Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Get Behind Me Satan?

I consider Don Hinkle, editor of The Missouri Pathway a friend, as I do the Executive Director of Missouri, former Oklahoma Associate Executive Director, David Clippard. These men are doing all they can to strengthen all Southern Baptists in Missouri through their work and ministry.

However, in the August 15th issue of The Pathway, editor Don Hinkle, in an editorial entitled "The Bible is inerrant, but is it sufficient?" makes the following statement:

"It is one thing to declare oneself a conservative and affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, but it is another to affirm its sufficiency. There is, I believe, a strong, pervasive and somewhat subtle strategy unfolding today among 'evangelical Christians.' It involves the sufficiency of the Bible and it is, of course, orchestrated by Satan."

For fifteen years I worked on a special task force that helped young people leave the occult and the Satanic arts. In the early 90's I was a consultant to NASA as they worked with law enforcement in the State of Florida to prosecute one of their own, John Crutchley, who the media tabbed "The Vampire Rapist." I have probably taught over 25 conferences for law enforcement on Satanism. I realize that Satan is not always a "roaring lion" and will disguise himself as "an angel of light," and I'm sure there are a few people who would offer that I'm an expert on "Satan" for other reasons than the above :), but in light of a little experience with people who have been under the direct control and manipulation of Satan, I would offer the following perspective on Don's statement.

When we can come to the place where disagreements over the interpretation of the sacred text by evangelical Christians can be discussed, debated, and even argued without attributing the other side as being "orchestrated by Satan" we will move much further down the road in cooperation as evangelical Christians.

I'm giving Don the benefit of the doubt. I don't think he intends his language to be taken as "literal" as it sounds, but I would urge all my brothers who make very public statements to pull back just a tad on what could only be called rhetoric.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Bill Scott said...

Brother Wade,
I haven't chimed in on your Blog in quite sometime. I think that the quote from Don Hinkle, taken out of context, is indeed quite startling.

After reading the entire article, it became quite clear that his arguement is not against the sufficiecy of the Bible. It is 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Hinkle quotes heavily material from John MacArthur. I think MacArthur's thoughts about the ierrancy and suffiency of scripture is without question.

The "subtle strategy" alluded to is a stragegy to undermine the sufficiency of scripture. Who directs the Confusion Orchestra anyway?

Hinkle, ends his article with this,
"In short, we have a sinful view of the Bible. I say time to repent and affirm Psalm 19:7-14." I think his stance is crystal clear after reading the scriptural quote.

RKSOKC66 said...


I also went and read the article.
I have to admit I really didn't know what he might be talking about regarding the "sufficiency" of scripture. I was thinking, "How could any person say that the Bible was inerrant but not sufficient".

After reading the article and seeing his five examples -- which he attributes to John MacArthur -- I now see what he is saying.

I don't think he is saying that people who disagree on interpretation of certain points are under satanic control.

His point #2 really hits home with me -- mistaking entertainment for worship. Of course this is not a new phenomenon. In my hometown of Los Angeles, Amy Semple McPherson used to descend a golden staircase wearing an angelic gown. Unfortunately, showmanship in church has been around for quite a while.

Wayne Smith said...

Brothers and Sisters,

2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

A Brother in CHRIST

Todd Nelson said...


I also read Don's article to understand the context of your quotation, because in isolation, it is ambiguous. After reading Hinkle's piece, I still think your point stands, however -- that we should not blithely attribute contrary interpretations of Scripture, held by fellow conservatives, to the work of Satan.

While the first two post-ers agree with Don Hinkle's article, and John McArthur's sermon, I must voice my concern about the appeal to McArthur as an exemplary preacher or as a model for handling theological disagreements. "Lord, help us!"

John McArthur may be a hero to many Southern Baptists, and to many reading this blog, but I find his "rhetoric" and dogmatism hard to swallow -- not so much about the truth and sufficiency of Scripture (to which I hold), but about his own interpretation of it. I have no issues with much of his teaching, but I have huge difficulties in some areas, both with theology and style of argumentation.

It's reflected in Hinkle's commentary: the lumping together of believers who long for miracles, signs and wonders with those who are seeking out mediums and dabbling in the occult. Please!

Another example, McArthur's "Charismatic Chaos" (1992) is to me a disappointing unscholarly diatribe against all charismatics which fails to recognize any diversity in the huge movement or to allow that it has brought any benefit to the church worldwide and to the missionary cause. The book is full of straw men, extreme examples, and frankly, loveless language. Is this the way we want to debate theology or biblical interpretation?

