It may be that the church, since the reformation, has risen and fallen directly in proportion to our embrace or rejection of the doctrine of inerrancy. Charles Spurgeon has written of the crises in his day:
The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them! (Another Word about the Downgrade).
When I began talking about whether the evangelical doctrine of Inerrancy was in error (link), I quickly came to see that I was not the only person talking about this issue, right now. Answers in Genesis has recently tacked this very question (link). I also received the following excellent link giving testimonies to and definitions of inerrancy (link).
John Gerstner has written: “Bible Inerrancy (or the doctrine that “what the Bible says God says”) has been under relentless attack since the Bible was written, but never more so than today” (link).
I have become even more convinced of the centrality of this doctrine as I studied evangelicalism from the 1870’s through the present and I hope in the next few blogs I post to help my fellow evangelicals to become reacquainted with the importance and the current urgency of our grappling with this issue. Is it really worth fighting over inerrancy? Read a “sneak-peak” of thursday’s post below.
Charles Spurgeon was right when he said: “it behoves all who love the Lord Jesus and his gospel to keep close together, and make common cause against deadly error”. Many are familiar with the famous motto of Rupertus Meldenius now adopted by many denominations, including the Evangelical Free Church of Canada: “In Essentials Unity; In Non-Essentials Charity; In All Things Jesus Christ”. There are many debates in the Church, which have to do with people’s interpretations of particular doctrines. There will always be diversity on some issues, and sometimes believers must agree to disagree on the non-essentials. But there is a foundation upon which they must agree, if they will be able to agree to disagree! Because of its foundational nature, inerrancy is the real issue upon which the unity and vitality of the Church will live or die, and so one’s view of the “trustworthiness of Scripture” became the watershed doctrine of the historic evangelicalism from the Reformation to the present.