Re: [asa] Lamoureux, Concordism, and Inerrancy

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat Mar 01 2008 - 08:05:31 EST

OK, but that still doesn't grasp the main point - that the Bible is the Word of God as a record of the witness to God's revelation centering on Christ and as the basis for the ongoing proclamation of Christ. We are to emphasize the truth of scripture for the sake of Christ, not Christ as one example of the truth of scripture. I'm not just picking on David here. E.g., the Evangelical Theological Society's statement "About the ETS" on its website says, "The ETS is devoted to the inerrancy and inspiration of the Scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ." This gets it precisely backwards. (The following "doctrinal statement" then starts with scripture & then the Trinity - with no mention of the incarnate Word.)

The point, I should emphasize, is not that there are 3 "Words of God," Christ, proclamation and scripture, but one Word in 3 forms.

This is by no means a trivial matter. The error of putting scripture first can lead to the notion (seldom if ever stated explicitly) that the statements that it makes about Christ are on a par with all the other inerrant propositions in scripture & thus non sequiturs like "If we can believe a fish swallowed Jonah - or that Adam was a 'real person' - then we can't believe in Jesus' resurrection." I.e., supposedly we're to believe in the resurrection & Jonah for the same reason, that they're found in an inerrant book.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: David Opderbeck
  To: George Murphy
  Cc: AmericanScientificAffiliation
  Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 9:19 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Lamoureux, Concordism, and Inerrancy

  Thanks. That's why I said "the canonical scriptures are God's written word." I didn't intend to say the written scriptures are the sum total of God's revelation. I fully agree God's self-revelation is most fully expressed in the person of Christ, and that God's written revelation ultimately points us to Christ.

  On Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 8:34 PM, George Murphy <> wrote:

    David et al -

    I could say "forgive me for harping on the same old thing" but it's the thing, old or new & calls for no forgiveness. While you might argue that it's implicitly there in your closing statement about scripture, "implicit" isn't sufficient. Where does Christ come in? Cf. The Confession of Faith in the ELCA constitution. After speaking of Jesus Christ as the Word of God incarnate and the proclamation of Law and Gospel as the Word of God, it says:

    "The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by God speaking through their authors, the record and announce God's
    revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God's Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world." (Emphasis added.)

    Move up to Shop-Rite.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: David Opderbeck
      To: AmericanScientificAffiliation
      Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 7:58 PM
      Subject: [asa] Lamoureux, Concordism, and Inerrancy

      Denis Lamoureux's article in the current PSCF is interesting. It is similar to a longer article by Lamoureux in a recent issue of Christian Scholar's Review on evangelicals and concordism.

      I'm sure all of this will be discussed in more details in Denis' forthcoming book, but I feel that he's not doing justice to the spectrum of contemporary evangelical views on inerrancy and that his definition of "concordism" is a bit wooden. He seems to equate "the" evangelical position with Harold Lindsell and a strict reading of the Chicago Statement.

      But this begs the question, it seems to me, of what "evangelical" means. Is Fuller Seminary "evangelical?" Fuller's statement on Biblical authority diverges from the Chicago Statement, and certainly from Lindsell, in many key respects. Is John Stott "evangelical?" Alister McGrath? Stott might be closer to the Chicago Statement but in "Evangelical Essentials" he qualifies inerrancy basically to what the text "intends" to teach, and I'm not sure McGrath would even use the term "inerrancy" (query -- does anyone know anything specific McGrath has written on this?) How about Donald Bloesch? Bloesch's "Holy Scripture" IMHO is a wonderfully balanced text that discusses "inerrancy" in a particular way. Even one of the evangelical Baptist stalwarts Lamoureux cites, Millard Erickson, takes a much more nuanced position in his "Systematic Theology" than Lamoureux lets on: Erickson says "The Bible, when correctly interpreted in light of the level to which culture and the means of communication had developed at the time it was written, and in view of the purposes for which it was given, is fully truthful in all that it affirms," and he specifically discusses the use of phenomenological language to describe natural and historical events.

      Likewise, the term "concordism" seems ill-defined to me in Lamoureux's usage. There is of course Hugh Ross style "high concordism," in which the Biblical text is seen to be making scientific claims that essentially remained hidden for millennia and can only be fully understood in light of modern scientific knowledge. But Lamoureux seems to suggest that an assertion that Genesis 1-11 refers to any "real" history is "concordism." It seems to me that he forces the reader into an artifical box: either accommodation or a dreaded "ism," "concordism."

      In my view, we need to get away from this "ism" talk. The question isn't accommodation vs. concordism, or inerrancy vs. errancy (or "limited inerrancy"). Why not just say this: the canonical scriptures are God's written word and are authoritative for the Church. They reflect God's character as perfectly truthful and good; they also reflect God's character as the God who empties Himself and condescends to meet us on human terms; and they reflect the humanity of the writers and editors through whom God has spoken. Part of the Church's task, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is to understand and apply the authoritative scriptures in each time, culture, and place in which the Church exists."

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Received on Sat Mar 1 08:06:53 2008

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