The key theological question of our age is the trustworthiness of the Bible. It runs through the major confessions and most denominations, even those traditionally associated with a commitment to infallibility, such as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Southern Baptist Convention. There is virtually no seminary where it is not raised, where at least some professors do not question the view of biblical authority held throughout the ages by the majority of believing Christians, even though such reservations may not be openly expressed in publications or in the classroom. Many of us who call ourselves evangelicals are accused of such doubts (and then sometimes categorized as “neo-evangelicals”).
Of course, none of those connected with conservative denominations or institutions would deny that the Bible does convey reliable information, but many would appear to limit such reliability to matters concerned with salvation. As James I. Packer shows in his important monograph “Fundamentalism” and the Word of God, not only evangelicals but the majority of Christians through the ages have accepted the trustworthiness of the Bible in all that it teaches, including history and natural science. Although the Bible is not a textbook of history or science, what it teaches in those areas, too, is truth and is to be received as such.
Does the Bible itself make any claim concerning its authority and reliability? Of course, it might be altogether trustworthy even if it did not explicitly claim to be. But as a matter of fact the inspired writers claim, not only for their own texts but for the whole of the Scripture, divine authenticity and trustworthiness (e.g., 2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:20, 21). It is abundantly evident that our Lord regarded ...1
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