Category Archives: Inerrancy/Inspiration

Just Ordered (and, Just Picked Up)

Indulge me a quick(ish) preface to this announcement of recent purchases. Today marks exactly one year since I stood before a room full of witnesses and made vows to my wife. I mention this firstly because it’s one of the more monumental moments in my life and secondly because it brings to mind something that we were told during out premarital counseling. The pastor who married us shared a story about how him and his wife have made it 40 years without impulse buying. They agreed that anything they wanted but hadn’t already planned for would be written down on a list in the kitchen and if they still wanted it after a day or two then they’d get it. He said that in all those years they never got anything off the list.

I’m not nearly as disciplined, but I have tried to implement that advice when and where possible. I share this anecdote because more than a week ago my buddy Michael Burgos started talking about getting a premium Bible. That sparked my interest and I began perusing evangelicalbible.com’s offerings. I found a couple that I liked but I determined that I wouldn’t get anything because I didn’t really need another Bible and I had no good reason to grab another at this moment in time. Well, after a week I still wanted one and I kept reading reviews, watching videos, and looking at pictures before finally deciding to pull the trigger.

I went with the Ocean Blue goatskin Crossway ESV Heirloom Legacy Bible. Now I’ve had an ESV Legacy before and I hated it. I ended up giving the thing away. It appears that this is an update and the major things that irked me are no more. I also went with this version because I had my heart set on blue (it really is quite striking!) and I’ve come to know and love single column texts over the years. As of late I read my Bible almost exclusively in my many Reader’s editions from Crossway. And though I haven’t handwritten anything in a Bible in quite a long time, this particular Bible has plenty of room in the margins and footer for note taking. I think I will pick the practice back up once I get it.

In addition to this premium Bible, my wife and I spent our first anniversary together out and about doing all manner of things. Our first stop was a Barnes & Noble for some Starbucks and book browsing. I ended up grabbing a copy of H. A. Guerber’s Classical Mythology for $7.98. I saw it the last time I was there and wanted to grab a copy but never did. I also opted to order a bunch of books from CBD’s Spring Sale before we went to see Death Wish, which was great, by the way! Here’s what I got from them:

The Structure of Sacred Doctrine in Calvin’s Theology

Translating the New Testament: Text, Translation, Theology

Rowan’s Rule: The Biography of the Archbishop of Canterbury

Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization*

The Age of the Spirit: How the Ghost of an Ancient Controversy Is Shaping the Church

What Did the Ancient Israelites Eat? Diet in Biblical Times

ESV Gospel of John, Reader’s Edition

Friends of Calvin

The Fourth Cup: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper and the Cross*

Abraham Kuyper: A Pictorial Biography

An Outline of New Testament Spirituality

Romans: Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scriptures*

Treasures Old and New: Essays in the Theology of the Pentateuch

The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass As Heaven On Earth*

At the Heart of the Gospel: Suffering in the Earliest Christian Message

Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church*

Qumran and Jerusalem: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the History of Judaism

The Gospel and The Mind: Recovering and Shaping the Intellectual Life

The Challenges of Cultural Discipleship: Essays in the Line of Abraham Kuyper

God Speaks: What He Says, What He Means

I got too many to link them all. Most of them ranged in price from $0.99 to $2.99. The notable exceptions are the volumes by Scott Hahn*, but I’m trying to get my hands on everything he’s ever written so I’m willing to pay the price for those. I’d love to say that this should hold me over for a while, and while it probably should, it definitely won’t. Until next time…

B”H

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Home Library/Office Tour

I wanted to do this for a while. I had some time today. One day I’ll get a good camera and give this thing some real production value.

B”H

Slight Overreaction

Okay, so here’s the situation. Stephen Young wrote an article on “Protective Strategies” in “Evangelical Inerrantist Scholarship” and Christopher Skinner predicted that responses would be forthcoming. Steve Hays then responded to the article. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I’m not familiar with either Young or Skinner. I’ve heard Skinner’s name in the blogosphere and on Twitter but I haven’t read any of his work or interacted with him personally. I’ve not heard of Young before this. Hays on the other hand I know (inasmuch as I can “know” someone whom I’ve never met in person). But we’ve interacted aplenty over the past few years.

I said all that to say this: I think that perhaps Skinner has overreacted to Hays’ response to Young. I haven’t read Young’s original article so I can’t comment on it. I have read Hays’ response and Skinner’s impressions of Hays’ response. I don’t know if Skinner has a personal or professional relationship with Young. He did call him a “very bright Ph.D. candidate” so at least he holds him in some regard. Hays on the other hand was unknown to Skinner before his response to Young’s article. But it becomes clear that he doesn’t hold Hays in nearly the same regard.

Skinner refers to Hays’ response as “rambling, mostly incoherent” as well as “ludicrous” and “disturbing.” He says that he “shudder[s] to point readers to [Hays’] site for fear that this poster will experience a rise in his daily stats and thereby believe that he is reaching the masses…” Again, I don’t know Skinner or his relationship to Young, but when I read this I wondered why he felt so incensed as to employ that kind of rhetoric. I assumed that he was simply taking up for a friend. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know.

