John R.W. Stott once wrote "to be genuinely and authentically Christian, one must simply believe the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation."

As a minister, I once heard a woman give testimony that she was in a nursing home when it caught on fire. Her exit, along with several others, was blocked by fire. She tried to break the window, but could not find the strength to do it. She noticed her Bible on the nightstand, so she grabbed it, prayed and hit the window with it. The window - she says - exploded outward, and she and several of her co-residents were able to escape the inferno.

I know that - on this blogsite and many others - the issue of biblical authority and inerrancy (or infallibility) have been discussed many times. However, it is important to revisit time and time again that the whole of Christian relevance, authority and claims for regard are based on the legitimacy of biblical revelation. There is no other argument that the Christian faith can make, because historical evidence simply is not there for much of the development of Christian doctrine - including the existence of Jesus, the validity of miracles, and the ongoing "proof" of God among believers. It all hinges on the Bible.

In the last church I served, every person who became a member had to answer this question: "do you believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible?" If they answered no, they could not become a part of that church. I was amazed at how many people had to ask - "what is inerrancy", and even more asked "what is infallibility?"

The greatest deception taking place on this planet - IMHO - is the failure of the church (especially the evangelical church) to tell the truth to its constituency about the findings of modern biblical criticism and historic research. Most evangelical Christians (most Christians) have no idea of what the majority of biblical scholarship is concluding about the Bible...even in conservative and evangelical circles.

Instead, the church appeals to what I call "bibliolatry" - which is idolatry of the Bible and a crude, almost tribal belief in its magic powers. Note that this bibliolatry is as focused (if not more focused) on the bible itself than the information it contains. The Bible is viewed as a sacred book - a book with powers. Stories abound like the one I shared above about the woman in the nursing home - people who discern God's will by opening the pages and finding an answer (like the guy who proposed to a woman named Grace, because he prayed about a wife, opened the bible, and read "Grace be unto you"), or words from the bible delivered people from demonic vexation, or bibles being in placed in places where sin was prevalent (a pornographic bookstore) and the place closing business down within a week.

So, millions of people are encouraged to believe in a book, with no understanding of its origins, its cultural relevance, its historicity, and the research taking place in it currently...instead, they are only shown that it is like golden tablets come down from heaven, having the very power of God upon it.

The greatest testimony against Christian religion is the Bible itself.