Is the Bible the Inerrant Word of God

By R. A. Torrey

Chapter 7



"Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel." — 2 Tim. 2:8.

"Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand. . . . For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures and that he appeared {was seen) to Cephas; then to the twelve; then he appeared (was seen) to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; then he appeared {was seen) to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to a child untimely born he appeared (was seen) to me also. . . . (14) And if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain, your faith also is vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we witnessed of God that He raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither hath Christ been raised; and if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. . . . (20) But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the first fruits of them that are asleep." — I Cor. 15:1, 3-9, 14-18, 20.

"And as they were affrighted, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying that the Son of man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." — Luke 24:5-7.

"And entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, arrayed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he saith unto them, Be not amazed: ye seek Jesus, the Nazarene, which hath been crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold, the place where they laid him!" — Mark 16:5, 6.

Christians throughout the world are celebrating today the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead. Everybody who has any right whatever to call himself a Christian, and every man who has any intellectual honesty who does call himself a Christian, believes in some sort of a Resurrection of our Lord Jesus. But the Resurrection of Jesus that many who call themselves Christians believe in in this peculiar day in which we are living is not any such resurrection as is plainly set forth in the Four Gospels, in the Acts of the Apostles and in the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians. One prominent teacher on the Foregin Mission field, who calls himself a Christian, and who has many followers, teaches that the Resurrection of Jesus was simply the continuation in others of the spirit, and life, and principles of Jesus, that He lives again in those who represent Him and and carry on His teaching and work today. This I think is an extreme case, but there are many others, including not a few supposedly orthodox ministers and theological professors here in America and in England, as well as numerous teachers in missionary schools and colleges in China and other missionary lands, who do not go as far as this view of the Resurrection of Jesus just described, but who do deny the Resurrection of the very body that was nailed to the cross and laid in Joseph's tomb. They say that they believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, but not in the Resurrection of the body of the Lord Jesus, but in a spiritual Resurrection. Some who will today celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus will celebrate in their hearts (and some will even say so openly) not a Resurrection of the Body of our Lord, the Body that was nailed to the cross and taken down from the cross by loving hands and laid in Joseph's tomb, and that the women who came early on the first Easter morning to embalm it found gone, but the Resurrection of the spirit of Jesus. Professor Harris Franklin Rail, President and Professor of Systematic Theology in the Iliff School of Theology, Denver, Colorado, in his book entitled "New Testament History, A Study of the Beginnings of Christianity," seemingly seeks to discredit the accounts of His Resurrection given in the Four Gospels. He says on page one hundred and forty, "It may be stated at the very first that only by violence can these accounts be harmonised in important details. When we come to a closer study of these records, (i. e., the Gospel records of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ) we are met by two questions. How are we to reconcile the apparent differences in these accounts; and, how are we to conceive the manner of the Resurrection and of these appearances?" This statement of Professor Rail, Ph.D., that the Gospel accounts can be "harmonized in important details" "only by violence," is, as every thorough student of the Bible knows, absolutely without warrant in the facts in the case. Shortly afterwards he goes on to say, "There have been differences of interpretation likewise as to the manner of the Resurrection and the appearances. Our oldest witness, Paul, lays no stress upon the physical." We shall show later that this statement is absolutely untrue, that Paul lays tremendous "stress upon the physical." Professor Rail admits that (to use his own words), "Luke on the other hand emphasizes the physical even to the extent of picturing Jesus as eating" (Luke 24:39-43). Professor Rail seems to have forgotten that Luke was the companion of Paul, and that Luke's Gospel is the distinctively Pauline Gospel. There then follows in Professor Rail's book a frank statement by him that there are discrepancies in the accounts, with the plain implication that the accounts are not accurate or to be depended upon. Then he says, "Nor is it important to answer the second question (that is, the question as to 'the manner of the Resurrection')". We shall see before we get through that the question of "the manner of the Resurrection of Jesus" is of the very highest importance. Professor Rail's whole object, apparently, is to discredit the Resurrection of the Body of Jesus. Indeed, he says in the immediately following sentence, "The actual issue is whether we believe in the reality of the spiritual world" (page 141). We shall see that this is not the issue at all, but that the issue is, shall we believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as it is set forth in the Bible. Professor Rail closes this paragraph by saying, "The one clear fact, without which the wonderful story of early Christianity is a mere riddle, is the fact that these disciples were following a living Lord, and not a dead and defeated leader." Now this is not "the one clear fact." We shall see that the one clear fact is, that they "were following a Lord" who was not only "living" but whose body had been raised from the dead, not whose spirit had been raised from the dead, but whose Body had been raised from the dead. But this teaching of President and Professor Rail, Ph.D., is characteristic of a good deal of the shallow nonsense and utterly heretical teaching regarding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord that exists today not only in the Methodist Episcopal church, in which Professor Rail is so prominent a leader, but in other orthodox churches as well. Professor Rail's prominence in the Methodist Episcopal Church is seen by the fact that two of his books, including the one from which I have just quoted, are included in the course of study that the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church require to be read in the prescribed course of study by every candidate for the ministry in the Methodist Episcopal Church.