Infallible Scripture -- By: E. F. Burr

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 044:173 (Jan 1887)
Article: Infallible Scripture
Author: E. F. Burr


Infallible Scripture

Rev. E. F. Burr

Of late years it has been given out that the progress of Biblical study has made it necessary to revise our theory of Inspiration. It is said that the high ground taken by our fathers cannot be maintained. We have fallen on an age of careful and well-equipped criticism. Germany has examined and spoken. The teachings of the Westminster and other great confessions, of Gaussen and Doddridge and Edwards and Knapp, were premature, ill-considered, and must be largely modified in the light of a riper scholarship and fuller knowledge. In particular, we are warned that we cannot now insist on the inerrancy of the Scriptures, even of the originals, as to historic and scientific matters, and the smaller details of all sorts; that it is altogether safer, and more in the line of recent findings, to speak of the Scriptures as containing a divine message than as being such a message. And so we are told, perhaps with bald outspokenness and perhaps under various disguises of reverent and orthodox phrase, of the mistakes of Moses and Matthew, of Peter and Paul, and

even of the Lord Jesus himself. Not a few are reluctant to speak out. They prefer to put things in a mild and unalarming way. “The old truth must have restatement to adapt it to these times;” but when we come to examine closely, we find that it is not the old truth at all, but rather an old foe with a new face. What appears is a restatement; what is behind it is a mild form of infidelity— if there can be such a thing. And all in the name of the (almost) twentieth century and new light!

Pray, what are the new facts? What great discoveries have made necessary this great change of base? Has it just been discovered that our copies of the Scriptures differ somewhat among themselves? Has it just come to the knowledge of the public that quotations from the Old Testament by the Master and his disciples were not always in the exact original words? Was it within the present century, or the last, that the people found out that every sacred penman has his peculiaries of both thought and expression? Certainly, such facts were as well known to the fathers as they are to us. And yet those fathers stood up for the entire infallibilty of the original Scriptures; also for the practical identity of the copies in their possession with the originals. They saw no inconsistency in doing so.

Nor do we. The ancient theory does not suppose that the Bible has been kept from all changes, but only from all harmful ones; supposes that the differences between copies are, all things considered, of no consequence whatever, bringing into question not a single item of doctrine or duty. The ancient theory...

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