At the Core of CIU: Authority of Scripture

Authority of Scripture discussion: CIU Professors (l-r) Dr. Ed Smither, Dr. Markus Klausli and Dr. Michael Naylor. (Photos by Johnathan Rabon)
March 05, 2020

By Ireland E. K. McNeill

Columbia International University’s Authority of Scripture Week celebrates a CIU core value, and offers students the opportunity to learn about the Bible’s background from top scholars.

CIU has a heterogeneous student body; some arriving as missionary kids and others walking onto campus as recent converts. With such diversity, biblical knowledge varies tremendously. Yet whether they’re carrying a Bible with the cover falling off or one with perfect pages, Authority of Scripture Week assists all students in wrestling with God’s Word.

The first day began with Bible Professor Dr. Michael Naylor inviting Intercultural Studies Dean Dr. Ed Smither, and Seminary Professor Dr. Markus Klausli to join him in discussing the history of the text. From fragile copies of papyrus to bright, stained glass, the text and story have been passed to us through time.

“It’s not just our personal faith that I have today, but I share faith in Christ that was transmitted by the apostles, that goes back 2000 years and preserved in remarkable ways,” closed Klausli.

In the next session, Naylor was joined by Middle Eastern Studies Professor Dr. John Crutchfield, and New Testament Professor Dr. David Croteau. The two men who have a rich knowledge of modern translations of Scripture. Croteau presented students with a chart resembling a family tree. “It’s like a genealogy of Bible translations,” said Croteau.

As for Crutchfield, he was recently part of a prestigious committee that worked on updating the Psalter, which is part of the Anglican Church of Common Prayer. With two other Hebrew scholars, an archbishop, and a musician, Crutchfield revised the Coverdale Psalter translation.

“We were to be gentle with that translation,” Crutchfield explained. “Our goal was accuracy, tradition and beauty.”

The final day of Chapel, a prayer day, featured guest speaker Dr. Daniel Wallace from the Dallas Theological Seminary and Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.

“‘The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.’ is probably the worst credo I’ve ever heard,” Wallace declared. He believes a conviction that appeals to weak fallacies is not a conviction of wisdom, saying, “Nowhere does Jesus endorse laziness when it comes to the Word.”

He encouraged students to work to know for themselves where they stand with the Bible’s reliability. However, he asked a counter-question: Should our faith be based on objective evidence? 

Instead, Wallace said that faith is like falling in love with Jesus. To illustrate this, Wallace once met with a Muslim woman who presented him with six pages of what she called discrepancies in the Bible. Wallace responded to her, “I wish Christians would read their Bibles as carefully as you do. Look at what they do agree on and pull from that.” The doubting woman left. Two weeks later, she became a Christian. She’d fallen in love with Jesus. Wallace stressed that the power of the Bible comes from the Savior of which it speaks.

Listen to Authority of Scripture Week messages on CIU’s podcast page.

Columbia International University consistently ranks among the Top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. Excitement is growing on campus with increased enrollment and new academic programs such as the Bachelor of Science in Disaster Relief and Emergency ManagementRequest information on enrollment at CIU and Columbia Biblical Seminary or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024.