Biblical Infallibility from the Hermeneutical and Cultural Perspectives -- By: Harold Lindsell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 133:532 (Oct 1976)
Article: Biblical Infallibility from the Hermeneutical and Cultural Perspectives
Author: Harold Lindsell


Biblical Infallibility from the Hermeneutical and
Cultural Perspectives

Harold Lindsell

[Harold Lindsell, Editor, Christianity Today.]

A new stage has emerged among those who call themselves evangelicals. It has brought with it different kinds of problems in relation to biblical infallibility. Uncomfortable with the traditional evangelical commitment to an inerrant Scripture, some evangelicals, deliberately or unconsciously, have departed from that tradition. They have done so in at least two ways. One way has been to limit the binding nature of certain teachings to the times in which they were espoused. In other words, what was true for a certain age is no longer true for today. The second way involves the use of a new hermeneutical twist that effectively destroys a commitment to biblical infallibility. One is left with the impression that some of those who do this determined what their conclusions were in advance and then sought to validate them by interpreting the data to suit their purpose.

Every age has had to deal with biblical problems peculiar to that age. One of the most visible contemporary issues has to do with marriage, and especially with hierarchy versus egalitarianism (i.e., equality rather than subordination) in that estate. Current changes about husband-wife relationships have brought about a defection from traditional beliefs in an infallible Scripture.

A cultural question is generically a hermeneutical question. But it is by no means a new question. For, some things that were binding in earlier cultures in the Bible are not binding today. Modern feminists have latched on to this acknowledgedly useful tool and have extended the principle to marriage. Their argument is really a very simple one, although it has profound implications. Exponents of this cultural view argue that the relationship between husband

and wife was, indeed, one governed by hierarchy in Paul’s day. But that view must be understood as part of the culture of the day. Since the culture of that day has given way to the new culture of the present day, the notion of wifely subordination to her husband must now yield to egalitarianism. They are not saying that the Pauline teaching was wrong. They are saying that it no longer applies. Is there any merit to their argument?

Some Cultural Patterns Abolished

Certain cultural patterns in the Old Testament are no longer followed. It is also true that some of the cultural customs of the New Testament are no longer followed. A few illustrations will suffice. The dietary rules of the Old Testament no longer apply. The ceremonial law is nonapplicable, and therefore Christians do not follow th...

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()