Tremper Longman

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Romans922, Sep 19, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Really, he believes this?

    [ame=""]YouTube - Tremper Longman III - Is There A Historical Adam - Part 12[/ame][ame=""][/ame]
  2. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Where does he teach now? Wasn't he at Westminster once? It just shows how liberalism and evolution put pressure on people's brains until they seep or flood in!

    I don't disagree totally with him on the emotions but he seems to find it difficult expressing himself verbally on it.

    "Church life can be pretty thin": sometimes because we ourselves are unspiritual. Sometimes because the Psalms have been abandoned for bland hymns. Sometimes because the Psalms and the rest of Scripture hasn't been studied to get more out of worship. Sometimes because we want to be entertained rather than worship God.

    I'll raise the point about "Adam"/"Adam" in the creation/evolution forum.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  3. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    This may sound simplistic but I am of the firm belief that the reason most evangelicals do not support 6/24 and a literal, real historical Adam is that it makes them look and feel silly at dinner parties and academic events where their "colleagues" will be.
  4. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    There is no compelling reason within the pages of holy writ to think that a day is a day is NOT a day, whether in Genesis 1 or Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 6:

    The search for respectability is perhaps the greatest problem for Reformed scholars.

  5. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I believe in an individual Adam, who married an individual Eve.

    But how does this matter of the word "Adam" being both the Hebrew for Man(kind) and the personal name of the first man pan out etymologically?

    I'll put this on the creation forum.
  6. dr_parsley

    dr_parsley Puritan Board Freshman

    Then you need to learn more respect for some of your brothers as well as a little humility. Really, that's nastily insulting to people who have agonised over that problem. Is it possible that on the other hand some people accept 6 days because in their circles it's the easiest thing to do and they'd rather not think too deeply about it? Please imagine at your church if you started struggling with 6 days - would it cause some problems for you? I'm sure there are some people in both camps like that, but I would hope that most Christians are sincere at doing their best to believe the truth.
  7. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Dr. Longman is the Robert H. Gundry professor of Biblical Studies at my alma mater, Westmont College. Ironically, Bob Gundry was an inerrantist when he was my prof (32 units!!!) + he officiated at my wedding. So, given the trajectory of Dr. Gundry since then, it is probably a good fit for Dr. Longman to hold the chair named after him.

    Paul, I have been on both sides of the day-age vs. 6 day divide during my life and can understand your sympathy for those who see it differently. Yes, one can be orthodox and old to an old earth view. However, I do fear that the revisionist views bear a bunch of unwanted consequences in other areas as well (e.g., the role of women, homosexuality, etc.).
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  8. Mark Hettler

    Mark Hettler Puritan Board Freshman

    Tremper and I were classmates at Westminster in the 1970s. After graduate studies, he returned to Westminster and taught there for 18 years, before taking the position Mr. McFadden refers to at Westmont. As far as I know, he left completely on his own accord, as opposed to there being any controversy over his views as with e.g. Peter Enns.

    Westminster has always been open to an old-earth day-age view, going all the way back to their Princeton precursors such as Warfield. But this is the first I've heard anyone associated with Westminster (albeit he's not there anymore) question the idea of an individual Adam.
  9. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    I don't agree with a non-ordinary day (e.g. "6/24" view) of creation, but I don't think it makes was heretical or even unorthodox or untrustworthy (generally).

    But to deny an historical Adam makes one either greatly confused or completely untrustworthy, since it makes Luke (3:38), Paul (1 Co. 15:45; 1 Tim 2:13-14) and Jude (v14) explicitly liars, and thus the Scriptures untrustworthy. It also destroys the foundation of our redemtion by Christ (Romans 5:12-21).
  10. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

  11. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Or a true Bible:

    [ame=]YouTube - Tremper Longman III - On Who Wrote The Bible? - Part 6[/ame]
  12. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor


    It is exceedingly difficult to find an evangelical institution that keeps faith with its original confession over time. A few have retained their theological moorings. But, not too many.

    Personally I treasure the high quality education afforded this poor kid from "the wrong side of the tracks" who was privileged to attend the most expensive Christian liberal arts college that I know of in the U.S. (Westmont) back in the early 70s. However, when it came time to send my own kids off to school, money and current theological orientation led me to encourage them to schools with a somewhat more "traditional" view of Biblical critical issues.

