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The Conservatives' Assault on Sacred Scripture

The Holy Scriptures claim to be a sacred book, written by God (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).

  • P. Andrew Sandlin,
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The Holy Scriptures claim to be a sacred book, written by God (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). Orthodox Christians throughout history have taken Scripture to be just what it claims to be — the very written word of God.1 The words were mediated through men, but they are the very words of God. The Holy Scriptures are therefore a sacred text, the words and message of God. Until the last 200 years or so, all who confessed Christianity confessed with equal unanimity and intensity that the Holy Bible is the sacred word of God. Since then, an at first subtle, and later pronounced, change has jeopardized the Christian view of Sacred Scripture. As a result of the European Enlightenment2 and later, Romanticism,3 among other factors, professed Christians and the church have steadily surrendered the older, orthodox view of the Holy Scriptures as a sacred text. How did this happen?

As scholars and other literati began to delve deeply into what they considered the historical background of the Bible, they saw it increasingly in terms of human origins, human composition, and human interpretation.4 Simultaneously, modern science was flexing its muscles — guided by the presupposition that all factual knowledge was gained by an "objective" investigation of empirical reality apart from any supernaturalist (i.e., Christian) assumptions (though at first its supporters were not usually professedly anti-Christian).5 Even orthodox churchmen, eager to maintain credibility in the eyes of a trendy scientism, willingly applied to the Bible the same assumptions and methodology that were being applied to other ancient texts and to the visible world in general — investigation guided by "neutral," "objective" reason.6 This decision introduced a lethal injection into the collective body of the church, for to treat the Holy Scriptures as any other book is to abandon them as a sacred text. The obsession with its historical development steadily eroded the sense of the sacredness of Scripture.

The older, orthodox view honored the Scriptures as the supernaturally inspired revelation from God. My own parents, deeply devout, maintained this reverence. For example, I was taught never to stack any other books or items on top of the Bible since this action symbolically dishonored God and his word. Today such an idea, even among conservatives, would be considered superstitious. Yet intent orthodox Christians greatly prefer this "superstition" to the ravages which the Bible has suffered at the hands of modern "enlightened" criticism.

Enlightenment philosophers, narcissistic romantics, and modern skeptics and liberals have not been alone in assaulting Holy Scripture as a sacred text.

Self-professed "conservatives" have likewise traveled extensively down the road of modernity and its dilution of the sacredness of Holy Scripture. In fact, we have every reason to conclude on the basis of the evidence that modern conservative views of Scripture are simply liberal, skeptical views not yet fully developed. If orthodox Christians wish to preserve for themselves and their posterity a view of the Bible as Sacred Scripture, they will therefore find it necessary to break decisively with the modern conservative (and not merely liberal) idea of the Bible. What are the ways in which conservatives have assaulted Sacred Scripture and which orthodox Christians must therefore avoid?

The Unity of Sacred Scripture

Most modern conservatives assert with the greatest vehemence their dedication to the full authority of the Bible, believing it "from cover to cover"; yet both their actual beliefs and practices belie this claim. The most notable example of glaring inconsistency (and often hypocrisy) is in the treatment of the Holy Scriptures as a "bipartite" book,7 the limitation of its authority to the "New Testament," and often not even all of the revelation within that section of the Bible. By contrast, the orthodox, while seeing a formal distinction between the Hebrew and the Greek Scriptures, have generally recognized the unity of Biblical revelation. For this reason, the patristic fathers, initially in reaction against the heretic Marcion, saw the Hebrew Scriptures as a Christian book8 and affirmed the full authority of Old Testament moral law. Typical is the statement of Leo I, which distinguishes the "ceremonial" aspect of the law from the "moral" aspect, supporting the retention of the latter:

For all things that, according to the law, were prior, whether circumcision of the flesh, or the multitude of sacrificial victims, or the observance of the Sabbath, testified to Christ and foretold Christ's grace. And He is the end of the law, not by annulling but by fulfilling what is signified. For although He is the Author both of the old ways and the new, still, He changed the sacraments of the prefigured promises, because He fulfilled the promises and put an end to announcements by His coming as the Announced. But in the area of moral precepts, no decrees of the earlier Testament are rejected; rather, in the Gospel teaching many of them are augmented, so that the things which give salvation might be more perfect and more lucid than those which promise a Savior.9

The regulations that prefigured Christ were fulfilled in him and thus suspended, but the moral precepts of the law remain in force. While there were variations in this commitment and irregularities of belief and practice, the early church Fathers ordinarily recognized the Bible as a unitary revelation.

