatly benefited. However, in their zeal to defend the Bible, some have inadvertently distorted its teachings.

The essays in this collection explore perceptions and practices resulting from omissions, mistranslations, or misinterpretations of the sacred text that have tended to corrupt biblical understanding and application over time. Though not intended to be exhaustive, the discussions will hopefully stimulate the reader to reexamine what the sacred text actually says, and then consider whether correction to what is being taught as “received truth” in Christian churches, seminaries, and publications is needed. Some of the topics that will be discussed in subsequent pages include the following:

Some of the topics discussed in the essays include the following:
1. The universe is about 6,000 years old. False
2. Science and religion are adversaries. False
3. Life begins at the moment of conception. False
4. Speaking in tongues is a gift for believers. False
5. Perfecting society is the mission of the church. False
6. Sexual temptations are sins of the flesh. False
7. Faith guarantees health and wealth in this life. False
8. Jews have their own covenant of salvation. False
9. Everyone will eventually go to heaven. False

Tripartite Deception
Hidden Knowledge
Science vs. Religion
Let There Be Life
Tongues Shall Cease
Politics and Mission
Sins of the Flesh
Rich and Infamous
One God, One People
The Chosen Few