|God's Inerrant Word: An International Symposium on the Trustworthiness of Scripture. Edited by John Warwick Montgomery. Bethany Fellowship, Inc. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1974.
There is no evidence to show that Biblical errancy was ever a life option in the history of the Christian church for eighteen hundred years. This is no longer true today. In the last two centuries, inerrancy has become a real life issue. A great proportion of scholars and ministers in the Christian church in many of its branches no longer hold to Biblical inerrancy. In recent years the inerrancy of Scripture has even become a matter of spirited debate within the evangelical movement. The controversy concentrates on the question whether or not the Bible is completely without error, "inerrant" not only on doctrine and morals but also on details of history and science. Scores of young evangelicals repudiate the "domino theory" that rejection of inerrancy involves giving up "one evangelical doctrine after another." They now claim that you don't need to accept the inerrancy of Scripture in order to be an evangelical. Dr. Francis Schaeffer, a staunch supporter of the inerrancy of Scripture, projects the current debate as the watershed of evangelical fidelity and deplores an evangelicalism that minimizes inerrancy.
The Symposium God's Inerrant Word is a scholarly and masterful defense of the inerrancy of the Bible. The essays in this book were written for delivery at the Conference on the Inspiration and Authority of Scripture, Laurelville, Pennsylvania, in the fall of 1973.
The editor Dr. John Warwick Montgomery writes in his introduction: "The anti-inerrancy trend in evangelical Protestantism has the characteristics of Aristotle's classic tragedy: it has occurred in a remarkable short time, and it produces both pity and fear in the sensitive observer: pity that our theologians have learned so little from history (the United Presbyterian Confession of 1967 is in the inevitable consequence of the deterioration of belief in biblical inerrancy in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. in the 1920's), and fear that such naivete will totally corrupt evangelical witness here and abroad" (p. 14).
The thesis of the symposium is that you cannot surrender complete inerrancy "in the mistaken belief that it is peripheral and has no vital bearing on essential Christian truth" (p. 157). Dr. Clark Pinnock asserts that: as soon as we limit or modify, as the limited inerrancy position does, the complete trustworthiness of the Bible, we cast doubt on its competence as our supreme norm set theology adrift, and undermine the ground of the believer's confidence in God's Word" (p. 156).
I heartily recommend to every minister and theological student this excellent contribution to the current debate on inerrancy. Try it! You will like it!
Johan D. Tangelder