But then I skimmed Skinner’s original post where he first mentions Young’s article and saw that he was “someone who once clung tightly to the trappings of the evangelical inerrantist subculture and ultimately found that narrative both deficient and oppressive…” He said that it was “empowering to have someone put a name to the ways in which this subculture continues to exercise its influence over the lives and beliefs of so many.” So Skinner has been affected, for the negative it seems, by Evangelical Inerrantist Scholarship. That helps to make sense of his rhetoric, which reads as someone lashing out against someone who has hurt them.

I didn’t discern anything incoherent, ludicrous, or even remotely disturbing in Hays’ response. It was all very well laid out and reasoned. That’s generally a mark of Hays’ writing. If I were to fault him on anything it would be the not too infrequent typographical errors that make their way into his posts. I’d also add that I was at once slightly amused and annoyed by Skinner’s comment that he didn’t want to spike Hays’ blog stats by linking to his post. Amused because Triablogue has been around for more than a decade and is one of the more popular blogs covering the subject matter it covers. Annoyed because it came off as hubristic.

In any event, read everyone involved and judge for yourselves.

B”H

A Conversation about KJV Onlyism

James White sat down with Steven Anderson for a couple of hours to discuss KJV Onlyism. I’m 40 minutes into the video and it’s astounding. To hear someone say that anyone who can’t understand the language of the KJV is probably not saved, or that the NIV is the word of God is probably not saved, is, to say the least, astonishing. I don’t know that I’ve ever described KJV Onlyism as a cult but I’m hard pressed to think of it as anything else based on what I’m seeing from Steven Anderson in this video. Give it a look and decide for yourself.

B”H

Lazy Errancy

Yesterday I inserted myself into a conversation between Lisa Robinson and Scott Lencke on Twitter concerning apparent contradictions/discrepancies in the Bible and the doctrine of inerrancy. It’s a hefty subject and Twitter doesn’t afford one the space to say all that they’d like, so I’m gonna share one my issues with the way discussions like this are generally carried out.

Scott’s main point of contention was that the Bible is a “library” in that it is a collection of books, so we shouldn’t be surprised or bothered when we find contradictions. Each author has his own thing to say and his own way of saying it. Scott says that he’s happy with contradictions/tensions because it means that he doesn’t have to “try & reconcile everything. [He] can freely, but not blindly, accept Scripture.”

That sounds nice and open and honest (I’ll leave the “blindly” part alone, which sounded a little condescending), but it also strikes me as a bit lazy, which I’ll explain below, and also somewhat humanistic in the sense that it focuses on the many human authors and doesn’t account for the one divine author. When I jumped into the conversation my point was that talking about contradictions in Scripture takes their existence for granted. Lisa brought up Article XIV of the Chicago Statement:

We affirm the unity and internal consistency of Scripture.

We deny that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved vitiate the truth claims of the Bible.

Scott said he didn’t like this point, presumably because it starts with the presupposition of inerrancy, and then seeks to reconcile apparent contradictions and discrepancies according to the understanding that Scripture is the word of God, and since God cannot err, neither can his word. But taking apparent contradictions as actual contradictions without at least trying to reconcile the discrepancies is to operate according to the same basic kind of presupposition, namely that Scripture is the words of different men, and since men can and do disagree, so can their words.

I don’t really care if one holds to inerrancy or not; but I’d like to see either position argued for. Simply assuming the existence of actual contradictions because some things seem contradictory is lazy. Not trying to reconcile apparent contradictions because the Bible has a bunch of human authors who can disagree if they want is lazy too. Take the time to see if there is a way to reconcile the problem and then draw your conclusion. If there’s  not then what have you lost? If there is then you’ve gained all the more.

B”H

Quote of the Day

Graeme Goldsworthy:

We believe the Bible to be the infallible word of God because the Bible itself tells us that this is the case. The immediate objection is that this is a circular argument — which of course it is! But is it really different from saying we know that God is God because he says he is? Can circularity be avoided and, if so, how? There are those who suggest it can be avoided merely by refusing to make assumptions, and by allowing the evidence to speak for itself. But this is to make another set of assumptions about what constitutes evidence and how it does speak for itself. If we refuse to start with the assumption that the Bible tells the truth in claiming to be God’s word, we must start with another assumption: that it does not or may not tell the truth and, therefore, it is not or may not be God’s word. If we seek to avoid the obvious circularity of this latter approach by saying that we must test the Bible by certain objectively neutral facts, then who determines what is neutral and which facts are applicable? In the end, it becomes human reason that judges what is reasonable evidence about the nature of the Bible. As soon as we admit this, then we see that it is a choice of two opposing circular arguments: one that assumes the ultimate authority of God and his word, and the other that assumes the ultimate authority of unaided human reason. We must examine these two positions more closely in pursuing the basis of valid interpretation of the Bible. Perhaps it will emerge that one position is really an exercise in futility in that it undermines itself by its own assumptions.

Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics, 32-33.

B”H

Logos Free Book of the Month

Logos’ free book of the month for February is The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 1: Revelation and Inspiration. Go here for more information.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to have this resource for Logos 4. I hold in my hand a copy of Warfield’s The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, which contains many, yet not all, of the chapters in the volume on offer from Logos. Aside from having additional content from Warfield, I’ll be able to search and copy much easier with the digital book than with the hard copy. That’s the one plus about ebooks.

B”H