Neo-Orthodoxy and the Inspiration of Scripture -- By: Kenneth S. Kantzer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 116:461 (Jan 1959)
Article: Neo-Orthodoxy and the Inspiration of Scripture
Author: Kenneth S. Kantzer

Neo-Orthodoxy and the Inspiration of Scripture

Kenneth S. Kantzer

[Kenneth S. Kantzer is Charles Deal Professor of Theology and Division Chairman at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.]

[Editor’s Note: This article is the final installment of the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures on the subject, “Revelation and Inspiration in Neo-orthodox Theology,” given November 12–15, 1957, the Dallas Theological Seminary, by Dr. Kantzer.]

Down through the centuries the orthodox Christian church has stood unequivocally for the divine inspiration and inerrant authority of Holy Scripture. The forthright claim of Gaussen made over one hundred years ago has never been successfully challenged: “With the single exception of Theodore of Mopsuestia, that philosophical divine whose numerous writings, so strongly tainted with Pelagianism, were condemned for their Nestorianism in the fifth ecumenical council,…it has been found impossible to produce, in the long course of the eight first centuries of Christianity a single doctor who has disowned the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, unless it be in the bosom of the most violent heresies.”1

Luther took his place in the main stream of historical Christianity when he declared, “Holy Scripture cannot err.”2 And Calvin was no less explicit in his references to the Bible as the “sure and infallible record,” as “the inerrant standard,” as “the pure Word of God,” and as “the infallible rule of His holy truth.”3

The same views found expression in all the great creeds of classical Protestantism.4 They have been echoed and re-echoed through the years in the time-honored ordination vow: “Do you believe the Scriptures in the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, the only Infallible Rule of faith and practice?”

Beginning in the eighteenth century, however, this doctrine has come under increasing attack from the world of

modern scholarship. Gradually across the years, a new view of the Bible came to dominate the theological scene. Although few cared to put the matter so bluntly, most modern theologians agreed in essence with Hendrick Van Loon when he wrote, “The Old Testament was a national Jewish Scrapbook. It contained stories and legends and genealogies and love poems and psalms, classified and arranged, and reclassified and rearranged without any regard for chronological order or literary perfection.”5

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