Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is Inerrancy Enough?

This is the question Dr. Denny Burk asks in an article published in the latest issue of the Southwestern Journal of Theology.

Dr. Burk writes:
As I said, in terms of definition, my aim here is not to rehash old debates about what inerrancy is. In light of the society’s recent actions, it is appropriate for us to take the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978) as a common point of departure for the definition of inerrancy. We must, however, take note of one item in the ETS’s resolution on the Chicago Statement. The resolution affirms that "The case for biblical inerrancy rests on the absolute trustworthiness of God and Scripture’s testimony to itself." This item is important not merely because it gives a theological grounding to the factual claims of the Bible (though this is true enough). The statement is important because it also implies a necessary connection between the Bible’s accuracy and its authority as divine revelation. In other words, with respect to accuracy the very words of the Bible are true because God Himself is true and cannot lie. But with respect to authority, the statement also requires recognition that the Bible is authoritative because God Himself is authoritative. The Scripture’s connection to the Deity makes it not just a sourcebook for accurate religious information, but also the guidebook whose very words command the obedience of all its readers. As the Chicago Statement itself affirms, "Holy Scripture . . . is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises."
Read the entire article HERE.


Mike said...

Thanks for this Todd. I know from previous discussions we have had on this topic we will not see eye-to-eye on this issue so I won't rehash my viewpoints on it. But my question is where is the human element to the Bible? I can agree that the Bible is divinely inspired but it also comes across as a very human book as well and the difficulty I have with statements like these is that they don't seem to account for it....not looking for a debate here just wanting to know from your perspective.

Todd Pruitt said...


When it comes to Scripture we have to begin from above. The Bible is God's inspired ("God breathed") word. Because of this Scripture carries the very authority and infallibility of God. Scripture tells us that men wrote it as they were "carried along" by the Holy Spirit. So Scripture's emphasis is on its divine origin.

The human element comes from the clearly unique style and perspective which is imprinted upon each book while nevertheless maintaining an extraordinary unity across some 1500 years of composition.

case.jess said...

It can be tempting to slip into a view that the Bible was merely written by secretaries--maybe robots (if we desire to contextualize). I find it helpful to remind myself that the writers of Scripture, at least in every known situation, were not novices in the faith. These writers had known God, learned from him, and practiced the spiritual life for some time. Galatians 1.15 goes to show that God had been at work in Paul's life for some time, preparing him through a wide variety of family, social, educational, and religious experiences, for the task he was to perform. Through all of life God was at work shaping and developing that one individual author--and I don't think it a stretch to include all the others as well. Understanding inspiration as applying to both the writer and the writing is crucial. Although it is the writer who is the object of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, as the writer puts ink to the parchment, the quality of divine inspiration is communicated to the writing as well.

That's the best I got, Todd. Work with me here.