A New Bible Battle

It's not about doctrine but our use of Scripture.

This magazine is indirectly famous for one of its editors—Harold Lindsell—starting a short-lived but notorious "Battle for the Bible" when the editor penned a book with that title in 1976.

At the time, I was a student at Fuller Theological Seminary, one key institution criticized by Lindsell (where he taught briefly) because it didn't hold to inerrancy. I still recall the momentous convocation in which our president, David Hubbard, defended the school's position: that the Bible is "the only infallible rule of faith and practice." Hubbard questioned Lindsell's "unbiblical" understanding of inerrancy, disputed his take on the contemporary theological scene, and vowed that Fuller would "sail into the winds of controversy" confident of the "seaworthiness of our ship and the correctness of our course." It was heady stuff.

At the time, Donald Dayton, a professor at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in suburban Chicago, reviewed the book and the broader controversy for The Christian Century. Toward the end of the review, he noted,

The crunch will most likely be felt at Christianity Today. Does the editor's book inevitably pull the magazine into his corner and make of it a party journal no longer representative of the whole? Or will the magazine find a way to bridge the ever-broadening evangelical world and by implication repudiate Lindsell's position—which depends at its very heart on its exclusiveness?

That question was answered in short order after Kenneth Kantzer became CT's editor in 1978. One of his first acts was to write a letter to Hubbard—which Hubbard posted outside his office door—extending an olive branch.

Though one editor's book suggested otherwise, as a magazine, we have always been committed ...

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