Robert bratcher, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, said last March, “Only willful ignorance or intellectual dishonesty can account for the claim that the Bible is inerrant and infallible. No truth-loving, God-respecting, Christ-honoring believer should be guilty of such heresy. To invest the Bible with the qualities of inerrancy and infallibility is to idolatrize [sic] it, to transform it into a false god.” Bratcher, translator of the New Testament, Good News for Modern Man, and research associate with the American Bible Society, was speaking to the Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention on the topic “Biblical Authority for the Church Today.”
Such strident language is usually attributed to evangelicals defending inerrancy. It is becoming to neither conservative nor liberal and brings neither peace nor light to the church. Bratcher’s approach is particularly significant in light of the current struggle within the Southern Baptist Convention and planned discussion at its upcoming annual meeting June 9–11.
We wonder how Bratcher explains Article One of the historic New Hampshire Confession of Faith: “We believe that the Holy Bible … has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter.” This inerrancy clause was approved by the Southern Baptist Convention of 1925, and their “messengers” again and again have reaffirmed it at their annual state and national conventions.
If Dr. Bratcher were to respond that Baptists have no creed or confession to which they must adhere, we are still left with the fact that in the past, Southern Baptists have almost universally acknowledged the inerrant and infallible inspiration of Holy Scripture. With rare exceptions, biblical ...1
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