Rutherford: necessity to believe all of Scripture

NaphtaliPress

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Rutherford-quotes-Troas.jpg
All things though never so small, are alike unalterable, if they be stamped with God’s authority speaking in the Scripture.

Now, for these things that are smaller or weightier, we hold they are not in their weightiness or smallness of importance to be considered, but as the authority of God hath imprinted a necessity on them, so are they obligatory to us: I am obliged to receive this as Scripture, that Paul left his cloak at Troas; no lesse than this, Christ came into the world to save sinners, in regard of Canonicall authority stamped upon both.

Samuel Rutherford, The Divine Right of Church-government and Excommunication (London, 1648), p. 64.
 
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De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thank you for this.

This is especially an important in days when some claim that the scriptures are infallible and yet not inerrant.

We are called to believe it all, and trust that even things that seem "hard to believe" are nonetheless true because God is true and cannot lie.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
Chris, would you say this quote is a good response to statements such as "inerrancy was a 19th-century invention of Warfield and his ilk"?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
Chris, would you say this quote is a good response to statements such as "inerrancy was a 19th-century invention of Warfield and his ilk"?
"This is incorrect. Please do not speak again until you have something correct to say."
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yesterday in our devotions, I read the story of David's mighty men. I read of Abishai who slew 300 Philistines with a spear.

I have to admit, a thought entered my mind "this seems hard to believe". Has anyone else ever had a thought like this? This is a sinful thought and I wish I could do away with this sort of thought altogether. This is why I find this quote so timely. Reasoning with myself, I concluded the following:

1) It could have been describing a situation wherein Abishai could have killed 300 Philistines over the course of a day or two of battle - not necessarily a 1 vs. 300 showdown that you would see in the movies

2) Even if it was 1 vs. 300, the God who created the world out of nothing surely could have helped Abishai perform a feat that humanly speaking would have been impossible

3) I should simply receive the text as truth, and live with some uncertainty, trusting that if there is any misunderstanding it is on my part
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Chris, would you say this quote is a good response to statements such as "inerrancy was a 19th-century invention of Warfield and his ilk"?
I would think so; the 19th century Scots who studied in Germany who had heartburn with this statement also puts the lie to it. My attention was first drawn to Rutherford's comment by John MacPherson in his work on The Doctrine of the Church in Scottish Theology, who did not like the statement (what if Paul forgot and had actually left his cloak in Athens, etc.? sort of like, "hath God said?"). He had studied under the German theologians of the time and it shows in that sort of squeamishness with Rutherford's statement.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Yesterday in our devotions, I read the story of David's mighty men. I read of Abishai who slew 300 Philistines with a spear.

I have to admit, a thought entered my mind "this seems hard to believe". Has anyone else ever had a thought like this? This is a sinful thought and I wish I could do away with this sort of thought altogether. This is why I find this quote so timely. Reasoning with myself, I concluded the following:

1) It could have been describing a situation wherein Abishai could have killed 300 Philistines over the course of a day or two of battle - not necessarily a 1 vs. 300 showdown that you would see in the movies

2) Even if it was 1 vs. 300, the God who created the world out of nothing surely could have helped Abishai perform a feat that humanly speaking would have been impossible

3) I should simply receive the text as truth, and live with some uncertainty, trusting that if there is any misunderstanding it is on my part

The passages of David's mighty men are among my favorites. I become rather excited when I come to them.

Perhaps it could have been all in a day, or that many over two days. A combination of things is in work in these men.

The main point is that God is with them. Perhaps men without any grace could obtain that kind of proficiency and skill, but the Lord mentions these men in association with David to show that God has blessed David. Among the promises made is that when Israel was in good spiritual health that one would put to flight a hundred, and their presence was confirmation of the favor of God.

They also push me to up my own standard for myself, and to at least always strive to be more useful than I am. There's a world of things to learn from anyone who can keep his cool and focus in such intense situations as these mighty men.

And Paul does compare use to soldiers; so the diligence, perseverance, strength, and mental fortitude of these men have things to teach us.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
Yesterday in our devotions, I read the story of David's mighty men. I read of Abishai who slew 300 Philistines with a spear.

I have to admit, a thought entered my mind "this seems hard to believe". Has anyone else ever had a thought like this? This is a sinful thought and I wish I could do away with this sort of thought altogether. This is why I find this quote so timely. Reasoning with myself, I concluded the following:

1) It could have been describing a situation wherein Abishai could have killed 300 Philistines over the course of a day or two of battle - not necessarily a 1 vs. 300 showdown that you would see in the movies

2) Even if it was 1 vs. 300, the God who created the world out of nothing surely could have helped Abishai perform a feat that humanly speaking would have been impossible

3) I should simply receive the text as truth, and live with some uncertainty, trusting that if there is any misunderstanding it is on my part
Many numerical details in Scripture pose difficulty to me as well. Being inclined to over-think things, I find here that I have to accept Scripture in faith and not by reason (the large numbers of the exodus being one example).

For the Abishai incident, though - as well as some other similar battle tales in this part of Scripture - is it possible that Abishai was leading a company of men? Scripture often refers to collective achievements under the name of the leader, and truth be told, we do the same today. Several examples come to mind, but it seems peculiarly appropriate to mention Sgt. York, so famous for "single-handedly" capturing 100+ enemy soldiers. It certainly doesn't diminish his achievement, but he "single-handedly" led a squadron of men in this heroic feat.

I've often likewise wondered if Doeg really killed 85 priests by himself, or if he was simply the leader of a group of men who did his bidding.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
I would think so; the 19th century Scots who studied in Germany who had heartburn with this statement also puts the lie to it. My attention was first drawn to Rutherford's comment by John MacPherson in his work on The Doctrine of the Church in Scottish Theology, who did not like the statement (what if Paul forgot and had actually left his cloak in Athens, etc.? sort of like, "hath God said?"). He had studied under the German theologians of the time and it shows in that sort of squeamishness with Rutherford's statement.
Thanks for this insight. I've been wrestling lately with the issue of whether Calvin held to inspiration as we conceive of it now. Plenty of people are eager to argue that his view of inspiration was more Barthian than Warfieldian - but, while I try not to apply terminology anachronistically, I'm coming to believe that he did in fact hold to a sound orthodox doctrine of inspiration, at least implicitly (because, as with so many other major doctrines, the need to carefully and precisely formulate it had not yet arisen).
 
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