RE: [asa] Lamoureux, Concordism, and Inerrancy

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Sat Mar 01 2008 - 21:12:19 EST

Dear Michael, you wrote:
>Hence we don't have the problems of Concordism!! Inerrancy and similar
views create problems and YEC as well as Dick Fischer, Hugh Ross and
Glenn Morton desperately seek this concord which is not there<
I can only speak for one of the above-mentioned miscreants. Of the
other two, one is a creationist, I'm not. The other believes Adam was
an australopithicine, I think that's pushing the envelope of
believability. But "desperately" seeking concordance? Not the kind of
understatment we on this side of the Atlantic are accumstomed to hearing
from your side. Tell you what. Pick out three verses from the first
eleven chapters of Genesis you believe are errant, and why. Which ones
don't cut the mustard in your estimation? Please keep in mind the
intended audience, not Brits and Yanks, but guys named Achmed and

Dick Fischer

Richard James Fischer, author

Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Michael Roberts
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2008 5:32 PM
To: George Murphy; David Opderbeck
Cc: ASA list
Subject: Re: [asa] Lamoureux, Concordism, and Inerrancy

George is really not so much Barthian as following the principles of the
early Church where they began with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as
proclaimed by the apostles and supported by the Old Testament and later
by the NT writings which were recognised fairly quickly as authoritative
especially the 4 Gospels Acts and Pauls letters . Thus Jesus Christ is
the key of both the OT and NT.
Here the use of the Bible is essential fro Christian belief and
understanding but it is normative rather than formative.
This of course works in the opposite direction from inerrancy style
evangelicalism (to be contrasted with classical protestant or early
catholic theology), where they start from the Bible rather than Christ.
Hence they have no guiding theme and of course Jonah swallowing the
whale is as central as the resurrection.
We also need to note that Inerrancy is a new idea and first came to
attention in 1828 with R Haldane. Evangelicals before then (and since as
well) held similar views of non-inerrancy to George and myself.
Hence we don't have the problems of Concordism!! Inerrancy and similar
views create problems and YEC as well as Dick Fischer, Hugh Ross and
Glenn Morton desperately seek this concord which is not there

----- Original Message -----
From: George Murphy <>
To: David Opderbeck <>
Cc: ASA list <>
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2008 4:06 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Lamoureux, Concordism, and Inerrancy

I appreciate the concern about priorities. I would just comment that
science-theology dialogue & sexual ethics aren't totally distinct. We
need to take into account what science says about, e.g., sexual
orientation & the fact that human sexuality has to be seen in an
evolutionary context - which doesn't mean that we ignore the even wider
theological context.

----- Original Message -----
From: David <> Opderbeck
To: George Murphy <>
Cc: ASA list <>
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2008 10:34 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Lamoureux, Concordism, and Inerrancy

Thanks. You maybe can see the pastoral concern here for many of us
evangelicals. If I'm going to be discussing my views in the public
square, or in my local congregation, I'd rather risk being wrong about
some question concerning how faith and science relate than risk being
wrong about sexual ethics. The metro NYC area includes lots of well
educated people who probably do want to think more carefully about faith
and science, and I think that's missionally important. But it also
includes many more people, I think -- including many of the well
educated people -- who are struggling with our media culture's obsession
with sex. So many apparently good marriages I know of have been broken
by pornography, adultery, and sexual identity problems. So when the
rubber meets the road, even aside from all of evangelicalism's
historical and cultural baggage about scripture and inerrancy, there are
places where we are (properly) hesitant to go.

On Sat, Mar 1, 2008 at 10:16 AM, George Murphy <> wrote:

Yes, what I've said about the threefold form of the Word - & I think
what's in the ELCA constitution - is strongly influenced by Barth. I
hesitate to call my own views "Barthian," let alone neo-orthodox. As a
Lutheran I'm not comfortable with, e.g., Barth's views on the sacraments
(& this of course simply refelcts longstanding Lutheran-Reformed
differences.) That's closely connected with the present topic if the
sacraments are considered under Augustine's rubric of "visible words."
The fear that a christological centering will lead to some type of
antinomianism is common. In the Missouri wars of the late 60s & 70s the
conservatives accused the moderates (aka "liberals" - as if one could be
a liberal in the Missouri Synod!) of "gospel reductionism" - i.e.,
elimination of the law for Christians. That stemmed from questions
about whether the Lutheran Confessions teach a distinctive "third use of
the law" - i.e., a use peculiar to Christians. That is a Reformed
teaching but for Lutherans the "third use" is really just the 1st & 2d
uses as they apply to Christians - i.e., we still have to live in
society & we still sin so the law still accuses us. I.e., to deny a
distinctive 3d use isn't to say that the law no longer applies to
Which of course just gets us to the beginning of questions about sexual

----- Original Message -----
From: David Opderbeck <>
To: George Murphy <>
Cc: ASA list <>
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2008 8:52 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Lamoureux, Concordism, and Inerrancy

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.

----- 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
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
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,"
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 21:13:23 2008

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