Westminster Press has just issued a volume on The Inspiration of Scripture by Dewey M. Beegle. This publication holds special interest through its issuance by a denominational publishing house at a time when ecumenical discussion is centering on Scripture and tradition; through the fact that its author is associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament in Biblical Seminary in New York, whose founders emphasized that the Bible should stand at the center of the theological curriculum; and through the fact that many evangelical institutions and movements are presently engaged in spirited conversations on the subject of Scripture.
The author “frankly acknowledges his genuine belief in the inspiration and authority of Scripture” and concedes that “few areas of Christian life and thought … do not lead back eventually to the issue of inspiration.” He urges “by the inductive method … a reverent approach to Scripture that resolves at all costs to let God’s Word speak for itself.” Christian theology can in fact become endangered through “superbelief” (such as a docetic view of the Incarnation or a dictation view of inspiration). “Is one justified … in claiming more than Scripture does? Can there be in actuality a higher view (of inspiration) than the biblical view?”
Evangelical scholars will not hesitate to reappraise their regard for the Bible in the light of Professor Beegle’s claims and comments. Most evangelical Christians hold the plenary-verbal view of the Bible’s inspiration; they affirm, in other words, that the whole Bible is inspired by a divine superintendence extending to the very words. They stress the Old Testament’s “thus saith the Lord,” a phrase found some 1,200 times, and New Testament passages on the nature of inspiration ...1
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