WHY INERRANCY MATTERS IN PREACHING!

December 2, 2015

Dr. David Allen | Dean of the School of Theology
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

**This article was previously posted by Dr. David L. Allen on his website www.drdavidlallen.com and is used by permission. 

Dr. Allen is: Dean of the School of Theology, Professor of Preaching, Director of the Center for Expository Preaching, and George W. Truett Chair of Pastoral Ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Learn more about Dr. Allen, HERE.
Follow @DavidLAllen on Twitter HERE.
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Fifteen years ago, I wrote about the negative impact a low view of biblical authority, rejection of propositional communication, and the focus on creating an experience, had on preaching. (David L. Allen, “A Tale of Two Roads: Homiletics and Biblical Authority,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 43.3 [2000]: 489-515.)

For example, David Butrick, in A Captive Voice (1994) said: “There is no pure gospel; no, not even in the Bible.  To be blunt, the Christian Scriptures are both sexist and anti-Semitic” (75). He went on to state: “Insurance policy preaching, urging people to come find Jesus and ensure an eternal future, isn’t Christian at all; it is merely an appeal to narrow self-interest” (109).

No less shocking are the comments of Joseph Webb in his Preaching and the Challenge of Pluralism (1998). For him, the biblical text is in some ways more “ideological than theological”!  It needs to be probed in such a way that the preacher does not “let the text off the hook” with what it may appear to say on the surface. Webb said:

“One can ask the text to demonstrate its ideology…If this sounds somewhat devious, it is not…This is a way, however, that the preacher can, with honesty and integrity, analyze and evaluate a text, and shall we say, reject it—not “out of hand,” but “for cause.” Webb continued: “When one preaches this way…one’s preaching takes on a sparkle that instead of demeaning the Bible, will actually give the Bible a vitality that it can receive in no other way” (101-02). 

…Breathtaking.

Taking his queue from process sociology developed at the Chicago School of Sociology, Webb constructed his approach to pluralism and preaching. When we ask the question “what is the gospel?” we are forced, Webb says, to respond that there is no consensus concerning a single answer.  Traditionally, Christianity has been based on an absolute sense of the gospel.  This was, according to Webb, a mirage:

What we have believed, particularly about Jesus, we can continue to believe as a way to give spiritual meaning and substance to the lives we live.  We can even take our beliefs as ultimate for our own lives, as we choose to do.  But it is no longer tenable for us to assert our beliefs about Jesus—about divinity, about resurrection, about his being the only path to God—as final, complete, and unalterable for every human being everywhere (103-04).

Webb also suggests that although the prophetic model of preaching after the Hebrew prophets is no longer viable, prophetic preaching is still needed.  He redefines it as preaching in a pluralist vein which becomes a “call to uncertainty” (108). So much for Peter’s “more sure word of prophecy” in 2 Peter 1:19. Now we have “a more unsure word of prophecy.”

The last chapter of Ron Allen’s book Patterns of Preaching: A Sermon Sampler (1998) is entitled “Preaching in a Postmodern Perspective” and includes a sermon by John McClure on Philippians 2:5-11. McClure states that Christ emptied himself of his desire to use his power for domination; to use others for his own ends.  He further states that, being born in human likeness, “Jesus had no assurance that he could empty himself of these evil patterns of dominating power” (249-5o).

…   …   … I had to do a double take too when I first read it!  It would be difficult to imagine a more convoluted Christology resulting from such a low view of biblical authority.

In matters theologically and homiletically, what we believe about the inerrancy of Scripture matters. All we know of Jesus is found in Scripture.  We are face to face with the living Word, Jesus, when we are confronted with His written Word (the Scriptures) because knowledge of Christ and His salvation does not come apart from Scriptural revelation and textual mediation, but through it!

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dr. james willingham

Clearly, one of the reasons the leftist in theology is losing the battle theologically has been the low view of inerrancy which they have set forth. Did I say, low view? A better description would be no view. In short, the Book according to much of that ilk really has nothing to say. However, one wonders just how Scripture has maintained itself for 2000 years, commanding the respect and affection of so many across so many years and bringing about changes in lives, individually and collectively. One of the interesting things about my experience in my four years at SEBTS, when it was the “most liberal seminary in the Southern Baptist Convention,” an expression I heard in Missouri in the sixties and again at my graduation with the M.Div. from the baccalaureate speaker, was that the faculty under whom I studied were ill prepared for an intellectual look at the Bible from the premise of it being inspired by an omniscient god and that therefore it ought to reflect the depth of wisdom commensurate with such a source. My approach made for some interesting experiences, with which I will not bore the readers at this time.

there is also a similar problem with those who have full confidence in the Scripture. Due to the influence of Pietism and emotionalism, they have simple failed to realize the very rational nature of Holy Scripture. The word of God written is so rational that it even uses the word logical in Roms.12:1 (reasonable or rational are but translations of the term used for logical. One could almost transliterate the sound of the word in the logical realm. However, the real problem we have is with the profundity of the wisdom stated in simple terms. The ideas can at times be so glaring, so outré, and even repulsive that one will often deny the thought expressed…even when there can be no doubt about the words.

