Re: Concordist sequence--why be a concordist?

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Thu Jun 26 2003 - 10:11:38 EDT

  • Next message: Alexanian, Moorad: "RE: Concordist sequence--why be a concordist?"

    George Murphy wrote:

    > Whether or not scripture is described as "revelation" is a
    >matter of theological
    >opinion. The Bible itself never uses the word of itself or parts of
    >itself. I think
    >it's better to make clear the distinction between God's
    >self-revelation in the history
    >of Israel culminating in Christ and the inspired written witness to
    >it. All sorts of
    >aberrations can result (though of course they don't have to) if one
    >tries to read
    >scripture as an inerrant or infallible text independent of its
    >function as witness to
    > Earlier I quoted snippets from the ELCA constitution. More
    >fully, after
    >speaking of Christ and proclamation of law & gospel, it says:
    > "The canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are
    >the written Word of
    >God. Inspired by God's Spirit speaking through their authors, they
    >record and announce
    >God's revaltion in Jesus Christ. Through them God's Spirit speaks
    >to us to create and
    >sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world."
    > Of course this is not an infallible definition but I think is
    >a useful one. It
    >does not use the term "inerrant", I think wisely. The term is so loaded with
    >connotations of "accurate historical account" that I'm afraid it's pretty much


    I'm not arguing here for inerrancy, but "merely" inspiration--that
    scripture is God-breathed and thus God's definitive and unique
    written Word recording and announcing God's revelation in redemptive
    history. It is fully legitimate to call it God's Word. Whether you
    call that revelation is a semantic issue. In the much of the modern
    parlance, "witness to" puts the full weight on the human faith
    community's reflection. Our on-going reflections are seen to be of
    the same flavor. Inspiration is seen in a much more generic sense
    ("the awesome nature scene 'inspired' me to write this poem" or
    "watching God do this amazing miracle 'inspired' me to write about
    it") than the unique "God-breathed" or prophetic "carried along by
    the Spirit" meaning that is fouind in scripture. This fully human
    "witness to" is not the traditional view--it is not the view
    reflected in the ELCA statement from which you have quoted.

    The ELCA statement also rightly points to the work of the Spirit
    through the scriptures. This promise and expectation cannot be made
    in reference to any other human writings.

    You may be correct in your assessment about the connotations of the
    word "inerrancy" although I know of plenty of conservative Reformed
    theologians who understand it in a reasonably nuanced way that avoids
    the problems you attach to it--including B.B. Warfield and A.A. Hodge
    who wrote the original piece in *The Fundamentals*. Many modern
    inerrantists are much less nuanced then those who defined the term.


    Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado  80523
    phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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