Do you agree with this statement about scripture?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Daniel Dunivan, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. Daniel Dunivan

    Daniel Dunivan
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    It must be remembered that it is not claimed that the Scriptures any more than their authors are omniscient. The information they convey is in the forms of human thought, and limited on all sides. They were not designed to teach philosophy, science, or human history as such. They were not designed to furnish an infallible system of speculative theology. They are written in human languages, whose words, inflections, constructions, and idioms bear everywhere indelible traces of human error. The record itself furnishes evidence that the writers were in large measure dependent for their knowledge upon sources and methods in themeselves fallible; and that their personal knowledge and judgments were in many matters hesitating and defective, or even wrong.

    What do you think about this quotation from an article title "inspiriation" in the April 1881 Presbyterian Review?

    Grace and Peace, Danny ;)
     
  2. Scott J

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    It was statements and beliefs like this that provided the impetus for "The Fundamentals". Higher criticism was ripping through mainline churches and previously orthodox seminaries.

    A statement like this establishes the basis for rejecting the Bible as the final authority for matters of faith and practice.
     
  3. just-want-peace

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    (So much for the author's belief in the "WORD OF GOD")

    Thankfully it never took root. If that were the total view of the scriptures today, probably very few, if any, of us could claim the title of Christian.

    Unfortunately, it did send out some runners, as many posts on this board can verify! [​IMG]
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    I’m not sure what this statement means… The written word does not possess the characteristics of God. The power of the written word of God is based on its alignment and exposition of the principles and truth of God’s Kingdom.

    I agree with this statement. Human language and thought is limited and cannot contain or exhaust the fullness of the nature and character of God. Yet, at the same time, human language is perfectly capable and reliable for leading us to a living relationship of love with God.

    I agree with these thoughts.

    While there is certain strong evidence of humanity in the pages of the written word of God, this view apparently forgets that God was inspiring the creation, preservation and editing of these texts.

    Not that impressed.

    While I appreciate the exposition on the human influence upon the creation of the written word of God, the author has apparently lost confidence in the reliability of the text.
     
  5. gb93433

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    You see the results today.
     
  6. Daniel Dunivan

    Daniel Dunivan
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    Oh, by the way, this article was written by A.A. Hodge and B.B. Warfield--two of the most revered fathers of modern inerrancy.

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  7. Caretaker

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    http://www.modernreformation.org/mr98/mayjun/mr9803darwinism.html


    The Princeton theologians were interested in science for several interrelated reasons. First was confessional. As Calvinists, they believed the physical world was an arena in which God manifested his power and glory. Scientific research, therefore, was a way of finding out more about the world God had made, but also about the God who had made the world. Second was apologetic. The Princeton theologians knew that in the wake of Newton and the Mechanical Philosophy, science was being increasingly used to attack traditional Christian faith. If others used science to discredit Christianity, it was the responsibility of mature believers to show the error of such abuse. Third was social and ideological. They thought that Christian appropriation of science was critical for the health of civilization in America. If science (or any other false source of ultimate value) undercut faith in God, evil would inevitably proliferate, public virtue would retreat, and civilization would be imperiled.

    Finally, such views about relationships among science, theology, and civil society also implied much about the Princeton theologians' own role. Hodge, Warfield, and their colleagues were remarkably pious people; personal testimonies abound to their unusual humility. At the same time, they also possessed an extraordinarily lofty conception of their vocation. They were guardians not just of theology, and not only of relationships between science and theology, but of Truth and of Civilization. Part of their concern for the spread of sub- or anti-Christian uses of science was, thus, concern about themselves. If scientists with no concern for the theological traditions they defended succeeded in becoming public arbiters of the culture's most influential questions, it was obvious that the theologians would also be displaced from their positions of cultural authority.

    Science in general, therefore, was important to Hodge and Warfield both because of what they believed and because of who they were. Especially as the pace of scientific discovery quickened in the nineteenth century, and as alternatives to Christian appropriations of scientific knowledge grew more forceful, their concern deepened.