Scott Shaver

Somebody needs to clarify “inerrancy”. The political leverage misapplication of the term during CR and following requires a basic definition of what is taken for granted and what is not when handling the texts. What tools are allowed for resolving “problematic” passages or harmonies of Synoptic gospels?
Don’t use it (inerrancy) as a safety-release valve for not addressing legitimate textual questions or comparisons.

Les

Maybe this will help. From the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, A Short Statement.

“1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to re-
veal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.
2. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it 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.
3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.
5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.”

Further in the statement,

“Since God has nowhere promised an inerrant transmission of Scripture, it is necessary to affirm that only the autographic text of the original documents was inspired and to maintain the need of textual criticism as a means of detecting any slips that may have crept into the text in the course of its transmis- sion. The verdict of this science, however, is that the Hebrew and Greek text appear to be amazingly well preserved, so that”we are amply justified in affirming, with the Westminster Confession, a singular providence of God in this matter and in declaring that the authority of Scripture is in no way jeopardized by the fact that the copies we possess are not entirely error-free.”

This post by Dr. Allen is a much needed reminder.

SDG!

    Scott shaver

    No original autographs and consequently no proof of what is or is not contained therein. High-briefed religious speculation.
    I’ll go with what Scripture says about itself… Thank you.

      Andy

      I’m curious, Scott: If there is NO PROOF of what is or is not contained in the original autographs, if it is in fact mere speculation, how do you know the version of scripture that you are “going with” has any relation to what Peter & Paul wrote?

      I wouldn’t say there’s no proof of what is contained in them. Nobody says there’s “NO PROOF” about what is contained in Homer’s iliad, despite the lack of an authoritative original. In fact there is WAY MORE manuscript evidence for the Bible, with LESS variance between the manuscripts than other ancient writings.

      I will agree that inerrancy ALWAYS needs defining…as I have heard from a scholar who interacted with some “innerantists” on this issue, and after discussion, they discovered their views were nearly identical…the only difference being that one did not use the word “inerrant” to describe his view, and the others did.

        Lydia

        “I’m curious, Scott: If there is NO PROOF of what is or is not contained in the original autographs, if it is in fact mere speculation, how do you know the version of scripture that you are “going with” has any relation to what Peter & Paul wrote?”

        What about all those centuries that illiterates could not read it and depended on the corrupt Priests to tell them? What about those places where it was illegal to read? Is there no Holy Spirit to provide wisdom and guidance?

          Steven

          Lydia writes,
          how do you know the version of scripture that you are “going with” has any relation to what Peter & Paul wrote?”

          You can read the full statement with exposition here: http://www.bible-researcher.com/chicago1.html

          By the way, the Statement honors the character and Divine Author of the Bible, it has been formulated to be used (1) by apologist to defend the supernatural inspiration of the Bible against those who suppress the truth,
          like those on this thread who have not discerned the ordo salutis from the Word of God. (2) and to give growth in the knowledge of the Truth for God’s Elect.
          I would not be so cavalier for my soul to discourage others from reading this document before reading the entire Statement
          yourself.

          Lydia writes,
          What about all those centuries that illiterates could not read it and depended on the corrupt Priests to tell them? What about those places where it was illegal to read? Is there no Holy Spirit to provide wisdom and guidance?

          Well, for one thing, the illiterates were not able to defend the true Gospel because it was not in the hands of the Catholics.

          Secondly, that is why God’s hand in the Reformation began to bring ‘His Word’ to all peoples.
          Out of the hands of the false gospel proponents.

          Thirdly, the Chicago Statement of Inerrancy is signed by men who have the Holy Spirit residing in them, so to say,Is ‘there no Holy Spirit to provide wisdom and guidance’, is not understanding being born of God.

          I would definitely describe those who signed the ‘ “traditional Southern Baptist” of soteriology Statement’ lack
          wisdom and guidance by the Holy Spirit.
          All Glory to God alone

            Steven

            Correction
            Steven writes,
            Well, for one thing, the illiterates were not able to defend the true Gospel because it was not in the hands of the Catholics.

            Should have said,
            Well, for one thing, the illiterates were not able to defend the true Gospel because they could not read, that is why they were read to.

              Scott Shaver

              Would love to see the look on Steven’s face one day when he’s bumping into Catholics in heaven.

            Lydia

            So the illiterates were not worthy of the in dwelling Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance, in your view?

            I am partial to the Radical Reformers, myself.

        Scott Shaver

        Don’t need proof Andy. Don’t need the autographs or educated speculation about what they might or might not contain.

        The integrity of scripture is a faith-based comittment and not merely an intelletual excercise of affirmation toward an exclusionary man-made statement.

        Why can’t the testimony of Scripture as to its own nature and efficacy be sufficient? I say it’s because there is the kind of mentality out there that does not believe God can accomplish His work apart from from human interjection, moderation and explanation (i.e. written statements and confessions).