Despite a frequent waywardness in its material understanding of the Bible, the medieval church retained the patristic church's formal view of the unity of the Scriptures.10 Likewise, the Reformed wing of the Protestant Reformation carried on this unified view of the Bible. In particular, the Reformed doctrine of the covenant presented in a systematic fashion unprecedented in the church the unity of God's purposes in history as revealed in the Bible.11

Unfortunately, the Lutheran wing of the Reformation introduced into the Scriptures a deep discontinuity by creating a simplistic antithesis between law and gospel. Luther and many of his followers were entirely correct in

refuting the error of much of late medievalism which had polluted the gospel by introducing the concept of works-righteousness and "condign merit" into God's plan of salvation. Luther rediscovered the Biblical emphasis on justification as a wholly judicial act by which sinners are declared righteous on account of Christ's law-keeping righteousness appropriated by faith alone.12 Unfortunately, Luther — and especially the Lutherans13 — were so obsessed with combating the errors of medieval Roman soteriology that they reintroduced errors of patristic Marcionite bibliology — the supposed inferiority and obsolescence of the Old Testament, and particularly the Mosaic law, and the alleged "newness" and relevance of the revelation of the Greek Scriptures. Luther himself states flatly:

Here the law of Moses has its place. It is no longer binding on us because it was given only to the people of Israel.... I say this on account of the enthusiasts. For you see and hear how they read Moses, extol him, and bring up the way he ruled the people with commandments. They try to be clever, and think they know something more than is presented in the gospel; so they minimize faith, contrive something new, and boastfully claim that it comes from the Old Testament...
But we will not have this sort of thing. We would rather not preach again for the rest of our lives than to let Moses return and to let Christ be torn out of our hearts. We will not have Moses as ruler or lawgiver any longer.... [E]ven the Ten Commandments do not pertain to us [Gentiles].... We will regard Moses as a teacher, but we will not regard him as our lawgiver — unless he agrees with both the New Testament and the natural law.14

Though Luther and Lutheranism did (quite inconsistently) retain the Ten Commandments, their "dispensationalizing" presaged J. N. D. Darby's great nineteenth-century assault on Biblical authority15 imported into the church during this century in the form of the Scofield Reference Bible. Its impact on conservative Christians (particularly Protestants) has been enormous. Thus, while the nineteenth-century liberals were bombarding the authority of Sacred Scripture by higher criticism, conservatives, loathing the liberal attack on Sacred Scripture, mounted their own attack in the form of Darbyist dispensationalism.

Today even the most ardent conservatives (even the Reformed) do not take the authority of the Hebrew Scriptures seriously as an authoritative revelation,16 and they often label the requirement for adherence to Biblical law "legalism." Thus, the notion of Marcion, vanquished in the patristic church, has found a new hearing among modern conservatives who claim to believe the Bible "from cover to cover."

Because modern conservatives have given up the Hebrew Scriptures as a revelational authority, a number among their troop have had few compunctions about giving up the Greek Scriptures also — the Bible itself is no longer a concrete, objective authority, at least not in practice.

While 150 years ago, it was whom some consider the first Protestant liberal, Frederick Schleiermacher, who identified true Christian religion as sentiment and "feeling,"17 today it is the conservatives who see Christianity in terms of "private words from the Lord," personal "prophecies," and narcissistic "Holy Spirit leading."18 Intense study of the totality of the Sacred Scriptures is considered fruitless, boring, and deadening, the effect of "dead orthodoxy." Conservatives are lured away from the Scriptures by a "theology of the Spirit," that is abandoning — under the guise of being faithful to the Spirit — the Book the Holy Spirit inspired. The authority of the Scripture has thus become merely a slogan to many modern conservatives, and not a bedrock conviction.

The Infallibility of Sacred Scripture

Just as orthodox Christians have always held that the unified message of Sacred Scripture is fully authoritative, so they have held that this divine message is infallible.19 This is natural, since Sacred Scripture is the message from God and the God whom Sacred Scripture reveals can speak in no way other than infallibly.20 The conviction here is necessarily circular. We affirm the infallibility of the Bible because it claims its own infallibility, and we know that the Bible speaks infallibly when it teaches its own infallibility because God himself is its Author. Even to many professing Christians, this view is hopelessly circular and destructive of a sound apologetics (defense of the Faith).21 They have never been able to answer effectively, however, why the infallibility of the word of the God whom Scripture presents would need to be validated by some other authority. Indeed, if it were necessary for the infallibility (or for that matter, any other property) of Scripture to be validated by another source of authority, then the Scriptures and the God whom they present would be something other than they actually do present. In other words, as Van Til observes, the message which God presents can be presented in no other way than "authoritarian."22 The word which this God speaks must then and necessarily be infallible.