    Alike as they were on many matters, Hodge and Warfield did differ--or at least appeared to differ--on whether evolution was acceptable to Christianity. Hodge, who is best known for his short book, What Is Darwinism? (1874), but who also wrote much else on science, did not think Darwinism was compatible with the faith. For his part, Warfield over a thirty-year period published at least thirty-nine articles and reviews, some of them substantial, on questions related to evolution. Throughout most of his career, he held that evolution might be compatible with the Christian faith. Despite this apparent difference, however, to understand the way each theologian approached his work is to see the substantial continuity of their convictions.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    Very interesting...

    Of course I don't subscribe to the classic doctrines of "inerrancy" because I believe they advocate an improper view of scripture. (Before the usual suspects start attacking, please note that I believe that the scriptures are completely reliable.)
     
  9. TomVols

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    This statement does not negate the totality of Hodge's or Warfield's view of inerrancy and inspiration. The attempt to hijack this statement from its texture in order to prove an assertion nowhere implied is somewhat dishonest.

    Modern inerrantists like Boice, Dockery, et.al., would make similar statements that might seem contrary to orthodox Bibliology when stripped from their totality or when played to the ignorance of those unaware with their total theologies. But those who are aware, or who are intellectually honest enough to tell the whole story, realize that such statements do nothing to harm accepted Bibliology.

    Likewise, I could take statements by Hick, Crossan, et.al., and isolate them to where they sound like fire breathing fundamentalists to the uninitated. But that's intellectual dishonesty.

    So this statement does nothing to harm orthodox doctrine of Scripture.
     
  10. Jim1999

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    A.H. Strong writes:

    Every imperfection not inconsistent with truth in a human composition may exist in inspired scripture. The Bible is God's word, in the sense that it presents to us divine truth in human forms, and is a revelation not for a selected class but for the common mind. Rightly understood, this very humanity of the Bible is a proof of its divinity." A.H. Strong, Systematic Theology, 1906, Rochester Theological Seminary.

    So, the human writer may write incorrect information, based on his knowledge, but it remains a true statement at the time of composition, because it was true to him. This is why Hermeneutics remains prolly amongst the most important studies in seminary.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    At face value, without seeing the context, I don't sse anything here that compromises inerrancy. To say that the methods "in themselves" were fallible is certainly true. To say that these prophets and apostles had weaknesses and failures in their personal knowledge and judgment is certainly true. We need not read much of Scripture to know that. That is why Inspiration is involved. Inspiration guarantess that these records and methods used by the writers were not longer "in themselves" (to use the words of the authors). They were controlled and guaranteed by God. Inspiration guaranteed that the personal shortcomings of these men were overridden as they were borne along by teh Holy Spirit. To try to use this paragraph as it stands here as a refutation of inerrancy is stretching to an incredible degree. It simply doesn't say that.
     
  12. Baptist Believer

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    I strongly agree with you. This statement, presented out of context, made me wonder if those men had lost faith in the reliability of the scripture. Now that I know the identity of the authors, I can place this statement within the context of their fuller theological stance.

    I don’t think Danny was trying to be dishonest… only trying to provoke people to carefully read what these men actually said instead of what we might assume they said.

    In any case, I think it’s a good lesson for everyone who yearns to crucify anyone who expresses anything that at first glance seems to deviate from their own theology. :D
     
  13. Daniel Dunivan

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    You are exactly right BaptistBeliever, I did not post this quote to be dishonest, but to make 2 points.

    (1) It seems to me that many persons who hold to inerrancy do so in such a simpleton fashion that their beliefs are actually grounded to nothing intellectually--this would not be true of several persons on this board (Pastor Larry, Jim1999, etc.--Baptist Believer, I'm not exactly sure of your position, but I have been impressed with your articulation), but it would to many (these will go unnamed).

    (2) WE SHOULD ALWAYS BE WILLING TO DISCUSS AND DEBATE THESE ISSUES IF WE THINK THEY ARE IMPORTANT, and that debate can only be profitable if people truly listen to one another and think about what is being said. Otherwise, do something more profitable than taping away at a keyboard. I find benefit in this board because of the diversity of opinions; they cause me to better understand who I am and how my theology is both strong and flawed. I was disappointed to find out that some views on this board were not welcomed (and they needed the formation of a separate board)--though they express a very prominent section of truly baptist life. In my opinion, to be baptist is to respect one another's autonomy of opinion and use that as something to be celebrated, not embarassed of.