        The whole “inerrancy” ruse in the SBC was primarily for the purpose of slandering and gaining political control of the denomination. A real “crock” if you ask me.

          dr. james willingham

          What a lot of baloney Scott. The leaders you condemn might have latched on to the issue for their own purposes, but the truth is that the Moderates had their own agenda, too. And they were just as hard nosed and hard to live with. I was converted from atheism 58 years ago (it will be tomorrow, Dec.7), and a few years letter a Moderate told me I was ignorant for believing in the Virgin Birth. The same was repeated by another Moderate a about four or five years after that. In seminary, I persuaded one conservative to apologize to our leading German theology, because the student had attacked his personality and not his theology. Hardly a scholarly thing to do. In any case, such efforts made little or no impression on the Moderates who in later years would do their best to get me fired from my church (eventually succeeding). There is more, but perhaps this little bit will serve to indicate that both sides were wanting in their conduct over differences. As to the inspiration. Our Lord clearly accepted it as verbal (word inspired), and the writers described it as pure gold, a comment pointing to the purity (inerrancy) of scripture.

            Scott Shaver

            Sell it to the aliens, space invaders and realms yet to conquer there Dr. Willingham.

            Your cry of “baloney” is indication in itself that the truth stings a little.

            If the “moderates” had their own agenda, as you say, too bad we didn’t get to see it play out and compare if the bottom line might be …more encouraging at present.

              dr. james willingham

              You trying to be funny, Scott? It does tend to make me laugh, because I have encountered some experts who could really make a word sting. Sadly, you don’t even get close. And for your information the Moderates were in so much control that even W.A. Criswell took note, commenting on how they controlled the appointments, etc.

                Scott Shaver

                Like lot of self confident preachers of his day, James, Criswell changed his mind publicly more than once about how God does and doesn’t work. By the way, my response to your claim of “baloney” leaves me with no desire to be funny with either you or any touted “expert” you care to toss out for chum.
                In today’s SBC, even old Criswell would be labeled a “skunk” by his own (later recanted/revised) definition of terms.
                Perhaps your memory of recent decades of Baptist history is failing?

                  dr. james willingham

                  Seems like your memory is not much better.

                    Scott Shaver

                    At least my memory is closer to accurate James.

                    dr. james willingham

                    Now, now, Scott, let us not fall into the pit of thinking our memories are all that good. After all, only God is omniscient. Turn your 57 around, and you will have my age beginning 12-30. I have a bit more experience and, I think, a whole lot more education than you my friend, based only on what your remarks indicate. Seems like you are in Moderates or Liberals camp.

                    Scott Shaver

                    James, your professed maturity and educational level is the bottom line in a spiritual watermelon seed spitting contest. Now you want to emphasize and compare curriculum vitae. And I’m the one being “childish”?
                    Okay, if that’s the way u want to play, do not pose another question to me unless you use the title Doctor in your address.
                    Personally, I abandoned titles years ago as an individual act of devotion.

                    dr. james willingham

                    Dear Dr. Scott: I have no problem in using the title of doctor for you, if that is what you want. I use the title in mine, because one fellow got upset with those who did not use it, thinking they were trying to hide something. As to being childish, I am comfortable with the fact that I have entered my second as some call it. And if your age is 57, you will be there shortly. Welcome to the club, brother. And remember being acidic has a deleterious effect on one’s digestive tract. Sorry we seem to be off on the wrong foot together. I congratulate you on having caught up with me and surpassed me in the spiritual and intellectual realm, a remarkable feat to be sure.

                    Andy

                    I prefer to be addressed as “Bishop” Andy, then!

                    dr. james willingham

                    How about my addressing you as elder?

                    Scott Shaver

                    Like I said James, I have little use for titles and it matters even less what people “call” me.

                    “Scott” generally works fine.

                    I thought you were the one needing to review credentials (academic and otherwise).

                    Call me when it’s time to eat by any name, title, you choose.

                    Beyond that

                    dr, james willingham

                    Scott: Why should I need them> I have the credentials, for whatever they are worth. I told you why I used them. Some folks seem to think you are hiding something, when you do not reveal that part of your background. By the way, what is your background? After all, one can click on my tulip picture and get the info., but one cannot get yours. If you wish to think that I rely on such, I would simply note that I wrote a thesis on The Baptists and Ministerial Qualifications:1750-1850 in which I made reference to the biblical nature of the spiritual gift of ministry and to the biblical requirement to study. Clearly, reliance on the gift and biblical study is required. Our problem is what an old Puritan said, namely, perspicuity or clarity as we would likely call it. The Bible’s clarity is like the mountain stream on which a friend of mine once fished. He thought it was only 2-3 feet deep and, intending to go to the other side, he stepped off into it and nearly drown. He said he could see the grains of sand rolling along the Bible, but he failed to allow for the magnifying power of the clear water. Our problem is similar. The Book is clear, for the most part. However, its depth is reflective of the omniscience of the one who inspired it. The intellectual nature of Scripture is noted by its use of rational or reasonable thought, e.g., in Roms.12:1 the term for reasonable service (KJV) could almost be transliterated logical. Any way, just saying.

                    dr. james willingham

                    O, I forgot to add that I addressed you as doctor as that is what you called for. My use has nothing to do with the need to be doctored. Only to let them folks know that I am not concealing anything by not using it. I once got some complaints over it and I also had one fellow who commented that he was glad I used it as some folks sought to conceal their degrees in order to have an advantage. Ain’t too sure what the advantage would be one way or the other.One can please some of the of the people all the time and all of the people some of the time, but one can’t please all the people all the time.

