Archive for the ‘Tony Curto’ Category

What Does the Self-Authentication of Scripture Mean?

February 16, 2010

Roman Catholic blogger at Catholic Champion, Matthew Bellisario, has responded to a post from Jeff Downs (link to Jeff’s post) which featured a video from Dr. Tony Curto (video below this introductory paragraph) introducing the topic of the self-authenticating nature of the Bible (link to Bellisario’s post).

Mr. Bellisario doesn’t interact directly with any Reformed arguments on the subject, but he does pose what he seems to view as a challenge for the position:

Well, I would just love to stick this Doctor in a room with all of the ancient manuscripts that we have including the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Apocryphal books with no punctuation, no labeling of the manuscripts, mix them all together with texts that were rejected and see if the brilliant doctor can put together the Canon of Scripture. We will see how self authenticating the text is.

One wonders if Bellisario really thinks it works that way – as though self-authentication were a sort of glow that the documents give off under an ultraviolet (UV) light or something like that.

Bellisario should read up on the doctrine of the self-authentication (also called the self-attestation) of Scripture. Greg Bahnsen has written an article worth reading on the subject (link to article). Some of Dr. Bahsen’s explanation is as follows:

Throughout the history of redemption God has directed His people to find His message and words in written form. Indeed, God Himself provided the prototype of written revelation when He delivered the tablets of law upon Mount Sinai. And when God subsequently spoke by His Spirit through chosen messengers (II Peter 1:21), their words were characterized by self-vindicating authority. That is, it was evident from their message that they were speaking for God — whether the claim was explicit (e.g., “Thus saith the Lord…”) or implicit (the arresting power or demand of their message as a word from the Lord of the covenant: e.g., Matt. 7:28-29).

Moreover, their messages were of necessity coherent with each other. A genuine claim to inspiration by a literary work minimally entailed consistency with any other book revealed by God, for God does not lie (“…it is impossible for God to lie,” Heb. 6:18) and does not contradict Himself (“But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no,” II Cor. 1:18). A genuine word from God could always be counted upon, then, to agree with previously given revelation — as required in Deut. 13:1-5, “If there arises among you a prophet…, saying `Let us go after other gods…,’ you shall not hearken unto that prophet….You shall walk after Jehovah your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice….”

Hopefully the reader can see that this kind of self-authentication or self-attestation isn’t a matter of simply sorting through a bunch of manuscripts. That kind of picture would be a caricature of the doctrine, not an accurate representation of the doctrine.

– TurretinFan

%d bloggers like this: