Thoughts of John

What is on my mind.

Inerrancy: A Place to Live

Frame, John M. “Inerrancy: A Place to Live.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 57, no. 1 (2014): 29-39.

Introduction

In the article “Inerrancy: A Place to Live” is centered on the belief that inerrancy is a Biblical doctrine that a Christian stands on and is a way of life. The Bible is the very words of God. Once you doubt the truthfulness of those words then you doubt the saving power of the gospel.

Brief Summary

Frame simply defines inerrancy as “simply propositional truth. To say that a sentence is inerrant is simply to say that it is true, as opposed to false.”[1] The doctrine of inerrancy in some cases has become such a distraction that one forgets about the great stories of the Bible that point to how great God is and what God has done. The modern liberal and secularist approaches the Bible with difficulty because of its supernaturalistic worldview. “And for that matter, if someone asks how a book written by human beings can be inerrant, the answer is the same. If God wants such a book, he can arrange to provide one. We live in a supernaturalistic world; God’s world.”[2] Frame goes on with several quotes from Alvin Plantinga’s 1984 article “Advice to Christian Philosophers” on how to best approach liberal theologians view of inerrancy.

Critical Interaction

Frame in his article states that inerrancy is a biblical doctrine as a member of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). ETS defines inerrancy “in the form, ‘Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written, and is therefore inerrant in the authographs. So I assume that most of you here today believe the doctrine of inerrancy. You do not believe it to be a recent theory, a speculation or overreaction to criticism, but to constitute one of the doctrines of orthodox Christianity. Further, since you believe that the doctrine of our faith are based on Scripture, you believe that the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is itself a biblical doctrine.”[3] “Inerrancy pertains to what is affirmed or asserted rather than what is merely reported. We must judge the truthfulness of Scripture in terms of its meaning in the cultural setting in which its statements were expressed. The Bible’s assertions are fully true when judged in accordance with the purpose for which they were written. Reports of historical events and scientific matters are in phenomenal rather than technical language. Difficulties in explaining the biblical text should not be prejudged as indications of error.”[4]

The author gives many examples for a biblical basis of inerrancy. Several examples include the doctrine of the deity Christ, the deliverance of the Israelites at the Red Sea, and the feeding of the 5,000 just to name a few. “The inerrancy of the word of God enables us to state with confidence the most extraordinary fact—that the whole world is God’s, and displays his glory. It enables us to say that Jesus is really Lord, that he really saved us from sin and its consequences, and that he is coming again to restore the whole universe to something pure and even more beautiful. And inerrancy assures us that we have a God who speaks to us in our own experience—the Lord of language who knows how to use symbols to talk to human beings.”[5]

In the latter half of the article Frame focuses on the approach of inerrancy between liberals and evangelicals. It is important to note that “when you read the Bible without a believing heart, without a worldview centered on an absolute tri-personal God, problems appear and multiply. Virtually nothing seems plausible. Everything needs to be explained or explained away.”[6] The liberal approaches theology as a non-Christian even though they profess to be Christians. Then what happens is a non-Christian worldview infiltrates the Christian worldview and evangelical theology slow but surely changes over time.

The Christian colleges and universities after World War II did not have as “high an academic reputation as those that were non-Christian, liberal, or secularist.”[7] In order for the young scholar to challenge the liberal on the doctrine of inerrancy the scholar had to attend the non-Christian institution to combat the issue. “But what happened all too often was that the young scholar would return from his broadening experience with doubts about inerrancy and some sympathy for those who denied it. But as we have seen, that entailed sympathy for the naturalistic worldview that generated this rejection of inerrancy, even worse an embracing of that worldview, or some kind of inconsistent halfway house between orthodoxy and naturalism.”[8] This in turn effects the way a scholar approaches research, exegesis, and even theology. The scholar is now approaching the Bible not as a book of sacred scripture but as a book of literature. God is then far removed from the divine causation of the Bible.

The Christian needs to guard their mind from the persuasion of liberal thinking. A young Christian scholar or Bible college students needs to surround themselves with scholars and mentors that have the same mind set. What goes into your mind comes out of your heart and mouth. So, if a student of the Word of God is taught misconceptions about inerrancy then the student in turn will believe those misconceptions. “As part of postmodernism, there has been an objection to the idea of foundationalism, which is the view that all beliefs are justified by their relationship to certain basic beliefs. With respect to Christian beliefs, this generally means that doctrines rest upon the authority of Scripture, and are established by demonstrating that Scripture teaches them.”[9]

Conclusion

Inerrancy is not a dead topic. If anything it is becoming a very important doctrine that needs to be applied to the Christian worldview and challenge the postmodern liberal worldview. All inerrancy standards of criteria need to be based on a biblical world view. The standard needs to start with 2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is God breathed…”

Bibliography

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013.

Frame, John M. “Inerrancy: A Place to Live.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 57, no. 1 (2014): 29–39.

Endnotes

[1] John M. Frame, “Inerrancy: A Place to Live,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 57, no. 1 (2014), 29.

[2] Ibid., 31.

[3] Ibid., 29.

[4] Millard J Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 204.

[5] Frame, 30.

[6] Ibid., 32.

[7] Ibid., 35.

[8] Ibid., 35.

[9] Erickson, 205.

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April 26, 2014 - Posted by | Article, Article Review, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Interpretation, Christian, Christianity, Church, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, liberal, New Testament, Old Testament, Religon, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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