    Dr. Longman is one of the most promient biblical scholars in the country with a fine reputation for scholarship and an amazingly productive shelf of volumes flowing from his pen. He is also a VERY popular teacher at Westmont with a reputation for caring for his students.

    In practice, however, I have noticed that the "on the one hand, but on the other hand" kind of scholarly nuance practiced in many of our best schools often leaves young students confused and disillusioned with their faith. A dear pastor friend of mine dumped a bundle into his daughter's tuition at a certain prominent CA Christian college 90 miles up the coast from L.A. Her "Bible" classes convinced her that the Bible was unreliable and untrustworthy. She left her Christian college after two years for a secular school and left the church behind her. She has not gone back to either in the more than a decade since. I know her teacher well. When I went to college he was almost fundamentalist in his positions! Yikes!
  13. Theoretical

    Theoretical Puritan Board Professor


    I'm not totally sure on long or short day, and though being on the 6/24 side of the fence, but the one thing I thought that separated the various orthodox long-day theories from theistic evolution was the former's absolute insistence on a historical Adam. I would hope that none of the long-day approaches permitted in the committee reports in the Reformed denominations allow for a non-historical Adam.
  14. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Indeed. One might as well deny the necessity of a historical Jesus if the Fall and Original Sin are ahistorical.
  15. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Fred, I watched that clip.

    He didn't deny it was true or inerrant, he just said that some anonymous authors may have contributed to parts, such as the death of Moses being recorded in a book attributed to Moses.
  16. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Such people don't seem to realise that they are cutting the legs from under themselves, as regards the relevance of any true evangelicalism or Reformed testimony which they might otherwise be committed to.

    They have cut down the tree of the Reformed faith which they profess at its base with one blow of the axe, by this single concession to liberalism.

    -----Added 9/20/2009 at 04:52:08 EST-----

    But he was getting a bit wishy-washy.

    I would have wished for something more clear and definite and solid.

    It didn't wash with me. :2cents: :lol:
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  17. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    First, I'm getting way beyond tired of the canard that since Moses couldn't have written Deuteronomy 31 (and why not, exactly?) we have to assume that there were a bunch of redactors, editors, etc. who wrote the Pentateuch. Jesus never says that. He says "Moses."

    Wonder why he does not say "wrote"? But "associated" or "traditions"?

    What exactly did these "editors" do? Were all these men and women inspired by the Holy Spirit? No statement about that is forthcoming from Longman. The Bible is full of examples of referring to actual authors as evidence of inspiration (Who wrote the Bible? Holy men who were taught by the Holy Spirit) - just one example is Hebrews 3:7 and Psalm 95. Longman's blather attempts to completely destroy this foundation of inspriation.

    I guess I am so "conditioned" to believe that the Bible says what it says, so I am so "highly literalistic." So the Bible does not actually mean what it says - it is just a kind of legal brief against Babylon. Puke.

    [ame=]YouTube - Tremper Longman III - On The Creation Account - Part 4[/ame]
  18. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    (Who wrote the Bible? Holy men who were taught by the Holy Spirit) - just one example is Hebrews 3:7 and Psalm 95. Longman's blather attempts to completely destroy this foundation of inspriation.

    I think you are crossing a line that does not exist at least in this video. He is not denying inspiration or saying that any part of the bible is not true. I think this is very subtle slander.

    I know for a fact that at the time he left WTS he stressed sola scriptura.

    So maybe he thinks God used somebody else than the main author to write a chapter or some verses here and there. So what? Elijah started a school of the prophets at Beth El and maybe some of them added something under the inspiration of the holy spirit. Its still inerrant and infallible and you'd still attribute the book to whoever wrote the major part, right?

