Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Was the Concept of Biblical Inerrancy Invented in the 1970's?

Have you ever heard this statement? "The concept of biblical inerrancy was invented in the 1970's." If you have the person saying it was probably referring to the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy's statement called The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy written in 1978. Folks that say this are mistaken, and it is saddening that they discourage trust in the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture by saying things like this. The term inerrancy simply means "without error" as it applies to the original manuscripts of the Old & New Testaments of the Bible. Here's how B. B. Warfield described inerrancy before 1921:

"The Church, then, has held from the beginning that the Bible is the Word of God in such a sense that its words, though written by men and bearing indelibly impressed upon them the marks of their human origin, were written, nevertheless, under such an influence of the Holy Ghost as to be also the words of God, the adequate expression of His mind and will. It has always recognized that this conception of co-authorship implies that the Spirit's superintendence extends to the choice of the words by the human authors (verbal inspiration), and preserves its product from everything inconsistent with a divine authorship - thus securing, among other things, that entire truthfulness which is everywhere presupposed in and asserted for Scripture by the Biblical writers (inerrancy). Whatever minor variations may now and again have entered into the mode of statement, this has always been the core of the Church doctrine of inspiration."

Warfield, Benjamin Breckinridge The Works of B. B. Warfield: Revelation and Insiration, Volume I (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, 2003), 173. [I didn't make any changes to the original quote. We took the pictures above of Warfield's grave at Princeton, NJ earlier this summer.]

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