Posts Tagged ‘inerrancy’

New Book: Vital Issues in the Inerrancy Debate

February 12th, 2016

Being chosen as a co-editor for a new book on Biblical inerrancy, Dr. Fernandes adds his own views to those of others in the field. What is Biblical inerrancy and why is it an important topic?

The following is taken from the official site at: defendinginerrancy.com

WHAT’S INERRANCY!? AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

It’s been said that a table must have at least thBook Imageree legs to stand. Take away any of the three legs and it will surely topple. In much the same way, the Christian faith stands on three legs. These three legs are the inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture. Take away one, and like the table, the divine authority of the Christian faith will surely topple. These three “in’s” complement each other, yet each expresses a slightly different distinction in our understanding of Scripture.

Inspiration. The first “in” is inspiration and this deals with the origin of the Bible. Evangelicals believe that “God breathed out” the words of the Bible using human writers as the vehicle. Paul writes,

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (literally “is God-breathed”), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

Infallibility. The next “in,” infallibility, speaks to the authority and enduring nature of the Bible. To be infallible means that something is incapable of failing and therefore is permanently binding and cannot be broken. Peter said “the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Pet. 1:23-25) and therefore its authority cannot be broken.  When addressing a difficult passage, Jesus said, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:34-35). In fact, He said, “one jot or one tittle will by no means pass away from the law till all is fulfilled” (Mat. 5:18). These speak to the Bible’s infallibility.

Inerrancy. The last “in,” inerrancy, simply means that the Bible is without error. It’s a belief in the “total truthfulness and reliability of God’s words” (Grudem,Systematic Theology, Inter-Varsity, 2004, 90). Jesus said, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). This inerrancy isn’t just in passages that speak about salvation, but also applies to all historical and scientific statements as well. It is not only accurate in matters related to faith and practice, but it is accurate and without error regarding any statement, period (John 3:12).

BUT IS IT REALLY IMPORTANT?

Yes, inerrancy is extremely important because: (1) it is attached to the character of God; (2) it is taught in the Scriptures; (3) it is the historic position of the Christian Church, and (4) it is foundational to other essential doctrines.

1. It’s Based on the Character of God

Inerrancy is based on the character of God who cannot lie (Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2). God cannot lie intentionally because He is an absolute moral law-giver.  He cannot err unintentionally because He is omniscient. And if the Bible is the written Word of God (and it is), then it is without error.

2. It was Taught by Christ and the Apostles

Inerrancy was taught by Christ and the apostles in the New Testament.  This should be our primary basis for believing it. B.B. Warfield said,

“We believe this doctrine of the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures primarily because it is the doctrine which Christ and his apostles believed, and which they have taught us.” (Limited Inspiration, 1962 cited by Mohler, 42)

To quote Jesus himself, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) and “until heaven and earth pass away not an iota, not a dot, will pass away from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matt 5:18).

3. It’s the Historic Position of the Church

Gutenberg BibleInerrancy is the historic position of the Christian Church. ICBI produced a whole book demonstrating this  point (see John Hannah, Inerrancy and the Church, Moody). As Al Mohler pointed out (Mohler, 48-49), even some errantists have agreed that inerrancy has been the standard view of the Christian Church down through the centuries. He cites the Hanson brothers, Anthony and Richard, Anglican scholars, who said,

“The Christian Fathers and the medieval tradition continued this belief [in inerrancy], and the Reformation did nothing to weaken it. On the contrary, since for many reformed theologians the authority of the Bible took the place which the Pope had held in the medieval scheme of things, the inerrancy of the Bible became more firmly maintained and explicitly defined among some reformed theologians than it had even been before.”

They added, “The beliefs here denied [viz., inerrancy] have been held by all Christians from the very beginning until about a hundred and fifty years ago.” (cited by Mohler, 41)

4. It’s Fundamental to All Other Doctrines

Inerrancy is foundational to all other essential Christian doctrines. It is granted that some other doctrines (like the atoning death and bodily resurrection of Christ) are more essential to salvation. However, all soteriological (salvation-related) doctrines derive their divine authority from the divinely authoritative Word of God. So, epistemologically (in a knowledge-related sense), the doctrine of the divine authority and inerrancy of Scripture is the fundamental of all the fundamentals. And if the fundamental of fundamentals is not fundamental, then what is fundamental? Fundamentally nothing! Thus, while one can be saved without believing in inerrancy, the doctrine of salvation has no divine authority apart from the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture.

IT’S AN ESSENTIAL

Inerrancy deserves high regard among evangelicals and has rightly earned the status of being essential (in an epistemological sense) to the Christian Faith.  Thus, to reduce inerrancy to the level of non-essential or even “incidental’ to the Christian Faith, reveals ignorance of its theological and historical roots and is an offense to its “watershed” importance to a consistent and healthy Christianity. Inerrancy simply cannot be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Church.

IT’S UNDER ATTACK… RIGHT NOW!