    The Adam stuff is really off if you ask me, but this other video is just not what you are claiming it to be.
  19. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    To support what Rev. Greco said, I submit the following:

    As one who has previously resisted certainty regarding the Mosaic authorship of the whole of the Pentateuch, I thought I might interject. I have spent a good deal of time and energy considering my presuppositions, and have sat on the results for an equivalent amount of time to make sure I was truly convinced. I can honestly maintain that it is only through a madness or infection with the virus of doubt that question of the Mosaic authorship has crept into Reformed churches. Please note, I *am not* claiming that one is mad or a doubting skeptic if one does not affirm the sole Mosaic authorship; rather, I am making a statement as to the ultimate cause of these beliefs, which have subtly wormed their way into faithful minds. One can honestly claim to affirm both plenary inspiration and non-Mosaic authorship (either through Moses compiling previous traditions, or through later editors under the inspiration of the Spirit compiling the writings of Moses and others); but ultimately, I must confess the two incompatible, and that try as one might to hold the two in tension, one of the two ultimately must give way.

    No previous doubt of the received position would have entered my mind (or the minds of others) if not for the seed planted based upon secular critical methods. If it were not for these, there would be no need of questioning the natural reading. This questioning being implanted in the mind, a few seemingly pious statements immediately flood the mind:

    1. Simply because we do not know the human author of the books, this does not mean they are not still wholly of divine origin and infallible; even as we do not know the author of Hebrews, or of Job.
    2. We do not deny that Moses wrote much material, as the scriptures plainly testify. But we do not see his name ascribed in toto to any of the particular books, much less to the 5 as a whole (particularly Genesis).
    3. When the New Testament refers to that which was written by Moses, it speaks truly; and thus we know that this specific material in the Pentateuch came most assuredly from Moses’ pen.
    4. The five books are called “The Books of Moses,” or the “Law of Moses” for several reasons, none of which require his sole authorship. The law contained in these books was, indeed, delivered to Israel from God by Moses’ hand; also, Moses stood at the head of that administration; further, Moses and his ministry is the chief subject matter of these books. Therefore, even as the gospels are referred to as the Gospel of Jesus Christ (since he is the chief subject, but not author, of the books), and the psalms are referred to as the Psalms of David, though he is not the only author, but, as the Sweet Psalmist of Israel, is the chiefest and principle author thereof; even so, these books are most rightly referred to as The Books of Moses as he is the chief subject and principle source of the material, even if his hand did not author all of it.
    5. We all already acknowledge that Moses did not write it all; so the question is not one of quality, but quantity.

    And with these seemingly pious thoughts, the mind attempts to console itself that it maintains a fully Biblical doctrine. This all stands or falls, however, with the truth of the statement that the scriptures *do not*, in fact, ascribe the whole of authorship to Moses’ hand. There are three main reasons why I have come to believe that it is indeed clear that they do so.

    At root, we have to face the issue that scripture was written as scripture, not as occasional documents which were later turned into scripture. We are told that no **scripture** came of private interpretation, but holy men of old, being moved by the Holy Ghost , spoke; and that unto these same men was it “revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister these things.” That which is found in the writings contained in the Holy Bible is, in the intent of its writing and to the knowledge of its human penmen, scripture. This, it seems, must automatically preclude editors taking bits and pieces of tradition (even under the direct inspiration and command of the Holy Spirit), and combining it into one document as our canonical scriptures. This is not the same as prophets *writing* material *as scripture*, and *for us*. I can not wiggle my way around this.

    Secondly, though I had previously sought safety in that it could indeed be stated that Moses wrote material (as is obvious from both the Pentateuch, the rest of the Old Testament, and the New Testament as well), but not necessarily the whole of the Five Books; I must confess now that, unless coming to the text with critical presuppositions, this must be an unnatural reading. I must admit that realistically speaking, this means that the material authored by Moses himself would have to be taken, butchered, and scattered haphazardly throughout the text in a most unnatural manner. If one starts with the presuppositions that 1.) Based upon grammatical, stylistic, thematic, historical, etc., evidences, Moses did not write *the whole* of the Pentateuch, and 2.) The scriptures speak truthfully when they assign all that they do to Moses’ pen, then one is forced to be content that the material was so split up. But it is, indeed, an awkward and most unnatural position to attempt to maintain; especially as one could argue to Jesus’ deceptiveness, in that he moderately affirmed the people’s widely held tradition that Moses was the sole author of the books bearing his name.