                    Scott Shaver

                    James:

                    Your obsession with titles and academia coupled with your using titles because “someone got mad at you for not using” sounds like a personal problem with putting too much stock and capital in what other’s think.
                    I suggest you jettison the titles and start dealing with people like people instead of bibliographies.
                    Outside the class room nobody really wears bow ties or gives a rip about titles except the guy or gal who likes flashing their credentials. Primarily an ego thing.

                    Lot of phooey if you ask me..

                    dr. james willingham

                    Dear Scott: Please set me an example of dealing with people as people. Your judgment without knowing me as having an obsession with degrees and dealing with people as bibliographies is remarkable for being made with a lack of knowledge concerning me or my life. I dare say some of the other folks who write on this blog might feel that you are wanting in being able to make true judgments. You will remember, no doubt, that the Bible has something to say about judging not according to appearances. One is to judge righteous judgment. You seem to claim to be biblical and yet you do not render deference to the word of God written as any standard for what you say. Your whole approach makes me want to ask: Is this fellow for real? Is he aware of the standards for making judgments? Tell us where you are coming from, Scott. Tell us.

                    Scott Shaver

                    James, you want to know where I “come from” ?

                    I hail originally from Shreveport LA, coming to you via The Woodlands TX :)

                    I’m not the subject of this thread. Inerrancy is.

                    dr. james willingham

                    Dear Scott: I am from Arkansas (northeast corner, Clay County) via a number of other places, last Timberlake, NC. I once preached in Shreveport at a TB hospital with a team from ETBC back in ‘58,59. Attended there once year. Seems most of the bloggers take side trips and chase rabbits, a habit with preachers, I fear. Why not get to know one another; it is one way to stop the problems (although some folks will use it to exacerbate a situation). I laugh, when I think of Mrs. Criswell blaming Hershel Hobbs for ruing her wedding by fighting (he was trying to keep Carl Bates from messing up W.A.’s car for the honeymoon trip) (it is in Hobb’s biography, if memory serves correctly). As to inerrancy, the problems of our personalities influence our perception of doctrines as well as the doctrines influencing our personalities. And then there is God’s purpose in the encounter between the truth and the individual. Our Lord knows what He is doing. Having had many horrendous things happen to me in my life time (not saying mine are worse than others. In fact, I know of others who have had it far more difficult than I did), I take with all seriousness the idea that our disappointments are His appointments. You know like Joseph, Job, and others. Orthodoxy, that is, biblical orthodoxy, is a dynamic, dramatic, driving force which, like leaven, is slowly beginning to change the whole world, preparing the peoples of the earth to come to the worship of Christ. And all of it by persuasion. People can be persuaded of some things and yet reject others, like kids on a school playground arguing the rules for some game. Inerrancy is a key issue. Persuasion, not manipulation, is another. Most folks miss that concept. They are so bent on winning that they will use any means to get a victory, not realizing that they lose when they do. I have been praying for a Third Great Awakening, since 1973, ever since I preached to the Pastors Prayer Meeting of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association on the subject of A Great Awakening. The Bible is one of the key issues in the First and Second Great Awakenings, and, in turn, I think it is for the awakening which shall come that is the beginning of many more, even a thousand generations and reaching many of the planets of the starry Heaven (Mt.24:31)

            Scott Shaver

            “Pure gold” is the linguistic equivalent of “inerrancy” in the biblical language James Willingham?

            I don’t think so.

              dr. james willingham

              Okay Scott. How about silver as in Ps.12:6:””The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times?”(ESV)

                Scott Shaver

                How about “silver” in Ps 12.6? James asks?

                What about it James? You are certainly free to read any meaning into scripture your heart or motives desire. If “silver” and “gold” meaning “inerrancy” in the 21st century academic sense works for you, by all means run with it.

                I don’t believe the biblical writers in their original context were primarily concerned about arguments over “inerrancy” that would occur thousands of years down the road by guys who spend more time in libraries than in the real world. I believe the biblical writers were convinced of the “integrity” of the law and the prophets and were primarily concerned with recording God’s self-disclosure in human history and presenting Jesus as God’s propitiation for the curse and penalty of human sin.

                James, there are other passages, especially in the New Testament, which are much more specific in their address of the eternal intergrity of scripture than these you’ve hand-picked. Why don’t you just simply pick the passages which speak to the integrity/inspiration/preservation of the text?

                  dr. james willingham

                  Clearly, Scott, you know little or nothing about metaphorical language and analogical reasoning.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Beg to differ James.

