Why Inerrancy Matters…

6 02 2008

A.T.B. McGowan’s latest book ‘The Divine Spiration of Scripture’ published by Apollos/IVP is causing something of a stir amongst evangelicals. Surprisingly McGowan, who is known for his commitment to Reformed evangelical doctrine, has a strange view of inerrancy and infallibility. This is something of a hot potato in current evangelical theology, and McGowan follows the early twentieth century scholar James Orr in his view that upholding the original autographs of Scripture as faultless is an unneccessary move, prompted by fundamentalist concerns. This represents something of a departure from traditional Reformed formulations and concepts of Scripture’s authority, although other Reformed scholars have held similar views as McGowan points out (Kuyper and Bavinck among them). As feedback and responses begin to unfold in the world of journals and monographs in the coming months, I’ll post a little bit more on this vital issue.

One writer whom I find very beneficial on the issue of inerrancy is Wayne Grudem. In his standard ‘Systematic Theology’ he writes of the problems entailed in denying inerrancy, and I find them pretty compelling. They are:

1. If we deny inerrancy, a serious moral problem confronts us: May we imitate God and intentionally lie in small matters also?

2. If inerrancy is denied, we begin to wonder if we can really trust God in anything he says.

3. If we deny inerrancy, we essentially make our own human minds a higher standard of truth than God’s Word itself.

4. If we deny inerrancy, then we must also say that the Bible is wrong not only in minor details but in some of its doctrines as well.

By anyone’s standards, those are pretty major issues and hurdles for a non-inerrancy position to deal with. It is a doctrine which really does matter, and which is vitally important to how we read, value, and understand the message and meaning of Scripture.

More posts on this issue will follow…