Fifth in a Series

The issue of biblical inerrancy is today dividing evangelicals into ever more rigidly competitive camps. The inerrancy emphasis of theologians like Charles Hodge and of New Testament scholars like B. B. Warfield has in the main characterized conservative Christianity in America and most evangelical colleges, Bible institutes, and seminaries reflect it in their doctrinal commitments. In Britain, where critical theory took a larger toll, emphasis on biblical inerrancy did not as conspicuously dominate the evangelical scene, although the issue has always arisen in evangelical controversy over the authority of Scripture.

The Wenham (Gordon) Conference on Scripture (1966) was a kind of turning point in the inerrancy controversy. Because of inadequate advance planning, the gathering failed to face issues that ought to have been resolved and therefore achieved little more than the predictable conclusion that reputable evangelical scholars are ranged on both sides of the debate. The invasion of neo-orthodoxy into Southern Baptist seminaries eroded the emphasis on scriptural inerrancy. Other evangelical campuses, Asbury and Fuller among them, experienced internal faculty disagreement. As Fuller hedged on its original commitment concerning Scripture, the enthusiasm of such faculty members as Wilbur M. Smith, Gleason L. Archer, and Harold Lindsell waned; E. J. Carnell also resisted alteration. In 1961 the Christian Reformed Church was impelled to issue synodical study reports and decisions on biblical infallibility and in 1971 and 1972 on scriptural authority. A major issue in the rupture of Concordia Seminary (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) was the legitimacy of the historical critical method in Bible interpretation. ...

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