The conservatives, though, are not uniformly convinced of the infallibility of Scripture. Certain of the "evangelicals," for instance, embrace "limited inerrancy"23 (logically the equivalent of dry water or partial virginity). Some hold that all of the Bible is not God's revelation, and that those parts that are not his revelation are not infallible.24 Still others (like the "evangelical Barthians") posit that divine revelation cannot be equated with the words of Holy Scripture and that it cannot be said therefore that those words, strictly speaking, are infallible.25 Finally, some evangelical theologians, like Fuller seminary professor Donald Hagner, hold that belief in Biblical infallibility is an impediment to Biblical scholarship.26 All of these defections from Biblical infallibility are concessions to some form of the modern spirit which sees the orthodox doctrine of Sacred Scripture as a vestige of an outmoded expression of Christianity. But to deny the doctrine of infallibility is to deny Sacred Scripture. For the God whom Scripture discloses can reveal himself in no other way than infallibly.

Even those conservatives who confess the strictest form of Biblical infallibility often argue for the doctrine in such a way as to actually undermine their confession.27 The prime example is those who defend a so-called "inductive inerrancy"28 or deductive inspiration.29 Inductive inerrancy is the idea that we examine all the Scriptures to see if the case for an inerrant Scripture can really be sustained after careful scrutiny; inductive inerrantists argue that it can. Deductive inspiration is the notion that the Bible claims to speak infallibly and we should accept it as infallible so long as Christianity can be shown to maintain an internal coherence.30 Still others hold that we accept the infallibility of the Bible after internal investigation—that is, we accept the Biblical writers as reliable historical witnesses and, since we have every reason to presume that they told the truth as God's inspired witnesses, we can believe them when they tell us that the Bible is infallible.31 Each of these arguments for Biblical infallibility melts before the question of why we should accept the Bible as infallible in the first place. To the "inductive inerrantist" we may ask, "Why accept as accurate the statements about the Bible's infallibility at all if we do not presuppose that the Bible is the very living word of God?" To the "deductive inerrantist" we may inquire, "If the Bible is not presumed to be the word of God, what good does 'internal coherence' do? Is it not possible for the most devious forms of lies to be internally coherent?" And to the "evidential inerrantist" we query, "If we refuse to begin with the conviction that the Bible is the inspired word of God, why should we accept it as reliable history?" If the latter reply, "We accept the general reliability of the Bible on the same grounds as we would accept the general reliability of any other historical document," we should like to know why, if the Bible is not the infallible word of God presenting to us just the God that it does present, the idea of general historical reliability has any meaning at all.

The fact is, the conviction that the Bible is the word of God is a matter of faith, not of demonstration. No orthodox Christian who has been overcome by the Spirit of God and brought to the knees of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will ever be dissuaded from affirmation of the infallibility of the Bible by inductive investigations, internal coherence, or the general historical reliability of ancient texts. Nor will hard-hearted sinners be persuaded to accept Biblical infallibility by favorable arguments springing from induction, deduction, or historical investigation. Affirmation of the doctrine of infallibility is a religious and moral issue, not an intellectual or speculative issue. Men deny the infallibility of the Sacred Scripture for the same reason that they deny the existence of God — they have moral problems, not intellectual problems. The intellect is simply instrumental of man's moral condition. It has no independent, objective existence.

In their understandable rush to defend the doctrine of infallibility against "the baying dogs of the Enlightenment,"32 many conservatives have surrendered the doctrine of the authority of the Scripture they claim to defend. Modern scientism, modern philosophy, modern ethics and on and on flagrantly assault the Bible with charges of internal discrepancies, scientific errors, archeological inaccuracies, moral blemishes, and so forth. They marshal these arguments not because they are intellectually honest, but because they are morally depraved. For them the word of God is not authoritative, and they resent anyone else's holding it as authoritative. Conservatives too frequently capitulate to this arrangement by presuming that there really are some neutral, objective grounds on which to discuss the infallibility of the Bible. This is simply a mirage in the parched desert of modern autonomous scholarship. The Bible is infallible not because we can prove it is infallible; it is infallible because it is the inspired word of God who can speak no other way than infallibly. Seemingly well-meaning conservatives, therefore, by their apologetic method, give God-hating critics of the infallibly of the Bible the fully misguided impression that their minds are justified in investigating the infallibility of Scripture. This is to deny the authority of the One whom Sacred Scripture reveals.33