The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) was founded in 1977 specifically over concerns about the erosion of inerrancy. Christian leaders, theologians and pastors assembled together three times over the course of a decade to address the issue. At the first meeting, a doctrinal statement was jointly created titled “The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy” (see full text here). This document has been described as “a landmark church document” created

“by the then largest, broadest, group of evangelical protestant scholars that ever came together to create a common, theological document in the 20th century. It is probably the first systematically comprehensive, broadly based, scholarly, creed-like statement on the inspiration and authority of Scripture in the history of the church.” (Dallas Theological Seminary, “Records of the International Council On Biblical Inerrancy”)

Despite this modern safeguard, in 2010, Dr. Mike Licona, an evangelical professor, wrote a book titled The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. In this book, he suggested that the account of the resurrected saints walking through the city might be “apocalyptic imagery” (Mat. 27:51-53). In other words, he suggested that the events did not actually happen, but that it was lore or legend. Subsequently, Licona resigned from his position with the Southern Baptists and at Southern Evangelical Seminary. What followed is rather alarming. Incredibly, some notable evangelical scholars began to express their support for Licona’s view, considering  it consistent with a belief in inerrancy.

SCHOLARS TRYING TO REDEFINE INERRANCY

Of course, in order to defend Licona’s view they had to redefine inerrancy to include what were previously considered to be errors.  Some did this by misinterpreting inerrancy as expressed by the ICBI framers.

Since 2011, more alarming statements from Licona have surfaced, including: (1) A denial of the historicity of the mob falling backward at Jesus’ claim “I am he” in John 18:4-6 (RJ, 306, note 114); (2) A denial of the historicity of the angels at the tomb recorded in all four Gospels (Mat. 28:2-7; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-7; John 20:11-14) (RJ, 185-186); (3) A denial of the accuracy of the Gospel of John by claiming it says Jesus was crucified on the wrong day (debate with Bart Ehrman at Southern Evangelical Seminary, Spring, 2009); (4) A claim that the Gospel genre is Greco-Roman biography which he says is a “flexible genre” in which “it is often difficult to determine where history ends and legend begins” (RJ, 34). Amazingly, these views continue to gain support among the evangelical community.

Read More …

A Time to Sow … and a Time to Tear

January 20th, 2010

Originally posted by IBD Vice President Matthew J Coombe on mjcoombe.com

What is the demarcation between orthodoxy and heresy? Or that, when believers disagree about various dogma and doctrine at what point does one claim “heresy” and discontinue fellowship? Before answering this question, it must be stated that the idea of dis-fellowship should only be applied to believers. If this standard was applied to unbelievers or people who have no consistent and reliable information about Jesus and the Bible, why would we suppose them to be anything less then heretics? Further, if there was no fellowship with such people, how would they learn and know the truth? Thus, if a unbeliever holds to an errant view of Jesus it should not be faulted on that person, but rather, with meekness and fear correct the view.

The believer is held to a much higher standard. It is difficult in this age to refute errant views of “Christianity” because Christianity has become a a synonym for “theism.” In this, we often hear people say, “well I’m a Christian who believes….” And then they make some horrible exegesis from scripture or emote concerning some current ethical issue. So then, the point of this blog is to answer the question, “to what can the Christian say, ‘I believe…’” and it still correspond with orthodoxy?

The primary, essential credentials for orthodoxy are the fundamentals of the faith. This is minimal Christianity. If one does not hold to these, they are not, by any means, a true born-again Christian. These fundamentals are as follows:

  1. The inerrancy of the Scriptures
  2. The virgin birth of Jesus
  3. The deity of Christ
  4. The bodily resurrection of Jesus
  5. The immanent return of Jesus

Of these, there is only one I have any leniency on and that is inerrancy of Scripture. However, I am only lenient to the point that the other four fundamentals of the faith can still be gleaned and defended. If the Bible becomes so errant that the deity of Christ has become forfeit such a view of Scripture is detrimental. On the other hand, if one feels the Scriptures are completely accurate save a few historical or cultural datum I may not believe that either (although this view also upholds the other 4 points).

Some cults and various man-made religions claim to hold to these, but this is only to maintain the guise and stability of true Christianity. Over the course of the next few days I will be writing on each of the fundamentals, clearly defining them so as to avoid this cultic “bandwagoning.”

As for now, allow me to finish this thought. If anyone does not hold to these fundamentals, I would really question their relative Christianity. Now, as stated before, people often refer to themselves as “Christians” when what they really mean is theist. The reason I make this distinction is that if one claims to be a Christian, they are soldered to very specific views about the Bible, Jesus and the other fundamentals—any strays in these areas cause the erosion of Christianity into finite human religion.

Besides the fundamentals there is also a moral reasons to break bounds. Paul clarifies this when he wrote to the Corinthian Church:

“I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges.”

Paul claims that people professing to be believers who live in immorality give us Biblical grounds to no longer have fellowship with them. However, I’ve seen this taken too far. There are some Christians who won’t have fellowship with non-beleivers because of immorality. We must remember, it is not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick.

The freedom of Christian choice concerning the morality of actions must be based on the Bible. If someone claims, “I am a Christian who believes it is okay for me to have sex with my boyfriend.” This is beyond the scope of choice given to the believer. It is clear that any sexual act outside of marriage is a sin. If an act or the idea of it is not forbidden in scripture, and it ultimately leads to the good, one is free to partake in it.

Bottom line, if one does not hold to the fundamentals or is living in immorality they are not in a position to be in proper fellowship.

Refuting the New Skepticism

October 15th, 2009

Speaking at an AWANA conference in Everett, WA, Dr. Fernandes defends the true Jesus of history and the veracity of the Bible. Misguided scholars, such as author Bart Ehrman, use well-known New Testament manuscript variants and controvertial verses as an excuse to reject all biblical texts. This is the New Skepticism.  True to the motto of the institute, Dr. Fernandes upholds and defends the Christian faith with solid facts, humoruos anecdotes and common sense.