I suppose anti-charismatic Southern Baptists find in "CC" much to cheer. Obviously, I do not. Granted, there are elements of the charismatic movement that need correction: the prospertiy gospel, the Word of Faith movement, money-hungry TV preachers, and hyped healings, for instance. But what McArthur lacks is balance and grace in his treatment.

For a review of "Charismatic Chaos", I recommend Rich Nathan's 27-page evaluation, available on the web site of Vineyard USA.
[You must paste the URL back together to link.]

I'd be very curious to know what percentage of Southern Baptist pastors and churches identify with John McArthur's convictions versus those who prefer Jerry Rankin's or even James Robison's. I'm referring now specifically to spiritual gifts and the work of the Holy Spirit.

I will be watching with interest from Malaysia how the private prayer language issue plays out at the IMB. "Lord, help us!"

I'll post later, God willing, some thoughts on "the sufficiency of Scripture." This one's too long already. :) Thanks for reading, and for interacting if you will.

In Christ,
Todd Nelson

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

I have just recently learned that some would separate Inerrancy of the Scriptures from the Sufficiency of the Scriptures. I must confess, I have never heard of the separation before Brother Art Rogers told me that was where it appeared he and I disagreed.

I see from Brother Hinkle's article a logic that follows a movement back to, what he believes to be, a device of Satan's. It is true that good Godly people can be used of Satan. That does not mean they are satanic, but they are merely blinded by their own blinders. Remember Jesus, when promised by Peter that he would not allow anyone to take his life, told Peter--get the behind me satan. Was Jesus referring to Peter as Satan? No. He merely referred to Peter's understanding of God's Word. It appears this is the same thing Brother Hinkle is doing as he charts a course for the teaching of separating Sufficiency and Inerrancy.


Bill Scott said...

I don't consider John MacArthur to be the final authority on any theological or scriptural debate. I do not believe that "signs and wonders" are of satan either. I don't believe that Joe Carr advocated wholesale promotion of John MacArthur. I don't think it was necessary for Hinkle to provide a disclaimer before quoting MacArthur.

I must admit that the point of Wade's blog, as always, is to further a spirit of cooperation among conservative evangelicals, to that end I concede his point.

However, as that Hinkle did not label a person, persons, denomination, etc. explicitely, I don't feel his "orchestrated by satan" reference is off base or divisive. His thoughts were very broad based. I feel that Hinkle's purpose was to provoke thought (and possibly debate.) He succeeded on both accounts.

Writer said...


After reading the entire article, I have to disagree with your assessment. When taken in context, Hinkle makes valid points.


I have to disagree with your assessment of "Charismatic Chaos." I'm not a big John MacArthur fan, but CC is one book I heartily agree with. I'm sure you're right about the Vineyard USA's disagreement with it. They're about as charismatic as you can get. So you can count me as one SBC pastor who agrees with MacArthur on this issue and certainly disagrees with Rankin and Robison.

Sola Scriptura!

Les Puryear

wadeburleson.org said...


I agree with what you are saying about the article. Much of what is written by Don is excellent.

However, Todd Nelson's comment has caught the just of what I am saying.

EVEN if you believe the gifts continue to this day --- EVEN if you have some form of 'entertaiment' in your worship ---- EVEN if you have some pyschology in your counseling --- you are a brother in Christ and I think one should be cautious of attributing the work of Satan to the work of a fellow evangelical brother.

However, the article begins by stating issues within the SBC, and then proceeds with five points that are unrelated to the opening paragraph.

My point still stands.

We need to be careful calling what our brothers in Christ do satanic.


irreverend fox said...


Besides, anybody who doesn't agree with me and Wade Burleson are the ones who are of Satan!

Greg P said...

I'm with Joe on this one.

If someone is attacking the sufficiency of Scripture, is it not reasonable to believe that Satan is behind it?

The charismatic issue is secondary (although if you want a more "scholarly" treatment from MacArthur et al, check out his seminary's lectures on the subject from 2003: http://www.tms.edu/audio.asp?ministry_id=3&dlyear=2003&dlcat=Faculty+Lecture+Series&submit=Submit ).

The real issue, as some have said, is that many are giving lip-service to inerrancy while denying it in practice. If it's the only God-breathed word, why do you look elsewhere for your authority? Biblical inerrancy demands certain things, such as expositional preaching, and too many people just use "inerrancy" as a shell of a term just as the liberals of 30-40 years ago did. The Saddleback/Northpoint/Willow Creek camp is a master of this. I don't like to use names unless necessary, but these are prime examples of people who claim biblical inerrancy but run their church as if the Bible is just one of many helps to "success".