                    Actually, you don’t know “jack” about what I know or don’t know my friend.

                    Don’t give yourself credit for being more discerning that you are in actual fact.

                    dr. james willingham

                    Tsk! Scott. I was merely responding to your own undiscerning remarks on the issue.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Free-reign metaphorical language and analogy in the hands of moderns is exactly what I worry about James.

                    dr.james willingham

                    My, my, Scott. the metaphors of gold and silver are from the word of God written, and I would be careful not to speak so sharply on something God has seen fit to get recorded in His written word about the nature of it. Obviously, silver refined in the fire seven times is silver of the highest degree of purity, and, if the Scripture is pure to such a degree, it would seem that inerrancy would be implies to say the least. And there is more that could be said about that issue.

                    Scott Shaver

                    My problem is not with the biblical writers use of metaphorical language… nor analogical reasoning.

                    Your problem, James, seems to be with my question or rejection of your particular assignment of meaning to certain metaphors or conclusions drawn from your personal analyses (i.e. reason).

                    I reject that you are “inerrant” or “infallible”. Not Scripture, to be clear.

                    dr. james willingham

                    Dear Dr. Scott: I have many friends who believe from long years of experience and knowledge of my life and ministry that I not only believe inerrancy and infallibility but preach them. I even have a son in the ministry, and I am sure he would be glad to let you know from his lifetime of dealing with me that that is precisely what I believe and what he believes. But then I see you that apparently you do not believe the Bible teaches any such truths. Is that correct?

                  Jon Estes

                  “Actually, you don’t know “jack” about what I know or don’t know my friend.”

                  Yet, you freely, and oh so often, speak as if you know what everyone else knows or doesn’t know.

                  “Don’t give yourself credit for being more discerning that you are in actual fact.”

                  A good lesson for all to learn, even you my brother.

                    Andy

                    SCOTT SAYS: “I reject that you are “inerrant” or “infallible”. Not Scripture, to be clear.”

                    –> So Scott has come out of the closet in favor of an inerrant Scripture! And all this time I though he was disagreeing with inerrancy! :-)

                    dr. james willingham

                    Thank you, Jon. I could not have said it better myself.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Who said we were “Brothers” Jon Estes.

                    I doubt I would pass your qualifying criteria :0

                    Scott Shaver

                    “Brother”?

          Donald

          Having “been there” I can tell you it was no ruse. There were many issues with the heresy that was being taught as fact on SBC campuses, but the nature of Scripture was the one central issue that we could all gather around to rescue the SBC entities. The key being that almost everyone sitting in the pews held a high view of the Bible and really just needed to be made aware of what has happening at the institutions they were supporting.

          If you look back, all primary sources confirm that the great divide was on the nature of Scripture. There were some negative accusations (which you often repeat) that are mere supposition that cannot be backed by anyone who knew the men that were accused.

          For nearly the whole story, Author James C. Hefley was there as an eyewitness and penned a five-volume series as developments occurred. He literally provides a step-by-step account. (The Truth in Crises series available on Amazon).

          Paige Patterson wrote “Anatomy of a Reformation” to show his thoughts from the very beginning. (free pdf download)

          “Once There Was a Camelot”: Women Doctoral Graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1982-1992 speaks from the side of the intellectual left.

            dr. james willingham

            Well, I was there, attending my first convention in 1959 or 61, present and voting at the one in ’63, involved in meetings in Missouri that sought to deal with the Ralph Elliott Issue, and one throughout the 70s and 80s, plus reading the materials available. I have Hefley’s works, with the exception of one volume. And if you don’t think the folks on the Conservative side have an agenda, just hang on to your hat for the ride they are about to take us on. Have you considered what the restructuring and reorganization involves? Have you considered that there might be a conservative side to some of the issues mentioned by Doctor Allen above, i.e., the women in ministry issue like Martha Stearns Marshall being an eldress in the 1700s and instrumental in winning the first convert in Georgia. Not all are leftists. The Bible, verbally inspired, inerrant, and infallible presents a problem for its readers, namely, the problem of perspicuity or clarity. Because it is so clear and simple, we think we surely understand it , but there are depths to clarity that we cannot discern until God opens our eyes. As to the mistreatment, due, in part, no doubt, to the nature of our structural organizations today, the abuses of mistreatment continue. Just get cross wise of some of our fine leaders and you will find out.

              Scott Shaver

              What was done to Ralph Elliott is black mark on Christianity and an especially BIG BLACK MARK on some folks still sitting in SBC leadership positions.

              If you were among those denigrating the integrity of Ralph Elliot back in the day, Dr. Willingham, I certainly wouldn’t trust you with my own spiritual welfare.

                dr. james willingham

                And what was done to Conservatives was just as big a black mark on Moderates as what was done to Conservatives. Never said anything about denigrating Ralph Elliott. My point was disagreement with his theology and methodology. The fellow at SEBTS whom I got to apologize for our resident theolog for attacking his personality wound up getting out of the BFM group due to the fact that they seem to have little regard for integrity. And if you jump so readily at someone, when you don’t know them or where they are coming from or what they have done, why should anyone trust you? But I trust that you are simply not thinking or perhaps you are young.

