I went to the Shepherd’s Conference with great anticipation, looking forward to the fellowship, the undistracted worship, and the powerful preaching. I must confess, however, that I was a bit confused about the topic: why were we spending 4 days and 18 sessions talking about biblical inerrancy? I believed the Bible was inerrant – I didn’t need convincing. Surely one sermon would be enough to reaffirm this foundational truth? In the opening session, John MacArthur posed that very question, and one of his answers was that, “The Bible is under attack, and we are called to defend it.” I believed that we are called to defend it, but I haven’t experienced the Bible being under attack.
As the conference unfolded, I came to understand how valuable a gift these godly men were giving us. I learned that 40 years ago there was a major crisis where biblical inerrancy was questioned by many in the church. Many of the men who taught at this conference had been a part of the defense of biblical inerrancy back then. I learned that this has been an issue throughout church history, and every generation has had to stand up and defend this great truth. I learned that without the doctrine of inerrancy, all truth is gradually eroded away, until nothing remains.
Looking back at the conference, I am very grateful especially to the older men who took this opportunity to pass the baton. They had fought this battle before and were prepared to fight it again. In this conference, they were equipping us younger men to fight this important battle, not if, but when the controversy resurfaces. They were equipping the next generation not just with the textual arguments, the logic and the history, but also with the gravity of the doctrine and a zeal for its defense.
I was particularly struck by Steve Lawson’s telling of the story of William Tyndale during one of the break-out sessions. Here was a brilliant man who could have done anything he wanted in life. He knew Greek, Hebrew, and Latin among several other languages — he could study the Bible himself no problem. Yet he literally gave his life so that the rest of us would have access to the Word of God. Against great resistance, he translated the entire New Testament and most of the Old Testament into English. The effect of having God’s Word in the common tongue was so powerful that no power of hell or man could stop it. The Word was worth dying for — and it is worth living for!
Looking forward from the conference, I have a different set of questions on my mind. Do I value the Bible and treasure it as the very Word of God? Does its truth define my understanding of the world? Do I really hang my life on its every word? Do its principles weigh heavily upon my soul, such that I am compelled to obey it no matter the cost? I pray that when the books are opened and my life is judged, the consistent testimony of my life would be a resounding yes to each one of these convicting questions.
— Paul Moran