Conservatives, consequently, lose on both counts. The conservatives who surrender the doctrine of Biblical infallibility under the pressures of modernity thereby subvert the Faith, and the conservatives who defend the infallibility of Scripture by granting autonomous God-haters the privilege of investigating the infallibility of the Scripture on so-called neutral grounds undermine the authority of Scripture to demand submission before the very Voice of God. In these ways, conservatives assault the infallibility of Sacred Scripture.

The Preservation of Sacred Scripture

Most everywhere today, one hears leading conservatives who mistakenly think that they are defending the orthodox tradition by vocally trumpeting the "inerrancy of the Bible in the original autographs." Frankly, this is a dangerous position that surrenders the authority of Sacred Scripture, and swerves sharply from the hoary tradition of Christian orthodoxy. While some conservatives increasingly have made their peace with the liberals' practice of "higher criticism" (investigation into the historical and exclusively human composition of the Bible),34 other conservatives who correctly oppose the practice of higher criticism and recognize the extent to which it undercuts the authority of Sacred Scripture nonetheless consider lower criticism a "safe" — and essential — field for conservatives. There is an ideology and program governing this conviction. Lower criticism is the attempt to recover the original wording of any document — particularly ancient documents. It scrutinizes surviving transcriptions of those documents and their citations in other documents, intending thereby to determine exactly what the original reading is. Conservatives, however, are not interested in recovering the original Biblical text for its own sake, and in this program there is no relation whatsoever to orthodox Christianity. The latter survived very well for roughly seventeen centuries without this program.35 Rather, it was necessary to resort to lower criticism when the doctrine of infallibility was attacked by liberals who claim to have discovered errors in extant (presently existing) texts.36 The typical conservative response was to claim that the Bible "as originally given" was infallible, and that if we could just recover that Bible, we could actually demonstrate the infallibility of Sacred Scripture. This has been the program of most conservative textual scholars ever since. Ultimately, they can defend their peculiar doctrine of Biblical infallibility only by producing the original autographs. In fact, they seem more confident that they can eventually recover the exact wording of the original autographs than they are that the present original-language texts will suffice as the infallible word of God.

By contrast, the older view — and particularly the orthodox Reformed view — is that the locus of Sacred Scripture is the original-language texts preserved by and presently at use in the church, not the long-lost autographs to which no one has access. The great Genevan Calvinist Francis Turretin noted: "By the original texts, we do not mean the autographs written by the hand of Moses, of the prophets and the apostles, which certainly do not now exist. We mean their apographs [extant copies] which are so called because they set forth to us the word of God in the very words of those who wrote under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit."37 He rightly recognized that the retreat to the original autographs plays into the hands of those Roman Catholics who wanted the Magisterium to establish the meaning of Holy Scripture.38 In this sense he was quite prophetic, but simply mistaken about who the true Magisterium really would become — today it is the coterie of textual scholars, many of them unbelieving, who have become recognized sources of authority on what actually constitutes the wording of the Bible. Until the last 200 years, most of Christendom recognized Sacred Scripture as the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible in constant usage in the church for 1700 to 1800 years; even the Roman notion of the virtual infallibility of the Latin Vulgate testified to the belief, however misguided, in the preservation of the Sacred Scriptures. As Mahaffey recognizes:

Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, there was little debate on the issue of textual transmission and the Greek text that formed the canon. From the fourth century the Church had been settled on the authentic text of the New Testament.39

This is the doctrine of the "providential (supernatural) preservation" of Sacred Scripture in the church. And the fact is, we can have no doctrine of Sacred Scripture apart from the doctrine of providential preservation.

One factor in the security of knowing that Scripture is indeed a sacred, God-given text is the faith that the church has access to its very words. This is sometimes known as the doctrine of "verbal inspiration" — the teaching that God inspired the very words of Scripture (Mt. 4:4). But if we cannot say with certainty that the people of God possess today the infallible word of God in the words of Scripture and, rather, claim that infallibility can be predicated only of the original autographs, we have in essence gutted the doctrine of verbal inspiration. To the consistently orthodox, consequently, it is preferable to deal with the difficulties of textual variants in a single textual tradition than to surrender the doctrine of verbal inspiration by denying providential preservation.