                  Scott Shaver

                  If 57 is “young”, James, I’m further convinced your historical recall is failing.

                    Scott Dhaver

                    I am “thinking” James, much to your chagrin not like you would have me think and God be praised for that.

                    dr. james willingham

                    Some people, Scott, never grow up at all.

                  Scott Shaver

                  Are you talking about “conservatives” on the Fundamentalist side or “conservatives” on the Moderate side there James Willingham?

                    dr. james willingham

                    No, Scott, I am simply talking about keeping our conduct within the bounds set by our Lord. Behold how the Pharisees (the Fundamentalists of their day) and Sadducees (the Liberals of their day) could all act like jerks, but they also got together and crucified our Lord. Such conduct suggests at the very least that they had little understanding of how theology actually works, when the Lord is truly in charge. There is nothing like high jacking the Lord’s cause for one’s own purposes.

              Jim P

              There is two kind of wisdoms being portrayed here:

              The kind of wisdom James 3:15 is describing.
              The kind of wisdom James 3:17 is describing.

                dr. james willingham

                I think you are right, Jim P. As to which one is expressing it is up to the reader to discern. If both Scott and I believe in inerrancy, what is he saying? The metaphoric language to which I referred is what one would expect from writers trained in the use of that kind of language. Additionally, writers like Gaussen, Packer (I think, but it has been years since I looked at his, Fundamentalism and the Word of God), and others that I have in my library have regarded the metaphors as pointing to purity of the written word of God, i.e., its inerrancy.

                  Scott Shaver

                  “Inerrancy” James Willingham?

                  Tell me….with your confidence in inerrancy, whether the Calvinist view of a deterministic god or the perspective of free-will is the more “inerrant” position.

                  Speak up.

                    dr. james willingham

                    My, Scott, you do seem to be a bit over wrought about something. Could it be that you have lost all faith? Well, we trust not. In any case, at the risk of being simplistic, I will say that I hold to Sovereign Grace predestination (leaving the determinism to the philosophers and psychologists where it belongs) as that is what the meaning of the words present) and free agency (which means man can do whatever his nature desires – for the most part. However, if he desires to make like Jonathan Livingston Seagull and fly off a seventy story building….Well, I leave the results to your imagination). What most folks seem to forget is that God thought of therapeutic paradoxes and shock therapy long before our modern writers came to such understanding. He also knew something about tensions produced in the human mind by apparently contradictory terms (I say apparently). Such tension enables the believer to be balanced, flexible, creative, constant, and magnetic.

                  Scott Shaver

                  One parting question before I end this maddening exchange James.

                  What have the wranglings, writings, declaration and denunciations over “inerrancy” and the definitions thereof done to unify and solidify Christian fellowship and endeavor within local churches and within the Southern Baptist Convention at large over last…say twenty to thirty years?

                  I see more aberrant ecclesiology if not theology than I ever did prior the “battle over the bible”.

            Scott Shaver

            Was there myself as well Donald, in living, breathing color.

            The “Great Divide” was the denominational and professional aspirations of guys like Patterson, Pressler and Mohler

            IT WAS A RUSE. STILL IS. And still contributes nothing to the health and vitality of what’s left of the denomination.

              Donald

              Scott,

              Ralph Elliot’s 1992 book “The “Genesis Controversy” and Continuity in Southern Baptist Chaos: A Eulogy for a Great Tradition” is also well worth reading on this subject and will likewise confirm that the great divide was the nature of Scripture. I do wonder at how easily you surmise the motivations of men and pronounce them as fact. You might want to look up what the Bible says about that sort of stuff.

                Scott Shaver

                Rather than look up at your behest, Donald, what the Bible says about my shortcomings, I’d rather see it used for a solvent to tenderize your head :)

                  Donald

                  Yes, I missed this reply. You are a very unpleasant individual.

                    Scott Shaver

                    AS are you, Donald, my friend.

            Lydia

            “you look back, all primary sources confirm that the great divide was on the nature of Scripture.”

            Still is. Non Cals are the new liberals. Remember, the Cals insisted they had to recover the ‘True gospel” for the SBC.

              Donald

              Lydia,
              It does feel like they have taken some of the analysis from “Anatomy of a Reformation” and are using them against us.

                Scott Shaver

                Here we go with the “I believe the Bible harder than you do” approach Donald? May work with seminary students and such, not with me. Does such diatribe make u feel like a stalwart defender of the faith?

                  Donald

                  Scott, what in the world are you talking about? How can you possibly get “Here we go with the “I believe the Bible harder than you do” approach from anything I said?!?

                  Perhaps you were responding to something someone else said?

                    Scott Shaver

                    Play the bewildered innocent now Donald. You know exactly what I’m talking about and why I responded the way I did, If you truly do not, perhaps others on this thread can go back and interpret the meanings of your posts for you. If you want to traffic in condescension and barbed rhetoric, I’m sure I’m up for the challenge.

