Re: [asa] Lamoureux, Concordism, and Inerrancy

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Sat Mar 01 2008 - 08:52:44 EST

George, if you had to label your view of scripture and inspiration, would it
be Barthian / neo-orthodox? I don't know about the whole of the ETS'
theological statement, but this divergence from neo-orthodoxy is an
important defining thread in evangelicalism. There is a fear that
relativising all of scripture to Christ leads to relativising some important
themes, such as the moral law -- and many evangelical leaders would
cite, say, the debates over sexual ethics in many of the mainline
denominations as a key example of this. But at the same time, some who
would define themselves as evangelical aren't completely hostile to Barth --
the strand that includes Bernard Ramm later in his life and Fuller Seminary,
I think.

In short -- as somone with an evangelical heritage, who appreciates many
aspects of that heritage, and who still identifies broadly as "evangelical,"
I like your wording, but I need it to be unpacked so that I can understand
where it really falls between Warfield and Barth.

On Sat, Mar 1, 2008 at 8:05 AM, George Murphy <> wrote:

> 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.
> Shalom
> George
> ----- 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.
> >
> > Shalom
> > George
> >
> >
> > ----- 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 08:53:54 2008

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