Modern conservatives counter this argument, which they consider "obscurantist," in several ways. For one thing, they hold that we do possess the preserved word of God, but not in a single set of manuscripts; rather, all the words of God are to be found in the multiplicity of the manuscripts, some of which were not discovered until the nineteenth century.40 The conflict is to be resolved by techniques which attempt to recover the original text, rather than by recourse to the texts used for centuries in the church. Already in the seventeenth century, Reformed theologians like John Owen presciently recognized this way of thinking for what it is-—an assault on the verbal inspiration of the Bible:

The sum of what I am pleading for, as to the particular head to be vindicated, is. That as the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were immediately and entirely given out by God himself, his mind being in them represented unto us without the least interveniency of such mediums and ways as were capable of giving change or alteration to the least iota or syllable; so, by his good and merciful providential dispensation, in his love to his word and church, his whole word, as first given out by him, is preserved unto us entire in the original languages; where, shining in its own beauty and lustre (as also in all translations, so far as they faithfully represent the originals), it manifests and evidences unto the consciences of men, without other foreign help or assistance, its divine original and authority....41
It can, then, with no colour of probability be asserted (which yet I find some learned men too free in granting), namely, that there hath the same fate attended the Scripture in its transcription as hath done other books. Let me say without offence, this imagination, asserted on deliberation, seems to me to border on atheism....42

That is to say, if we deny that God has supernaturally attended the transmission of the text of Sacred Scripture and instead treat its transmission as though it suffered the fate of any other book, we betray an atheistic approach to the word of God. Yet this is precisely how most modern conservatives treat the Bible. In their bibliology, they are practical atheists.

Conservatives will argue that all of this discussion over textual criticism is really pointless because “no significant doctrine is affected” by the variant readings—that is, how the manuscripts differ among themselves.43 It is strange that conservatives do not recognize the danger that lower text criticism poses to orthodox Christianity, because liberals certainly do.44 For one thing, if we cannot be certain of the integrity of the text of Scripture, the doctrine of verbal inspiration loses all relevance. It is odd that the very conservatives most passionately committed to the verbal inspiration of the Bible are equally committed to a proposition about the locus of the infallible text that renders their advocacy of verbal inspiration virtually meaningless.45

In addition, it is not correct to assert that no major doctrine is affected by textual criticism. Bart Ehrman observes, for instance, that both devotees and detractors of what became orthodox Christology employed textual variants as weapons in their theological controversy.46 It is simply wishful thinking to assume that textual criticism affects no major doctrine of the Bible, and that its products could only confirm and never undermine orthodox doctrine.

The only “textual criticism” by which the orthodox church survived quite well for centuries is the recognition of orthodox teaching by constant usage of the text in the church. The covenant people of God are called to oversee the transmission of Scripture (Rom. 3:2), and their usage and transmission of the text, under the providential guidance of the Holy Spirit, preserves the correct text from generation to generation.47 For this reason, the Reformation churches predicated infallibility not of the long-lost original autographs, but the apographs, the original-language texts in use by the orthodox church for 1600 years of her existence.48 To predicate infallibility only of the autographs is to deny Biblical infallibility, since these writings have perished. In short, the doctrine of Biblical infallibility requires an infallible Bible, not an infallible non-existent Bible. This—and no other—preserves the historical orthodox position of Sacred Scripture.

The conservatives’ surrender of the doctrine of providential preservation and, therefore, of Biblical infallibility, assists in the monstrous multiplicity of English translations which further erodes Christians’ confidence in verbal inspiration. The point, of course, is not that native translations take precedence over the original-language texts preserved in the church, but that increasingly wide variation in the wording even of English translations undercuts the Christian’s confidence in the Bible as an unchanging, verbal revelation. It also leads to the logic that, if there are so many possibly legitimate variations in English translations, perhaps that is because there are so many legitimate variations in the original-language texts underlying them. What then is the written word of God?

Sophisticated conservatives scoff at this argument as “obscurantist,” “unenlightened, “ and “unscholarly.” They are under the pernicious delusion that it is possible to maintain a doctrine of Sacred Scripture without a doctrine of providential preservation which nonetheless retains a faithful affirmation of verbal inspiration. Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of this argument is that they really are convinced that they are defending the integrity of Holy Scripture when, in actuality, their denial of the providential preservation of Scripture undermines the doctrines of verbal inspiration and Biblical infallibility. In the adoption of lower criticism as a “safe” field, conservatives have once again belied their ringing public endorsement of Sacred Scripture.


