Re: Liberalism and Neo-orthodoxy

From: <>
Date: Tue Feb 17 2004 - 21:26:48 EST

Since we seem to be taking a little digression into neo-orthodoxy, etc., I
hope I can be forgiven for asking if somebody knows the answer to a historical
question I have been wondering about.

Rich Blinne wrote:
"Neo-orthodoxy differs from orthodoxy in that orthodoxy believes the Bible
*is* the Word of God while neo-orthodoxy believes that the Bible *contains* the
Word of God."

My question concerns the origin of the IS versus CONTAINS dichotomy. Not so
much the controversy itself, but the wording. From many different sources, I
hear these exact two words contrasted: IS versus CONTAINS. The most frequent
use seems to be from people I would call fundamentalists saying (often with
vehemence as though the foundation of their faith was threatened) "The Bible
does not CONTAIN the Word of God, the Bible IS the Word of God." Always in
*exactly* those words. It seems to be a mantra for fundamentalists and
conservative evangelicals.

Because it is always phrased with those *exact* words, I think that wording
must have a particular origin. Was there a particular person (Barth?) who said
"contains", causing somebody else (Van Til?) to coin the statement using an
emphatic "is"? Was that wording prominent somewhere in "The Fundamentals"?
Was it a standard sentence made famous by some well-known fundamentalist
preacher or writer (Bob Jones? Billy Sunday? Somebody more recent like Lindsell?)?

I' don't want to start a debate on which word (if either) is the right way to
look at things. But I'm hoping somebody here can satisfy my historical
curiosity by explaining how the issue came to always be accompanied by those
particular words.

Dr. Allan H. Harvey, Boulder, Colorado |
"Any opinions expressed here are mine, and should not be
 attributed to my employer, my wife, or my cats"
Received on Tue Feb 17 21:27:43 2004

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