If God has given us one avenue of rightly worshiping him and we ignore it for others, I think it's safe to assume that Satan is somehow behind it.

Mark Spence said...

The problem in SBC life is more, "If it is not of me (my interpretation, my view, etc), than it is of Satan" Rather than, "If it is not of Christ than it is of Satan."

Stuart said...

It appears as though there are two distinctly different ways that the word "sufficiency" is being used herein.

The MacArthur version of "sufficiency" (contra not just Rankin and Vineyard, but also Blackaby and others) seems different to me than the way "sufficiency" has been used lately on some blogs to illustrate the inconsistency of claiming "inerrancy" yet insulating Scripture with our own tradition, rules, etc.

This could get confusing quickly if commentors don't distinguish and differentiate in their remarks.

Royce Ogle said...

I was struck by Todd Nelson's criticism of John McArthur (with whom I disagree on some points) and then suggest some guy from a Vinyard church as a valid source for an even handed critique of the Charismatic Movement.

Why not have Benny Hinn critique his own ministry?

Grace and Peace,
Royce Ogle

irreverend fox said...


good one! that made me laugh out loud!

Todd Nelson said...

Brother Royce,

Have you read Rich Nathan or Wayne Grudem respond to criticism of the Vineyard movement? I think you'd be surprised just how balanced, biblcial, scholarly, and gracious their writings are. (Not at all like Benny Hinn's writings or style of ministry. :)

One last comment on the charismatic issue, then I'll move on... Some people might be shocked to learn that Vineyard pastors do not consider themselves to be "charismatic" primarily but evangelical with some charismatic, albeit biblical, emphases added in. Being a blend of both, in the "radical middle", the movement has gotten rocks thrown at it from both sides. I agree with For His Glory, we need more bread-distribution and less rock-throwing.

I try not to be defensive or throw any rocks in return.


Rex Ray said...

To In His Name,
You write 2 Tim 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

How does this pertain to today’s topic, “Get Behind Me Satan?” You seem to have a one track mind to convince everyone that the Bible is ‘Inerrant’ as you see it. I on the other hand, have a one track mind to convince everyone that all ‘Scripture’ is breathed by God, but all words in the Bible are not ‘Scripture.’

Can we meet on some common ground like Genesis 3: 4, “No! You will not die, the serpent said to the woman.”
Were these words of the devil breathed by God out of the mouth of the devil? This is not a hard question but can be answered by a simple yes or no and without a paragraph of explanations or excuses.

I see the Bible truly recording these words as a lie. Because the Bible records the words, it does not make the words true. Therefore, in conclusion, these words of the devil are not Scripture and all words in the Bible are not Scripture.

Can you explain if I am wrong?

“GET BEHIND ME SATAN” is another example of words in the Bible NOT being ‘literarily’ true. Was Peter Satan? No. Jesus was talking to the devil that was using Peter to tempt Jesus.
A man told me last night that he believed he drank blood when he took the Lord’s Supper. I asked him why, and he said, “Because the Bible said so.”
Rex Ray

Todd Nelson said...

Sorry, all. I was up late last night in a rare writing mood when I wrote my first comment and this one, and I saved this one for today.

Here’s my burning question regarding the sufficiency of Scripture ... "Sufficient for what?"

This is the question that Psalm 19 (Don Hinkle’s Scripture reference) answers: "to revive the soul, to make one wise, to bring joy to the heart, etc." The Bible is sufficient as the standard way in which God now speaks, shows, draws, converts, grows, guides, and gives joy to people in relationship to Himself, in community with other believers, and on mission with Him.

The Bible is not sufficient as a science textbook, however, because that's not what God intended it for, and that’s not what it is. Before anyone's hackles go up, I am not saying it is in error or untrustworthy. It just doesn’t address all our modern scientific questions about how and when God created the universe, for instance. The Scriptures are the authoritative record of God's revelation of Himself to us so that we may know what to believe and how to behave. (This is the way my theology professor, Dr Boyd Hunt, used to state his conviction. And I do believe it wholeheartedly as well, even now, 20+ years later.)

Don Hinkle (who is summarizing John McArthur) makes some valid points. I'm left with the impression, though, that he believes that "the sufficiency of Scripture" means: we don't need (and shouldn't bother reading?) any books about business leadership, church/worship, nature/science, marriage/family, etc. -- especially not those that conflict with conservative Bible interpretations -– because the Bible is all we need. I know Don doesn’t say exactly this, but it’s the impression I get. Am I the only one to interpret him this way?

Of course, the Bible must be primary in our reading – for faith, wisdom, and obedience – that we might love and please God. But I am not convinced that when I supplement my Bible reading with books on counseling, cosmology, or church planting, or with watching the Discovery Channel (and so on), and then learn something, that this is in any way insulting to “the sufficiency of Scripture.”

