Raleigh Bagley Reformed Theology         
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Pastors and theologians ask how the church can answer an increasingly pluralistic, mixed, multinational world where the church stands at the crossroads of objective truth versus deep-seated skepticism and no longer controls the dominant narrative. The greatest need for the church in this postmodern world steeped in undecidability regarding truth is apologetics. When one mentions apologetics, its historical meaning, “defense of the faith,” Scripture mentions, “Always be prepared to answer everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). One should always be prepared to tell others the good news of salvation in Jesus’ death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:2–4). As the Greek word apologia, ἀπολογία, a derivative of the root word apologos (ἀπόλογος), “a speech in defense,” and the corresponding verb form apologeisthai (ἀπολογεῖσθαι) “to speak in one’s defense,” the implication is one giving a defense as a lawyer at a trial. The gospel is the believer’s defense of God’s authoritative truth. 
The Word of God and Revelation 

The Word of God and Revelation (Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Hebrews 10:7)

There is no natural path for unaided man to receive God. It is naturally a stumbling block and foolishness to think that a sovereign God would kill his Son for sinners. A dead Messiah?...unheard of or unthinkable for the Jews. For the Gentiles, the sign of a god was immortality. Jesus could not fit their wisdom understanding because he was crucified. However, God is the sovereign King by creation and personally by revelation written in the moral law of the conscience. He rules over those who respond to special revelation and rules man’s inner spirit by the mediation of Christ. Thus, natural revelation needs no mediator. God’s sovereignty never mitigates human responsibility, such that human beings are morally responsible.

Jesus shares God’s revelation of Scripture with his disciples concerning himself and repeats this missive after his crucifixion as a reminder of his suffering and resurrection. Luke’s Emmaus account reveals that the disciples on the road regarded Jesus as the Revealer of God’s way and the Doer of his work― the promised Messiah and Redeemer of Israel― no physical body was found in the tomb, and no decisive proof of his resurrection. Nevertheless, an accompanying Stranger, veiled from their human insight, rebukes, and reminds them of the things taught by the prophets, and God’s plan being fulfilled in him. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:27, 44). God’s revelation is disclosed throughout holy Scripture, where its true hero is the incarnate Jesus Christ, as revealed in the written Word, the NT’s closing line. Thus, without Scripture as God’s revelation, one cannot rightly know the incarnate Word. Defining the OT’s central message is key to the hermeneutical method. Without adequately knowing Scripture, one cannot know the true Messiah.

God’s providence is above man’s will― his will, power, and eternal plan. He stands asymmetrically behind good and evil― transcendent and sovereign. Suffering can be seen as a temporary discipline where those obedient to the Father will glean victory. However, those who, like the Pharisees and the Jewish religious leaders, diligently searched the Old Testament but were blinded, did not see Jesus as the Messiah, and did not believe in him. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and they bear witness about me” (John 5:39).

The written form of God’s special revelation for his people is holy Scripture. “The trustworthiness of the Scriptures lies at the foundation of trust in the Christian system of doctrine and is therefore fundamental to the Christian hope and life.”1  The abandonment of Scripture will jeopardize the entire Christian doctrinal system’s foundation by placing it upon the sand. Without the assurance of inerrancy, Scripture’s trustworthiness is doubtful, and the gospel’s “good news” of a resurrected Savior is worthless. Faith and application readily hang on the reliability of all of God’s word. The Old and New Testaments, through the Spirit’s provisioning of an abiding and permanent witness, carry them into a relationship with the resurrected and ascended Savior. Christ submits to evil to overcome and conquer it. Salvation is in his resurrection. Does one want a God who does what one wants instead of the God of the Bible who is sovereign and whose agenda is his own will? The gospel-centered response to evil is the cross, as Scripture reveals. “Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book” (Heb. 10:7). F. F. Bruce provides that these words “sum up the whole tenor of our Lord’s life and ministry and express the essence of that true sacrifice which God desires. The “scroll of the book” is the written תוֹרָה (torah) of God; what was written there, the speaker recognized to be written concerning him, to be God’s prescription for him.”2

1. B. B. Warfield, "The Inspiration of the Bible," Bibliotheca Sacra, v. 51, 1894, 614-40. Pub. also in "King's Own," v. 6, London. 1985, 791-94, 926-33.

2. F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990), 242.
The Word of God and Revelation