    A reading of Joshua 8:34,35 is hard to produce which does not indicate that the whole of the Pentateuch was in written form by the time of Joshua; and combined with subsequent narratives concerning the Book of the Law or the Book of Moses (its discovery in Josiah’s day as related in 2 Kings/Chronicles, or the use made thereof in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah), and with the various elements said to be contained in this book in various parts of scripture, it certainly requires great feats of acrobatics to maintain that what we have today known as “The Book of Moses” is not the same spoken of throughout the Old Testament. I have tried to walk that line, and have found myself not up to the challenge. It is like walking a flaming tightrope when a paved and wide road is right below. I previously *began* with academic theories which had been thoroughly ingrained in my head, and forced these to be compatible with scriptural testimony; if one starts, however, with the most natural reading of scripture, it is far easier to give an historical, grammatical account for the various “anomalies” in the text of the Pentateuch, than to account for the scriptural data within the framework of “neutral,” critical presuppositions and to have any true peace of mind about it.

    I will therefore urge my good brothers and sisters who question the sole Mosaic authorship to keep considering the scriptural data; I, with you, long held that the two could be maintained together; continue to ask yourself whether the most plain and natural reading of the scriptural texts will bear the possibility of non-Mosaic authorship: perhaps ask yourself not whether it is possible that the texts do not require Mosaic authorship; but whether is *probable* that they do not require it. I realize that the educations received in grammatical criticism are hard to overcome; but 1.) Even if we feel the results of this criticism are compatible with conservative Christian interpretation, nevertheless the necessary foundations upon which these conclusions stand are not – and what is the point of conclusions if their foundations have been stripped away; 2.) These conclusions being put away, it is not so hard a challenge to reconcile the seeming difficulties of Mosaic authorship if we firmly believe with Divine faith that the books were so produced. I will not call you liberals, or skeptics, or modernists, etc., because I know you are not so: but I will say you are deceived and mistaken, and encourage you heartily to come out from among the company of such godless presuppositions.

    Thus, even though Mr. Longman would certainly not claim that he does not believe the scriptural revelation, or claim that the Bible speaks untruths; nevertheless, I must maintain that the content of his belief is at variance with the truth of scripture, for the same does, indeed, declare who is the author of the Pentateuch.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  20. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Wow! This is even worse than his non-defense of a literal Adam...
  21. Theoretical

    Theoretical Puritan Board Professor

    This brings back so many wonderful memories of the mainline and college professor rants against "fundamentalists." These lectures are given in such a Pat-on-the-head "I'm smart and you are dumb" attitude that's just so full of bland contempt for orthodoxy.

    Is it really any wonder there's so much popular anti-intellectualism?

    And substantively, why exactly could Moses have not written about his death in precise, inspired detail? Writing the inspired Word is more important than your (Moses) discomfort with reading the details of your final moments on earth.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  22. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Once upon a time scholars began with questions and concluded with answers. These days they have a tendency to begin with answers and conclude with questions.
  23. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Man, this makes me feel a whole lot better about my seminary education in So.Cal. I always assumed that WTS was a bastion of orthodoxy. Sounds like we were both taught pretty much the same stuff! :lol:

    The problem, of course, as Lynnie alludes in her defense of Dr. Longman's character, is that some of the ideas that do real damage to the church begin as questions by some of the best teachers, nicest guys, and people we most admire. Dr. Longman has been in print explaining that he eventually grew dissatisfied with the atmosphere at WTS and an "inward defensive" focus that he saw creeping in and that many saw in the Enns debacle. As Dr. Longman put it:

    But as Trialblogue put it in "Loving our Own" back in 2006 ( . . .

    I don't have a solution. My favorite teacher in college supervised 1/4 of my college units and officiated at my wedding. But he went on to argue that there were no magi and that the four women were not part of the "historical" genealogy of Jesus! The realities of cognitive dissonance make it very difficult for us to separate our feelings from our positions. That is why so many Christian leaders have "discovered" a change of heart with regard to homosexuality when their son or daughter "comes out" as gay.

    Ultimately, our Lord's admonition to Peter in John 21 is instructive. To Peter's complaint based on comparison with John, Jesus says, "What is that to you? You (emphatic) follow me." It really doesn't matter if our favorite teacher, parent, "bestest" friend, of sibling moves off of the center of Scripture. As Jesus said to Peter: What is that to you? You follow me.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  24. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    That was very interesting Prufrock; I didn't even know people had such a strong negative position to your 5 pious points ( fits me perfectly :) ). If I hadn't read the rest I would not even stop to ask if they could be wrong or even if it mattered (with regard to innerancy and inspiration.) I will have to defer any conclusion as this is so totally out of my league but I appreciate you describing the two outlooks so well).