    I also enjoy this board, because I go to a Catholic school and the academic climate there rarely appreciates the complexities of these issues nor the importance that they have in the contemporary thinking of my tradition. I need you guys to knock ideas off of so that I stay sharp on what is important to being a Baptist. Keep it coming! We need each other in this journey towards the truth that is God in Christ!

    Grace and Peace (I always say this, but I truly mean it--even for those who disagree with me), Danny [​IMG]
     
  14. TomVols

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    Danny, please forgive me if it seemed I was being accusatory to you. I did not intend to be. I was merely trying to make a point that wresting a quote from its wider context is not a helpful way of having serious dialogue.

    You did expose some knee-jerk reactions that I thought were interesting :D but I hope I didn't accidentally add one more to the list :eek:
     
  15. Daniel Dunivan

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    Tom,

    As an academic, I agree with you estimation above. We cannot understand things appart from context--though these statements of Hodge and Warfield aren't given much textual context in the article itself. (Some persons here could use that critique in their approach to the scriptures.)

    Grace and Peace, Danny ;)
     
  16. Patriot

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    I do not agree with that statement. God's Holy Spirit took control of the person 100% and anything done by the author could not have contained any errors. I took some Bible classes on this but I cannot recall a lot of the information provided, I'll try to look it up to post it later.
     
  17. Scott J

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    So effectively unless someone is not an expert in the works of those who have articulated inerrancy to the point where they cannot be fooled by someone quoting out of context then they are not grounded in anything intellectual?

    One need not have read everything written by Hodge or Warfield to possess an intelligent belief in inerrancy. It is also not necessary to agree with everything written by Hodge and Warfield to hold an intelligent faith in inerrancy.

    I know this sounds harsh and I do appreciate the conciliatory nature of the rest of this particular post of yours. However, you cannot legitimately make broad generalizations about others based on a quote taken out of context.

    I have read parts of "The Fundamentals". Thoughts like the ones you gave initially were expanded by "real" liberals into wholesale denials of fundamental doctrines. They used such statements as a starting point to deny not only inerrancy but inspiration as well.

    I also do not share in your lament that some "Baptists" are not welcome here as Baptists. If someone believes in very little which is baptistic concerning doctrine then it is not necessary for others to accept them based on a label. It is the right and responsibility of biblical Christians "to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them." Were not those who were separated asserting doctrines in direct contradiction to those taught by God through Paul?
     
  18. blackbird

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    If the whole world got together and said that the Bible is NOT the inspired, inerrant, infallable word of God----it would STILL BE the inspired, inerrant, infallable word of God!

    Brother David
     
  19. Daniel Dunivan

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    Scott,

    I didn't mean to say that those who misunderstood the quotation were un-intellectual--though I do see how this could be seen from my post [​IMG] . I was trying to make a larger generalization about the lack of listening among certain persons on this board, and a general problem with inerrantists who believe so without intellectual underpinning and have simply jumped on the bandwagon of biblicism.

    Furthermore, I do think that those familar with the historically articulated doctrine of inerrancy would have little problem seeing that this was not against them, but in accord with their beliefs (note several above did see this from the quote).

    I apologize for the offense! [​IMG] I never shy from a good arguement, but if I'm in the wrong I will try to admit it.

    As far as those who were separated--I would say that they were contrary to certain interpretation of Paul, and surely the label "baptist" is large enough to include those who are on the edges theologically. It is through the challenges of the edges that the center becomes both a place of identity making (from those on the right) and relevance (those on the left). If we are to exclude the edges, then the ultra-fundamentalists have no greater claim to posting than our liberal brothers and sisters. Without those who upset, then we will become stagnant and worthless!----The quotation above has functioned for this, if for nothing else, and for that I am happy.

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  20. Scott J

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    Depending on how you define "ultra-fundamentalist", I might agree that they aren't baptistic either... then again it isn't my board.

    I agree that debate is very valuable but there have to be limits. The prerogative and responsibility to set those limits falls to the moderator.
     

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