I believe “all truth is God’s truth.” And inquiring minds want to know. :) We have nothing to fear from scientific investigation, even though many secular scientists hold to presuppositions that are opposed to faith. We do not agree with those presuppositions, but we can still benefit and learn from their discoveries.

I acknowledge that some Christians allow the Bible's authority and sufficiency to be trumped by science or human reason, or even by "what works". But when we talk about the Bible's sufficiency, we must be clear about what it is sufficient for. Faith vs. Science or Bible vs. New Methods is not always a matter of either-or; sometimes it can be a both-and situation.

Finally, even though we've settled the issues about biblical authority (and sufficiency?), we cannot escape issues of interpretation. Like Jesus said about the poor, interpretation differences will always be with us. So let's be gracious as we disagree and not too quick to label and dismiss one another.

Wade, please forgive these two long posts. If the columns weren't so narrow ... :-)


Greg P said...

I think you'll find all the background information you need to know here:


and here:


Matt Snowden said...

Thanks for the comments regarding the Vinyard's "radical middle" position. I am a Southern Baptist but have a great appreciation for the empowered evangelical position. You mention Grudem - Doug Banister, Roc Bottomly, Sam Storms and a host of others write from this perspective. A number of Southern Baptists hold positions very near Vinyard ones. Thanks for the comment.

Bob Cleveland said...


I agree that the remark about satan was out of line. To state that someone sharing their views is motivated by satan, is simply not true unless it can be proven. I doubt this can ... even the existence of a "strategy". Other than that, this is all funny, to me.

Of course the bible is sufficient; we don't need any more scripture.

Of course the bible is not sufficient; I had to go outside it to find out how to build the shed I'm just finishing, and also to get my flat tire fixed a couple weeks ago.

My take is the bible is "all-encompassing". Its principles and instructions are authoritative,and they will and can and hopefully do guide me in all I do. But it doesn't tell me how to fix the bluescreen error on my laptop. I gotta look elsewhere for that.

The real problem with all this is in the interface with the lost world. Telling a welfare mom with more kids to feed than money, that Jesus is all she needs, doesn't get it. It's only sufficient when we all live it.

Hey I just gave anyone who's interested a couple SWELL statements to take out of context. I can hardly wait.

Wayne Smith said...

Rex Ray,

GOD gave HIS first Command to OBEY(SHALL NOT) Genesis 2: 17. Satan is telling EVE its Okay to break this Command Genesis 3: 4. Is this not TRUTH? JESUS spoke TRUTH TO Satan(Get Behind Me). The Bible is Inerrant, and that is my Belief and I pray it is the Same for all CHRISTIANS, also BAPTIST.

A Brother in CHRIST

Wayne Smith said...

Brother BOB,



A Brother in CHRIST

Rex Ray said...

(Truth of Acts said…)
In His Name,
Genesis 3:4 “No! You will not die, the serpent said to the woman.”
I asked you if these words were breathed by God out of the mouth of the devil?
You did not answer ‘yes or no’, but asked me, “Is this not TRUTH?

You did not specify if the devils words were true or if it was true that the devil said the words.

You mentioned Genesis 2:17 which states, “…for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
I think we agree that the devil lied and it was NOT truth that came from his mouth.
Since the Bible says it is impossible for God to lie, this lie was not breathed by God.
Can we agree on that? I believe you will never agree because you will avoid the question and just keep on declaring the Bible is inerrant.

Let me say this upfront, sideways, last, and upside down, Scripture does not lie, it is perfect in every way like God intended, but ALL words recorded in the Bible are not from the mouth of God. You can scream ‘inerrant’ all you want but it does not change what God allowed in his Holy Book.
Rex Ray

Todd Nelson said...


Thanks for your "thanks." :)

I wish I knew more Southern Baptists who were closer to Vineyard theology and practice -- because I find it very biblical, balanced, and Kingdom-oriented. My friend, Steve Fish, long-time pastor at James Ave Church in Fort Worth, fits that description. So do some from the generation prior to us, like Jack Taylor, Ralph Neighbour, James Robison, and Jim Hylton. But we seem to be a very small minority. Of the names you mentioned, I only know of Banister and his book, "The Word and Power Church". I haven't heard of the other names you mentioned.

Maybe there's more openness or agreement in your generation to the "Empowered Evangelical" or "Word and Spirit" emphases?

We can discuss more, if you want, through email.


Greg P said...


Check out the websites in my last post. You may have to copy and paste them into your browser.