On Wednesday October 5 the Roman Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland published a document called The Gift of Scripture which warned Roman Catholics not to expect total accuracy from the Bible. They seized, for example, on the first eleven chapters of Genesis and insisted that these were not historical, and then they condemned fundamentalism for its intolerance. The Roman Catholic secretary of the Catholic Action Group, Robert Ian Williams, was one of the people who wrote to the Times two days later expressing his alarm at the appearance of this document, the bishops having "opened readers of the Bible to a minefield of subjectivism." They have placed the inspiration of the Bible "on only a slightly higher level than that of Wordsworth, and have delivered a propaganda coup for all the enemies of the Church, whether they be fundamentalists, Baptists, or secular humanists."
An evangelical minister, Anthony Carr also wrote in saying this, "Before the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church allowed only the clergy to interpret the Bible to their flock. William Tyndale broke the power of the English [Roman] Church to interpret the Bible by translating from the Greek a beautiful edition of the New Testament (1525). The Roman Catholic Church again attacks the Bible so it can take back authority for its interpretation. Christian believers can now pick and mix. For many Christians the written Word of God is their daily food and drink. There is an authority contained within its pages that surpasses the greatest scholar's interpretation. To take away the trustworthiness of Scripture is to destroy the very basis of Christianity" (The Times, October 7, 2005).
How is a Christian to know what is true and what is false? What are we to believe and what are we to reject? Can we get a red high-lighter pen and colour all the parts of the Bible that are false, confident that all the rest is 100% true? Do the Roman bishops give us the code for all the bits of the Bible that we can know to be untrue? They do not. No such code exists.
They would say that Jesus Christ the Son of God is infallible, and there they are right, but what does our infallible Lord say about the Scriptures of the Old Testament? Does he say what the Roman Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland have said this past week? No he does not. He says the very opposite.
The Son of God treats the historical narratives as straightforward records of fact. We have on his lips references to Abel, Noah, Abraham, the institution of circumcision, Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot, Isaac and Jacob, the manna, the wilderness serpent, David eating the showbread, David as a psalm-writer, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Jonah and Zechariah. He looks at the whole sweep of history from the foundation of the world to this generation and he sees God's history as true and one. He refers to Moses as the giver of the law; there are many references to the sufferings of the prophets, and the popularity of false prophets. Though the Roman bishops do not set their approval on the truthfulness of Genesis 1 and 2 the Lord Jesus did, "'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh"? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."'" (Matt. 19:4-6). These words are also repeated in Mark's gospel in the tenth chapter, verses 6,7 and 8. The infallible Son of God has given us an infallible Scripture, but the fallible men in leadership in the Roman church gives the 5 million Roman Catholics whom they influence a book that is full of errors. They claim that they will tell me what I am to believe. Mother church will tell me what is true and what is false, but I will answer mother church with the words of Martin Luther when Rome put him on trial and asked him to repudiate his books and their errors. Luther said this; "Since your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scriptures and plain reason - I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God, I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen." Then they tried to break Luther down in a committee, telling him that if he continued like this there would be division. Luther told them that whereas in practical matters one may compromise, and in matters of principle may concede the possibility of error, it was never right to deny belief in what one believes. "The pope," said Luther, "is no judge of matters pertaining to God's Word and faith. But the Christian man must examine and judge for himself."
The evidence is clear: To Christ the Old Testament was true, authoritative, inspired. To him the God of the Old Testament was the living God, and the teaching of the Old Testament was the teaching of the living God. To Jesus Christ, what Scripture said, God said.