Session 6 — Miguel Nuñez
Note: Throughout the week, as we liveblog the general sessions, we will be using a time-stamp method. This will give readers an approximate sense of key statements that were made throughout the session, as well as allowing them to trace the flow of the argument. (Also, if readers want to listen to any key moments by downloading the audio, these time-stamps will make it easier to track down certain statements in the audio file.) However, what follows is not intended to be a full or exact transcript of what was said.
General Session # 6
Today’s morning session began with Fernando Ortega leading the men in music. The medley included All Creatures of Our God and King, Praise the Lord the Almighty, How Firm a Foundation, and Only Begotten Word of God Eternal. This was an encouraging, uplifting time in song.
Afterwards, Miguel Nuñez came to preach on “Inerrancy and Evangelism.”
10:30 Dr. Nuñez began by expressing his thankfulness for the conference, and for the opportunity to preach.
10:32 The task I have been given is to discuss the relationship of inerrancy to the Great Commission—an intimidating and difficult task.
10:34 Turn in the Scripture to Matthew 28:16-20
“But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
10:35 A universal command would require a universal authority and universal power to enable such a task, and that is what we see in this text. Verse 18 of this passage contains the highest Christology of the New Testament.
A mission as monumental as the one given by Christ before His ascension would need a solid, unbreakable, unshakable authority . . . and that is exactly what He gave them in His Word.
10:38 If parts of the Bible are in error, error can be found in any part . . . and that includes the Gospel message. If we can’t be sure of the Scripture, we cannot be sure of the Gospel message. We pass on a message we are certain about, knowing it is a trustworthy text.
10:40 I will divide this text into four phrases to show the relationship of inerrancy to the Great Commission.
1. Go Therefore . . .
Jesus was sending His disciples into a worldwide message. That’s why He was so emphatic about explaining that all authority had been given to Him. That authority was invested in His Word.
The people being sent needed complete confidence in the Sender, as well as in the message to be shared. Any doubt would have made such a task impossible. Can you imagine going to the ends of the world with a corrupted message?
These men went out, because they were convinced they were sent by God and under His authority. They had absolute confidence in the trustworthiness of His message. They were going in the name of God, with His message, and with His authority.
When disciple-makers go into the world, they must go with the confidence of the reliability of the message. If the critics are right in their assessment, there is no way to argue with the assertions of the pagans in the field. Why would anyone abandon a faulty vision of the origin of the universe to adopt ours, if our view is also in error?
If those who are being sent to proclaim the Gospel cannot be sure about the message they are proclaiming, would they go passionately? Would they risk their lives?
The Great Commission would become “Mission Impossible”!
This would result in missionaries adopting gimmicks and misguided strategies—as we saw in the church growth movement or the seeker-sensitive movement, where social sciences, psychology, and marketing strategies became the driving force behind strategies to build the church. These strategies questioned the inerrancy and sufficiency of the Word of God.
10:50 The disciples were given these Words, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, therefore pray for workers of the harvest.” How’s that for a marketing strategy?!
They were told to wait for power from above, and when He came they preached the Word with boldness—all without any help from the social sciences or clever strategies.
2. To the ends of the world . . .
Some have declared that inerrancy is an American construct that resulted from the clash between fundamentalists and modernity. Therefore they assert that outside this country, the doctrine is not needed. Such an affirmation ignores church history and the lessons to be learned from it.
It would be unthinkable to think a mission encompassing the entire would make truth important in one place and not as important in another, because truth is universal.
The doctrines of inerrancy, the authority of Scripture, and the completion of the cannon are interconnected. If you remove one, the whole building collapses. Once you yield to extra-biblical revelation, the completion of the canon and inerrancy collapses. This is how this debate has affected the global south. Attacks on inerrancy came in, but it came in through the back door. The south does it through mysticism; the north through rationalism.
Do you see the implications of the doctrine of inerrancy? A complete and closed canon is a sufficient and inerrant Word.
In the south, the church was attacked by a spiritual warfare movement. Today, we see the abandoning of preaching the Word for the practice of rebuking demons.
11:00 Once we abandon the inerrancy of the Bible, we abandon the sufficiency and authority of the same Bible. This is what we’re seeing in the global south. People are being trained, not in the Scripture, but in how to do signs and wonders—what is called Power Evangelism.
Giving seminars on performing signs and wonders? Once again I wonder, do we read the same Bible? This is nothing more than a lack of confidence in the Word of God. You had this clash in North America with the enlightenment. We have this clash with the animistic world.
Because the Word of God is from God it is authoritative. We must preach it!
3. Make disciples . . .
This phrase (one word, imperative, in the Greek) summarizes the Great Commission. Christ gave to assurances to those He was sending out:
1. All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth
2. I am with you always, even to the end of the age
In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave a full picture of this assurance “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18).
In other words, we can count on God’s Word until the end of time; that is why it’s called the eternal Word (a similar assertion is found in John 10:34-35). The assurance of these texts is essential for missionary work. The moment one allows a doubt of any of His Word, we allow a doubt of all prophetic word. That puts all on shaky ground. That is not what Christ promised. Not one iota will pass away; all will be fulfilled.
11:10 The quality of the disciples we make depends on how they receive the Word and what they think about it. (see: 1 Thess 2:13). That understanding is vital for the Great Commission. In carrying out the great commission, what shall we tell them about the Word? Do we tell them it’s all reliable, or only part are reliable? How do we answer when they ask what parts are reliable and which are not? If we side with the critics, we will produce disciples who constantly question the Word.
4. Teaching them to observe all . . .
Last but not least, we have a monumental phrase about obedience. This leaves out the possibility of believing and obeying one portion, while not obeying and denying another portion. We must teach disciples to obey every last thing the Lord said?
Why would the Lord give such a command? Because all Scripture is God breathed, unshakeable, unbreakable, and a authoritative . . . and it must all be obeyed.
11:15 Once you accept the possibility of myth, midrash, or error, the Great Commission text becomes open to error. The Gospel becomes open to error. The Lord would not command us to obey error, midrash, or things like that. If the Lord gave us a faulty Word, He set us up for the development of a faulty theology. That is inconsistent with the character of God.
Some say the all only refers to the words of Jesus, but we know that Christ treated the Old Testament as authoritative. Paul affirmed this same teaching.
Many heresies have been born in the mission field, and that is because of a loss of confidence in the Bible—a loss of confidence in the inerrancy of the Word.
The history of the reformation speaks confidently about the history of embracing inerrancy. By contrast, the history of liberalism speaks confidently about the danger of abandoning inerrancy.
11:20 Let me wrap up by reading from 2 Timothy 4:1-5.
The way to carry out the great commission is to preach the Word. That is the way we have done it for 2,000 years. Let us not abandon it now! Go forth, preach Christ, knowing that He has the authority and He goes with you!
11:21 Let’s pray.