In the doctrines of the authority, infallibility, and preservation of Sacred Scripture, conservatives, by and large, have caved in to the pressures of the modern world. The contemporary world is hostile to Sacred Scripture as an authoritative, infallible, preserved revelation designed to govern man in every aspect of his life. Conservatives are under the delusion that only by accepting the canons of modern standards of scholarship and intellectual investigation can they maintain a credible doctrine of Sacred Scripture. Just the opposite is true. Note the liberal James Barr’s perceptive indictment of these compromising conservatives:

In general, far from the conservative case making an impact on scholarship, the world of scholarship has no respect for the dogmatic and supernaturalistic kind of conservative apologetic and rightly ignores it. As for scholarship working with the maximal-conservative type of argument, scholarship accepts it and admires it in proportion as it falls to be partisanly conservative; that is, it may be accepted and admired, but only in such measure as it does not do what conservative apologists insist that it must do and has done. In so far as it is seen as committed to a purely conservative line, it is discounted and unrespected. Thus the deservedly high reputation of some conservative scholarship rests to a large extent on the degree to which it falls to be conservative in the Sense that the conservative evangelical public desiderate.49

In plainer terms, conservative scholarship will be accepted as scholarly among modern scholars only if and when it surrenders its orthodox distinctives. The doctrine of Sacred Scripture will never stand in any community of faith for which the standard of the modern ethos is normative. Because modern conservatives do not understand that it is not possible to maintain a doctrine of Sacred Scripture on modern premises, they incrementally surrender the doctrine of Sacred Scripture and, thereby, the Christian Faith itself.

The hope for orthodox Christianity is a genuinely post-modern restoration of the cultivation of Scripture as truly Sacred Scripture. Anything less is not Scripture—and subverts the Faith.