    I am curious about something....if we were to pick 10 top dead guys who wrote books ( Calvin, Edwards, Owen types) and have commented on this, would they tend to line up with the 5 pious points, or you, or divide down the middle? Just wondering, I am so unfamiliar with this.

    I do still maintain though, that TL is not in these videos renouncing inerrancy in any way. I may not agree with him, but he is an OT scholar who is holding to orthodoxy on inspiration of the canon, even if how he interprets the scripture is not how we might. I would not class him with Enns just on the basis of these videos.

    By the way, DMc, regarding the quotes about WTS, I don't think from the much I have heard, it is about scripture and inerrancy. WTS had gained a lot of students over the years who were not going to be preachers (women and men in various types of ministry or secular work) with yes, an outward focus on engaging with the culture to some extent, CCEF classes, and that sort of thing. Lillback and Trueman wanted to move back to more of Machen's vision of preparing preachers to preach sound doctrine as the main objective.... (nothing wrong with that, and I hope they produce a thousand LLoyd-Joneses) but it was a defensive posture towards training preachers to maintain the confessions rigorously, as opposed to the outer evangelistic looser type view (somebody like Tim Keller comes to mind). I know when we lived in PA in the 80s and 90s it was like everybody was taking classes at WTS....housewives, Baptists, charismatics, missionaries....people are hungry for good theology and they offered it. But then the vision to go back to producing Machenite Presbyterian preachers started to take hold and there was a shift. Anyway, not to ramble but it really wasn't about this subject, all that inward and outward stuff.
  25. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, I went to YouTube and watched all 13 parts of Longman's series of short videos. My reaction: this is what happens when you get your Ph.D at Yale...
  26. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor


    If you read the quotes, I don't think that they sustain your interpretation. Longman's example is about the confession cramping the latitude of biblical scholars to pursue their ideas that may be outside the confession. He reported objecting to a colleague telling him that the teacher has no right to adopt contra-confessional critical views as acceptable.

    You are correct, that this does not imply a rejection of inerrancy. It does, however, redefine it. Just as my mentor at Westmont believed that inerrancy was compatible with dismissing the historicity of the magi and the women in Jesus' genealogy . . . just as one of my seminary profs argued that inerrancy only applied to the salvific portions of Scripture . . . just as some are now arguing that Adam need not be an historical person . . . when people we love and respect advocate views contrary to confessional Christianity, that creates problems of cognitive dissonance for some of us anyway. The appropriate response is NOT (in my opinion) to modify our views of Scripture to accommodate the new insights of our friends and admired teachers.

    Perhaps I have misunderstood your point. Please explain.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  27. Mark Hettler

    Mark Hettler Puritan Board Freshman

    Nothing I've said should be taken as implying that Westminster was anything less than a bastion of orthodoxy when I was there in the 70's. Even during the Shepherd controversy, which was just heating up while I was there, the debate was over whether certain views should or should not be regarded as confessional; no one on either side was arguing that unconfessional views should be tolerated.

    I read this quote when he first posted it during the Enns debate, and the video clips posted here notwithstanding, I don't have a problem with what he said in that quote. Here he is calling for an openness to questioning of the Confession's interpretation of scripture; that's different from calling for an openness to questioning of the accuracy of scripture itself. (Although I suppose maybe that's your point, that the process that leads to calling into question scripture itself often begins with questioning of historic orthodox understanding of scriptural teaching.)
  28. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate


    I remember talking to one colleague, for instance, who told me that if I felt the Bible taught something that the Confession did not that I had to side with the Confession.

    Does that bother you? He is saying that only the bible is inerrant and if it conflicts with something else, we must go with the bible. Mind you he might be wrong about the conflict and the bible interpretation, but in the final analysis, do we believe something because we see it in the Word, or in the WCF?

