Is it possible to reject Scripture without rejecting Christ?
All Bible critics, including those in high ecclesiastical office, are Christ critics. Of course some will say that this is too much––that the Bible cannot justly be compared with Christ, and that it is going too far to class those who criticise the Book with those who criticise the Person.
The Scriptures give Christ the name “The Word of God” (Rev. 19: 13; see also Luke 1: 2; John 1: 1, 14; 1 John 1: 1). Christ gives the Scriptures the same name (see Mark 7: 13). The Bible is the written Word of God; the Lord Jesus is the living Word of God. There must then, be points of comparison between the two. In John 5: 47, the Lord puts no difference between His own words and the words of Moses: “if ye do not believe his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” Clearly, in His estimation, His own critics and the critics of the Bible are one and the same class. It is as if the Lord takes His stand by the side of God’s written truth, and challenges us to accept Himself and the Bible, or reject both. He allows no other alternative.
There is no authoritative record of Christ outside the Scriptures, so it is ludicrous to speak in any sense of accepting Him unless we at least accept the record of Scripture. How can we accept a Person or His teachings if we know nothing of either apart from the Bible? Such a position, though often dressed up in the clothes of academia and assumed piety, is, in reality, nonsensical. Nor is a partial acceptance of Scripture tenable, for logically that means only a partial acceptance of Christ! Can that save? If the virgin birth is merely a fable, why not eternal life? Again, if what Christ said on marriage is to be dismissed, why not His teaching on heaven and hell? Why indeed! The fact is, Christ and the Scriptures stand or fall together. There can be no acceptance of Christ––the living Word––without acceptance of the written Word - the Bible.
The Lord Jesus Himself proclaimed that He came in direct fulfilment of OT prophecy: “And Jesus answering said to them, Are ye come out as against a robber, with swords and sticks to take me? I was daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye did not seize me; but [it is] that the scriptures may be fulfilled” (Mark 14: 48, 49). This could not be without Him being divine. No mere man could arrange where he was to be born (see Micah 5: 2), for himself to be betrayed for a specific sum (see Zech. 11: 12) or for his legs not to broken after death (see Ex. 12: 46; Ps. 34: 20). Yet the Word of God is a two–edged sword and cuts both ways. If Christ is divine because the Scriptures prophesied of Him, then those Scriptures that prophesied of Him must also be divine since none but God could ever have composed such extensive and detailed predictions.
The written Word often meets with the same reproach as the living Word suffered. Thus they said of the Lord: “Is not this the son of the carpenter? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?” (Matt. 13: 55, 56). They assumed that they knew all there was to know about Him. In the same way, people say of the Bible, ‘Isn’t this the production of men? Are not similar and comparable books with us––its brothers and sisters so to speak?’ Now it is quite conceivable that, physically, the Lord bore a natural resemblance to his mother and his brethren. The superficial observer would notice this, but nothing else. Others, enlightened by the Father, saw much more: “And Simon Peter answering said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16: 16; see 1 John 1: 1, 2). In the same way, if we take up the Bible, we can see in each book the mark of human authors––Isaiah’s style differs from that of Moses, Luke could not have composed the Gospel that John did. Yet there is something more to the mind enlightened by the Spirit of God––every word of Scripture has been composed by the divine pen. They are “the words of the living God” (Jer. 23: 36). Christ, the living Word, had a higher parentage than Mary: “[The] Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and power of [the] Highest overshadow thee, wherefore the holy thing also which shall be born shall be called Son of God” (Luke 1: 35). The Bible, the written Word, similarly has a higher authorship than the men who penned it: “for prophecy was not ever uttered by [the] will of man, but holy men of God spake under the power of [the] Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1: 21). If you reject Christ you must inevitably reject the Scriptures which speak of Him. If you reject the Scriptures, you reject the One of whom they speak. We must accept both or reject both. There is no alternative.