  1. Geoffrey Bromiley, “The Church Doctrine of Inspiration,” in ed., Carl F. H. Henry, Revelation and the Bible (Grand Rapids, 1958), 205-217.
  2. Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism (New York, 1966), 22 and passim.
  3. Harold O. J. Brown “Romanticism and the Bible,” in eds., Gordon Lewis and Bruce Demarest, Challenges to Inerrancy (Chicago, 1984), 49-65.
  4. Alan Richardson, “The Rise of Modern Biblical Scholarship and Recent Discussion of the Authority of the Bible,” in ed., S. L. Greenslade, The Cambridge History of the Bible (Cambridge, 1963), 3:294-299.
  5. W. Neil, “The Criticism and Theological Use of the Bible,” in ibid., 255-265.
  6. Ibid., 270.
  7. Clark Pinnock, The Scripture Principle (San Francisco, 1984), 62, 67. For a more accurate view seeing the unity of the Biblical testaments, see Robert S. Rayburn, “The Contrast Between the Old and New Covenants in the New Testament,” Ph. D. dissertation. University of Aberdeen, 1978.
  8. Jaroslav Pelikan, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (Chicago and London, 1971), 71-81.
  9. William A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers (Collegeville, MN, 1979), 3:278.
  10. Bromiley, op. cit., 209-210.
  11. William Klempa, “The Concept of Covenant in Sixteenth-and-Seventeenth-Century Continental and British Reformed Theology,” in ed., Donald K. McKim, Major Themes in the Reformed Tradition (Grand Rapids, 1992), 94-107.
  12. Alister E. McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of justification From 1500 to the Present Day (Cambridge, 1986), 1-32.
  13. Herman Sasse, Here We Stand (New York and London, 1938), 116-125.
  14. Martin Luther, “How Christians Should Regard Moses,” in ed., Timothy F. Hull, Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings (Minneapolis, 1989), 138-139.
  15. John H. Gerstner, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth: A Critique of Dispensationalism (Brentwood, TN, 1991).
  16. Dan G. McCartney, “The New Testament Use of the Pentateuch: Implications for the Theonomic Movement,” in eds., William S. Barker and W. Robert Godfrey, Theonomy: A Reformed Critique (Gnnd Rapids, 1990), 148.
  17. Harold O. J. Brown, Heresies (Garden City, 1984), 410-415.
  18. Ian Cotton, The Hallelujah Revolution (Amherst, NY, 1986).
  19. Clark H. Pinnock, Biblical Revelation (Chicago, 1971), 147-158.
  20. Cornelius Van Til , The Defense of the Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ, 1967 edition), 108-109.
  21. R. C. Sproul, John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsay, Classical Apologetics (Grand Rapids, 1984), 318-333.
  22. Van Til, op. cit., 108.
  23. Richard J. Coleman, “Reconsidering ‘Limited Inerrancy,’“ in ed., Ronald Youngblood, Evangelicals and Inerrancy (Nashville, 1984), 161-169.
  24. Daniel P. Fuller, “The Nature of Biblical Inerrancy,” Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, June 1972, 47-51.
  25. Donald Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology (San Francisco, 1978), 1:51-70.
  26. Donald A. Hagner, “The New Testament and Criticism: Looking to the Twenty-first Century,” Theology, News and Notes, June, 1998, 7.
  27. James Daane, “The Odds on Inerrancy,” The Reformed journal, December, 1976, 5-6.
  28. John Warwick Montgomery, The Suicide of Christian Theology (Minneapolis, 1971), 356-358.
  29. Gordon H. Clark, “How May I Know the Bible Is Inspired?”, in ed., Howard F. Vos, Can I Trust the Bible? (Chicago, 1963), 9-32.
  30. Gordon Clark, The Christian View of Men and Things (Grand Rapids, 1952), 32-34.
  31. John Gerstner, A Bible Inerrancy Primer (Winona Lake, 1980).
  32. The expression is by Bernard Ramm, an opponent of Biblical infallibility: After Fundamentalism (San Francisco, 1983), 104.
  33. Cornelius Van Til, op. cit., 83.
  34. J. Ramsey Michaels, “Inerrancy or Verbal Inspiration? An Evangelical Dilemma,” in eds., Roger R. Nicole and J. Ramsey Michaels, Inerrancy and Common Sense (Grand Rapids, 1980), 51, 69.
  35. Note, for example, the typical Protestant approach of Theodore Beza outlined in Theodore Letis, “Theodore Beza as Text Critic: A View Into the Sixteenth Century Approach to New Testament Text Criticism,” in Theodore Letis, The Majority Text: Essays and Reviews in the Continuing Debate (Grand Rapids, 1987), 133.
  36. Archibald A. Hodge and Benjamin B. Warfield, Inspiration (Grand Rapids [1881], 1979); Theodore P. Letis, “B. B. Warfield, Common-Sense Philosophy and Biblical Criticism,” American Presbyterians 69:3 (Fall 1991], 175-190.
  37. Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, trans. George Musgrave Giger (Phillipsburg, NJ, 1992), 1:106.
  38. ibid., 112.
  39. Sean Mahaffey, “Review of The Ancient Text of the New Testament by Jakob Van Bruggen,” The Squire, Vol. 1, No. 2, 9.
  40. F. F. Bruce, “Transmission and Translation of the Bible,” in ed., Frank F. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, 1979), 1:39-57.
  41. John Owen, Of the Integrity and Purity of the Hebrew and Greek Text of the Scripture, in The Works of John Owen (Edinburgh, 1968), 16:349, 350, emphasis in original.
  42. ibid., 357.
  43. Stewart Custer, The Truth About the King James Version Controversy (Greenville, 1981), 6.
  44. James Barr, Beyond Fundamentalism (Philadelphia, 1984), 143-147.
  45. Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority (Waco, TX, 1979), 4:220-242.
  46. Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (New York, 1993).
  47. Edward F. Hills, Believing Bible Study (Des Moines, 1967), 35-49.
  48. Theodore P. Letis, “The Protestant Dogmaticians and the Late Princeton School on the Status of the Sacred Apographa,” The Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology, Vol. 8. No. 1 (Spring, 1990], 16-42.
  49. James Barr, Fundamentalism (Philadelphia, 1978), 127-128, emphasis in original.

  • P. Andrew Sandlin

P. Andrew Sandlin is a Christian minister, theologian, and author.  He is the founder and president of the Center for Cultural Leadership in Coulterville, California.  He was formerly president of the National Reform Association and executive vice president of the Chalcedon Foundation.  He is a minister in the Fellowship of Mere Christianity.. He was formerly a pastor at Church of the Word in Painesville, Ohio (1984-1995) and Cornerstone Bible Church in Scotts Valley, California (2004-2014).

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