    I took exactly one class at WTS (Doctrine of God...really fun, wish I could have taken more) and they hammered bible in. They wanted us to see doctrine clearly taught throughout scripture. They wanted us to believe it because we saw it in the bible. Sure they quote great reformers, but in the final analysis a student must be convinced by scripture, not commentaries or confessions. That is the essence of a great teacher- you see truth from the bible clearly. If somebody says to put the confession above that, well, in my opinion you may as well go back to Rome. Exceptions can not be taken lightly, they are a very serious and solemn matter, but if you have one you must go with scripture. I'd say the WCF is as good a systematic theology as you will get, but it isn't canon.

    ( and I believe in the first Adam, not a mamma primate nursing the first man)

    And by the way confessionalists reject all kinds of things. They toss James 5 healing out the door, they reject headcoverings, they scoff at the geocentric position (earth at the center of the universe and solar system- the actual model works equally perfectly for heliocentric or geocentric so it can't be "proved" either way, but only one is biblical) And I am aghast at all the Presbyterian women I know who think sound doctrine in Titus 2 about women at home does not mean what it says with babies and toddlers ( and I don't mean to criticize true financal hardship, I am talking about where it is not necessary). Confessionalists pick and choose the same as everybody else. They teach the confession to the kids and watch Beth Moore with the women. So I am a bit cynical about swearing to the confession as some standard of biblical superiority......
  29. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor


    Of course it bothers me to think that a standard external to the Bible has a right to be put above scripture. In fact it bothers me so much that I am less inclined to be impressed by imposing a higher critical grid on the reading of the Bible, even when the one imposing the template is a favorite professor who is a really nice guy.

    Again, in my opinion you still did not face up to what Logman was saying. The "outward" and "inward" directions, viewed contextually are equivalent to "broad" and "narrow." To whit, WTS had become (in his opinion) a place where scholarship would be shackled to the limits of confessional conventions. Moving to CA, he was promised that he could allow his mind to go in whatever direction his scholarship leads him. Westmont does not impose any expectation beyond broad evangelicalism upon its faculty (e.g., Calvinist, Arminian, charismatic, emergent, etc.).

    After more than 50 years watching broad evangelicalism drive the bus into the ditches to the left, to the right, and into more cul de sacs than I can count, the assured results of scholarship no longer impress me. I have watched too many of my colleagues fall away from the faith for reasons of moral failure, abusive church treatment, and (all too often) the ego-driven ruminations of scholars quick to snicker at historic Christian positions. Sorry, Lynnie, but academic freedom does not matter to me as much as biblical fidelity.
  30. dr_parsley

    dr_parsley Puritan Board Freshman

    And some start with answers and immediately stop.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the WCF on the scriptures: it is inspired and is infallible to provide us with every knowledge of God necessary unto salvation. And I'm seen as a world-infested liberal!

    Infallibility is a judgment that is earned through experience of its power and authority confirmed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Sounds very liberal and wishy-washy? It's the WCF: "Our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts". This persuasion started with me the moment I believed because I believed through reading the bible not through preaching, or a church or evangelism - oh I believe in the power of the bible alright; I know it is the Holy Spirit's chosen primary method of operation and as such it is of immense power and deserves the utmost respect and attention.

    Inerrancy is not in the WCF unless you use the word 'inspired' in a very particular way of your choosing. Inerrancy is a presupposition - it has to be to avoid being circular. There's nothing inherently wrong with presuppositions of course; they can be good and necessary and their adoption is a function of how much time you're willing to spend questioning a thing compared to its certainty. I will believe the bible is inerrant in the first place. But this working assumption is not to me an article of salvific faith or an indicator of being open to the influences of the world. If the text says that Saul was one year old and reigned for two years, this is not a problem - it just tells me that that information is not necessary unto salvation. If, in all intellectual honesty and prayer, other data of revelation (such as the natural world) contradicts a literal reading of a passage of scripture, the data of revelation will trump the working assumption in that place and I know a literal interpretation of that place is not necessary unto salvation. What these things don't do is change my opinion of the bible's infallibility to provide every knowledge of God necessary unto salvation.

    I said that the adoption of a presupposition is a function of how much time you're willing to spend questioning a thing compared to its certainty, but that decision should be a function of its real certainty, not a function of the difficulty and inconvenience that would arise if it were not true. That way lies intellectual cowardice and an actual neglect of the truth.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2009
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page