                    Donald

                    No answer is the answer. I have not been condescending and have not used barbed rhetoric. Show me to be wrong if you can!

                    I have meant exactly what I have said and nothing needs “interpretation”. You continue to declare untrue accusations about people’s motivations and your handling of my words proves the point. You are obviously very angry, but your anger does not make your lies true.

                    Donald

                    Scott said “You know exactly what I’m talking about”

                    Why don’t you stop with these little games and say what you mean.

              Scott Shaver

              BINGO LYDIA!

              “Still is. Non Cals are the new liberals”……resistant to the “true gospel”.

              Dividing curiously right along Cal and Non Cal lines. That’s the way the game is played. “Innerrancy?”……Please.

    Steven

    Thank you, Les for posting this Statement.
    Here are the signers of this God honoring Statement,
    http://library.dts.edu/Pages/TL/Special/ICBI_1_typed.pdf
    All Glory to God

Jim P

Inerrancy can become an inflated word used to protect a comfort-zone of those who lack the motivation and/or ‘will’ for hard work to ‘rightly dividing the word of truth.’ If that is the case then again 2 Tim. 2:15 is painful reminder to find the ‘will’ if we are going ‘seek God’s approval’ and not ‘man’s.’

D. Morgan

Galatians 1:9New King James Version (NKJV)

9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

    Les

    D. Morgan,

    We can all say amen!!

    SDG!

Scott shaver

Another man-made statement ( rejected by many Christians) and the old familiar platitudes but still no substantive suggestion as to meaning or tools of interpretation.

    Donald

    If you’re really interested (and I’m sorta betting you’re not) check out these free videos courtesy of SEBTS. Hermeneutics by Danny Akin

      Scott Shaver

      Aikin is a shill for the SBC seminary presidents and entities.

      I wouldn’t expect a clear definition from him any more than I would Paige Patterson. You’re right, Donald, I’m not interested. Have heard everything SBC leaders have said and written on the subject over the last 20 years and have no more confidence in the sincerity or accuracy of their conclusions than Sponge Bob Squarepants writing on the theory of relativity.

        Lydia

        Akin was promoting Mark Driscoll not so long ago. That tells me all I need to know.

          Donald

          Lydia, you do have a point. That being said, his Hermeneutics class is solid and any Traditionalist would be very comfortable there.

            Lydia

            “Lydia, you do have a point. That being said, his Hermeneutics class is solid and any Traditionalist would be very comfortable there.”

            Because I do not separate doctrine and behavior. I think our beliefs should drive our behavior. It is what makes us trustworthy people…. or not. Many of us knew what a charlatan Driscoll was back in 2009. But Akin didn’t? It was obvious to anyone who actually paid attention. Yet many of our leaders got into bed with him and partnered on HIS influencing a whole brand called Acts 29 that the SBC gave money to start such Driscoll influenced churches. Same with Mahaney and so on. Did solid hermeneutics cause Matt Chandler to not only support Driscoll but implement a brand of church discipline that insisted a young women stay married to a missionary pedophile? How does inerrancy square with that?

            So how come his “solid hermeneutic teaching” did not inform Akin? Because there is no wisdom of the Holy Spirit involved? Do you still not see the problem with inerrancy?

              Donald

              I do not see the problem with inerrancy, but do see your point on Akin.

        Donald

        No surprises with your answer. Aside from your obvious personal bias against the CR, what is your beef with the idea of inerrancy?

          Scott Shaver

          A good bias to have, I might add.

          Would probably serve some Non-Cals (still trying to play ball in the SBC) good to review the CR playbook. Looks like they’re on deck :)

            Scott Shaver

            In addition to Reasons Why Inerrancy Matters in Preaching, would be interesting to read something on Why Inerrancy Matters in Southern Baptist Power Politics.

            At least such an expose might give us clearer definitions of all the interchangeable code words, meanings and curses associated with the term.

            Donald

            Scott, you’re not making a whole lot of sense to me and seem to just be lashing out from some grudge. Let’s assume that’s not true and why don’t you tell me the brief version of your story?

              Scott Shaver

              Donald:

              I’m not in the least surprised that I’m not “making a lot of sense to you”.

              Would you like me to lie down on a couch or something while telling you my story? Are you a shade-tree psychiatrist as well as an expert on all things theological?

              My “story” is similar to that of countless others who viewed and witnessed first-hand the lies and slander committed by arrogant men against thousands of Christian servants over the ruse of “Southern Baptists and inerrancy”. Why don’t you talk about such things to the families of Russell Dilday, Roy Honeycutt, Ralph Elliot, Larry Baker, Richard Jackson, Paul Robertson, Fisher Humphreys etc.

              List is almost endless. Your calvinist counterparts will likely have guys like you added to the list before they’re finished.

              At least some of us can take comfort in that. :0

              Lydia

              Donald, when the current crop of YRR turn 60 ( the followers) they will be saying much the same. The SBC had lost the True Gospel and it is a good thing our people got control of the entities. Or some variation.

