The Nature Of Scripture

Biblical Authority, edited by Jack Rogers (Word, 1977, 196 pp., $6.95, $4.50 pb), is reviewed by Norman L. Geisler, professor of philosophy of religion, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois.

Seven scholars here respond to Harold Lindsell’s Battle for the Bible. In the foreword, Paul Rees claims that what is at issue “is not evangelical commitment but evangelical comprehension.” Many who defend the inerrancy of Scripture, he charges, “are hard put to show wherein their positions differ practically from the dictation formula they repudiate.” With regard to Lindsell’s claim of “total inerrancy that extends to the minutiae of chronology or geography or grammar” Rees gives a resounding “No.” He feels that the discussion occasioned by Lindsell’s book “threatens to create a serious cleavage in the evangelical community.”

Jack Rogers of Fuller Seminary rethinks the history of Christianity and concludes that, apart from the unwholesome influence of Aristotelian-scholastic philosophy, which allegedly came into Protestantism via Turretin, there is no support for the classical doctrine of inerrancy. According to Rogers, even the great Christian thinker Augustine believed that “the Holy Spirit had ‘permitted’ one of the Scripture writers to compose something at variance from what another biblical author had written.” And contrary to the claim of a scientifically errorless Bible, Rogers maintains that “for Augustine, Scripture was not a textbook of science.” The great Reformer Luther did not accept the inerrancy of Scripture, says Rogers: “for him, Christ alone was without error ...

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