Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I’m really excited (you’ll probably think it’s funny what excites me) because I’ve found an evangelical statement on the nature of the Bible that I actually like:

http://www.fuller.edu/provost/aboutfuller/believe_teach.asp

"Scripture is an essential part and trustworthy record of divine self-disclosure. All the books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, are the written Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. They are to be interpreted according to their context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through them in living power."


Were we to distinguish our position from that of some of our brothers and sisters who perceive their view of Scriptures as more orthodox than ours, several points could be made: 1) we would stress the need to be aware of the historical and literary process by which God brought the Word to us; 2) we would emphasize the careful attention that must be given to the historical and cultural contexts in which the various authors lived and wrote, as well as to the purposes which each had in mind -convinced as we are that the Spirit of God used the human abilities and circumstances of the writers in such a way that the Word which results is truly divine; 3) we are convinced that this investigation of the context, purpose and literary genre is essential to a correct understanding of any portion of God's Word; 4) we would urge that the emphasis be placed where the Bible itself places it -on its message of salvation and its instruction for living, not on its details of geography or science, though we acknowledge the wonderful reliability of the Bible as a historical source book; 5) we would strive to develop our doctrine of Scripture by hearing all that the Bible says, rather than by imposing on the Bible a philosophical judgment of our own as to how God ought to have inspired the Word...

...(Inerrancy's) dangers, when improperly defined, are: 1) that it implies a precision alien to the minds of the Bible writers and their own use of the Scriptures; 2) that it diverts attention from the message of salvation and the instruction in righteousness which are the Bible's key themes; 3) that it may encourage glib and artificial harmonizations rather than serious wrestling with the implication of biblical statements which may seem to disagree; 4) that it leads those who think that there is one proven error in the Bible (however minor), to regard its whole teaching as subject to doubt; 5) that too often it has undermined our confidence in the Bible by a retreat for refuge to the original manuscripts (which we do not posses) whenever problems cannot otherwise be resolved; 6) that it prompts us to an inordinate defensiveness of Scripture which seems out of keeping with the bold confidence with which the prophets, the apostles and our Lord proclaimed it."

6 comments:

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Yes, the statement you quoted in bold is one that I also like. Very good. Thanks for finding it, Kenny! Axios!

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Rereading your post, I find myself agreeing most emphatically with the entire last paragraph, which I think is a quote from your source. From my understanding of the Bible as an Orthodox Christian, I would say that everything in this paragraph accords with Eastern Orthodox attitudes about the Bible.

Thanks again for this post!

Ben said...

I have no idea if that reflects Nondenominational Evangelical Protestant views (although, let's be honest, the point of NEP's is that they don't have one coherent point of view)....but it certainly strikes me as entirely correct.

Kenny said...

Well, the big thing to me is that it's an Evangelical statement that doesn't espouse "inerrancy." Despite a wide range of NEP beliefs, you'll find it very rare that an Evangelical institution doesn't espouse inerrancy, which, unfortunately I think is an error.

jackswords said...

I can see why you're excited. They've said everything you want to say and nothing you don't. But does Fuller have the reputation for being a school of liberal theology? Otherwise you may have to hide your inspiration when you write your own statement of faith.

kennyching said...

Whether Fuller is liberal is kind of relative. Compared to Yale or Princeton, it might as well be Bob Jones.

I don't know that much about Fuller. I know there is significant controversy over their repudiation of inerrancy. So, its reputation will probably depend on who you ask. But, I think Fuller considers itself fully "evangelical." Hopefully, it's the beginning of a movement: non-inerrancy evangelicals.