God’s Word — Our Infallible Guide:
Evangelicals are confronted by statements which question the authority, the infallibility, and the divine inspiration of the Bible. Such assertions come from academic circles and ecclesiastical bodies which are bending to influences and pressures that may be characterized by syncretism, humanism, and universalism. Our authority must be the Holy Scriptures. We believe there is no evidence available today which is sufficient to question the position that has been followed by the NAE for thirty-five years.
Thus it is appropriate for us in this 1977 annual convention to declare again where we stand as to God’s Word — our infallible guide.
The historic statement of the National Association of Evangelicals regarding the Bible is recorded in the first of seven declarations which constitute the NAE Statement of Faith: We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible authoritative Word of God.
During a period of ecumenical debate in 1963, when tradition was being placed on a parity with the Word of God and the unique inspiration and authority of the Bible was not being affirmed, the convention of that year resolved:
1. That the National Association of Evangelicals reaffirm unequivocally the Word of God, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the sole authority for the believer and the church and the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
2. That sincere and full acceptance of the Bible as final authority is an indispensable condition of true Christian unity and further;
3. That the National Association of Evangelicals call upon all churches to restore the Word of God to rightful preeminence in teaching; preaching and practice.
As the result of a contemporary resurgence of the issues of authority and infallibility, we believe it is important in this 1977 convention to again declare our belief in the Holy Bible, the Word of God written, as the infallible Word of God to man, wholly trustworthy in the fullness of its message of God’s redemptive grace and His acts in history. Our position is that of the writer to the Hebrews and the Apostle Paul expressed in these words:
“God who at sundry times and in divers manner spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1: 1-2). “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4: 12).
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17).
Three declarative facts stand out in these verses as the continuing affirmation of the National Association of Evangelicals:
1. God has spoken by the prophets — a revelation through the spoken word of men inspired by His Spirit.
2. God has spoken by the Son — a revelation through Jesus Christ the incarnate Word
3. God has spoken by the Scriptures — a revelation through the living, powerful, sharp, piercing, discerning, and wholly trustworthy written Word.
No other compilation of literature can make such a claim! The Holy Scriptures stand alone as the life-giving Word of God, pointing us to Jesus Christ, the crucified, resurrected and coming again Son of God.
Thus, we gladly affirm our belief in “the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written Word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We also affirm the power of God’s Word to accomplish his purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible is addressed to all mankind. For God’s revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable. Through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illumines the minds of God’s people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and thus discloses to the whole church ever more of the many-colored wisdom of God” (Lausanne Covenant, 1974).
Having affirmed our confidence in the Word of God, we now dedicate ourselves to be doers of the Word and not hearers only (James 1:22), living in obedience to all that Scripture teaches.
Further, we dedicate ourselves to the proclamation of the Word through teaching, preaching and personal witness, calling upon God’s people everywhere to join us in this noble task, so that others may find in the sure, dependable Word of God what we have found — an infallible guide!