In the minds of many, faith in the Bible and faith in God are more or less synonymous. I think that careful consideration will lead more logically to the conclusion that faith in the Bible is really faith in man and therefore is the opposite of faith in God.
The emphasis on the Bible and the resulting faith in the Bible derives from the traditional understanding that right standing before God begins with right knowledge. This knowledge is said to be embedded in the essentials of the Bible. One must know, believe, accept and respond correctly to this essential biblical information to be acceptable.
If the Bible is the source of the correct knowledge, then the Christian must believe that the Bible we have today is the real thing, that it has not been altered, abridged, or misrepresented in some way in the years since it was first written. First and foremost, this assumes that the men who conducted the canonization process did so correctly, that they selected the right books and excluded those which were not God sanctioned. To conclude that such was the case is merely an assumption but a necessary one if Bible knowledge is essential as suggested by the call to evangelism.
Then, since the originals books were all written in another language and from a vastly different cultural perspective, one must rely on the work of any number of translators to adequately transmit the original essentials to our time and cultural viewpoint. Since there is no lack of differences of opinion about the essential truth of the Bible today, one can hardly imagine that the work of translation was not significantly influenced by personal biases and other external pressures.
Finally and most importantly, I must depend on my or someone else’s ability to correctly understand the Bible and to select from the scriptures those elements of essential knowledge. The very idea of orthodoxy implies that there are ascertainable essential beliefs associated with our Christian faith. Supposedly, these beliefs were determined and catalogued many centuries ago by the “church fathers”. Here again, the potential evangelizer must rely on human ability and integrity.
All of these implications involve assumptions or leaps of faith which far outweigh any faith we may profess in God Himself. This supposedly God ordained process for bringing about the salvation of mankind is just too untenable. As in all things associated with evangelical orthodoxy, I am called upon to have ultimate faith in me and the Book, instead of in the God whose faithfulness is unfailing.