22.7.09

The Inspiration of Holy Scripture

Holy Scripture is the inspired Word of God. Whether we like it or not, this affirmation is a fundamental dogma of the Church universal. Christ himself made it a doctrine binding on his Church when he accepted it from the synagogue (cf. Matthew 22:43; Mark 12:36). Inspiration of the Scriptures was proclaimed by the apostles (Acts 1:16; 3:21; 4:25; 28:25; 2 Cor 3:14ff; 2 Tim 3:16; Heb 3:7; 9:8; 10:15; 2 Pet 1:19ff). It was confessed by the Church in that great ecumenical creed which binds together all churches of Christendom. For the words of our "Nicene Creed" (A.D. 381) concerning the Holy Spirit, who "spoke by the prophets", not only refer to the historical fact of the oral preaching of the prophets in the past, but also to the prophetic books (which include in the Old Testament also the preexilic historical books), as the words "according to the Scriptures" in the passage on Christ's resurrection (cf. 1 Cor 15:3f) show.

The Inspiration of Holy Scripture, article published in the American Evangelical magazine Christianity Today, March 16, 1962.

Editor's Note: Sasse wrote several articles for Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of the American Evangelical movement, which was gaining strength numerically and intellectually in the period after World War II. Billy Graham was a sponsor of the magazine, and the noted Baptist theologian Carl F. H. Henry was its editor from its inception in 1956 until 1968. Henry invited Sasse to submit articles for the magazine, a development which provided Sasse with a new readership among conservative American Protestants.
Sasse may be regarded as broadly in agreement with the Evangelical movement's concern to preserve the traditional view of the authority of scripture in the Church. In 1958, Sasse had written a positive review of the young evangelical Anglican theologian J.I. Packer's "Fundamentalism" and the Word of God, a landmark publication for resurgent Evangelicalism which provided a cogent defence of the conservative view of the inspiration, authority and inerrancy of scripture in response to attacks from the liberal Anglican establishment in England.
The subject of the inspiration of scripture had occupied much of Sasse's time in the early 1950s in connection with the union discussions of the two Lutheran church bodies in Australia. As a result of those discussions Sasse revised his thinking on scripture in a more conservative direction. The results of these discussions, which bear the marks of Sasse's developing thought on the issue, can be found here: http://www.lca.org.au/resources/cticr/dsto1a17a19.pdf

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