Truth Is The Word

What is the Bible?

Theme: Doctrine
‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.’  2 Tim 3:16
I have recently completed a critique of Brian McLarens latest book ‘A new kind of Christianity’ (See Articles section of this Blog) and my conclusion is that he is actually describing a new kind of Liberalism. His understanding of what he calls the Big Picture of scripture is very different to my understanding. Why is this? We clearly have different theological backgrounds and opinions, but a main reason for difference lies in our understanding of the nature and purpose of the Bible.
For Brian, the Bible is a cultural library, and by this he means a collection of books, letters, poetry, and so on, written within a particular historical and cultural setting by and for a particular group of people. He contends that from its pages we learn mainly how ancient people perceived God. He seems to believe that we should not be attempting to find unchanging truth statements in the Bible. Rather, we should be seeking to understand God and His ways, with reference to the Bible, but in the context of our current cultures and stages of development.
I accept that the Bible reflects much of how ancient people perceived God and truth. However, I also believe that God oversaw the process of producing the Bible, and that it carries His authority. I believe that we need to understand what it contains within the context of ancient times, but that it also contains authoritative truth statements. My approach to the Bible is essentially orthodox Evangelical, while Brian’s appears to be more postmodern Liberal.
The point is that his view of the Bible has yielded a radically different understanding of God’s plans and purposes to that of orthodox Evangelicalism. For him, the fall of humankind recorded in Genesis chapter three is a coming of age story rather than the account of the source of spiritual death. The theology that flows from these two understandings is very different. The cross of Calvary, the Second Coming of Jesus, Heaven and Hell, all have different meanings and implications.
So, the question is, ‘what is your understanding of the Bible?’ From this will flow your theology and your application of biblical truth to church and life.

Christopher Peppler

Christopher Peppler


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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar. I have started a site called Classical Guitar SA to serve classical guitar enthusiasts in South Africa.