The Battle Updated -- By: Rolland D. McCune
CenQ 21:1 (Spring 1978) p. 31
The Battle Updated
Central Baptist Theological Seminary Minneapolis, Minnesota
[The following material was delivered at the Twenty-first Annual Bible Workshop of Central Baptist Seminary, March 28, 1977, with additional notes and ideas included for this article.]
The hottest issues confronting conservative/evangelical leaders and workers today have to do with the inerrancy of the Bible. The greatest bombshell to be dropped on the evangelical community in many years came from within its own ranks— The Battle For The Bible by Harold Lindsell (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1976).
The reaction to the book has been fairly predictable. Fundamentalists have been very sympathetic to Lindsell’s position on inerrancy and his efforts to expose the departure of many individuals and institutions (having been issuing the same warnings for over twenty years against the New Evangelicals). Nevertheless, they are saddened to see Lindsell take the same old anti-separatist stand that has brought the evangelical movement to its present impasse in the first place. In other words, while Lindsell has correctly diagnosed the malady of New Evangelicalism, he is still prescribing the same medicine that is killing the patient to begin with.
“Evangelicals” (New, Young, Social, Feminist, Right, Left, Middle-of-the-Road, etc.) have given a mixed reaction. Many
CenQ 21:1 (Spring 1978) p. 32
have praised the book as a necessary corrective to a serious drift in doctrine. Some have tried to stay neutral and “irenic,” hoping to prevent a polarization and fragmentation of the evangelical camp. Others have taken a vehement stand against the book for a number of reasons, many of which will be examined in this study. The overwhelming response from evangelicals in reviews has been that Lindsell is too conservative, too much like a Fundamentalist, too narrow, unkind, and destructive of evangelical unity at a time when it is needed most. In all of this there has been a great deal of personal attack on the author (the old ad hominem trick), mainly from Fuller Theological Seminary where Lindsell served for seventeen years as a faculty member and which school he severely criticizes for its departure in doctrine and ethics.
The plan of the study will be to state the salient points of The Battle For The Bible and then to analyze some of the reactions against both the book and the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy and infallibility.
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