Scripture Cannot Be Broken -- By: John H. Bennetch

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 102:407 (Jul 1945)
Article: Scripture Cannot Be Broken
Author: John H. Bennetch


Scripture Cannot Be Broken

John Henry Bennetch

The words of Christ in John 10:35, “Scripture cannot be broken,” form the title of a recent apologetic for verbal inspiration. Dr. Theodore Engelder, professor of Theology in Concordia Seminary, St. Louis for the past two decades, has written this vigorous reply to criticism. Concordia Theological Monthly in successive numbers from April, 1941 to December, 1942 presented the material originally, using for a title “Verbal Inspiration—a Stumbling Block to the Jews and Foolishness to the Greeks.” Because of popular demand the whole series of articles was republished in its present permanent form, the request coming not alone from the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church to which the distinguished author belongs himself, but also from other branches of Lutheranism. And rightly so, since the pages were written with all Lutherans in mind. The managing editor of the Monthly, therefore, states in his preface to the volume: “The Lutheran Church in America has evidently in its development reached definite crossroads. It must decide whether it will adhere to the time-honored teaching of verbal inspiration and the inerrancy of the Scriptures or join the so-called progressive group, which without hesitation avows its belief that the Bible contains errors. May the author’s aim to do his part so that the flood of unbelief will not engulf the Church be realized, and may to the end of time our dear Lutheran Church defiantly say to all prophets trying to rob our sacred Book of its authority and reliability, ‘The Scripture cannot be broken’.” The emphasis on Lutheranism here, of course, is to be expected since all was written for a denominational magazine. But this does

not mean a narrow or limited discussion of the doctrine at stake, as the writer develops his argument; no, not at all.

The six leading criticisms of verbal inspiration are considered by the author, one by one, each in a separate chapter. Besides there are two chapters of résumé, one in the middle of the book and another at the end, in addition to a preface by Prof. W. Arndt and a prolog by the writer himself. Subject and Scripture indexes complete the work. The questions being treated are: Does the Bible contain errors? Has the Bible moral blemishes? Does the Bible deal in trivialities? Is verbal inspiration mechanical inspiration? Does verbal inspiration imply an atomistic conception and use of Scripture? Does verbal inspiration establish a legalistic authority of the letter? Fully half of the extended argument of the book is reserved for answering the first objection. Every reference to criticism is supported by quotation of the s...

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