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|Title: ||The word became text and dwells among us? an examination of the doctrine of inerrancy|
|Authors: ||Oldfield, Jeffery S.|
|Supervisors: ||Holmes, Stephen|
Doctrine of Scripture
|Issue Date: ||27-Jun-2008|
|Abstract: ||In 1978 a group of evangelical philosophers and theologians held a meeting to decide
what the definitive statement on the doctrine of inerrancy would be. Drawing on the
thought of B.B. Warfield and others this group came up with a statement comprising
of a short statement, nineteen articles including both statements of affirmation and
denial, as well as, an exposition of these articles. Taken in its entirety, this statement
is intended to be the Evangelical statement determining all subsequent information
about the doctrine of inerrancy. Leading evangelicals, including Carl F.H. Henry
signed this document in order to establish a consensus on what one meant when using
the term inerrancy.
Almost three decades later this term is still used with a sense of confusion and the
doctrine is no less controversial. In fact, it still is responsible for the division of
departments in many evangelical institutions of higher education in North America.
The following thesis hopes to help loosen this doctrine from its theological
‘stronghold’ and place it in a position where it will be less likely to cause division
By examining the thought of both B.B. Warfield, who helped create the doctrine, and
Carl F.H. Henry, who played a contemporary role in the formation of the Chicago
Statement and who might rightly be considered the evangelical theologian of the
twentieth century, this thesis brings to light certain presuppositions of the doctrine of
inerrancy that allow it take a position that undergirds other theological doctrines.
By identifying the nature of truth and authority as the main tenants of the inerrantist
position, the thesis examines these terms in light of the thought of both Warfield and
Henry. Their thought is found to be remarkably similar to certain principles and
concerns raised by Enlightenment philosophers and it is concluded that the
understandings of truth and authority presupposed by the doctrine of inerrancy
ultimately are biased by Enlightenment philosophy and so are an inadequate
representation of the terms as used in Scripture and tradition.
The thesis suggests that an adequate understanding of truth would be primarily
Christological in nature and, therefore, a larger category than the one presupposed by
the doctrine of inerrancy. Also, an adequate understanding of authority would
presuppose the contemporary work of the Holy Spirit, which again makes for a much
larger pneumatological category than the one presupposed by the doctrine of
inerrancy as it is currently defined.
Enlarging these categories in no way necessitates the denial of inerrancy altogether.
Rather it removes the doctrine of inerrancy from its theological pedestal and places it
amongst other beliefs that might support the truth and authority of Scripture but by no
means establish them. The concluding chapter ends with a statement of what this new
doctrine of inerrancy might look like.|
|Publisher: ||University of St Andrews|
|Appears in Collections:||Divinity Theses|
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