              That is how these movements work. The folowers are the “true believers” in the leaders message. The leaders just want power and lots of followers.

              What confuses me now is a discussion on inerrancy when we have a huge free will/deterministic Jesus Christ divide. Which one is inerrant?

                Scott Shaver

                Very good question Lydia.

                If I were a betting man I lay odds right now with Cals posturing inerrancy as the open gate for determinism with Non-Cals taking it on the chin over free will and being forced (confessionally) to reinterpret JN 3:16 if they want to stay…..”IN”?

              Scott Shaver

              You say I have a “grudge”, Donald?

              I prefer to think of it as clear, unaltered remembrance :)

                Andy

                Hey Scott, you should read up on modern memory research…it seams that each time we recall an old memory, it changes a bit. Makes for very interesting reading.

                  Lydia

                  “Hey Scott, you should read up on modern memory research…it seams that each time we recall an old memory, it changes a bit. Makes for very interesting reading.”

                  Some of the change is due to clearer understanding, actual information pertaining to WHY certain events or behaviors took place that one did not have at the time, wisdom, etc.

                  Scott Shaver

                  Really Andy:

                  Wonder what the state of “modern memory research” and its conclusions will be 10 years from now.

                    Andy

                    I’m just saying I don’t even give MYSELF the benefit of thinking I have “clear, unadulterated remembrance” of things that happened years ago. Careful research into the reliability of eye-witness testimony reveals this, People remember the same event differently.

                    dr, james willingham

                    Dear Andy: Scott does seem to be suffering from a bit of omniscience, but he ignores that which questions his all-knowing disposition.

                Donald

                I said you “seem” to have a grudge. So much for clear remembrance….lol

Lydia

“No, Scott, I am simply talking about keeping our conduct within the bounds set by our Lord”

If that is the case, how do you explain the current crop of Calvinists and their fellow travellers who are descendents of the CR. They have partnered with such as Mahaney and Driscoll, introduced controlling membership covenents with power to a few and decieved many. If we are talking behavior let’s get to the meat. It seems rather shallow to rebuke Scott in light of the aggressive and decietful behaviors we have seen. Unless of course you believe Jesus approves. Many do believe that. That is the problem.

Andrew Barker

James Wilingham: “My, my, Scott. the metaphors of gold and silver are from the word of God written, and I would be careful not to speak so sharply on something God has seen fit to get recorded in His written word about the nature of it.”

The metaphors do indeed appear in God’s word. The interpretation does not belong to you personally though. They way you speak, the word of God has to mean exactly what ‘you’ think it means!

“Obviously, silver refined in the fire seven times is silver of the highest degree of purity, and, if the Scripture is pure to such a degree, it would seem that inerrancy would be implies to say the least.”

I find people who use the word ‘obviously’ are quite obviously trying to cover up the fact that they do not have any real evidence for what they say. In effect they are trying to bluff their way to getting you to agree with their point of view. This is obviously the case with the metaphor of silver. It’s obvious it means inerrancy?!

“And there is more that could be said about that issue.”

Agreed, but you’ve got to do more to support your position. Not just simply stating that what you say is correct, de facto!!

Lydia

“> So Scott has come out of the closet in favor of an inerrant Scripture! And all this time I though he was disagreeing with inerrancy! :-)”

Why? Most believe their interpretation is “inerrant”. At that point the debate becomes about who has the better gurus. The more famous( or ” traditional” as in confessions) they are, the more inerrant they are. You don’t need closets for this stuff. :o)

    Scott Shaver

    BINGO AGAIN Lydia.

    Couldn’t agree more.

    dr. james willingham

    Dear Lydia: It is true that many fall into the trap of thinking their interpretation is inerrant, but God has a way of correct His children, and they soon learn the hard way that they a have erred in their understanding of what He is saying. Basically, we are corrected by the actually meaning of the words (derived from the meaning of the words as provided by biblical usage and word studies) and comparing Scripture with Scripture. We might also add that the Bible often provides illustrations of the meaning of words in the lives of God’s people recorded in Holy Writ.

Lydia

“Dear Lydia: It is true that many fall into the trap of thinking their interpretation is inerrant, but God has a way of correct His children, and they soon learn the hard way that they a have erred in their understanding of what He is saying. Basically, we are corrected by the actually meaning of the words (derived from the meaning of the words as provided by biblical usage and word studies) and comparing Scripture with Scripture. We might also add that the Bible often provides illustrations of the meaning of words in the lives of God’s people recorded in Holy Writ.”

You mean like the Holy Spirit? I am not convinced the current crop coming out of our seminaries believe John and Jane pew sitter have the ability to discern such. And sadly they are able to convince them they need a human mediator who has the ‘keys” . In the meantime, if what you say is true across the board wouldn’t we see better behavior from our current crop of theological gurus?

    Scott Shaver

    Lydia:

    We may never know exactly what some of these guys mean in a given context by “belief in inerrancy”, but we DO KNOW that it doesn’t necessarily involve ethical behavior.

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