Whatever problems the evangelical view may create, it commendably upholds the inspiration and revelation-status of Scripture. This recognition keeps faith with the witness of Scripture itself, and with the historic Christian confidence in the Bible.

A Fairer Hearing

For many years misunderstood and often misrepresented, the evangelical view today seems to be evaluated more objectively and temperately. No doubt the evangelical position is still deplored in some circles as anti-intellectual, in much the same spirit as a generation ago some groups disparaged and dismissed original sin, the atonement and other realities that now once again are lively centers of theological interest. The recent volume Fundamentalism and the Church by Gabriel Hebert reveals that the old innuendos about “bibliolatry” and “mechanical dictation” are not gone, but failure to stigmatize fundamentalism with a mechanical and naive literalist view of inspiration is increasingly evident. Fundamentalists have long been unable to recognize their own view in such attacks, since they themselves reject the formulas so frequently ascribed to them. One of their British theologians, J. I. Packer, recently commented that the “dictation theory” of the psychology of inspiration is “a complete hoax.” He insists that evangelical and Protestant theologians have never held it; that there is no evidence to think that even the Church Fathers used the “dictation” metaphor to explain the mode of inspiration (The Christian News Letter, July, 1957, p. 37). Even its larger outlines should dissolve complaints that the evangelical view narrows revelation to the Bible, that it is anti-intellectual, or that it is wholly disinterested in the bearing of the actual textual phenomena ...

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